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News 03 May 2014

All the news for Saturday 3 May 2014

‘A different ball game altogether’

CHAMPIONS CHALLENGE 1: Malaysia cannot take Canada lightly despite beating them in group stage


MALAYSIA will square off against Canada again in the Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan today, but it will not be the same as the Group B match where the hosts won 4-3.

This was the consensus by both coaches K. Dharmaraj and Canadian Anthony Farry who felt it would be a different ball game altogether.

“Even though both teams know each other’s strengths as we had played them in the Azlan Shah Cup (won 3-0) as well as in Kuantan, I believe we can’t take previous matches into account because at stake here is a spot in the final as well as a shot at the Champions Trophy ticket,” said Dharmaraj.

Malaysia played superbly against Canada, but lapses as well as a penalty stroke and yellow card to goalkeeper S. Kumar almost cost them the match.

“It was my first international yellow card and I was quite surprised with it as after the match, I watched the video with the coach and saw that it was neither a penalty stroke or a yellow card infringement when I tackled the Canadian forward in the group match.

“But looking ahead, I must again be at my best tomorrow (today) because Canada have some good strikers and their counters are quite sharp,” said Kumar.

In the match against New Zealand in the quarter-finals, Malaysia led 4-1 but were held 4-4 before winning the penalty stroke 3-2.

“It (New Zealand match) was a bruising encounter but my players are capable of giving their best again, and we will not take Canada lightly as we are eyeing the final,” said Dharmaraj.

The other semi-finals will be between South Korea and Ireland, where the Irish are the dark horses.

New Straits Times

Malaysia, Canada look to exploit weaknesses

By S. Ramaguru

Malaysia's Tengku Ahmad Tajudin (centre) goes past two Canadians in the Champions Challenge I group match on April 29, 2014. Malaysia won 4-3. Malaysia will be hoping to repeat that outcome in their semi-final match against Canada. – Bernama Photo

KUANTAN: This will be the sixth meeting between Malaysia and Canada within a two-month period.

Saturday’s encounter will be very significant as the winners go through to the final of the Champions Challenge I hockey tournament.

Both teams want to win and they know that the familiarity between them will prove useful.

Canada coach Anthony Farry said that although they are familiar with each other the main issue will be to find the other team’s weaknesses.

“It is not going to be an easy match. It will be our sixth meeting in less than two months. But this time the stakes are higher.

“Malaysia have done well in the last two matches and we are well aware of their potential. But we do believe that we can win this tie and thus we will go into the game prepared to walk off as winners,” he said.

In the three friendly matches that the two teams played in Malacca before the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Malaysia won two of the matches 6-1 and 5-1 and lost one 3-4.

At the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in March, Malaysia beat Canada 3-0 and in an earlier Group B match here, the Malaysians also triumphed 4-3.

Based on recent records, the Malaysians look to have an advantage, but upsets do happen.

Canadian skipper Scott Tupper said that it is a match that could go all the way. A lot will depend on who has a better reading of the other team’s strengths and weaknesses.

“We are familiar with Malaysia’s game. We will be looking at the videos of those games and the one Malaysia played with New Zealand to look for answers. I am sure we can find something that can be used to our advantage,” he said.

“With (favourites) New Zealand out of the picture for the title, I am sure that all four teams will fancy their chances of winning. But for us, it is one step at a time and, for now, our focus is on Malaysia,” said Tupper.

Canada’s coach Farry added that they want to win the match in the 70 minutes of play and not take it to a penalty shootout.

“Why worry about the shootout. We need to come up with a strategy to beat them in the 70 minutes. We don’t want to go there (shootout),” he added.

The second semi-final match is between Ireland and South Korea.

“We are looking forward to the match as we don’t play against Asian opponents very often. This will be a different style of play that we need to get used to,” said Ireland skipper John Jackson.

The Green Machine reached the top four thanks to a 3-0-shootout victory over European rivals France (2-2 at regulation time). The match winner was goalkeeper David Harte who kept a clean sheet in the one-on-one competition.

The South Koreans are also well aware of Harte’s potential and view him as a world class player.

South Korea coach Shin Seok-kyu said they would not take Ireland for granted although they are ranked 15th in the world.

“Ireland have a strong defence. David Harte is one of the best goalkeepers in the world,” said Seok-kyu.

“But hopefully we can win this match and make the final. The team are playing well and the goals are starting to flow. But at this stage every team have a chance and we must be alert at all times,” he said.

