India "Could Have Won Semi-Final" Against Argentina In Tokyo Olympics, Says Women's Hockey Team Captain Rani Rampal
India Women's Hockey team captain Rani Rampal spoke about how the team gained confidence from a 1-0 win over Australia in the quarterfinal and felt they could beat World No. 2 Argentina in the semi-final to earn a podium finish.
- India women finished fourth in Tokyo 2020
- This was India women's best ever finish in Olympics
- India lost to Argentina in semifinal
India Women's Hockey team captain Rani Rampal opened up on the team's record fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics and said that it has given motivation to the players to perform even better the next time. Speaking on the podcast 'Hockey Te Charcha', Rani said that 2021 proved to be a good year for the team despite missing out on the Olympic medal. "2021 proved to be a good year for us. We could have won a medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games. We will always feel the pain of not being able to do that because we were so close. It was not hard to accept it at first." said Indian women's team hockey captain Rani Rampal.
Indian women's team had qualified for Olympics in 2016 after a long gap of 36 years but finished last in Rio. From there on the Indian team worked hard and five years later they came up with much better performance and missed the medal by a whisker.
"But we finished 12th in 2016 when we went to Rio Olympics and this time at Tokyo Olympics we finished 4th. So, it has been a big growth for women's hockey. When we returned, the Indian fans appreciated our efforts. We felt that we did something good that fans are giving us so much love and respect. This gives us the confidence to do even better in future. " told Rani Rampal.
Rani further went on to speak about how the team gained confidence from a 1-0 win over Australia in the quarterfinal and felt they could beat World No. 2 Argentina in the semi-final to earn a podium finish.
"I feel 100 per cent we could have won the semi-final match against Argentina. We took an early lead in the match and put them under pressure. We executed everything coaches told us but conceding PCs cost us." said Indian women's captain Rani Rampal.
The Indian women's team also lost their bronze medal match against Great Britain 3-4. For the Rani Rampal led side it was so close and yet so far but coming fourth in Tokyo Olympics was also a creditable performance.
"But I think it was a huge learning experience for all the players in the team who will get an understanding of how to remain calm in knockout matches of big tournaments. We will surely get better the next time." said Rani Rampal.
Rani further opened up on difficulties faced by the team during the pandemic era before the Tokyo Olympics and expressed gratitude to the coaching staff, Hockey India, and SAI for taking good care of them during the lockdown.
"For every athlete in the world, the past two years have been quite challenging due to Covid. Most of the athletes were at their peak before the Tokyo Olympics were postponed. A lot of doubts crept up in athletes when we were placed in the bio-bubble. It was becoming difficult to push yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, at that time. SAI, Hockey India took care of us and provided us with healthy food and a safe place to stay. The coaching staff also kept us motivated and positive and took care of us, as we were away from our families for a long time. "said Rani Rampal on coming up with a spirited performance despite difficulties.
Coming an unexpected fourth in Tokyo Olympics has certainly boosted the morale of the Indian women's hockey team and has given them self-belief that even they can win a medal for the country like the men's team did after 41 years.