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News for 29 January 2015

All the news for Thursday 29 January 2015

On song SA win third Test against Belgium

JONATHAN COOK at Hartleyvale

SA goalkeeper Sanani Mangisa, in her 100th Test match, palms away a Begium penalty corner during the third Test at Hartleyvale in Cape Town Wednesday. SA won 3-2 to lead the six-Test series 1-0, The first two Tests were drawn 1-1 and 2-2. Photo: MATT WITHERS

In what was a great exhibition of attacking play the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team beat Belgium 3-2 after leading 2-1 at half-time in the third Test at Hartleyvale in Cape Town Wednesday night.

SA lead the six-Test series 1-0 after the first Test was drawn 1-1 and the second Test 2-2. The fourth Test is at 6.30pm Thursday.

Belgium, who led at half-time in both of the previous Tests, scored first through a well-worked penalty corner variation finished off by Manon Simons in the 22nd minute. Three minutes later (25th) SA were on level terms when Dirkie Chamberlain’s perfectly placed backhand blast crashed into the backboard (1-1).

SA were on song and striker Sulette Damons raced down the right channel, the former SA junior sprinter leaving her marker for dead, before Chamberlain effected the perfect one-two and Damons tapped the ball home for 2-1 in the 28th minute.

SA went 3-1 up in the 45th, just seconds before the third chukka ended, when captain for the day Jade Mayne shook off her markers - and Candice Manuel finished with aplomb (3-1).

SA defender Lisa Deetlefs hit the post during a spell of three consecutive PCs and four minutes from time (56th) Jill Boon pulled Belgium back to 3-2 after netting a hotly disputed goal.

It was a superb Test match between two willing sides intent on attack.

A mark of this Test was SA’s cohesion through the defence, midfield and striker lines with the forwards gelling seamlessly - and the result was goalscoring opportunities aplenty. Had it not been for the standout performance of keeper Aisling D’Hooghe the girls in green and gold might well have scored quite a few more.

The Belgians also created a healthy number of goalshots but keeper Sanani Mangisa, in her 100th Test, was on hand to save some very good opportunities conjured up by the Europeans.

What was electrifying was the manner in which the SA frontrunner exploited the right channel, the Belgians having no answer to the pace of South Africa’s forwards - Lilian du Plessis, Bernie Coston, Candice Manuel, and Sulette Damons in particular - while the speed of Shelley Russell in the pocket behind the strikers was yet another headache for Belgium to contend with.

The strength on the ball of captain for this match Jade Mayne and Dirkie Chamberlain provides the perfect foil to the speed merchants, while apart from the attacking and tackle-back skills of midfielder Russell, others in the engine room – Illse Davids, Nicolene Terblanche, Quanita Bobbs and Line Malan - did the hard graft to make opportunities possible upfront.

The SA defence was put under considerable pressure from Belgium captain Lieselotte van Lindt, Barbara Nelen, Jill Boon and the skilful Anouk Raes, but Lisa Deetlefs, Marcelle Manson, Erin Hunter, Nicole Walraven and Christine Roos soaked up the threat with admirable composure.   

It was a pity that substitute keeper Phume Mbande didn’t get the chance to make her appearance as this win was a magnificent team effort against a very well-organised unit.

SA Hockey Association media release

Ireland 2- 5 Netherlands (Men)

Ireland lost 5-2 to the World No. 2 in Stellenbosch this afternoon as they continue their preparation for World League 2 in San Diego, USA from 28th February/8 March. The Dutch were the more creative in the first quarter and took the lead with a goal in the 10m with a lovely one two inside the 25 and slapped home high.  Ireland created two good chances for Caruth & Watt early in the 2nd quarter but the Dutch got their second in the 28m to take a 2-0 lead at half time.

