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July 29, 2020

Asad Malik’s demise termed a big loss for Pak hockey


July 29, 2020

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Former hockey greats Rashid Junior and Shahnaz Sheikh here Tuesday termed the demise of 1972 Olympic Games captain Asad Malik a big loss to Pakistan hockey, saying that he was one of the players who took the country’s hockey to unparalleled heights.

Malik died in a road accident in Lahore on Monday evening.

Talking to ‘The News’, Rashid said he had great memories of Malik and there was no better incident than the 1971 World Cup semi-final. “I was playing at the centre-forward position and Malik — a makeshift captain — was a bit concerned when we conceded a goal against India. At that time only radio commentary was available and we heard a Pakistan commentator expressing concern over the goal-hello Karachi-hello Karachi we are down by a goal. On the other hand, Indian commentator was expressing his delight. I just smiled when we were approaching for a bully and Malik asked me why you are smiling. I told him that you would see tables turning on India soon. Minutes later I scored the equaliser and Pakistan defeated India 2-1. Later Malik lauded my confidence,” he said.

Rashid added: “He was a great man and big supporter of good performers. I always found him a supporter of youngsters and newcomers.”

Shahnaz said Malik was one of the pioneers of Pakistan hockey. “Till early eighties we kept on dominating the world game and players like Malik ensured that dominance. Malik had his share in winning all the inaugural majors in hockey after the country’s independence. His services for Pakistan hockey are unforgettable.

“Malik had thorough understanding of the game. I really enjoyed playing alongside him. Definitely we have lost a great hockey player.”

Malik, who was laid to rest in Sheikhupura on Tuesday, belonged to a family which had the unique distinction of producing four Olympians to serve Pakistan hockey.

His younger brother Saeed Anwar and his two sons Anjum Saeed and Naeem Amjad also represented the country in Olympics.

Asad will long be remembered in the country’s history for scoring the gold medal-winning goal against Australia in the 1968 Mexico Olympics final.

He had the honour of his action photograph of that goal immortalised on a Pakistan postage stamp.

His funeral prayers were offered at Jinnah Park, Bohar Wali Masjid, Sheikhupura, after Zohr prayers.

The funeral was attended by family members, relatives, friends, a large number of former and current hockey players, and officials of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF).

PHF president Brig (Retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar and secretary Asif Bajwa expressed their deepest sorrow on the sad demise of Asad.

“We pray that Allah Almighty rest the departed soul in His infinite mercy and also pray for the members of his family to bear the irreparable loss,” they said.

Asad’s notable medal winning achievements are Tokyo Olympics 1964 (Silver), Mexico Olympics 1968 (Gold), Munich Olympics 1972 (Silver), Asian Games Jakarta 1962 (Gold), Asian Games Bangkok 1966 (Silver), and Asian Games Bangkok 1970 (Gold).

He had also to his credit two Asian Games gold medals in 1962 and 1970 and a gold medal in the World Cup 1971.

Meanwhile, Director General Sports Punjab Adnan Arshad Aulakh condoled the death of the former Olympian.