Mohammed Shahid, one of the greatest names in Indian hockey and part of the team that won gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, has died at a Gurgaon hospital owing to a severe liver condition and kidney failure. He was 56. On June 29, Shahid, whose abilities as a forward during the 1980s marked him out as an exceptional talent, had been admitted to SSL Hospital at Banaras Hindu University with severe stomach pain. With his health deteriorating, he was flown to New Delhi and admitted at Gurgaon Medanta Mendicity hospital. Three weeks later, onJuly 20 he passed away.
Born on April 14, 1960 in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Shahid burst onto the international hockey scene at the age of 19 in 1979 against France at the Junior World Cup.
But it was during a four-nation tournament in Malaysia that he won rave reviews from his captain Vasudev Baskaran - who would lead India at the 1980 Olympics - while leaving the opposing Pakistan players stunned by his mastery.
Shahid's style of play was based on speed and an ability to dribble the ball with rare wizardry, and it was this aspect of his game which won him fans across the country during the 1980s and revived Indian hockey when interest had started to wane against cricket's immense popularity following the 1983 World Cup win.
Shahid also captained India during the 1985-86 seasons. During 80s, the hockey star was followed by millions of fans.
The sports star received the Arjuna Award in 1981 and was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1986. Since retiring from hockey, the somewhat reclusive Shahid had worked with the Indian railways and was based in his hometown of Varanasi.
First Published: Wednesday, Jul 20, 2016 01:10 PM