Forget the World Cup, two hospital doctors from East Lancashire will be representing their country in the forthcoming World Medical Football Championships.
East Lancashire Hospitals’ Consultant Cardiologist Dr Ravi Singh along with Consultant Urogynaecologist and Deputy Medical Director Mr Simon Hill are in the British Medical Football Team for the 16-team tournament in the Czech Republic which also put sports medicine issues under the spotlight.
This summer’s tournament, which kicks off on June 30th, will be Simon’s fourth World Medical Football Championships appearance, with left winger and former Habergham High School pupil Ravi making his second appearance.
“Last year we reached the quarter finals and this year, with fitter players and a larger squad, we hope to do even better,” said Dr Singh, who won the Lancashire Schools Cup with Habergham and played for Cardiff University.
“This year the championships coincide with the FIFA World Cup in Russia and the British team will be trying our best to return home with medals.”
In fact, doctors from East Lancashire will form the backbone of the British team, with Drs Hill and Singh set to be joined in Prague by local GPs Dr Henryk Zakrzewski from Clitheroe's Pendleside Medical Practice and Dr Paul Fourie from Witton Medical Centre.
To take part in the annual championship, players must be doctors, and must produce their passports and even copies of their medical degrees. The tournament officials can even hold a medical pop-quiz of medical knowledge on the pitch before or after each match to make sure the players are indeed qualified medical doctors!
“We’re delighted to get the chance to go and compete at the World Championships again this year, having put in great performances in previous tournaments,” said full back Simon Hill, who represented Liverpool U15s and Merseyside U18s before his medical career.
The 10-day international football tournament is part of the 24th Global Congress on Medicine and Health in Sport, where Mr Hill has been asked to give a keynote speech about post-pregnancy performance among elite level sportswomen.