Women's captain Ritu Rani dropped for Rio

Indian women's hockey team captain and one of the seniormost players of the side, Ritu Rani has been dropped from the side and sent back from the ongoing training camp in Bangalore. Sources claim Ritu was dropped because of poor form and attitude despite being one of the fittest athletes in the team.

Ritu Rani has been at the forefront of Indian women’s hockey for more than a decade and has been the key to the midfield.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Four days before the final squad of 16 is to be announced for the Rio Olympics, Indian women's hockey team captain and one of the seniormost players of the side, Ritu Rani has been dropped from the side and sent back from the ongoing training camp in Bangalore.

Ritu, under whose leadership the Indian women's team qualified for the Olympics for the first time in 36 years after 1980, has already returned to her native village of Shahbad in Haryana. Team management and the federation has not officially commented on the dropping even though other sources from the team confirmed the development.

The 24-year old Ritu has been at the forefront of Indian women’s hockey for more than a decade and has been the key to the midfield.

'Easy decision'

Sources at the SAI Centre in Bangalore, refusing to come on record, claim Ritu was dropped because of poor form and attitude despite being one of the fittest athletes in the team. “Not in the interest of anyone but at the same time it was an easy decision for the team’s sake in the end,” sources said.

In her absence, the leadership role could fall on Rani Rampal or Sushila Chanu, both of whom have the big-game experience and have been part of the leadership group for some time now. Interestingly, Ritu had got engaged on June 12 and had also been rested for the team’s tour of England recently.

Ritu did not reply to queries.