LAHORE: Pakistan’s field hockey umpire Haider Rasool has become the first Pakistani to officiate in 100 international matches, making the country proud at a time when its national sport has gone down the drain in the global arena. Haider reached the milestone of officiating in 100 senior international matches while umpiring in World Hockey League in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was awarded the ‘Golden Whistle’ by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) during the match between Germany and South Africa to mark the achievement. Haider, who also played hockey before taking up umpiring, has officiated in Commonwealth Games, Champions Trophy, Asian Games, Junior Hockey World Cup, Asian Champions Trophy, World Hockey League, Asia Cup, Pan American Cup and Rabobank Cup, among other high-profile tournaments. Prior to umpiring, he played for Lahore and the Allied Bank Limited as a goalkeeper, and was good enough to be called for the national camps several times from 1995-2000, including those for the World Cup (1998) and four editions of the Champions Trophy. His first international umpiring assignment came along at the 2nd edition of the Indian Premier League in 2004. In 2005, Haider was declared ‘International Umpire’ by the FIH, and after umpiring at several regional qualifiers and invitational tournaments, he was promoted to the ‘Promising Umpires’ list of the FIH in February 2008. Haider became a ‘Grade I’ international umpire in December 2010. In October 2013, he was honoured yet again by being included in the ‘World Development Panel’. He was among the reserves for the Olympics in 2012 and 2016. Haider is very hopeful to blow whistle in the 2018 World Cup and also to be promoted to the World Panel soon. Published in Daily Times, July 15th , 2017.