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News 01 January 2014

All the news for Wednesday 1 January 2014

Happy 2014

May your year be filled with great hockey, good umpires and the amazing social life our sport gives us.

New Year Resolve: Let us resolve to restore the pride of Dhyan Chand

K Arumugam

Greatest of Indian players, Dhyan Chand, and his legacy in terms of history and success, and making of Indian nationhood, has bee overlooked; his contribution sidelined and undervalued, as Government of India is yet to confer him the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna.

Even a common man knows and values the great player, greatest human being, all his feats and their historical significance

If he is not awarded Bharat Ratna not before it will be physically handed over to another player on republic Day this year, it will mark saddest day for Indian polity, Indian society and for all ethics this oldest civilization stood for, stands for.

Nowadays nothing comes without public pressure, and it is what sports lovers lack in India today.

There is a need to reverse the trend, and stand for getting the great players his due

Bharat Ratna, on time and first, will be stick2hockey.com's appeal to Indian public.

Let us stand together, work together and get the honour of Dhyan Chand restored.

We will be initiating a series of moves and won't stop till Dhyan Chand's pride, which stands hurt today, is not restored.


Perak may lose hosting rights

Failing to merge the men's and women's bodies in the state may cost Perak Hockey Association the host job for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup this year.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) had stipulated in their council meeting on Aug 18 in Malacca that the states which have not merged in accordance with the MHC constitution will no longer be considered as affiliates and are not allowed to host any tournaments.

At that time,  Perak, Selangor and Terengganu had yet to adhere to regulations following the merger of the Malaysian Hockey Federation and the Malaysian Women Hockey Association.

However, Terengganu and Selangor went on to meet the deadline.

"The decision of having Dec 31 as the final deadline was taken at the MHC council meeting in Malacca in August, and I need to check with Perak HA on their status," said MHC secretary Datuk Johari Abdul Aziz.

"Perak HA cannot host any tournaments in accordance with our constitution.

"I am not at liberty to decide their fate as that's for the council or executive board to determine."

The status of Perak hockey not being merged was confirmed by Sports Commissioner Ahmad Shapawi Ismail.

"I really do not see what the problem is about merging as Selangor and Terengganu, who initially had issues, managed to merge without any fuss,"said Shapawi.

With the deadline over yesterday, it will be interesting to see the MHC carry out their threat or allow Perak HA to be continued to be run by two different entities — the men headed by Datuk Rahim Md Ariff, while the women are led by MHC deputy president Raja Puan Sri Noora Ashikin.

The Azlan Shah Cup also seems to have lost its glitter following the decision of the organisers to invite teams ranked lower than Malaysia for the 2014 edition.

New Zealand and Argentina declined the invitation while India, who had initially confirmed their participation, withdrew two weeks ago.

Malaysia could have invited the likes of Japan and China but did not do so, opting to invite South Africa instead who are also likely to decline as they will be in Kuantan for the Champions Challenge 1 in April.


Strengthening domestic hockey our top priority: Akhtar Rasool

KARACHI: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) will be fully concentrating on strengthening the domestic hockey and will work for uplifting the national sport, PHF chief Chaudhry Akhtar Rasool said on Tuesday.

“Our focus will be strengthening domestic hockey in order to raise and revive the game in the country,” he said in an interview here at the Hockey Club of Pakistan.

“Pakistan cannot do well at the international level without preparing quality players at the domestic level.

“It is imperative, without preparing good quality players at the domestic hockey the standard of the game cannot be raised,” the former Pakistan captain remarked.

Akhtar disclosed that the PHF has planned as many as 18 all-Pakistan level tournaments in different parts of the country in the year 2014 in a bid to increase hockey activity besides expending club, district, provincial and departmental competitions.

He thanked President Mamnoon Hussain for assuring him financial as well as morale support for the revival of hockey in the country during his meeting the other day.

“I want to return something to Pakistan hockey because the game has given me and my family lot of fame and respect the world over,” he commented.

