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D-2 with Roshan : ‘Underwater hockey will soon be more than just a recreational sport’

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Two days before the announcement of the vote concerning the new format of the world championships, Roshan Babu Balakrishnan, president of the Malaysian underwater hockey federation, talks about his country’s proposal and his hopes.

In 2019, we discovered the Malaysian national team during the Sea Games. Since then, underwater hockey has reached a new level by doubling its number of players, from 26 to 55. Thanks to a collaboration with the National Olympic Academy, the Malaysian team is now much better prepared for the next international events. ‘We had only had 6 months to train before the Sea Games so it was difficult against  teams like Singapore and the Philippines‘. With the current system, Roshan feels that his team is not yet ready to go to a world championship. ‘If the Master championships continue to be held at the same time as the Elites, we will lose the players who want to participate in both competitions‘. However, a change of structure could speed up this process. One of Malaysia’s priorities is therefore to separate the Elite and Masters world championships, as France has also suggested. Despite the fact that the establishment of a world championship for non-qualified countries is not part of Malaysia’s proposals, Roshan does not disagree with this suggestion. ‘It offers a chance for some countries to win something.’

Giving a new boost to underwater hockey

Where the Malaysian proposal is new is that it is the only one to consider a 3×3 world championship which would take place in alternation with the classic world championships and which would also have qualification phases. The sport would totally change with new perspectives since 3×3 and 6×6 would have the same number of international competitions. ‘It would also make it possible to maintain an international dimension with a world championship every two years. It’s like football and futsal, it’s different but it helps to develop the sport more quickly‘.

This bold request could well change the face of the underwater hockey world if it is voted. As David Teiga said, hockey is an amateur sport. However, with the help of the country’s sports authorities, Malaysia is tending to professionalise it more and more. According to Roshan, ‘Underwater hockey will soon be more than just a recreational sport‘. It remains to be seen whether such changes are really realistic …

 

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  1. Pingback: J-2 avec Roshan : “Le hockey subaquatique ne sera bientôt plus uniquement qu’un sport de loisir” – UWH News – Le média du Hockey Subaquatique

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