Manish Gour from Nagpur, who was recently awarded the Hockey India Best Technical Official 2019-2020, has stated that he is pleased to see young officials and former players from state and national level showing keen interest in officiating.
"I began officiating as an umpire in 1992 and moved on from umpiring to technical officiating in 2012. It has been a long journey, but over the course of long term development in the past years, what has been most satisfying is to see the number of youngsters with or without a hockey background showing interest in hockey officiating," stated Gour.
"I believe this is largely due to the efforts taken by Hockey India. They have made umpiring and technical officiating opportunities and courses available consistently across the country and this also gave me an opportunity to develop myself as an FIH Certified Educator for Technical Officials," he added.
With nearly three decades of experience under his belt, Gour who works as a Deputy Station Manager with Central Railways, has been actively involved in educating and preparing young officials for a bigger stage.
"Over the past years we have been consistently making complete use of technology to educate and mentally prepare Umpires and Technical Officials to handle various situations that may arise in a match. I feel due to these efforts, Indian officials are very well-equipped to handle the most challenging situations on field," stated Gour who has been Tournament Director at Hockey India 5-a-side National Championships since its inaugural edition in Pune back in 2017.
"Hockey has evolved over the years and I am very happy to see that with the help of Hockey India, we are able to keep up with changing times," he added.
Talking about how officials have managed to keep in touch even during the pandemic, Gour said, "It has been a difficult period for everyone with no hockey being played at all. But I think what Hockey India managed to do seamlessly during this period is organise regular virtual meetings and workshops which has really helped us all to stay in touch, share ways of how to keep updated about the rules & regulations and remain in the zone to officiate."
"We have also followed the FIH Hockey Pro League matches in Europe, the various scenarios that came up there and how they handled them have been discussed and analysed within our internal development groups which always helps the officials to keep in touch with the sport we love," he added.