Nithin gears up for big challenge

November 5 is a day hockey player Nithin Thimmaiah will not forget in a hurry, probably he never will. 

The 24-year-old forward was over the moon when he got to know about his selection to India’s 18-member hockey squad for the FIH Champions Trophy and Lanco International Super Series to be held in Australia in November-December.

“It’s like a dream come true, I am very happy,’’ Thimmaiah said excitedly over the phone from Patiala where the national camp is in progress since October 15.

“I was a stand-by in most of the matches that we played on the European tour (June 2012), so it feels great that I have got an opportunity to be in the main squad now,’’ added Thimmaiah whose father MN Pemmaiah is a NIS-qualified hockey coach.

Thimmaiah owed much of his success to the support of his parents, coaches and team-mates. “My mother, father and sister were my inspiration. They encouraged me throughout and helped me in my difficult times,’’ revealed the lanky Bangalorean. With four Karnataka players in the present team including vice-captain VR Raghunath, Thimmaiah acknowledged their support as well. “Raghu and Sunil (SV) are my seniors, they have always been helping me improve my game,’’ said Thimmaiah who is employed as an auditor at the AGS office.   

Asked about the player that he’s always looked upto, Thimmaiah was candid. “Dhanraj Pillay is my all-time favourite hero, he is the greatest player I’ve seen in India.”

Thimmaiah was effusive in his praise for coach Michael Nobbs. “He always encourages youngsters and that is a big thing for us,’’ he added.

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