India: Year-in-review: Hockey India revamps domestic circuit, hosts multiple international events across different cities in 2023

Hockey India announced multiple initiatives in 2023 to unearth talent at the grassroots level ~

New Delhi, 31st December 2023: The stellar year 2023 marked several key milestones for Hockey India as it began with the successful completion of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela. India became the first nation to host back-to-back editions of the FIH World Cup, and the tournament was highlighted by the inauguration of the new ‘jewel’ of hockey, the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium, with a seating capacity of over 20,000 bucket seats.

As the year carried on, the national sporting body made its intentions clear to revamp domestic tournaments and uplift grassroots initiatives. The first major announcement came in February with Hockey India signing a multiyear deal with interactive livestreaming platform FanCode to livestream all matches played at Hockey India National Championships in India and the Indian subcontinent. 

Furthermore, the federation announced several steps to make National Championships akin to international tournaments like post-match presentations, and closing ceremonies. Also, for the first time, the umpires officiating at the National Championships were provided with radios for on-field communication and Hockey India took steps to introduce video referrals in domestic tournaments.

In March, Hockey India announced the ambitious Grassroots Development Program designed to unearth young talent and improve the bench strength of the National Senior and Junior teams for men and women. Under this initiative, Zonal Championships at the Sub-Junior (U-16) and Junior (U-19) levels were held across North, South, East, and West Zones throughout the year. 

Furthermore, the national federation distributed over 11,000 hockey sticks, 3,300 hockey balls, and other vital playing safety equipment, worth over INR 8.00 Crore to its State Member Units and members of Hockey Academies to bolster the development of the sport across the nation. Urging all the State Member Units to work closely with their respective district associations to host regular activities to help promote hockey and scout talent, Hockey India also kicked off the ‘Hockey India ka Abhiyan Har Ghar Ho Hockey Ki Pehchan’ program.  

The federation also disbursed a grant of INR 2 lakh each to all its State Member Units to aid them in achieving their deliverables and complying with the necessary guidelines. Additional grants were also announced by Hockey India for State Member Units and District Units after the completion of their respective mandates.

Hockey India also announced a special 45-50 days coaching camp and international matches for the Indian Sub-Junior Men’s and Women’s Team with former Indian Hockey Captain Sardar Singh, and former India Women’s Captain Rani taking up the mentorship and Coach’s role. The camp was followed by Indian Men’s and Women’s Sub-Junior Teams, for the first time, travelling to Belgium and the Netherlands for an international competition in October.

After successfully implementing the landmark Hockey India Coaches Education Pathway that benefitted scores of aspiring coaches in the country, the national sports federation also launched a holistic Hockey India Match Officials Education and Development Plan to empower aspiring Umpires and Technical Officials and to develop and educate the Umpires and Technical Officials currently officiating at the district and state level tournaments. 

Also, seeing the resurgence of the sport’s popularity in the country, Hockey India announced steps for the re-launch of the Hockey India League (HIL) and began working towards establishing a successful financial model to sustain the tournament, after consultations from the commercial agency Big Bang Media Ventures Pvt Ltd. Also, India hosted successful editions of the Men’s Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 and Jharkhand Women’s Asian Champions Trophy Ranchi 2023, bringing international hockey back to different parts of the country. Moreover, India will once again host the Women’s FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Ranchi starting from January 13th next year.

Hockey India President Padma Shri Dr. Dilip Tirkey described 2023 as a ‘successful’ year for the federation and said, “It has been a great and successful year for Hockey India as we were able to implement key steps in ensuring the growth of the sport at domestic and the national level. I extend my gratitude and hearty congratulations to all the members of the national federation, state member units, and district units, who made useful contributions in helping us achieve our mission for this year. There is still a long road ahead and we will continue to dedicatedly work towards our goals of further developing our beloved sport of hockey in India and all around the world.”

By Hockey India

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