Keeping personal loss aside, 19-yr-old striker decides to stay back with team for FIH Series Finals in Japan; India later clinches tournament by beating Japan 3-1
Guwahati: A day before the Indian team was getting ready to play against Chile to secure a spot in the finals of the FIH Women’s Series Finals in Hiroshima, Japan, Mizoram girl Lalremsiami got the news of her father’s death. However, keeping her personal loss aside, the 19-year-old striker won hearts nationwide by deciding to stay back with the team for their knockout games and keep India's Olympics dream alive.
India went on to win the finals after defeating Chile 4-2 in the semifinals and Japan 3-1 in the finals to clinch the tournament.
Acknowledging Lalremsiami’s decision, Union minister of state for youth affairs and sports Kiren Rijiju took to Twitter to narrate the incident. “I want to make my father proud. I want to stay, play and make sure India qualifies,” she was quoted as saying to her coach by Rijiju.
“I salute Lalremsiami and Congratulations to Indian Women Hockey Team,” RIjiju added.
Lalremsiami showed great courage and sportsman spirit by sticking with her team instead of returning home after learning of her father Lalthansanga Zote’s death on Friday due to a heart attack. Later, team captain Rani Rampal dedicated the win to Lalremsiami’s father.
Siami, as she is called by her teammates, was motivated by her father to opt for hockey, and decided to stay back to make her father proud, and rightly did so by winning the match. Although she didn’t score in the particular match, she scored respect in the eyes of the public, including the country’s sports minister.
Meanwhile, Mizoram sports minister Robert Romawia Royte also praised the young striker’s courage and said: “I'm sure your father would be very proud of the victory as much as we all are.”
The incident reminds us of master blaster Sachin Tendulkar about 20 years ago, when he had a similar personal setback during the 1999 World Cup. His father, Ramesh Tendulkar, passed away the night before India’s match with Zimbabwe. He rushed home to Mumbai for his father’s rites, but in three days, he was back. In the next match against Kenya, Tendulkar scored a century and dedicated it to his late father.