Ireland got one back early in the 3rd quarter following a series of Penalty corners.  It came from the stick of Paul Gleghorne smashing home the rebound off the Dutch keeper.  Ireland were back level, after another PC, this time a corner switch was dispatched by Sothern to the keepers right.  Ireland finished the quarter on top and level with the World Numbers 2s with 15m left.  Ireland started the final quarter as they had finished the 3rd, putting the Dutch under pressure, and following great work by Kyle Good along the baseline forced a PC off a Dutch foot.  The resultant PC was switched to Gleghorne and his goal bound effort was taken off the line.  A quick counter by the Dutch resulted in a  goal and the lead for Netherlands 3-2 with 13m left on the clock.  Ireland were reduced to 10 men for the final 10 minutes and in this period Netherlands scored a further two goals for a 5-2 victory.

After the game Fulton said  ‘I was very proud of the lads coming back from 2-0 down to draw level at 2-2 and then we had one taken off the line by a  Dutch defender. A quick counter from the Dutch put them 3-2 ahead. It was always going to difficult to contain the Dutch attack when reduced to 10 men for the final ten minutes.  I am happy we played at our best for 50 minutes’

IRELAND: 2 (Paul Gleghorne & Alan Sothern)
NETHERLANDS: 5 (Bovendeert 3, Pruyser, Jonker)

IRELAND: David Fitzgerald (GK), Mark Ingram (GK), Jonathan Bell, Ronan Gormley, John Jackson,  Chris Cargo,  Alan Sothern, Kirk Shimmins, Bruce McCandless, Michael Darling, Paul Gleghorne, Shane O Donoghue. Peter Caruth, Kyle Good, Drew Carlisle, Michael Robson, Jonny Bruton, Michael Watt.

Did Not Play: Stephen Dowds, Eugene Magee, James Lorimer, Neal Glassey


Thursday January 29th v Holland - Stellenbosch 18.00 (local)
Saturday January 31st v Belgium - Hartleyvale 15.00 (local)
Sunday February 1st v Belgium - Hartleyvale 14.00 (local)

Irish Hockey Association media release

Indoor women meet South Africa

Strong fight back earns 5-5 draw with South African women

With the Australian women’s indoor hockey team in Europe preparing for the forthcoming Indoor World Cup in Leipzig (4-8 February), Team Manager Karen Seaman 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.

Australia women’s indoor squad 2014/15
Tegan Boucher (VIC)
Kary Chau (VIC)
Clare Commerford (QLD)
Holly Evans (SA)
Ash Fey (QLD)
Kyah Gray (NSW)
Emma McLeish (NSW)
Kizzia Plumb (ACT)
Makaela Potts (NSW)
Emily Riordan (TAS)
Aleisha Smith (NSW)
Shelley Watson (ACT) 

28th January: The team once again had a training session prior to playing the second test match against South Africa. Coach Stewart Fenton prepared the team for the match by fine tuning structures and set plays.

Today’s match was played at a frenetic pace with the first three goals being scored prior to the ten-minute mark. At half time the score was in favor to the South African team 2-1.  The second half commenced at the same pace and the Australian team struggled to contain the South Africans who scored twice. The team dug deep and began to play to the game plan that was put into place, creating more goal scoring opportunities. We were able to score four goals to bring the score line to 5-5 by full time.

South Africa: Match 2
Australia 5-5 South Africa
AUS scorers: Kizziah Plumb (FG), Ashlea Fey (PC, PC), Tegan Boucher (FG), Holly Evans (FG)

27th January: Once again it was an early rise for breakfast and the team walk. After having a rest day yesterday the team was rejuvenated and keen to continue their World Cup preparations. Today we have had an hour and a half training session, short break and then a match against South Africa. This match for some of our players was their first recorded international cap. Congratulations Peta Sutherland, Makaela Potts, Kizziah Plumb, Kary Chau, and Ashlea Fey.

South Africa: Match 1
Australia 7-3 South Africa
AUS scorers: Kyah Grey (PC, FG), Kary Chau (FG), Tegan Boucher (FG, FG), Ashlea Fey (PC), Holly Evans (FG)

We have two more tests to play against South Africa in the coming days. We are hoping to continue our game improvement and positive progression in our World Cup preparations.

