Rani Rampal – First Ever Hockey Player to Win World Games Athlete of the Year Award

Captain of the Indian hockey team, Rani Rampal has made the whole country proud by becoming the first-ever hockey player to win the coveted ‘World Games Athlete of the Year’ award.

The World games conducted a poll for 20 days in January 2020; post which Rani surpassed all other contenders with a large number of votes.  Over 705,610 votes were cast during the poll where Rani won by a remarkable number of 199, 477 votes.

With this amazing feat, she has also proved that hard work and perseverance open the door to success.

Her life is a living example of how one can win over the adversities and make a successful mark in the world.

Her Share of Struggle

Born on December 4, 1994, she hails from Shahabad Markanda in the Kurukshetra district of Haryana. Playing the sport wasn’t easy for Rani as her abilities were always questioned; also being a girl she was under constant criticism.

Her parents, father who was a cart-puller and mother who was a housewife, were strictly against her playing the sport. Though they had no idea what hockey was, they were apprehensive owing to disapproval from society, friends, and relatives.

But Rani never gave up on her dreams. She continued convincing her parents and they finally decided to let her live her dreams.

She started playing hockey when she was 6 and registered her name in the town’s team.

However, she proved her mettle and got the chance to get trained under the Dronacharya Award winner, Coach Baldev Singh at the Shahabad Hockey Academy.

Taking to field hockey, Rani went on proving her abilities by playing excellently at the Junior Nationals in Gwalior and at Chandigarh School Nationals. She later made it to the national team. Rani got to make her senior year debut when she was just 14; she became the youngest player in the Indian Women’s Hockey team.

Success Tales from the Field

Rani helped India win the Champion’s Challenge Tournament held in Kazan, Russia in June 2009 where she scored 4 goals in the finals. This big win made her get the title of “The Top Goal Scorer” and the “Young Player of the Tournament.”

She once again showed her brilliance in the game by making the country win a silver medal in the Asia Cup held in November 2009. She even played in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and 2010 Asian Games and got nominated in FIH Women’s All-Star Team of 2010.

Her seven goals during the 2010 Women’s Hockey World Cup held in Rosario, Argentina, made India secure the ninth position in World Women’s hockey rankings. It was touted as India’s best performance since 1978.

Rani happens to be the only Indian to get nominated for the FIH Women’s Young Player of the Year Award, 2010. She was bestowed with the “Best Young Player of the Tournament” award at the Women’s Hockey World Cup 2010.

She became the ‘Player of the Tournament’ during the 2013 Junior World Cup where India finished with a bronze medal. In the year 2014, she was named for the FICCI Comeback of the Year Award.

She even won the Arjuna award in 2016, the same year when Indian Hockey Team qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics after 36 years.

In 2017, she was part of the Women’s Asian Cup held at Kakamigahara in Japan and India won the title a second time; the first being won in 2004. The win in 2017 helped India get selected for the 2018 world cup.

The team also qualified for the 2018 Asian Games where Rani was the captain. India won a silver medal and Rani was the country’s flag-bearer for the closing ceremony of the games.

Rani’s terrific performance and excellent leadership as the team captain has made the Indian women hockey team win several accolades. She played a crucial role in helping the team qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Rani has not just proved her mettle in the sport but has even inspired many young women to endorse the game. Her dedication towards the game made her get conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri Award on the eve of the country’s 71st Republic Day.

We congratulate Rani on her magnificent achievements and we hope that she continues to shine in the world of hockey.

Tags: Rani Rampal  |  Indian Field Hockey Player  |  World Games Athlete of the Year’ Award  |  Rani Rampal Awards  |  Rani Rampal Best in Career