An Indian administrator takes hockey in Asia to a new level
- Narinder Batra is the first Asian to grab the post in the world body's 92-year-old history.
- Batra is also Hockey India's chief.
- Batra got 68 votes in his favour, while his opponents received 42 votes in total.
Soon after becoming the first non-European President of the International Hockey Federation, the veteran Indian sports administrator vowed to take the game across the globe.
Batra, who is the Hockey India president, defeated David Balbirnie of Ireland and Australia's Ken Read to become the 12th FIH President -- the first Asian to grab the post in the world body's 92-year-old history.
Batra got 68 votes in his favour while Balbirnie and Read managed 29 and 13 votes respectively. Out of 118 voters, only 110 voted while eight abstained.
"I feel extremely honoured, and I look forward to leading the FIH global hockey revolution," he said addressing the media after his victory.
"My commitment is to hockey because I love the sport. I want to take the game across the globe because nowadays everything is calculated by reach and revenue. My priority will be to widen the base and extend geographical boundaries.
"To achieve that we can't restrict hockey to just 10-12 nations. Hockey has to spread, hockey has to grow across the globe," Batra told PTI.
Besides taking the game to newer audiences, the new FIH chief also plans to make the game popular in economically prosperous countries.
"While China, India and the USA drive the world's economy, we also need to accept that these are potential markets for sports and it's important to make the game attractive in these key markets," Batra said.
A firm believer of FIH's Hockey Revolution programme, Batra also knows the importance of digital media in making a game popular.
"We must also need to 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," the FIH president said.
"We need to ensure that we strike a right balance between the use of digital platforms for promotional purposes and television for reach and revenue growth," the 59-year-old Indian said.
"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," he added.
Batra is also the first Indian to be elected as chief of an Olympic Sport's international governing body. His win means the power centre of the sport will now move to Asia from Europe, which had been ruling international hockey for decades.