Rani Rampal: Mental and physical readiness for Olympics priority for Indian team

The women’s team captain underlines the importance of managing the body and mind well for the marquee event.

Published : Dec 12, 2019 15:12 IST , New Delhi

Rani Rampal: “I believe fitness will play a huge part in how teams fare [in the Olympics].”
Rani Rampal: “I believe fitness will play a huge part in how teams fare [in the Olympics].”

Rani Rampal: “I believe fitness will play a huge part in how teams fare [in the Olympics].”

The Indian women’s hockey team will prioritise to be mentally and physically equipped for the Tokyo Olympics in the lead-up to the event, captain Rani Rampal has said.

The team is currently in Bengaluru for the National Coaching Camp which will end on December 15. After a three-week break for Christmas and New Year, the core group will return to camp on January 5, 2020, to prepare for the tour of New Zealand.

“One of the primary focus for us will be on fitness and recovery. While the plan is to play top quality matches against good teams in the lead up to the Olympics, all of us need to manage our body and mind well,” Rampal said.

‘Need to peak at the right time’

“We will need to peak at the right time and going by the weather in Tokyo around the time of the Olympics, I believe fitness will play a huge part in how teams fare,” she added.

This has been an eventful season for the Indian team as it booked a berth for participation in the Tokyo Olympics. For the first time in history, the Indian women’s team will make back-to-back appearances in the Olympics. In the lead-up to the Qualifier, the team also scripted creditable victories over top teams like Spain, Ireland, Japan, China, South Korea, England, among others.

Expectations rising

The team’s good run has brought it several accolades, awards and recognition in the past one year. Rani sees this as a new era for women’s hockey in the country. “The fact that people never expected any great result from the Indian women’s team always bothered us. No one expected us to win, just a participation would bring satisfaction. But now I see that attitude change towards the Indian women’s hockey team,” she said.

Read | Hockey India suspends 11 players after Nehru Cup final brawl

“We have proved with our performances in 2018 and 2019 that we can achieve greatness too.”

‘Big boost’

Rani received the Sportsperson of the Year award at the FICCI India Sports Awards here on Wednesday.

Read | FICCI sports awards: Kamesh Srinivasan is best sports scribe

“Personally this award is a big boost for me to do better and contribute to my team’s performance. I also think this kind of recognition highlights Indian women’s hockey among a different genre of people who are not necessarily hockey followers,” she said.

“I believe this will only help the sport grow. I would love to see the Indian team inspire more women take up the sport professionally.”

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