26th January: Australia Day! Happy Australia Day from Mannheim. Today the team had a rest day from travel, training and games. A leisurely breakfast and a spot of shopping was on the agenda for many of the players. For the off-field staff this gave us a chance to rejuvenate over a relaxing coffee or two.
Today we were heading to the Mannheimer Hockey Club for fun and laughs to celebrate Australia Day with a sausage sizzle, skits, games and Aussie Trivia. Michael McCann, former Olympian Golden Boy was our host for the day, manning the BBQ in the cold and sleet to ensure we had as an authentic Australia Day as possible. I’m sure this Australia Day celebration will be one remembered fondly for the many laughs and the hospitality shown to us by the Mannheimer Hockey Club.

For dates earlier than 26 January please see the Hockey Australia website by clicking the link below.

Hockey Australia media release

Prep continues in Poland

Diary updates from the men's 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 Instagram at @indoorhockeyaus.

28th January: The guys were up early and a few were feeling the pace of training at a high level. Quite a busy day today as we had two matches arranged. The first match at the end of training against another visiting team and the second against the Polish Champions Grunwald, so the day was very similar to what we will be doing at the World Cup.

Training was pretty good with the focus being PC defence; lots of discussion and practice. At the end the group felt good about the training and the positions that we were running. A quick change and into a game which showed up a couple of things. We really need to have a good warm-up as part of our game preparation. Our concentration was lacking and we struggled in a number of areas, but a good exercise.

On arriving back to the accommodation we had a team meeting where we looked at areas of improvement for the match in the evening, as we knew this match would be at a good level and would give us an indication of how we were really going. A really good positive meeting, with focus points to work on.

Lunch and rest and some personal time for the guys. Again, we need to practice switching off following one match before going into the next.

The match against Grunwald was late – 20:30 on the pitch with the match starting at 20:45. We had agreed to play 3 x 20min, again putting pressure on the guys to play at a high level for an extended period. Anthony was really pleased with the overall performance. A number of the players really stood up and showed quality. Both teams played well and after 2 x 20 we held a slender 4-3 lead. In the final period, while we did hold the ball for long periods, we needed to score in the final 30 seconds for the match to finish 5-5.

Some tired but pleased boys headed back to the accommodation, all looking forward to playing Poland tomorrow.

27th January: After the monster travel day on the 26th the guys had a bit of a sleep-in. Back into the routine today with a training session in the morning and a match in the evening against the University team, AWZ.

An 8:00am walk and stretch, breakfast, then off to training. The training hall is about 2km from where we are staying so some walked but most took a taxi. The weather isn't the best and with all the GK gear a taxi is a good option.

We had a really good training session with [coach] Anthony [Potter] continuing to work on game scenarios in a short time frame. The guys are enjoying the challenge and are improving each session.

Back to the Ibis for lunch and meetings. The focus of the meeting was discussion on the training and agreeing solutions.A short rest then back to the hall to play the University Club AWZ.

The University team is a strong young team who were runners-up in the National League so pretty handy opposition. It took us some time to get going, which is something we need to be aware of. AWZ jumped out to a two goal advantage, which was a reward for their speed of play, but once the guys got going we were able to dominate the game. During the game, Anthony was able to introduce some of the changes of play we had been practicing, the final result 9-2.

Out for dinner and rest, similar progam tomorrow.

26th January: Happy Australia Day. Today marked the end of our first training camp in Antwerp. We head to Poznan by train, yes by train – a journey of almost 1000km. From our experience last year with flights and luggage, the train is a good option.

Early start meant a 7:15 taxi into Antwerp in peak traffic and via a crash (not ours) but we all made it in time.

First train Antwerp to Brussels, pretty short journey. We took over the carriage with our luggage.
Second train Brussels to Cologne, two hours - managed to get all our luggage on no problem.
Third train Cologne to Berlin four and a half hours - a good journey apart from the dining car running out of food and change. The guys were a bit hungry.

