File photo of Dilip Tirkey.© AFP
Newly-elected Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey on Sunday said one of his priorities will be to promote hockey at the grassroots level by setting up more artificial turfs in states like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. His immediate priority though is the men’s World Cup to be held in Odisha in January next year. “States like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and cities like Mumbai and Bhopal are crucial. I will go to these places and look to develop the game from the grassroots level. We need more artificial turfs in these places to groom talent,” Tirkey said.
On his election as head of Indian hockey, Tirkey said, “As a player, I worked hard and represented the country in the Olympics and other major international tournaments. Now, I have been entrusted with a new challenge.
“There are a lot of expectations and my immediate priority is the World Cup in Odisha from January 13 next year,” he said in a release.
Regarded one of world hockey’s finest defenders during his playing days, the HI chief said the 36th National Games in Gujarat will unearth new talent.
“Indian hockey is in revival mode. Youngsters are taking it in large numbers once again and the National Games could well give the final push that the sport needs,” he said.
“As only the top eight men’s and women’s teams will be in competition, hockey will be of the highest quality. Young players can showcase their talent and hope to get into national reckoning,” he stated, suggesting that the selectors would be in attendance.
Hockey action will begin in Rajkot on October 2.
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