BENGALURU: As the national coaching camp nears an end, India hockey team striker Lalremsiami feels there were plenty of positives this year despite the pandemic stalling their plans of achieving success at major international events including the Olympic Games.
"As we wrap up the national camp, I think most of us are in a mood to reflect back on the year that was meant to take us to new heights. Though the pandemic posed several challenges for us, we are looking at the positives that has made us believe in ourselves more than ever. The pandemic has certainly made us stronger mentally and we have become stronger and tight-knit as a group," stated the young striker from Mizoram in a Hockey India release.
Lalremsiami, who has climbed up the ranks in the senior team after strong performances in major international events including the Asian Games in 2018 and the FIH Olympic Qualifier in 2019, expressed that the team's philanthropic efforts that helped feed over 1,000 families during the lockdown will remain one of her favourite 2020 moments.
"Only weeks into the lockdown when we realised the struggles of people across the country who were rendered jobless and struggled to feed themselves and their families, we decided to do something to help them. We had never taken up a cause like this before but the entire team was unanimous in our decision and the support we received from across the hockey fraternity was immense. Raising over 20 lakhs through an online challenge and subsequently being able to feed more than 1000 families will remain a highlight for me this year," she said.
She also highlighted her captain Rani's Khel Ratna Award which made her the first Indian woman hockey player to receive this honour.
"Like I said, 2020 did have many positives too and one among them was a woman's hockey player winning the Khel Ratna Award. Rani winning this esteemed honour has made us youngsters believe there is always recognition for hardwork and we feel women's hockey is getting its due recognition. It was a big moment for women's hockey," she said.
Lalremsiami too received accolades as she was declared the FIH Rising Star of the year 2019 and she was also feted by Hockey India earlier this year with the Asunta Lakra Award for Upcoming Player of the Year 2019 (U-21) and she was awarded a total cash prize of Rs 15 lakhs during the 3rd Hockey India Annual Awards.
Looking ahead at 2021, Lalremsiami said, "We have achieved desirable targets in these last four months of the national coaching camp. The training was high in intensity especially in the last six weeks. Next year, we hope to play good tournaments that will help us prepare as best as possible for the Tokyo Olympic Games."