Tuesday, March 12, 2019
PIC: Dr Shamala (right) and her Asian buddies including AHF CEO Datuk Tayyab Ikram (centre), in Gifu recently.
By Jugjet Singh
KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Dr S. Shamala has dedicated her life to hockey in Malaysia since her playing days, and was recently recognised for her immense contributions by the Asian Hockey Confederation (AHF).
At the end of their AGM in Gifu, Japan, recently Malaysian delegate Shamala was called up to receive the AHF Order of Merit.
And at the AHF website, the Order of Merit was describes as -- "This is one of the most prestigious awards given by the AHF."
Shamala juggles many 'jobs' while rising from the ranks to become the current Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) deputy president while her bread-and-butter is Professor at the Universiti Putra Malaysia Department of Communication Technology and Network.
"The award could not have been achieved without dedication and commitment form the MHC team, and so, I would like to thank everybody from the bottom to the top level," said Shamala.
The AHF used to be more involved in protocols, but according to Shamala, that's history.
"The delegates who came to Gifu were committed to shed the AHF's 'protocol image' and move towards 'action base'. This includes having more Asian teams in the next World Cup and Olympics.
"And at the bottom half, teams like North Korea, Afghanistan and Oman are also keen to move up and are involved with many AHF activities now," said Shamala.
She also aims to start the ball rolling for the Asian continent to earn their rights and equality of the FIH world ranking system which prefers Europe and the Pro-League more than Asian and Olympics respectively.
For example, even continental championships provide different points as in Europe its 750 points for No 1, while in Asia it's 650 points for gold.
"Yes, I will push for equality especially in ranking points provided for championships, as in the end, points are what matter most for a team to qualify for the Olympics and World Cup now," said Shamala.
He other burning desire is to see field hockey played more regularly at the Sea Games level.
"Manila (2019) will only have indoor hockey while Vietnam (next hosts) have totally take hockey out.
"It is ok for Sea Games to include some traditional sports, but don't sideline Olympic and world level sports in the same breath. Sea countries must be realistic and move forward," said Shamala.
And if more AHF as well as Sea country officials have the same mindset like Shamala, the continent can finally move forward and have more world beaters in their ranks.