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Hockey India (HI) President Narinder Batra
Hockey India (HI) President Narinder Batra

Hockey India (HI) President Narinder Batra was elected President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) here on Saturday.

Batra, who was an Executive Board Member of FIH as well as the Vice-President of the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF), will replace outgoing FIH President Leandro Negre for a four-year term at the helm.

This was announced at the FIH Congress, which began here on November 10 and concluded on Saturday.

Batra defeated David Balbirnie of Ireland and Ken Read of Australia to sit atop with 68 votes out of a total of 118.

Balbirnie was a distant second with 29 votes while Read managed only 17.

“I feel extremely honoured and I look forward to lead the FIH global hockey evolution,” Batra, who became the first Indian to be elected as head of the world hockey body, told reporters here.

“My priority will be to widen the base and extend geographical boundaries. To popularise the sport worldwide, we need to take the sport beyond a maximum of five-six top hockey playing nations in both men and women.”

“This will be the key in creating mass appeal globally for hockey.”

“I believe once we achieve this, we can also increase the revenue. We must also engage with a younger audience via various digital platforms.”

“It is something which will take smart and strategic planning, and I look forward to the challenge,” he added.

Batra added: “It is my firm belief that this innovation will lead to better commerce for hockey. If we want to create a hockey revolution, we first need to think about our players and give them nothing but the best. They are the custodians of our future.”