Will an Indian make the new FIH chief?
Probing Eye
Of nine Olympic gold medals India has won in last 120 years, eight have come from hockey. This is the sport that has given India some standing in the world of sports.But looking back no Indian has ever headed the International Hockey Federation (FIH). Later this year, on November 12, the FIH will have an election meeting in which five new members of the Executive Board are to be elected.
The present FIH chief, Leandro Negre of Spain, will be leaving the office for a new incumbent. Among the nominations received are of Ken Read (Australia), Narendra Batra (India) and David Balbimie (Ireland). Narendra Batra has two more years to go as Executive Board member. In case he is elected as the President of the FIH, the FIH will have to elect five new EB members.
Ashwani Kumar and MAM Ramaswamy had been the only Indians to be elected Vice-Presidents of the FIH. One of their successors KPS Gill unsuccessfully contested for the post of Vice-President of FIH. Hardial Singh Kular, who represented Kenya, remained Vice-President of the FIH. For a long time, Raja Azlan Shah of Malaysia represented Asia on the Board by remaining Vice-President of the FIH.
The FIH meeting to be held in Dubai is expected to be high voltage meeting. Asia has never been to the top post of the FIH. Immediate past Presidents of the FIH — Rene Frank, Etienne Glichitch, Juan Antonio Calzado, Els van Breda Vriesman and Leandro Negre been from Europe.
Two of the five Executive Board members — Jan Albans (Netherlands) and Qasim Zia (Pakistan) — have decided not to seek re-election. Of the remaining three, Narendra Batra has already staked his claim for the top post. Mary Cicinell (Canada) and Sue Catton (England) want another term. 
Who is elected to the Board is not important for India. All that matters is candidature of Narendra Batra. The FIH had decided to set up its headquarters in Dubai. Of late Indian team has been performing little better in international competitions. It made the quarter-final grade in the just concluded Rio Olympic games.
Besides India has held several FIH events in the recent past, including the World Hockey League finals in Raipur. India also successfully hosted the 2010 World Cup and in December this year will conduct the Junior World Cup in Lucknow.So all eyes and hopes on Narendra Batra to get India the position in the FIH it richly deserves.