The Indian women hockey team finished a historic fourth at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics. This is their best-ever performance at an Olympics in what was just their fourth ever appearance at the quadrennial event.
They recovered from a horror of a start to relaunch their campaign and stormed into the semifinals beating Australia. They then suffered close defeats in the semis and the bronze medal match but their fighting spirit was a proof of how was the team has come since their Rio 2016 show when they finished at the bottom.
Today, they are the toast of the nation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself praising their performance. In an exclusive conversation with CNN-News18, captain Rani Rampal and her teammates talk about the personalities from their professional and personal lives that inspire them.
Monika Malik (midfielder): My father. He’s a hard worker. He would never say that go and win a medal but he will ask to give my best shot. His efforts have been invaluable. He always keeps a positive mindset.
Neha Goyal (midfielder): My ma’am Pritam Siwach whose academy I play for. I have seen her since she played for India. I always wanted to be like her - win an Arjuna Award, score goals. I am mostly inspired by her.
Navneet Kaur (forward): As a player, I admire Australia’s Jamie Dwyer. Off the field, it’s my father. He’s full of energy. Looking at him, I feel like anything is possible.
Deep Grace Ekka (defender): I admire Mary Kom. She never gives up, fights till the last second. I love that.
Rani Rampal (forward): As a player, my icon is Mary Kom. Even at this age andafter becoming a mother, the passion that she has for boxing is inspirational. And my father. I can never reach the level of hard work put in by him and he’s always motivating me. Says play with a pure heart and if you are honest, success will follow.