While admitting that Pakistan had been struggling in international arena, Akhtar said that he has accepted the challenge of reviving the game in Pakistan and infuse new spirit and energy among the players at the grass-roots level.

He said the PHF was also trying to increase the shrinking base of hockey by launching inter-school, inter-college and inter-club competitions.

The former Olympian explained that he has flown to Karachi specifically to meet top officials in the corporate sector for their support to the hockey teams and to extend sponsorships for putting the game on the track.

He said he held a meeting with PSO Managing Director Amjad Pervez Junjua on Tuesday who has promised to raise a hockey team and hire players on stipends.

Akhtar Rasool said it was great encouragement that the MD was very positive in forming a quality hockey team.

He said in the next few weeks he will be meeting the bosses of Allied Bank, MCB Bank, United Bank and other leading institutions and request them to form their hockey teams and extend sponsorship for holding national events in different parts of the country.

He expressed optimism that with joint efforts from all quarters, hockey will be put on the track and will soon bring laurels to the nation like before


The 'darkest' year

“It's sad, sad and sad, we have seen this day when the masters of hockey have come to this stage.” -Photo by AFP

Former Olympians and fans mourned the darkest day in Pakistan's sporting history after the former field hockey titans failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time ever. Pakistan went down 2-1 to South Korea in the Asia Cup semi-final in Malaysia, a tournament they needed to win to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in the Netherlands.

The Greenshirts won the inaugural competition in 1971 and triumphed again in 1978, 1982 and 1994.

Three-time Olympic gold medallists, Pakistan have suffered a serious slump in field hockey. Their only triumph since 1994 was the Asian Games title in 2010.

Olympian Shahnaz Shaikh said he felt heart-broken at hockey's downfall.

“Why I am alive to see this day?” said Shaikh, vice-captain of Pakistan's triumphant 1978 World Cup team.

“It's sad, sad and sad, we have seen this day when the masters of hockey have come to this stage.”

The juniors drove home the point by finishing 9th in the 16-nation Junior World Cup in New Delhi. (Agencies)

Maria makes history

Pakistan’s squash player Maria Toorpakai Wazir put her name in the history books by winning the first ever women’s event in the Nash Cup in Canada by beating Milou van der Heijden of the Netherlands 13-11, 11-3, 11-9.

The victory gave Maria, who hails from South Waziristan, the third title of her WSA career after she won the Southwest Squash Open and the Liberty Bell Open last year in the US and was another milestone in her journey of immense courage and perseverance.

The biggest surprise

Sixteen young Pakistani women made history as they competed in the 2013 Kabaddi World Cup — the first time the country ever fielded an international women's team in the sport.

Having decided to build the women's team, the authorities wrote to top sports organisations and educational institutions, collecting a group of girls coming from diverse sporting backgrounds.

Half already represented various other sports like athletics, weightlifting and racket games, while a few new players also earned a place in the team.

They surprised the world, beating Denmark, England and Mexico en route to the semi-finals and narrowly missing out on a bronze-medal finish. (AFP)

Forward but no silverware

Pakistan's football team showed improvement in results and rankings but failed to win silverware yet again. They came close to winning the Phillipines Peace Cup but lost at the final hurdle. Under former coach Zavisa Milosavljevic of Serbia and his predecessor Mohammed Al Shamlan of Bahrain, they finished the year in 172nd spot in the FIFA rankings, having started 2013 in 189th. At club level, national champions Khan Research Laboratories became the first team to play in the final of continental competition when they reached the showpiece of the AFC President's Cup. Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), meanwhile, got recognition from the AFC;bagging the AFC Aspiring Member Association award. With new talent coming through, it is hoped that the national team would improve further next year. (Umaid Wasim)

Aisam continues to slug away

Teaming up with Dutch partner Jean-Julien Rojer, Aisam captured his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 team title at Miami and reached the US Open quarter-final for a fourth straight year. He won second ATP World Tour team title of 2013 and their fourth trophy with a two-set win over Bjorkman-Lindstedt in the Stockholm final. The year 2014 will see Aisam reunite with former partner Rohan Bopanna of India.

