Ritu Rani, the former captain of the women's hockey team, broke down as she spoke about her omission from Indian squad for the 2016 Rio Olympics, in an interview with NDTV at her home in Shahbad.
It was under Ritu Rani's leadership that the Indian women's team qualified for the Olympics after a gap of 36 years. She has close to 250 international games under her belt and has led India to a bronze medal at the 2014 Asian Games. However, these accomplishments were not enough to prevent the 24-year-old from being dropped because of a poor attitude and lack of match fitness.
Rani said that she was shocked when she heard about her sacking. “The news came as a shock to me. I had no issues of fitness or attitude at all. No explanation given to me properly as to why I have been dropped," she told NDTV
Rani has refuted claims that her attitude and focus were an issue after Indian national chief coach Neil Hawgood said, "We picked up a committed 16-member squad from the trials. We have selected the best 16."
This reply came after Hawgood was asked about the experienced Ritu Rani's omission from the squad.
Rani was also asked about her recent engagement and if that could have affected her chances of making the cut. But Rani said, "I didn't leave any training or camps, I got engaged when the camp was on a break."
The 24-year old has been through thick and thin with Indian women's team and broke down midway through the interview.
She then compared her situation with Sardar Singh, who is currently battling sexual assault allegations.
"I feel playing hockey for all these years has been useless. My fiancee is hugely upset. Sardar Singh is also facing personal problems, his captaincy has been taken away as well, but he is still in the team. Then why this treatment with me?" she asks.
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