The hockey fraternity of the region lost it’s real ‘Guru’ with the passing away of Gurumurthy Pillay in Nagpur on Monday.
The 83-year-old Pillay dedicated his entire life for the upliftment of hockey. Such was his dedication and commitment that he always strived to keep hockey alive and kicking in the region despite facing numerous personal and professional hurdles.
He played multiple roles to perfection during his lifetime. He excelled as a player during his young days. After hanging his boots he performed his duty as an umpire and went on to become international umpire. He officiated in many national and international tournaments with aplomb.
Thereafter he turned his attention towards administration and served the game with his tireless work. During his tenure as the secretary of the Vidarbha Hockey Association (VHA), he managed to hold several local and state level tournaments with little resources.
Pillay, a former employee of Central Railways, was always there at the VHA ground mingling with the VHA officials and players irrespective of having any post or not.
For many players, coaches and technical officials, he was the true ‘Guru’. Despite his old age one can always find him at his den — VHA ground — with his gang of friends.
His enthusiasm and activeness on and off the field was remarkable, said Pramod Jain, VHA official.
“I am very much saddened by the news of renowned former international hockey umpire Gurumurthy Pillay Sir. He was ex-secretary and also the life member of Vidarbha Hockey Association. For more than 40 years, Guru Sir was my idol, right from the beginning when I had entered the VHA playfied. I learnt a lot of rules and regulations of umpiring in his tenure with his help when he was the secretary of VHA,” said Jain.
“In 1998, I was declared national umpire by the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF). He always guided me as and when I am in need. Pillay Sir was available at the VHA in morning as well as in the evening daily without fail. Those who approach him with problems, he shared his long experiences with them without any hesitation. He was totally devoted to hockey. As per my opinion he has taken birth on this earth for hockey only. Personally a great loss to me,” added Jain and paid rich tributes to him.