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It’s not often that the Pakistan hockey greats have thought or functioned on a common goal after having quit the game that earned them name, fame, wealth, recognition and respect beyond imagination.
Lately, however, they appear to have become united in their stand for ousting the all-powerful Secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), Asif Bajwa, following the debacle in New Delhi where Pakistan finished last among the dozen participants.
It’s heartening to see the likes of Olympians Islahuddin Siddiqui, Samiullah Khan, Shahnaz Shaikh and Shahbaz Ahmed, all of them enjoying the status of a hockey legend, talking collectively for the cause of the national game.
Quite a few other Olympians and internationals are also on board expressing their disgust and displeasure out in the open. They have blasted Asif Bajwa for ruining the game with wrongdoings of every kind.
It’s going to be quite an occasion at the Karachi Press Club on March 18 where these luminaries have been invited by the Sports Committee in their prestigious Meet the Press programme. Special arrangements have been made as bigger media participation than usual is anticipated in view of the issue they will be talking on.
Well the Pakistan hockey has had its share of ups and downs over the years. Pakistan had made immediate impact in the international arena after independence. They had made it to the semifinals in their maiden appearance in Olympic Games at London in 1948. They also did it in the 1952 Olympic Games at Helsinki.
Things changed for the better in the 1956 Olympic Games at Melbourne when Pakistan made it to the final for the first time. After winning the gold medal in the 1958 Asian Games, Pakistan conquered the hockey world by winning the Olympic crown at Rome in 1960.
Gold medal in the 1962 Asian Games was followed by silvers in the 1964 Olympic Games and the 1966 Asian Games. It was back to gold in the 1968 Olympic Games and the 1970 Asian Games. Pakistan completed the Grand Slam by winning the inaugural World Cup in 1971.
The golden era continued in the 1970s with medals in every outing. The start to the 1980s was equally heartening and the gold medals in the 1982 Asian Games, the 1982 World Cup and the 1984 Olympics.
Then there was a sudden dip and Pakistan stunned everyone by dropping to 11th position in the 1986 World Cup. They fared comparatively better in the 1988 Olympic Games but it was for the first time that they had not reached the semifinals in 40 years.
Pakistan won the World Cup in 1994 against the heaviest of odds and not surprisingly it has remained their last major success at the international level. There has been very little to cheer about for the last 16 years.
Now the Pakistan hockey has suffered the biggest blow at New Delhi, having finished at the bottom after losing games against teams like South Africa and Canada who themselves had a forgettable tournament otherwise.
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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