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Hero Honda title sponsor for 2010 hockey World Cup

July 27, 2009 17:37 IST

Hero Honda Motors Ltd, the world's largest two-wheeler manufacturer, has been named the title sponsor for the 2010 FIH men's hockey World Cup, to be held in Delhi in March.

The announcement was made at a glittering ceremony on Monday, in the presence of International Hockey Federation president Leandro Negre, Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi, Hockey India president A K Mattoo and the 1975 World Cup-winning members of the Indian team.

Negre said the mega event will provide eight-time Olympic champions India the perfect platform to revive past glory.

"The World Cup is the most important event in the game of hockey and we want to showcase before the entire world that the FIH can hold a truly mesmerising and beautiful event," Negre said.

"For global development of hockey, it is important that India should come up and play to its potential. The FIH hopes that hosting the 2010 World Cup will give a tremendous boost to Indian hockey.

"I have been constantly travelling throughout the world and I must say many teams are eagerly waiting to be a part of the World Cup. Some of the teams have already qualified but qualifying tournaments are going on," he added.

Hockey India president Mattoo said 2010 would be a landmark year in the history of Indian hockey for the sheer magnitude of the event.

"Hockey India is proud to be associated with FIH in hosting the 12th men's hockey World Cup. We have taken the right step towards the revival of the game," Mattoo said, on the occasion, which also witnessed the unveiling of the gold and silver plated World Cup trophy.

"The year 2010 will be a milestone for Indian hockey because of the World Cup and Commonwealth Games. It's for the second time India has been given the honour to host the hockey World Cup," he added.

The only time India hosted the hockey World Cup was way back in 1982, in Mumbai, where arch-rivals Pakistan emerged champions.

Hero Honda Managing Director Pawan Munjal said although hockey went through many ups and downs in the last decade, the national game still continues to be an integral part of India's sporting tradition.

"Despite India being a cricket-frenzy nation, the game of hockey has managed to regain its identity. Hockey is not just a game; it's a very important part of our history and sporting tradition," he said.

"The World Cup will help revitalise the public interest in the game," he added.

Meanwhile, IOA president Kalmadi said the newly-formed Hockey India is determined to form a democratically elected body, with the men's and women's federations under one roof before the World Cup, a mandatory clause put forth by the FIH.

"We are duty bound to bring up the standard of hockey in India. We have a difficult task at hand to merge men and women's hockey at the state level but it is a challenge and we are certain to hold elections within the stipulated six month's time," Kalmadi said.

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