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News for 25 January 2015

All the news for Sunday 25 January 2015

HWL R2 Singapore: Final joy for Malaysia & Poland

Asian giants & in-form Europeans keep Olympic qualification dream alive by sealing berths in HWL R3

(Photo: FIH / Singapore Hockey Federation / Alfie Lee)

The dream of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games moved a little closer to reality for two hopeful nations on Saturday, with Malaysia and Poland winning their respective semi-finals at the men’s Hockey World League Round 2 tournament in Singapore.

Malaysia’s dramatic shoot-out victory over Japan and Poland’s comfortable win against Oman not only guaranteed a place in the competition final, but also sealed a safe passage through to the HWL Semi-Final phase where coveted berths at Rio 2016 are up for grabs.

Japan (FIH World Ranking: 15) produced a tremendous performance to push tournament top seeds Malaysia (WR: 12) all the way in the first semi-final, with Japan’s Kenta Tenaka cancelling out Marhan Jalil’s early strike to leave the tied at 1-1.  The keepers were in fine form in the shoot-out, forcing five saves before Fitri Saari netted the decisive goal to send the Malaysians into the event final.

Poland (WR: 18) continued their fine form with a 7-1 win over Oman (WR: 23), with Krystian Makowski helping himself to a hat-trick to confirm his team’s place in the Olympic qualifying phase of the HWL. Polish captain Pawel Bratkowski netted his eighth goal of the campaign, leaving him two behind Malaysia’s Faizal Saari in the race to finish as tournament top scorer.

All eight teams will be in action on Sunday (25 January), with the final day’s play getting underway with Mexico and host nation Singapore going head-to-head in the 7-8 classification match (0900 local time – UTC/GMT +8) before Ukraine and Bangladesh take to the field in the battle for 5th place (1500).

Japan and Oman (1730) will contest a hugely significant 3-4 classification match, with the prize of a place in the Olympic qualifier stage of the Hockey World League being on the line ahead of the showpiece final between Malaysia and Poland (2030).

You can keep track of all of the action from Singapore on the official tournament microsite.

FIH site

Malaysia qualify for WL Semifinals in Belgium

By Jugjet Singh

MALAYSIA were a pathetic side but were saved the blushes by goalkeeper S. Kumar, who took them into the final of the World League Round Two by making super saves in the penalty shoot-out at the Sengkang Stadium in Singapore yesterday.

The score stood at 1-1 after the final whistle, and in the shoot-out Malaysia won 3-2 thanks to Kumar, who made three super saves.

The Tampin-born Kumar's heroics also saw Malaysia qualify for the World League Semi-final in Belgium in June, as three tickets are on offer in Singapore.

Marhan Jalil scored an early field goal, by a solo effort in the fifth minute, and the crowd were baying for more Japan blood, but it never came.

Instead, the Japanese grew in confidence and were unlucky not to have won the match in regulation time. Kenta Tanaka equalised in the 15th minute to take the match to a shoot-out.

Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Missed, Izwan Firdaus missed, but Malaysia were kept in the hunt as Kumar brought out three saves.

Faizal Saari, Firhan Ashaari and Fitri Saari delivered for Malaysia in the shoot-out and now they will play Poland for the gold medal today.

In the other semi-finals, Poland beat Oman 7-1.

"We have achieved the target set by MHC (Malaysian Hockey Confederation) which was to play in the final, and now, we will be after my as well as my players target which is to win gold in this tournament," said Malaysian coach Tai Beng Hai.

Beng Hai rued four attempts which hit the post: "Three penalty corners and a field attempt hit the post and bar, and that made our task much harder. However, we had four easy matches before this and we were brought down to earth in the semi-finals.

"I see this as a blessing before be take on Poland for the gold. We did play Poland in a few friendlies in Bukit Jalil before coming to Singapore, but that was with a different structure, and now the team is playing differently and we will go for the gold," said Beng Hai.

In Kuala Lumpur, Poland drew 4-4 and then won 4-3 in the friendlies, but as the tag applies, it were just friendlies.

Malaysia have played Poland 25 times, won 15 , drew 5 and lost 5. We have scored 61 and conceeded 37 goals. The last encounter was at the 2012 Champions Challenge in Argentina where Malaysia won 4-0.

Japan coach Kang Keon-Wook summed up the match: "Malaysia were unlucky in the four quarters as they hit the post and bar four times, but were lucky that they have a very good goalkeeper in the shoot-out (Kumar).

RESULTS: Semi-finals -- Malaysia 1 Japan 1 (Malaysia win 3-2 in penalty shoot-out); Poland 7 Oman 1.

Sunday...Final: Malaysia v Poland (8pm); Third-Fourth: Japan v Oman (5.30pm); Fifth-Sixth: Bangladesh v Ukraine (3pm); Seventh-Eighth: Singapore v Mexico (9am)

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Kumar stood tall as Malaysia enter World League final

By Aftar Singh

Muhammad Marhan Mohd Jalil scored the only goal for Malaysia against Japan in the semi-final of the World League Second Round in Singapore on Saturday. - Filepic

SINGAPORE: Goalkeeper S. Kumar has always delivered when it mattered most.

And on Saturday, the 36-year-old Tampin-born custodian was the hero in Malaysia’s 3-2 penalty shootout win against Japan in semi-finals of the World League Second Round in Singapore.

The match had to be decided on the nerve-wracking shootout after both teams failed to break the 1-1 deadlock after regulation time.

During the shootout, Kumar was in his element when he made three crucial saves from Kenji Kitazato, Genki Mitani and Suguru Hoshi.

Mohd Firhan Ashaari and the Saari brothers, Faizal and Fitri, sounded the board while Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin and Tengku Ahmad Tajudin muffed their chance. The Japanese scored through Kenta Tanaka and skipper Ono Tomonori.

With the win, Malaysia also secured a place in the World League semi-finals in Brasschaat, Belgium from June 20-July 5.

Malaysia, ranked 12th in the world and the top seed, will face world No. 18th and third seed Poland in the final on Sunday.

Poland trounced Oman 7-1 in the other semi-final match.

Midfielder Mohd Marhan Mohd Jalil gave Malaysia the lead in the fourth minute off a field attempt before Japan equalised through Kenta Tanaka in the 14th minute.

Malaysia’s goal came when Marhan made a solo run into the Japanesea half to blast the ball from the top semi-circle past the outstretched legs of goalkeeper Suguru Shimmoto.

Japan, who lost to Malaysia 4-1 at the Incheon Asian Games last September, equalised through Kenta off a goalmouth melee.

