Narinder Batra: 'I will continue association with Indian hockey'

Narinder Batra became the first Indian to head the international federation of an Olympic sport after being voted as the president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) by a majority members at the 45th FIH Congress in Dubai.

"I have done a little bit with Indian hockey, now I wish to make the game grow at the international level as well. You cannot see anything drastic change immediately but the revenues would definitely grow," promised newly-appointed International Hockey Federation president.   -  K. Murali Kumar

As the >new president of International Hockey Federation (FIH), Narinder Batra insists there would be no undue favours for India or Asia. At the same time, he admits that regardless of whether he holds an official post or not, he would continue to be associated with Indian hockey in future. He spoke to Sportstar soon after his election in Dubai:

Question: How does it feel to be the first Indian head of an Olympic sport?

Answer: It's humbling to know that people trust me, it's an honour to put India on the world sporting administration map and it's a huge responsibility to make sure that as an Indian, I do better than ever before and make the country proud. You have to be a nutcase in India to leave cricket and concentrate on hockey administration but I love the game.

What made you take the plunge and move from domestic to international hockey administration?

Actually I hadn't planned this. (Outgoing president) Leandro Negre has done good work with the FIH and my support was with him. But because he could not contest a third term due to the constitution of the federation, I decided to try my hand. I have tried my bit to make Indian hockey prosperous and strong. Now it's time to step up.

As the FIH president, what would be your first plan of action?

I have some ideas specially about the marketing and popularisation of the sport. I feel hockey has a lot of potential that needs to be harnessed properly. I have done a little bit with Indian hockey, now I wish to make the game grow at the international level as well. You cannot see anything drastic change immediately but the revenues would definitely grow.

What happens to the Hockey India president's post now?

I have to relinquish that, no doubt. But I think Indian hockey is now in a good place and it would continue to grow in profile. The HI constitution provides for elevation of someone from within the Board the presidency after a special general body meeting is called and ratifies the same. There is some time provided for the handover process and I would call the SGM as soon as possible.