Rio Olympics 2016: BCCI helping hand crucial in hockey player's timely recovery
A key defender of the Indian hockey team, Birendra Lakra was faced with possible exclusion from the Rio-bound squad owing to a knee ligament surgery that put him out of action during the crucial last few months in the run-up to the 2016 Olympic Games. Following the injury he picked up during this year's Hockey India League, reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee was performed in March which threatened his chances of featuring in the August Games since a span of six months is deemed to be the usual recovery period after such a medical procedure.
It was then that chief coach of the Men’s hockey team, Roelant Oltmans wrote to the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) seeking permission to use the equipment available only at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, to aid Birendra’s speedy recovery. For M. P. Ganesh, CEO of the KSCA, it was a tough call to make as the amenities were meant exclusively for cricketers, seniors and youngsters alike.
After the KSCA forwarded Hockey India’s request to the BCCI, the cricket board’s response was a positive one for the rehabilitating hockey player. For the first time, the BCCI had made an exception to their ‘cricketers only’ policy and decided to lend a helping hand that could see Birendra Lakra get back in shape in time for the momentous Olympic event that flags off in August in Rio.
As reported by the Mumbai Mirror, Hockey India has come forward in expressing their earnest gratitude to the BCCI’s valuable assistance. Their statement read:
"We are grateful to BCCI for allowing our player to use the facilities at NCA. This has helped Lakra recover from his injury in time and keep his hopes alive for the Rio. We wish the cricket governing body extends their support in future too."
The 26-year-old from Odisha has reportedly cleared the latest fitness test which now restores his name into consideration for the Indian team to compete in the upcoming summer Olympics.
Although his final inclusion is subject to the confirmation of his match fitness by the month of July, signs are definitely positive for the Men in Blue who are currently on a high after achieving silver, their best ever finish at the just concluded Hockey Champions Trophy, in London.