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Nand's magic touch

Pravin Narain
Thursday, December 07, 2017

A LOT of people might have seen her work over time with the Fijian athletes fixing their injuries and preparing them for competitions.

But not many would be aware that she has been behind the scenes for more than 14 years working as a volunteer with FASANOC.

Shalin Nand started as an intern physiotherapist during the 2003 South Pacific Games which was held in Suva, Fiji and since then Nand had continued to help athletes and it has created a special bond between her and the athletes.

"My first work with FASANOC was in 2003 when Fiji hosted the Pacific Games in Suva and during that time I had my first biggest event to work in as Fiji had a huge team that we had to look after," she said.

"It was a good learning experience for me working with some of those senior people who had been working with FASANOC and Team Fiji for a number of years. Since then I have worked with Team Fiji.

"I have worked with the team during a couple of international or regional games. I started off with the national sports at the club level and then from there I climbed. I guess my work was recognised and here I am today."

The England-born women is also involved with the weight-lifting as she had once also been the Weightlifting Fiji president.

"My medical team has been very good and supportive and I believe the only problem I face is that we have to run after the athletes," she laughed. "I look after all the sports in Fiji apart from rugby and football because they got their own physios and if they come under Team Fiji banner then I look after them. One needs to be flexible and yet without compromising with the standard of work you deliver. There are always other options of getting the things done."

Q&A session with Nand

Times Sport: What is your background?

Nand: I come from an average family of four siblings which consists of two brothers who live overseas while my sister and I live in Fiji. I am very lucky and fortunate to stay with my mum. I love cooking different dishes, travelling and dancing. I do not go to nightclubs as I have never been there once.

I am a lecturer at Fiji National University with the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science with the physiotherapy and I teach Year 3 and Year 4 clinical practise and that is my full time job which I do while Team Fiji and FASANOC is my volunteer work.

Times Sport: Where do you get you inspiration from?

Nand: I always believe that if I can make a good difference then no one will stop me from doing that so that is where I get my inspiration from. My personal opinion is that rugby and football have a lot of support in terms of financial and physiotherapy, whereas other sports like athletics, karate, swimming and judo where the athletes train as harder than football and rugby, the support services is not provided. The swimmers are up at 5.30am and they have training for two hours after which they change and go to school and after school come back to the pool. They bring as many medals and put Fiji's name on the map but the question the support service is not there. This is why I chose other sport apart from rugby or football.

TS: What is your biggest fear while carrying out your duty?

Nand: My biggest fear is failure. I hate to fail and so far by having a good team we haven't had any difficulties. The athletes, management and the officials would be able to answer the question better because they would be the ones who would judge my performance. No matter how big or small the task is but I hate failing.

TS: What do you enjoy about your job?

Nand: I enjoy everything in my job. There is something new and exciting in my job every day and it makes my brain work. I have no regrets.

TS: How do you juggle work with your personal life?

Nand: I usually do not get my me time as I believe my biggest struggles in life is to have my me time as I am always surrounded by people and I believe that is the biggest hardship for me.

TS: What is your relationship between you and your patient (athletes)?

Nand: Professional. We always draw that line and yes they respect me and what I do and I respect them. It is not how it is based in the hospital or the clinic, but this is different because they are not sick people, but they are athletes. We do have a few jokes around which is good and there is a nice friendly atmosphere where you need to make them comfortable so they trust you and approach you whenever and wherever their needs be.

TS: How is the support from your family?

Nand: My working hours is very different and I am a workaholic and sometimes I see people at 7am before I go for my 8 o'clock lecturer and most of the time I spend with the students and during the lunch time I might see some athletes.

My work basically starts one or two years before the Pacific Mini Games where we assess the athletes and their injuries so by the time they compete they can perform and do not have to worry about their injuries. My mum is very understand, but at times she worries that I do not eat and sleep on time since when I get home it is already 9.30pm and then I correspond with the coaches and carry out the admin work which takes me to about 1am.

TS: What is your advice to the athletes?

Nand: Eat well in terms of what is needed by your body and drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated and if you have any pain then do not hesitate to come and see the physios and doctors no matter whether it is during or after game time. We do not do miracles, for example an ankle sprain and you are telling us two days before the competition, then it cannot be fixed in two days as it takes a bit of time to heal.

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