After that, Malaysia weathered the storm, putting unnecessary pressure on themselves by giving away seven penalty corners.

National coach Tai Beng Hai said they were lucky to reach the final.

“We were also unlucky as four of our attempts hit the post. We knew that we will face a strong challenge from Japan and thanks to Kumar we were lucky to beat them.

“I’m just glad we have now achieved our target of reaching the final and a place in the World League semi-finals,” said Beng Hai.

He added that they can expect another torrid time against Poland in the final.

“They are a solid team as was evident from our two friendlies with them.”

Malaysia drew 4-4 and lost 4-3 in Bukit Jalil a fortnight ago.

“However, we are more prepared and will be going all out to live up to our top-seed tag,” added Beng Hai.

Malaysia last played Poland in the Champions Challenge 1 in Argentina in 2012 where Malaysia won 4-0.

The Star of Malaysia

SA hockey women and Belgium 3-3 in second Test

JONATHAN COOK at Hartleyvale

SA's Shelley Russell scythes through during the second Test against Belgium at Hartleyvale Saturday. The match ended 3-3. Photo credit MAX BOSANQUET

The spirited Investec South Africa women’s hockey team came back from a 2-0 half-time deficit to draw 3-3 with Belgium in a heart-stopping second Test at Hartleyvale in Cape Town Saturday.

Both sides were hungry for goals from the outset, this second Test of the six-match series showing as much promise as the exciting 1-1 draw in Friday night’s first Test, which could easily have been 5-5 on another day.

The keepers were kept on their toes as play swung from end to end, requiring their timely intervention at regular intervals, while there was some superb defensive play by SA’s Nicolene Terblanche and Lisa Deetlefs. Illse Davids in the SA engine room worked hard alongside her fellow midfielders in attack and defence.

The crowd were on their feet in the 10th minute when Candice Manuel picked her spot, but Belgium keeper Megane Simons made a spectacular diving save to her right. Counterpart Anelle van Deventer also drew applause for some fine stops but in the 14th the deadly Stephanie de Groof opened the scoring with a penalty corner slap that thudded into the backboard (1-0).

The second chukka saw SA doing their utmost to draw level, Sulette Damons and Shelley Russell making inroads. The two sides have been well-matched in the last few years and the contact points were fierce. Van Deventer made a stunning glove-save in the 27th from a De Groof PC rocket but just 12 second from half-time (30th minute) the Belgium ace made no mistake (2-0).

In the 39th Damons and Russell combined well and Dirkie Chamberlain finished off a goal that had massive determination as its hallmark (2-1). A minute later keeper substitute Sanani Mangisa made an assured save from De Groof’s PC and Chamberlain came close at the other end.

The frenetic pace continued but SA were undone by taking the wrong option. De Groof made it hurt more with her PC hat-trick in the 45th (3-1).

SA had it all to do in the fourth and final chukka and in the 50th a perfect one-two between Damons and Terblanche saw the latter pull one goal back (3-2).

A stunning backhand strike by Lilian du Plessis, after cutting in from the left wing, drew SA level 3-3 in the 52nd.

With eight minutes left it was anyone’s game and two minutes from full-time Mangisa made a vital save. SA threw everything forward but time ran out and 3-3 it remained.

The Cape Town Summer Series goes into overdrive Sunday, with a South African double-header at Hartleyvale. The SA women’s second Test against Chile at 2pm - SA won the first Test in the four-Test series 4-2 - and the SA men in their first Test against Ireland at 4pm.

Monday is another double-header at Hartleyvale, the Investec SA women’s third Test versus Chile at 5pm –– and the SA men against Ireland in their second and final Test, at 7pm. At Stellenbosch University, the Dutch and Belgian men meet at 3pm.

In Sunday’s entertaining curtain-raiser, the Belgian men shocked Holland 4-0 with goals from Maxime Plennevaux, Gauthier Boccard and Felix Denayer (2).

(At Hartleyvale)
Sunday – Women: SA vs Chile (2pm); Men: SA vs Ireland (4pm).
Monday – Women: SA vs Chile (5pm); Men: SA vs Ireland (7pm).
Tickets: R30. Gates open one hour before the first whistle.
(At Stellenbosch University)
Men: Holland vs Belgium (3pm).

Investec SA: Anelle van Deventer (GK), Shelley Russell, Lisa Deetlefs, Lilian du Plessis, Nicolene Terblanche, Erin Hunter, Jade Mayne (capt), Bernie Coston, Sulette Damons, Nicole Walraven, Tiffany Jones. Rolling subs: Sanani Mangisa (GK), Demi du Toit, Candice Manuel, Illse Davids, Quanita Bobbs, Line Malan, Dirkie Chamberlain.

Belgium: Megane Simons (GK), Anne-Sophie Scheemaekere, Aline Fobe, Stephanie de Groof, Anouk Raes, Judith Vandermeiren, Lieselotte van Lindt (capt), Alix Gerniers, Emilie Sinia, Barbara Nelen, Jill Boon. Rolling subs: Aisling D’Hooghe (GK), Louise Cavenaile, Stephanie van den Borre, Anne-Sophie Weyns, Louise Versavel, Joanne Peeters, Manon Simons.

Umpires: Tanja Schafer, Chantelle Britz.

SA Hockey Association media release

Indoor Men making strides

Diary updates from the team as they prepare for the Indoor World Cup

With the Australian men’s indoor hockey team in Europe, preparing for the forthcoming Indoor World Cup in Leipzig (4-8 February), Team Manager Brent Deans is providing a series of short updates exclusively for the Hockey Australia website.

The newest diary entry is nearest the top.

During the tournament we’ll have reports and photos from every match (men’s and women’s). For the details of the squad and the tournament fixture card visit our Australian Indoor team page.

You can follow the team on Instragram at @indoorhockeyaus.

23rd January: Another early start with a two-hour drive to Almere to play our second match against the Netherlands. Really cold today, quite a bit of freezing fog on the drive. The sports centre is in an open industrial zone, we arrived in good time to relax before getting ready. Coach, Anthony Potter, had spent time through the night reviewing video and provided the guys with the framework for the match.

Following a good warm-up and team huddle the match started at quite a pace. In a turnaround from the first match, we were able to control the play and converted a number of chances, both attacking penalty corners and open play goals. The guys were playing with lots of energy and it took some nine minutes before the Dutch were awarded their first penalty corner, which the defence were able to deal with. The half time score was 5-1 Australia, which was a good reflection of the match.

