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News 25 September 2014

All the news for Thursday 25 September 2014

Asian Games results Day 6

Singapore 0 Japan 13 (M)
Sri Lanka 1 Oman 3 (M)
India 1 Pakistan 2 (M)
Malaysia 1 Korea 2 (M)

17th Asian Games, Incheon 2014 Official site

Waqas winner as Pakistan beat India in men’s hockey

India's Kangujam Chinglensana Singh (L) clashes with Pakistan's Rashid Mehmood (R) at the Asian Games in Incheon on September 25, 2014. AFP / Roslan Rahman

Muhammad Waqas scored the winner six minutes from time as defending champions Pakistan downed arch-rivals India 2-1 to reach the Asian Games semi-finals on Thursday.

In a keenly contested pool B encounter, Muhammad Bhutta put Pakistan ahead in the third quarter before Nikkin Thimmaiah drew level at the start of the fourth.

Waqas took advantage of a defensive lapse to hit the winner that gave unbeaten Pakistan a place in the semi-finals even before their last league match against Oman on Saturday.

The winner between India and China on Saturday will determine the other semi-finalist from the pool. Both teams are level on six points from three matches.

Pakistan’s Muhammad Waqas (2nd R) tries for a goal against India in the men’s hockey pool B match at Seonhak hockey stadium during the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea on September 25, 2014 AFP / Roslan Rahman

Meanwhile, Kenta Tanaka and Toshiro Tachibana slammed hat-tricks as Japan blanked Singapore 13-0 to remain in contention for the semi-finals from pool A.

With two wins from three games, Japan drew level with hosts South Korea and Malaysia, who meet later on Wednesday after gaining full points from their first two matches.

Singapore ended the competition with four losses, having conceded 35 goals and scored only three.

Japan’s Korean coach Kang Keon-Wook admitted Saturday’s match against Malaysia will be crucial to his team’s chances.

“Malaysia are a strong team so I guess it is going to be a pretty intense match,” Kang said. “We have made plans for that game and ensure our strong points are not wasted.”

Oman recorded their first win in three pool B games with a 3-1 romp over winless Sri Lanka, but the effort came too late to stay in line for the semi-finals.

The Citizen

Misfiring India lose 1-2 to Pakistan

INCHEON: India wasted chances galore in their 1-2 defeat against arch-rivals and defending champions Pakistan in a keenly-contested Pool B match of the men's hockey competition at the 17th Asian Games, here on Thursday.

It was touted as the match to watch out for in the competition and as per expectations it turned out to be an exhilarating contest between the sub-continental rivals.

It was a duel of technical superiority as both the teams showed great skills on the turf while playing fast-paced hockey.

There was hardly anything to choose between the two sides as the match witnessed end-to-end hockey.

Despite enjoying the better share of possession, the Sardar Singh-led side finished second best on the day, courtesy a string of missed chances from the forwards, especially Ramandeep Singh and the backline's perennial problem of buckling down under pressure.

The win today virtually assured Pakistan's top position in Pool B, while India made life difficult for themselves and at best now can only finish second in the pool and face mighty South Korea in the semi-final.

But for that to happen India will have to overcome lower-ranked but dangerous China in their last pool match on Saturday.

With injured Rupinderpal Singh ruled out of the match, the onus was on V R Raghunath to deliver with penalty corners but the burly drag-flick continued to misfire in the tournament as he wasted two set pieces.

Ramandeep's trapping inside the Pakistan circle was horrendous as he wasted as many as three good chances while his striking partner Akashdeep Singh shot straight to goalkeeper Imran Butt from close range in the second quarter.

Pakistan too had their share of chances and Waqas came close to scoring in the second quarter but his reverse shot, with only Indian goalkeeper P R Sreejesh to beat, went wide.

After first two barren quarters, that witnessed one failed penalty corner each by both India and Pakistan, the title holders finally broke the deadlock in the 38th minute through Muhammad Umar Bhutta who scored from a rebound after Wasqas initial try was saved by Sreejesh.

Rocked by Pakistan's goal, India went on the offensive and looked threatening in the fourth and final quarter but goal continued to elude them as the forwards lacked finishing.

Danish Mujtaba came close to restoring the parity in the 49th minute but his fine deflection from Kothajit Singh's pass was brilliantly kept away by Pakistani goalkeeper Butt.

India's persistent efforts finally bore fruit when Nikkin Thimmaiah drew level in the 53rd minute by tapping home Kothajit cross from the left flank.

But India's joy was shortlived as a minute later the defending champions restored lead through Waqas reverse-hit as the Indian defence was caught napping by the pace of the Pakistani players.

With three wins from as many games, Pakistan are leading Pool B and expected to finish unbeaten in the pool as they face lowly Oman in their last match.

The Times of India

Pakistan beat India 2-1 in Asian Games hockey match

INCHEON: Defending champion Pakistan beat arch-rivals India 2-1 in a pool “B” match in the Asian Games hockey event at Munhak Hockey Stadium on Thursday.

The crucial encounter decided the fate of the group as the win lifted Pakistan to the top of the pool, sealing a place for the defending champions in the semi-finals.

Pakistan will be meeting Oman in its last league tie.

Pakistan is so far looking strong having earlier won two opening leagues. While there were some problems against China in the first two quarters, the team delivered sparkling performance in the last 20-minutes.

Bhutta scored the first goal in the 37th minute, leading Pakistan 1-0 at the end of the third quarter with only 15 minutes left to play.

Nikkin Thimmaiah leveled the score for India in the 53rd minute, only for Pakistan to take the lead again two minutes later as Waqas scored after a great scramble.

The defeat was the first in three games for the Indian side.

Pakistan now advance to the event's semi-finals.

The winner between India and China on Saturday will determine the other semi-finalist from the pool. Both teams are level on six points from three matches.

Meanwhile, Kenta Tanaka and Toshiro Tachibana slammed hat-tricks as Japan blanked Singapore 13-0 to remain in contention for the semi-finals from pool A.

With two wins from three games, Japan drew level with hosts South Korea and Malaysia, who meet later on Wednesday after gaining full points from their first two matches.

Singapore ended the competition with four losses, having conceded 35 goals and scored only three.

Japan's Korean coach Kang Keon-Wook admitted Saturday's match against Malaysia will be crucial to his team's chances.

“Malaysia are a strong team so I guess it is going to be a pretty intense match,” Kang said. “We have made plans for that game and ensure our strong points are not wasted.

“Oman recorded their first win in three pool B games with a 3-1 romp over winless Sri Lanka, but the effort came too late to stay in line for the semi-finals.


Pakistan down India to qualify for semi-finals

By Nabil Tahir

INCHEON: Pakistan’s hockey team beat India 2-1 on Thursday at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon to qualify for the semi-finals.

