GB hockey gold-medalist Imran Sherwani reveals Alzheimer’s diagnosis

2 June 2021, 09:39

Imran Sherwani at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul
Imran Sherwani at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul. Picture: Getty

By Emma Clarke

The Olympic gold-medalist has revealed he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2019.

Rising to fame in 1988, the now-59-year-old led the GB men's hockey team to victory in the Seoul Olympics.

During the match, Sherwani scored two out of three goals, with the final score against Germany tallying up to 3-1.

Commentator Barry Davies famously said during the match: “Where were the Germans? But, frankly, who cares.”

Sherwani said he first noticed symptoms back in 2014: "At first my mood changed and I became withdrawn. I wanted to be on my own and not talk to people.

READ MORE: Shelagh Fogarty hears harrowing story of man whose wife has Alzheimer's

"I started to struggle with tasks that ordinarily I would be quick to do, such as DIY. I also had difficulties in my job, such as forgetting pupils' names, which was very frustrating."

He continued: "Eventually it got to the point that I was on the edge of breaking down because the situation had put such a strain on me, so I went to the doctor.

"That led to a three-year journey of tests and brain scans until I was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

"I have gone from fighting the disease to accepting it, and that has made every day easier to live through. Every day of my life, I am thankful for having wonderful people around me, especially my lovely wife.

"I do not have fears about the future because I have always been very positive. I have had a brilliant life, I have achieved a lot in my career and with my family, so I can't complain."

Sherwani's GB team-mate, Steve Batchelor, is set to run in the London Marathon to raise money for Alzheimer's disease.

"When I heard he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, it was a shock," he said. "All of the 1988 Olympics team are still very close but, as we were both forwards, I have a particularly close relationship with Imran. We are good friends and our families are close as well."

He added: "You feel helpless when someone you are close to is diagnosed. Putting together this team is something positive I can do to help."

Earlier this year, scientists found a link between certain contact sports and dementia, with head injuries and concussions increasing the risk of developing the disease.