Rani Rampal — the Queen of Indian Hockey
Padma Shri awardee Rani Rampal—the first-ever hockey player in the world to be bestowed with the prestigious ‘World Games Athlete of the Year 2019’ honour, is the current captain of the Indian women hockey team.
Last year, Rani was named Player of the Tournament of FIH Series in which India won the Finals. Under her leadership, the Indian women’s team qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games—third in its history. The hockey superstar is considered to be one of the best women hockey players in the world and has a knack for scoring crucial goals.
Born on December 4, 1994, Rani grew up amid the shackles of poverty in Shahbad, a village in the state of Haryana in India. A clinical forward, she is capable of doubling up as a midfielder when required. Idolizing the legendary Dhanraj Pillay while growing up, she began training at a local academy aged six.
She was deemed the ‘Young Player of the Tournament’ after scoring the highest in FIH Women’s Champions Challenge II in 2009 and then was a part of the team that bagged a silver medal at the 2009 Asia Cup. The striker was also named ‘Young Player of the Tournament’ at the 2010 World Cup and at the 2013 Junior World Cup. She also helped her team won a bronze at the 2014 Asian Games.
Under her leadership, the Indian women’s hockey team won a silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games, reached the quarter-final at the 2018 World Cup and finished fourth at the Commonwealth Games in the same year—a great achievement for the captain.
A firm believer in discipline and routines, Rani aspires to achieve her dreams through sheer hard work, and is thus considered an inspirational athlete, and a role model for many female hockey players in India.