The Indian women's hockey team was preparing in earnest for the all-important semifinal match against Chile in the FIH Series Finals in Hiroshima when Lalremsiami heard of her father’s demise. A win in the match would secure India a place in the Olympic Qualifiers and Lalremsiami decided to stay on to complete the task in Hiroshima.
“I wanted to make my father proud. I wanted to stay, play and make sure India qualified,” she would say after returning to her hometown.
Away from home, all of 19, the striker from Mizoram showed tremendous grit to play the next day and subsequently help India win the Finals for a two-leg face off against USA for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics berth.
She played a vital role in India's 6-5 aggregate win to help the nation seal back-to-back Olympic qualifications for the first time in its history.
Lalremsiami spectacular run through 2019, where India drew a series away to Spain and beat South Korea and Malaysia, saw her being awarded the FIH Rising Star of the Year award.
Hailing from a little known agricultural town called Kolasib, Lalremsiami left home to join a hockey academy in Thenzawl at the age of 11. She spent five years at the training centre before moving to the national academy in New Delhi in 2016. After noticing her potential during the camps, junior coach Baljit Singh Saini picked her for the U-18 Asian Youth Olympic Games qualifier.
Despite the language barrier, she was among the best performers for the team, which finished runner-up. Siami, as she is fondly called, finished with seven goals in five matches.
She made her senior team debut in 2017 in a Test series against Belarus, but her rise to fame began at the Hockey Women’s World Cup in 2018. Though she was the youngest member of the team (18), her ability to play the reverse-strike and her goal against Italy made her one of the standout performers for the team.
She has been a mainstay in the team since then and is a force in the forward line with captain Rani Rampal for company.
At the Tokyo event in August 2019, Lalremsiami scored the winning goal in the final against Japan. She scored two goals in the Asian Champions Trophy in Donghae to be named the U-21 rising star of the year.
With her phenomenal striking ability, India has in its hands a star for the present and the future. This Women’s Day, we celebrate Lalremsiami's grit, mental strength and talent.
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