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News for 10 February 2015

All the news for Tuesday 10 February 2015

India Women Hockey Team on Europe Experience tour

s2h team

A 21-member Indian women's hockey team, led by Ritu Rani, will tour Europe starting from today, and will play against national and club teams of Spain, Dutch and Germany. The team will leave for Spain to play matches at Valencia from 10 – 24 February 2015. The preparatory camp for the tour had commenced on 10 January 2015 at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Delhi. The series is in preparation for the FIH World League Round 2, to be held in New Delhi from 7 - 15 March, 2015.

According to a press release from Hockey India, during the fifteen day tour, the Indian team will be playing two matches with Spain followed by two with Dutch hockey clubs, GCHC and HDM. Two matches are also slated to be played with Germany giving the team a holistic experience of working against varied strategies.

The Test matches will also provide ground to the entire team to work on their skills and perfect their team coordination.

Speaking on the team that will be playing the upcoming series, Coach, C.R Kumar said, “The team looks confident ahead of the matches and I am sure they will give a tough time to the opponents. The girls have been practicing for almost a month now and this has helped them to gel well and create a good team coordination on the field. The team will leave no stone unturned during the tour and will use this experience in the all important FIH World League Round 2”.

The team:
GOALKEEPERS: Savita and Rajani Etimarpu
DEFENDERS: Deep Grace Ekka, Jaspreet Kaur, Ponnamma Mallamada Narendra, Sunita Lakra, Renuka Yadav, Namita Toppo, Deepika (Vice Captain)
MIDFIELDERS: Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Lilima Minz, Ritu Rani (Captain), Lily Chanu Mayengbam, Navjot Kaur, Monika,
FORWARDS: Amandeep Kaur Anupa Barla Punam Barla Poonam Rani Vandana Katariya Soundarya Yendala


Indian women's hockey team to play Tests in Spain

NEW DELHI: The Indian women's hockey team will play Test matches at Valencia February 10-24, in their bid to prepare for the Hockey World League Round 2.

During the 15-day tour, the centre-half Ritu Rani-led team will be playing two matches against Spain followed by two with Dutch hockey clubs, GCHC and HDM. The team will also play against Germany that will give them a fair idea of their strengths and weaknesses.

The Test matches will also provide ground to the entire team to work on their skills and perfect their team coordination.

The preparatory camp for the tour had commenced Jan 10 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here. The series is in preparation for the World League Round 2, to be held here March 7-15.

"The team looks confident ahead of the matches and I am sure they will give a tough time to the opponents. The girls have been practicing for almost a month now and this has helped them to gel well and create a good team coordination on the field," coach C.R. Kumar said in a release.

"The team will leave no stone unturned during the tour and will use this experience in the all-important World League Round 2."

The squad:

Goalkeepers: Savita, Rajani Etimarpu.

Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Jaspreet Kaur, Ponnamma Mallamada Narendra, Sunita Lakra, Renuka Yadav, Namita Toppo, Deepika (vice-captain).

Midfielders: Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Lilima Minz, Ritu Rani (captain), Lily Chanu Mayengbam, Navjot Kaur, Monika.

Forwards: Amandeep Kaur, Anupa Barla, Punam Barla, Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya, Soundarya Yendala.

The Times of India

Indian women's hockey team to leave for Spain tour

NEW DELHI: The India women's hockey team is all set to leave for a 15-day tour of Spain to be held at Valencia from February 10 to 24.

The preparatory camp for the tour stared a month ago at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

The series is in preparation for the FIH World League Round 2 to be held here from March 7 to 15.

During the tour, the Indian eves will be playing two matches against Spain followed by two against Dutch hockey clubs, GCHC and HDM.

Besides, the Indian eves are also slated to play two matches against Germany.

The team will be led by Ritu Rani and Deepika will be the vice-captain.

Speaking on the team coach C R Kumar said: "The team looks confident ahead of the matches and I am sure they will give a tough time to the opponents. The girls have been practicing for almost a month now and this has helped them to gel well and create a good team coordination on the field."


