Chandigarh: Dronacharya award-winning coach Baldev Singh is a proud man after his girls created history by winning a bronze medal at the Junior Women's Hockey World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany.
One of his favourite students, Rani Rampal, emerged as the Player of the Tournament and the coach says the 19-year-old is a rare talent and would serve the country long. "She [Rani] has the killer instinct. She was different from other girls and picked up the game really fast. She is definitely a rare talent," said Singh.
Out of the six hockey players - Navjot, Manjeet Kaur, Navneet Kaur, Rani Rampal, Monika and Poonam Rani - in the Indian team who hail from Haryana, five come from Shahbad while one belongs to Hisar.
File photo of Indian hockey player Rani Rampal. (Reuters)
Braving odds in life, the girls from Haryana's small town of Shahbad were instrumental in bringing glory to their native place besides the country. "It's a proud moment for us. The win will definitely boost the morale of the girls and encourage them to do even better," said Singh, coach of the Shahbad Hockey Academy, over 60km from here.
While most of the girls come from humble backgrounds, Rani in particular comes from an ordinary family and even the hockey stick and her kit was once given to her by Singh as she could not afford it.
Rani lives in a small house in Shahbad town, near Kurukshetra. While Rani's father is a cart-puller, her elder brother is a carpenter. She used to travel 2 km from her house to the academy on foot and later on purchased a bicycle and today her success story has made everyone proud.