Monday, March 4, 2024

‘Hyderabad has helped me grow as a hockey player as well as an umpire’

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Back with another chitter-chatter for our weekly segment of Hyderabad, The Pioneer connects with Telangana’s first woman umpire of hockey, sharing her association with Hyderabad and her journey.
The Indian Hockey team’s relentless efforts in enhancing hockey standards on a global scale have been nothing less than commendable. Not only has the men’s team but also the women’s team shined throughout, especially this year.
Now, as we head towards the end of the astonishing year, here’s our tribute to the Indian Hockey team, bringing to you our chat with a budding hockey player from the ‘City of Nizams’, Madhuri Reddy. Well, not only has she been a national-level hockey player, but she is also the first woman hockey umpire from Telangana. Her father has been her inspiration throughout her journey, being a sports enthusiast himself. His love for sports, but being unable to achieve the same, made him motivate his little daughter to get into the sport. Later, of course, her coach and friends encouraged her to do the same.
Taking us through her journey from being a hockey player to umpire, she enthuses, “I was a national hockey player from Telangana State. When I used to go to the tournaments, I always adored the umpires of our matches and always desired to become an umpire, as there is no female umpire in Telangana State. I wanted to be the first one. I worked hard on it and achieved my goal of becoming the first female umpire in our state.” Commendable Mathuri, and congratulations on becoming the first woman umpire of hockey from Telangana.
The Hyderabad-born sportswoman has always had a great bond with the city, be it on the personal or professional front, encouraging her to go high in the sport. “Hyderabad has always helped me grow my career as a player as well as an umpire. I will always be thankful, even to the Hyderabad Association of Hockey for the same. Hockey has always been a daily routine in my life, ever since my childhood. My practice sessions, team meetings, scoldings from our coach and mainly my teammates, and many other things. It’s not about one single thing.”
Getting to travel a lot due to her tournaments, one thing that she feels makes Hyderabad different from the rest—we’re sure many would agree—is the food. “In other states, you don’t find this affordable and tasty food, is what I feel. People here own you with their love. I feel Hyderabad is a beautiful place to live. I love Hyderabad; there is nothing that I don’t love about the city; it’s a great place to live. I suggest people come and explore Hyderabad.”
She does feel that the sports infrastructure in Hyderabad needs to be improved, but there is not much encouragement regarding sports and jobs for sports players. “Being a national game, hockey is not promoted as much as compared to other sports. I can’t give a particular reason for it, but I want more people to encourage hockey and promote other sports too. In terms of sports promotion in Hyderabad, it’s not that much compared to other states; we need to promote sports more and more in Hyderabad. Ground facilities need to be improved as we don’t have hockey turf to practice on, so building more turf stadiums would help the players join and take part in hockey sports. Also, good coaches are also important for excellent results in sport.”
The Indian women’s hockey team, she says, is doing their best to keep India high compared to before. They are doing a great job now, and I wish them good luck. “The Hyderabad team is also doing well, but they need more support and good coaches to improve their performance levels,” she signs off, adding that Hyderabad is always going to be her home and that she misses being in the city while travelling. Oh, and, of course, the Biryani.
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