Karnataka’s first female international hockey umpire Anupama dies of coronavirus

11:52 PM, Sunday, April 18th, 2021
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AnupamaMadikeri : India’s first-ever international woman hockey referee Anupama Puchimanda passed away due to the Covid here on Sunday April 18.

She was soft-spoken and gentle off the pitch. On it, field hockey’s international umpire, was a tough, no-nonsense ‘whistle blower’.

In the early of Sunday, Covid-19 cruelly blew the final whistle on the 40-year-old’s life.

Karnataka’s first female international umpire, contracted the dreaded virus 10 days ago and was in home quarantine. She was on the road to recovery when her condition deteriorated precipitously in the wee hours, not long after a conversation with her husband Mandanna, who too is Covid-19 positive.

An exponent of total hockey in her younger days, she was as comfortable in the midfield as she was on the right flank. Anupama made her Karnataka debut at the 1995 sub-junior nationals in New Delhi.

She went on to represent the state senior side and Mangalore University. Her dream of representing the country remained unfulfilled, but that did not douse her passion for the sport for which she drew inspiration from her late father PA Shivappa.

In 2004, she became the first woman umpire from the state on the erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) panel. She made her international debut the same year at a four-national tournament in Gifu, Japan. That was the beginning of many firsts of an umpiring career spanning a decade-and-half and over 90 international matches.

Anupama was the first Indian woman to officiate at the Commonwealth Games, 2006 Melbourne. She went on to wield the whistle in several international events, including the Asian Games, FIH junior World Cup, East Asian Games and the Central American and Caribbean Games.
She umpired over 100 matches in men’s and women’s competitions on the domestic circuit.
The Virajpet-born ever smiling law graduate didn’t just survive, but thrived in a male dominated field.

On a sabbatical from umpiring, Anupama, an executive committee member of the Karnataka State Hockey Association (KSHA), was looking forward to reviving women’s hockey in the state.

Hockey India joined KSHA and Hockey Karnataka in mourning Anupama’s death.

                       

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