New Delhi, March 4 : Taking no chances, Hockey India (HI) today named Craig Arthur Fulton as the new Chief Coach of the senior national team ahead of the FIH Pro League starting from 10th March at Rourkela.
The 48-year-old South African, with nearly 25 years of coaching experience, will join the national squad at the earliest upon completing formalities.
Earlier this week HI India while announcing 20-member for the Pro -league had named - David John, BJ Cariappa and Shivender Singh- as Interim coaches for the matches against World Champion Germany and world no three Australia
Announcing Fulton's appointment resident, HI president Dilip Tirkey said, "I am very pleased to state that Hockey India has finalised Craig Fulton for the Chief Coach's role with the senior 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 of raising the team's performance in world hockey. I welcome Craig to India and wish him the best."
Interestingly Fulton playing as an attacking midfielder scored a goal to give South Africa 2-0 lead against India at the Athens Olympics. However, Dilip Tirkey led side bounced back to win that pool league match 4-2.
His wife Natalie also played in that Olympics
Reacting to this prestigious appointment, Fulton said, “It is an honour to be appointed in the role of Chief Coach for the Indian team. India has a deep history and legacy of the sport and I look forward to work to taking this forward with the current team which has some very promising talent.”
The Harare (Zimbabwe) born Fulton started as player cum coach of Chelmsfor Club in England and thereafter coached club teams in South Africa.
Fulton has shown exemplary results in his previous roles. His rise to fame started with a stint with the Irish Team as the Head Coach between 2014 to 2018 when the team qualified for the Rio Olympic Games 2016. this was the Irish team's first Olympic qualification in 100 years. This feat also won him the FIH Coach of the Year in 2015.
Following this, he 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 named Belgium Coach of the Year 2023 after training the Royal Racing Club, Brussels - which won the National 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 has played for his home team South Africa at Atlanta Olympics 1996 and Athens Olympics 2004. He has also played at the World Cup and Commonwealth Games