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The Ladies Who Could Create History At Olympics; Meet Indian Hockey’s Eccentric Eleven


Tokyo: India’s women’s hockey team has already done what any previous Indian team has not been able to do. They have entered the semi-finals of the Tokyo Olympic Games and will face Argentina in the much-anticipated encounter. India defeated the mighty Australians in the quarter-final. 

Gurjit Kaur scored the only goal for India, also her maiden goal in the Olympics. The Indian team dominated the Aussies by showcasing remarkable attacking play throughout the match. The Indian team, led by captain Rani Rampal, made it to the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games for the first time in 41 years.

These girls are thrashing the stereotypes related to women in Indian society. Although, just a few good performances by India’s female hockey players won’t change the age-old patriarchal beliefs, but here’s a start to what looks like a shining future for women’s hockey. 

There are 16 girls who are playing in the Tokyo Olympics 2020, but today we show you the Predicted XI and the story behind each of these women representing India at the ultimate level! 

Probable Starting XI: Savita Punia (GK), Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Udita, Neha Goyal, Monika Malik, Rani Rampal (C), Navneet Kaur, Vandana Katariya, Navjot Kaur, Nisha.

Captain Rani Rampal: The 26 year old forward from Shahbad, Haryana is one of India’s key players. She did her debut at the age of 14 and has given almost half her life to the sport. She is India’s skipper and one of main reasons for India’s success at the Olympic Games and previous medals at Asian Championship, etc. 

Goal-keeper Savita Punia: Savita is one of India’s senior players in the line-up. The 31 year old from Jodhka Haryana not always liked goal-keeping very much. An Indian hockey player’s struggle is not limited to just one thing. Punia had to carry the heavy goal-keeper’s kit everywhere from buses to trains. It was only after Punia’s father bought her a new kit that she started taking the sport seriously. Punia with her great performances has inspired a generation of goal-keepers in India. 

Deep Grace Ekka: This 27 year-old defender is from Lulkidihi, Odisha. She comes from a hockey background as her brother, Dinesh, was a goal-keeper and her uncle, too, was a hockey player. 

Gurjit Kaur: She is from Amritsar, Punjab and is 25 yers old. Her nickname is ‘Guri’ and was the top scorer at the 2019 FIH Women’s Series Final even after being a defender. She also scored the all-important goal against Australia. 

Udita Duhan: The 23-year old from Hisar, Haryana is a defender. She started her career as a handball player but later on shifted to hockey as suggested by her mother. She was India’s captain of the U-18 team. 

Neha Goyal: The 24-year old girl from Sonipat won the Hockey India Midfielder of the Year Award. She comes from a difficult background as she had to face the brunt of an ‘alcoholic’ father who would ‘abuse’ her mother. To come out of these cluthes and to perform at the ultimate stage is a test. 

Monika Malik: Another player from Sonipat Haryana, this 27 year-old midfielder has lived her life in Chandigarh. Her father is an ASI in Chandigarh police. She has managed to stick around in the team since a long time. 

Navneet Kaur: The 25-year old forward from Haryana was also part of the 2016 Rio Olympic squad. 

Vandana Katariya: Born in Lucknow and grew up in Haridwar, this 25 year old forward was the difference maker against South Africa. India wer in a do or de situation when this girl from UP scored a hattrick and eased India’s way into the knockout qualification. 

Navjyot Kaur: The 26-year old midfielder from Haryana is a mechanic’s daughter. Her will to play the game is immense. She played her earlier hockey at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park School. 

Nisha Warsi: This 26-year old midfielder from Sonipat, Haryana did her debut just a couple of years back. Her father was a tailor but could not work due to a paralysis attack. Post that, her mother worked at a foam manufacturing factory.

It is truly inspiring to see all these women coming from challenging situations and making it big in the national side. That was India’s playing eleven that might start on Wedesday against Argentina. 

Win or Lose, these women have already made the nation proud. 


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