NEW DELHI: With the outbreak of the pandemic across the entire world in 2020, the current year of 2021 brings with itself the scope for betterment for most spheres of life including sport. With Hockey India having organized a tour for the Indian Women’s Hockey Team to Argentina to resume some form of competitive hockey, the national federation is now also gearing up to host some of the most high-profile events this year, starting with the 47th FIH Congress 2021, which was originally scheduled for 2020, but had to be postponed to May 2021 due to the pandemic.
“We are delighted to be on the right path in terms of bringing back normalcy in both day-to-day working as well as events which are to take place in the long term. With the 47th FIH Congress 2021, we are hoping that all other factors will remain suited to us being able to play hosts in May 2021. In terms of guidelines and the framework for the successful conducting of such a large-scale event, at Hockey India, we have also successfully conducted the 10th Hockey India Congress and Elections, therefore we are well-prepared to tackle all situations,” stated Mr. Gyanendro Ningombam, President, Hockey India.
In recent years, India has hosted some of the biggest hockey events globally, and with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in February 2020, having awarded Hockey India with the hosting rights for the FIH Junior Men’s World Cup 2021, the apex body for hockey in India is also looking forward to hosting the much-awaited tournament towards the end of the year. “We had an amazing time hosting the FIH Junior Men’s World Cup in 2016 where our country came out on top in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh as they beat Belgium in the Final. It was a memorable tournament for many reasons for all of us at Hockey India, and it gave us the experience and confidence to go one step ahead when we hosted the FIH Men’s World Cup in 2018 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Therefore, this year’s FIH Junior Men’s World Cup is again one of the most important tournaments for us as hosts, and we are looking forward to delivering a very smooth and successful showpiece,” expressed Mr. Ningombam.
With FIH Hockey Pro League also scheduled to return this year, India will be hosting New Zealand for two matches on 29th and 30th May 2021, which should pave the way for international hockey’s return to the country. “We are keeping tabs on all the developments around the globe in terms of resumption of sports activities. I would like to think that we have a great chance of being able to host international matches by the time FIH Hockey Pro League returns to our country in May 2021, and hopefully also be able to welcome back fans to the stadiums if everything goes well globally,” said the President.
Hockey India’s plans for 2021 are not just limited to on-field events, but the governing body is also in the process of devising an extensive plan for their very successful Hockey India Coaching Education Pathway, to enhance the reach and effectiveness of the coaching courses and take it to the grassroots as well. “We are certainly in the process of devising a plan which enables us to use the Hockey India Coaching Education Pathway to great effect, and reach out to more young and potential Coaches, officials and even players across the country, and be able to help them develop their knowledge and expertise,” said Mr. Ningombam.
“We are hoping that 2021 will not disappoint us, and will enable us to host multiple high-profile events in a very safe and secure environment for everyone, especially our players and fans,” he added.