Indian and world hockey's technical officer Sonia Bathla is gearing up for one of her biggest assignments - the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. The versatile officer was earlier appointed as a technical officer for the 2023 Men's Hockey World Cup as well.
Sonia Bathla took up umpiring in 2010. She soon made inroads into the Hockey India League and also served as a judge in the Asian Hockey Federation.
Although the officer was on the panel of technical officers for the Tokyo Olympics, she did not get an opportunity to officiate at the quadrennial Games. Her chances soon came calling when she was appointed as a Technical Delegate in the Women's Asian Champions Trophy in Donghae, South Korea.
As India and Spain locked horns in their FIH Pro League matches at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Sonia Bathla was on the ground, officiating as a match manager.
Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda, Sonia Bathla, who serves as an Assistant Director in the Directorate of Physical Education and Sports department at the SRM University’s Sonepat Campus, said officiating the match from the venue is perfect preparation for the Commonwealth Games.
"I am definitely looking forward to the Commonwealth Games. The Pro League has given me a sneak-peek of how challenging and competitive my role is going to be. As a technical officer, I would need to be on the field of play. The Pro League has given me the chance to sharpen my skills that way. It is, for sure, more exciting," she said.
Sonia Bathla: The need for a keen eye on the game
Sonia Bathla outlined her roles and responsibilities in the Pro League and termed them a "wonderful, learning experience."
She officiated in four matches - two men's matches and two women's matches - and the officer was happy that the weekend passed off without any glitch.
"This is my second season in the Pro League. It has been an exciting time, thanks to a scintillating display of hockey. Top teams play in the league and it is very good to watch such quality hockey. I worked as a match manager. I oversee and conduct team manager's briefings, the arrangements at the venue, and pre-match meetings, etc. It was a wonderful, learning experience," she explained.
However, the love for the game sometimes does carry anyone away and Sonia Bathla hopes to make sure she goes by the books at all times.
"The game is getting faster. There are a lot of regulations that a technical officer should keep in mind. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, one may forget some of the finer points of the game. That is something I need to keep an eye on and will be challenging. It is also important that I implement these regulations without hindering anyone's roles and responsibilities and complete the game properly. Everyone, including the players and the team officials, are all here to discharge their respective duties and it is important that I have an eagle eye on all of them," Sonia concluded.