Rani Rampal by no means anticipated the Khel Ratna to be bestowed on a lady hockey participant and that’s one purpose why she couldn’t maintain again tears on being named for it this 12 months, calling the nation’s highest sporting honour a testomony to her exhausting work and sacrifices.
In an unprecedented transfer, the Sports Ministry named 5 athletes — cricketer Rohit Sharma, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, desk tennis participant Manika Batra, Rani and Paralympian Thangavelu Mariyappan — for this 12 months’s Khel Ratna.
The 25-year-old Rani mentioned she couldn’t cease herself from crying when she first obtained to know of being one among the many chosen 5, leaving her dad and mom fairly fearful as a result of they, apparently, had no concept concerning the magnitude of the award and why it made their daughter so emotional.
“Honestly, being a woman hockey player I was not expecting that I will be awarded the Khel Ratna. When I found out about the announcement, I was extremely emotional and could not hold back my tears,” she instructed PTI in an interview.
“I called my father first to give him the good news…Since I was crying on the call, he was worried if everything was OK with me. My parents didn’t really know how significant it was to receive this honour and when I explained it to them, my father particularly was very happy and got emotional,” she mentioned.
Rani is a spectacular rags-to-riches story in Indian sport. The daughter of a cart-puller from that cradle of Indian hockey, Shahbad (Haryana), she rose to prominence as a 15-year-old when she turned the youngest participant to make the nationwide staff.
Her subsequent goal is the Olympic medal that has eluded Indian hockey for many years now.
“While I do feel this award comes as a recognition of my hard work, sacrifices and commitment to the sport over the years, winning the Olympic medal will remain the ultimate goal. We will work hard as a team to achieve this goal in Tokyo next year,” Rani mentioned.
The Games have been delayed by a 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Rani devoted her award to the medical doctors and different frontline staff, who’re preventing to save lots of lives from the dreaded an infection.
“I dedicate this award to the Corona Warriors who have put their lives in the frontline to save lives. I also dedicate this award to my team, this is a recognition of their hard work and success too,” she mentioned.
Rani mentioned the Khel Ratna recognition will encourage her and her teammates to realize better laurels for the nation in future.
“It (the Khel Ratna) is extremely encouraging and a big boost to do well at the Olympic Games. Over the past years, I am very happy that the Indian women’s team is getting their due recognition and this has only motivated us to do better and better at the international level,” she mentioned.
Talking about coronavirus-forced break, Rani mentioned not simply India, it is going to take a while for each hockey-playing nation to get the depth again amid the worldwide well being disaster.
She mentioned the break helped the Indian staff to refocus on its targets.
“Though this has been a forced break, we have utilised this time well to refocus on our goals, areas of improvement and have deeply analysed our opponent teams,” she mentioned.
“Though it will take at least 3-4 months before we go back to the same level we were in at the beginning of the year, this is the case with so many teams around the world. We just need to be patient and stay persistent.”
There was scare on the Sports Authority of India’s South Centre in Bengaluru when six males’s staff gamers, together with skipper Manpreet Singh examined optimistic for COVID-19 after returning to the nationwide camp on August 4, however all of the members of the ladies’s squad returned unfavourable.
Rani thanked the SAI officers for taking excellent care of them in these tough occasions.
“We have simply begun very fundamental sports activities actions. It is nice to run on the pitch once more.
“I thank SAI for the way they have taken care of us during quarantine and are ensuring everyday that we have a safe environment here. We never felt any fear as we know we will be taken care of well,” she concluded.