Saturday, November 3, 2012
TENGKU Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah sailed away with a strong win to become the second Malaysian to be appointed to the Executive Board of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) yesterday.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president received the strongest mandate from the 84 delegates when he garnered the highest vote of 67.
Incumbent Jans Albers of the Netherlands came in second with a distant count of 52 votes while another incumbent Stephen Abel of Germany was knocked out with only 21 votes while Sergey Chechenkov of Russia received the lowest count of 12 votes.
And with Tengku Abdullah's inclusion, Asia now has three representatives in Sultan Azlan Shah, the first Malaysian to be elected into the Executive Board, and Qasim Zia of Pakistan.
"This is a reckoning moment for not only Malaysian hockey, but also Asia as a whole, and my immediate plan is to re-group our Asian brothers and formulate a plan to get all of us back to the top bracket of hockey playing nations like we used to be," said Tengku Abdullah who is also the FA of Malaysia deputy-president and vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation.
FIH president Leandro Negre also congratulated Tengku Abdullah: "I would like to congratulate Tengku Abdullah and all the other winners today, and now that they are in the FIH, we will give them specific duties to perform and elevate the sport further."
Tengku Abdullah also said he will be looking into the bid paper for the 2018 World Cup, as there are many new requirements that needs to be studied first before a decision is taken.
"We would like to host the 2018 World Cup, but now with 16 teams (instead of the normal 12) and also many new requirements that the FIH have included in the bidding paper, the MHC will have a further read and hold discussions with other parties (Sports Ministry) before making a concrete stand on the matter," said Tengku Abdullah.
And the MHC have the backing of Prime Minister Datuk Sri Najib Tun Razak, who said during the FIH dinner on Friday night that his support is with hockey as the sport has the potential to win medals at the international level.
Another of Tengku Abdullah's immediate concern is to help increase the global viewership of the sport.
"It is no use if the FIH keep hosting big tournaments but it is only watched by people from a small group of countries in the world. I would like to help make the audience base wider, once I get my bearing around the Executive Board members," said Tengku Abdullah.
The first meeting of the FIH Executive Board would be held today, but it is only a formality to introduce the new members and get the ball rolling.