For the first time in two decades, Mizoram found its Olympic contender in the Hockey player Lalremsiami. Besides getting the state back into the International event, she will also become the first female Olympian from Mizoram.
Lalremsiami is gearing up to make her debut in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics scheduled to begin from July 23 to August 8. The 21-year-old player is among one of the eight debutants selected in the 16 member Indian women hockey squad.
According to Northeast Today, Mizoram State Sports Minister Robert Romawia Royte applauded the young player for being the first Mizo to play in the Olympics after 25 years. He conveyed his best wishes to Lalremsiami as well as assured that Mizoram shall be looking forward to her winning an Olympic medal for the country.
Besides Lalremsiami, the team includes seven other debutants- Gurjit Kaur (defender), Udita (defender), Nisha (mid-fielder), Navneet Kaur (forward), Sharmila Devi (forward), and Salima Tete (mid-fielder).
"We look forward to taking on the best in the world in Tokyo. This is a team with a lot of potentials and drives which we hope to channelise our energies to give our best performance," said the Indian women's hockey team chief coach Sjoerd Marijne.
Moreover, this will be the Indian women's hockey team's third appearance at the Olympic Games and their second consecutive outing, with previous appearances coming in 1980 and 2016.
In the 2016 Rio Games, the Indian women's squad made history when it qualified for the Olympics after 36 long years. Currently, the team is preparing for the Games at the ongoing national camp at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centre.
Who is Lalremsiami?
In 2020, India's star striker Lalremsiami became the first women's hockey player from the country to win the FIH Rising Star of the Year award. She was in the race for three years- 2010, 2013 and 2014. "I am happy with my performance in 2019, and we qualified for the Olympics as well. I would like to dedicate this award to my team,” she said in a video posted by FIH.
The Mizoram player got the news of her father’s death a day before the Indian team was preparing to play against Chile to secure a spot in the finals of the FIH Women’s Series Finals in Hiroshima, Japan. Despite her personal loss, the striker stayed back with the team for their knockout games to keep India’s Olympics dream alive.
Later, the team went on to win the finals after defeating Chile 4-2 in the semifinals and Japan 3-1 in the finals. Hailing from a small town called Kolasib, Lalremsiami left home at the age of 11 to join a hockey academy in Thenzawl. After training for five years at the training centre she moved to the national academy in New Delhi in 2016.
She was then picked for the U-18 Asian Youth Olympic Games qualifier. Siami, as she is fondly called, finished with seven goals in five matches and secured her place in the senior team in 2017. Despite being the youngest member of the team she had the ability to play the reverse-strike. She rose to prominence after the Hockey Women’s World Cup in 2018.