She forged her own escape. A voyage that has brought her to the Olympic podium. Rani Rampal is not one to be blinded by its glamour though, she’s not had an easy ride by any stretch of the imagination. She has fought her battles, a journey that has brought her closer to the first gold at the Olympics for the Indian Women’s Hockey Team in their history.
Armed with an abandoned broken hockey stick, Rani Rampal set forth with her dreams of playing hockey. Despite having been rejected by the coach for being malnourished, her fire inspired the coach to give her a shot at the sport.
An unfortunate reality for many of our women athletes is the internalised patriarchy they’ve had to battle since their birth. Rani Rampal’s experience was no different.
Rani’s mother’s name might be unknown, but she has to be lauded for seeing the star in her daughter, looking to the skies to keep time. Her mother’s support ensured Rani could make the most of her dreams.
Our Olympians are bereft of even the basic necessities. It shows the reality of many of our national sports figures. Imagine the sheer volume of athletes who don’t make it to prominence because of this pitiful state of affairs.
There might have been several mythological mentor figures throughout our multicultural history, ground realities however offer a stark contrast. For our athletes good mentorship hasn’t always been accessible.
It’s been a long way to the top, having kept her promise of buying her family a home, she’s now got her eyes on gold from Tokyo.
The way to the top isn’t easy. It’s important to appreciate, but it’s also to realize how far we’ve to go to improve the lives of our athletes.