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FIH Congress in Marrakech
The development and expansion of Masters (IMHA) and Grand Masters (WGMA) on a global scale within the last decade has been acknowledged and recognised by FIH. At the FIH Congress held in Marrakech from 30th – 2nd November, the two new Presidents, Wim van Noortwijk (NED) of WGMA and Glenn Paton (SCO) of IMHA were given the opportunity to make a 10 minute presentation with slides to the Congress, a presentation which was well received by the National Delegates, and appreciated by Leandro Negre, FIH President.
Particular thanks and acknowledgement were made by FIH to the work of the immediate past Presidents, Peter Child (WGMA 11 years) and Ben Rea (IMHA 7 years), who have steered Masters Hockey over significant periods since the inception of both organisations. These were also present, having been personally invited to Marrakesh by FIH.
In appreciation of their invaluable support, Peter Child and Ben Rea were awarded with the Diploma of Merit “for distinguished services rendered to the FIH and to Hockey”, presented to them by H.R.H. Prince Abdullah Shah of Malaysia, a member of the FIH Executive Board.
It was noted that the WGMA supports the development of Grand Masters Hockey and organises international events with currently 18 member countries in four age groups: 60+, 65+, 70+, 75+ (including since 2014 Women’s 60+).
The IMHA supports the development of Masters Hockey and organises international events with currently 25 member countries in five age groups: 35+, 40+, 45+, 50+, 55+, (to 59) (including Women’s 35+ and 45+).
The WGMA staged their World Cup 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands alongside the FIH Rabobank World Cup with 56 international teams, 3 associate teams and 1,050 players over the age of 60 taking part, a 37% increase on the 2012 World Cups in England.
The IMHA World Cup was also staged at this time in Rotterdam, Netherlands welcoming 58 teams and 1,044 players between the ages of 40 and 59, a 38% increase on the 2012 World Cups in England.
Additionally, the first ever international matches and events for men’s 75+ and women’s 60+ were held in 2014; more people want to carry on playing hockey for longer.
FIH are also encouraging their member National Associations to give their fullest support to the development of masters hockey in their own countries.
Looking ahead, plans are already progressing well for the Masters European Cups alongside the EuroHockey Championships in London in 2015, the 3rd GM Asian Cup in Kuala Lumpur in October 2015, and for the Masters World Cups in Australia in 2016 at Newcastle (WGMA) and and Canberra (IMHA).