In June 2001, a seven-year old daughter of a cart-puller from Shahabad Markanda (Haryana) picked up Hockey Stick, and debuted for India in 2008 Olympic Qualifiers in Russia at the age of just 14.
Rani Rampal, born on 4th December 1994, has represented India in more than 100 matches and have scored some of best goals in women’s hockey.
Rani (Queen) has won many awards at international levels, including Best Upcoming Player in 2010 World Cup in Argentina, but a Ten Rupees note autographed by her coach Baldev Singh with a quote reading on it “Future Forward of India“, was most valuable prize for her. Unfortunately, she had to spend those ten rupees once in emergency (can you help us in finding that note?). Later on coach Baldev Singh also gifted her a bicycle on Diwali because Rani’s parents could not afford one.
She is very thankful to God because she was born in the small town Shahabad Markanda in Kuruskshetra district of Haryana, as it hosts the best hockey academy for girls run by Coach Baldev Singh, who is not only a very good coach but also a very nice human being.
In an exclusive interview with The Fans of Hockey, Rani told about her initial days of hockey, “In Shahabad Hockey Academy, many senior players like Surinder, Jasjeet, Suman, etc played for a school and I was very excited after seeing them playing.I approached the coach and told him I want to Play.”
The Coach Baldev Singh said, “It is very strict and disciplined coaching here, asked you really want to play“. and told the young enthusiastic girl to run and touch the wall and come, which she did with ease and confidence. The coach accepted her request of playing and the rest is history.
Rani devotes all her achievements to the Coach and says, “What I am today, is because of Baldev sir. He is really a good coach and person also. I am from very poor family but he supported me in everything, be it buying hockey stick-shoes or coaching. He spent a lot of time in coaching me.”
“My seniors also helped me a lot in hockey and otherwise. My parents gave me a chance to play and prove girls can do everything, all because of seniors” she added further acknowledging the senior players of the academy.
Rani is currently working with Indian Railways since 2011 with a salary of Rs 12000/- per month, which is definitely not enough for her hockey expenditure and to support her family, before that GoSports Foundation supported the star forward of Indian Women’s Hockey for 3 year with a monthly stipend of Rs 4000/-.