‘Winning Olympic medal will remain the ultimate goal’: Rani Rampal sets sights on Tokyo Games after Khel Ratna honour

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Rani Rampal by no means anticipated the Khel Ratna to be bestowed on a lady hockey participant and that’s one explanation why she may just now not hang again tears on being named for it this 12 months, calling the nation’s easiest wearing honour a testomony to her laborious paintings and sacrifices.

In an exceptional 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.

Rani, 25, stated she couldn’t prevent herself from crying when she first were given to understand of being one in all the selected 5, leaving her folks slightly frightened as a result of they, it sounds as if, had no thought about 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.”

Rani is a impressive rags-to-riches tale in Indian recreation. 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 changed into the youngest participant to make the nationwide crew. 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 stated.

The Games had been behind schedule by way of a 12 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic and Rani devoted her award to the docs and different frontline employees, who’re combating to avoid wasting 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 stated.

Rani stated the Khel Ratna reputation will inspire her and her teammates to succeed in larger laurels for the nation in long run.

“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 stated.

Talking about coronavirus-forced spoil, Rani stated now not simply India, it will take a little time for each hockey-playing country to get the depth again amid the world well being disaster. She stated the spoil helped the Indian crew 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 stated.

“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 once scare at the Sports Authority of India’s South Centre in Bengaluru when six males’s crew gamers, together with skipper Manpreet Singh examined sure for Covid-19 after returning to the nationwide camp on August 4, however all the contributors of the ladies’s squad returned destructive.

Rani thanked the SAI officers for taking care of them in those tricky occasions. “We have just begun very basic sports activities. It is good to run on the pitch again. I thank SAI for the way they have taken care of us during quarantine and are ensuring every day that we have a safe environment here. We never felt any fear as we know we will be taken care of well,” she stated.

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