Fourth train Berlin to Poznan three hours - the train wasn't too busy so the guys spread out.

We arrived in Poznan at 8:30pm and the Polish Federation's liaison person Klaudia was there to meet us and get us to the waiting bus. All good. Arrived at the accommodation, rooms sorted and everyone happy. Rest time training starts again tomorrow. Looks like the weather maybe closing in, lucky we are indoors.

For dates earlier than 26 January please see the Hockey Australia website by clicking the link below.

Hockey Australia media release

Canadian keeper Premakanthan headed to his fourth Indoor World Cup

7 Days until 2015 Indoor World Cup

Shaheed Devji

Shankar Premakanthan hasn’t always been Canada’s indoor goaltender, but it might seem like he has. And for good reason.

The 34 year-old native of Ottawa, Ontario is set to play in his fourth Indoor World Cup when Canada takes to the floor in Leipzig, Germany on February 4th.

Shank, as his teammates call him, will be one of only a handful of players who have participated in every edition of the tournament since it’s inception in 2003. And ever since he joined the indoor program, he’s been working towards making his career a long and successful one.

“What has kept me at this level and what has allowed me to play for so long is that I’m constantly learning from the game,” he says from Toronto, where the Men’s Indoor National Team makes its final preparations before heading to Germany.

“I’m never at where I think I want to be. I’m constantly looking to get better and finding ways to improve my game.”

It’s a practical approach. Prepare better, play better, play longer. But it’s not the only thing that fuels him.

Premakanthan, like many athletes who play at a high level, does it because of a sheer passion for the sport.

“I just love the game,” he says. “Every minute I’m out there, I love it and I love being competitive.”

That passion extends beyond the field of play. This past summer Premakanthan attended the outdoor World Cup of Hockey, as a spectator.

Watching other goalies is something he’s been doing ever since he took up the sport at the age of sixteen (he played ice hockey and soccer before he was introduced to field hockey by his father).

“Probably one of the biggest learning experiences I’ve had in my hockey career was at the World Cup in 2003,” he says about his first indoor World Cup, which was also played in Leipzig. “I had seen what Hari Kant (retired Canadian goalkeeper) was doing internationally but I got to watch other goalies.”

“In every subsequent World Cup, I’ve actually taken elements of what other goalies were doing and incorporated it into my game.”

Since playing in his first World Cup, in which Canada finished sixth, Premakanthan has played in two more: 2007 in Austria (Canada finished seventh), and 2011 in Poland (Canada finished tenth).

“Each World Cup has been special and different in its own right,” he says. But maybe none more so than the first one in Germany, arguably the mecca of indoor hockey, which is also the only other team (in addition to Canada) which is set to play in its fourth World Cup.

“The memory I’ll never forget is we played Germany in our last pool match, and it was jam packed and the crowd and the noise and the atmosphere was unbelievable,” he recalls. 

“I was really excited when I found out that this tournament was going to be in Leipzig again.”

Four World Cups later, the excitement remains like it’s the first. And based on the performance he put up when Canada won gold at the 2014 Pan American Cup in Uruguay, Canada might just want Shank to play forever.

“I’m really trying not to think about it,” he says when asked about when he plans to retire. “I probably won’t make a decision until a couple of months after [this World Cup].”

Whenever the time comes to call it a career, he’ll be able to look back and know that his was unparalleled.

Until then, here’s hoping for a fifth World Cup in 2019.

The Canadian Men's Indoor National Team begins the 2015 Indoor World Cup on February 4th with two games. To view the complete schedule and results, click here. Also stay tuned to Field Hockey Canada's website, Facebook and Twitter feeds for game recaps, photos, and more.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Gritty Ranchi Rays hold Mumbai 2-2

Dabang Mumbai (blue) and Ranchi Rays played out a 2-2 draw in their HIL match in Ranchi on Wednesday. HI

Ranchi - Continuing their gritty performances, Ranchi Rays came from two goals down to hold Dabang Mumbai 2-2 in a Hockey India League encounter at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium here on Wednesday.

