The COVID-19 pandemic has deprived them of much needed play time, but India’s Olympic-bound hockey umpires Javed Shaikh and Raghuprasad RV are determined to give their best even after a year’s “trouble”.
New Delhi. The COVID-19 pandemic has deprived them of much needed play time, but India’s Olympic-bound hockey umpires Javed Shaikh and Raghuprasad RV are determined to give their best even after a year’s “trouble”. Raghuprasad and Sheikh have umpiring experience in over 100 international matches. He is one of the only two umpires selected from India by the FIH to officiate at the Tokyo Olympics starting 23 July. Raghuprasad said in Hockey India’s podcast ‘Hockey Te Charcha’, “I officiated in an international match more than a year ago. No tournament could take place due to the pandemic and we were unable to travel for any outdoor work in the last few months.
“However, this cannot be a reason for me not working to the best of my ability in Tokyo,” he said. We have to be on top of our work and make the right umpiring decisions.” Shaikh, who hails from Mumbai, emphasized on the challenges that the two face ahead of the Olympics. “We have both officiated at Olympic Games in the past. I was in Rio (in 2016) and everything was very smooth but this time due to the pandemic things are very different. And we have had to change our plans due to the lockdown in our respective cities.
“Under normal circumstances, we would have been on the hockey field going through our practice and fitness routine before a big tournament. The pandemic has pushed us back a bit, but we have to find ways to deal with it.” Both the match officials are preparing for the Olympics by watching videos from various tournaments with a focus on fitness, analyzing team structures and tactics. also includes. Raghuprasad, who has experience of more than 150 matches at the international level, said, “Umpires have to undergo fitness tests at least four times in a year. Like the players, we also have ‘Yo-Yo’ and ‘Dal Monte Sprint Test’. We have to run 2200 meters in the Yo-Yo beep test and 40 meters in six seconds. So for us umpires, fitness is paramount.
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