Forwards Muhammad Waqas and Muhammad Umer Bhutta both scored to hand Pakistan their third consecutive win in the competition.

Earlier, Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by 14-0 and China by 2-0.

The victory comes as a surprise as India went into the competition with a significant advantage over Pakistan in terms of training and international exposure. Pakisan started training for the Asian Games six months back with their new coach Shehnaz Sheikh.

Pakistan is now leading the group table with six points while India is second, winning two matches against Sri Lanka 8-0 and Oman 7-0. Pakistan will now face Oman in their final group match on Saturday. Pakistan and India have both qualified for the semi-finals to be held on September 30 at Incheon.

The Express Tribune

China & Korea women reach Asian Games semi-finals

Kazakhstan and Malaysia also win in Incheon

Korea (red) emerged as 2-0 winners over Japan to seal their place in the women's semi-finals of the Asian Games in Incheon. (Photo: Asian Hockey Federation)

The second round of pool matches in the women’s competition of the Asian Games Incheon 2014 saw China and Korea confirm their places in the semi-finals on Wednesday (24 September) with wins over India and Japan respectively. Kazakhstan cruised past Hong Kong, and Malaysia secured three points against a fiercely fighting Thai team.

The big game of the day was between Japan and Korea. The Korean team was optimally prepared, neutralising the Japanese attacks early, while attacking with speed. Korea were able to score two early goals before the Japanese got their feet on the ground, including Oh Sunsoon’s fourth of the competition, making her the leading goalscorer. Later in the game, Japan were better able to ward off the Korean attacks, but couldn’t find the net. With this win, Korea are already confirmed semi-finalists before their last match, which was reflected in coach Han Jin Soo’s comments after the match: “More goals would have been better, but we played well, so I’m happy. Now I’m already focused on the semi-finals, we don’t know our opponent yet, but we will prepare thoroughly.”

In the other pairing of high-ranked teams, China locked horns with India. In a thrilling match, India locked their opponents down effectively until China increased the pressure significantly in the last minutes of the match despite being a player down due to a yellow card. A mistake in the Indian defence resulted in an easy turnover that led to a charge down the field which allowed Zhao Yudiao to net the winning goal. Expressing his happiness about his own team’s performance, China’s coach You Baodong was very complimentary of the Indian contingent  as well, saying: “India played very well, their tactics were good, and their individual skills are excellent. They have become a real challenge for us in Asia and have improved very much since the Commonwealth Games.”

Malaysia entered the match against Thailand with their eyes set on a big goal difference in order to get in the best possible position before their match against India, which will be a direct battle for the remaining place in the semi-finals. But it was not to be against a bravely battling Thai team, and completely focused on scoring up front and putting everything into attack, the Malaysian team even ended up conceding a late goal at the hands of Tikhamporn Sakunpithak, Thailand’s only goal in their two matches so far. Weak finishing and a number of missed chances mean that Malaysia now need to defeat India if they want to make the semi-final, and coach Md Nasihin Nubli Ibrahim called today’s result “a wake-up call” for his players.

Earlier in the day, Kazakhstan had scored their first goals and won their first points against Hong Kong. Starting in the 10th minute, Kazakhstan scored at a steady pace and controlled the game well, not allowing Hong Kong much space, for a 5-0 final scoreline.

The 2014 Asian Games, officially known as the XVII Asiad, is the biggest sporting event held in Asia and is widely recognised as the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games. The event is held every four years, with Hockey being one of 36 different sports set to feature in the Games. The Hockey competition in Incheon will be the biggest in the history of the Games, with ten men’s and eight women’s teams all battling it out for glory and Olympic qualification at the Seonhak Hockey Stadium.

The tournament - which offers a place at the Rio 2016 Olympic games to the men’s and women’s Gold medallists - is the first major international hockey competition to feature the groundbreaking 60 minute format, with the sport moving from two halves of 35 minutes to four 15-minute quarters with 40-second time-outs when a penalty corner is awarded and after a goal is scored.

The additional time-outs for penalty corners and after goals ensures that the new 60-minute format is actual playing time, eliminating the dead time associated with penalty corner set up while also allowing for teams to enjoy their goal celebrations. To learn more about the rule changes, click here.


Wednesday, 24 September 2014 – Women

Kazakhstan – Hong Kong 5-0 (3-0)
Malaysia – Thailand 2-1 (2-0)
India – China 1-2 (1-1)
Japan – Korea 0-2 (0-2)

FIH site

Simple error costs Indian women


Indian and Chinese players vie for the ball in the women's hockey pool match at 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea on Wednesday.

INCHEON: In what could have been a significant turn of events in the women’s hockey competition, India made a hash of it less than two minutes before the hooter to present China the match winner in Pool A here on Wednesday.

The 1-2 reverse masks the vastly improved showing by the Indian team from the opening match against Thailand. Expectation of a draw was very much on the cards from the trend of play—India showed better pattern and rhythm than China in phases suggesting even a win—but a simple solecism cost the team dear. “ It was heart-breaking”admitted the coach Neil Hawgood.

India still has a fair chance to be in the last four if the challenge from Malaysia, which beat Thailand 2-1 earlier, is conquered with a touch of assurance. China has almost reserved a berth in the semi-final with six points and a match remaining against Thailand.

An unsettled deep defence in the early part let China dominate. But India progressively gained the advantage, largely on account of the hard work put in Ritu and Deepika. The front-line carved out a few sharp moves threatening the Chinese goal but it was China that forged ahead in the first quarter when Liang Meiyu slammed home a rebound from a penalty corner.

A stick-check in a skirmish near the goal ended with a stroke for India. Jaspreet Kaur flicked in the equalizer with palpable ease.

There after it was India that held the initiative with Chanchan looking impressive in forwarding incisive moves and intercepting the quick moving Liang Meiyu. India could have earned the lead had Jaspreet Kaur been accurate from the penalty corner which missed the target by inches.

As the minutes ticked a needless long clearance ended in China getting the possession of the ball. Zhao Yudiao made good of the space left by the defenders.The shot was palmed by goalkeeper Savitha, but it rolled back into the boards rendering all the good effort of the team go waste.

The Chinese coach was generous in complimenting the Indians and acknowledged that his team was lucky to get full points.


The key fixture in Pool B between India and Pakistan is eagerly awaited here as also in the sub-continent tomorrow. At six points after two matches with Pakistan holding a better goal aggregate, a win for India will make the chances of topping the pool easier.

