Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra created yet another historic milestone for Indian sport. He became the first Indian to be elected as President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) for the second consecutive term at the 47th FIH Congress on Saturday. His victory was basis a largely unanimous decision, Dr Batra secured 63 votes out of 124 to edge past tough opponent in Belgium's Marc Coudron, the only other candidate for the FIH Presidency at the Congress.
In 2016, Dr Batra who was then an Executive Board Member of FIH as well as the Vice-President of the Asian Hockey Federation, became the first Indian to head a global sports governing body when he replaced outgoing FIH President Leandro Negre, for a four-year term. With him being re-elected for the top post, Dr Batra will continue to serve as President of FIH till 2024.
A visionary-par-excellence, Dr Batra, under his leadership in the first term prioritized the growth of hockey globally also achieved key milestones such as implementation of the FIH's global home-and-away league – The FIH Hockey Pro League, launched the FIH Nations Cup, and implemented the FIH Hockey 5s World Cup and Hockey 5s World Tour. With over two decades of experience in sports administration, Dr Batra led FIH with professional administrative acumen that delivered efficient governance and also created a transparent system.
In his second term, Dr Batra in his election manifest committed to continue to work towards increasing the number of hockey playing nations as well as the visibility of hockey. Enhancing financial sustainability, to innovate, and improve the Olympic status of the sport and harmonise the international calendar of events are some of his key agendas paving forward. Dr Batra also endeavours to make hockey more inclusive and use hockey as a catalyst to bring about a positive social change.
In his address through a virtual conference during the FIH Congress, Dr Batra said: "My no. 1 priority is to grow the sport globally and to do that we need to constantly evolve with new formats and events. Provide the right kind of training and infrastructure to create a holistic ecosystem which is sustainable. And while we develop and grow our hockey universe it is also essential to increase our visibility and reach. We need to keep up with an extremely dynamic landscape of mediums to reach and engage better with our fans. And equally so reach new audiences we have found in countries across the American and African sub-continents, among others."
As to the challenges he looks to tackle in his second term as President, Dr Batra said, "We need to enhance our financial stability. A well-developed revenue model from media rights holders and commercial partners is the key to achieve sustainable financial growth. I have seen keen interest in further engagement from Indian commercial partners which I will continue to work with closely to channelise into global events and development initiatives."
Congratulating Dr Batra on this historic feat, Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam said, "Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra in his first term led the hockey fraternity into a new era with innovative formats and tournaments that would further enhance the popularity of the sport particularly among the younger generation. He is a man on a mission to globalise hockey and we congratulate him and wish him the very best as he endeavours to achieve new milestones as President of FIH in his second consecutive term. It is a proud moment for India. We will continue to seek his guidance and learn from his experience to further develop the sport in India."