Goalkeepers: Savita, Rajani Etimarpu.

Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Jaspreet Kaur, Ponnamma Mallamada Narendra, Sunita Lakra, Renuka Yadav, Namita Toppo, Deepika (vice-captain).

Midfielders: Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Lilima Minz, Ritu Rani (captain), Lily Chanu Mayengbam, Navjot Kaur, Monika.

Forwards: Amandeep Kaur, Anupa Barla, Punam Barla, Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya, Soundarya Yendala.

The Times of India

Punjab Warriors to face tough challenge against Ranchi Rays

RANCHI: As the Hero Hockey India League reaches the midway mark, the picture is almost clear which teams will play in the semifinals of the world's most prestigious hockey league.

Jaypee Punjab Warriors, who have already sealed their place in the semifinal, will face Ranchi Rays at Ranchi on Tuesday, making the first clash between the top two teams of the points-table and a possible pre-match of the semifinal. Jaypee Punjab Warriors is leading the table with 28 points where as Ranchi Rays is at second place with 24 points.

Ranchi Rays, who have remained unbeatable at their home ground with two draws and two wins, will face a tough challenge against the star-studded Jaypee Punjab Warriors who have specialized players in every department. Leading from the front is the top goal-scorer Sandeep Singh, who scored a hat-trick against the defending champions Delhi Waveriders in their previous match and very much specialized in penalty corners. The Barry Dancer boys will stick to their strategy of earning maximum penalty corners and leave it to Sandeep Singh to convert them. Ranchi Rays Head Coach Harendra Singh has to think out of the box to restrict Sandeep Singh from scoring goals in the penalty corners, otherwise they may have to see a disappointing score-line in the first half.

The Chandigarh-based team is also known for late strikes and scoring back-to-back goals in the fourth quarter to turn the game to their side. The best example was their tie against Delhi Waveriders in Delhi where Jaypee Punjab Warriors were trailing by 0-1 till the 50th minute of the match and their fans lost all their hopes to see any light. However, Australian star Christopher Ciriello, SV Sunil and Affan Yousuf scored three goals in just six minutes and snatch the win from the jaws of defeat. Ranchi Rays not only have to restrict penalty corners but also have to be watchful on each player for not allowing them to come back in the match.

Ranchi Rays' only strength will be their strong defence led by Kothajit Singh and Birendra Lakra, who showed their guts against Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the last match where the Ranchi-team maintained a 1-0 clean sheet despite of having only 30% ball possession. Ranchi Rays will also be benefited from their captain Ashley Jackson's great form, who is the second highest goal-scorer of the Hero HIL 2015 with seven goals. With a strong defense, along with Mandeep Singh, Manpreet Singh and Englishman Barry Middleton in the midfield, Ashley can do his job of scoring goals and extend the unbeaten run of the Ranchi Rays at Ranchi.

With the full strengths, both the teams will try to take their game to the next level before the semifinals and the win in Tuesday's match will boost players' moral who want to be in good form through-out the League.

Before the Tuesday's match against Jaypee Punjab Warriors, Ranchi Rays head coach Harendra Singh said, "the team has proved in the last few matches that they are in great form. Each department is working in our favour and we will have to ensure that we continue this in our match tomorrow. We will be playing against Jaypee Punjab warriors for the first time tomorrow this season and they are also playing well in this season of the Hero Hockey India League. But this will not deter us as we will aim to register another win tomorrow and maintain our winning streak".

Ranchi Rays captain Ashley Jackson added, "we are motivated and confident for tomorrow's match. We haven't lost a single match here in our home ground and we will maintain this record. Ranchi being our home ground and fantastic support of our fans gives us confidence and we will give our best to win the match. Jaypee Punjab Warriors is a good team and they have some good players, but we have players who are in a great form also. We will only focus on improving our game and give our best to score points. We are looking forward to tomorrow's match."

