KARACHI: Pakistan hockey is in turmoil these days after the World Cup debacle, where our team finished at the bottom in the 12-nation competition. The present scenario reminisces the infamous incident that occurred during the 1972 Munich Olympics when our team, despite bagging silver, fell out of grace in the world of sport.
Former captain Islahuddin Siddiqui, who is leading a campaign to oust the hierarchy of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), was an eye-witness to the tragedy and in his autobiography titled ‘Dash through my life’ narrates the whole episode that brought a slur on Pakistan. However, he was part of the squad involved in the mishap and tried to prove his colleagues innocent despite them exercising a wrong way to protest.
The incident took place after the final in which Pakistan were beaten 1-0 by West Germany with allegations of biased umpiring.
“It was unanimously decided in the team meeting that the players would receive their medals in the hand and not around the neck as is the tradition,” wrote Islah in his book.
“The real drama began with the medal presentation ceremony. Rene Frank, the famed and respected FIH president, was visibly shocked when captain Asad Malik didn’t bow enough for him to put the medal around his neck. The captain simply stretched out his hand and took the medal from him without any expressing on his face.“Unfortunately for Shahnaz Sheikh, his medal fell from his hands and was he got down to picking it up somehow the slippers he was wearing at the time also came off. The fact is that the medal and the slippers were seen together in his hands and the moment was also captured by the flashing cameras.”
Thirty-eight years ago Pakistan hockey was at its peak but today it is nowhere. How can our hockey pull itself out of mire, is a million dollar question.