Commonwealth Games may be mired in controversies, but the Mumbai police have something to be proud of when 49-year-old Sudam Rokde, a constable with the Mumbai traffic police, officiates in the games.
Rokade will be the first ever Mumbai policeman to officiate on an international stage. Rokade, who has been a cyclist for 24 years, will be a referee for the cycling races at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Attached to the Chembur division of the traffic police, Rokade has been serving with the police force for the last 10 years. Rokade, a father of two, stays at Sanpada in Navi Mumbai and wakes up every morning for his cycling practice. “I am very excited to be the first traffic policeman to represent my country on a world stage,” said a beaming Rokade.
Rokade has been a part of the Cycling Federation of India that is attached to the Indian Olympics team but has never represented India at international events. “I have to leave for Delhi on October 1 and will get a chance to sit in an airplane for the first time,” said Rokade.
“When I got the invitation to the Commonwealth Games, I could not believe it. I have waited a long time for this opportunity,” added Rokade.
Before Rokade joined the police force, he had served for the Indian Air Force.
“In 2001, I joined the police force and was posted at the Chembur traffic police chowkie,” Rokade said.
Apart from being a cyclist, Rokade has been a referee at the Cycling Tour de Mumbai that took place on February 21 this year on the Bandra-Worli sea link.
Rokade, however, says that he does not want to mix his profession and passion. “Cycling is my passion but I do not want my profession to be affected by it in any way. I practice cycling everyday but I also do my duty with full enthusiasm," added Rokade.
“We are very proud of Rokade. Being in the police force it is difficult to find time for any other activity. But Rokade has managed to do his duty as well as pursue his passion which has brought him to this international platform,” said Nandkumar Mistri, assistant commissioner of police (traffic).