Sent home from national camp, women's hockey captain Ritu Rani responds to misconduct charges
It comes across as quite a shock for the hockey fraternity that Ritu Rani, the current captain of the Indian women’s team finds herself dropped from the squad merely three weeks before the Olympic Games flag off in Rio. With just a couple of days to go before Hockey India announces the final 16-member team selected for the Games, it is a through and through upsetting revelation for the Blue Skirts who have earned the opportunity to appear at the Olympics for only their 2nd time in history.
It has been alleged that in the recent times, Ritu Rani has not been diligent enough in her responsibilities for the country. To add to her poor form, she had also started missing training sessions with the team – especially after her engagement on 12th June which led her to spend more time with her fiance instead. Prior warnings, too, went unheeded before the latest drastic measure had to be brought into effect by team officials.
When questioned, as reported by The Hindu, the 24-year-old Haryana girl responded by offering her side on the matter and opposed the aforementioned accusations before going on to express her hopes for the federation to reconsider the situation:
“I was not given any reason. I was only told that I was not focussed enough on my game and training and so I would not be included in the team for Rio. I was also told I could leave the camp anytime I wanted.”
“For someone who has been playing for a long time now, blaming focus is not right. I was only focused on my game and Rio at the camp also. I have already spoken to the federation and also sent them a mail explaining my side. Let’s see what happens”.
Incidentally, it was skipper Ritu who had led the charge during the qualification stages that culminated in India making the cut courtesy their 5th-place finish at the Hockey World League semi-finals in Antwerp in 2015. With a decade of international experience under her belt, Ritu’s sudden exclusion would certainly be a massive setback for the Indian Eves who have a tricky set of fixtures to play, against imposing opponents, at Rio 2016 next month.