Before Tuesday's match, Jaypee Punjab Warriors head coach Barry Dancer stated, "Ranchi Rays is playing very good at their home-turf and their unbeatable record in Ranchi is really impressive. We have to think and work on their defence line, which is quite strong. We will continue with our strategies and play aggressively in tomorrow's match to score maximum goals. Our boys are in good form and we expect a tough match tomorrow."

Jaypee Punjab Warriors player Mark Knowles added, "playing against a team who have a strong team-combination is challenging. Ranchi Rays also an unbeatable team at their home turf but we are in a good form and our players are scoring goals, which is positive factor for our team. We are not taking them lightly and we will play up to our strength. Our focus will be on out-foxing their defenders and create maximum opportunities to score goals. We are looking forward to tomorrow's match."

The Times of India

Zidane is my hero, says Belgium striker Boon

Harpreet Kaur Lamba

Belgium striker Tom Boon had plenty of inspiration in his early years. His grandmother, Jacqueline Ronsmans, was an international player, and mother Carine too donned national colours. And as if that was not enough, uncles Eric and Marc Coudron — who played a record 358 games — were also part of the rich family culture.

The family’s dinner usually involved a lot of interesting tales from the world of hockey, something that Tom and sister Jill imbibed from childhood.

In 2014, Tom and Jill created history becoming the first sister-brother duo take part in a World Cup and while Tom says that they "they still continue to fight over silly things", their success was a rich addition to the Boon household which is synonymous with hockey.

In the country for the Hockey India League, Boon says he has no regret at choosing the lucrative league ahead of a national camp and is looking to go home "richer" in both finances and experience. He was fetched by Dabang Mumbai for a record sum of $103,000, making him the highest paid player in the HIL. The drag-flicker reflects on his childhood, representing the country in the 2012 Olympics, and why he loves having dinner with his grandmother.

Earliest sporting memory:
Watching my mother play hockey, I have seen every single game of hers!

Sports played:
Soccer till fifth grade and then hockey.

Most memorable sporting moment:
Taking part in the 2012 Olympic Games

Worst sporting moment:
Missing the 2010 World Cup after losing to Argentina

Questions most asked by the public/media:
Everything about my hockey family

Sporting heroes:
Michael Jordan, Zinedine Zidane, Jean Michel Saive

Favourite venue:
Mahindra Hockey Stadium in Mumbai

A sport you would pay the most to see:

Becoming the first sister-brother duo to play the World Cup:
It was really difficult with sibling rivalries going but as we we grew up, since we were 18, we gradually became good friends.

Biggest regret:
No regret, live your life

Who would you most like to invite to dinner and why?
My grandmother because it’s always a pleasure to talk with her.

Person you learnt most from:
My uncle

Other interests in your life:
Travel, family, cinema

What do you never leave home without?
My phone.

A habit you wish to get rid of:
Checking my phone 100 times a day

Favourite actors:
Leonardo Di Caprio, Jake Gyllenhaal

Any superstition?

What if not a hockey player?
I don’t know but definitely something in sport

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Having a family in Brussels

What’s the one thing that frightens you most?
To be injured and stop playing hockey

The Asian Age

U.S. Men's National Team Preps WLR2 play with Brazil Series

With their continuous #NoOffDays training program in place, it is time for the U.S. Men's National Team to get back to competition.

The full squad will resume match play in a four-game series against Brazil on February 15-20.

"Our players are as focused as ever and are determined for a successful year," said Head Coach Chris Clements. "They are confident in their ability and are excited for the competitive year to get underway. We are approaching the middle phase of our long term plan and are tracking on time with our deliverables on the training and competitive field. The USOC has been very supportive with assisting to enable the implementation of our incremental and sustainable high performance plan based out of the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. We are grateful of their support, and enabling us to host so many matches and tournaments is a real asset."

The squad is looking to continue their steady progress as it will be a critical evaluation time for the players as to where they sit in the selection with the upcoming World League Round 2 and Pan American Games currently on the horizon.