The Star of Malaysia

Time for a tighter defence

By S. Ramaguru

Malaysia's keeper S. Kumar saves a shot from a New Zealand player during the penalty shootout after the teams were tied at 4-4 in regulation time. Malaysia won the shootout 3-2. – Bernama Photo

KUANTAN: Malaysia may have upset the formbook by beating favourites New Zealand in the quarter-finals of the Champions Challenge I hockey tournament but, as they prepare for the semi-final against Canada on Saturday, there are some defensive frailties they’ll need to work on first.

After two defeats in the group phase – losing 3-2 to France and 3-1 to South Korea – the Malaysians regrouped to beat Canada 4-3.

Then, in Thursday’s quarter-finals, they defeated top seeds New Zealand 3-2 in a penalty shootout after the teams were tied at 4-4 in regulation time.

Their first-half performance against the Kiwis was top notch as they took a commanding 4-1 lead.

But the second half was simply atrocious.

Malaysia have now scored eight goals in two matches but they have also conceded seven. That’s not the kind of statistics that makes for good reading.

S. Kumar has been a safe bet between the posts but the backline needs to be more alert to quick counter attacks.

Azlan Misron has done well to galvanise the defence and Faiz Helmi may be a better bet in the sweeper’s role than Kevin Lim.

Kevin has only played four times for Malaysia and still has some way to go to forge a better understanding with the others.

One thing the team need to do is to get the ball out of defence quickly when under pressure rather than slowly building up play.

They have a tendency to get into tight situations, which ultimately see them conceding possession to their opponents.

The better option is to get the ball out by scooping it into their opponents’ half so that the players can regroup.

While the defence is a worry, the mobile forward line – comprising Faizal Saari, Mohd Shahril Saabah, Mohd Rashid Baharom. Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin and Ismail Abu – has been a revelation in this tournament.

They’ve forged a good combination and their speed in attack has been a delight to watch.

The forwards have also done their jobs well, with Shahril being the top scorer with four goals, Tengku Ahmad three, Faizal and Ismail one each.

Malaysia’s other scorers are Azlan Misron and Fitri Saari.

National coach K. Dharmaraj, who is aware of the contrasting performance by the team, said that they should forget about the group win over Canada as “the semi-final will be a different ball game”.

“Each phase of the knockout stage is different ... I’m sure Canada will be looking for revenge against us,” he said.

“They have come through a tough quarter-final match themselves (edging Poland 3-2) and will be out to do better this time.

“But our players are also aware that they need to improve and be more consistent. I’m sure they’ll raise their game against Canada.”

So, with the defence shaky but the forwards in prolific form, let’s hope Malaysia will adopt an attacking game and take the fight to Canada.

The Star of Malaysia

Shahril shines the way for Malaysia

By S. Ramaguru

Mohamed Shahril Saabah (left) and Mohd Fitri Saari during training before the Champions Challenge I began. Shahril scored two goals against Canada on April 29, 2014, and another two in the quarter-final match against New Zealand. – Bernama Photo

KUANTAN: Mohd Shahril Saabah is fast losing his greenhorn tag in only his second tournament with the national senior hockey team.

Instead, the 20-year-old striker is now very much a marked man after emerging as Malaysia’s top scorer with four goals in the Champions Challenge I tournament.

Last December, Shahril helped Malaysia emerge fourth in the Junior World Cup. And he was just as impressive in his first stint with the senior squad during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in March.

On Saturday, Shahril will be earning his 11th cap and he hopes to score to help Malaysia beat Canada in the semi-finals.

He scored two goals against Canada in a group match on Tuesday and another two in the quarter-final match against New Zealand.

Shahril said he will try to keep up his scoring rate, admitting that his priority has always been to learn from all the outings.

“I’m happy to have contributed to our win over New Zealand in the quarter-finals. It was a tough match and I don’t think anyone gave us a chance of winning,” he said.

“But we proved them wrong. We must not stop there. Canada are next and we will have to play harder as they will be looking for revenge.

“For me, the main thing is to learn from each match. In fact, all the players are working hard at their game. I have been given the task of taking the penalty corners for now and I want to keep scoring.”

While forward Faizal Saari has been the main penalty corner taker in the absence of the injured Mohd Razie Rahim, Shahril has stepped forward and showed that he too is capable of taking drag flicks. This is certainly good news for the national team as they have yet another option in set-pieces.