At the break, Anthony again reinforced the detailed plan for the second half. The second half continued at a very good level and mid-way through the half the Netherlands began to pressure the ball. This pressure began to take its toll with Holland scoring five goals in an eight minute rush. A number of the chances they had were created by our play, which in the match de-brief was acknowledged. It was great to see a number of Aussie spectators supporting the team. They were keen to show their appreciation to both teams at the final whistle.

Following the match, the Dutch team hosted a lunch with both teams socialising in a positive relaxed manner. All fed and watered we piled into the mini buses for the journey home, lots of tired bodies but very up-beat about the improvement we had made in the second game.

Training, rest and free time tomorrow. Yep everyone is looking forward to some rest time.

22nd January: Up very early…6am. Another big day as we were to play our first match against the Dutch in Almere at 11.00am. The players were looking forward to the chance to face the Dutch team as this would really give us an indication of where we are in terms of our World Cup prep. After a good warm-up we were into the match. The increase in tempo was noticeable, which was expected, but the boys’ work rate matched that of the Dutch team. It took some seven minutes before the Dutch got a PC and from this a stroke to open the scoring.

The first half of play went to the Dutch who from their four penalty corners scored three. We had two corners with no goal. The second half continued at the same tempo with both sides having good opportunities. The half was even with two corners each; we scored from one while we were able to keep out both of the Netherlands’ efforts. The match finished 3-1 to the Netherlands but we were not too disappointed having improved our performance in the second half.  Again, another long drive back (two hours) with some very tired guys. [Coach] Anthony [Potter] was pleased and will have a workshop and video session tonight.  We play the Netherlands again tomorrow.

21st January: Early training sessions again. We are spending time working on getting used to the work load as well as playing together. And more work on attacking penalty corners (PCA) because we feel that the teams who are best with PCA will be successful at the World Cup. We took a break for lunch and a short rest before heading to the north of Holland to play Venlo HC. This club plays indoor hockey in the top Dutch division so it was a good progression for the team. The journey was about 1h40m so at least the boys could rest in the mini bus.

The club arranged for a youth match before ours, which provided for quite a good crowd that stayed on to watch our match. We continue to work on our basic game and although Venlo scoring a couple of early goals, we were able to increase our performance and gained the upper hand in the end. The match finished 8-3, a good result.

20th January: Early start for breakfast then into the mini buses and off to training at the Royal Antwerp Hockey Club who are hosting us. A third of the group is new to the team and even though they all knew each other it is quite different playing together. The training sessions involved working on basic skills just to get the guys back on the ball.

We had two training sessions, lunch, rest and then set off to Brussels to play a select team. A 50 minute drive at 5pm was pretty good!

The match was quite an adjustment for the guys. We were nowhere up to speed in the first half and struggled with the pace and pressure. The second half was much improved and we were very competitive in all areas. There were some very tried guys on the mini bus trip back. Day one had taken its toll.

19th January: All arrived in Antwerp, fit and ready to start the prep program. Coach Anthony Potter welcomed everyone and gave a short presentation outlining the key areas of the program leading to the Indoor World Cup. We then had a team dinner.

Hockey Australia media release

Middleton stunner gives Rays victory

The Ranchi Rays team is probably paying tribute to another popular sport from its state archery as it celebrates Barry Middleton's strike against Dabang Mumbai. Photo: Vivek Bendre   

Ranchi Rays, smarting from the loss to Kalinga Lancers in its first match, rebounded with a 2-1 away victory over Dabang Mumbai in the Hero Hockey India League 2015 here on Saturday.

The yellow jerseys soaked up pressure early on with tight defending, kept the ball rolling despite being a goal down at the Mahindra stadium before Barry Middleton came up with two goals in the third quarter to seal victory. Tom Boon had earlier put the blue shirts in front.

Middleton produced hockey’s equivalent of football’s overhead kick to steal the spotlight from Dabang Mumbai. Manpreet Singh slipped a pass to his teammate from England, whose trap-turn-strike with his back to the goal caught the home team defence unawares.

The Ranchi match-winner had tapped home the first goal, remaining wide off his marker to pounce on a rebound off the post for an easy 39th minute tap-in.

Mumbai went into its second home tie with Glen Turner donning the captain’s armband, following a successful debut as skipper by Vikram Pillay in the opener against Punjab Warriors. This is a continuation of the rotating captaincy initiated by the host.

The clean-shaven Aussie is proactive on the field, running into space for passes and has the ability to receive the ball even as he keeps the defenders at bay.

The first quarter produced no goals, though it was marked by a pacy game and network of passes. Goalkeepers got a chance to stretch themselves facing a penalty corner each. Ranchi was more effective on the break and created more openings.

The quality of play dipped in the second quarter. The visitors pulled men behind the ball and denied space to the home forwards, for whom skipper Turner and Arjun Halappa made diagonal runs, though no passes came their way.

Forwards got into the groove by the third quarter. Boon reacted first and induced a glimmer of excitement with a 38th minute strike. HIL’s highest paid player floated into space around the right post for a pass, and by the time Ranchi reacted the Belgian was two moves ahead, trapping and sweeping home.

The visitors levelled in the next minute. Middleton tapped home a rebound off the post onto the board. The England midfielder’s spectacular second goal was contested by Mumbai for a foot infringement, though television replays vindicated the umpire’s decision.

Ranchi chose to refer a penalty corner decision in the fourth quarter and won.

The scores: Ranchi Rays 2 (Barry Middleton 39, 45) beat Dabang Mumbai 1 (Tom Boon 38).

Man of Match: Manpreet Singh (Ranchi).

he Hindu

Middleton brace for Ranchi sinks Mumbai

Mumbai - England's Barry Middleton scored twice in the third quarter to pilot Ranchi Rays to a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Dabang Mumbai in the Hockey India League encounter at the Mahindra Stadium.

Mumbai took the lead through their Belgian forward Tom Boon in the 8th minute of the third quarter, after a goalless first-half of play, which was neutralised two minutes later by Middleton with a short range effort. Middleton then scored the match-winner in the 45th minute of play before Ranchi kept the Mumbai attackers at bay in the last quarter to emerge victorious.

It was the visitors' first win in the two games after their 3-6 loss to Kalinga Lancers two days ago while for Mumbai, who drew 3-3 with last year's runners-up Punjab Warriors, it was their first loss in two games. The match was played at a much slower pace than yesterday's lung opener.

The home team, who drew with Punjab in a rousing match yesterday, clearly showed signs of tiredness in playing for the second day running. Ranchi took control of the proceedings for the major part of the first two quarters and made several forays into the Mumbai half whose defence held firm.

