Hockey India has given a one month break to the Indian national teams.

One of the youngest members of the Indian women’s hockey team, striker Lalremsiami reflected about the time spent in the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Bengaluru during the nationwide lockdown where the women’s core probable group was housed since February.

“Had it not been for the Seniors in the team like Rani Rampal (Captain) and Savita Puniya (Vice Captain) who played a huge role in keeping us youngsters motivated, it would have been difficult for us to spend so many days in our hostel rooms with barely any activity apart from some fitness workouts in our rooms,” expressed Lalremsiami, who hails from Kolasib, Mizoram.

Lalremsiami, Salima Tete, Rajwinder Kaur, Sharmila are some of the new entrants in the Indian women’s team and have climbed up the ranks swiftly with some commendable performances on the International Stage. While they have tasted success early in their career, they had never faced a situation of this kind where hockey training was suspended for over two months.

“At first, when SAI went into lockdown in mid-March, we (youngsters) didn’t understand the gravity of the situation but followed the rules of not going outside the campus. It was only when we attended a brief talk/ presentation by a team of doctors who explained about the pandemic that we realised it was a serious issue and we need to be vigilant all the time. The Seniors also spoke to us about the situation and encouraged us to speak out if we had any issues,” recalled Lalremsiami.

She added, “Chief coach Sjoerd Marijne and Wayne (Scientific Advisor) constantly checked on us during this time and ensured we are doing well but the senior players went out of their way to help us and ensure we don’t feel homesick. They would keep us busy with their stories in the Indian team and experiences from Rio Olympics. These stories inspired me and I too want to play for India at the Olympics.”

Now that Lalremsiami has left for home in Kolasib after Hockey India announced a four-week break for the players, she is in institutional quarantine facility as per the state guidelines.

She said, “Initially, I had decided not to go home because of the 21-day institutional quarantine which is compulsory as per state rules for those travelling from different parts of the country. But it has been more than four months since I met my mother and the rest of the family and I was really drawn towards seeing them because once we return to SAI Centre Banglaore on 19 July, my focus will only be on hockey.”

“The DC (District Collector) has ensured I have a comfortable stay during the quarantine and they check on me everyday. I am very thankful for the State Government for showing so much care and concern. It feels good to be back in my home state.”

The team will regroup in SAI, Bengaluru on 19 July and Lalremsiami says it’s important to keep up fitness during this break.

“I do some fitness workouts that Wayne (Scientific Advisor) has given us here in the room. After we return, Chief Coach has said we will refocus on our goals and work on the areas we discussed during the lockdown basis our analyses from previous matches,” she concluded.