No need to be afraid of ranking a country, it is more important to play better: Rani
'We are prohibited from eating sweet and junk food keeping fitness in mind'
Rajkishore Jan 05, 2020, 09:13 AM IST Sports Desk. The Indian women's hockey team has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. This will be the first time the team will play in the Olympics twice in a row. Earlier played in Rio Olympics in 2016 and finished 12th. Then the women's team qualified for the Olympics after 1980. It was ranked fourth in the 1980 Moscow Olympics. She finished fourth at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and eighth at the World Cup.
The team finished second in the Asian Games (2018), first in the Asia Cup (2017) and second in the Asian Champions Trophy (2018). The team's performance is steadily improving and it is expected to medal in the world's largest sporting event. Dainik Bhaskar spoke to Captain Rani Rampal to know the preparations for the Olympics.
1. All teams that reach the Olympics are strong, which country do you consider as your opponent as captain?
'India team is the main competitor of the India hockey team in the Olympics. If we play well then we can win from any team. If we do not play well, then our challenge will be by ourselves. The name of any country does not matter. How you play that day matters. If we play better and play as a team, then we have the ability to defeat any country. There is no need to fear the ranking of a country. It is more important to play better than that team on that day. '
2. People's expectations from women's team have increased after qualifying the Olympics? Will there be pressure on the team players about the Olympics?
'The biggest pressure is whether you will go to the Olympics or not, but we have qualified. It is a good thing that people have increased expectations from the women's hockey team, we are happy with it. I hope that the players of the team stand up to everyone's expectations. I believe everyone will give their best in the Olympics. '
3. What changes have been made in the diet plan keeping fitness in mind? What are the team players avoiding?
'Fitness is essential for hockey. In such a situation, the importance of diet increases. Because we have to practice every day with full potential. Also, the match has to come down to the ground with full potential. In such a situation, eating healthy food is more important. Dieticians keep changing the menu of food accordingly. We are prohibited from eating sweet and junk food. Also it is said to stay away from things that increase fat. '
4. How is the fitness of the players right now, are you satisfied with the fitness of the players?
'Currently the fitness level of the players is fine. For the last few years, the focus has been on fitness. Scientific advisor Wayne Patrick Lombard formulates a plan for fitness. He is doing a better job with the team. What he should do before the tournament, what to do if the match is not there, what to do when the match comes to a close. Let's prepare a plan for all these things. This has benefited the team. '
5. Along with fitness and technique in hockey, mental state of players also has importance on the ground, what is being done about it?
'Now, along with fitness and technique, your mind also affects your game. How are you able to keep yourself in the ground under different circumstances in the field, what do you think. It has an effect on your performance somewhere. Therefore, a Psychological session takes place during the camp. In which how to deal with pressure, how to keep yourself cool. All these are told about. Since every match is important in the Olympic Games. This will have to focus more on this.
6. Japan will have a lot of heat during the Olympics, is it worried, will it affect the performance of the team?
‘Japan will be hot during the time of the Olympics in Tokyo. There is no need to worry too much about this, as India also gets very hot. Indian players know this. After March, summer also starts here. We've played in Tokyo. '
7. What is the plan of team management to give the team exposure before Tokyo?
Prior to Tokyo, the team management has planned a tour of several countries to give exposure to the team, with the team going to New Zealand this month. At the same time, there is a tour of Spain. There is the Asian Championship, which is to be held in Korea. The team also has to go there. Team management and Hockey India are preparing a plan for this. '
8. How is the team combination, who will be the captain of the team besides you in the forward?
'The current team is a mixture of young and experienced players. Every player in the team has the ability to play according to the needs of the team. There is variety in the team at this time. They will be used match by match according to the need. The team is not dependent on any one player. Each player of the team must contribute to win. It is not possible to win on the strength of only one player's performance. '
9. Defender Sunita has retired, will the team lose?
'Defender Sunita has been playing for India for 10 years. He has to retire due to injury. It is not possible to play with pain. Sunita has also contributed significantly to the team. It is not possible for any other player to meet any player's deficiency. But it is a process. Which every player and team has to go through. '