LAHORE: After a hiatus of seven months due to the Covid-19, meetings with hockey stalwarts, organised by former international Major (r) Peerzada, resumed on Friday. Gulraiz Akhtar, gold medallist of the 1968 Olympics and 1970 Asian Games and one of the finest left halves to play for Pakistan, was the chief guest at a well-attended gathering at the Golf and Country Club Lahore. The guests included the captain of that victorious team of the 1968 Olympics, Dr Tariq Aziz, and another member of the side Anwar Shah. Also present were a number of hockey enthusiasts including former Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary general Brig (r Musarratullah Khan. All thanked Gulraiz Akhtar who graced the occasion despite his ill health. Gulraiz recalled: “I was lucky to have been born in Rawalpindi, the biggest hockey centre at the time. Then my uncle Naseeb was the 1956 Olympics silver medallist and elder brother Pervez was also an international. I debuted for Pakistan at the 1966 International Hamburg Festival. Major achievement was of course 1968 Olympics gold medal followed by the 1970 Asian Games gold. At that stage, I said goodbye to international hockey but continued appearing for the Customs in the domestic circuit.” At the 1972 Olympics, Pakistan lost in the final against former West Germany. Pakistan players, who were unsatisfied with the umpiring, misbehaved during the medal ceremony. The FIH punished them with the life ban, later reduced, and the players were eligible for the 1974 Asian Games. With those players unavailable, the Pakistan team for the 1973 World Cup mainly comprised newcomers. A few old-timers were recalled including Gulraiz, who reminisced: “The second string Pakistan side surprised everyone by reaching the semifinal. We finished fourth. I retired from customs in 2000 and have been living in Lahore for a long time now.” Gulraiz Akhtar was also presented with a souvenir.