Meet the Women’s Hockey Team that’s Making India Proud

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Meet India's Incredible Women's Hockey Team Making History at Olympics

The Indian Women’s Hockey made history with their exemplary performance at Tokyo Olympics by defeating one of the world’s toughest hockey teams- Australia on 3rd August 2021. Their outstanding performances have paved the way for India to enter the semi-finals of the Olympics. But how much do you know about these hard-working women – Rani Rampal, Vandana Katariya, Salima Tete, Deep Grace Ekka, Savita Punia, Gurjit Kaur, Lalremsiami, and Sushila Chanu? Let’s celebrate these inspiring women of the Indian Women’s Hockey Team by learning about them and their unique success stories!

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Indian Women’s Hockey Team Rocking Journey at #TokyoOlympics

  • India beat Australia and qualified for the semi-finals at the Olympics 2020
  • India lost to Argentina on 4th August 2021 despite a stunning performance
  • Argentina will compete with the Netherlands in the gold medal match
  • India will take on 2016 Olympic champions Great Britain in the bronze medal match on August 6.
  • India lost to a close match to Great Britain on 6th August 2021 and missed the bronze medal by one point.

Rani Rampal

Rani Rampal led the Indian Women’s Hockey Team to the semi-finals of Olympics 2021. Many don’t know that Rani’s mother was a domestic help and her father was a cart puller. Her parents worked very hard to make a living. Rani Rampal was inspired by hockey players, however, she couldn’t afford to even buy a hockey stick. Despite her family’s constant discouragement and criticism for her passion, Rampal continued her journey. She practiced with broken hockey sticks and became the youngest player in the national women’s hockey team in India. 

Related Read: From India to Tokyo Olympics: Witness the Journey of Udayan Mane

Deep Grace Ekha

Deep Grace Ekha belongs to the Lulkidhi village of Sundargarh District of Odisha. Deep comes from a family of hockey players, her father, uncle and brother have all been involved in hockey at the local level. Despite the love for sports in her family, Ekha was heavily criticised by her neighbours and close associates when she expressed her desire to play hockey. She was mocked saying girls aren’t meant to play hockey. She would hear things like “ ladko wala game khelti hai (plays men’s sport)”. However, she did not let this hamper her willingness to play and at the age of 16, she played in her first senior nationals in Sonepat. Soon after, she was offered to participate in the India Junior team. In 2014, she helped India bag the bronze medal in the Junior World Cup and the 2014 Asian Games.

Vandana Katariya

Vanadana Katariya belongs to Uttarakhand and her journey to the Olympics is riddled with hardships and obstacles. As a little girl, when she played hockey she was told that her passion and enthusiasm for hockey is “unbecoming of a girl”. So she would practise away from the eyes of the people. Vandana found her support system in her father, Nahar Singh Kataria who was a wrestler. However, just three months before the Tokyo Olympics, Vandana’s father passed away and because of training, she couldn’t return to the house to pay her respects. Katariya has definitely honoured her father’s wishes by reaching semi-finals and by becoming the first Indian woman to score a hat-trick at the Olympics 2020.

Gurjit Kaur

Gurji Kaur comes from a farmer’s family in Amritsar. First introduced to the sport at boarding school, Gurji knew nothing about the sport and hence would spend most of the time watching other girls play. With time, hockey became her passion and her years of hard work finally paid off when she was selected for the Indian Women’s Hockey Team at Olympics 2021. In the quarter-finals of the Olympics against World No 4, Gurjit delivered an exemplary performance by converting India’s lone penalty corner in the 22nd minute to surprise the confident Australians.

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Savita Punia

Savita Punia comes from the village of Jodhkan and to practice hockey she used to travel 6 km from her village to Maharaja Agrasain Girls Senior Secondary School in Sirsa. It was the only place around her village that had hockey coaches and a training infrastructure.No one in her family had been involved in sports before and it was her grandfather, late Ranjeet Punia, who encouraged her to take up the sport. Savita Puni helped India stun Australia and qualify for the first-ever Olympics semi-finals. 

Sushila Chanu

Sushil Chanu, the 29-year-old halfback, is one of the most experienced players of the Indian Women’s Hockey Team. She belongs to Imphal, Manipur. She belongs to a modest family, her mother is a homemaker and her father works as a driver to make a daily living. She started playing hockey at the age of 11 upon her uncle’s insistence and encouragement. With the help of her uncle, she got herself enrolled at the Posterior Hockey Academy of Manipur in 2002. Sushila Chanu has also worked as a ticket collector in the Central Railways since 2010. When she wasn’t selected for the state championship of hockey she decided to give up on the sport, however, when her senior players urged her to get back. 

Check out: Lifting India’s Hope in Tokyo Olympics: Saikhom Mirabai Chanu

Lalremsiami

Lalremisiami, the 21-year-old player, is from Mizoram. She has made the headlines with her extraordinary performance just at the age of 21. She became the first Indian woman to be honored with the FIH Rising Star Award. Lalremsiami’s biggest support was her father who constantly encouraged her to work on her dreams. In an interview, she said, “Selection in India’s Olympic team was my late father’s dream.” When she joined the team she faced difficulty in communicating in English or Hindi and had to initially communicate with her teammates with hand gestures.

Salima Tete

Salima Tete, the 19 year old player, belongs to Badkichapar village in Jharkhand’s Simdega, She started practising hockey on the dusty grounds of this village. Her father was a farmer and she would use wooden sticks since the family was unable to afford proper hockey sticks. However, hockey was a sport everyone was passionate about in her village. In an interview, she said, “Everyone in our village plays hockey, even though we have no facilities. Hockey gives us a purpose. But I’m the first player from my village to represent India at an international level.”

Also Read: Meet Maana Patel, the First Female Indian Swimmer to Qualify for Tokyo Olympics

So this was about the inspiring women on the Indian Women’s Hockey Team. These women have surely made a legacy by their outstanding performance. Their journeys will for sure inspire millions of young girls out there to not give up on their dreams. For more such inspiring content, follow Leverage Edu!

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