Experienced midfielder and former captain Ritu Rani has returned to the Indian women’s hockey team. She has been called for the Hockey World League (HWL) Round 2 which will be held in Vancouver, Canada, in April.
Rani was left out of the team in the Rio Olympics. After that she was called in the national team only to be ousted again. But this time, she has returned for good.
Rani came into the team much before the entire team was officially announced on Thursday. She played in the Test series against Belarus that India won 5-0. She did not have any media interaction before the match as she wanted to concentrate on her game until it was over. However, after the official declaration of her comeback, she said that she felt a sense of relief and homecoming.
“It is good to be back. It is good to play competitive hockey again, be with my teammates, be out there in an India jersey and play for the country. It’s good to come back to the team on a winning note. That’s what I have done for more than 10 years, there has been little else in my life. It was tough to be away for so long but now it is a new beginning with a new staff and new coach,” Ritu told The Hindu from Bhopal, where the team is training at the moment.
Earlier, Rani was ousted from the team because of alleged disciplinary issues and bad form by coach Neil Hawgood. But she denied the charges and quit the team because she said that when she was not selected for Olympics, there is no point playing with the team.
“I am glad of the fact that Hockey India understood my position and accepted my decision to come out of retirement. My family is extremely supportive of me playing hockey and encouraged me to pursue the sport even after marriage,” she added.
HWL Round 2 will start from April 1 and a good placing in the tournament will guarantee the team a place in the semifinals and a better ranking.
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