Saturday, February 24, 2024

Hockey 5s: 11-a-side format remains the pinnacle of the game – Batra

Narinder Batra has seemingly shied away from promoting the new format of Hockey 5s as a potential Olympic sport.

In his notes to the media ahead of the launch of the shorter and faster” outdoor format in Lausanne this weekend, Batra said that the 11-a-side format “will always remain the absolute pinnacle of our sport”.

Last May, Batra stated that it was his “dream” to see Hockey 5s in the Olympics, following the sport’s inclusion and popularity at the Youth Olympics.

Batra has come under fire over the last week following his removal as India Olympic Association president after the Delhi High Court overthrew his position of Life Member in Hockey India.

Batra said he wouldn’t run as IOA president for a second term soon after the decision, outlining in a statement that he would now focus on his FIH presidency and the promotion of Hockey 5s and the Nations Cup later this year.

“The sport of hockey has a long and historic association with the Olympic Games, having first been on the programme at London 1908 and having been a permanent fixture since Antwerp 1928,” he said.

While the 11-a-side format will always remain the absolute pinnacle of our sport, the early successes of Hockey5s – both as a high-octane spectator sport and as a development tool to grow hockey on a global level – makes us utterly determined to maximise the opportunities provided by this short-form version of our game.”

While the 11-a-side format is safe for Paris 2024, there is yet to be an announcement on the programme make-up for Los Angeles 2028. Environmental concerns, including water, could have an impact while LA chiefs could favour a shortened format.

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