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LAHORE: Former Olympian and one of the members of the incumbent national hockey selection committee Arshad Ali Chaudhry died here on Thursday. Arshad, who had been fighting cancer for the last six months, was 65.

He was a member of 1971 World Cup gold medal-winning team in Barcelona with his international hockey career spanning from 1971 to 1976.

Arshad was also a member of the 1972 Games wherein Pakistan earned silver medal. His participation in the 1973 World Cup, 1974 Asian Games, 1975 World Cup and 1976 Olympics made him shot to fame as a prominent hockey player in Pakistan.

Arshad having hanged his boot after the Montreal Olympics decided to perform duty in his parent organisation PIA and remained station manager for the national flag carrier in London, Jeddah, Riyadh, Rawalpindi and finally in Lahore before retiring in 2010.

However, he joined the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) as a member of the national selection committee during the tenure of Qasim Zia and when the latter left, his cousin, another Olympian Akhtar Rasool as PHF president retained him as selector.

The deceased was the first selector who announced that he would do free work since this time the cash-strapped PHF was not in a position to pay salaries.

On Thursday, he was scheduled to watch the national trials in Islamabad for selecting the squad for the Olympic qualifying round but he died the same day with the PHF announcing suspension of Thursday’s trials besides shortening them to just one day to be now held on Friday at the Naseer Bunda Stadium, Islamabad.

The former Olympian leaving behind two sons, a daughter and a widow to mourn his death, was laid to rest at a local graveyard with a good number of people associated with the game of hockey as well as other walks of life attending his funeral.

PHF president Akhtar Rasool Chaudhry and secretary general Rana Mujahid Ali have condoled the death of Arshad.

In a condolence message both Akhtar and Rana Mujahid said that Arshad’s untimely death has saddened the entire hockey fraternity across the country, adding that he was a dedicated hockey lover for whom the game always remained supreme. They prayed that Almighty Allah rest the departed soul in eternal peace and give strength to his family to bear this irreparable loss with fortitude.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2015

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