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Tokyo Olympics, India Women Hockey Team: Meet The Magnificent 16

They is probably not a family title however the Indian ladies hockey squad on the Tokyo Olympics has taken a large step to right that anomaly. They have made positive that the present and the upcoming era of Indian sports activities lovers will fondly bear in mind how the 16 members overcame adversities – each on and off the sphere – to create historical past by reaching the semifinals for the primary time of their Olympic historical past after beating powerhouse Australia.

Here’s a short profile of The Magnificent 16

Rani Rampal – Forward and captain 

She was simply 14 when Rani made her worldwide debut. She turned 26 final December and is the captain of India ladies hockey crew. These two traces are sufficient to sum up her prodigious expertise. Daughter of a cart-puller. She started taking part in hockey from the age of six with a damaged stick. Despite her poverty-stricken childhood, Rani remained focus and satisfied her mother and father to let her play hockey. Today, she’s a junior world cup bronze medallist, two-time Asian Games medallist and been an integral a part of the Indian crew which, for the primary time in historical past, certified for successive Olympics.

Savita Punia – Goalkeeper and vice-captain

Hailing from the Sirsa district of Haryana, it was Savita’s grandfather who motivated her to take up hockey. She joined Sports Authority of India academy at Hisar and initially, wasn’t too critical about making a profession out of hockey. Everything modified when her father spent a major quantity on buying a brand new package. Today she’s hailed because the Wall of India clocking over 200 worldwide appearances that included Asian Game medals (2014, 2018)  and Asia Cup gold in 2017.

Sushila Chanu – Midfielder

Sushila as soon as dreamt of representing India at the least as soon as in her lifetime. Today, she has over 150 worldwide caps, captained India at an Olympics (Rio 2016), a former junior world cup medal winner and an Asian Games medallist (2014 Incheon). The 29-year-old struggled with a serious knee harm that noticed her lacking main occasions in 2018 together with the world cup, Asian Games, Champions Trophy that left her with self-doubts throughout rehabilitation. However, she made a formidable return and performed an essential position in protecting Australia at bay on the Tokyo Olympics quarterfinals.

Vandana Katariya – Forward

At the junior world cup in 2013, Vandana scored 5 objectives as India received a bronze. She was the top-scorer on the occasion. Last week, as India confronted South Africa the crew wanted to win to maintain possibilities of making reduce for quarterfinals alive. Vandana stepped up with a hat-trick changing into the primary ever India ladies participant to take action at an Olympic. Her father, Nahar Singh, ignored the the societal strain to again Vandana’s dream. He handed away three months in the past with the 29-year-old India ahead unable to be at his final rites.

Nikki Pradhan – Defender

When she was chosen within the India squad for Tokyo Games, Nikki grew to become the primary ever participant from Jharkhand to characterize the nation on the Olympics. The 27-year-old has received over 100 caps for India and rising up, she overcame monetary hurdles and her worry of hockey stick that she was satisfied will break her legs sooner or later to maintain her ardour and dream alive. The defender hails from Hesal which is a Naxal stronghold.

Deep Grace Ekka – Defender

Inspired by her older brother Dinesh, a former India goalkeeper, Deep additionally wished to be a goalie after beginning taking part in when she turned 12. However, her brother and uncle as a substitute suggested her to grow to be a defender. Her household was chided for permitting a woman to play hockey as a substitute of involving her in family chores. Eventually, she graduated to be chosen for the nationwide crew and the 27-year-old is a two-time Asian Games medallist and an Asian Cup winner.

Neha Goyal – Midfielder

Neha labored along with her mom Savitri and sisters at a cycle manufacturing unit. Her alcoholic father would abuse her mom who in flip enrolled Neha right into a hockey academy to maintain her away from the trauma. Her expertise took her locations – first within the India squad for the 2011 junior world cup when she was simply 14. Later that yr, she was adjudged participant of the match on the U-21 Four-Nations Lal Bahadur Shastri ladies’s hockey match. She was a part of the crew that received silver on the 2018 Asian Games.

