Monday July 2, 2012
Mr Hockey dedicates book to late wife
By Y.P. SIVAM
Photos by AHMAD IZZRAFIQ ALIAS
DATUK G. Vijayanathan could not hold back his tears when recalling his wife’s sacrifices at the launch of his book in Petaling Jaya recently.
Vijayanathan said his wife R. Rajaletchumy, who passed away in 2010, was the pillar during his 26 years of involvement in hockey as an administrator and international hockey umpire as well as a member of the International Technical Committee and International Hockey Rules Board.
“This book — The Memoirs of ‘Mr. Hockey’ — is dedicated to my wife. It is the least I can do for her sacrifices. No amount of words can describe her contribution to my hockey career. After my retirement from the civil service, she would take the trouble to save my pension for my hockey activities.
“In fact, I was never interested in writing this book. My daughters — Anushya and Sasha — had also encouraged me.
“That was in 2008 and my plan was to write my experience for them only. But when my wife passed away, my daughters encouraged me to write the book.
“And today I am here to present my memoirs,’’ said a tearful Vijayanathan to the 500-odd people who had gathered for the launch of the 640-page book.
The hardcover book, edited by noted journalist R. Nadeswaran, was launched by Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid, the chef-de-mission of the Malaysian contingent to the London Olympics.
Many of Vijayanathan’s friends from the hockey fraternity as well as his family were present at the launch.
Ahmad Sarji said he was impressed with the interesting facts in the book.
“I have read the book so has my wife. She was touched by the words, used by Vijayanathan, to describe Rajaletchumy. The book gave us an insight into Vijayanathan’s contribution to sports,’’ said Ahmad Sarji.
In the book, the 80-year-old Vijayanathan traces his journey from a young boy to his current status. His experience as an officer at the Education Ministry, sports manager at the Royal Selangor Golf Club as well as an officer in charge of hockey for the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur are in detail.
He also relates the controversial goal which earned India the World Cup in 1975. In the game, played in front of about 50,000 fans at the Merdeka Stadium, India were trailing 0-1 at half time but came back strongly in the second half to win 2-1.
The disputed goal came from Ashok Kumar.
“The match was the best I had umpired. If the match had gone to extra time, I think, Pakistan would have won. But they were crippled when Samiullah left the field with a collar bone injury. But I was firm in my decision as I was the nearest when Ashok Kumar scored.
“There was an uproar but I knew it was a legitimate goal. I had also persuaded organising chairman Tan Sri Raja Azlan Shah to visit Filem Negara to view the recording.
“Then after some time, thanks to Datuk Dina Rizal, I had the chance to see a photo of the goal. I had also 40 copies and showed it to anyone who came to visit me,’’ said Vijayanathan.
He also shares his experience in the Olympics, Asian Games and World Cup.
However the book is not for sale. Vijayanathan said he had printed 1,000. Everyone present at the launch were given a book.
“The Memoirs of ‘Mr. Hockey’ is not for sale. I don’t have any intention to make a profit from the book,’’ he said.
Vijayanathan can be contacted at 012-284 6111.