Amarjit dies 2 days before heart surgery

Amarjit dies 2 days before heart surgery

IPOH: Celebrated hockey umpire Amarjit Singh Jessy died last night, two days before he was due for an open heart surgery. He was 59.

He suffered a heart attack at his home in Canning Garden and passed away in hospital at about 11pm.

His brother Balbeer said Amarjit’s health took a dip three weeks ago upon his return from Bangladesh where he conducted a course for umpires as an International Hockey Federation (FIH) educator.

The former bank officer, who officiated at three Olympics and three World Cups, was scheduled to conduct an umpiring course in Vietnam next, said Balbeer.

“He kept fit and his passing comes as a shock to us,” said Balbeer, 63, a journalist-turned-lawyer.

He said a similar blow to the family came in 2007 when another younger brother, newspaper reporter Kuldip, died from a heart attack at the age of 41.

Amarjit, who was Perak Hockey Association secretary from 2020, is survived by his wife Sujan Kaur, daughter Sharonjit and sons Aaaronjit and Darrenjit.

He was the first Asian to receive the FIH Golden Whistle, which is awarded to those who had umpired 100 international matches. He did 154.

The golden whistle was a deserved recognition for Amarjit who showed relentless commitment and passion from the 1990s to make an important contribution to world hockey.

Amarjit Singh remained calm even in the most high-pressure situations. (Maninderjit Singh pic)
He featured at three Olympics – Sydney (2000), Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008) – showing exceptional skills as an umpire, while maintaining the integrity and fairness of the game.

He was also praised for his calm and composed demeanour on the field, even in the most high-pressure situations, during the four World Cups he officiated in Utrecht, Holland (1998), Kuala Lumpur (2002), Monchengladbach, Germany (2006), and in New Delhi (2010).

Being someone whose decisions were always respected by players and officials alike, he was also a top choice for the Junior World Cup in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in 2005, two Commonwealth Games, two Champions Trophy and one European Nations Cup.

The FIH and Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) described the widely travelled Amarjit as one of the most respected and accomplished umpires in world hockey.

FIH President Tayyab Ikram said Amarjit was also an umpire manager who worked hard for the development of umpiring, especially in Asia.

AHF president Fumio Ogura said Amarjit’s contributions to the sport went beyond his skills as an umpire. “He was also a mentor to many young umpires, and played an instrumental role in their development.”

“His dedication to the sport and his willingness to share his knowledge and expertise with others will be greatly missed.

“His legacy as a great umpire and mentor will continue to inspire future generations of hockey players and officials,” said Ogura.

Former hockey international Maninderjit Singh said Amarjit was highly adept in the technical aspects of the game and his expertise was sought at major hockey tournaments.

He said Amarjit undertook his responsibilities with a high sense of professionalism as seen in his leadership in the organisation of the last Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh.

Young Malaysians like Eric Koh were inspired by him to achieve world standards in umpiring.

Amarjit was elated when Koh blew in his first World Cup hockey match in Bhubaneswar in 2018 and went on to umpire at other major tournaments, Maninderjit said.

Unfortunately, Koh did not make the list for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics because Malaysia did not qualify for the hockey tournament at the games.

Maninderjit, an Olympian, said: “The performance of national teams at world level plays a critical role in umpiring promotions and available slots at international level.

“Both have a relationship and must progress in tandem. Since we are no longer an Olympic status team, Malaysian umpires will suffer the consequences too.

“Looking at the current FIH umpiring level, it is going to be tough for any Malaysian umpire to come close to Amarjit’s achievements or to officiate at the Olympics.” FMT

Amarjit dies 2 days before heart surgery

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