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Today, actress Deepika Padukone, 30, and Indian national field hockey player Rani Rampal, 21, spend their days in radically different ways. Yet their paths to respective success bear similar markings: each learned the discipline and strengthened the confidence she attributes to her rise to early participation in sport, an anomaly in a country in which athletics has remained male dominated.

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Deepika Padukone mesmerizes global audiences with her acting, yet she was born to sport. Her father is an internationally renowned badminton player and, for a time, Padukone played national-level badminton.

Their accounts also mirror sociological findings suggesting that female participation in sport helps to alter a girl or woman’s self-image in numerous ways, including feelings of control, competency and strength. Padukone, who played national-level badminton before turning her full attention to acting, confirms this theory, stating, “Everything I am today and everything I have achieved comes from my years of playing sport. My goals, my commitment, my focus, my dedication, my discipline, my sacrifices, my hard work... All of it, I've learnt it all through sport. Sport has also taught me how to handle failure and success. It has taught me how to fight. It has made me unstoppable!"

For her part, Rampal, who in 2010 at the age of 15 became the youngest player on India’s national field hockey team, confirms that sports helped build her self-assurance and expand her dreams. “Coming from a small village never stopped me; every time I won a medal I kept getting stronger and more confident to take on the world.”

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In 2010, at just 15, Rani Rampal became the youngest player on the Indian women’s national field hockey team. In her first international tournament that year, she scored seven goals (the most in the competition) and earned the title of “Best Young Player of the Tournament.” 

In a music video titled “Da Da Ding,” part of a new Nike Just Do It campaign, Padukone and Rampal, alongside other leading Indian athletes — footballer Jyoti Ann Burrett and cricketers Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandana and Shubhlakshmi Sharma — urge India’s next generation to break conventions and define their own success by bringing sport into their lives.

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Jyoti Ann Burrett

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Joshna Chinappa

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Deepika Padukone and Namrata Purohit

Created in collaboration with Wieden+Kennedy Delhi, directed by French director François Rousselet and set to a thumping anthem by Gener8ion, featuring American rapper Gizzle, “Da Da Ding” charts the rise of female sport across a diverse range of passions, including basketball, football, running, training and India's national obsession: cricket.

Visit for more inspirational stories of sport, and join the movement by registering for an upcoming NTC Live or a Nike+ Run Club session in Mumbai.


Read More: Just Do It