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South Asian Games: Panchkula student helps India bag gold in women football

Ritu Rani played a major role in the victory of the Indian women football team that clinched the gold at the XIII South Asian Games held in Nepal.

Written by Jaipal Singh | Published: December 13, 2019 10:56:36 am
Ritu Rani with her coach Pooja Narwal at Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkula on Thursday. (Source; Jaipal Singh)

Ritu Rani, 22, played a major role in the victory of the Indian women football team that clinched the gold at the XIII South Asian Games held in Nepal from December 1 to 10, by defeating the host 2-0. Ritu, a central midfielder who is studying in Panchkula, assisted four to five goals in the tournament.

Daughter of a farmer in Alakhpura village of Bhiwani, Ritu started playing football when she was in 7th standard, When in 2016, Alakhpura FC was formed, Ritu played in the inaugural edition of the Indian Women’s League (IWL) in Delhi in 2017. It was after her stellar performance in IWL that she was called for the Indian women football team.

After being selected for the Indian team, she played the FIFA ranking tournament in Malaysia. However, she was injured while playing for India Rush Soccer club in Maharashtra. It was then that her Bhiwani-based coach Sonika asked her go to Panchkula to her sister Pooja Narwal, a coach at Tau Devi Lal stadium, for better rehabilitation.

Panchkula really suited Ritu, who blossomed as a player. Soon afterwards, she played senior nationals from Haryana in October 2018 besides playing IWL in Ludhiana as captain of the Alakhpura FC in 2019. It was during this stint that she again got a call from the Indian women football team. A student of Govt. College in Sector 1, Panchkula, Ritu is pursuing a two-year B.P.Ed.course. Her friends say she plays at least seven to eight hours a day. Known as a powerful shooter, she is generally selected for the penalty shorts and free kicks. her college is all set to honour her Friday. Ritu has three brothers and a sister, who is a member of the junior Indian women’s team and has recently joined CRPF at Jalandhar in Punjab. Ritu told Newsline, she has just one dream, of playoing in the Indian squad that qualifies for the world cup.

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