National coach K. Dharmaraj said that although Shahril, one of the drag flickers when he was in the junior team, has yet to be groomed as a flicker he has the hallmarks of a good penalty corner taker.

“I am happy that he has scored some very crucial goals for us. He will have to work harder to establish himself in that particular department,” he said.

The Star of Malaysia

Semi final stage set as Canada takes on host Malaysia in Pool B rematch

The scene couldn’t be set any better heading into the semi final at the 2014 Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan, Malaysia.

After a nearly flawless pool stage for Canada (ranked no.16) was stymied by host Malaysia (ranked no.13), which is the only team to beat the Canadians so far, the red and white have a chance to exact some revenge in Saturday’s semi final.

“We are very much looking forward to the rematch with Malaysia,” says Canadian head coach Anthony Farry. “It's fair to say that we created many opportunities in that match and the loss left a sour taste in our mouth.”

The sour taste didn’t have time to fester though, as Canada’s focus quickly shifted to the quarter final, where they faced world no. 18 Poland.

Poland had two leads in the game, but Canada responded both times, the second of which was in the fifty-sixth minute when Matthew Guest (Calgary, Alb.) tied the game at two.

It was the second time in the tournament Guest tied a game late, the first being in a 3-3 tie with Korea to open the tournament.

“There has never been any doubt from within our group that we have the ability to fight in tough matches,” says Guest. “Against Poland was no different, we went behind twice and it showed a lot of character to come back late in the second half."

Guest has been one of the leaders for Canada up front, where they have shown a keen ability to score in big moments.

“We certainly look for Matt to provide direction up front and one of the reasons he's playing well is that the guys around him are all producing good performances,” adds Farry. “Our group is working hard for each other and that's transferring into results.”

Philip Wright (Vancouver, B.C.) scored the game-winning goal in the sixtieth minute to lift Canada past the Poles and into the semi final versus Malaysia.

In addition to the 4-3 victory for the hosts in the pool stage, the Malaysians defeated Canada 3-1 in March at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh.

“We recognize that they are a quality side and will be extremely tough to beat,” says Farry. “But we are confident in our ability and what we can produce.”

Having secured a finish of fourth place or better, the Canadian Men's National Team has already produced its best result at the Champions Challenge 1 (previous best was sixth place in 2012 in Argentina) and with a victory in the semi final and a berth in the final, would tie its best result ever (second at 1996 Inter Nations Cup in Calgary; second at 1989 Intercontinental Cup in Madison, USA) at a major international event.

Guest and the Canadians are confident they have what it takes to succeed against Malaysia on their home turf.

“There has never been any doubt from within our group that we have the ability to fight in tough matches,” he says. “They are a very fast team and will have a large crowd supporting them on Saturday. I think we will be able to use the energy from the crowd to our advantage and get the win.”

Field Hockey Canada media release

Fire in the belly will pull Investec SA through against feisty Irish in semis


IT'S ALL ABOUT ATTITUDE. Photo: Rodrigo Jaramillo

On the back of a stirring 2-1 win over Scotland in the quarter-finals, the mood in the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team camp is one of quiet confidence as they make final preparations for Saturday’s 3pm (SA time) semi-final against Ireland in the Champions Challenge at Glasgow Green.

“It was a great game for us, the manner in which we played was quite inspirational,” said SA head coach Giles Bonnet Friday. “It’s great to see a new crop of players beginning to establish themselves, it takes time but we see suddenly a new group who are beginning to see opportunities and take their chances.

“What I like is the way the team has bought into a new style of play that is about speed, an aggressive brand in terms of playing direct hockey; going forward, creating a lot of goalscoring opportunities; we created close to 35 goalshots in the last four matches, more than any other side here, so we’re very committed to winning games.”

There was certainly a massive change in the team dynamic against Scotland, also seen in the stirring second half against the USA on day two, which resulted in a 2-1 victory snatched from the jaws of defeat.

The uncertainty, the hesitancy, in Pool B fare was evident in the patchy 1-1 draw with Spain - as well as the 2-2 result against Ireland on day one. It’s almost like the SA girls need to get a bit annoyed, a bit of attitude, before they show their best hockey.

Bonnet is under no illusions: “Ireland are very tough, what they might lack technically, you cannot fault them in terms of mentality. A team that works well together, they are going to be a formidable opponent. But directly after the Scotland win I heard the players saying they’ve got to get that Irish score right.”

