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WC Will Be Challenging Says Medical Officer Nayak (5/31/2018)
--Tazeen Qureshy
For almost nine years, Col (Dr) BK Nayak has maintained an unbreakable bond with Indian hockey. He has been with the team through its rough phases and has also shared glory with them. Now, with less than six months to go for the Hockey World Cup scheduled in Bhubaneswar from November, the army doctor can’t wait to ‘officially’ discharge his duty.

“I am extremely honoured that FIH has considered an Indian doctor for the role of a Medical Officer for the prestigious World event. This is the biggest moment in my career and I feel blessed to be selected. It is very challenging. I have to plan everything in advance and look into all minute details, so that I can stand up to my responsibilities,” he says.

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A native of Bhubaneswar, the host city of the tournament, and the first Indian to be appointed as Medical Officer, for the World Cup, he is naturally extra happy about his appointment.

Col (Dr) Nayak’s stint with hockey dates back to 2009, when the team was prepping up for the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010. The Indian Hockey Federation had been disbanded a few months earlier and Hockey India, the new governing body, was looking for a revamp in the whole system.

“They (Hockey India) wanted some medical expert who had prior knowledge of sports. We brought in a lot of novelty in the process. We started doing a ‘baseline test’ on the first day of the camp. We introduced scientific methods in training. All the latest physical gadgets were used to gauge the fitness level,” explains Col. (Dr) Nayak.

In fact, it was one of the first step towards developing a fit team – a key aspect in modern hockey.

“We would have extensive physical tests for first three days during the camp. We would monitor everything - blood parameter, hormonal parameter, fat percentage, aerobic capacity, strength evaluation, speed, lactic acid, maximum heart rate and a lot more. Evert 4-6 week, we would re-evaluate all parameters to check if the training was beneficial,” he recalls.

Over the years, his bond with hockey grew stronger and he went on to accompany the team in Sultan Azlan Shah Shah Cup (2009 and 2010), Commonwealth Games (2010), Asian Games (2010), Hockey World Cup (2010) and Asian Champions Trophy, (2012).

Though he has shared the success with the team, he has also seen players go through rough patches. The career-threatening knee injury of SV Sunil in 2010, is one of the worsts, which he has seen from close quarters.

“The bone on his right-knee was dead. We sent it to Japan for harvesting and later it was sent back to re-implant. It was very expensive and the rehab was difficult too, but Sunil did his best,” Col (Dr) Nayak says, adding that PR Sreejesh and Birendra Lakra are the other two fit players in the team, who have a lot of resilience.

But, who is his favourite player? “You will get me killed if I take one name,” he says jokingly, adding Australian Jamie Dwyer’s name to be on the safe side.

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