FIH Rising Star of 2019 Lalremsiami has dedicated the award to her late father who passed away last year in June due to a heart attack. The India women hockey team’s young striker was preparing to face Chile in the semi-final of the FIH Women’s Series Finals 2019 in Hiroshima when she received the tragic news.

The 19-year-old Lalremsiami, in a show of immense strength and composure, told  chief coach Sjoerd Marijne that she will be turning out for the semi-final fixture and went on to play a vital role in securing India an important win as they progressed to the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers.

“I had a mixed year in 2019, and it was a huge personal loss for me when I lost my father,” Lalremsiami said. “He always motivated me to do well, and I am sure he would be giving his blessings from above. I would like to dedicate this award to him,”

Speaking after she was announced as the FIH Rising Star of the Year, Lalremsiami credited her family, coaches and teammates for the win. “It is a huge honour for me because there were so many great players nominated in the same category. I am really thankful to my family for giving me the freedom to choose my career in hockey, and to my Coaches and teammates who have always supported me throughout,” she said.

“Back in December when the nominations were announced, it was our Chief Coach who informed me after we had wrapped up training in Bengaluru. I didn’t realise how big these awards were at first, but when I saw the list of winners over the years, I felt really happy and proud,” she added.

Lalremsiami considers India captain Rani as her role-model and having received the award from the veteran was the icing on the cake. “I was visiting Delhi to meet my sister, so Rani di told me she will pick me up from the airport. But when I came outside, I was given a wonderful surprise by Rani di and Hockey India’s CEO Ms Elena Norman along with the staff. I wasn’t expecting to win the award because there were some great players nominated for it, but when I received the trophy from my role-model and saw my name on the poster at the airport, it made me really happy,” said the youngster.

“The Award obviously serves as a great motivation for the upcoming Olympics, and gives me more confidence and belief to go on and do my best for the team for years to come,” signed off Lalremsiami.