Yet another former sportsperson will head a prominent national sports federation (NSF) in India. If it was ex-India goalkeeper Kalyan Chaubey who was named the president of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) earlier this month, Friday saw three-time Olympian Dilip Tirkey take charge of the Hockey India (HI) as its new chief after being elected to the top post unopposed.

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Hockey Jharkhand’s president and ex-HI chief Narinder Batra loyalist, Bhola Nath Singh, was elected the secretary general and Hockey Tamil Nadu’s chief Sekar J Manoharan treasurer.

With the elections, the mandate of the three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) has also come to an end. The CoA was headed by Justice (retd) Anil R Dave as its chairman, with Dr. SY Quraishi and Zafar Iqbal as the other two members.

The Delhi High Court had, on May 25, placed HI under the CoA’s rule on a petition filed by Olympian and hockey World Cup winner Aslam Sher Khan, who had alleged that HI violated the sports code by creating posts like ‘life member’, ‘life president’ and ‘CEO’ to benefit Batra and Elena Norman.

Tirkey is the country’s most capped player with 412 international appearances. He is said to be close to Odisha’s long-serving chief minister Naveen Patnaik and is a former Rajya Sabha MP from Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

The player-turned-politician already has gained experience as an able sports administrator, having served as the chairman of the Odisha Hockey Promotion Council and one of the selectors in the HI’s national selection committee.

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By Aakash Malhotra

Poet and a Storyteller