India’s record against Pakistan in the history of the Asian Games does not make comfortable reading given the fact that India has won just three of the 12 played, drawing two and allowing Pakistan win seven. Overall, the teams have contested 158 times out of which India’s victory share is 52 and 28 drawn. Pakistan missed the World Cup at The Hague failing make the grade from the qualifiers and did not compete in the Commonwealth Games owing to internal problems in administration.

The last time the teams met each other in a competition was in the Asian Champions Trophy at Kakamigahara (Japan) last year. India, which fielded an experimental squad, lost 4-5.

The results: Women:

Pool B: Kazakhstan 5 (Nataliya Sazontova, Gulnara Imangaliyeva, Aizhan Bulebayeva, Natliya Gataulina, Assel Mukasheva ) beat  Hong Kong China 0;

China 2 (Liang Meiyu, Zhao Yudiao) beat India 1 (Jaspreet Kaur)

Pool A: Malaysia 2 (Fazila Banti, Ruhani Siti Noor) beat Thailand 1 (Sakunpithak Takhamporn)

Thursday’s matches: Men: Pool A: Japan v Singapore (9-30 a.m. IST); Malaysia v Korea (3-30 p.m.)

Pool B: Oman v Sri Lanka (11-30 a.m.); India v Pakistan (1-30 p.m.)

The Hindu

Indian women go down fighting against holders China in hockey

INCHEON: India fought valiantly before conceding a late goal to lose 1-2 against three-time defending champions China in the women's hockey competition at the 17th Asian Games on Wednesday.

Barring the late blunder, the Indian eves matched their fancied rivals stick for stick in the entire 60 minutes to raise hopes of an upset result.

But it was not to be as the world no. 5 China scored a late winner through Yudiao Zhao, much to their relief.

China enjoyed the early share of exchanges but world no. 13 India stated to get their footing in the match towards the end of the first 15 minute quarter.

After a barren first quarter, it was China who took the lead in the 19th minute through a penalty corner conversion by Meiyu Liang.

But the Indians did not sit back and restored parity four minutes later from a penalty stroke which was perfectly converted by Jaspreet Kaur.

With both teams locked at 1-1 at half time, the third quarter was expected to be a lively affair and it was India who got the first scoring opportunity in the form of a penalty corner, which they failed to utilise.

The tussle between the two teams continued in the fourth and final quarter.

In the 51st minute, Indian goalkeeper Savita came to her side's rescue with a fine save from a penalty corner.

The Indians, in fact, had a chance to register an upset win when they earned their third penalty corner with five and half minutes remaining in the match, but Jaspreet's effort went over the Chinese goal.

Just when it seemed the match was heading for a draw, which in fact would have been a just result, Zhao caught the Indian defence off guard and scored the winner in the 59th minute with a rasping shot from top of the circle.

Even though Indian custodian Savita got a hand, Zhao's shot was powerful enough to roll the ball inside the goal and break the heart of Indian camp.

With two wins in as many games, China have moved to the top of Pool A, while India are in second position.

India will play Malaysia in their final pool match on Friday, while China will take on lowly Thailand.

The Times of India

Arch rivals clash in much awaited match

By Shahid Khan

Former hockey giants Pakistan and India go into their 3rd pool match between them at the Asian Games in Incheon, Korea with two victories each against their name.

As usual the clash between the two great hockey nations will attract world wide interest and will not only determine the placing at the end of the round games, but far more is at stake.

Pakistan, whose world ranking has dropped to 11th, came to the tournament as defending Asian champions having defeated Malaysia in the final four years ago. They opened the latest edition by thrashing Sri Lanka (14-0) but were given a much sterner test by China in their other game which they managed to win 2-0.

Greenshirts have an awesome record at the Asian Games. They were the first team to win the gold medal when hockey was introduced to the Asian Games in 1958 and followed this to win 7 further gold medals and 2 silver medals in the mega Asian event. Only once in 14 editions they have failed to reach a podium finish.

In contrast, their sub continent arch rivals India have endured hard time at the Asian Games, winning the gold medals just twice in 1966 and 1998, both times in Bangkok.

India’s Australian coach, Terry Walsh coming into the games said, ‘our form over the past few months give confidence that we have great chance to win the gold medal’, however despite resounding victories, over minnows Sri Lanka  (8-0)and Oman (7-0) they have yet to show the ruthless streak in front of goal.

While India managed to defeat Korea to finish 9th at the World Cup in June and won silver medal at Commonwealth Games last month, Pakistan are looking to put aside a morale – shattering year in which they have not played a single international match.

Walsh, commenting on the new rules being used for the first time of four 15 minute quarters instead of two halves of 35 minutes, said ‘Momentum and the flow can be lost by the breaks, however the Indian players have experimented with them in the domestic league’.

In the much awaited clash of the sub continent Pakistan have the edge in experience with Captain Muhammad Imran (216 caps), Muhammad Waqas (200 caps) and Fareed Ahmad all proven performers on the world stage. While India lack in experience, they will bring youthful enthusiasm to the colourful battle with young Manpreet Singh enjoying an outstanding year.

Two great world class players Sardar Singh and Shakeel Abbassi both seasoned veterans’ performance could well determine the result.

The result of this match will probably determine who plays the highest world ranked team, Korea (8th) in the semi final on their home soil.

Exclusive to Fieldhockey

Shahid Khan is senior hockey correspondent for BBC Radio Asia Network and other publications. He has covered all hockey major tournaments since 1997.

India-Pakistan turf clash tomorrow

s2h Team

India will stop tomorrow for 60 minutes; other sporting events of the ongoing Incheon Asian Games will fade momentarily, will have to wait for another day to carve its space, as India takes on Pakistan on the hockey field.

Both sides will strive hard tomorrow to outwit the other to make it their Incheon outing memorable.

Though the hockey event is only midway, and only the third match for both, the contest assume importance as two sides are expected to reach the semis and use the psychological advantage of the tomorrow contest in the later stage, say final.

Pakistan hockey has been at cross-road for some time for the reasons not of its own, having been barren on home turf due to reluctance of foreign teams to visit their country.

Therefore, one can easily say the team at Incheon is disadvantaged on the experience count, while India got not only better platform but also toured extensively, commonwealth games included.

Its unfortunate Pakistan missed out even Commonwealth Games on account of international Olympic Association fracas.

India, on the other hand, had the experience of playing Australia twice and New Zealand and South Africa at CWG, thus gaining valuable experience.

Whether it will put its experience into good use tomorrow is what the fans will look upto

India has another advantage, of having two FIH Master Coaches on duty for considerable time.

Whereas discontinuity and disquiet have been the recent footprint of Pakistan. India need to put its experience and the added advantage of having the services of top coaches for considerable time, to good use tomorrow when Pakistan go all out to carve a space in their home base and also seek to redeem its lost space


Confident India takes on arch-rivals Pakistan

Indian hockey team during a practice session under the watful eyes of coach Terry Walsh.   

