[India], Feb 3 (ANI): Hockey India on Saturday congratulated Deepa and Durga Devi on being promoted to the FIH Umpires Promising List for Outdoor Hockey by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
International Umpire Javed Shaikh too was promoted to FIH World Panel of Outdoor Hockey.
41-year-old Shaikh from Mumbai is presently officiating as Umpire Manager at the Khelo India School Games along with Deepa and Durga Devi as part of the 28-member Technical Officials team delegated by Hockey India in smooth execution of the Games.
While Shaikh is a popular face among the International Umpires after officiating in major world events such as the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games as well as the 2014 Men's World Cup in Hague, and a career spanning over 15 years, 33-year-old Durga Devi will travel to Gold Coast, Australia for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in April.
Durga Devi started her career in hockey back in 2003 from the Sports Authority of India Hostel in Dharamshala. She even represented the Himachal Pradesh state team before taking up umpiring.
"It is a proud moment for me to be named in the FIH Promising List. This is a result of years of hard work and Hockey India's efforts in promoting women as Tournament Officials which was otherwise mostly dominated by men. Hockey India Umpiring, Technical and Competitions Committee has trusted my abilities as an Umpire, given me opportunities and the right direction to achieve in this profession. I would also like to thank my family for allowing me to pursue my passion in hockey even after marriage," expressed Durga Devi who also works as a Physical Education Teacher in Greater Noida.
On the other hand, 26-year-old Deepa is the youngest official from India to be promoted to FIH Umpires Promising List.
"It was back in 2010 that I began officiating. It was at the an All India tournament where I first officiated as an Umpire. I always wanted to represent my country at the international level though my playing career did not take off the way I wanted to. Officiating gave me another chance at pursuing my dreams and it is a proud moment for me today that FIH has recognized my efforts," stated Deepa.
She was part of the team that officiated at the 2013 Women's Asia Cup (U16) in Bangkok, Thailand followed by a Tour of New Zealand for the Hawke's Bay Cup in 2015.
Congratulating Deepa, Durga Devi and Javed Shaikh on their promotion, Hockey India's Secretary General Md. Mushtaque Ahmad said, "I congratulate Deepa and Durga Devi for their exemplary work in officiating at international and domestic matches. It is a proud moment for Hockey India that Indian women are getting recognized by the world body for their umpiring. It is a challenging profession as they have to keep up with the growing demands of the game both physically and mentally. I also congratulate Javed Shaikh on his promotion to the World Panel (Outdoor Hockey) by the FIH which is the highest level of recognition for an Umpire. It is a matter of pride for us when umpires represent India in top tournaments across the world. I wish them the very best for their future endeavors."(ANI)