Barring a few moves down the right flank, Mumbai were hardly in the picture in the first two quarters.
They also wasted a penalty corner. Their star player, Australian Glenn Turner, was largely inconspicuous in the opening half before coming into the picture more later.

Ranchi, who combined better than their rivals with Manpreet Singh catching the eye in the midfield with his incisive passes, got two short corners, but failed to make any impression with both of them and the score stood goalless at the halfway stage. The beginning of the third quarter saw the pace of the game pick up a bit and as a consequence the defence of both teams was put under more pressure.

As a result it was no surprise to see the deadlock broken and it was Mumbai who scored first when their Belgian star forward Tom Boon scored a fine goal with a powerful scoop from just inside the striking circle to sound the board.

Expecting to put up better performance: Govers

Mohali: Forced to settle for a draw in their opening tie against Dabang Mumbai, Punjab Warriors' Australian import Kieran Govers said they were expecting to put up a better show when they take on Kalinga Lancers on Sunday.
“We expect a lot better of ourselves,” the Australian forward said. Dabang Mumbai and last year's runners-up Punjab Warriors played out an exciting 3-3 draw in their opening game of the tournament played at Mumbai yesterday.

Commenting on yesterday's match, Govers said his team feels they could have finished on the winning note had they capitalised on the two goals scored by India discard Sandeep Singh. But a last-minute goal by the opponents dashed their hopes.

The Tribune

Middleton brace inspires Ranchi to 2-1 win over Mumbai

MUMBAI: Veteran English playmaker Barry Middleton's brace inspired Ranchi Rays to a 2-1 victory over Dabang Mumbai in a Hero Hockey India League (HIL) match at the Mahindra Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

The 31-year-old Middleton scored two field goals (38th, 45th) in the third quarter to help Rays bounce back from their 3-6 opening match loss. For Mumbai, the costliest player of the league Belgian Tom Boon scored the solitary goal in the 38th minute.

Both the teams wasted penalty corners in the first quarter with Rays' seasoned South African Justin Reid-Ross and Mumbai's Harmanpreet Singh failing to make them count.

In the second quarter, another Englishman Ashley Jackson-led Rays played with much more purpose and organisation.

Middleton earned the visitors a penalty corner but Birender Lakra failed to stop a Manpreet Singh push in the 30th minute, wasting a great chance. Both teams completed the first half without goals.

However, as soon as the third quarter began both the teams improved their game.

Eight minutes into the second half, Boon was fed by Nick Catlin on the top of the circle and the Belgian fired a flat hit to make it 1-0 for the hosts.

A few seconds later, New Zealander forward Nick Wilson did the hard work and passed it on to Middleton as he ran out of space. Middleton took a turn and beat Irish goalkeeper David Harte to equalise 1-1.

Middleton made it 2-1 in the 45th minute as Mandeep Singh supplied him in front of the goal and employed an energetic reverse-hand strike which easily defeated Harte.

Mumbai pressed hard for the equalizer but a tight defence by the visitors saw them lose the match.

The Times of India

Confident Lancers up against formidable Punjab Warriors

MOHALI: Brimming with confidence after their superb victory in the inaugural match of the season, Kalinga Lancers would be hoping to carry on their winning streak when they take on hosts Jaypee Punjab Warriors in an away fixture of the 2015 Hero Hockey India League (HIL) on Sunday.

Under new coach Jude Felix, the Lancers, who finished at the bottom of the table in its debut season last year, looked far more organised and threatening.

The Lancers dished out a fine show in the opening match of the third edition of HIL to beat the Ranchi outfit 6-3 at their home turf in Bhubaneswar.

While the Lancers would be in a upbeat mood after the win over Rays, it won't be easy for the visitors against the Punjab Warriors, who boasts of strong team led by inspirational Australian Jamie Dwyer.

The Punjab side has world's best goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann in its ranks, who stood tall like a rock to secure a 3-3 draw for his side against Dabang Mumbai in their first game of the season.

With Stockmann guarding the goal, Punjab Warriors would be looking to create maximum scoring opportunities and increase their goal conversion rate to register their first win in the league.

And Lancers coach Felix too admitted that it won't be a cakewalk against Punjab Warriors on Sunday.

"According to me Jaypee Punjab Warriors is the strongest team in the league. While they have not won the league till now, but we still can't take away the fact that they have some of the best players in their squad," he said.

"So, we have to give our best and each member of the team will have to come forward and contribute. Gurjinder Singh, Lucas Villa, Ryan Archibald, Vickram Kanth - all have to stand up and contribute and ensure we end the match tomorrow on a winning note," Felix said.

Punjab Warriors also are in no mood to concede an inch to their opponents.

"We must ensure that we have control over their players. We have to adjust and respond better against the opposition and that is the challenge for our team. The objective from here is to improve ourselves. Tomorrow's match is crucial as they already have a win in their kitty, but we are confident that we will turn the game in our favor," Punjab Warriors coach Barry Dancer said.

Home team skipper Dwyer added: "We have to concentrate every second and we can't relax at all. This cost us 3 points in the last match yesterday. Sandeep (Singh) is flicking good along with Christopher."

The Times of India

Hockey India League: Family Flick

by Mihir Vasavda

David and Conor Harte.

Pluck of the Irish

David and Conor Harte | Mumbai Dabang

David and Conor Harte support the same football club – Manchester United. They list ‘Crash’ as one of their favourite movies. Idolise Roger Federer. And are teachers by profession.

The similarities do not end here. They’re both 6-foot-5, play the same sport, are players in the defensive mould – one a goalkeeper, other a centre-back – and have made their international debuts on the same day.

The 26-year-old twins, towering over most as they stroll on the Marine Drive can get several heads to turn, posing for pictures and guffawing about in their Dabang Mumbai jerseys. The only two Irishmen in this season’s Hockey India League (HIL) hope they can put their country on the hockey map with some credible performances here. Just like they’ve been doing for the last nine years by playing across Ireland, Holland and Belgium, trying to prove a point every time they step on the field.

In a country obsessed with football and rugby, to be a professional hockey player is rare. And to have two from the same family, rarer even. “We played hurling, Gaelic football, football and badminton growing up. All these sports require a bit of movement and hand-eye co-ordination,” David, eight minutes senior to his brother, says. Conor continues: “But the boarding school we went to had hockey says and rugby as options. We played both but eventually chose hockey.”

Since making their debut together against France in August 2006, there has been an equal measure of thrill and toil in playing for the national team.

