Ritu, under whose leadership the Indian women’s team qualified for the Olympics for the first time in 36 years since 1980, was unceremoniously dumped from the team due to disciplinary issues.
“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,” said the 24-year-old in an exclusive interview to NDTV.
“I didn’t leave any training or camps, I got engaged when the camp was on a break.”
The 24-year-old has been at the forefront of Indian women’s hockey for more than a decade and has been the key to the midfield.
While 36 players, men and women, celebrated their selection after the announcement of the squad, Ritu was crestfallen at her home after hearing the news of her removal.
“I feel playing hockey for all these years has been useless. My fiancee is hugely upset. Sardara 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?”
Ritu, who had led the team to two bronze medal finishes in recent times – at the 2013 Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur and the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, said that she would now probably give the Olympics a miss entirely.
“It’s wrong to make false allegations. I don’t think I will be able to watch the Olympic matches on TV.”