Continuing our articles that celebrate the army of volunteers who ensure that our sport runs smoothly, efficiently and professionally, this is the story of a woman whose love of hockey has transcended playing the game. Not only has the international goalkeeper turned top Technical Official, but Saman Rashid, from Lahore, Pakistan, is also determined that other women will get the opportunity to travel, play and compete.
Saman started playing hockey 20 years ago when she joined a local college. Her natural ability at the game saw her rise through the ranks quickly and, just a year after starting to play the sport seriously, she was selected for her first National Hockey Championship, which took place in Lahore.
In 2004, she was part of the national team that won a medal versus Kazakhstan and two years later, in 2006, she was part of the team that participated in the Asian Games qualifying round in Kuala Lumpur.
Besides her international duties with the Pakistan women’s team, Saman played for Punjab in India. It was at the renowned Maharaja Ranjit Singh Hockey Tournament in Amristar, India, that Saman really shone, with her performance at that event earning her the Best Goalkeeper award.
Saman retired from playing hockey in 2010 but her love for the game saw her moving into officiating. Her career as a Technical Official began in 2011. To date, she had been appointed to five tournaments as a Technical Official, including the Youth Olympics qualifying round.
In an interview with the Asia Hockey Federation, Saman said: “Making my country and my parents proud are the biggest motivators for me.”
Right now, as the whole world is gripped by the Covid-19 pandemic, Saman is constantly working with different NGOs in her country, trying to help the people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic or are generally facing a hard time.
She has, in the past, worked with different government schools in Lahore distributing free hockey equipment – balls, sticks, sports clothing and goalkeeping equipment – so the children in the poorest areas can take up the sport.
On top of this charitable work, Saman has sponsored the Rest of Pakistan Team to travel to India for the Surjit Singh Hockey Tournament and has also supported the United Women’s Hockey Team to travel to Sri Lanka to participate in the 18th Island Inter Club Women Hockey Tournament in Matale, Sri Lanka in 2017.
In a statement, the AHF says: “Saman is a true asset to the hockey community in her country. It is people like her that embody the true essence of volunteering and should get the recognition she deserves. In the future, she would like to keep working as a technical official as hockey is her true passion."