Pay to play

THE Irish players receive no money or mileage playing for their country. Instead, they have to pay to play. While funding was never sufficient for the sport to grow exponentially, it took a massive hit during the economic crisis that gripped the world in 2008-09.

Ireland hockey’s annual budget was almost halved by the government, who contribute just about 80,000 Euros (approximately Rs 56 lakh) per year. “The budget for hockey is lower than what many players get paid here in the HIL,” smiles David, who was picked up by Mumbai for $51,000 (approx Rs 31.3 lakh) in the auction last November.

Most of the budget allocated to hockey is spent on developing grassroot players and junior teams, leaving the national side with virtually empty coffers. In 2009, with recession at its peak, the players decided to create a funds pool for themselves. Each of the 40 members of the squad chipped in 550 Euros (roughly Rs38,000) at the start of a new season, which would go to the central pool from where the national team affairs were managed.

To generate additional funds, the players conduct fundraising matches and depend on private sponsors, who are very few. “It’s funny because you have to pay to play for Ireland. The money isn’t much and until a few of us started playing in Holland and Belgium, many players did not realise they could earn a living by playing hockey,” David says, sitting on a cushioned sofa in the brightly-lit lobby of a South Mumbai five-star hotel facing the Arabian Sea. “All this,” he says flailing his arms, “was unthinkable for us a few years ago.”

Conor says several talented players end their careers prematurely to support their families. In such dire circumstances, exposure trips abroad are rare and unaffordable. Coached by Craig Fulton, Ireland are currently in South Africa preparing for the World League Two, which begins in late February. It has created a massive dent in their budget for rest of the season but the tour was necessary ahead of the Olympic qualifying tournament.

The Hartes will meet their team-mates directly in San Diego next month. “For most teams, planning for such tournaments revolves around studying their opponents. For us, it’s a bit different. Our planning begins from finding and booking the cheapest air tickets many months prior to the tournament, looking for affordable places to stay,” David says.

As he describes the plight of Irish players, you think of the stark contrast that exists between Indian and Irish hockey establishment and the pampered players. Just last year, Hockey India threatened to pull out of the Commonwealth and Asian Games because the budget allocated to them, Rs10 crore, wasn’t deemed to be enough.

Pushovers no more

And the Irish are no more the pushovers of international hockey. Like their cricket team, they have been punching above their weight in major international competitions and taking rapid strides in world hockey in the last few years. At No 14, they are just five places below India in the latest world rankings released earlier this week; their highest-ever ranking.

Olympic qualification is the sole driving force for the Hartes to continue playing hockey. And it isn’t an unrealistic expectation anymore. Ireland were seconds away from realising their dream three years ago. But South Korea defeated them in the final of the qualifying tournament to clinch the last-remaining spot for the London Games.

Their performance wasn’t unexpected. Prior to the tournament, they clinched their first FIH tournament by winning the Champions Challenge II in France in 2011 and followed it up by beating world No. 1 Australia to top the five-nation tournament in Paris, thrashing South Korea and Argentina along the way. “We know that individually, we are as skilful as any other international player even though our country may not have a hockey tradition,” David says.

Not one to publicly appreciate a player, former Holland coach Paul van Ass hailed David, who plays for the second-oldest Dutch club SV Kampong, as one of the best goalkeepers in the world a couple of years ago. David proved his worth in the HIL, too, when he restricted India No.1 PR Sreejesh to the bench last year with the now-defunct Mumbai Magicians.

This season, he is the second-most expensive keeper, after Dutchman Jaap Stockmann, and is the eighth-highest valued player in the HIL. Conor, who plays his club hockey in Belgium, has enhanced his reputation as a sturdy and reliable centre-back, making him only the second Irishman to ply his trade in the HIL. “We just want to show that Irishmen too can be good at this sport and earn a living out of it. And so far, we would like to believe we’ve done a good job proving it,” David says.

United by hockey

Ramon and David Alegre (Spain) | Ranchi Rays (Kalinga Lancers) and UP Wizards

Sunday lunch at the Alegre household follows a pattern. After a sumptuous meal, David and Ramon — the two brothers – discuss the jugadas or moves from their matches with their father, a retired Spanish international.

This is precisely the reason why the Alegre brothers choose not to share rooms when travelling with the national team for tournaments. “You need some time off, talk to other people and discuss things other than hockey,” David laughs. “At home, it’s hockey, hockey, hockey.”

David jokes he had no option but to choose hockey as a career, considering his father, grandfather and brother all played the sport. “And I was born in Teressa, considered as the birthplace of hockey in Spain. So I had no option. But I am not complaining!” he says.

The Alegre brothers are among the most famous siblings to have played the sport. Ramon, the elder one, is known as Gladi (short for Gladiator) by some of his teammates for his fighting spirit and rock-solidness in the defence. David, on the other hand, is electric on the wings and rated among the best players technically.

The brothers are inseparable in almost all aspects but one – football. Ramon is a cule. David, a parakeet. Living and playing club hockey in Barcelona, Ramon is an ardent fan of the Catalan giants whereas his younger brother supports city rivals Espanyol. “It’s difficult to manage such a family,” David says. “But then, our biggest fans are our families. So I am blessed to have Ramon around each time I play!

The other Pillays

Vikram and Vikas Pillay | Dabang Mumbai

Tucked on the outskirts of Pune, the cantonment area of Khadki is perhaps the size of a tiny suburb in Mumbai or Delhi. Its population hardly one-fourth of it. Yet, in little more than the last decade, it has produced more hockey players who’ve represented India than whole of Mumbai and Delhi put together. “If you’re a Pillay and from Khadki, then it is natural for you to play hockey. It’s blasphemy to choose another profession,” the ever-smiling Vikram Pillay says with an uncharacteristic poker face, as if stating an obvious fact.

After brothers Ramesh and Dhanraj, he was the third Pillay to emerge from the neighbourhood. And he wasn’t the last. Vikas, eight years younger to Vikram, followed his footsteps, learning the craft from his seasoned elder brother and has been knocking on the doors of the national team for the last year or two.

Their father Vishnu toiled at a workshop but could hardly make both ends meet with his limited income. Vikram, 33, took up hockey in school and rose through the ranks rapidly. He followed Dhanraj’s footsteps and moved to Mumbai to continue playing the sport. He was a part of the 2001 junior World Cup winning Indian squad but could never cement his position in the senior team.

Similarly built, the brothers are dynamic and versatile midfielders and play for the Dhanraj-coached Air India in the domestic circuit. In the HIL too, the duo finds themselves wearing the same jersey and will turn out for the newly-formed Dabang Mumbai.

