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Lone man carrying Bhopal hockey flag

WHILE THE Bhopal Hockey Association is pretending helplessness in reviving the game in the City, one man has proved that the sport once synonymous with the City could be saved with honest efforts.

india Updated: May 12, 2006 15:36 IST

WHILE THE Bhopal Hockey Association is pretending helplessness in reviving the game in the City, one man has proved that the sport once synonymous with the City could be saved with honest efforts.

Meet Shakeel Qureshi, the senior-most international hockey umpire of the country who hails from Bhopal has made the City proud on a number of occasions at the international level. Recently, he successfully umpired in the Four-Nation Hockey Tournament held in Germany.

Despite having a huge experience of 16 years in international hockey umpiring, Qureshi does not believe in hogging limelight. “I believe in the philosophy of work rather than result. I know I am honest to my work and this sufficient for me”, said Qureshi.

Employed with the State Bank of India (SBI), Qureshi says umpiring is like worship for him. Regarding career in hockey umpiring, he said that there is an immense scope in this field but it is not developed, as it ought to be. “To become a hockey umpire than a player is a tougher job. But once you get into this field it is no less than any other exciting or glamorous jobs, as you have the authority to control 22 players in just 70 minutes and tour across the world,” said Qureshi.

However, he added that there is a need to popularise this aspect of hockey. For the new generation umpires he suggests that they should regularly update themselves.

“If you are update with the latest rules and regulations your umpiring will definitely get an upper edge”, he said. Citing the example of Raghu Prasad of Bangalore, he said that this man achieved success in the field of hockey umpiring at the age of only 24.

Having done umpiring in most number of domestic matches, Qureshi, however, is disappointed with the young generation for not taking the career in hockey umpiring with seriousness.

On being asked about the indiscipline being shown by various senior players against the umpires, he suggested that there should be a code of conduct for the players. “This (a code of conduct) will help the umpires to take decision without any pressure or fear”, he suggested.

Further, he suggested that there should be at least one or two international tournaments sponsored by Indian Hockey Federation (IHF). “After the Indira Gandhi Gold Cup Hockey Tournament concludes, there remain no international hockey tournaments in the country”, said Qureshi. However, he applauded the IHF for giving exposure to the team by sending it to international tournaments regularly.

Qureshi is not in favour of depending more on technical aspects like third umpire. “I think once a third man arrives in the tournaments, the faith in the ground umpire will be finished, which is not good for the hockey”, he felt.
However, he added that third umpire could be used for the rare cases like deflection in the shots etc during the penalty corner.


‘Only camps can revive City hockey’
THE MOST non-controversial man from Bhopal hockey, Shakeel Qureshi, said that the revival of Bhopal hockey is possible only by organising camps and selecting teams for the national tournaments. “Organising tournaments is a secondary thing, the priority should be to organise number of camps so that players get opportunity to demonstrate their talent”, said Qureshi.