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As they say many great things happen by chance. Ehsan Qureshi and I had an appointment with hockey stalwart Sohail Abbas and we were preparing to leave for his residence.
Just before packing up Ehsan telephoned Sohail who picked up the call while having some spicy stuff in the nearby Burns Road whose dishes are famous worldwide for the taste and variety.
Sohail, who holds the world record of scoring the highest number of goals in international matches, promptly agreed to the idea of having our meeting at the Karachi Press Club that’s hardly 10-minute drive from the Food Street where he was dining with his friend.
Chess champion Mahmood Ahmed Lodhi and one of the respected media personalities, Ibrahim Khan, was with us when we decided to reschedule the venue of our meeting with Sohail and neither of them could muster the courage to turn down our unexpected request of accompanying us to the Press Club.
We had only 10 minutes at our disposal because that was the time Sohail needed to reach there. In this period I called Alauddin Khanzada, more famous as A H Khanzada, Honorary Secretary, Karachi Press Club, to make quick arrangements. He consumed probably less time than Sohail takes for hitting a short corner in giving his consent.
As the luck would have it our car and that of Sohail arrived the Press Club around the same time. The hockey legend and the chess champion were accorded the respect and protocol they thoroughly deserved.
The members of the Press Club present on the occasion were thrilled to meet two of the leading sportsmen of the country. The informal session in the dining room was followed by a formal presentation ceremony in the Committee Room upstairs.
It was quite extraordinary how swiftly A H Khanzada had made the arrangements. Quite a few senior journalists, office bearers of the club and the Karachi Union of Journalists sat around the two sports icons.
Sports is not been the beat or forte of A H Khanzada but the manner in which he introduced both the sporting legends reflected his depth of general knowledge. In his welcome speech he showered them with praise for their accomplishments.
On behalf of the Karachi Press Club he wished the national hockey team the best of luck in the upcoming World Cup Tournament to be held in New Delhi from February 28. He expressed the hope that Sohail will reproduce his Midas touch to win the laurels for the country.
A H Khanzada also appreciated the achievements of International Master Mahmood in the field of chess, congratulating him on being the national champion for a record number of times.
Veteran sports journalist, A.Majid Khan, presented the Ajrak, a traditional gift from the people of Sindh, to Sohail Abbas while another seasoned journalist, Arshad Shami, did the honours to Mahmood Lodhi.
Both Sohail Abbas and Mahmood Lodhi acknowledged the recognition from the Karachi Press Club and they looked forward to the support of the media in accomplishing the mutual objective of promoting sporting culture in the society.
Syed Khalid Mahmood has had passion for writing and sports since childhood. After having edited wall papers and magazines in his student life, he had started contributing to various international publications from an early age.
He joined the mainstream journalism in 1987 and his first book was published later the same year. After having studied at the famed institutions like Cadet College Petaro and Delhi College, he graduated in civil engineering from the prestigious NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi, in 1986.
He has earned greater fame and recognition in the field of media being acclaimed as a leading international sports writer, having worked for some of the eminent newspapers like The Frontier Post and The News International besides a brief stint with The Mississauga News. He has also appeared regularly as an analyst on various television channels.
He has already authored 12 books viz Asian Glory (2012); Reflections (2010); Cricket Fever: A History of Pakistan-India Tours (2008); Mission Caribbean: A Guide to ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 (2007); World Cup 2003: Top of the Charts (2005); Spotlight on World Cup 2003 (2005); World Cup 1999: So Near Yet So Far (2000); Pakistan’s Sports Greats (1997); Pakistan: The Land of World Champions (1995); Pakistan’s Triumph in World Cup 1992 (1993); The Caribbean Challenge: A History of Pakistan-West Indies matches (1989) and Focus on World Cup (1987 and 1994).
He has had an active social life throughout. Having founded The Young Champs in 1984 he became the District Secretary of Rotary International District 3271 (Pakistan) in 2015-16. Besides being the Founder President of the NED Alumni Association, he is also the Vice President of the Delhi College & Schools Old Boys Association. He is also a member of The Petarian Association, Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi Press Club, Pakistan Engineering Council and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.
His write-ups are carried by innumerable portals and websites across the world while his exclusive articles on the web, having grown in popularity, could be accessed on his blog at www.skmsports.com
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