Apart from the heartening confidence shown against Scotland, what is exciting was the high energy of the entire team, exemplified by striker Sulette Damons and midfielder Shelley Russell, as well as the manner in which Lisa Deetlefs, in central defence and penalty corner strikes, and Anelle van Deventer in goal are making their presence felt during this tournament.

IT'S ALL ABOUT ATTITUDE. Photo: Rodrigo Jaramillo

SA manager and goalkeeper coach Sheldon Rostron’s hard work is building depth in the stopper department, and the team has the luxury of a double Olympian, Sanani Mangisa - having come back from a career-threatening injury - on the subs’ bench.

“Anelle is physically big, tall, which helps a lot, is well-rounded as a keeper, while Sanani is a fighter who is doing well in training, it’s a step-by-step process,” Rostron said earlier.

Sascoc CEO Tubby Reddy was watching in the grandstand during the Scotland match and it may be a good omen if he can find the time in his busy schedule to take in the semi-final.

If the SA team can play with the same energy and urgency, attack the Irish when in possession and when not, the lasses from the Emerald Isle will be hurried into mistakes, which leaves the likes of Damons and Russell the time and space to counter-attack at speed.

The SA girls were the Bravehearts against the Scots - and the hearts of braves will be needed against the feisty Irish, who shocked tournament favourites and world number eight South Korea 2-1 in the quarter-finals.

It’s an old saying that rings true to this day: Whoever wants it the most is probably going to get it.

Sunday’s bronze medal match is at 4.30pm SA time and the gold medal title match, and a place in the top-tier Champions Trophy, is at 6.45pm SA time.

All the matches enjoy live streaming on the FIH YouTube channel.

Anelle van Deventer, Lisa Deetlefs, Lenise Marais, Marcelle Manson, Marsha Cox (capt), Shelley Russell, Bernie Coston, Tarryn Bright, Dirkie Chamberlain, Sulette Damons, Celia Evans, Sanani Mangisa, Quanita Bobbs, Nicolene Terblanche, Illse Davids, Kelly Madsen, Lilian du Plessis, Kathleen Taylor.

Saturday's semi-finals (SA time): SA vs Ireland (3pm); USA vs Spain (5.15pm).

Sunday's medal matches (SA time) - Bronze: (4.30pm) and Gold: 6.45pm)

* All on FIH You Tube channel (live streaming).

SA Hockey Association media release

2014 Champions Challenge Quarterfinals Spotlight a Brilliant Display of Hockey from Team USA

U.S. Women’s National Team rises above India with a score of 1-0

GLASGOW, Scotland – As the temperatures begin to taper off with billowing gusts of wind, the U.S. Women’s National Team’s pitch performance has only heightened with aggressive attack and methodical field movement. Team USA launched into the first match of crossovers against India with a score of 1-0.

“It was a gritty performance to get the win tonight and I’m pleased with how we stuck to the task to get the result,” said Head Coach Craig Parnham. “Credit to India who played a very good game tonight. We’re now looking forward to the next game against Spain, a team we know very well. It will be another tough battle but very much looking forward to it.”

The entirety of the game was a back-and-forth battle. Not willing to give an inch or take a second to rest, pockets of small precision passing to build up field play ensued into both attacking ends for India and the USA. Despite chances to capitalize, each team was unable to convert corners and breakaways into goals in the first half.

As the game pressed on so did the depth of intensity. India and USA vied with every ounce of energy to break onto the scoreboard. It was only until Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.) took a quick, straight shot that weaved past India’s corner unit to echo off the backboard in the 59th minute mark. The game continued to be a fight of tactical wits to the very last slipping seconds of play however, neither team earned another goal for their respective team. The quarterfinal match ended USA 1, India 0.

“I’m really proud of our team and how we fought through the whole 70 minutes,” said USA striker Kelsey Kolojejchick (Larksville, Pa.). “We didn’t give up when it counted. Our team is focused on the next match where we’ll bring that same kind of fight.”

Pool B play finished positively for Team USA. On the first day of Champions Challenge, the U.S. defeated Spain 3-1. The following day, South Africa took the win over the red, white and blue 1-2. Team USA completed a riveting game against Ireland for their final match of pool play. The U.S. won with a score of 3-0 and secured the top of Pool B.

The U.S. will hit semifinal competition May 3 against Spain at 4:15 p.m. local time, 11:15 a.m. ET.