India, bidding to regain the men’s hockey gold after 16 years and gain a direct entry into the 2016 Rio Olympics, are bracing up for their toughest task as they face Pakistan in a high-octane clash at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon on Thursday.

The crunch match between two-time winners India and eight-time gold medallists Pakistan, who are the title holders in men’s Pool A, is the highlight of the league phase of the tournament and the team that plays well under severe pressure should win at the Seonhak Hockey Stadium.

Both India and Pakistan have scored two victories apiece though the latter have scored an extra goal to stand atop the pool standings.

India opened their tournament with a thumping 8-0 win over Sri Lanka, a team that was competing at the Asian Games after the 1982 New Delhi edition, and followed it up with another heavy 7-0 victory over minnows Oman.

Rupinder Pal Singh has scored four penalty corner goals and one penalty stroke award so far for India and his expertise in the set pieces, as well as that of V.R. Raghunath, would be essential on Thursday.

The forward line has shown plenty of verve and thrust against weak opponents and should sustain it against a team like Pakistan which too has an effective forward line as seen in the 14-0 rout of Sri Lanka after they struggled to a 2-0 win over China in their lung opener.

Indian coach M.K. Kaushik said that the team is very confident ahead of its high-profile match against Pakistan, which has more often than not pulled the rug from under the feet of the country in past Asian Games.

“The team is very confident but any match against Pakistan is always a big contest. Everything has gone well so far. The team has made progress from the Commonwealth Games (where it took silver behind Australia). We will treat it as just another match and not put pressure on ourselves,” said the former India player on the eve of the game.

Pakistan’s main scorer has been their penalty corner expert, Imran Mohammed, who has notched up four set piece goals in the two games that his team has played.

In the last Games, India had beaten Pakistan 3-2 in the league phase. Pakistan then went on to edge South Korea in extra time in the semifinal to enter the title clash where they vanquished Malaysia, who shocked India 4-3 in the other semi final.

The Hindu

Upbeat India ready to face Pakistan in hockey

INCHEON: An upbeat Indian men's hockey team, buoyed by successive high-scoring wins against Sri Lanka and Oman, will aim to maintain its unbeaten status against arch rivals Pakistan in an eagerly awaited Asian Games contest at the Soenhak Hockey Stadium on Thursday.

Both teams are on six points having won their respective first two matches of their pool. India thrashed Sri Lanka 8-0 and pummelled Oman 7-0. Pakistan trounced Sri lanka 14-0 and downed China 2-0.

Indian captain Sardar Singh spoke of the team's determination to win ahead of the high-voltage clash against Pakistan.

"Playing against Pakistan is an experience that every player looks forward to, it will be the second time in Asian Games that I will be playing against them and I am sure that it will be a challenging battle for us. The whole team is excited and ready to take them on," Sardar said.

The Indian team's chief coach Terry Walsh pointed out the keenness among players for such a contest.

"The match will be keenly contested. We need to display what we have developed over recent months and keep the free-running playing Style of Pakistan in check," he said. "Equally we will need to play with discipline and cunning against a formidable opponent. This is a contest we are very keen to play."

India go into the match enjoying the comfort of beating Pakistan 3-2 in the 2010 Asian Games. India play their last group stage match against China Saturday.

The Times of India

Pakistan, India set for face-off in Asiad hockey

INCHEON: Pakistan and India meet for the first time in hockey’s new format when the arch-rivals clash in a mouth-watering pool ‘A’ match at the Asian Games on Thursday.

Almost a year on from their last meeting at the Asian Champions Trophy where Pakistan edged a nail-biter 5-4, the two teams clash in the all-changed format of the game which sees four 15-minute quarters instead of 35-minute halves.

Having won their opening two matches, defending champions Pakistan are in high spirits heading into the match at the Munhak Hockey Stadium.

“We’ve got a winning record over India in the last few years and we’ve played well in the opening two games here so we’re well-prepared for the challenge ahead,” Pakistan captain Mohammad Imran said on Wednesday.

Pakistan face Oman in their final pool match on Saturday and a win against India, who have won all their three games so far, would ensure the greenshirts will finish top of the pool regardless of the outcome of their last game.

“Indo-Pak matches are always high-pressure games and holding nerves will be key,” Imran, whose side hammered Sri Lanka 14-0 before winning 2-0 against China in their second match, added.

The architect of Pakistan’s hard-fought victory over China was Mohammad Dilber who scored one and set up the other. And the teenaged forward was looking forward to the game against India.

“We all are aware of importance of this match back home and we want to win it for hockey supporters in Pakistan and our supporters here,” he said.

Like millions back home, the Pakistani community in Korea has shown great interest in the fortunes of the hockey team and have turned up in great numbers to support the team.

But Pakistan will have to be vary of a familiar figure in India’s assistant coach Reolent Oltmans of the Netherlands.

Oltmans coached Pakistan in the 2004 Olympics in Athens and he expects the match to be a thrilling one. “Matches between Pakistan and India have always been tough, exciting and dramatic and we may see another thriller tomorrow,” Oltmans said.

Pakistan coach Shahnaz Shaikh, meanwhile, said his sides can’t afford to miss scoring chances against India. “We missed a few chances against China but we can’t afford to do that against India,” he said.


Pakistan clash with India in high-octane Pool B contest today

Pressure will be on archrivals and not on greenshirts, claims coach Shahnaz

By Muhammad Ali

INCHEON: Sri Lanka and China were the easy targets for Pakistan. However, Pakistan have to play exceptionally well when they take on archrivals India in their Pool B high-octane tie, billed as the ‘big moment’, of the 17th Asian Games Men’s Hockey Tournament at Seonhak Hockey Stadium here on Thursday (today). This marquee match could determine the pool leader. All eyes are on this big match and Pakistani fans are expecting a good fight from their heroes to defend their title won four years ago in Guangzhou. The high profile match is considered to be the mother battle of the 10-nation tournament. The number of contests between the two sides has decreased over the past few years due to the strained political relations between the two countries, and fans are still eager for any chance to see the great rivals face off.

Pakistan go into the match against their South Asian rivals with their confidence high after a 2-0 taming of China for their second victory in the league following a lung-opening 14-0 win over minnows Sri Lanka in the first match. But it is not just Pakistan but India also, who go into the needle clash with big wins to boost them up in the tournament. India downed Sri Lanka 8-0 in their opener and outplayed minnows Oman 7-0 in their second contest. In 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, Malaysia defeated India in the semi-finals. In Incheon, India are in quest for gold and redemption and particularly victory against the greenshirts.

