India's Narinder Batra on Saturday became the first non-European President of the International Hockey Federation after he was elected to the top post by an overwhelming margin during the penultimate day of the 45th FIH Congress.
Batra, who is the president of Hockey India, defeated David Balbirnie of Ireland and Australia's Ken Read to become the 12th FIH President -- the first Asian to grab the post in the world body's 92-year-old history.
Batra got 68 votes in his favour while Balbirnie and Read managed 29 and 13 votes respectively.
Meet the new President of the International Hockey Federation #HockeyRevolutionDr. Narinder Batra! 👏 👏 pic.twitter.com/5DOl7XVZuA— FIH (@FIH_Hockey) November 12, 2016
Batra's four-year tenure begins immediately, which means he will have to relinquish Hockey India President's post with immediate effect.
He also is the first Indian to be elected as chief of an Olympic Sport's international governing body.
Batra's win means the power centre of the sport will now move to Asia from Europe, which had been ruling international hockey for decades.
The 59-year old Batra, who became president of Hockey India in October 2014 after serving as its secretary, succeeds Spaniard Leandro Negre, who has been the FIH chief since 2008.
Batra also finds himself in a select band of Indian sports administrators to have led world federations, most notable among them were ICC President Jagmohan Dalmiya and Sharad Pawar.
Among other cricket administrators, N Srinivasan became the first-ever ICC chairman while Shashank Manohar succeeded him as first elected chairman of the world cricket body.
Others who have headed world federations were N Ramachandran (President of World Squash Federation) and Janardhan Singh Gehlot (President of International Kabaddi Federation).
Batra is credited to have changed the fortune of Indian hockey by bringing in money to the sport via sponsors, courtesy his strong business acumen.
He turned India into the epicentre of world hockey and made Indian players financially independent by creating a successful IPL-style Hockey India League, which will enter its fifth season next year.
Batra also brought international hockey to India and ensured that the country gets to host a major international tournament every year in the last four years.
According to reports, under Batra's leadership Hockey India's income has grown from USD 500,000 to USD 14 million over the last six-year period.
He has had his share of controversies during his term at Hockey India too, the most recent being the firing of coach Paul van Ass, where the latter accused Batra of barging into his team meeting.
Tributes poured in from the hockey community for Batra:
Congrats Dr. Narinder Batra. First Indian to be elected President of International Hockey Federation. What an achievement!! @TheHockeyIndia— Viren Rasquinha (@virenrasquinha) November 12, 2016
Congratulations Dr. Batra, President of FIH!!— Roelant Oltmans (@OltmansOltmans) November 12, 2016
With PTI inputs