Kandy will never forget a versatile hockey pioneer | Sunday Observer

Kandy will never forget a versatile hockey pioneer

22 November, 2020
Dr Samad Ismail
Dr Samad Ismail

So many greats gone, so much promise gone. On Friday Kandy’s sports lovers remembered a great hockey player and sports promoter Dr. A. Samad Ismail who is credited with introducing hockey to the Royal Ceylon Air Force. He died at the age of 93 in the month of November in 2016.

Ismail started his schooling at Badulla Convent, from where he enrolled at Uva College and later at St. Aloysius College in Galle when his father was transferred to the Galle police.

But it was not until he joined Wesley College in Colombo that he was able to excel in hockey which was his pet sport. He also played cricket and took part in athletics. After passing out as a doctor, he joined the Royal Ceylon Air Force, where he served as a medical professional holding the rank of pilot officer.

He led the Airmen at hockey and also took the game to every camp where they were housed and was also a longtime chairman of Combined Services Hockey, which is now called the Defence Services.

After leaving the Royal Ceylon Air Force, he remained in the medical field and served in Bandarawela before a posting in Kandy.

Ismail’s service to the welfare of sports in Kandy was immeasurable in the same way his medical stint served the people in the Kandy city.

He was a well known senior citizen of Kandy respected by all communities, elders and youth and sports bodies.

He was not only a versatile sportsman but also a dedicated sports promoter and one time president of the Kandy Association Football League, a post he held for nearly ten years.

A one time Kandy Lions president, Ismail also headed the Kandy YMMA where he promoted outdoor and indoor sports like football, hockey, table tennis, badminton, carom and the cue sports in a big way.

He was the son of Mohamed Ismail who was the first Muslim Sergeant-at-Arms.