Pakistan coach confident: With six points in their kitty, Pakistan coach Shahnaz Sheikh is confident ahead of the India-Pakistan clash. “The two wins have taken my team’s confidence to a high level, but we still need to focus on some areas while facing India,” Shahnaz told Daily Times on Wednesday. When asked about the pressure in Pakistan-India clashes, Shahnaz said the pressure would be on India “There will be no pressure on us. I think India will be under pressure,” he maintained. Shahnaz said his boys were confident of going all out against the opponents. “We have tried to close all loopholes before the start of the tournament. The boys are confident and are aiming to generate better results and defend their title.” He said they were confident of topping their pool. “Our aim is to focus on cracking the pool matches and ensuring a berth in the finals,” Shahnaz added.

At the same time Shahnaz is not happy with the non availability of video referral system in the tournament. “Referral system would have eliminated the element of doubt and unintentional mistakes by the umpires for all teams,” he stated. He said he was surprised that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) was using the referral system in all major events, but surprisingly it was not being used here. “Pakistan suffered this during the match against China when the South Korean umpire disallowed a goal from Muhammad Irfan on a penalty corner rebound.” Pakistan captain Mohammad Imran admitted the two wins had taken the team’s confidence to a high level, but they still needed to focus on some areas. “”We have worked on our gameplay, as we missed several chances to score more goals against China, something we can’t afford in our encounter with India,” added Imran.

On the other hand, Indian coach Terry Walsh is a bit hesitant to give a good chit to his players and has said that the team have to work hard ahead, particularly during their crunch game against Pakistan. Even though India won comfortably against Sri Lanka and Oman, the Sardar Singh-led side were far from impressive, wasting plenty of scoring chances. They even looked rusty in patches. “There is always room for improvement, but we are well-prepared for Pakistan. I am confident we will do well,” said Walsh. India are seeking their first Asian gold medal since 1998. Pakistan and India have played eight finals of the Asian Games, with Pakistan winning seven golds and India once and that was in the year 1966 in Bangkok, Thailand. In all, both countries have played each other 12 times in the Asian Games with Pakistan winning 07 games and India 03. Pakistan scored 25 goals and conceded 13 goals while facing the archrivals.

Pakistan hockey’s records at Asian Games are unmatchable. Pakistan have won the Asian Games gold medal eight times: 1958, 1962, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1990 and 2010; this is also the highest number of times a country have come first. They have also won 02 silver and 03 bronze medals. It was after a long gap of 20 years that Pakistan finally regained the hockey title by blanking Malaysia 2-0 in the final of the Asian Games 2010 in the Chinese city of Guangzhou. It was Pakistan’s eighth Asiad hockey gold, ending a drought that stretched back to the Beijing Asiad in 1990. In Incheon, Pakistan will be looking for an automatic berth for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. If they retain the gold, Pakistan will directly make the cut for Rio 2016 and will not have to take part in the tough Olympic Qualifiers. The greenshirts certainly know the importance of securing a direct berth in a major event like the Olympics, having missed out on World Cup 2014 in Holland.

The Daily Times

Pakistan face India in Asian Games hockey clash today


ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: It will be clash of titans when arch-rivals Pakistan and India will take on each other in the 17th Asian Games hockey event group A match at Munhak Hockey Stadium today (Thursday).

This crucial encounter will decide the fate of the group as Pakistan will be meeting Oman in their last league tie. A win is expected to lift Pakistan on the top of the pool. Defending champion Pakistan is looking in a great nick having won their opening two league in impression style. They had missing problems against China in the first two quarters but they gave sparkling performance in the last 20-minutes. Hockey, now, looked a bit different with four 15-minute quarters and 10 minutes break after the second quarter and two minutes after first and third quarter.  Talking to The Nation, Pakistan hockey team head coach Shahnaz Sheikh expressed his utter satisfaction over the team's preparations for the crunch match against India today (Thursday).

“The team is mentally and physically fully prepared to take on the Indian challenge. Three-day time to prepare against the arch-rivals proved enough to rethink our strategy and remove flaws from the last game against China. As I still believe, the green shirts should have won that encounter by at least 5-0 margin, but the good thing from the first games is that we didn't concede, that is quite satisfactory from my entire coaching staff,” he said.

Shahnaz added: “I told boys to enjoy playing their hockey and forget about results. If they play according to their abilities, it is my firm belief, they can beat any top side of the world. We have given top priority on short corners and emphasize on cutting down missing ratio. I chalk out a complete planning involving my supporting staff and we spent hours and hours in the ground working on minimizing errors. I am quite sure players will respond in style. Although Indians are very strong and much experienced as compare to Pakistan team, yet I believe we could overcome all these shortcomings through exceptional performances. If boys play brave hockey with high spirits, not only India, we can beat other opponents as well,” Shahnaz concluded.

Sharing his views, Olympian Sameer Hussain, who is assisting Shahnaz, said: “We sit together after the Chinese match and discussed in detail our shortcomings. Now I am quite confident the boys will enter the Indian match with much changed planning and with clear-cut policy. People will feel the difference, as the boys will play out their hearts and deliver more than 100 percent. We are quite confident, our team will prevail against Indians.”

The Nation

No room for errors in crunch match against Koreans

By S. Ramaguru

INCHEON: The national hockey team’s battle for a medal begins today with the crunch tie against hosts South Korea at the Seonhak Hockey Stadium.

It is their third match in Group A and the Malaysians know that a heavy defeat could put them in a precarious position as they still have third-placed Japan to play tomorrow.

Malaysia kicked off their campaign with an 8-2 win over Singapore on Saturday and then defeated Bangladesh 5-2 on Sunday.

The South Koreans also have two wins from two matches to top the table ahead of Malaysia. They whipped Singapore 12-0 and Japan 4-0. Jang Jong-hyun is their dangerman, having scored a hat-trick against Singapore and twice against Japan.

National skipper Azlan Misron has warned his team-mates not to let their guard down.

“From now, there are no easy matches. Every match will be crucial and we must work for a win. We have South Korea and Japan. If we get through these two games, then it is the semi-finals and beyond,” said the 31-year-old Azlan.

“I am happy we have managed to get full points so far, but the game just gets tougher from here,” he added.

Azlan admitted that Malaysia were far from impressive despite big wins over Singapore and Bangladesh.

“You will see a different team when we play the Koreans. We are ready and our first objective is to reach the semi-finals,” he said.

Azlan said they would not attempt to play for a draw against the Koreans.

“We have worked hard over the last three days on our game to reduce the unforced errors. We just cannot afford to make silly mistakes especially against a team like South Korea.

“I have confidence in the team and I believe that we have the ability to win,” added Azlan, who helped Malaysia clinched the silver in Guangzhou in 2010.