Cinderella story

Yuvraj and Devinder Walmiki | Delhi Waveriders (Yuvraj) and Kalinga Lancers (Devinder)

Having spent their entire childhood living in a shanty, a stone’s throw away from the Mahindra hockey stadium in Mumbai, Yuvraj and Devinder Walmiki spent hours dreaming to play the sport professionally and make a living out of it.

Their exploits on the field have made them two of the most sought after players in the HIL. While Yuvraj scored crucial goals in Delhi’s triumphant campaign last season, Devinder has earned praise from all quarters.

The money earned from HIL has helped bring financial stability in their lives, and the duo hopes to invest smart. “We gifted a two-wheeler to our parents so that travel becomes convenient for them. We are now planning to invest in real estate in the outskirts of Mumbai,” Yuvraj says.

And the duo realise they’ll need such planning to revive their careers as well. Having spent most of part of the last two years on the fringes of the national team, Yuvraj is hoping to use HIL as a platform to make his return. Devinder, on the other hand, is waiting for a call-up to the senior team after being a part of the core group for the entire 2014. The youngest Walmiki, Anup – their cousin – too is in the HIL, playing for Dabang Mumbai.

Singh Brothers

Prabhdeep and Akashdeep Singh | Ranchi Rays (Prabhdeep) and Delhi Waveriders (Akashdeep)

In a sport where the most common surname is believed to be Singh, it is hardly a surprise that the Singh brothers should feature in the HIL. But here’s a fun fact: Younger sibling Akashdeep was already scoring important goals for the senior national team while his elder brother Prabhdeep was playing for the juniors!

Mention that to Akashdeep and the 21-year-old smiles, almost embarrassed. Perhaps the quietest player you’ll come across in the Indian team, Akashdeep’s rise in the two years since he has made his debut has been remarkable. Prabhdeep began playing the sport inspired by his uncles and joined the famous Surjit Singh academy as a teenager.

Akashdeep followed suit when he joined his brother there, aged 12. Ever since, the two have been playing together. “Earlier, we used to play football together for our school. So it seems natural to have my brother around when playing,” says Akashdeep.

Prabhdeep says his younger brother spends hours watching football matches, observing the movements off the ball and ways to score goals. “He likes Barcelona so he watches their matches all the time. And I try to improve my game by looking at him. The trend has reversed,” Prabhdeep says.

The duo played together in the junior World Cup held in Delhi two years ago and even though Akashdeep has been a national team regular since, Prabhdeep has not been able to make the cut.

Indian Express

Athletic Army trounce Punjab 6-3 at COAS hockey

Kashif Abbasi

RAWALPINDI: A view of the match between Navy and Army (Juniors) at the Army Hockey Stadium on Saturday.—Courtesy PHF

RAWALPINDI: Striker Hammad Dar and captain Mohammad Imran played major roles in Army’s victory over Punjab in the Chief of Army Staff Challenge Hockey Cup at the Army Hockey Stadium here on Saturday.

Hammad made a hat-trick while fullback Imran scored two back-to-back goals, ensuring 6-3 victory for their team.

Navy and Police also won their respective matches on the third day of the event.

Imran, who is also the captain of the national team, opened Army’s account by scoring in the second minute of the match on a penalty-corner. Eleven minutes later, he doubled the lead.

Sohail Anjam of Punjab scored their first goal in the 16th minute.

Punjab comprising young players fought hard and launched some good moves but could not defeat a well-composed Army team.

Army’s striker Hammad scored two consecutive goals in 23rd and 40th minutes almost fading the chances of Punjab’s victory.

However, Punjab’s striker Sohail showed brilliant performance and added two more field goals for his team in 42nd and 53rd minutes, completing the first hat-trick of the tournament.

Army’s Abul Jabbar also scored in the 53rd minute and Hammad completed his hat-trick in the 60th minute, finishing the game 6-3.

In the second match, Navy defeated Army (Juniors) 3-1.

Army Junior gave tough time to an experienced Navy team, which was led by Olympian Rashid Mehmood. Both teams demonstrated aggression in their game and exhibited dribbling, dodging and interception brilliantly. The juniors, however, faltered in their finishing.

Goalkeeper Mohammad Altaf again showed excellent performance and saved at least two strong hits on penalty-corners.

Navy’s striker Ali Sher scored first goal in the 13th minute and then Asad Aziz doubled the lead in the 17th minute. He added another goal in the 52nd minute.

For Army Juniors, the only goal was scored by Mohammed Haseeb.

The last match of the day was played between Police and PAF.

Both sides gave tough time to each other and demonstrated aggressive moves. However, in the 30th minute, Police’s Atif Baig managed to break the strong defence of PAF. He netted the ball neatly on a cross from Ayub.

In the beginning of the last quart, Ayub doubled the lead by successfully converting a penalty-corner. Hafiz Rizwan scored one more goal for the winners.

PAF’s lone goal was scored by Mohammad Mushtaq.


Army, Navy, Police win in COAS Hockey Cup

Mohsin Ali

RAWALPINDI - Thanks to a superb hat-trick by Hammad Dar and a sensational performance by national team skipper Olympian M Imran, Army Seniors outplayed Punjab 6-3 in the first encounter of the day in the First Chief of the Army Staff Challenge Hockey Cup 2015 played here at Army Hockey Stadium Saturday.

In the other matches Navy beat Army Juniors 3-1 and Police completely outplayed PAF 3-1. The event is a joint venture of Pakistan Hockey Federation and Army Sports Directorate. PHF Secretary Rana Mujahid, PHF chief selector Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui other high-profile dignitaries and former hockey greats were also present on the occasion.

The first match between Army and Punjab belonged to national team captain Olympian Imran who remained instrumental in Army's victory. He scored first two goals on penalty corners in the second and 13th minutes and was the part of two beautiful moves that produced even number of goals. He was also rock solid in defence as he saved two certain goals at the edge of the post. Both teams were almost at par in the middle. However, Army excelled in experience, temperament which enabled them to complete excellent finishing. Hammad also played a vital role in Army's victory making the second hat-trick of the tournament. He scored goals in the 23rd, 40th and 60th minutes, while Abdul Jabbar scored in the 53rd minute.

A youthful Punjab team however fought hard and launched some excellent moves as well but they lacked in experience, which cost them dearly. Sohail Anjam fought lone battle for the losers and scored a superb hat-trick, but it was too little for Punjab as they go down fighting. Sohail scored his hat-trick through field goals in the 16th, 42nd and 53rd minutes respectively. Haroon and Sohail supervised the match.