The players are continuing to grow given their average age being one of the youngest in world hockey. Their ability to increase the competition for selection, and competitive opportunities by playing more games, is improving the level of play. With Team USA's top opponents playing an average of 30 games per year, the United States is striving to create a similar number of opportunities for our team given our resources.

"The series against Brazil will be a great way for us to play some high quality games, and give us an opportunity to try to get where we want to be before the start of the World League Round 2," said U.S. Men's National Team athlete Pat Harris (Moorpark, Calif.).

The focus of the Brazil series will be an opportunity to get familiar again with playing as a group and looking to test our areas of improvements from the summer 2014 series. The squad is diligent in preparing regardless of location with a number of players in the middle of successful seasons overseas and our domestic players are raring to go. The culture of the squad is a key asset to Team USA's success, and has been something the players have been working hard on, and the athletes are excited to get back together.

Follow Team USA's progress and learn more about the Brazil series by clicking here.

Team USA Athletes:

USFHA media release

Whistle Sounds on another Exciting Weekend of Hockey

The shrill tweet of a final whistle on Sunday afternoon signaled the closing of the 2015 Disney Field Hockey Showcase at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla. Nearly 3,000 athletes, parents and coaches migrated south for the weekend to compete in the showcase event. Elite clubs from the U.S. and Canada competed on 17 pristine pitches in the hopes of claiming the 2015 Disney Field Hockey Showcase title. Under-16 and Under-19 athletes competed during four days in front of hundreds of college coaches lining the sidelines.

“The ESPN Wide World of Sports is truly a remarkable facility and the hockey was nothing less than exceptional,” said Karen Collins, USA Field Hockey’s Director of Event and Logistics. “We appreciate all of the assistance from the Disney staff who helped to make the weekend a possibility and we hope our members thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”

USA Field Hockey extends a big congratulations to all of this year’s winners who walked away with polished medals and the highly sought-after pride that accompanies the title of champions.

2015 Disney Results

Under-16 Anna Flight

    WC Eagles Blue
    H2O Pink
    South Jersey Edge Pink
    BCFHC ST Storm

Under-16 Ariel Flight

    PA Mavericks
    Jersey Intensity Silver
    Oranje Gotta Luv It
    Total Dutch Light Blue

Under-16 Cinderella Flight

    New Heights Black
    Xcalibur Lancers
    Saints Gold

Under-16 Jasmine Flight

    WC Eagles White
    Saints Hockey Rocks Gold
    Alley Cats
    Mystx Force

Under-16 Rapunzel Flight

    TCOYO Prana
    Jersey Elite Black
    Freedom HKY
    Viper Field Hockey Black

Under-16 Tiana Flight

    Florida United
    Spirit of USA East
    Panthers United Field Hockey Club
    A&C Field Hockey

Under-19 Belle Flight

Missing game scores for this flight.. emailed KC.

Under-19 Elsa Flight

    WC Eagles Blue
    Mystx Surge
    Alley Cats
    IFHCK Warriors Select

Under-19 Merida Flight

    Jersey Intensity Black
    WC Eagles White
    GoA Reds
    Washington Wolves

Under-19 Mulan Flight

    Princeton Field Hockey Club
    Carolina All Stars
    East End Black
    Element Athletics

Under-19 Pocahontas Flight

    Rush Field Hockey
    Key State
    Saints Hockey Rocks

Under-19 Snow White Flight

    New Heights Red
    The Gaels Field Hockey Club
    Oranje Gotta Love It
    FH Life

USFHA media release

Kerry takes squad of 22 for Spain series

Sally Walton pictured here in action for Great Britain at the Investec London Cup in 2012

Great Britain Head Coach Danny Kerry has named a squad of 22 athletes to travel to Valencia to face world number 15 side Spain in a three-match test series. The matches will take place at Polideportivo Virgen del Carmen Betero, the same venue Kerry’s team will travel to in June when they battle for Olympic qualification at the FIH Hockey World League Semi Final.

The first of the three capped matches will take place tomorrow [10 February] at 1530, with the second match on 11 February at 1530 and the final match of the series on 13 February at 1030. [Match reports will be sent following each game.]

