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‘I always fight until the final whistle’: Syed Shahid Hakim recovers from COVID-19

Syed Shahid Hakim, who represented India in the 1960 Olympics and officiated as a referee in 33 international games later in his career, said that he will be discharged from care on Tuesday night.

Written by Debkalpa Banerjee | Updated: July 29, 2020 2:45:48 pm
Syed Shahid Hakim had a playing career that spanned for nearly 25 years. (Source: File)

Syed Shahid Hakim, a former Olympic footballer and a Dhyan Chand Awardee, has recovered from COVID-19 after being diagnosed by the virus earlier this month.

The 81-year-old fell ill after visiting Karnataka and had tested positive for coronavirus on June 13. He spent the next two weeks in quarantine in a Hyderabad hotel after failing to find a bed in the military hospital.

Hakim, who represented India in the 1960 Olympics, said that he will be discharged from care on Tuesday night.

“I have recovered from the virus and I feel fit now. Thankfully, I will be discharged from the hotel tonight and will be maintaining a strict schedule for the next 21 days for proper rehabilitation as per doctor’s instructions,” Hakim told indianexpress.com over the phone.

“I hope nobody else ever gets affected by the virus… not even my enemy. I am grateful to all the wishes that came forward in my time of need. From Kashmir to Kerala, from Bengal to Bombay, I don’t know how many people have been praying for me, but I am really thankful to them.”

The members of the 1960 Rome Olympics with national team head coach Syed Abdul Rahim. (Source: AIFF)

The Dronacharya Award recipient rued about the fact that no help was offered from the government.

“Neither the centre nor the state, no government offered their helping hand to me. Not even the football federation of the country — the All India Football Federation (AIFF). My family helped me with the expenses, especially my sister who lives in America,” he said.

“My father, Syed Abdul Rahim, was suffering from cancer when he helped India win the gold medal in the 1962 Asian Games. He didn’t beg anyone for any aid then, and I won’t now too. I am his son after all.”

“I will continue to raise my voice on my own to create a corpus fund for the benefit of the yesteryear stars. I will never give up. I will fight until the final whistle. I always have and I always will,” he added.

After his retirement from the sport, Hakim took to refereeing in 1974 and officiated in 33 international games till 1989, including the 1988 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.

The Hyderabad-born later took up coaching, following the footsteps of his illustrious father Syed Abdul Rahim, who led India to the semi-finals in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and two Asian Games gold medals in 1951 and 1962.

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