At the 1972 Montreal Olympics in Canada, Datuk G. Vijiyananthan was named the world’s best hockey umpire. Due to his sportsmanship, he became a well-known name among the hockey fraternity and the local sports industry.
Viji, as he was affectionately known in the hockey fraternity, stated he had been all over the world officiating at dozens of Olympics, World Cups, and other international hockey competitions.
He has blown the whistle tens of thousands of times as an international-class umpire for 13 years. According to the New Straits Times, some say he’s a perfectionist for discipline, whether it’s at work, on the playground, or at home.
Viji explained that this is the type of upbringing he inherited, particularly in terms of punctuality and personal grooming. One of his most memorable duties was umpiring the 1975 Kuala Lumpur World Cup hockey final between India and Pakistan at Merdeka Stadium with France’s Alain Renaud.
Viji was a talented cricketer for his high school, Victoria Institution, and afterwards a top-flight fullback for the Tamilian Physical and Cultural Association (TPCA) in the Selangor Hockey Association’s premier Division One League for 32 years.
Viji was the secretary of the Malaysian Hockey Federation (now Confederation) for 26 years, starting in 1959. He ran hockey matters from the boot of his car with a stool and a portable typewriter in the early years, using his own funds to get the job done. During the Japanese occupation of Malaya in 1941-45, Viji worked for the Malayan Railways at the age of 10.
Viji was a qualified teacher who worked for the Education Department until 1983, when he chose to resign. He went on to work for the Royal Selangor Golf Club for 15 years as a sports manager. During the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, he left his role to work as an official. In 1964, Viji worked as a sports stringer for The Malay Mail for a brief time.
Viji began working as an international umpire in 1969 and retired in 1982 after the Bombay World Cup in India, having reached the age limit of 50. He has umpired and officiated in nine Olympic Games, as well as numerous World Cups, Asian Games, Seap (later Sea) Games, and other international championships.
Viji who penned the book :The Memoirs of Mr Hockey” in 2012 said now he enjoys spending quality time with his daughters’ families and grandchildren, and also catching up with close friends.