Great Britain, ranked sixth in the world*, haven’t faced Spain since July 2008; on that occasion they ran out 2-1 winners and have only lost to their European opponents seven times in 36 encounters.

The core of the squad comes from the England team who finished fifth at the recent Champions Trophy with 11 of the athletes who competed in Mendoza featuring in this series – Sophie Bray, Alex Danson, Susie Gilbert, Maddie Hinch, Joie Leigh, Shona McCallin, Lily Owsley, Susannah Townsend, Georgie Twigg, Laura Unsworth and Hollie Webb.

There are recalls for Kate Richardson-Walsh, back from time away and a break from the centralised programme, Nicola White and Sally Walton who all missed the tournament in Mendoza.

The squad contains four Scottish athletes with the experienced defender Emily Maguire joined by goalkeeper Amy Gibson, Morag McLellan, and Sarah Robertson. Holcombe player Robertson and goalkeeper Gibson [Slough] are in line to make their Great Britain debuts.

There could also be first Great Britain caps for England’s Lucy Wood [Holcombe] and newcomer to the centralised squad Holly Payne [Leicester]. University of Birmingham striker Lily Owsley is set to make her 50th international appearance, currently on 49 combined England and GB caps (46 England, 3 GB).

Speaking ahead of their departure to Valencia, Head Coach Danny Kerry said: “It’s great to be taking this group to Valencia and to be playing as Great Britain as we look ahead to a big year for the squad with Olympic qualification in June. There are six players in line to make their Great Britain debuts and as ever the combination of talent across the wider squad is an exciting prospect and brings extra competitiveness to selection and raises the bar of performance even further.”

Live match information including scorers can be accessed via this link http://tms.fih.ch/reports/competitions

Click here to find out more about the squad members.

*Great Britain automatically inherits its FIH World ranking position from the highest standing home nation side [England, Scotland and Wales] – England are the highest ranked team at number six.

Great Britain Women v Spain – squad information

Name, Club

1, Grace Balsdon, Canterbury
2, Sophie Bray, East Grinstead
3, Alex Danson, Reading
4, Steph Elliott, Holcombe
5, Amy Gibson, Slough
6, Susie Gilbert, Reading
7, Maddie Hinch, Holcombe
8, Joie Leigh, Clifton
9, Emily Maguire, Reading
10, Shona McCallin, Slough
11, Morag McLellan, Buckingham
12, Lily Owsley, University of Birmingham
13, Holly Payne, Leicester
14, Kate Richardson-Walsh, Reading
15, Sarah Robertson, Holcombe
16, Susannah Townsend, Canterbury
17, Georgie Twigg, Surbiton
18, Laura Unsworth, Holcombe
19, Sally Walton, Wakefield
20, Hollie Webb, Surbiton
21, Nicola White, Holcombe
22, Lucy Wood, Holcombe

Great Britain Women v Spain – fixture information

Tuesday 10 February - 1530 - Spain v Great Britain
Wednesday 11 February - 1530 - Spain v Great Britain
Friday 13 February - 1030 - Spain v Great Britain

England Hockey Board Media release

Clubhouse: The Inside Track

Wimbledon's Ali Brogdon breaks away from the EG defence

Bowdon Hightown, fresh from winning the Hockey 5s title over the outdoor break made a great start to the second half of the season with a 4-2 win over Holcombe, moving them out of the bottom two. Wimbledon strengthened their grip on the fourth playoff place with a good 4-1 away win over Brooklands MU. Hightown goalkeeper Amy Tennant and The Wombles' Alastair Brogdon talk us through it.

Amy Tennant, Bowdon Hightown:

On the win over Holcombe:
"We had nothing to lose and were on a high after the indoor so we went in knowing we had to perform, but knowing we were capable of doing so. We’ve been a bit unlucky in some of the games but this week it all came together and we played very well. Tina Cullen scored two amazing goals, but all four were great goals. It’s nice to see us scoring from all over rather than relying on one or two people."

