Lalremsiami: Seniors motivated us during lockdown at SAI, Bengaluru

The India striker says seniors like Rani and Savita helped keep the juniors motivated during the team’s confinement.

India striker Lalremsiami. - HOCKEY INDIA

Seniors like Rani and Savita - the captain and the vice-captain - helped ease the pain of confinement during lockdown for the Indian women’s hockey team at the Sports Authority of India premises in Bengaluru, striker Lalremsiami has said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams were locked up at the hostel in SAI, Bengaluru, for more than three months after reporting at the national camp which was planned to be held at the campus. The homesick players returned to their families earlier this week.

Lalremiami said, “Had it not been for the seniors in the team like Rani and Savita who played a huge role in keeping us youngsters motivated, it would have been difficult for us to spend so many days in our hostel rooms with barely any activity apart from some fitness workouts in our rooms.”

“Chief coach Sjoerd [Marijne] and Wayne (Scientific Advisor) constantly checked on us during this time and ensured we [were] doing well but the senior players went out of their way to help us and ensure we [didn’t] feel home sick. They would keep us busy with their stories in the Indian team and experiences from Rio Olympics. These stories inspired me and I, too, want to play for India at the Olympics,” she said.

Grave crisis

That the health crisis was a serious one was not grasped as well until a team of presentation by some doctors, revealed Lalremiami. “At first, when SAI went into a lockdown in mid-March, we (youngsters) never understood the gravity of the situation but followed the rules of not going outside the campus. It was only when we attended a brief talk [or] presentation by a team of doctors who explained about the pandemic that we realised it was a serious issue and we needed to be vigilant all the time. The seniors also spoke to us about the situation and encouraged us to speak out if we had any issues,” she said.

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Lalremsiami said despite the 21-day institutional quarantine in Mizoram, where she belongs, she decided to visit her family there as the gap had been a long and because she would have to get back to hockey by July 19, when the players would have to return to the premises. “Initially, I had decided not to go home because of the 21-day institutional quarantine which is compulsory as per state rules for those travelling from different parts of the country,” she said.

“But it has been more than four months since I met my mother and the rest of the family and I was really drawn towards seeing them because once we return to SAI Centre [Bengaluru] on 19 July, my focus will only be on hockey.”

“The [District Collector] has ensured I have a comfortable stay during the quarantine and they check on me everyday. I am very thankful for the State government for showing so much care and concern. It feels good to be back in my home State,” Lalremsiami said.

During her break, she said she would perform her fitness workouts handed to her by Wayne. “I do some fitness workouts that Wayne has given us here in the room. After we return, chief coach has said we will refocus on our goals and work on the areas we discussed during the lockdown basis our analyses from previous matches,” she said.

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