Why Rani Rampal will not play for India at the Women's Hockey World Cup
Skipper Rani Rampal has been left out of the upcoming Women's Hockey World Cup squad owing to an unfortunate injury.
India's squad for the Women's Hockey World Cup was announced on Tuesday and it was revealed that veteran Rani Rampal will be missing the much-awaited competition. Mind you, this isn't a sudden injury which has rained on the forward's parade. Ever since her heroics in leading the team's historic show at the Tokyo Olympics, she was struggling with a hamstring injury.
Back in April, Rampal was dubbed for a return against the mighty Dutch in the FIH Pro League fixture. However, her injury prevented her from a return then. And it continues to rule her out of action even as her teammates have a packed calendar year.
"Except Rani, who is still not fully recovered from injury rehabilitation, the team has all the players who were part of the Olympic campaign," said head coach Janneke Schopman in a Hockey India release on Tuesday.
Her absence would certainly be a big blow to the 27-year-old's career after she came so close to an Olympics gold last year.
She is no stranger to the hockey stick and ball, dribbling through blades of green grass or the blue synthetic pitch. Her journey as a national hockey player started back in 2008. Rampal did not waste much time in collecting individual accolades as she was named 'Young Player of the Tournament' in the 2010 World Cup and the 2013 Junior World Cup. Thereafter, she was part of the bronze-winning squad in the 2014 Asian Games.
She didn't stop there. Under her captaincy, she led the women's team to an Asian Games silver in 2018. Winning that Olympic gold is perhaps every athlete's wish, just like the Arjuna and Padma Shri awards. After a formidable showing of intent in the Tokyo Olympics, the women's team bowed out in the semi-finals. Naturally, her eyes would have been set on the world cup, which too has been taken away from her.
The women's hockey team will be led by goalie Sarita Punia, with Deep Grace Ekka as her second-in-command. Other forwards like a certain Vandana Katariya and Navneet Kaur will have to take the burden of scoring on their shoulders. We wish Rani Rampal a speedy recovery and hope she tastes victory through her very able team.