Indian women’s hockey team forward Lalremsiami has said the team will go all out at the Tokyo Olympics and won’t allow the “hard work and sacrifices" made during the year-long national camp at Bengaluru go waste.
Lalremsiami, who is among the eight debutants in the squad for the Olympics, said from her training base at the Sports Authority of India centre in Bengaluru on Thursday that, “We won’t waste the hard work and sacrifices we all have made at the camp (during the lockdown). We will give our best in Tokyo. We have been getting wonderful support from the fans, and I hope we make them proud by winning a medal at the Tokyo Olympics."
The 21-year-old Lalremsiami, who hails from Kolasib in Mizoram and will be playing her career’s first quadrennial Games, created history when she became the first female player from the state to make it to the Olympics.
“I was introduced to hockey in a playground near my house. When I was 10, I played my first inter-school tournament and won Rs 500 cash prize. So, that’s how my love affair with the game started.
“I spent five years training in Thenzawl before I moved to Delhi in 2016. When I was leaving my home, I told my dad that I will represent India one day, and here I am today. I did face a lot of challenges during my early days. The only source of income for my family was farming, but it was my dad who supported me and encouraged me to pursue my dreams," she added.
Before breaking into the senior team, Lalremsiami represented the India U-18 side at the Asian Youth Olympic Games Qualifier in Bangkok, where she scored seven goals to help the team bag silver.
“I scored seven goals in five games for the U-18 side at the Asian Youth Olympic Games qualifier. I also scored nine goals at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympics where we created history by winning silver for the first time," the young striker said.
Lalremsiami has climbed up the ranks in the senior team after solid performances in events such as the 2018 Asian Games and the FIH Women’s Series Finals Hiroshima 2019. Lalremsiami lost her father during the FIH Women’s Series Finals, but the youngster decided to play on and became an inspiration to many.
“That was the toughest moment of my life. Instead of going back, I decided to stay back and help the team win the knockout game to reach the final of the tournament. That’s what my dad wanted for me, to represent India and to win a medal at the Olympics, and those matches were very important for us, in order to qualify for the marquee event. I wanted to make him proud, and I am pretty sure he would be proud of me today. But, the job isn’t done yet because I am yet to win a medal," she said.