The two officials are the only representatives from India in the hockey refereeing team at the Tokyo Games.

The Indian hockey players’ Tokyo Olympics preparations are in full swing. Meanwhile umpires Raghuprasad RV and Javed Shaikh too are carrying out extensive fitness training to prepare for the quadrennial event.

They are the only two Indian representatives in the 14-member hockey refereeing contingent at the Olympics. With just 50 days to go they are ensuring that they are putting everything they have to be ready.

“I am currently doing my fitness training at home in Bengaluru attending online fitness classes every morning. I basically carry out strength and conditioning exercises, which strengthens my mobility and agility skills. We are doing briefing sessions with the FIH for the Tokyo Olympics as well. We are shown clips from previous matches, and we discuss an Umpire’s decision making for certain scenarios such as Penalty Corners, Video Umpiring and so on.”

Prasad added that it’s a great honour for him to represent India at the Olympics. “Javed and I started our national career together back in 2001 and now we will be going for the Olympics”, he said. “I had first officiated at the 2012 London Olympics. So I will be officiating in my second Olympics in Tokyo now,” he added.

“Really proud moment for me,” says Javed Sheikh

Javed Shaikh, has also officiated at the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the World Cup. He said that the FIH has been carrying out fitness tests for all the Olympic-bound umpires.

“We have been giving FIH fitness tests every two-three months in the last one and a half years. Fitness tests include a Yo-Yo test and Repeated Sprint Ability (RS) Test. We have to record our tests on video and send it to the FIH Umpires Managers, who grade us according to our performance” said Shaikh.

Speaking about being among only two Indians in the Olympic Games Umpire panel, Shaikh said, “It’s a really proud moment for me. I have already officiated in an Olympics, at the Rio Olympics. It’s a huge responsibility for me as I have got the chance of officiating in an Olympics again. There are only two umpires representing India, so we need to do our best. There will be pressure, but that’s what we like about our job.”

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