USFHA media release

Long-list down to twenty-five for Under-18 Men headed to Youth Olympic Games

Vancouver, BC - In preparation for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, to be held in Nanjing, China this August, Field Hockey Canada has released the long-list of twenty-five athletes.  From a comprehensive list of athletes identified from across the country, the Olympic long-list was narrowed down through a series of sessions and camps in both Western and Eastern Canada.  It is from this list that the final nine athletes to compete in the Youth Olympics will be selected.

Canada’s participation in the Youth Olympics was secured by two key components. The first was qualification through the Pan American Youth Hockey Championships, a mission successfully completed in Puerto Rico in February.

The second was to be selected by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) as the team sport of choice to represent Canada in Nanjing. Where nations can send multiple teams to the Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee restricts each nation to one team sport per gender for the Youth Olympics.

"We have the great fortune of working with our Canadian Olympic Committee in sending our young men to Nanjing," says Field Hockey Canada CEO Jeff Sauvé. "It is a great source of pride that we are the team sport of choice, selected by the COC, to represent Canada at the Youth Olympics."

The Youth Olympics features the exciting Hockey 5’s version of field hockey, created by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) for increased excitement and skill.  Field Hockey Canada will be part of sporting history when Hockey 5’s will make its major international debut at the Youth Olympics.

The twenty-five athletes named to the squad will attend a centralized Under-18 National Camp this summer in Vancouver, before nine players and three non-travelling reserves are named to the final roster.

"I am really encouraged by the make-up of the long-list squad," says Under-18 head coach Inderpal Sehmbi. "It bodes well for us heading in to our preparation to have athletes with competitive experience at an international level to handle the rigors of a multi-sport competition.”

“At the same time, we have an excellent crop of athletes who are pushing hard to gain their first international exposure, and at such an exciting event."

Over the last year, athletes from across the country were evaluated by provincial and national staff through their performance at National Championships, various tryout and development camps, and performance at the 2014 Youth Pan American Championships, where Canada won silver to qualify for the Youth Olympics.

“We have far more depth at the Under-18 level across the country than I have seen in years, even going back to when I was a national athlete,” adds Sehmbi. “A number of our players have experience with the junior development squad and our Youth Pan Am team.”

“We work collaboratively as a management team within the Men’s National Program and I would not be surprised if we see a number of those on the long-list with the opportunity to join our Senior Development Squad leading in to the summer.”

Canadian Under-18 Squad





Arshjit (Amrit) Sidhu


Abbotsford, BC

Burnaby Lake FHC

Balraj Panesar


Surrey, BC

United Brothers FHC

Braedon Muldoon


Ottawa, ON

Nepean FHC

Brandon Pereira


Surrey, BC

United Brothers FHC

Christopher McAlpine


Richmond, BC

India FHC

Floyd Mascarenhas


Mississauga, ON

Mississauga FHC

Ganga Singh


Etobicoke, ON


Gavin Bains


Ladner, BC

India FHC

Harbir Sidhu


Victoria, BC

Field Hockey Victoria

Harkirat Anluwalia


Surrey, BC

India FHC

Iqwinder Gill


Surrey, BC

India FHC

Jasmeet Gill


Brampton, ON


Jodhveer Singh


Brampton, ON


Jugraj Kalkat


Mississauga, ON


Kabir Aujla


Surrey, BC

United Brothers FHC

Lyle Fernandes


Mississauga, ON

Mississauga FHC

Lyndon Lemos


Toronto, ON

Toronto Titans

Manvirjot Benipal


Brampton, ON


Michael Brown


Victoria, BC

Field Hockey Victoria

Oliver Ewasechko


Calgary, AB

Saracens FHC

Parmeet Gill


Brampton, ON


Rohan Chopra


Ottawa, ON

Nepean FHC

Sumeet Dhillon


Calgary, AB

Kings XI Field Hockey Academy

Vikram Sandhu


Vancouver, BC

United Brothers FHC

Willian (Liam) Manning


Ottawa, ON

Nepean FHC 

Field Hockey Canada media release

SAI hits back at Walsh for hockey camp comment

NEW DELHI: Sports Authority of India hit back at hockey chief coach Terry Walsh's outburst against holding the camp for World Cup-bound side in sweltering heat, saying that it was the national federation and team management which had decided it.

