New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) Hockey India on Friday announced the appointment of Craig Fulton as the new Chief Coach of the Indian men’s hockey team ahead of their home matches in the FIH Hockey Pro League, starting from March 10.
The 48-year-old South African, with nearly 25 years of coaching experience, will join the team at the earliest upon completing formalities, Hockey India said in a release.
Fulton has shown exemplary results in his previous roles. His rise to fame started with a stint with the Irish men’s team as the head coach between 2014 to 2018 when the team qualified for the Rio Olympic Games 2016, their first Olympic qualification in 100 years. This historic feat also won him the FIH Coach of the Year in 2015.
He worked as the Assistant Coach with the reigning Olympic Champions Belgium, where the team won the gold medal in Tokyo. He was also part of the Belgian coaching Staff when the team lifted the World Cup in 2018, in Bhubaneswar.
The 48-year-old was named Belgium Coach of the Year 2023 after coaching the Belgium club which won the Belgium League. He has also been a part of the Belgium national team’s rise in world hockey, taking the team to World No 3 in 2023 from World No.5 in 2018.
In his illustrious career as a hockey player with the South African squad, Fulton has 195 international caps over a span of 10 years playing international hockey. He played for his home team South Africa at Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and Athens Olympics in 2004. He has also played at the World Cup and Commonwealth Games.
Speaking on Fulton’s appointment as Chief Coach’s role, Hockey India president Dr Dilip Tirkey said: “I am very pleased to state that Hockey India has finalised Craig Fulton for the Chief Coach’s role with the Indian Men’s Hockey team.
“I have had the honour of playing against him and now I look forward to closely working with him in this new phase for the Men’s Hockey team. He comes with tremendous experience in coaching and his work ethic induces confidence in raising the team’s performance in world hockey. I welcome Craig to India and wish him the best.”
Earlier, following the conclusion of FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023, where team India finished a disappointing joint-9th, Graham Reid has tendered his resignation from his chief coach position.
Reid had taken over as chief coach of the Indian men’s team in April 2019 and his initial tenure was till August 2020 but the contract period was extended after the Tokyo Olympics were postponed for a year.
Reid and his team of support staff have been part of the Indian Team’s historic bronze medal-winning feat at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, silver at the Commonwealth Games in 2022, as well as securing third place in the FIH Hockey Pro League season in 2021/22.