Salima Tete – Midfielder

Tete hails from Badkichapar village in Simdega, one of many worst Maoist affected districts in Jharkhand. The 19-year-old, identified for her tenacious defending on the sphere, captained the Indian crew that clinched the silver medal on the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires. She is touted to be the following huge factor in Indian hockey. Her household again residence has been unable to observe her play as the only real TV set within the village has been out of order for years and the web connectivity is poor. Her father, who’s a farmer, himself performed hockey and therefore inspired his daughter to take up the game. In the absence of correct hockey blades, Tete would use wood sticks to observe.

Navneet Kaur – Forward

One of probably the most constant forwards within the Indian crew, Kaur, like Rani, hails from Shahabad Markanda in Haryana. The 25-year-old ahead suffered a setback in May when she contracted COVID-19. She is a junior world cup medal winner and a 2018 Asian Games silver medallist. It was Navneet who scored a late winner for India within the quarterfinals towards Australia sealing a well-known win at Tokyo Olympics.

Udita Duhan – Defender

Born in Hisar in Haryana, the 23-year-old made her senior crew debut throughout the Indian crew’s tour of New Zealand in 2017. The defender has performed 32 matches for the Indian crew. Although she picked up sports activities at an early age, the ahead began taking part in hockey solely six years in the past. Initially she performed handball, following within the footsteps of her father.

Nisha Warsi – Midfielder

The 26-year-old midfielder from Sonepat made her worldwide debut towards Uruguay within the 2019 FIH Women’s Series Finals in Hiroshima. Her father, who works as a tailor in a retail retailer, supported her unconditionally when she determined to take up hockey. Although the household wasn’t flourishing financially, Nisha’s father by some means managed to maintain apart some cash that will assist her journey for tournaments.

Lalremsiami – Forward

One of the youngest gamers within the crew, Lalremsiami was born and introduced up in Kolasib in Mizoram. The 21-year-old is the primary feminine participant from her state to compete on the Olympics. ‘Siami’ as she is fondly known as by her teammates, helped India safe a historic silver medal on the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.

Hailing from a state the place hockey is just not that in style, there weren’t many supporters within the household when she determined to take up the game. However, after plenty of convincing, she lastly received the go-ahead. When Lalremsiami joined the crew, she struggled with the language as she may barely communicate English or Hindi. She needed to initially talk along with her teammates by hand gestures.

Lalremsiami headed to the Olympics on the again of a private tragedy. She misplaced her father only a day earlier than India’s semifinal match towards Chile in FIH Series Finals final yr in Hiroshima, Japan. Instead of returning residence, the younger striker braved private tragedy and determined to remain again with the crew.

Monika Malik – Midfielder

The 27-year-old artistic midfielder from Haryana is the spine of the crew, churning out inspiring performances in a number of main tournaments. She performs an essential job of linking the play from defence to assault, and has featured over 150 instances for the nationwide crew.

She performed a key position in India’s marketing campaign within the FIH Olympic Qualifiers in Bhubaneswar the place the crew clinched the berth for Tokyo after beating USA 6-5 in aim mixture.

Sharmila Devi – Forward

Sharmila made her senior crew debut on the Olympics take a look at occasion in 2019. The 19-year-old ahead featured in simply 9 video games forward of the Tokyo Games Sharmila, together with the Olympic Qualifiers.

Gurjit Kaur – Defender

An important cog within the crew, she performs the twin position of a defender and can be the designated drag-flicker. Her objectives have contributed to huge victories for the crew in recent times, largest being this morning’s strike towards Australia. Born in Miadi Kalan in Amritsar to a farmer’s household, Kaur and her sister studied at a personal college and knew nothing about hockey until they shifted to a boarding college. Kaur would watch different women play hockey all day and that’s how her ardour for the game stemmed.

Navjot Kaur – Midfielder

The Kurukshetra born attacking midfielder made her worldwide debut in 2012 in a sequence towards New Zealand in Napier behind some spectacular work on the Junior Asia Cup and International U-21 match within the Netherlands. Since then she has been a part of the crew’s essential victories. The 26-year-old, like a number of of her teammates, comes from a humble background. Her father is a mechanic whereas her mom is a home-maker.

With PTI Inputs

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