Former Indian hockey forward Mohammad Shahid died aged 56 on Wednesday morning. He had been ailing for the last few months due to kidney and lung complications. He was being treated at a hospital in Gurgaon.
Shahid was a member of the last Indian hockey team to have won an Olympic gold, when he participated in the 1980 Moscow Olympics. He was also part of the Indian team that won the Asian Games silver medal in New Delhi in 1982 and the Asian Games bronze in Seoul in 1986.
“Today I lost a great friend,” said V Baskaran, who was Shahid’s first captain in international hockey. “He was my room partner during the four-nation event in Kuala Lumpur in 1979. He was just 19 years old, but such a skilful player. He was taking on the great defenders of the world — Munawwar uz Zaman, Akhtar Rasool. I don’t think anybody in current hockey can compare to him.”
Baskaran said Shahid didn’t like to mark. “He would just say to me, ‘Mera ball de dena, jo kuch karna hoga, main kar loonga (Just give me the ball, and leave the rest to me),'” Baskaran said. “He also played very well in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, where his duel with Australian captain Ric Charlesworth was brilliant. Charlesworth was the inside right, and he kept trying to bottle up Shahid. But he never felt any pressure. In fact, it was always his opponents who felt the pressure.