Hockey survives Olympic elimination, for now
The fact that hockey managed to remain among the 25 core Olympic disciplines is a relief to the hockey fraternity, but they will worry that it came down to that stage. “I’m shocked that it came down to that,” said International Hockey Federation president Leandro Negre. “In fact, many officials from the IOC too were surprised. Hockey is an Olympic sport in the true sense. The attendances at London were excellent, the TV coverage was better than many other sports. Once I get the full report, I will be able to say what went against us.”
Hockey has come under IOC scrutiny in the past, when concerns were raised over its popularity when compared with other disciplines. The IOC had highlighted three key areas — spectator interest, broadcast quality and viewership, and the number of countries affiliated to the FIH. Negre said the sport has made progress in dealing with these issues. “These were the concerns addressed by the IOC around six years ago. Back then, we had less than 100 affiliated countries but now the number has increased to around 130. Television coverage has improved tremendously too. We don’t know where we are lacking this time,” said Negre.
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