Rani Rampal on 250 international caps

Hockey India congratulated experienced striker Rani on Saturday for completing 250 international caps. She achieved this incredible milestone during India’s match against Belgium at the FIH Hockey Pro League tie in Antwerp, Belgium.

Rani, who was long laid off with injury after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, is back in the reckoning with her first appearance in over ten months for the Indian team.

An emotional Rani, who was greeted by Indian women’s team head coach Janneke Schopman ahead of the game, said: “It’s been a very difficult year for me dealing with the prolonged injury but the only thing that kept me going was the desire to wear Indian Jersey once again.

“I have worked very hard for this moment and I am very grateful to Hockey India and Sports Authority of India for their continuous support and allowing me to work with the best physio during my rehabilitation process. I am also very grateful to all the coaching staff and my teammates who have constantly motivated and supported me over the past year.

“It’s a very special moment for me. I consider this a second run in my career and it’s doubly special that I’m making a comeback to play my 250th game for the country against a strong opponent like Belgium. is indeed an important milestone to remember,” Rani added.

In a career spanning more than 12 years, Rani led Team India to many successes, including a historic fourth place finish at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She made her international debut at the 2009 Champions Challenge aged 15, becoming the youngest player to represent the national team.

Hailing from Shahbaad Markanda in Haryana, she became the first Indian women’s hockey player to be nominated for the FIH Young Player of the Year award.

She also received the “Best Young Player of the Tournament” award at the 2010 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Argentina. It was under his captaincy that India made history by winning the Women’s Asian Cup in 2017 after 13 long years. Under his captaincy, the team qualified for the quarter-finals of the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 and also won the silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games.

Rani was also awarded Arjuna Award in 2016, World Games Athlete of the Year 2019, Hockey India Award for Best Female Player of the Year 2019, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2020 and Padma Shri Award 2020. She had also led the team to victory in the 2019 FIH Series Final and played a catalyst role in ensuring the Indian team made it to back-to-back Olympics with their extraordinary performance in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers ahead of their audience in Bhubaneswar, where they beat the United States.

Congratulating Rani, Head Coach Janneke Schopman said, “Rani’s incredible journey from a very difficult economic situation at home in Shahbaad to becoming one of the most successful female hockey players of her time has inspired many young players in India. She has worked very hard over the past year to get her Indian shirt back after a long injury break. She is a very determined and hardworking player and I wish her the best and congratulate her on achieving this incredible achievement.

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