Talented Iqbal Jumar chose hockey over cricket | Sunday Observer
Sri Lanka’s Best from the Past:

Talented Iqbal Jumar chose hockey over cricket

8 May, 2022

Iqbal Jumar was born to be a sportsman with exceptional and inherent talent. He could have reached great heights in any ball-game but chose hockey as his preference.

A distinguished Kingswoodian, he shone in many sports, winning colours in hockey and soccer, while being a regular member of the 1st XI cricket team.

While still a schoolboy, he represented Kandy District HA at the National Hockey Championships. In 1959, the sports loving Carson Cumberbach & Company was happy to offer employment to Iqbal where he worked for 15 years.

Along with internationals Chandra Schaffter, V Jeyaratnam, LP Rayen and K Sampanthan, Jumar helped Carsons to many championships in ‘A’ division tournaments conducted by the Mercantile HA.

In the premier club tournaments, he represented the Burgher RC and Malay CC, and played in many a victorious team. In 1970, he was a vital member of the Malay CC team that toured South India, the first club side to do so.

His contribution to the Mercantile HA was remarkable, representing the association at the Senior National Championships from 1961 to 1974, captaining the winning team in 1968.

He was Chairman of the Selection Committee from 2004 to 2009, Manager Senior Nationals from 2001 to 2005 and 2008, and vice president from 2008/09.

He captained the Over 45 side on Mercantile HAs tour of Ipoh and Penang in 2000 and was hockey manager in 2009.

For Ceylon/Sri Lanka, Jumar was the automatic choice for 14 years in the vital position of right extreme, being the fastest mover on the field. It was a joy to see him sprinting down the line at full speed and with complete control of the ball, executing strategic moves resulting in many goals by him and teammates.

His international career speaks for itself: Three Asian Games playing against Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Spain, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and West Germany.

He remembers with nostalgia, scoring the winning goals against Singapore and Indonesia and beating Japan during the ‘Nehru Tournament’ in India. As if these achievements were not enough to a boy who did not take to rugby at school, he went on to be a classy player. Joining the CR & FC in the early sixties, Kavan Rambukwela spotted his inherent talent, taught and groomed him in the basics of the game.

He represented the club ‘A’ team from 1965 to 1968 as a three quarter back and ended up as a full back.

In the All India Tournament, representing the CR & FC versus the Army in the semi-finals, Juamr deftly converted a 50-yard penalty to seal victory for his club and repeated it in the final against the Havelock SC with a fantastic conversion that gave the CR & FC the coveted All-India Cup. On the strength of these magnificent performances, Jumar was selected for the Ceylon XV against the Combined Services.

Jumar played with me for BRC, Malays, Mercantile HA and Ceylon, and we still share lasting memories and friendship.

Career highlights

IQBAL JUMAR (born 1940)

Position: Right Extreme
Clubs: BRC, CR & FC, Malays CC, Colombo HA, Mercantile HA

1961 vs Indian Wanderers
1964 vs Great Britain
1965 vs Indonesia (2 Tests)

1966 Asian Games, Bangkok
1966 Tour of South and North India

1967 Tour of North India (Vice Captain)

1968 vs Malaysia
1968 vs Singapore (2 tests)

1968 Tour of Lahore, Pakistan (pre Olympic International Festival)

1968 Tour of South and North India
1970 Asian Games, Bangkok
1970 vs Mysore HA

1971 Tour of South and North India and vs Malaysia in Delhi (Nehru tournament)

1972 Tour of North India (Captain) and vs West Germany in Delhi (Nehru tournament)

1973 vs Mysore HA

1973 Tour of South and North India (vice captain)

1974 Asian Games, Teheran (vice captain)
1974 vs Tamil Nadu (captain)

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