Tokyo 2020: Covid-19 has affected our preparation, but Olympic medal is still an achievable goal, says Rani Rampal

India’s girls’s hockey staff skipper Rani Rampal says that the Covid-19 pandemic has motivated her staff to do properly within the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, ranging from July 23.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has hit our country severely. People have lost their loved ones, the doctors have lost their lives while saving others. So we don’t have to look for motivation elsewhere. The Covid-19 has driven us to do well in the Olympics,” Rani Rampal informed India Today.In in an unique interview.

“I strongly believe that we have a realistic chance of winning a medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Our team is well balanced, and hopefully, we will be able to bring joy to our countryman with a podium finish,” added Rani Rampal.

When Covid-19 breached the bio-bubble

When the entire nation is reeling beneath a extreme second wave of Covid-19, the skipper herself had contracted the an infection alongside together with her six teammates and two assist workers members.

“It was frustrating. We were taking all the precautions but still got infected. 14-days quarantine is physically and mentally challenging.

“But when we saw what was happening outside, we were in a much better condition,” recollects Rani.

The Indian captain mentioned it was not simple to arrange the staff bodily and mentally when the Games have been delayed as a result of coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s not easy for an athlete to push yourself physically and mentally in this extra one year. It was a big mental challenge in Covid-19 times.

“You normally get upset mentally, but the coach helped us a lot in dealing with any problem 24×7, at the personal or physical level,” mentioned Rani.

Rise of girls’s hockey

This would be the Indian Women’s Hockey staff’s third look on the Olympic Games and their second consecutive outing, with earlier appearances in 1980 and 2016. The Indian Women’s Hockey staff has seen a gradual rise over the previous few years, clinching Olympic qualification for a historic second consecutive event based mostly on their constant performances in qualifying occasions.

Indian girls’s hockey within the huddle (Courtesy: Hockey India)

Since Rio 2016, the staff has skilled the highs of profitable the 2016 Asian Champions Trophy, 2017 Asia Cup, the Silver medal on the 2018 Asian Games, and making it to the Quarter Finals of the 2018 Women’s World Cup for the primary time in historical past.

Rani has performed a pivotal function within the rise of the Indian girls’s hockey staff. Call it a destiny or anything; Rani has all the time stepped it when it issues probably the most. Be it the purpose in opposition to Japan in Antwerp to win the ticket for Rio Olympics after 36 years or her objectives within the regulation time and the penalty shootout when India received its first-ever medal on the Junior Women’s World Cup in 2013. Rani is nearly in every single place.

From Rio to Tokyo

The Indian girls staff competed on the 2016 Olympics after 36 years but was eradicated on the Group Stage itself with 4 losses and a draw in opposition to Japan.

“This team is more mature than the team it was four years ago. We all were very young in Rio, but this time the story is different. We have around eight players in our squad from Rio, so it gives us a great boost. We are not afraid of taking on anyone,” mentioned the 26-year-old.

“No team becomes Olympic champions overnight. They definitely started from somewhere. We, also, are part of the process. Coaching and the staff are working well for this mission,” mentioned Rani.

On health comparability with the European staff

Rani Rampal believes that fitness-wise, this Indian aspect are a minimum of any European staff.

“Earlier, people felt that we were no match to the European teams. However, if you see our team over the period of last four-five years, fitness-wise, we are no less than any other team.”Placed in a tricky Pool A, the Indian staff will start its Olympic marketing campaign in opposition to the world’s high aspect, the Netherlands, on July 24 earlier than taking up Germany (ranked third), Great Britain (fifth), and Ireland (ninth).

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