GUWAHATI, Jan 20 � Renowned sports personality of the State Suren Ram Phookun died at a local hospital here last night. He was 74.
Former international cricket umpire and national level referee Phookun was a prolific writer and a well known radio commentator. Phookun had been familiar for his running commentary on football in All India Radio and his speeches in various public meetings. He frequently made contributions in The Assam Tribune, even in today�s edition also a piece of his write-up was published.
Phookun took Assam cricket to a respectable height when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) appointed him as umpire for the India-Sri Lanka One-day International match held at Kanpur on December 12, 1986. He was the first international umpire from the State. As a football referee also Phookun was very highly regarded. Not only in Assam, he was also invited to conduct football matches in All India Football Federation�s (AIFF) major tournaments in other States. In Kolkata Phookun was very popular for his antic signalings. He was often invited by the Indian Football Association (IFA) to conduct East Bengal-Mohun Bagan matches or other big matches for his controlling capacity.
In Assam he conducted all the major football tournaments with absolute dignity. He was a part and parcel of Bordoloi Trophy and during 70s and 80s without him the tournament could not be imagined.
He also conducted several Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy matches and had been able to draw respect from Indian stars. As a recognition of his contributions the BCCI nominated him for pension as retired umpire.
Recently he was appointed as vice-chairman of the newly formed Sports Authority of Assam. He was also secretary of the Assam Cricket Association�s (ACA) umpires� board.
Along with ACA, Phookun was actively associated with Maharana Athletic Club, Gauhati Town Club, etc.
He leaves behind his wife, two daughters and many well wishers.
His cremation at Bhootnath was largely attended.