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IOC vote a wake-up call for hockey: FIH president

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Leandro Negre admitted that International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision to leave out wrestling from core sports for the 2020 Games was a rude shock but it has served as a wake cup call for hockey bosses.

"What happened in the IOC executive board was a rude shock for all of us. It was something we were not expecting," Negre told reporters on the sidelines of the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 here Thursday.

While the axe fell on wrestling, hockey was also in the danger zone of being left out from the 2020 Games but survived in voting at the IOC executive committee meeting in Zurich this month.

The Spaniard, however, said that hockey's future was safe.

"The hockey tournament was a success in the London Games in terms of crowd and finance. But the IOC vote was a wake-up call for us. We believe that hockey is very strong in the Olympics, but we need to see how we can make it better," Negre said.

"The decision in Lausanne was more to do with procedure and even the people at IOC were surprised by the outcome. The final report in this matter has not been finalised yet," he added.

Negre said the world body could not afford to get complacent and has to find out ways to expand the game.

"We are in the 2016 and 2020 Olympics. But the fact that the IOC is looking at the status of various sports is good for us. We are taking it in a positive way. It tells us where we are and ensures we are not slipping," the Spaniard said.

Asked what FIH was doing to popularize the game in other countries, Negre said: "We are giving more responsibilities to the continental bodies. They are now in charge of developing the game in the continents. We have also asked all the continental bodies to appoint a full time CEO, because the sport has to be run professionally."

Negre said he has had talks with Hockey India (HI) secretary general Narinder Batra to have a tournament involving Pakistan in Bangladesh.

"The sport has huge potential in Bangladesh. I did discuss with Mr.Batra the possibilities of having a tournament involving India and Pakistan in Bangladesh," he said.

Indo Asian News Service

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