Daniel Beale (16th) and skipper Ashley Jackson scored for the hosts, after Glenn Turner (12th) and Santa Singh (15th) put the visitors ahead. Both the teams get two points each from the drawn match.

Mumbai started on a good note with their midfielders linking well with the forwards and the defenders. They were helped by poor defence from Ranchi in the first quarter.

In the 12th minute, young Harmanpreet Singh made a run along the right flank and crossed the ball to veteran Arjun Halappa whose mistimed try was deflected in by an unmarked Australian Turner.

In the final minute of the first quarter, Turner was again in the thick of the action as he set up young Santa in front of the goal. The ball easily entered the goalpost in another display of poor defence by Ranchi, who looked unorganised at the back.

However, Ranchi came roaring back in the second quarter. In the first minute, veteran English playmaker Barry Middleton fed young midfielder Beale inside the circle. The Australian employed an energetic reverse-hand strike to make it 1-2.

Ranchi created good chances but wasted them with Englishman Jackson missing a penalty corner. However, the short corner specialist made amends for the missed chance in the 38th minute as he blasted his drag-dlick into the top-right corner to equalise 2-2.

Thereafter, both the teams got their chances but failed to convert. Young Mandeep Singh was unlucky to not get a goal as he hit the vertical  bar in a quick raid inside the Mumbai circle.

The Tribune

Ranchi rallies to hold Mumbai

WELL DONE: Santa Singh (second from right) is congratulated by teammates after scoring Dabang Mumbai's second goal. Photo: Manob Chowdhury

Ranchi Rays, the host, came from behind to hold Dabang Mumbai 2-2 in a Hero Hockey India League match at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium in Ranchi on Wednesday.

The draw left the Ranchi outfit with nine points from four games. After a cautious start both teams kept probing each other rather than launching into high speed attacks. As the first quarter drew to a close, Mumbai came alive striking twice through Glenn Turner who diverted a Harmanpreet Singh shot into the goal in the 12th minute.

The visitors scored three minutes later through their 16-year-old sensation Santa Singh whose shot brooked no response.

Dabang Mumbai, with a 2-0 lead after the first quarter, was in for a surprise as the home side stormed back in the second quarter with speedy thrusts. A terrific reverse hit by Daniel Beale in the 16th minute helped Ranchi reduce the lead. The home side exerted tremendous pressure till half-time but could not taste further success.

Ranchi Rays continued to press in the third quarter and it was left to its captain Ashley Jackson, who was adjudged the player-of-the-match, to produce the second goal off a penalty corner to draw level in the 37th minute.

The fourth quarter produced exciting hockey but the defence of the both the teams held firm. Ranchi goaltender Tyler Lovell dived to his right to make a brilliant save off a shot from Chinglensana Singh.

At the other end, Adrian D’Souza responded with alacrity when a Mandeep Singh shot slammed into the pads, deflected onto the near upright and rolled free.

Ranchi Rays had the opportunity to notch up its first win of the season but that was not to be.

The result: Ranchi Rays 2 (Daniel Beale 16, Ashley Jackson 37) drew with Dabang Mumbai 2 (Glenn Turner 12, Santa Singh 15).

Player-of-the-match: Ashley Jackson (Ranchi Rays).

The Hindu

Lot of progress still to be made: Barry Dancer

Head coach of Jaypee Punjab Warriors Barry Dancer gives tips to the players during a practice session. File photo

Despite being on top of the points table in the ongoing Hockey India League (HIL), Jaypee Punjab Warriors coaches Barry Dancer and Jagbir Singh feel that a lot of progress is still to be made if the team has to win this year’s trophy.

Former Australian player-turned-coach Dancer said though it is good to be on the top after having played three games, but there are still many grey areas which need to be ironed out.

