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Hockey chiefs target Rio Olympic goal

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Iain Lewers helped England to a 2-0 victory against India in the World Hockey League

Iain Lewers helped England to a 2-0 victory against India in the World Hockey League

Bongarts/Getty Images

Iain Lewers helped England to a 2-0 victory against India in the World Hockey League

The Irish Hockey Union has outlined its objectives for the next four years.

And highest on their agenda is to have their international teams competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2018 World Cup finals in India.

As part of the four-year strategy the governing body also plans to examine the viability of a National Centre of Excellence and increase the number of players participating in the sport by 20 per cent.

"We have seen significant growth in investment and human resources in the sport over the last number of years," says the report.

"To continue to move forward we need to deliver a programme that is progressively self-sufficient.

"Hockey is currently underpinned by a volunteer ethos allied to a professional staff that has brought it to its current status. In order that we maintain the growth, it is imperative that we retain and build on the strong structures we have in place."

Altogether there are eight components in their key strategic goals. They are:

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1. Develop a fit for purpose governing body by continuing to set and maintain standards that ensure appropriate levels of governance to protect all stakeholders.

2. Promote, adapt and develop our sport to ensure we reach our target of a 20 per cent growth in participation by 2018.

3. Provide a pathway to identify talented players, enabling them to fulfil their potential and to compete at the highest level

4. Investigate the viability of a National Centre of Excellence and what it will bring to the sport.

5. Continue to promote coach education to ensure coaches have the greatest opportunities to excel.

6. Provide development and support to umpires and technical officials to ensure participation to the highest standards.

7. Improve communication between all stakeholders, both internal and external.

8. Develop a fundraising and sponsorship strategy that supports all of the strategic goals and helps secure the future of the sport.

Meanwhile Ulstermen Iain Lewers and Mark Gleghorne made a 2-0 winning start with England against hosts India in the World League finals in New Delhi. Adam Dixon scored twice from penalty corners.

Their next game is this evening against Olympic champions Germany who crushed New Zealand 6-1. In the other pool Australia beat Belgium 3-2 while Argentina shocked Netherlands 5-2.

Lewers was outstanding in the England defence while Gleghorne worked tirelessly upfront.

After this tournament Lewers will stay on in the country to feature for the Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the India Hockey League.


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