Asif continues his run

World amateur snooker champion Mohammad Asif announced that he would go professional next year after getting $20,000 in sponsorship from an entrepreneur.The 31-year-old Pakistani won the amateur title in Bulgaria in 2012 and had been waiting since for cash assistance to fulfil his childhood dream of joining the professional circuit. After winning the world title, Faisalabad-based Asif also won the 6-Red Asian Championship in Doha and IBSF World Team Snooker crown with Mohammad Sajjad in Carlow a few months ago which are testament to his class and stature as a sportsman.


Highs and Lows of Pakistan sports

Hockey by Fawad Hussain

Still struggling to live up to its resounding fame of yore, the national game of Pakistan dished out a mixed platter of results achieved in different tournaments this year.

Needless to say, the proportion of bitter pills far outweighed the sweet morsels embedded sparingly in the salver presented at the end of 2013.

The most heartbreaking loss for the country’s hockey was undoubtedly the failure to qualify of the record four-time winners in the upcoming World Cup next year.

Besides winning the mega event in 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994, the greenshirts had never failed to qualify for the event; until now.

Starting with the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in March, the Pakistan team won its opening match against New Zealand. However, subsequent losses and draws saw the greenshirts ending fifth in the six-nation tournament in Malaysia.

Next, they missed out on a chance to qualify for the World Cup when they crashed out of the Hockey World League after being beaten by South Korea in the quarter-finals.

This left them with one last shot for confirming their place in the World Cup — the Asia Cup.

Pakistan started out well in the event, earning three back-to-back wins against Japan, Malaysia and Chinese Taipei respectively.

But once again, it was South Korea who prevented the greenshirts from forging ahead; the semi-final loss ended Pakistan’s hopes of entering arguably the most prestigious event in hockey that they had won four times in the not-so-distant past.

The team came back from the Asia Cup with a bronze medal courtesy the consolation victory against Malaysia.

However, the damage was done. No matter how much the status of hockey has paled in the face of cricket, the World Cup disqualification was a huge blow for the nation. Even Pakistan’s successful defence of their Asian Champions Trophy title later in the year offered only a mere consolation.

There are no individual performances to write home about either; only the retirement of Pakistan’s most capped player Waseem Ahmed is something that may affect the game in some way next year.

The Express Tribune

The other sports analysed can be found here

Hardev Singh Kular (1930 – 2013)

Dil Bahra

Hardev Singh Kular

It is with great sadness that Sikhs in Hockey report the death of Olympian Hardev Singh Kular who died in Nairobi on Tuesday 31 December 2013. He was aged 83.

Hardev, an inside forward, played for Kenya at Melbourne 1956 and Rome 1960 Olympic Games, was the Team Coach at Munich 1972 and the Team Manager at Seoul 1988 Olympic Games.

Born in Nakuru, Kenya, he played for Kenya Police in the 1950s and captained the Police team that won the MR D’Souza Gold Cup, the premier Club tournament in East Africa, in 1955 and 1960. He captained the Kenya team that won the East African Championship in 1959. He later joined Sikh Union Nairobi in mid-sixties.

Following a successful playing career, he turned to coaching and umpiring and then hockey administration. He was awarded his FIH international umpires badge in 1970 and was Kenya’s coach at the first World Cup in Barcelona in 1971 where Kenya finished fourth.

Hardev was the Hon. General Secretary of Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) from 1973 to 1987 and Chairman of KHU from 1998 to 2004.

He was a member of International Hockey Federation Youth Committee from 1983 to 1987 and was awarded the International Hockey Federation Diploma of Merit in 1995.

He was Chairman of National Association of Kenya Olympians from 2000 to 2007.

Hardev’s younger brother, Jagjit, also an Olympian, who is currently in Nairobi,  informs me that the funeral will probably be this Thursday (2.1.2014) in Nairobi.

Hardev is survived by his wife Harbhajan and three children, Harvinder, Hardeep and Harpreet.

Sikhs in Hockey

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