Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Newly-appointed Indian men’s hockey team chief coach Craig Fulton arrived in India on Friday morning. The 48-year-old South African landed in New Delhi where he met Hockey India (HI) officials.

The ongoing national coaching camp is being held at Sports Authority of India (SAI), Bengaluru. Fulton will fly down there this evening.

Fulton, who was named the chief coach of the team by Hockey India in March 2023, comes with nearly 25 years of coaching experience. He has achieved many milestones during his association with the Irish men’s team and reigning Olympic Champions Belgium. His rise to fame started during a stint with the Irish team as the head coach between 2014 and 2018 when the team qualified for the Rio Olympic Games 2016. This was the Irish team’s first Olympic qualification in 100 years. This historic feat also won him the FIH coach of the year in 2015. 

He has also worked as the assistant coach with the reigning Olympic Champions Belgium, where the Belgium team won the gold medal in Tokyo. He was also part of the Belgian coaching staff when the team lifted the World title in 2018, in Bhubaneswar. He was also named Belgium coach of the year 2023 after coaching the Belgium club which won the Belgium League. 

Fulton’s first assignment with the team will be FIH Men’s Hockey Pro League 2022-2023 in Europe where India will take on Belgium, Great Britain, Netherlands, and Argentina in the remaining season of the tournament. 

On his arrival in India, Fulton said, “I am really excited to be here finally. I am looking forward to meet the squad tomorrow. We don’t have much time because the first FIH Hockey Men’s Pro League 2022-23 games are only just over three weeks away. There will be lot of hockey in the next few months in the build-up to the Asian Games 2023. So, I am really excited.” 

Meanwhile, Indian captain Harmanpreet Singh said that Fulton’s arrival will instill a new sense of enthusiasm and excitement in the team ahead of the FIH Men’s Hockey Pro League 2022-2023. 

“We are looking forward to play under the guidance of our new chief coach Fulton. His arrival ahead of FIH Men’s Hockey Pro League matches in Europe is a confidence booster for us. The team will continue to focus on its strength and work on putting up a good show in the upcoming tournaments,” said Harmanpreet.