Asian Hockey Federation CEO Tayyab Ikram elected as new FIH president

LAUSANNE,  Nov 5:  Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) CEO Mohammad Tayyab Ikram of Macau was on Saturday elected as the new president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), succeeding India’s Narinder Batra as its full-time chief.

Ikram defeated Marc Coudron of Belgium 79-47 in the 48th FIH Congress held virtually.

Out of 129 national associations, 126 casted valid votes.

The duration of Ikram’s term will be for two years, in order to complete the mandate of the previous chief, Batra, who resigned on July 18. Now a citizen of Macau, Ikram was born in Pakistan.

Seif Ahmed was the acting president of the FIH following Batra’s resignation from the top post after the Delhi High Court had asked him to stop functioning as the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chief.

Batra, who became the FIH president in 2016, resigned from the post in July. He also gave up his International Olympic Committee (IOC) membership which was directly linked with his IOA position.

Maureen Craig-Rousseau of Trinidad and Tobago and Elizabeth Safoa King of Ghane were re-elected to the FIH Executive Board, while Japan’s Hiroya Anzai, Poland’s Piotr Wilkonski and Deon Morgan of South Africa were elected for the first time as FIH EB members.

The term of office of Deon Morgan will be of two years. The mandates of the other EB members, who were elected or re-elected on Saturday, will run until the 2026 FIH Congress.

Soon after his election, Ikram said his priority will be development of the game and athletes’ welfare.

“My vision is very clear: development of the game, engagement and empowering of national associations and build strong connectivity with all our members and stakeholders,” Ikram said in a virtual press conference.

“Besides, athletes will be my priority. We need to create a professional set-up for athletes, they are our core family.

“It is not just about participation but retention of our athletes.”

The new FIH chief said retaining hockey’s place in the Olympic movement is another important aspect.

“We are benchmarking ourselves in Olympic Games and Olympic family. We need to do correct things to stay in the Olympic programme,” Ikram said.

“Hockey 5s is also one of my priority. I will try to multiply all our resources to make hockey popular.”

Asked what he thinks would be his biggest challenge, the new FIH president said: “At this moment the global situation, I mean the global economy. The economy is having a big question mark on everything.

“We have to be very careful and take steps to meet these challenges. Finance is one area in which we need to be strong with our planning. We need to create new avenues for our partners and stakeholders.”

Ikram said global sustainability is another key focus of FIH and the world body is already working towards that.

“Sustainability is something we are already working on. Our target is to have water-less pitches in 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. It is complicated but we are firmly believing on this. We have used 40 per cent less water in Tokyo than Rio.

“It is in a development phase. We plan to try complete water-less pitches in 2026 World Cup, before the 2028 Olympics. It is a very big step,” he said.

Among other decisions, the Congress also approved the application of the Indonesian Hockey Federation, which is supported by the Indonesian Olympic Committee and the national sports governing bodies of that country, as full member of FIH.  (PTI)