MALAYSIAN No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar yesterday broke new ground when he was named as Asia’s Best Player by the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) at its Congress in Kuala Lumpur.
The 32-year-old from Tampin, Negri Sembilan, became the first Malaysian to win the award as before this Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin was awarded the Best Youth Player award by AHF.
However, it came as no surprise as Kumar has been named as the Best Goalkeeper in eight international tournaments.
Last year Kumar lost his father, Subramaniam, in the midst of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, but he went on to represent the country at the Asian Games leas than a month later, and helped Malaysia win a silver medal, their first ever in the Asiad.
“It is indeed a honour that I will cherish forever. I dedicate this award to my late father who encouraged me right from the beginning,” said Kumar.
“Without the sacrifices of my father, I will not be here today.
“My dream is to play at the Olympics and I will do my best to keep the goals away when we play in the Qualifiers,” said Kumar.
Meanwhile, AHF held their elections yesterday to elect four vice presidents as Sultan Azlan Shah was returned un opposed as president, while Tan Sri P. Alagendra also retained his secretary’s post unposed.
The four veeps who were elected yesterday were Datuk Sri Muneyoshi Ueda (Jpn), Chaiyapak Siriwat (Thai), Narinder Bahtra (India), Qasim Zia (Pak), while the two nominated vice-presidents were Shun Jung Hee and Hong Moon Pyo, both from South Korea.
AHF PLAYERS AWARDS: Man -- S. Kumar (Malaysia); Women: Park Mih Yun (S Kor); Boy: Syed Kashif Shah (Pakistan); Girl: Zhao Yudiao (China).