India’s Harsha Vardhan Gandham could be made an International Umpire Manager by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
The FIH announced its decision on Friday after his name was recommended by Hockey India and supported by Asian Hockey Federation.
Gandham, a former hockey player himself, hails from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh. He began his umpiring career in 2005 which has seen him officiate at major domestic tournaments for more than a decade. Gandham’s good officiating at the domestic circuit saw him being given his first international assignment in 2008 when he officiated in an 8-Nations Tournament in Germany.
It was post that tournament that Gandham was given the FIH Umpire Badge, and after having completed assignments such as the 2013 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia, Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia, 8 Nations Tournament in Malaysia in 2011 and 4 Nations Tournament in Malaysia in 2012, the 37-year-old was forced to switch to the duties of umpire manager after suffering an injury in 2017.
Post the injury, 37-year-old Gandham has officiated in six tournaments as an Umpire Manager, including the 7th Hockey India National Championships held last year.
The 37-year-old expressed his delight at the news, he said: “It has been a different experience for me as an Umpire Manager as it is interesting as well as challenging. But it is always nice to share my experience with the young and upcoming umpires from India.
“It is an opportunity for me to mould these umpires and I would like to see as many umpires from India receive FIH appointment in the future.
“I would like to thank Hockey India and its Umpiring, Technical and Competitions Committee for providing us with the right facilities and encouraging us to do better each day.”
Hockey India (HI) also congratulated Gandham on his appointment.