SAI DG Jiji Thomson said that it was not possible to hold the camp in Bangalore, which is the preferred venue for Walsh due to its cooler climes, because work on relaying of the turf there would take some time.

"It was they (federation and team management) who decided to hold the camp in Delhi. We can't force any federation to hold a camp here or there. We can't make a decision alone," Thomson said.

"When the nation camp was shifted to Delhi from Bangalore last August, everybody knew that the camp for the World Cup bound team will be held in Delhi. Now, why is this sudden outburst from Walsh, we are surprised.

"Moreover, why should Walsh speak out like this instead of Hockey India. They (Hockey India) could have taken up the matter with us but why Walsh?" he asked.

Thomson said that the work of relaying the astro-turf at Bangalore SAI Centre would take a few months more to complete as it needed to follow procedure.

"We can't do anything. We have to follow laid-down procedure. The tender will have to be floated to procure the turf which would cost Rs 2 crore. I think Bangalore pitch would be ready in two or three months.

"The astro-turf in Bhopal is also re-laying and so could not be used. The only other suitable place (considering cooler climatic conditions) for the players could be Shilaroo SAI Centre in Himachal Pradesh but I don't know why they (HI and team management) did not go there," Thomson said.

"There is a good turf in Manipur but there, the problem is about accommodation facilities."

This year's hockey World Cup will be held from May 31 to June 15 at The Hague, Netherlands where maximum temperatures would be between 15-20 degree Celsius.

The Times of India

Pakistan hockey in jeopardy

KARACHI: The participation of the junior hockey team and the senior team in the Youth Olympic Games and the Asian Games, respectively, is in jeopardy as the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has yet to file the requisite documents.

The PHF officials, who were supposed to send the names and complete documentation to Arif Hassan’s Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), have only sent the documents of 15 of the 25 members of the senior team, while even the names of the junior squad have not been filed.

The 2014 Nanjing Summer Youth Olympic Games will take place from August 16 to August 28 and the 2014 Asian Games will be held in Incheon, South Korea from September 19 to October 4. Meanwhile, according to Hassan, the deadline for entry in both the games was April 30.

Hassan is trying his best to get the national teams to compete in the events. “As the vice president of South Asia in the Olympic Council of Asia, I will request the respective event organisers to extend the date of application,” he said.

“It is the only chance for the teams to participate in the events. I am not aware when the PHF decides to send the documents. They have not contacted me till now.”

Meanwhile, PHF Secretary General Rana Mujahid said that he has asked the new players to bring their documents at the camp starting from May 5. The federation will then send complete documents to the POA by May 8.

The Express Tribune

Hockey team to be provided best facilities

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan hockey team head coach Olympian Shahnaz Shaikh met with Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) officials to discuss various issues related to the team’s training camp here at the Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium. Talking to The Nation, Shahnaz said: “Pakistan is the defending champion of Asian Games. We have to establish full scale training camp at the stadium from May 5 which will continue for 4-5 weeks. I have detailed meeting with PSB Deputy DGs Shahidul Islam, Ch Salamat Ali, Agha Amjedullah, Mumtaz Hussain and Malik Imtiaz Hussain while hockey coach Mehmood Aslam Dar was also present there. We discussed in detail facilities being provided to the players including swimming, gym, meal, accommodation and ground and the PSB assured us provision all the best available facilities.

The Nation

A Club's Goal: Field Hockey in Loudoun

For 15-year-old Emma Nugent, field hockey has been her passion for the last eight years.

A freshman at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, she has played the sport with Potomac Field Hockey, and has enjoyed traveling to tournaments around the country for another club team.

Currently, however, Nugent is not able to receive a varsity letter or wear a uniform representing her school, because field hockey is not offered in Loudoun County Public Schools.

“It would mean a lot to be able to play for our school,” Nugent said. “It opens up a lot of doors for college recruitment, and would allow us to have more practices and more bonding with your team. There is a record board in the school for the other sports. It would mean a lot to have field hockey up there as well.”

Potomac Field Hockey club organizers are hoping that will soon change. They have started a change.org petition to add field hockey to Loudoun County Public Schools, and they are hoping their advocacy will raise awareness and gain momentum.

“I feel like it just makes sense,” said Meg Dudek, a field hockey coach and president of Potomac Field Hockey.

When Dudek moved to Ashburn in 2000, she was looking forward to the opportunity to coach field hockey in this area. “It turned out I ended up having to work in Fairfax County, because it was not offered here.”

