Star couple leads at the National Games

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Updated: February 25, 2007 09:28 IST
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It'll be a unique sight at the National Games in Hyderabad - the Andhra Pradesh men's and women's hockey teams will be led by a husband-wife combine. Triple Olympian Mukesh Kumar will be seen in action after more than a year, while his wife, India right-winger Nidhi Mukesh, will lead the women's team. It doesn't end there. Yashaswini, Mukesh and Nidhi's three-year-old daughter, too wants to become a hockey player when she grows up! "Mukesh and I can understand each other better. If both have played hockey at the same level, both get the same amount of respect if we go anywhere. If one has played less amount of hockey, then it becomes a little delicate situation. I'm sure my husband feels proud to introduce me to others. At least I feel very good to introduce my husband to others!" remarked Nidhi. The similarities do not end there. Though Nidhi and Mukesh are right-wingers, both will play right-in at these Games. Mukesh has not played in a big tournament since the Azlan Shah Cup in 2001, where he led the Indian team. He says he will use his performance here to tell the selectors that they need to revive the Mukesh-Dhanraj Pillay combination to bolster Indian hockey. "When Dhanraj and I play together, foreign teams concentrate harder and do man-to-man marking. Even then, we constantly change positions and make dangerous moves. That is why I think if the selectors and the Hockey Federation give both of us a chance, we would love to play in the Athens Olympics," said Mukesh. He has played for the country in all the Olympics since 1992 and hopes to sign off donning the Indian colours at the 2004 Olympics.

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