Midfielder Fitri Sari also believes Malaysia are capable of rising to the occasion.

“For me, every game is important no matter whom we play. It is all about winning. As a midfielder, it’s my job to see that we have a grip on the game and also ensure that the defence is well marshalled.

“The Koreans are known to be very fit and fast, so we will have to watch out for that and not get caught. I am confident that we will raise our game level in this match,” he said.

This Asiad is also a qualifying tournament for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Only the gold medallists are guaranteed of a spot.

The Star of Malaysia

Bring it on!

Fitri (left) in action against South Korea during the World League semifi nal in Johor Baru last year

PETALING JAYA — Malaysia must not be intimidated by South Korea in a crucial Asian Games men’s hockey Group A clash in Incheon, South Korea today.

The Malaysians have to take it in their stride with whatever tricks the Koreans will employ to get three points and a place in the last four.

Malaysia’s interim coach S. Arul Selvaraj knows this well and hopes his players will rise to the occasion.

“The Koreans are fast and powerful. And at times, they also execute some wild and hard hits to instil fear into opponents,” he said.

“Our players just have to remain cool and play their game. They should not be intimidated.

“Our players are in a good mood and prepared to absorb whatever the Koreans have to off er.”

The Koreans are in an uncompromising mood. They thrashed Singapore 12-0 and Japan 4-0 in their first two matches.

Malaysia defeated Singapore 8-2 and Bangladesh 5-1. It is going to be diffi cult but there is always a chance of getting a good result as Malaysia do have some good quality players to make life difficult for South Korea.

It may turn to be a close contest, just as it normally does when these two teams play against each other.

This is where penalty corners can decide the outcome. And obviously the forwards have to be sharper in attack to earn penalty corners if they cannot get field goals.

Arul said his charges have been having specifi c training sessions with the forwards as part of their preparation for the clash.

Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil, as a senior, will have to mostly bear this responsibility. However, young attackers like Fitri Saari and Firhan Ashaari have to play their part as well.

The Malaysians have also been working on their penalty corner set-pieces with the focus mainly on specialist Razie Rahim.

“We have also gone through some video sessions to be better prepared for the Koreans.

Malay Mail

Marcano confident in T&T hockey women

Nigel Simon

Anthony Marcano, coach of the women’s hockey team expects nothing less than top spot when his team competes in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) World League First Round qualifying tournament in Kingston, Jamaica from Tuesday to October 5.

The local women, reigning Caribbean champions will play hosts Jamaica, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Puerto Rico in a round-robin series from which the winner will qualify to round two in Uruguay from February 28-March 8, next year.

Marcano is pleased with his team’s preparations which has been boosted by the return of the experienced quartet of Blair Wynne, Krizia Layne, Oire Trotman and Sekayi Liburd who missed the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Marcano, a former national player, said he was delighted to add some experience into the team which was a relatively young one in Scotland.

Marcano said the team was coming together nicely.

Despite winning their two recent practice matches against a visiting Guyana team (7-0) and Shape (5-2), Marcano warned that his team will need to be focused when they arrive in Kingston.

He dded, “Its a new surface, a sand base one, and apart from Jamaica, it will be new to all other teams so we will have to adapt quickly.

“On paper we will be the favourites, but that means nothing if we don’t go out and execute our game plans on a daily basis. Once we can do that, then I see us having no problem in advancing,” said Marcano.

In addition to the four experienced players, Marcano also named goalkeeper Arresia Sandy and Keima Gardiner to their first senior teams.

T&T women’s team

Petal Derry (GK), Arresia Sandy (GK), Alanna Lewis (C), Patricia Wright-Alexis (C), Blair Wynne, Kayla Brathwaite, Tamia Roach, Dana-Lee De Gannes, Brittney Hingh, Krizia Layne, Zene Henry, Sekayi Liburd, Brianna Govia, Amie Olton, Elise Olton, Kristin Thompson, Oire Trotman, Keima Gardiner.

The Trinidad Guardian

Another milestone for women’s hockey in Tanzania at the Hockey World League Round 1 in Nairobi

Following their appearance at the 2013 African Cup for Nations, Tanzania’s national women’s hockey team took part in their second international competition at the Hockey World League Round 1 tournament in Nairobi, Kenya.  The Tanzanian team gained valuable experience playing against teams such as Ghana and Kenya who have a long hockey tradition behind them.

Post tournament, the challenge for the Hockey Tanzania project to develop women’s hockey in Tanzania continues. With no organisational structure, tournaments are sporadic and even then, not all teams can participate due to lack of funds.  Additionally, in Nairobi, some of the players saw a turf pitch for the first time and had to quickly adapt to playing on it.

However looking to the future, hockey started being played in some schools in and around Dar es Salaam earlier this year and at the World League Round 1 in Nairobi, three ‘veteran’ players took part whilst the rest of the team was made up of players who had started playing less than five months ago.

Valentina Quaranta who trains the national women’s team states: “Lack of funds, fields, equipment and coaches, poverty, this is what we have to face every day. Alone we won’t make it, but with some support from public sport authorities, federation and local sponsors, little by little a long distance can be covered. Other African countries accomplished unthinkable results, see how Ghana managed to develop the game, why not Tanzania?”

FIH site

Jackson excited by Kampong challenge

Ashley Jackson is confident his side can make a big impact in this year’s Euro Hockey League despite his East Grinstead side being drawn in what many believe is the “group of death”.

The England and Great Britain star is one of his club’s key men, bring his uniquely devastating drag-flick and an array of skills, administered at pace, that make him one of the players to watch in Barcelona.

But the English runners-up have a brute of a task if they are to reach the KO16 in their return year to the competition having missed the 2013/14 edition after five successive seasons in Europe.

They must get the better of both high-flying Dutch side SV Kampong – who currently have a perfect record in the Hoofdklasse – and Russian side Dinamo Stroitel.

Jackson has had a number of dust-ups with Kampong in the past during his time with HGC and he is particularly relishing the prospect of taking them on.

“We are very much looking forward to our group games in Round 1 Barcelona,” he told the EHL website. “I have good memories from playing against Kampong. We always had high scoring close games with good crowds for both sides.

“Now, they have some of the best players in the world and are probably one of the strongest teams in the EHL this season. Maybe they will underestimate us which could give us the edge as we also have a very good squad, so an exciting game to look forward to.”

As for Dinamo, Jackson missed the two clubs’ meeting in last spring’s European indoor competition due to the Hockey India League, and admits his side “are not too sure what to expect” from the Russian side.

“It will be very much a blank slate, the indoor game is very different to the outdoor game. We will prepare as best we can a certainly won't be taking anything for granted.”