Dudek said Potomac Field Hockey began in 2011. Now, with 400 participants from age 5 through high school, it has grown tremendously, she said.

“Clearly there is interest in field hockey in this area. The Virginia State Champions are just a few miles from the Loudoun County border,” Dudek said.

Nicole Sullivan, one of Potomac Field Hockey’s coaches, explained how currently the players are limited by how much time they are able to play each week. This would change, should field hockey be added as a sanctioned sport by the schools.

“The girls are only able to practice one time a week and play one game a week, due to the fact that they play on private fields that have limited time available. Of 20 counties around us, we are the only one that doesn’t offer field hockey as a sport in the schools,” Sullivan said.

April 26 was Potomac’s second annual “Under the Lights” game at Dominion High School in Sterling.

“We were so honored the principal of Dominion High School allowed us to have the game at the school another year. This is a big deal because it is what field hockey could be like in Loudoun,” Dudek said.

With more than 200 fans in attendance, the event was a “huge success.” The game was planned to encourage the high school division, and make it more exciting for the players who do not normally play on a high school field. They also offered a pre-game clinic for beginners, to introduce people to the sport.

“Ideally we would like to be an official club at all of the high schools in Loudoun,” Dudek said. “We want the players to know the pride of wearing their school’s uniform.”

Dudek said they understand the school budget issues and realize it is not a good time to be asking for funding, but they are planning to run some numbers to see what the start up costs would be.

“We want to show the county that the numbers are there to support a public school program,” Sullivan added.

Wayde Byard, spokesman for Loudoun County Public Schools, said he had no comment at this time. “This would have to come before the school board at some future date,” he said.

*Article courtesy of LoudounTimes.com and photos courtesy of Mary Lanaghan, MJLStudios.com

USFHA media release

Hockey great Anwar Ahmed Khan passes away

Karachi: Rome Olympics gold medallist, centre-half Anwar Ahmed Khan died here on Friday evening after protracted illness. He was 81.

The deceased is survived by a widow, son Dr Adnan, daughters Shenila and Uzma besides grandchildren.

His funeral prayers will be offered on Saturday at Masjid-e-Uzma, KDA Sch­eme No. 1 after Zuhr prayers.

Anwar had remained admitted at the Aga Khan hospital recently following the multiple fractures that he had sustained in January this year. The family had just brought him home from the hospital the other day.

APP adds: Former Pakistan captain and chief selector Anwar Ahmed Khan died here after protracted illness.

Besides winning a gold medal in the Rome Olympics, the legendary centre-half Anwar was also a member of the Pakistan team which won two silver medals in the 1956 Melbourne and 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He was also a proud member of the Pakistan squad which clinched two Asian Games golds during his glittering career.

The lanky centre-half is ranked among the greatest hockey players the world has ever seen. He was reputed to be an outstanding all-round player who didn’t let the opposition dominate at any time. His inspirational presence and brilliance on the field is well remembered by his colleagues and contemporaries who were saddened by his departure on Friday.

Anwar was originally chosen as vice-captain of the Pakistan squad for the 1964 Olympic Games but he ended up leading the team in most of the matches since skipper Manzoor Hussain Atif was forced to miss several games due to injuries.

Anwar, a patriot to the hilt and a sincere supporter of Pakistan hockey, had appeared on a television show a few years back where he had got really emotional about the decline of the game in the country. He could not hold back his tears while commenting on the performance of the national team after they had finished at the bottom in the Delhi World Cup.

Former Pakistan captain and current chief selector Islahuddin Siddiqui paid glowing tributes to Anwar for his fabulous and outstanding contribution to Pakistan hockey and said players like him are irreplaceable.


Pakistan hockey Olympian Anwar passes away

KARACHI: One of Pakistan's most well-known hockey Olympians, Anwar Ahmed Khan passed away on Friday.

Given the sobriquet of the 'Rock of Gibraltar' because of his strong play as centre half, Anwar, who was born in Bhopal, was 81.

He was one of the last few surviving members of the 1960 Rome Olympics team.

Regarded as one of Pakistan's best centre halves, Anwar played in the golden era of Pakistan hockey, taking part in the 1960 Rome Olympics where Pakistan won gold and in the subsequent Olympics in 1964. He also took part in the 1958 and 1962 Asian Games.

Anwar, who has not been well for months, also served as manager, coach and chief selector of the national team.

The Times of India

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