Sankar hopes to clear final hurdle

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Delhi
  • Published 2.04.06
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Komaleeswaran Sankar

New Delhi: If everything goes right at Frankfurt in the third week of April, Komaleeswaran Sankar will once again be the only Indian representative in the World Cup football in Germany. In 2002, he became the first Indian referee to supervise in World Cup in Korea/Japan.

The 42-year-old referee from Chennai is among the four Asian referees, who have been shortlisted to do duty for the world’s biggest sporting spectacle. While two of them are referees from Japan (Toru Kamikawa) and Singapore (Samsul Moidin), Sankar and Japan’s Hiroshima have been selected to do the job of assistant referees.

The final decision regarding which assistant referees will be picked up for the World Cup will be taken after a workshop for them in Frankfurt from April 18-21.

“In Frankfurt, I will have to undergo rigorous fitness test before I receive the final nod to do duty in the World Cup for the second time in my career,” Sankar told The Telegraph from Chennai. “I am naturally very excited about it. The experience I had had four years ago was simply fantastic,” he said.

Sankar has already started preparing himself for the big test, even asking the All India Football Federation to exempt him from National Football League duty. “I’ve got a personal trainer who will take care of the fitness aspect,” said Sankar.

Sankar has been an assistant referee in the 1996 Junior World Cup, the 1997 Youth World Cup, the 1999 Confederation Cup and the Sydney Olympics in 2000. He also won the Asia’s Best Assistant Referee award in 1999.

In Frankfurt, there will be three assistants for each referee at this workshop and at least two of the trio will have to complete a series of tests successfully.

If they fail to do so, the entire triumvirate will be excluded from the list of World Cup officials and replaced by another quartet.

Germany 2006 will be the first World Cup to feature only refereeing triumvirate from the same country, or at least from the same confederation.