By Sardar Khan, Member FIH Communications and Information Technology Committee

China, the hosts of 2008 Olympic Games, appear determined to be recognised as a force in the hockey world.

China are making their intentions clear by having the experts from hockey’s family train their teams and technical officials for the Beijing Olympics.

The development of hockey in China owes a lot to the Macau-based FIH Coaching Manager Tayyab Ikram. Like his predecessor Brig. Atif, Ikram has played a major role in the development of hockey in China.

China recently organised its National Games Hockey tournament in Changzhou and invited one of the Chair of the FIH-Umpiring Committee, Peter von Reth, to help develop the Chinese umpires and technical officials who could be utilised during the Olympics and in years to come.

The Chinese Hockey Association has engaged von Reth as Umpires Manager, along with four neutral FIH-approved umpires, to supervise and train Chinese umpires and technical officials during the Chinese National Games hockey event.

The four umpires that supervised matches in the Chinese National Games belong to the FIH World Panel. Amarjeet Singh (Malaysia), David Gentles (Australia), John Wright (South Africa) and Faiz Muhammad (Pakistan) umpired matches and helped to train Chinese umpires during the tournament.

Having experts involved on a number of levels shows China is determined to leave a mark on international hockey.

By hosting the men’s World Cup Qualifier in April next year, China have also given an indication that they mean business and are keen to qualify for the 2006 BDO Hockey World Cup and to perform well in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.