Dr. A. Samad Ismail made his last journey on Tuesday. He was one of the most famous hockey promoters. He died at the age of 93. He was a person who did an enormous services to Kandy by way of his sports promotion activities. As a professional he was a doctor and had magic hands for cure. He was a well known senior citizen of Kandy and was respected by all communities, elders, youth and sports bodies in the
He was also known as ‘Lion King’ for his contributions to sports, social service and the medical field. He introduced hockey to Royal Ceylon Air Force, as it was known then.
Samad, as he was popularly known, started his schooling at Badulla Convent. From there he went to Uva College. When his father got a transfer to Galle Police Station he went to St. Aloysius College and from there to Wesley College, Colombo in 1933 where he excelled in hockey. He also did cricket and athletics. At the University, he continued to play hockey and cricket. He was also was a fine athlete. After passing out as doctor, he joined the Royal Ceylon Air Force, where he served up to 1958. He was a doctor cum pilot officer and one of the most popular doctors of that era.
Dr. Samad Ismail stood for what is right. In the field of social service, his left hand did not know what his right hand did. After going to Kandy, he was invited to promote hockey by the late P.T. Rajan who introduced the game to Kandy. Then there were M.S. Jainudeen, Lesley Hadunge, George de Saram, E.L. Fernando, Bobby Jayaweera all of them are no more, including P. Thangavelu, and Roy de Silva.
It is said that two or three teams from India visited Kandy and played matches. He was also the president of the Kandy Association Football League for nearly ten years.
He was a long-standing President of the Kandy YMMA, where he promoted outdoor and indoor sports in a big way. One time, he was the president of the Jinnha Memorial Hall, a famous meeting place (Masoora) for Muslims, who, at one time had the best soft ball cricket team.
Dr. Samad was the most senior doctor in Kandy apart from being a sportsman and philanthropist, a social worker and above all a trusted and loving friend. He was a great poet, loved cooking, music and was a walking encyclopaedia.
He was also the President of the Sri Lanka Cancer Society for many years, Every New Year’s Day he marked the first visit to the Cancer Home where he was instrumental in upgrading the facilities.
After coming to Kandy in 1961, he married Shiyana Ismail. He was the son of the late Mohamed Ismail who was the first Muslim Sergeant at Arms. The sports loving public of Kandy will remember him forever.