For Jackson, the EHL comes hot on the heels of an exceptionally busy summer, reaching the World Cup finals before landing a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

He is enjoying being back with the club whom he made his first team debut aged just 16. EG won both their opening games, beating Cannock and Reading, in the English Premier League and they are bubbling along nicely.

“We have had a very long summer of international hockey and it's always nice to be back with my club. We've had a good pre season and started with wins; we have some very talented players in Dave Condon, Andy Bull, Chris Griffiths and Rhys Smith so it's very exciting going into each game to see how good these guys can really be.

“I am confident that we can have a big impact on the EHL this season; we have a great squad with a good mix of youth and experience, international players and home grown talent.”

Euro Hockey League media release

Investec Women's Cup round two draw.

Investec Women's Cup Final - Surbiton Team Photo

The draw for Round 2 of the Investec Women’s Cup has thrown up some interesting ties, none more so that a repeat of last season’s final between Hampstead & Westminster and Surbiton. Investec Premier Division clubs have been kept apart but a number face tricky ties. Clifton play host to Slough, Bowdon Hightown travel to Sutton Coldfield, Beeston have an East Midlands derby at Loughborough Students and Leicester go to Wakefield. Holcombe face East Grinstead, one of only two teams to beat them in last season’s Investec Conference East. 

Ties to played Sunday 26 October

Bedford v Buckingham
Boots v Ben Rhydding
Brooklands Poynton v Doncaster
Chelmsford v Sevenoaks
Clifton v Slough
Gloucester City v Taunton Vale
Hampstead and Westminster v Surbiton
Holcombe v East Grinstead
Leamington v Liverpool Sefton
Lincoln Roses v Didsbury Northern
Loughborough Students v Beeston
Oxford Hawks v Lewes
Sutton Coldfield v Bowdon
Tulse Hill and Dulwich v Havant
University of Birmingham v Cannock
Wakefield v Leicester

England Hockey Board Media release

Less is more for mic'ed up umpires

Secret Umpire: radio technology will attract younger hockey officials, but no Barry Davies commentary please

By The Secret Umpire

Less is more: Secret Umpire says radio technology can enhance game at regional level Photo: ADY KERRY

Radio technology is filtering its way down into the regional field hockey leagues – and less said on the microphone the better, says a returning Secret Umpire

It will not have escaped the notice of those outside the national programme, both players and umpires, that radios are slowly but surely filtering their way down into the regional and county circuit.

Some generous counties are supplying umpires with a single set to ‘pair’ with a colleague, while the more enterprising folk are purchasing our own in a myriad of different versions.

From the ‘Chat 2 Pro Series’ to the idea I discovered on a hockey forum the other day of buying a headset and then using your mobile to make a 70-minute call to the other umpire as a means of communication.

Personally I can only see the good in this as a concept for both umpires and players alike.

A connected set of officials is surely the way forward at grass roots level. With technology at the lower end of the sport, will this not also enhance younger officials to perhaps take up umpiring?

We are all striving for better communication, for umpires to work more closely together and to get more decisions correct. The aid of quick feedback between each other will be an inevitable benefit.

What, however, happens when your colleague likens themselves to the great Barry Davies in the 1988 Olympic hockey final and not only gives you a 70-minute running commentary but is openly critical of one of the teams ('Where were the Germans? Frankly who cares').

No doubt this happens with the less-than-professional who have to umpire Saturday afternoon matches.

Inane chatter and senseless banter are not what the radios are for and umpires can quickly lose sight of what they are really there for.

As an avid user and fan of these radios perhaps I can offer the following advice, one I’m sure will be similar to that issued at national and regional level that I really should have read myself!

Quite simply less is more; if your colleague wants help then they will ask you, if you want help then ask them.

Comments and questions such as ‘too many tackles like that, next one is green or yellow’ and ‘did you see anything there?’ are very helpful.

They can only make sure we as umpires have better games and so do the players.

The Telegraph

Beavers and Barracudas making an impression

Picture: Canterbury's Chris Goldsbury

While the Cats and Cavaliers are well known as the names of the Canterbury New Zealand Ford National Hockey League (NHL) teams, two other Canterbury representative sides are pushing hard to create a name for themselves.

Flying under the banner of the Beavers (Men) and Barracudas (Women), the Canterbury Hockey Association (CHA) Senior teams capped off a successful week at the National Senior Tournament (NST) with a trophy and a medal.

Canterbury has a proud history at the senior level, but with the evolution of the Senior “A” Championships to the NHL, the National Seniors (“B”) teams have taken a backseat in recent times. Players are keen to compete for spots on the teams at the NHL level, but if they missed out often balked at playing at the NST. As a result, many associations struggled to field teams for the event.

Raising the profile of the NST is a priority for Hockey New Zealand nationally and Canterbury Hockey (CHA) locally.

Towards that end, Hockey NZ moved the NST to run parallel to NHL so senior players could watch the action at the top level. Further to that, Hockey NZ selects teams from the NST and provides them with opportunities like last year’s Festival of Hockey and the upcoming Oceania Pacific Cup. At CHA, an industrious, river animal is helping the Senior Men to forge their own legacy.

"The team has really struggled to gain any momentum in recent years and I was really keen to change this to ensure it has a strong history moving forward,” explained CHA Participation and Development Manager, Sunjay Ganda.

Ganda had a good perspective on the challenges of the environment in his work with Representative teams at the Association. Last year he decided to take on the role of coach and try to turn things around. Culture, history and attracting the right mix of players were keys in his plan.

"Our team was built on culture from the beginning,” explained Beaver captain, Chris Goldsbury.

Goldsbury was in the Canterbury Cavaliers NHL squad and after missing out was approached by Ganda to play for the Senior Men.

“It all started last year when we decided we needed to try and make this team attractive, as putting a team together to go to tournament had proved difficult in the years prior. We decided to incorporate a name for the team similar to our NHL teams, and thus the Beavers were created. As we were the B team, we went with a name with that letter and for some reason we chose Beavers and it stuck.”

In their inaugural ”Beavers” campaign last year, the Canterbury Senior Men lost out in the finals to Wellington. Word of mouth spread on the team and it reflected in this year’s trials. They became a team players wanted to be a part of.

“Last year we had about 15 players attend the trials, this year we were able to name a squad of 30 and had inter-squad matches before selecting the team,” said Goldsbury. 

This year’s Beavers team opened their tournament with a 3-1 loss to NZ Defence Force, and in true story book finish beat them to win the tournament in the final.

The Canterbury Senior Women faced a similar battle in recent times and matters reached a head when CHA was unable to field a team for the NST last year. CHA veteran coach Sally Moorfield stepped up to coach the team this year.

