A Dribble for Life

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Hockey legend Mohammed Shahid battles for life at the Medanta Medicity hospital but back in Lucknow’s KD Singh Babu Stadium people are not short of stories about the hockey stick wielding genius. Name Shahid in a jam packed alley and eyes of people will light up and they will want to know something that they do not know about the legendary man.

For those born in the 60s and the 70s Mohammed Shahid’s magical dribbling skills are stuff of legend. A member of the 1980 squad  led by V Bhaskaran that won the last Olympic gold in Moscow, he has been honoured with the Arjuna award and even Padma Shri.

Shahid was also a part of the team that won silver at the Delhi Asiad in 1982 and bronze in the Seoul Asiad in 1986.

Any sportsman who represents the country and plays for the honour of the flag does not have any gains in mind when he is out in the field. He just wants to be a match winner and bring laurels to the country.

Mohammed Shahid has been no different. A man who has proven his mettle in the game of hockey today suffers from severe liver and kidney ailments. While news of him being admitted in Medanta medicity came out in public domain, there have been growing calls for help. The government without wasting time has offered monetary help.

Union Sports minister Dr Jitendra Singh announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh to the Olympic gold medallist Mohammed Shahid.

All medical expenses for Md Shahid reimbursed + Rs 10L from @YASMinistry at immediate disposal for overhead expenses,” sports minister Jitendra Singh tweeted after paying a visit to the ailing hockey legend.

After retirement, Shahid could have lived the high life in Delhi with some others in his fraternity but he chose to remain in Varanasi where he works with the Indian Railways at the DLW factory. He reportedy calmly waited for 18 years to get one promotion. Shahid though has never complained about the situation he has been in.

While get-well-soon wishes are pouring in from all corners of India, Shahid’s son Saif knows that the next 72 hours will be very crucial for his father.

BP Govinda and Mohammed Shahid are names that are etched in the memory of Indian hockey forever. Both wizards are now fighting for their lives from their hospital beds.

The news of two ailing hockey legends has come at a time when Sardara Singh and his boys are gearing up for the Rio Olympics 2016. They have put up super performances in the recently concluded Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and the Champions Trophy.

India has seen both crests and troughs in Olympic hockey. India has won eight gold medals at the Olympics, between 1928 and 1980. After that it has been a dry spell.

Rio is also an opportunity to prove themselves for the Indian women’s team as well. They have qualified for Olympics after a gap of 36 years.

After the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Indian hockey team witnessed a downward trend and has not won a single medal till 2012. India finished 12th in 2012.

India finished second, below Australia, in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and Champions Trophy. Indian coach Roelant Oltmans tells the media India has a very good chance of finishing at the podium at the Rio Olympics.Shahid

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