“There are a number of areas where we haven’t been as good as we need to be and we will be working on those. And certainly after first three matches, there have been deficiencies and inconsistencies in our game, so we still have a lot of progress to make and I am confident that we can do that if we work hard off the pitch and on the pitch in next two or three weeks,” Dancer told PTI.

Punjab Warriors drew their opening game against Dabang Mumbai and notched up back—to—back wins at their home turf in Mohali against Kalinga Lancers and Uttar Pradesh Wizards and now they travel to Delhi for their next game.

They have some quality international and domestic players in the side including Jamie Dwyer, Jaap Stockmann, Mark Knowels, Sandeep Singh, Dharamvir Singh, S V Sunil and young talent like Sumit Toppo and Affan Yousuf.

When asked why the team has been slow to get off the blocks in first quarter in all the three games played so far, Dancer said, “It is an issue that has to be addressed. Last year, we were leading the game a lot in the first quarter”.

He, however, said that he is pleased with the way players have responded after being behind in the opening quarter of the first three matches.

“As the game has progressed, their game has improved, but it is very clear that we don’t need to give opposition the headstart,” Dancer said.

Team coach and manager, Jagbir Singh, also said that the team was already working on the grey areas.

“We are working on this (slow starts), it can be ignored in one or two matches, but not in three games. During our training sessions, we have been working on this,” he said.

Team player S V Sunil admitted that the “flow” and momentum needed right from the start of the game was missing during the last matches.

“We should have won the game against Mumbai. In last game verus UP Wizards, we made some mistakes,” Sunil said, adding the team was training hard to set things right.

Jagbir Singh said that there is stiff competition in the league among the teams.

“Every team is equal. There is a good balance in all teams, no team can be called clear favourites,” he said.

When asked about the junior talent in his team, Dancer said, “It has come on very well, we have number of Indian players who have progressed significantly during the last couple of years and they are far better players now.”

Asked about HIL’s influence on development of hockey in the country, Dancer said, “HIL has been part of the reason for the growing success of the national senior and junior teams. I can see the players improving, I can see the style of the game improving, so I think HIL has helped in the progress of the national team.”

Dancer said that international stars and senior national players rubbing shoulders with junior talents help them.

“That’s an important factor. For some of our younger players it’s inspirational to play along side their idols, imagine a young (Sumit) Toppo in our team playing his first year in the league along side greats like Jamie Dwyer ... and also technically, understanding the game better. In our team, some of our senior players mentor the junior players.”

Agreeing with Dancer, Jagbir said: “Many youngsters in our team until recently may have only seen players like Jamie Dwyer on TV. Now, they are playing along side him and they can freely seek advice from him and improve their game.”

He said that playing in professional leagues not just gives financial security to the players but also gives them exposure to the world.

“Earlier, it used to take a year for a player to come to limelight. Now, in just 30-40 days, players like Manpreet, Mandeep, Gurinder, Malak get opportunity to prove their talent,” he said.

The Hindu

Dabang Mumbai defender Swann ruled out of HIL

MUMBAI: Dabang Mumbai defender Matthew Swann was Wednesday ruled out of the ongoing Hero Hockey India League (HIL) due to a calf injury.

Australian Swann has returned home for the treatment of his injured calf, which has been bothering him for the last five months. The 25-year-old, who was picked by the newly-formed outfit for $78,000, didn't play a single game in the league.

"Disappointing that my HHIL has ended before it begun after an unfortunate injury. Will be following @DabangMumbai closely.! Good luck boys.!," Swann, who was awarded the 2011 International Hockey Federation (FIH) Young Player of the Year award, wrote on Twitter.

The Times of India

Four-star NBP deny Navy semi-final spot

Kashif Abbasi

RAWALPINDI: National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) denied Pakistan Navy a spot in the semi-finals of the Chief of Army Staff Challenge Hockey Cup when they outclassed them 4-0 on Wednesday.

