File image of Rani Rampal© Twitter
Former India captain Rani Rampal on Thursday hit out at women’s hockey team chief coach Janneke Schopmann for being overlooked for the past two years and said that she has no plans to retire anytime soon. Rani has been sidelined for a lengthy period since leading the Indian women’s team to a first-ever fourth-place finish at the Olympics in Tokyo. The 28-year-old star striker demanded answers from Schopmann as to why she is being ignored.
“Whatever happened with me in past two years is not right. As far as my career is concerned, despite coming back from injury, faring well and even playing during the National Games, I was not selected for the senior side.
“Only the coach will be able to explain the reason,” an angry Rani said after being named as the Indian U-17 girls team coach.
“But that incident has not forced me to plan for my retirement yet. I know I still have more to give to the sport as a player. I never want to give up. If I had to, I’d have given up after the Olympics,” she added.
Following the fourth-place finish in Tokyo, Rani was out of action for a few months due to a surgery but, even after smashing a whopping 18 goals in just six matches at the 2022 National Games in Gujarat, she has found it difficult to get her place back in the national team.
“I will continue playing hockey since I believe I still have my playing career left,” Rani said.
We don’t interfere in selection matters: Tirkey
Hockey India chief Dilip Tirkey empathised with Rani but said as office-bearers of the federation, they don’t interfere in selection matters.
“We understand the grief of Rani Rampal. We have talked about her absence from the national team. We have consulted both selectors and head coach. We had conversations with Rani also,” Tirkey said.
“We don’t interfere in these matters, it is up to the coach and selectors.”
Topics mentioned in this article