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Will Hockey India create history by electing an Olympian as its President?

It is an important year for Hockey India as the 2023 FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup is to be held in India in January 2023.

It is an important year for Hockey India as the 2023 FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup is to be held in India in January 2023. This prestigious event will be held under the command of a new elected body.

Going by the nominations received for various positions, Olympian Dilip Tirkey, who comes from Odisha, the new home of India hockey, looks the front runner for the post of President, Hockey India.

September 23 is the last date for withdrawal of nominations. Besides Dilip Tirkey, there are two other candidates – Rakesh Katyal of Delhi and Bhola Nath Singh of Jharkhand.

Bhola Nath Singh is also a candidate for the post of Secretary-General.

Though the election process has been in motion for a week now, polling, if any, will be held on October 1.

It may be pertinent to mention that Hockey India had been passing through a crisis after Olympian Aslam Sher Khan challenged the previous governing body of Hockey India alleging various irregularities.

Subsequent to the adjudication of the Delhi High Court, the previous office-bearers were removed, and a Committee of Administrators was set up on the directions of the Delhi High Court.

Because of the uncertainty prevailing in Hockey India, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) even considered shifting the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup to some other venue.

A team of the FIH led by its acting President, Seif Ahmed, and the CEO, Thierry Walls, visited India to hold meetings with the senior functionaries of the Ministry of Sports, Sports Authority of India as well as Odisha Government. It also met members of the Committee of Administrators.

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The FIH delegation had some reservations about the new draft Constitution of Hockey India prepared under the supervision of the COA. The COA, however, agreed to fine tune some provisions of the new Constitution to meet the statutory requirements of the parent body, the FIH. Once the Constitution was cleared, the election process was initiated with the appointment of Returning Officer and Assistant Returning officer.

There were speculations that Olympian Aslam Sher Khan or Olympian Zafar Iqbal as a member of the COA, may run to head the new body. Both of them, however, decided against entering the fray leaving the field open for Olympian Dilip Tirkey, who has the support of the Odisha Chief minister and great patron of Indian hockey, Naveen Patnaik.

Hockey India will elect a President, a Secretary General, a Treasurer, Two Joint Secretaries and two Vice-Presidents besides five executive committee members. One post each of Joint Secretary and Vice-President is reserved for women candidates.

Going by the nominations, Sekar J Manoharan of Tamil Nadu, is the only candidate for the post of Treasurer. His election appears a foregone conclusion.

Similarly, for the post of Vice-President, both Asima Ali (Jammu and Kashmir) and SVS Subramanya Gupta (Karnataka), look certain choices as they have no rivals.

For the all-important position of Secretary-General, there are three candidates in the run. They are Hitesh Sindhwani (Delhi), Bhola Nath Singh (Jharkhand) and Manoj V. Bhore (Maharashtra).

For two positions of Joint Secretary, there are three candidates – Aarti Singh (Rajasthan), Renu (Haryana) and Sunil Malik (Haryana) meaning thereby that there may be a contest between Arti Singh and Renu for the post reserved for women candidates as Sunil Malik has no male opponent.

There are six candidates in the run for five positions of Executive Committee members. They are V. Sunil Kumar (Kerala),  Kalyan Deka (Assam), Asrita Lakra (Jharkhand),  Tapan Kumar Das  (Assam),  Arun Kumar Saraswat (Rajasthan) and Gurpreet Kaur (Delhi).



Prabhjot Singh

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