An Inspiring Rani

Rani means Queen and India has had several inspirational Queens. Starting from the most famous Jhansi Ki Rani to Queen Abakka and before that to Rudramma Devi or Ahilya Bai Holkar, we have had no dearth of warrior Queens who ruled and defended their Kingdoms. This inspiring Rani is a modern day queen ..

From Penury to Greatness

Her father could earn Rs. 80 as daily wages and she was malnourished as a child. When she had to bring 500 ml milk to the training class, she smartly added water to 200 ml of milk and continued her training. Never allowing her circumstances to dictate the limit of her dreams, Rani Rampal has charted history by leading the Indian women’s hockey team into the Semi Finals at the Tokyo Olympics.

Rani Rampal
Rani Rampal, Captain Indian Women’s hockey team with her parents.

A brilliant thread about her life was posted by Jyoti Laxmi Kurup and am reposting it here. The link to the Tweet thread is – About Rani Rampal.

Rani Rampal
Rani Rampal at the Tokyo Olympics
Before we get busy in our daily routine, just wanted to share this inspirational story. A few minutes ago, the Indian Women’s hockey team beat favourites to reach the Olympics semi final for the first time ever!! 

While this sounds great, what is incredible is the background of most of the players in the team, including the captain Rani. Most of them don’t speak the same language as each other, and most don’t understand English forget foreign accents (the Coach is Australian). 

Most of the players come from extreme poverty and and started playing to support the family, but faced extreme opposition from within the family since “Girls aren’t supposed to play sports, and that too in skirts!” 

Below are excerpts of an interview printed in the Indian Express with Rani Rampal-captain of the Indian Women’s Hockey team at the Tokyo Olympics (the interview was done prior to the Olympics). What a story of grit, determination, perseverance and succeeding against all odds (irrespective of what happens in the semis” 

“I wanted an escape from my life; from the electricity shortages, to the mosquitoes buzzing in our ear when we slept, from barely having two square meals to seeing our home getting flooded when it rained. My parents tried their best, but there was only so much they could do–Papa was a cart puller and Maa worked as a maid.

There was a hockey academy near my home, so I’d spend hours watching players practice–I really wanted to play. Papa would earn Rs.80 (USD1.10) a day and couldn't afford to buy me a stick. Everyday, I’d ask the coach to teach me too. He’d reject me because I was malnourished. 

He’d say, ‘You aren’t strong enough to pull through a practice session.’ 

So, I found a broken hockey stick on the field and began practicing with that– I didn’t have training clothes, so I was running around in a salwar kameez. But I was determined to prove myself. I begged the coach for a chance– I finally managed to convince him with great difficulty!

But when I told my family, they said, ‘Girls have to do household chores and work at home,’ and ‘we will not allow you to wear a skirt and play.’ I’d plead with them saying, ‘Please let me play. If I fail, I’ll do whatever you want'. My family reluctantly gave in. 

Training would start early in the morning. We didn’t even have a clock, so mom would stay up and look at the sky to check if it was the right time to wake me. 

At the academy, it was mandatory for each player to bring 500 ml of milk. My family could only afford milk worth 200 ml; without telling anyone, I’d mix the milk with water and drink it because I wanted to play.

My coach supported me through thick and thin; he’d buy me hockey kits and shoes. He even allowed me to live with his family and took care of my dietary needs. 
I’d train hard and wouldn’t miss a single day of practice. 

I remember earning my first salary; I won Rs.500 (USD 7) after winning a tournament and gave the money to Papa. He hadn’t ever held so much money in his hands before. I promised my family, ‘One day, we’re going to have our own home’; I did everything in my power to work towards that.

After representing my state and playing in several championships, I finally got a national call up at the age of 15! Still, my relatives would only ask me when I was planning on getting married. But Papa told me, 'Play until your heart's content' With my family's support , I focused on doing my best for India, and eventually I became the Captain of the Indian Hockey Team!

Soon after, while I was at home, a friend Papa used to work with visited us. He brought along his granddaughter and told me " she is inspired by you and wants to become a Hockey player!' I was so happy, I just started crying.

And then on 2017, I finally fulfilled the promise I made to my family and bought them a home. We cried together and held each other tightly! I am still not done yet; 

This year I am determined to repay them and Coach with something they have always dreamed of - gold medal from Tokyo.

What a proud moment 👏👏👏
More power to you girl's 👍👍👍 

I have goosebumps as I read this and I have goosebumps every time I re-read this thread ! This is actually a portrait of inspiration.

Irrespective of the result in the Semi Finals, this Indian Women’s hockey team will always be remembered for being the first Indian women’s hockey team to enter the semi finals at the Olympic Games. Tokyo Olympics 2020: Fearless India women’s hockey team stuns Australia to create history, enter first Games semi-final.

Tomorrow is the big day ! Am sure our inspirational captain will lead the team to the finals, because, she is inspirational and a legend in the making. Jai Hind.


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