Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey is confident that Indian hockey is in revival mode. Days after winning the Hockey India elections and taking over from the Committee of Administrators (CoA), Dilip Tirkey has his priorities in place.
Speaking ahead of the 36th National Games, scheduled to be held in Gujarat, Dilip Tirkey said the Games will unearth many talented players.
Hockey matches at the National Games 2022 will begin in Rajkot on October 2.
"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. As only the top eight men's and women's teams will be in the competition, hockey will be of the highest quality. Young players can showcase their talent and hope to get into a national reckoning."
The Olympian said Hockey India selectors would also be in attendance at the National Games, giving youngsters a chance to impress the selectors and stake claim for a national camp berth.
Priorities in place for Dilip Tirkey
Dilip Tirkey's appointment as Hockey India president comes at a time when the calendar is packed.
The former ace defender's goal is to promote hockey in a big way in places where the game was once very popular.
"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 turf in these places to groom talent." .
Tirkey revealed that he also plans to revive the Hockey India League, last played in 2017.
"It is a very important tournament. We are looking for an international window and will have talks with FIH officials on this."
Honor to lead hockey in India: Dilip Tirkey
Speaking about his appointment as Hockey India president, Dilip Tirkey said it was a huge honor.
"It is an honor to lead a body that has such a rich history. I'm happy that the men's team won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. I hope it gives the necessary boost to the sport. We have to look for ways to raise our game."
"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 starting January 13 next year."
Regarded as one of world hockey's finest defenders during his playing days, the Hockey India chief understands the need for drag-flick specialists and brave goalkeepers.
"Modern hockey is all about penalty corners. We have to unearth and groom specialists who can score off penalty corners and a good set of goalkeepers."