Odisha’s efforts for hockey have reflected in people supporting me, says new Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey | Hockey News

NEW DELHI: Following a trend change in the country’s football management, India’s hockey has also had its first player-cum-president, with a former national captain. Dilip Tirkey not elected to the position of Hockey India (HI) chairman.
Tirkey spoke to about his new post that comes with new challenges.
HI elections take place on October 1, but there are no candidates for the positions, the names of elected office holders who are not nominated were announced on Thursday.

Bhola Nath Singh, who also submitted a nomination for the presidency before withdrawing, will be the new general secretary of the federation.
Tirkey, 44, the most competitive Indian player with 412 games, spoke to hours after being elected as the new HI president.
Before the feeling sank, did you expect to be elected?
Rakesh Katyal ji and Bhola Nath ji have also submitted nominations for the position of president. I thank them so much for supporting me, when they decided to withdraw their candidacy. Also, all the state hockey agencies think of me and support me.
In addition to being a hockey icon, do you believe your active administrative career in Government of Odisha helped you win?
The Government of Odisha and our Honorary Minister Naveen Patnaik ji have been doing a lot for hockey and its infrastructure, like world-class stadiums besides hosting tournaments like World Cup and conduct training programs. Somewhere I felt his efforts towards hockey were reflected in the way people supported me.
You have taken on various official roles in Odisha over the past few years. Do you think that experience will help you to lead in Indian Hockey?
Of course. When I used to play and even then, I didn’t have much admin knowledge. But when I joined the system, became a Member of Parliament, then President of OTDC (Odisha Tourism Development Corporation), etc., I understood everything, understood the system. So the experience I get there will help me as an Indian Hockey admin.

Now you need to see the sport and its development on an all-India level and not just for Odisha. How do you plan to approach that challenge?
First of all, there was the World Cup (in January 2023), and the Odisha government worked as the host. The state also hosted a memorable World Cup in 2018. The goal was the same this time, to make it a memorable experience for everyone. In the future, we need to organize more turf programs so that we continue to have quality players. A lot of kids are playing hockey at the elementary and middle school levels. In addition, (need to strengthen) training programs.
Are you also planning to take international hockey to an all-India level so that it is not limited to Odisha, like it has been for the past five or six years?
Wherever there was hockey before, places that gave us legends in the past, there is no hockey in some of those places anymore. Punjab still plays a lot of hockey but there are other places that used to give us so many players, that’s not happening there anymore. We will talk to them (state associations), because promoting the sport will be our priority.


(File Pic – TOI Image)
You currently hold the position of president of Odisha Hockey Promotion Board (OHPC). Do you need to cancel that post to avoid any conflicts of interest?
I will be talking about that soon with lawyers, Hockey India and other officials.
Indian hockey has been making an effort, but there are still basics like astrological turf that are not available in large numbers that can allow grass players to practice on grass instead of on grass…
In Sundergarh, astrological outcrops are being installed in 16 blocks. We will certainly ask (same in other states). Like I said, where there used to be hockey, we will definitely try to revive there. An astrological turf is a basic requirement.

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