The Indian women’s hockey team may lost the bronze medal match with 3-4 against Great Britain but Lalremsiami Zote, a Mizo girl from the small town of Kolasib, still remains the pride of the hills and the golden daughter of Mizoram. The 21 year old who plays the forward position in the national team has fulfilled the promise she made to her late father to play in the Olympics.
Siami’s story is one among the many inspirational stories from the eleven players who came from different parts of the country to create history at Tokyo Olympics and fought their way upto the match for the bronze medal.
Growing up in a humble family, Siami's father was a farmer who earned only Rs. 250/- and her mother is a housewife who constantly encouraged her daughter to pursue a career in sports, a much needed support for Siami who fell in love with hockey at a very young age. In an interview with inkhel.com, Siami said that she started playing hockey at age of 11 after she was selected by a hockey academy run by the government of Mizoram in Thenzawl, Mizoram and she regards her family’s support as one of her biggest strengths in building her career. Her parents ignored the advice of relatives and friends to call back their daughter from the academy and engaged her in domestic work. They refused to listen to people who said Siami could work to provide for the family instead of training in an academy. In spite of the family’s minimal income, Siami’s parents shared and support their daughter’s dream. Her father once spent an entire day’s salary to reach her daughter at the academy to give his signature in the consent form so that his daughter could play in a tournament. They put their faith in their daughter who made them a promise, “One day I will wear that blue jersey and make you proud.” Another promise fulfilled.
The Mizo Olympian’s hockey journey is not a smooth ride but one that is marked by ups and downs. When she left her hometown and moved to Delhi in 2016, Siami could barely speak English and Hindi which isolated her from everyone else. But the dream kept her alive and the young hockey star knew where she was going. While her teammates only needed to train themselves in the game, Siam had to juggle Hockey and Hindi simultaneously. “My teammates would often encourage me to speak up in team meetings to help me improve my Hindi,” she said in an interview. She fought her way through the language barrier and other hurdles and finally made it to the national team. That’s not all. Siami faced her greatest challenge in 2019 when she heard the news of her father’s death on the day before India’s match against Chile in the FIH Women’s Series Finals. After hearing the devastating news, Siami made a bold decision when she chose to stay back with the team and played the match even though the coach gave her permission to go home. She knew her father would have wanted her giver her all for India. The decision paid off and she became the first female player in India to win the FIH Rising Star of the Year in 2019.
From then on, Siami has become one of the most significant sports icons in Mizoram and an inspiration to many young girls who dream of making it in the male dominated world of sports. Her dedication and determination to fulfill the promise she had made to her parents have landed her in the playgrounds of the Tokyo Olympics. She may not bring home a medal, but she proved her parents right who were willing to take the risk and chose to put their faith in their daughter right from the start. The Government of Mizoram has rewarded Siami with Rs. 25 lakh for her participation in the Olympics as a token of appreciation. The first instalment of the reward has been handed over to Pi Lalzarmawii, Siami’s mother and the remaining Rs 15 lakh will be handed personally to Siam after her return from the Tokyo Olympics.