Anil Kumar, who hails from Sonepat, Haryana, was a former national-level hockey player. Though tough competition to make the Indian Team kept him from donning India colours, he saw an opportunity in umpiring - a livelihood he thoroughly cherishes today. He took up umpiring in the year 2009-10 and with constant support from Hockey India, the national governing body for the sport, he found umpiring opportunities not just in the domestic circuit but also internationally.
"After my hockey career ended, I took up umpiring and haven't looked back since. A busy domestic schedule with regular National Championships at different levels ensured I got a lot of exposure. I benefited from Hockey India's professional approach in promoting umpires across the country through development programmes for upcoming and currently registered umpires. Until Hockey India came into existence, it was not easy to become an umpire. Over the years, they have been extremely stringent about fair-play and unbiased umpiring across categories like sub junior, junior and senior level making an umpire's job respectable and credible," stated Anil Kumar.
Having umpired at Junior and Senior National Championships since 2009-10, Anil Kumar's first International assignment was in 2012 at the Junior Asia Cup in Malaysia. The same year, he umpired at the Sultan of Johor Cup for U21. He has since, umpired at various International tournaments including the prestigious Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2015 and most recently he was in New Zealand for the double-leg Four Nations Invitational Tournament that saw the hosts, Japan, Belgium and India take part.
"I am extremely elated by the news of my promotion. It comes as a big motivation to do better and serve hockey to the best of my abilities. I thank Hockey India for their constant support. I hope their continued encouragement will prompt umpires like me to improve our skills and represent India at various international events," added Anil Kumar.
Congratulating Anil Kumar, Hockey India's Secretary General, Md. Mushtaque Ahmad said, "I would like to congratulate Anil Kumar on being promoted to FIH's Promising List. It brings me great joy to note that India has created a strong pool of umpires who have gained respect for their work internationally are contributing to hockey's growth. Umpires like Anil have carved a niche for themselves and this is a matter of pride for Hockey India. I wish Anil the very best for his future assignments and wish he continues to do good work and achieve greater heights at the international level." (ANI)