In the second match of the day Navy, led by Olympian Rashid Mehmood, had to dig deep to earn victory against a very determined Army's B team, the only junior team of the tournament. Both teams demonstrated aggression in their game and they also exhibited dribbling, dodging and interception brilliantly. The juniors, however, faltered in their finishing. Army goalkeeper M Altaf again showed immense resolute to save at least two strong hits on the penalty corners.

Ali Sher scored the first goal from Navy in the 13th minute. It was Asad Aziz who played brilliantly throughout the match and played a vital role in his team's victory. He not only successfully converted two penalty corners in the 17th and 52nd minutes but also saved a certain goal standing near the post. Army's M Haseeb scored the consolation goal. Rana Sajid and Sohail supervised the match.

The third and last match of the day was played between Police and PAF, which was full of thrill during which both teams demonstrated aggressive moves against each other. It was PAF who dominated the first two quarters of the match, but it was their poor finishing in front of the goal, which prevented them from scoring early and costs them dearly at the end as against the run of play, it was Police who took the lead in the 30th minute through Atif Baig who neatly netted the ball on a cross from Ayub. PAF got a life line in the 45th minute, when despite being almost down and out, Mushtaq managed to square things as he scored from a penalty corner but their joy was very short lived, as Ayub successfully converted a penalty corner in the 46th minute to give Police a well-deserving lead. The score line was completed in the 50th minute, when Hafiz Rizwan scored a field goal. Police could have easily scored at least half a dozen goals had their conversion was not poor in front of the goal as forwards missed some easy chances. Kamran Shareef and Kamran MP supervised the match.

A total of three matches will be played today Sunday). In the first match, PIA take on Police at 10:00am, in the second match SSGC face Navy challenge at 12:00pm and in the third and last encounter of the day Army Juniors meet stiff NBP challenge at 2:00pm.

The Nation

Cowie out World League Hockey qualifiers

...Browne, Quan Chan return

Nigel Simon

T&T men’s hockey player Kwandwane Browne dribbles a player during a warm-up match ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

T&T will be without the talented Darren Cowie and five other regulars for the FIH World Hockey League Round Two qualifiers set for Chula Vista, San Diego, California, USA, from February 28 to March 8.

This after Cowie, who led the team as captain to the Round One win in Jamaica last September and a silver medal at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in November, was forced to withdraw from the team due to work commitments.

In addition to Cowie, other members of the team who participated in the first-round series and the CAC Games in Mexico are also forced to pull out of the event. They include Aidan De Gannes, Christopher Scipio and Ishmael Campbell through work commitments, while Kiel Murray and Stefan Mouttet are injured.

However, making a return to the team are England-based Kwandwane Browne, Dillet Gilkes and Dwain Quan Chan, all of whom will be making their first tour together in over a year, while youngsters Joshua Olton, Kelon Skerritt and Teague Marcano have all been drafted into the training squad.

Francis also welcomed the introduction of the new faces in the training squad, saying, “The team is in transition at the moment as over the next couple of years, players like Browne and Gilkes and a few others will not be around, and it is hoped that these youngsters gain enough experience now to pick up where they leave.

“We have a lot of youth in the set-up now with the Emmanuel brothers, Kristin and Kwasi, Marcano boys, Tariq and Teague as well as Lyndell Byer, Joshua Olton and Kelon Skerritt, and they are all the future of T&T hockey.

In California, T&T will compete in one group with USA, Russia and Canada while Austria, Chile, Ireland and Italy are in the other round-robin group at the end of which the team will meet in cross-over quarterfinal matches followed by semifinals, third placed and final matches.

And looking ahead to the tournament, coach Glen “Fido” Francis,” who returns to lead the team after interim coach Raphael Govia coached the team through the round one series in Jamaica last year, said the group draw for the local squad is a tough one, but also presents a good chance to prove itself worthy of being involve.

“We will be the lowest-ranked team in the tournament and based on the new format we are already assured of a quarterfinal spot as only eight teams are involved.

“However, we want to get past that hurdle and reach the semifinals for the least.

“The current crop of players are a very good mix of youth and experience, but we still have lots of work to do as a team and for that we will need to the support of the powers that be financially,” he said.

A former national goalkeeper Francis also welcomed the return of Browne, who he says will bring a lot to the team.

Following the World League round-two series, the national men’s team is carded to head to the Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada, from July 10-26.

Men’s training squad

Ron Alexander, Kwandwane Browne, Cogie Butler, Lyndell Byer, Shaquille Daniel, Solomon Eccles, Kwasi Emmanuel, Kristen Emmanuel, Dillet Gilkes, Nicholas Grant, Dominic Jaikaransingh, Marcus James, Shane Legerton, Terrence Baptiste, Justin Pascal, Tariq Marcano, Che Modeste, Michael O’Connor, Allan Henderson, Mickell Pierre, Dwain Quan Chan, Jordan Reynos, Andrey Rocke, Karlos Stephen, Akim Toussaint, Jordan Vieira, Danil Trancoso, Dominic Young, Teague Marcano, Kelon Skerritt, Joshua Olton.​

The Trinidad Guardian

Series chance for Sticks to iron out deficiencies

By Nick Edlin

Mark Hager. Photo / Greg Bowker

The women's Black Sticks are set to take on Canada in early February, but their attention is still on addressing issues that afflicted them in 2014 - namely, penalty shootouts and closing out tight games.

The Canada series will comprise three tests in Whangarei during February 5-8. The Canadians aren't in the same league as the Black Sticks, who are ranked fourth in the world. But coach Mark Hager said the series would throw up some challenges despite the gulf in status.

"You've got to play teams ranked lower than you and learn how to win those games as well," he said.

"Sometimes we have that difficulty, where we tend to play well against the top three or four teams but then don't play so well against teams ranked below us. It's a good opportunity to learn that we've still got to win those games."

The series will also give Hager the opportunity to blood new players and one likely to figure is Canterbury's Rachel McCann.

"She's played really well in the under-21s in the last couple of years, so it will be good to see her in [the international] environment," said Hager.

He has also been working hard on trying to remedy the side's recent inability to convert wins from tight situations. Last year saw the team pipped at the pointy end of two major tournaments.

The first came at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, where they lost their semifinal to the less-fancied English. Then came the Champions Trophy in Argentina, where they were beaten by Australia in the semis in a penalty shootout, and went on to succumb to the Dutch in the bronze match.

The close-but-no-cigar results have become something of a theme for the side in recent times.

"It's frustrating for the players," said Hager. "The shootout is an area we've got to improve on."