Navy needed a victory in order to pip Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) to a last-four berth but they were no match for NBP here at the Army Hockey Stadium.

NBP’s victory saw them take SSGC through to Friday’s semis where the two teams are joined by Pakistan Army and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

Syed Kashif struck twice for NBP, being assisted by Ali Shan and Sitain Raza who scored a goal apiece.

In an inconsequential match between PIA and Army, the airliners warmed up for the semi-finals with a 4-2 victory.

Zubair Mehmood, Rana Sohail, Nohaiz and Shafqat Rasool scored for tournament favourites PIA while Abdul Jabbar repiled twice for Army. Army’s junior side, meanwhile, remained winless at the tournament after they lost 2-0 to Wapda in the third game on Wednesday with the goals coming from Khalid Bhatti and Mohammad Usman.


PIA thrash Army in COAS Hockey

RAWALPINDI - Pakistan International Airline (PIA) Wednesday taught a hockey lesson to Army Seniors, one of the aspirants to lift the title, as airliners outclassed them 4-2 to top the group and remained unbeaten in the group stages of the 1st Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Challenge Hockey Cup 2015 here at the Army Hockey Stadium.

With this victory, PIA, Army Seniors, NBP and SSGC entered the semi-finals. Both the semifinals will be played tomorrow (Friday), as Thursday is the rest day, while the mega final will be held on January 31. PIA will take SSGC in the first semifinal while NBP play against Army Seniors.

In the first match of the day, Wapda, having the services of six international players, defeated Army Juniors 2-0. Wapda ace plenty corner specialist Sohail Abbas failed to score even a single goal in the entire tournament. Khalid Bhatti and M Usman scored one goal each for Wapda.

In the second match of the day, PIA hammered Army Seniors 4-2. Zubair Mehmood, Rana Sohail, Nohaiz and Shafqat Rasool scored one goal each for the winners while Abdul Jabbar scored brace for Army, but it was not enough to save his side from defeat. But even after defeat, Army remained runners-up in the pool and booked berth in the semi-finals. Navy could have join the semi-final race leaving behind SSGC, had they managed to beat NBP in the last group stage match of the championship, but bankers hammered Navy 4-0 to throw them out of the event. Syed Kashif was the star of the day for NBP, as he scored a brace and also assisted in other two goals. Kashif gave a beautiful pass to Sibtain Raza who scored third goal for NBP and on another Kashif's pass, Ali Shan completed the rout in the dying moments of the match to give bankers a well-deserving 4-0 victory.

The Nation

Hockey fans can now register for Rio 2016 tickets

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games ticket portal is up and running, for hockey fans to register and receive information on how to get tickets for the Games.

By registering, you’re taking the first step towards being a part of Rio 2016, the first Olympic and Paralympic Games in South America.

When you register, you make sure that you will get connected to all the info you need so that you don’t miss out on the first phase of sales, your chance to apply for Olympic tickets in the random draw.

Qualification for the hockey events has already started with India men and Korea women having booked the first places available from the 2014 Asian Games.  The remaining places will be decided this year at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, Pan American Games, European Nations Championship, Africa Olympic Qualifying Tournament and the Oceania Cup.  The results will be announced on fih.ch and social media channels as we count down to the Games.

Click here to register on the ticket portal.

For further details please click here for the Rio 2016 website.

FIH site

USA Field Hockey Announces Presidents Day Field Hockey Showcase

Today USA Field Hockey announces a significant new event to the field hockey calendar, the Presidents Day Showcase. This tournament is to be held at the stunning Premier Sports Campus, Lakewood Ranch, Fla. The inaugural event will take place during Presidents Day weekend in 2016 and will be played on Saturday, February 13, Sunday, February 14 and Monday, February 15 on Presidents Day. The event will be focused on showcasing athletes in a competitive club tournament and is anticipated to provide two games per day for each team for a total of six games.

