Forward Lalrindiki aims to break into senior woman hockey team

Having earned close to four years of experience with the junior India women’s setup, forward Lalrindiki now has her eyes on breaking into the senior team and realising her dream of playing in the Olympics. Football star Cristiano Ronaldo was her role model growing up in Hnahthial, Mizoram.

In recent years, though, Lalrindiki is inspired by senior team member Lalremsiami’s rapid rise.

“She [Lalremsiami] has always been helpful. Whenever we meet, she always gives me pointers on how to improve and what it takes to get to play for the senior team. She has paved the way for many other girls in Mizoram to follow in her footsteps. I like her technique and she works very hard on her game. I, too, want to play for the senior team in the near future,” said 20-year-old Lalrindiki.

While Lalremsiami, also 20 and a forward, was creating history with the senior team, Lalrindiki was quietly making her presence felt in the national set up. Last month, Lalrindiki was a part Junior India women’s tour of Chile, where the visitors ended the tour unbeaten. She says the good results in South America were a result of consistent efforts to get better.

“It was frustrating to not play any matches for a year or so because of Covid-19,” Lalrindiki reflected on 2020-’21. “Even when at home, I was constantly trying to work on my game. For example: I worked on getting better at one-on-situations.”

Lalrindiki was rewarded with two goals for her efforts in Chile. “I was very happy to help my team by scoring goals. I want to contribute more. I want to make up for lost time. We have a big year with the Junior Asia Cup coming up, which will also decide our fate for the FIH Junior World Cup later this year.

“I want to build on my performances from Chile and make important contributions. The team spirit is good right now,” she said.

It was that team spirit that guided India to remarkable wins in Santiago against the hosts. “Playing after a long time, we were feeling a little rusty. I was feeling a little nervous too in the beginning, but it got better once we settled into a playing rhythm,” said Lalrindiki. “We executed all our plans well and took a lot of confidence from each win. We had a lot of faith in each other’s game and the results followed,” she added.

Going by their performances in Chile, no team will be taking Lalrindiki and the junior India women lightly in upcoming tournaments.