Poonam Rani: 10 things to know about India's hockey veteran at the Rio Olympics 2016
Poonam Rani is one of the most experienced players in the Indian eves side, and will be representing the country in women’s hockey at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She played an integral part in India’s qualification for the Games after a wait of 36 long years. Let us now take a look at 10 facts about the forward:
1. Poonam Rani was born on 8 February 1993 in Hisar, Haryana. Belonging that to state that is predominately biased against girls, she is one of the few bright shining stars in the country who have defied the society’s odds to fight for their dreams.
2. She got inspired to take up the game after watching the Indian eves win the gold medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England.
“I was very young but it certainly inspired many girls to take up hockey in our country.”
3. She primarily plays in the offence as a forward and represents the Railways at the national level.
4. She is one of the few players to have played more than 150 games for her country. She has played 159 games so far for India and has scored 26 goals in the process.
“Hockey India is extremely delighted for Poonam’s achievement of 150 international matches. She has been an integral part of this historic Indian team and we wish her all the best for the future.”
5. She was a great player right from her junior days and had helped in India’s historic third place finish at the 2013 Junior World Cup in Germany, which helped them earn a bronze medal.
6. She made her debut for India as a 15-year-old in a Four-Nation Tournament in Netherlands in 2008, and has been a part of the Indian side for more than 8 years now. She is considered to be one of the most experienced and dependable players in the side.
7. She represented India at the 2010 Asian Games in New Delhi, and the 2014 National Games in Glasgow where the team had won the bronze medal.
8. The 24-year-old is already a two-time World Cupper, having represented India at the 2010 and 2014 editions of the World Cup. She was also a part of the side that won the silver medal at the 2013 Asian Champions trophy.
9. The whole Indian women’s team was rewarded by officials at the Hockey India Annual Awards in 2015, and Poonam was given a prize money of Rs 1 lakh for her contribution to the team’s qualification for the Olympics after 36 long years.
10. She considers her performance in the match against Japan that the side won 1-0 at the Hockey World League Semifinal Round in Antwerp, Belgium to be the best in her career, as it helped the team qualify for the Olympics after a wait for nearly four decades.