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Priya Motiani

JWB Blogger

Read About The Struggles Of The Indian Women Hockey Team Making To Rio

  • JWB Post
  •  August 10, 2016


This year’s Olympics are a very, very special affair for us Indians.

Our Women’s Hockey Team comprising of young and talented girls – Deepika, Sunita Lakra, Sushila Chanu, Namita Toppo, and Deep Grace Ekka in defence, midfield by Renuka Yadav, Lilima Minz, Monika, Navjot Kaur, and Nikki Pradhan, with the forward line handled by Rani Rampal, Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya, Anuradha Devi Thokchom, and Preeti Dubey – has made it to the Olympics.

And given the fact that the last time Indian women played hockey in the Olympics was in the year 1980 (it secured the 4th place back then), this year’s qualification to the Rio Olympics does come as a big and merry news.

But the struggles of these women are plenty. Their lives aren’t as easy and fancy as it may seem.

“Marriage and family. That’s what they’ve always told us. That’s what they said lies ahead for us. Not anymore, though,” said the 21-year-old Rani Rampal from Shahbad.

Another player Poonam Rani was asked to stay indoors to stay “better protected from men.” Getting disowned from the neighborhood was the price she paid for playing hockey.

Striker Vandana Katariya had a similar story. However, in her case, it was her father who was exposed to the scornful comments from the society for letting his daughter play.

And if you think society’s disapproval and scorn are the only troubles in their lives, you couldn’t be more wrong! They have also had to deal with extreme financial pressures.

Take the case of Odisha’s Lilima Minz who is the daughter of a mine worker. To get her to Rio, her family has often had to give up their meals.

Renuka Yadav’s case is pretty similar. She used to supply milk to her colony in Rajnandgaon in Chattisgarh so as to afford her sport.

The team’s chief coach, Australian Neil Hawgood, aptly understand these girls and their inhibitions.

“Right now, there is a lot of pressure on them. There’s a lot of attention, which, at times, doesn’t help. This team does not know anything about Olympics because no one in 36 years has been there from India. But they will gain from this experience,” the coach said.

36 years back, our hockey women secured the 4th position in the Olympics. Today, let us hope and pray for our women to bag the 1st position, shall we?

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