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Teen prodigy from Mizoram has eyes set on Olympic glory

Unlucky not to have won Asian Games hockey gold: Lalremsiami



From Saurav Borah

GUWAHATI: She became the first Mizo sportsperson to win a medal at the Asian Games when the Indian women’s hockey team settled for silver at the podium after losing to Japan in the final last week.

Eighteen-year-old Lalremsiami, the youngest in the Indian women’s hockey team and now an integral part of the forward line, had scored four goals in six matches, including a hat-trick against Kazakhstan, during the 18th Asian Games that concluded in Indonesia on Sunday.

“We were a bit unlucky not to have won gold but now our main goal is to qualify for the Olympics in 2020. But the final against Japan was relatively the toughest,” the girl from Kolasib in Mizoram told The Shillong Times over phone from New Delhi on Monday evening.

India would have automatically qualified to the Tokyo Olympics had they won gold.

She had arrived in New Delhi from Indonesia on Sunday night and is currently putting up at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium hostel.

The teenager, who also has the “Under-21 Rising Star Award” in her kitty, is reckoned to be a star for the future and already a revelation, having contributed vital goals in tournaments over the past year.

Asked if there was a plan to visit her hometown, a shy yet focused Laremsiami said, “We have a junior camp in Bhopal from September 9. So, I might go in October or November but this is again not sure.”

Laremsiami took to hockey about eight years back. One of eight siblings, she started playing the game in a football field (Mizoram known more for its soccer than hockey) near their house in Kolasib, which is about four hours by vehicle from Aizawl.

“I was motivated by school hockey coach, Lallawmawmi and first played in an inter-school tournament. Thereafter, I was selected to join the government-run academy in Thenzawl. In 2017, I got my first call to the senior team that won gold in the Asia Cup,” she recalled.

As a young Mizo star from Kolasib to join the national squad when she was barely 17, communicating in Hindi was a problem then. But not now, as she spends most of her time in camps and tournaments and has picked up the language from her team mates.

“I would like to thank my coach and parents for my success so far,” she told this correspondent in Hindi.


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