This year was going good for Indian women’s hockey striker Lalremsiami, but she has recently lost her father, Lalthansanga Zote, died of a heart attack in the early hours of Friday, ESPN reported. The loss didn’t make her weak since Lalremsiami has opted to stay on with the team for their knockout games at the FIH Series Finals in Hiroshima.

The year 2019 has brought laurels to the 19-year-old Siami’s (fondly called by teammates) house as she has scored two of India’s 20 goals in the pool stages of the tournament, has completed 50 international caps in 2019. Finding solace in the aftermath of her father’s demise, she’ll remain an instrumental player for the team as they face off Chile in the semi-finals of the tournament on Saturday.

For India, this game is crucial since a win will confirm a berth in the 2020 Olympic qualifiers scheduled for October.

Captain Rani Rampal is determined to win the tournament. “It is obviously the toughest moment for Lalremsiami, but all of us in the team are doing our best to support her,” she said. “It is difficult but we have to deal with this as a team and as a family. The team and support staffs are there to support her in this difficult moment.”

India is now top-ranked in the tournament, having only conceded one goal in the pool stages, beating Uruguay 4-1, Poland 5-0 and Fiji 11-0 in their Pool A games. Chile had to play the crossovers after finishing second behind Russia in their pool, but comfortably beat Uruguay 5-2 to book their place in the semis.

At 19, Lalremsiami is the youngest player in the Indian women’s hockey team who shows brilliant performance every time she appears with a hockey stick. Lalremsiami‘s sensational form helped the Indian women’s hockey team bagging silver medals at both the Asian Games 2018 and Youth Olympic Games. The teenage forward was one of the main players in her side’s runners-up finish at the Asian Champions Trophy in Donghae, Korea this year.

Lalremsiami is from a small town in Mizoram. Last year she grabbed the spotlight when the team returned home after the victory at the Asian Games and the Youth Olympics.

She began playing the sport in school and has spent five years at the Thenzawl hockey training centre before moving to the national academy in New Delhi in 2016.

“I didn’t know Hindi or English. All I could say was my own name,” says the 18-year old to ESPN. “But now my Hindi is a little better and my teammates help me in breaking down words and understanding concepts. As long as they’re talking about hockey I can try to catch up but once the discussion moves to other topics, I go completely blank.”

Lalremsiami is from a small town in Mizoram. Last year she grabbed the spotlight when the team returned home after the victory at the Asian Games and the Youth Olympics. She received the biggest welcome in her hometown. The entire town of Kolasib, 85 km north of state capital Aizawl, gathered together, taking the hockey player on an open palanquin made of bamboo sticks — the highest honour in traditional Mizo practice — and travelling across the streets, reports The Indian Express. The photos went viral on social media for all the good reason.

Hockey captain Rani Rampal took to her Instagram account to share this moment with her fans:

“Back in 2014, we gave a grand welcome to Mizo Idol (a singing competition in the state) winner Grace Lalchhanhimi, and now four years later, we have gathered here again today. She is the daughter of Kolasib,” had said Lalnunmawia Sailo, present at the gathering.

Lalremsiami’s father Lalthansanga Zote had earlier said, “This is beyond my expectations. Look at this, thousands of people unite only because of my daughter, I never knew my hometown is this united.”

“All I could say is thank you to all of them. Me in an open palanquin, paraded the town of Kolasib — this is beyond a dream. If this is the kind of love I get from them, I’ll give my life to achieve more,” Lalremsiami had told Indianexpress.com.

Kudos to the girls and to Lalremsiami!

Feature Image Credit: TheDragflick

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