New Delhi: Hockey India (HI) has initiated interactive sessions through WhatsApp for Indian umpires and technical officials in order to utilise the lockdown period due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to improve their officiating knowledge and motivate each other on fitness matters.

The team of experienced tournament directors and umpire managers who are conducting the interactive sessions on WhatsApp groups include Moghul Mohammed Muneer, Claudius de Sales and HS Sokhi for technical officials and GS Sangha, Javed Shaikh, G Harsha Vardhan for umpires. Their goal is to guide and motivate the officials to raise the level of officiating and also to maintain their fitness levels.

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HI is carrying out interactive sessions for its registered technical officials and umpires, across six WhatsApp groups, three for technical officials and three for umpires. A total of over 100 HI registered officials are taking part in the interactive sessions six days a week.

Further, a total of 30 HI member units are conducting interactive sessions for technical officials and umpires across their respective regions. Over 1,100 officials are taking part in the interactive sessions across over 70 WhatsApp groups formed by the various member units.

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Through the interactive sessions, the officials will be improving their knowledge of the FIH rules and regulations and will have the opportunity to clear any queries or doubts. 

"Hockey India has put a brilliant process and structure in place in order to improve the standards of officiating in Hockey. Officials are as important as players in any sport and the interactive sessions which normally take place prior to each of the domestic tournaments has definitely help the umpires and officials in the past and we believe that during this lockdown period, that officials can further improve their knowledge of FIH Rules and Regulations and raise the level of officiating,” said Mohd. Mushtaque Ahmad, president, HI.

In the umpires groups, the umpires share their daily fitness activities and training regimes so that the groups can share training tips and motivate each other to stay fit as well. Hockey India has shared and suggested a few training options online as well, where the officials can find a suitable regime to maintain their fitness and flexibility.

The umpires and technical officials are following a specific plan and timings as devised by the respective tournament directors and umpire managers that conduct and manage the interactive sessions over the respective groups.