With the inaugural FIH Hockey5s World Cup underway in Muscat, Oman, FIH President Tayyab Ikram addressed the media in a press conference along with Oman Hockey Association chairman, Dr Marwan Juma al Juma, answering queries on the various aspects of the World Cup, as well as the future of international hockey across its various formats.
Before opening the floor to the journalists, speaking about the inaugural edition of the FIH Hockey5s World Cup, President Ikram, on behalf of the global hockey family, thanked the sultanate of Oman and Sultan Haitham bin Tariq for their support in making the tournament the success it has already proved to be in its very first edition.
He also thanked the Oman Hockey Association and its chairman Dr Marwan Juma al Juma, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth (MCSY) and His Highness Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham al Said for making the dream of an FIH Hockey5s World Cup a reality.
“The feedback from all the athletes that have participated in the Hockey5s World Cup as well as the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers, which was also hosted in Muscat earlier this month, has been overwhelmingly positive. I congratulate the Oman Hockey Association on the smart creation of the stadium and adjacent infrastructure which has been built in a record time, while maintaining the highest international standards.”
“I am thrilled to see the level of competition at this World Cup, with teams from all around the world writing exciting new stories in hockey. I am also thankful to all our athletes, who are the absolute best our sport has to offer and who have come from all parts of the world to make this event such a success.”
Oman Hockey Association chairman, Dr Marwan also addressed the media and made note of the work that had gone on behind the scenes to make the World Cup a possibility, “Ever since we won the right to host the inaugural edition of the FIH Hockey5s World Cup, we have been working really hard to make this the best event we could. A special thanks to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth (MCSY) and His Highness Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham al Said, for all the assistance from the very beggining. It has been great to see the level of competition at this World Cup with new nations competing at a high level against traditionally strong hockey teams.”
Thereafter, President Ikram took questions from the media members about various aspects of the World Cup and hockey in general.
On new sustainability initiatives introduced at the FIH Hockey5s World Cup
“Sustainability of hockey is a big priority for FIH. We are working closely with the International Olympic Committee who are aiding us in meeting the larger sustainability guideline of the United Nations, and we are taking major steps towards already achieving that goal in the present, not just in the future.”
“From the Rio Olympics in 2016 to Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and Paris Olympics in 2024, the aim has been to reduce the usage of water in hockey, keeping in mind long term sustainability of sport, and we have been successful in this venture. The Hockey5s World Cup has introduced our new dry turf that requires no use of water, and instead relies on a wet ball, named ‘Rewetta’, that requires a fraction of the water as compared to the past.”
On the National Associations Summit
“The National Associations Summit, which was one of my earliest initiatives as FIH President, is open to all our member associations, irrespective of whether they are considered a big hockey nation or a relatively smaller one. The NA Summit held in Muscat two days ago, was attended in person by members of 35 different National Associations. There was immense knowledge sharing that took place throughout the NA Summit, focused on important areas such as development strategies and digital activations, which were shared with the member associations, that will help them in developing their national programs and raise the profile of hockey in their country. A future roadmap on technology and sustainability was also discussed with the members in attendance that gave them a clear design on how hockey was moving towards a sustainable future and reducing the infrastructural requirements through the use of technology. This will be particularly useful to the new nations that are trying to improve their hockey programs and aiming to compete at the top of international hockey in various formats.”
On the future of Hockey5s
“It is a great delight for all of us to see the so-called ‘smaller nations’ that are new to hockey bridging the gap to the traditional powerhouses of hockey at this World Cup. It shows that Hockey5s is achieving its primary objective of making hockey accessible on a large scale throughout the world.”
“I am also delighted to announce that at the upcoming SouthEast Asian Games in Thailand we will also have competition in the Hockey5s format in addition to our 11-a-side hockey and indoor hockey competitions. There are also ongoing conversations with the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games to add Hockey5s into the program along with Indoor Hockey, which had previously featured in the 2007 edition of the games in Macau.”
On legacy of the new stadium in Muscat
“Legacy of any infrastructure developed for international hockey competitions is always a core subject at FIH. The new stadium built in Oman similarly has a lot of legacy planning that has been done for it. We plan on the stadium becoming a training hub for international teams. For teams flying from Europe to South Asia or Oceania and vice versa for hockey events, Oman and its new stadium will be an ideal spot to train in the build up to the event, making use of these international facilities of the highest standard. The FIH Academy will also work closely with Oman Hockey Association and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth in Oman to develop a hockey program that will make use of the facilities to promote a hockey program for the youth of Oman.”
“We are also planning to make these facilities in Oman as the hub for the development of hockey in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region, which will be very important, given the Asian Games in 2030 will be played in Doha and the 2034 games will be hosted in Saudi Arabia.”