Overview

Mohammed Shahid (14 April 1960 – 20 July 2016) was an Indian field hockey player. He is considered one of India’s best to have played the game and was known for his dribbling skills. He was a member of the Indian team that won the gold medal at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. He was awarded Arjuna Award in 1980-1981 and Padma Shri in 1986.

Career

Mohammed Shahid was born on 14 April 1960 in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. He made his first appearance for India in the junior team in 1979 at the Junior World Cup in France. Shahid made his first senior team appearance the same year in a four-nation tournament in Kuala Lumpur under the captaincy of Vasudevan Baskaran, after his inclusion in the team following his impressive performance in the Aga Khan Cup.

During his playing days, Shahid was known for his running ability, dribbling of the ball and push which was as fast as a hard hit. His attacking partnership on the field with Zafar Iqbal was well known.

“Zafar at left-out and Shahid at right-in positions penetrated the best of the defences around the world with their superb understanding and passing of the ball. Zafar also pointed that Shahid was instrumental in the V. Baskaran-led India winning the gold medal at the 1980 Olympics Games. Shahid played a crucial role for India in that Olympics, otherwise we would have been difficulty, Zafar, who was part of that team, pointed.”

He was awarded the ‘Best Forward player’ at the 1980 Champions Trophy in Karachi. He was a member of the team that won the gold at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, silver at the 1982 Asian Games and bronze at the 1986 Asian Games. He also played in the World Cup in Mumbai (then Bombay) in 1981-82, the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984 and the Seoul Games in 1988.

His skill and ability at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games earned him a place in the Asian All-Star team in 1986. He captained the Indian team during 1985-86. He announced his retirement from international hockey in January 1989.

His biggest contribution to the game of field hockey was the ‘half push- half hit’- a stroke he used to hit the ball using the same grip used to dribble the ball. With the left hand on top of the handle and the right half low down around the centre of the stick he used to essay this shot with a minimum back lift and slam the ball towards his partner-teammate to make an early and accurate pass. The same stroke was adapted by his successor Dhanraj Pillay, who was an ardent fan of the maestro. Earlier the stroke or technique did not exist in a field hockey player’s repertoire or in the game’s coaching manual.

Shahid was the product of the Sports College Lucknow from where emerged a few other stars of the 1980s like Ravinder Pal Singh, his teammate at the Moscow Olympics (1980), Rajinder Singh Rawat who played in goal in the Los Angeles Olympics (1984) and many others who went on to don the national colours at the junior and senior international level. The Sports College and Hostels were the brainchild of another famous star of the 50’s Kunwar Digvijay Singh “Babu”. The concept which took root in the 70’s would have helped Indian hockey flourish and would have helped unearth more Mohammed Shahid’s, if other states from India would have adopted the Uttar Pradesh model.

Later, he became a sports officer with the Indian Railways in Varanasi.

Personal life

Awards and recognition