• Former Captain Ritu Rani bids adieu to International Hockey

    Former Indian women’s hockey captain Ritu Rani is reportedly looking to retire from international hockey. She was not a part of the Rio Olympics squad, which may have triggered her move.  Although Ritu’s name was included in the 29 probables for the national camp held in Bhopal on September 18, but she has conveyed her decision not to the join the Camp, reports Indian Express.

    The reasons behind Ritu being left out of the Olympics squad  were not very clear earlier. But sources said that her attitude problems and  low performance might have been the reasons. According to sources, when the Olympics selection was going on in June this year, Rani allegedly went on to announce her marriage but she also clarified that that would happen only after the Rio Olympics. But the national team chief coach Neil Hawgood raised doubts about her commitment and when Ritu came back to the camp post her engagement, she was sent back home.

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    The 24-year-old midfielder seems to have taken this to heart. ”We got a mail from Ritu Rani 2-3 days back stating that she will not be able to join the national camp as she is retiring from international hockey,” confirming the news, Hockey India president Narinder Batra told PTI. Batra then added, “It is her personal decision and we at Hockey India respect her decision. Hockey India would like to thank her for her service to the game and the nation.”

    Ritu made her debut at the Asian Games in 2006 and at 14, she was the youngest member of the Indian side at the World Cup that year. It was under Rani’s leadership and strong guidance that the Indian women’s hockey team qualified for the Olympic  Games this year after a long gap of 36 years.  She was a key player in the squad for more than a decade, playing in the midfield position. Under her captaincy, the national team had won a bronze medal at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and a silver medal at the 2013 Asian Champions Trophy.

    After being left out of the Olympics squad, Ritu got married to Patiala-based Punjabi singer Harsh Sharma who is the son of SAI coach and former hockey player Poonam Bala Sharma on August 18.

    Feature Image Credit: The Hindu

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