For Moorfield, coaching is more than putting players on the field, it’s building a team. In keeping with the “B” theme, she was approached about using the Barracuda name.

“The idea to give the team their own name came from the success of the Beavers, the Cats and the Cavs,” said Moorfield.

“We are hoping that the young women who play in this team will identify with the name the Barracudas and feel proud to be part of this team and that the Canterbury hockey community will also relate to it. A Barracuda is fast and aggressive, a fearsome fish, and this was the brand of hockey that we wanted to play. “

This year’s team was a diverse group that came with challenges.

“There are a variety of reasons the girls choose to play for the Barracudas,” explained Moorfield.

“Some choose it as they want to one day make the Cats, others want to play at the highest level but cannot give the commitment that NHL requires, for some this is a goal to play a national tournament and challenge themselves in this environment, and still others want to play in the New Zealand Association and Affiliates team, and this is the pathway for these teams. As the coach, my challenge is to bring together a group of young women from six different clubs and give them a common goal, a team spirit, and gel them into a high achieving hockey unit.”

The Barracudas ran through pool play with two wins and a draw, but saw their championship run end with a 2-1 semi-final loss to Wellington.   The team rebounded to win the bronze medal, but for Moorfield the team provided her a bigger prize than a medal.

“It was a privilege to take this team and the rewards as a coach are that you spend time in the company of 16 awesome young women who work so hard for a common goal, always with humour and honour.  This is what a coach gets in return for the commitment that they give to a team.”

For the Beavers, the reward came this year. On reflection, “to win the Newman Trophy for the first time in 11 years for Canterbury after getting close on two previous occasions was pretty special,” said Goldsbury.

While the Barracudas came close this year, the eye is on the future. Moorfield voiced,

“I hope that next year the Barracuda's gain more momentum, that the players this year are all available again, as they were great this year, and that the team becomes an important part of the hockey scene in Canterbury.”

Hockey New Zealand Media release

College Hockey Squads Grow the Game in Philadelphia

Olympian Claire Laubach celebrates PhilaFieldhockey Day

On Sunday, September 21, philafieldhockey.com and Temple University Field Hockey hosted PhilaFieldHockey Day — a celebration of field hockey in the present and future in the Philadelphia area. The event was held in conjunction with the Temple vs. Drexel game, at Temple’s Geasey Field. Filia Sports and Mystx Sprouts escorted the Owls and Dragons onto the field before a crowd of 500+, comprised of college field hockey families, friends, high school teams, and youth programs.

The DI collegiate game was high-octane and riveting; the Drexel Dragons upset the #13 ranked Temple Owls in OT. Phila-area high school teams — Cumberland Regional, Morrisville, Radnor and Washington — were recognized and enjoyed some great collegiate hockey and team bonding.

Olympian and USA Field Hockey player, Claire Laubach was in attendance to autograph photos, sticks and even jerseys for the youth players and fans at halftime.

After the college game, Filia and Mystx took to the wet turf for a spirited scrimmage, demonstrating the future of field hockey and boy, was it impressive! Drexel players led the youth players in a post-scrimmage cheer and the Owls and youth players came together for a “team” photo.

Click here to view the day's full photo album.

USFHA media release

USA Field Hockey and Harrow Sports Extend Partnership

USA Field Hockey and Harrow Sports have extended a multiyear partnership that designates Harrow as the presenting sponsor and official outfitter of the Futures program, National Futures Championship and Futures Elite Championship through 2018.

USA Field Hockey’s Futures program has been the heart of the Olympic pipeline since 1990. The program is committed to developing athletes regionally and cultivating the Olympic athletes of tomorrow. Participating in the Futures program provides a wonderful opportunity to compete against the top athletes in the nation and allows players to be exposed to the best coaches in the country.

“USA Field Hockey is extremely excited to continue growing and improving our Futures and Futures Elite programs with Harrow Sports through 2018,” said Caitie Tornes, Manager of Futures and Olympic Development of USA Field Hockey. “Harrow has been and continues to be a wonderful sponsor and a great supporter of our mission. We are thrilled to extend this sponsorship and develop ways to better serve our sport!”

Harrow Sports has been a proud sponsor of USA Field Hockey’s premier athletes, developmental programs and initiatives for the past decade. Harrow actively supports all levels of the game and is ecstatic to extend the partnership with USA Field Hockey to support the Futures program.

“We believe in supporting the next generation of athletes along with USA Field Hockey,” said Alli Tanner, Field Hockey Brand Manager of Harrow Sports. “We're proud to help support the game that is at the core of our brand and our goal is for field hockey players across America to strive to be participants in the developmental program."

Athletes can join the Futures program through an individual trial or a USA Field Hockey Partner Camp. For more information, visit the Futures Trials page. To buy official Harrow gear, click here.

USFHA media release

Age is no barrier

Marie Larsen named oldest female hockey player in the world

Settling the debatable topic of age and sports, Marie Larsen at the age of 80 proves age is no barrier when it comes to sport.

Declared earlier this year as the oldest female hockey player in the world by the Guinness World Records, Larsen stands tall with Australian pride after dedicating herself to over half a century of playing hockey.

“It was a great feeling to be told I was the oldest female hockey player in the world. My certificate from the Guinness World Records was sent on my 80th birthday, it was a wonderful surprise, a birthday to remember.”

After suffering a stroke which affected the left side of her body earlier this year in March, Larsen returned playing hockey a month later, having her health and fitness to thank for her speedy recovery.

“It was devastating at the time however, the neurologist said if I hadn’t of been fit and healthy from playing hockey, the outcome could have been a lot worse.”

A devoted teammate and umpire for the Tuggeranong Vikings Women's Hockey Club in Canberra, Larsen has lived and breathed hockey since first picking up a hockey stick at the age of 15 during high school.

Offering advice to others that are thinking of getting back into sport or taking the approach that sport is too hard at an older age, Larsen suggested.

“You don’t think about how old you are, it’s how fit you are and how you feel.”

“If your fit and your bones are still carrying you around, play sport. Hockey is really enjoyable, it keeps me moving and it’s great for making friends.”

Listening to her body after playing her recent semi-final in Canberra, Larsen made the difficult decision to hang up the hockey stick.

“My body tells me it’s time to finish up and I’m starting to realise how much the stroke has affected me, I don’t want to be a hindrance to the rest of the team.”

When asked about the team’s response to the announcement of her retirement Larsen added, “They simply said to me, we will believe it when we see it, we know you’ll be back next year.”

The perfect advocate for encouraging more people to get involved in hockey regardless of their age, Larsen reassures the hockey community they won’t be getting rid of her for good.

“I will still be heading down to support and umpire the local competition at the hockey club as long as my health and fitness is on my side.”

Hockey Australia media release

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