“The Presidents Day Showcase is going to be a wonderful field hockey event,” commented Karen Collins, USA Field Hockey’s Event Director. “The venue really is spectacular, the grass is immaculate and will be cut short and fast for field hockey. We are so enthused to be heading to Sarasota.”

Premier Sports Campus at Lakewood Ranch is located to the northeast of Sarasota, the 140 acre site will provide for 18 field hockey fields, of which eight will be illuminated by stadium lights. The fields feature Bermuda grass irrigated by a 65,000 feet long state of the art watering system, a full venue description can be viewed at www.premiersportscampus.com. Parking will be complimentary, stewarded and provided on site. Admission will not be charged.

The Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (18 miles), Tampa International Airport (57 miles) and Orlando International Airport (126 miles) all serve the venue. We are excited to again be partnering with Global JBS Housing Services to provide hotel services for all tournament participants. JBS have served the field hockey community and USA Field Hockey since 1996 and hold a special knowledge and passion for meeting the specific needs of field hockey athletes, families, umpires and coaches. JBS will develop a portfolio of hotels in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas that meet the range of field hockey needs and provides a broad choice of hotel brands and locations for teams to select from.

Steve Locke, USA Field Hockey Executive Director commented, “We are thrilled to be launching the Presidents Day Showcase in 2016 and wanted to share this information at this point with the field hockey community. We are committed to putting on a spectacular event that will showcase the very best young athletes in our sport. Our venue and city partners have been hugely welcoming and together we intend to put on an event that will be in all aspects ‘premier’. I would also say that I fully anticipate those participating in the tournament will just love the area. The hotels really are wonderful, the beaches are just minutes away and the (hopefully) warm Florida sun will be welcomed by us all.”

Furthermore, USA Field Hockey appreciates the 8 year span of partnership with Disney. USA Field Hockey will no longer be sanctioning the Disney Showcase and Disney Junior Showcase after 2015 due to a conflict of dates of the proposed Disney Showcase with the National Indoor Tournament in 2016.  The organization looks forward to our long standing tradition of National Indoor Tournaments in 2016 on February 19-21, February 26-28 and March 4-6 and the launch of the new Presidents Day Showcase on Presidents Day weekend. 

USFHA media release

Hockey Olympian Jaswant Singh Rajput passes away

KOLKATA: Two-time gold medal winning hockey Olympian Jaswant Singh Rajput passed away this morning following a prolonged illness, according to the Bengal Hockey Association.

He was 88. "He was suffering from age related illness for more than a month and was looked after by his niece at his Bradford Lane residence near Park Street," a BHA official said.

His last rites would be performed on Thursday. Paying glowing tributes to Jaswant Singh Rajput, former Olympian Gurbux Singh said: "He was part of the galaxy of stars that made India proud. He was unassuming and made Kolkata his home after shifting base."

The former India centre-half was part of the gold medal winning teams in 1948 London and 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

With the likes of Leslie Claudius, Keshav Dutt and Meldric Daluz, Jaswant had formed a lethal foursome and was part of a golden era in Bengal hockey with as many as seven players in the Helsinki-bound side.

He shifted from Delhi to pursue his career in hockey and played for Bhowanipore Club before moving to Mohun Bagan in 1952 as helped them to win the Beighton Cup.

The Times of India

Hockey Olympian Jaswant Rajput dead

KOLKATA: Former Olympic gold medal-winning hockey player Jaswant Singh Rajput on Wednesday died at a city hospital following prolonged illness.

"He had been suffering from a chest infection and was quite serious for the past two weeks. He died Wednesday morning at a city hospital. He was aged 86," Bengal Hockey Association (BHA) assistant secretary Khalid Hussain said.

Rajput, who played both as a left-half and centre-half, was part of the hockey team which won independent India's first Olympic gold at the 1948 London Games and a squad member of the gold medal-winning team at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

Born in Delhi, Rajput picked up the game during his school days before shifting base to Kolkata. He started off as a left-half but later in his career preferred playing from the centre and was known for his excellent dribbling skills and ball-control.

The Times of India

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