Bhubaneswar: The International Hockey Federation (FIH), world governing body for hockey, has appointed officials in various capacities for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar – Rourkela. The FIH announced its decision on Monday.
Hockey India congratulated Sonia Bathla, Col (Dr) Bibhu Kalyan Nayak, Raghu Prasad, and Javed Shaikh on being appointed as the officials in various capacities for the tournament.
Congratulating the four Indian officials on their appointment, Gyanendro Nigombam, President, Hockey India said, “I congratulate Sonia Bathla, Col (Dr) Bibhu Nayak, Raghu Prasad, and Javed Shaikh on being appointed by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar – Rourkela.
“It is a matter of great pride for Hockey India that our Officials will represent India at the marquee tournament in 2023. I wish all the four, my best wishes on their endeavours,” he added.
Sonia Bathla will be the lone woman official from India to have been appointed by the FIH as the Technical Official for the prestigious quadrennial tournament. Bathla, who is a part of Delhi Hockey, and started her career in 2010, said that she feels proud of the appointment by the FIH.
“I look forward to doing my duties to the best of my abilities in this prestigious event. It is fantastic that Hockey India has promoted women officials over these years and have given us several opportunities to equip ourselves with knowledge and the know-how of international standards through their regular clinics and workshops. I feel, this collective effort by Hockey India has today resulted in many officials from India being appointed for major international events,” she said.
Col (Dr.) Bibhu Kalyan Nayak, an expert in Sports Traumatology and Sports and Exercise Physiology, who previously held the position of the Chair of FIH Health and Safety Committee by the FIH Executive Board recently, also expressed his pleasure for the appointment as the Medical Officer for the coveted event.
“This will be my second time serving as the Medical Officer at a World Cup event in India. I feel proud to be given the opportunity once again, and I understand it is a huge responsibility. I am confident I will do justice to the role,” Nayak said.
Meanwhile umpire Javed Shaikh who officiated at the Tokyo Olympic Games this year said, “I feel honoured to be appointed as one of the Umpires for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar – Rourkela. I was happy to hear the news and I am proud I will be a part of this incredible tournament to be held in India.
“Just like how players need to prepare for the tournament, my job as an umpire too will be cut out and I need to focus on my fitness and speed to bring out my best,” he said.
Over the last decade, Shaikh has umpired at major events such as Commonwealth Games, Asian Games as well as the 2014 Men’s World Cup in Hague, The Netherlands, and was also called up as an Umpire during the 2016 Rio Olympics, and the 2020 Olympics.
Umpire Raghu Prasad who hails from Bengaluru too expressed his excitement over being appointed. He said, “It is a great honour for me to once again be a part of the Umpire panel for another World Cup event. I will continue to put in all the hard work.”
“I have gained experience officiating at the Tokyo Games. I am happy I will get a chance to officiate in World Cup matches once again in Odisha,” he said.
In the last 16 years, Prasad has umpired at major events such as Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, three World Cups, and the Tokyo Olympics.