Two decades of blood, sweat and tears has finally earned Farooq Saeed recognition from the highest quarter, with the former Hong Kong captain to receive the chief executive's commendation-for-community-services medal. Saeed (pictured), who first represented Hong Kong in 1989, will receive the award at a function on October 17 at Government House.
He said it was a huge honour not only for him but for the sport, too.
'I have given so much to the game over the last 20 years, and it is great that the government appreciates it,' Saeed said yesterday.
The 39-year-old central defender will be the first hockey player to be commended in the chief executive's honour roll.
Last year, Saeed also had the distinction of being part of the Olympic torch relay.
Sarinder Dillon, president of the Hockey Association, said: 'It came as a surprise to us. But Farooq has been an excellent servant of the game in Hong Kong. He has outstanding ability and has a great track record.
'I believe this medal will be given to all those athletes who took part in the Olympic torch relay. Hockey was one of the few sports to be represented and this is good for the sport.'
Saeed, who represented Hong Kong at four editions of the Asian Games and has more than 90 caps, retired from the international scene last season.
However, he has since been persuaded to make a comeback for December's East Asian Games, as well as this month's National Games.
Saeed, who will also be part of the team leaving for the National Games on October 18, said: 'The East Asian Games is being staged at home, and I was persuaded by the coach to come back. And since I still continue to play in the domestic league, I am fit.
'Winning this medal will make me more determined to do well. This is one of my best achievements. I never expected it. I'm really proud.'