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Elena Norman Resigns as Hockey India CEO Citing Unpaid Wages, Work Environment

Days after head coach quit, CEO of #HockeyIndia Elena Norman has resigned from her post after 13 years.

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Long-serving CEO of Hockey India, Elena Norman on Tuesday resigned from her post after holding the position for nearly 13 years.

Originally a marketing consultant, Norman stepped down amid ongoing court cases and internal politics in the federation. She expressed feeling "suffocated." Hockey India's president, Dilip Tirkey, mentioned her resignation was due to "unpaid wages and a challenging work environment."

“Absolutely, it was getting tough to deliver in the fight between two factions. The environment was becoming suffocating,” Norman told PTI. 

"There are two factions in Hockey India. There is (President) Dilip Tirkey and I and there is (Secretary) Bholanath Singh, (Executive Director) Cdr. R K Srivastava and (Treasurer) Sekar J Manoharan. There are guys who want power and then there is (HI President) Dilip (Tirkey) who is a nice guy, only after betterment of Indian hockey,” she said.

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During her regime in the top job, the Indian Men and Women's Hockey teams soared to great heights, achieving career-best world rankings as well as a historic feat in the Tokyo Olympic Games where the Indian Men clinched a bronze medal ending a 41-year long medal drought while the women finished at an unprecedented fourth position.

Under her leadership, the Federation hosted two consecutive editions of FIH Men's Hockey World Cup in 2018 and 2023, two FIH Junior Men's World Cup in 2016 and 2021 and also successfully hosted five editions of the Hockey India League, a franchise-based league that catapulted the performance of Indian Men's Hockey Team with youngsters getting to rub shoulders with some of the most elite global hockey stars.

Hockey India, in her tenure, hosted numerous international hockey events including the FIH Champions Trophy, FIH World League Finals in 2015 and 2017, FIH Olympic Qualifiers in 2019 and 2024 as well as the FIH Hockey Pro League home games.

Elena was also at the forefront of bringing women's hockey to limelight, providing them equal facilities as the men's team including cash awards recognising standout performances in international events through the Hockey India Annual Awards.

She was particularly instrumental in the success of the women's team that qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics, a historic feat as the team qualified for the first time and participated in the Olympics after 36 years.

The team also clinched successive Olympic berth in 2019 through the Olympic Qualifiers held in Bhubaneswar.

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The CEO's also spearheaded the launch of Hockey India Coaches Education Pathway, which equipped the domestic coaches with global standards of coaching practices along with various initiatives for the Indian Technical and Match Officials.

Accepting her resignation, Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey said: "I would like to express my gratitude for Elena’s time and dedication. Not only as the President of Hockey India but also as a former player and avid hockey enthusiast, I want to formally acknowledge and extend my sincere gratitude for her remarkable contributions over the last 12-13 years. Her dedication and efforts have played a pivotal role in propelling Hockey India and Indian hockey to the commendable position they hold today. I wish her great success in all her future endeavors."

With inputs from IANS

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