Triple Olympian and one of the best right-wingers of yesteryears, N. Mukesh Kumar, says the death of renowned coach M.K. Kaushik is a huge personal loss to him.
“I was in constant touch with him through WhatsApp messages and was hoping that he would recover. A great loss to the hockey fraternity,” he said.
“I vividly remember every moment of my association with this wonderful coach, especially being a member of the gold medal-winning Indian team for the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games,” Mukesh told Sportstar on Saturday.
“He was one of those coaches who would deliver the results and ensured that the whole team gelled like a unit despite the odd differences midway through the Bangkok Asiad,” Mukesh said.
“Not many may be aware that we were shown for hours daily, after our training sessions, video footage of Pakistan, Korea and Japanese teams before we left for 1998 Asiad to make us aware of the strengths and weaknesses and accordingly formulate strategies. That’s why we returned with the gold,” he recalled.
“And, I owe my marriage to Nidhi (also 1998 Asiad medallist) to Kaushik. For it was he who spoke to Nidhi’s parents and convinced them,” the renowned Hyderabadi said.
“I can never forget the warmth and respect he had for every player and especially the seniors,” he said.
Alloysius Edwards, 1996 Atlanta Olympics goalkeeper, also expressed shock. "He was one of the finest hockey coaches the country has ever seen. Will be remembered for his great contribution to the sport and will also be missed badly by all of us," he said.
"Ravinder Pal Singh's and now M.K. Kaushik's death in one day is too much to take," said V. Baskaran, the captain of the 1980 Moscow Olympics Indian hockey team.
Baskaran said Kaushik had a fantastic final in the 4-3 win over Spain in Moscow. "I vividly remember him scoring a goal and being instrumental in getting the team a penalty stroke, which Surinder Singh Sodhi eventually scored," he said. Baskaran said during the Olympics, with Mohammad Shahid being a marked player, Kaushik did well on the right-wing.
"Kaushik had a good Olympics overall. He was one of the fittest in the team and was into yoga as well. He was equally successful as the Indian men's and women's team coach," said Baskaran. According to the former India coach, Kaushik gave a facelift to the Indian women's team.
(With Team Sportstar inputs)
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