Indian hockey referees Javed Shayk and Raguprasad said on Friday that preparations for the Tokyo Olympics have been quite challenging, given that this time things are different due to the pandemic.
The two veteran referees with experience in more than 100 international matches are the only Indians selected by the International Ice Hockey Federation (FIH) as referees in matches beginning on July 24.
“We have both served in the Olympics in the past. I was there in Rio (in 2016) and everything was very smooth, but this time it was obviously very different because of the pandemic and we had to change our plans due to a series of blockages in our respective cities.
“In a normal scenario, we would be on the hockey field, going through our practice and training before a big tournament, the pandemic caused us several failures, but we had to find ways to deal with it and be prepared for the task,” said referee Javed Shaikh. which is located in Mumbai.
Raghuprasad RV said, “The last time I served in an international match was more than a year ago. Due to the pandemic, there were no tournaments and we were unable to travel for any outside assignments in the last few months.”
“But that can’t be the reason I’m not performing in Tokyo. We need to be on top of the job and make the right discouraging decisions. What helped during that time was Hockey India’s efforts to hold regular online hockey sessions. “We discussed match scenarios and watched videos from various tournaments. We also watched the recent European Championships and analyzed how the structure of the teams has changed and the new tactics they use,” Raguprasad said.
The duo also stressed the importance of fitness as the game gets faster with the reduction of adjustment time to four quarters of 15 minutes each.
“Hockey is really fast now. Players today are extremely fast, which is why FIH and Hockey India have their own guidelines and benchmarks in the gym. Judges undergo frequent fitness tests, at least four times a year. Like players, we also have Yo “Yo and Dal Monte Sprint Test. We have to run 2,200 meters in the Yo-Yo beep and sprint 40 meters in less than six seconds. So in that sense, fitness is paramount for us referees,” Raguprasad said. who has served in over 150 international matches.