While they may have stumbled when it mattered most, Hager said he was still pleased with the team's overall performance in Argentina.

He said the key change that was required was a psychological shift, but that had to be achieved without bogging the players down with too much self-reflection.

"In the end, it's just having that belief you can do it. And you don't want to delve too deep into it because you could make yourself go crazy. You can talk yourself out of belief if you over-analyse it."

The New Zealand Herald

Two Dutch coaches in Hockey India's list to replace Walsh

Ritu Sejwal

NEW DELHI: Just three days after former chief coach of Indian hockey team, Aussie Michael Nobbs, made a case for an Indian coach for the national side, TOI has learnt that Hockey India has proposed six names to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) for the top post of both the men's and women's teams.

In a letter to SAI on Thursday, the hockey federation has proposed the names of Dutch coaches Paul van Ass and Hans Streeder, and Australian coach Alexander for the men's team. It has also put forward the names of New Zealand's Anthony Mark Thornton, Canada's Mathias Ahrens and South Africa's Fabian Gregory for the women's team.

SAI top officials are scheduled to meet on February 9 to finalise the names.

The men's team's post fell vacant when men's coach Terry Walsh resigned just three weeks after guiding the team to Asian Games gold medal. The Australian resigned as he wanted a better deal and also because Hockey India asked him to explain allegations of financial irregularities against him when he was the coach of USA. A month later, women's team's coach Neil Hawgood parted ways, refusing to extend his contract which ended in December 2014.

Hans Streeder is likely to be the top contender for the post of chief coach of men's team. Streeder had assisted Roelant Oltmans, the then head coach of the Netherlands men's hockey team, during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Oltmans, now a high-performance director with Hockey India, is currently the interim head coach of the Indian men's hockey team after Walsh's exit.

The other Dutch coach, Paul van Ass, guided his national team to a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics. He was appointed coach of the Netherlands in June 2010 and was also in charge of the men's u-21 national team, Jong Oranje.

As for the women's team, Thornton, who was the head coach of women's hockey programme at New South Wales Institute of Sport for four years (till 2013), is a leading contender.

Thornton was also the head coach of Australia's u-21 men's team.

Canada's Mathias Ahrens has been in charge of his country's junior men's team, the Durkheimer Hockey Club and the Scottish Institute of Sports. The South African contender Fabian Gregory was earlier the coach of South African women's team and in 2014 appointed as the head coach of their national men's team. Gregory, who replaced Charlie Pereira, has been appointed till the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The Times of India

One Thousand Hockey Legs delivers a memorable Cairns event

A pioneering effort by the city based schools hockey NGO One Thousand Hockey Legs has recently delivered a new entity called Cairns Juniors Hockey Cup 2015 in New Delhi with many new features that may give the NGO new wings to fly sky high. Cairns India, a top gear Oil producing company based in India and abroad, entrusted Hockey Citizen Group, which runs a unique schools hockey promotion product One Thousand Hockey Legs, with organizing a school hockey tournament in the mid of January.

Being the player-kid oriented organization, the One Thousand Hockey Legs, proposed to hold the event into categories, Under-14 and Under-17, with prize money, refreshment package and heart warming many other features.

To start with the tournament got the Hockey India affiliations, which meant the umpires and officials were deputed by the parent body, and HI website also provided enough publicity to the event through their social media and official website. This tournament was also included in the HI’s annual calendar. To give a pep to the event, a press conference was organized in a high profile hotel, located adjacent to the venue of the competition.

At The Connaught Hotel, dignitaries such as Ajit Pal Singh, captain of the 1975 World Cup, his colleague HJS Chimini in the gold winning team, and triple Olympians Harbinder Singh graced the occasion along side Kukoo Walia, Secretary General of City based Nehru Society. Six kids, who will play the tournament, were also invited and their presence was a treat to eyes. There was decent publicity next day

Strict measures were taken to scrutiny age of the players. At least in one case, six players were asked not to take part as they appreared over-age to the Under-14 tournament. This has sent a strict message, and the organizers can feel satisfied that right age boys played the tournament,; this is not a small progress.

Three aspects that need to be mentioned include:
****All the kids were presented a new jersey
*****Each team was given transport charge.
******Refreshment worth about a hundred rupees was given to each member of the playing team

No teams walked out, no teams pulled out despite there was a tournament going on simultaneously in the city.

The two top billed teams, Saket J block and SS Mota Singh, which defeated Modern School in the semis, fought for the title on Wednesday against full crowd.

For the first time, floodlights were on for this age group final; and it was a sight to see young kids play under the luxury of full lights.

It was also a great augury that most boys were cajoled to bring their parents. The NGO really was over-whelmed by the response of the parents whose presence will go a long way in building hockey culture in India, especially Delhi

It was also a great gesture that the entity had in its provision to honour select individuals as under:
*****The Most energetic Player of the Tournament
*******The most energetic goalkeeper of the tournament
*********The most energetic young kid of the tournament

Such three awards were given to both sub-Junior and Junior categories.

Livewire midfielder of GBSSS, Maharuali Kanaiya go the Most energetic player award in the Junior category, while Mohammed Zaseem of GBSSS, saket J block, who stopped three shoot outs in the final, got the most energetic goal keeper epithet.

Irshad Ali of GBSSS, MB Road, was honoured with the most energetic kid of the tournament. For the sub-Junior category, it was Ganesh (SBV, Ashok Nagar), Deepanshu (goalie of GBSSS, Khanpur) and Kishen Kashyap of GBSSS, Begumpur ) have won the same honours, respectively.

Despite being a hectic hockey season with HHIL about to take off, the event elicited some publicity in the print media, though one always feel it could have been more.

Presence of good crowd in the final, surge of parents to the stands, very high prize money, the precision with which the event was staged, the energy and enthusiasm of up and coming hockey kids seen throughout the week surely give a glimpse of what lies ahead for schools hockey in Delhi.


MHC annual congress set for Feb 13

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) will hold their much delayed Annual Congress Meeting (AGM) on Feb 13.

And the affiliates have to nominate their candidates before Feb 2.

MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has already confirmed that he will not seek re-election, thus the attention will be on whom the affiliates nominate to take over.

Also up for grabs are the deputy president’s post and seven vice presidents positions (two of which is reserved for women).

The MHC have already amended their constitution to trim the number of office bearers from the current 52 to 21.

The president will appoint the secretary general and treasurer.

The candidates nominated for the various posts have until Feb 9 to confirm their decision to stand for election.

The Star of Malaysia

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