The India women hockey team has raised Rs 20,01,130 through its 18-day fitness challenge to help feed more than 1,000 underprivileged families affected by the coronavirus pandemic.Also Read - India Lose to France 1-3 to Finish 4th in Jr Hockey World Cup

The fitness challenge, that ran from April 17-May 3, was a crowdfunding effort to raise funds for the noble cause and also encouraged people to adopt to an active lifestyle amid the nationwide lockdown as part of measures to control the virus. Also Read - Asian Champions Trophy: Indian Women's Hockey Team to Begin Campaign vs Thailand

Rani Rampal, who also invited others to post videos of themselves exercising through her social media accounts, thanked everyone for the ‘overwhelming response’. Also Read - India to Field Hockey Teams at Birmingham Commonwealth Games

“The response we have received was really overwhelming,” Rani said in a media release on Monday. “People, especially Indian hockey lovers from across the globe took part in the challenge and contributed for the cause.”

On behalf of the Indian Women Team, I would like to thank everyone who took part in this initiative to help the poor. It was heartening to see many Hockey India Member Units, legends and former India hockey players show their support by taking part in this initiative and we are truly grateful,” she added.

The members of Indian women team came up with different fitness tasks that ranged from burpees, lunges, squats to spider man pushups, pogo hops and more. Each day a player gave a new challenge and tagged 10 people on their social media handles, to take up the challenge and donate Rs 100 to the fundraiser.

India vice-captain Savita said they never anticipated that the outcome of their efforts will be so immense.

“Initially when we discussed about this challenge with our Chief Coach and understood how online fundraiser works, we didn’t think that the outcome would be so immense,” Savita said. “But we saw people’s support grow day-by-day. Many of them would send us messages and patted our backs for taking this up and it encouraged us more.”

“We would also like to thank Hockey India and our Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne and entire support staff for backing us in this initiative which we felt very strongly about because most of us in the team come from very difficult financial backgrounds,” stated Savita, Vice-Captain of the team,” she added.

Hockey India president Mushtaque Ahmad praised the team for their ‘thoughtful initiative’.

“It is very heartening to see the Indian Women’s Hockey Team take up such a thoughtful initiative,” Ahmad said. I have been informed that hundreds of people have already benefited from this cause and have received dry rations, this makes us extremely proud of the players. The team has shown that sports people always have a big heart and come forward to help when needed. I not only congratulate the team on behalf of Hockey India, but I also like to thank them for taking this cause up and feeding the needy.”

The proceeds from the fund will be used to provide basic necessities for patients hosted at various locations, migrant workers and slum dwellers. Apart from food/ dry ration, the funds will also be used to provide sanitary kits.