Hockey

Bharat Chikara remains optimistic

After more than half-a-year's absence from competitive hockey, Bharat Chikara is well into his journey back to contention.

The 27-year-old spent seven months rehabilitating, having aggravated an existing knee and thigh condition (ITBS) at the Asian Games, but on Monday joined the National hockey camp for the beginning of its second phase.

“It's fine now,” Chikara said of his injury, speaking to presspersons at the Sports Authority of India here on Tuesday. “Today, I did some running with the boys and I ran ahead of all of them. It feels very good.”

The condition, Chikara revealed, existed since the Commonwealth Games but worsened following his participation in the Asian Games.

“Actually, my problem was severe. At the Asian Games, I told the physio and the coaches that I had a problem and it would be better if I didn't play. But they said I'd be alright and my problem got aggravated. It was such that when I was warmed up I felt absolutely fit. After cooling down when the match ended, the problem would flare up.”

Subsequently, Chikara spent three months receiving treatment in Bangalore and Delhi before beginning fitness routines. “There was a special fitness camp in Chandigarh. I was there for 20 days.”

With selection trials only days away, his fitness, the Indian Oil player feels, is not of the greatest concern. “In my opinion, my fitness has been good from the beginning. Actually, there's no problem with it. I feel I can recover quickly. The only problem is that I started practising with the hockey ball only 15-20 days ago; I've come back after a long time. But I feel that in 10-15 days even that will be okay.”

Chikara remained optimistic of his selection chances. “When they make us play, I'll see how the leg feels. I played a minor match here yesterday and it appeared that it was alright. But we were playing only in the 25-yard-area. In a major match, it will be different. Even so, I don't feel I can't come back again.”

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 5:06:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/bharat-chikara-remains-optimistic/article2340254.ece

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