Ningombam replaces Ahmad as Hockey India president

NEW DELHI, Nov 6: Manipur’s Gyanendro Ningombam was on Friday elected unopposed as the Hockey India (HI) president, taking over from Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad who was asked to demit office by the sports ministry for violating the National Sports Code’s tenure guidelines.

Ahmad, however, remains in the federation after being elected unopposed for the senior vice-president’s post at HI’s Congress and Elections here.

Access to the meeting through video conferencing facility was made available for member units which were unable to travel due to the restrictions imposed by their respective state governments to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

On being elected unopposed, Ningombam becomes the first President from the North East region to head HI.

He held the position of “officiating president” after Ahmad tendered his resignation in July citing personal and family commitments. He later accused the ministry of working with malafide intent by asking him to resign.

The Sports Ministry had asked Ahmad to step down, declaring his 2018 election as violative of the national sports code’s tenure guidelines and also directed the federation to conduct fresh election for the post of president.

The national sports code does not allow three consecutive terms for an office-bearer.

Ahmad served as treasurer of Hockey India from 2010-14 and then became secretary general in 2014 for a four-year term. He was elected as President of HI for another four-year term in 2018.

The violation was brought to the notice of Hockey India in 2019 but HI contended that Ahmad’s run as treasurer was before the body got ministry recognition and cannot be counted while deciding his tenure.

The contention was, however, rejected by the ministry.

Ningombam, who has been elected for a term of two years, has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Manipur Hockey between 2009-2014 and has been associated with the game for over a decade.

He has been actively involved in developing hockey at the grassroots in the North East region.

During Ahmad’s tenure, HI hosted several major international tournaments including the World Cup in 2018.

In May, HI had held a special Congress virtually where the members of the Executive Board discussed the status of Olympic preparations of both the men and women national teams after the pandemic abruptly halted sporting activities across the country.

“I congratulate Mr Gyanendro Ningombam on being Elected Unopposed as the President of Hockey India and welcome Mr Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad back into the Hockey India Executive Board in a new capacity as the Senior Vice President,”  said HI secretary general Rajinder Singh in a statement.

In the meeting, resumption of competition was discussed extensively, starting with the 2021 National Championships.

“Planning for the upcoming year 2021 was another key discussion point, where the status of competitions for all 4 National teams were discussed…,” Singh said.

He said international exposure would be the key to Olympic success and the upcoming junior World Cups. (PTI)