On the benefits of indoor:
"The indoor has definitely given us confidence. Our skills are sharp, especially defensively and we know having won the competition we have plenty of ability in the side. We were a little surprised at the scoreline this weekend given what a good side Holcombe are but we’ve had a performance like that coming for a while and we’re relived it came out this week."

On their chances of avoiding relegation:
"If we apply ourselves and play at our best we can compete with the top teams. It’s all about training hard and getting in the right frame of mind. We need to continue to take our chances and play without fear, like we don’t have anything to lose. Obviously we have some big games coming up, such as Buckingham and Beeston. They are both must-win matches but we have the belief in ourselves and when you are near the bottom, self belief can go a long way to getting you out of it."

Alastair Brogdon, Wimbledon:

On the win over Brooklands MU:
"It’s the first time Wimbledon have played Brooklands away in the league. I’ve played there a few times with Bowdon so I know what they’re all about and what to expect. A few teams have slipped up there and we wanted to make sure we started well. For us to get early goals was fantastic and a good start to this half of the season.

We knew we wanted to impose ourselves on them. We went 2-0 down last time we played them and it made life very difficult for us so we knew had to take the right mentality in and get a good start with the intensity to get a lead."

On the team's ambitions for the season:
"Our ambition was always to make the playoffs. Last year it would have been a bonus, but this year, we have more experience and have learnt more from last season. We play Canterbury this week and it’ll be a tough game against a side that beat us last season. We’re taking it game by game, but playoffs are definitely an ambition and once we get there, I’d back us to do well."

On strength in depth:
We’ve had a good season but it takes a team to make the playoffs. Our strength in depth in the squad has helped no end. Players like Phil Ball and Johnny Kinder have stepped up. They have been involved in development stuff at Bisham and done really well but there are plenty of players who you could point to who have been excellent. As long as we put good team performances in with the flair we have in the side we can be a threat to most teams."

England Hockey Board Media release

Women’s hockey team set final target in Delhi

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian women’s hockey team are confident of finishing among the top two at the World Hockey League Round Two in New Delhi from March 7-15.

Malaysia’s aim is to qualify for the World Hockey League Round Three (Semi-Final) for the first time. The World Hockey League is a qualifier for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) have seeded Malaysia second in New Delhi and coach Mohamed Nasihin Nubli believes that they have what it takes to finish in the top two to make the cut for Round Three.

Malaysia are in Group B with Russia, Singapore and Kazakhstan. India, the world No. 13, are the top seeds and have Poland, Ghana and Thailand in Group A.

Nasihin picks Russia as Malaysia’s biggest threat in the group.

“We beat them in our last meeting in 2013, but we must not under-estimate any team. There is a good chance for us to make Round Three and we have to stay focused and take our chances,” he said.

Nasihin said they would leave early for New Delhi to prepare for the tournament.

“We will take 20 players there and name the final 18 players just a few days prior to the start of the tournament. We will play at least four practice matches and it will be used to select the final team,” he added.

The Star of Malaysia

A three-way battle for Junior hockey league title

By S. Ramaguru

SSTMI-Thunderbolts's Mohd Aliff Syazwan Noorshah (right) and Shello Silverius (left) sandwich an Olak-PPT Tigers player during the MJHL in Bukit Jalil on Sunday. - RAJA FAISAL HISHAH/ The STAR

KUALA LUMPUR: It’s a three-way battle for the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysia Junior Hockey League’s Division One title with Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in the driver’s seat.

UniKL have SSTMI-Thunderbolt and Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to contend with as they bid to regain the league title they won in 2011.

SSTMI, the double defending champions, lead with 16 points from six matches but they have played a match more than their two rivals. UniKL have 15 points while MBPJ are on 13.

SSTMI and MBPJ have played each other and it ended in a 2-2 draw. Now, both teams need to beat UniKL to keep themselves in the title race.

UniKL and SSTMI will clash in Johor Baru this Friday with the winners likely to emerge champions.

The UniKL-MBPJ match is on Feb 27. The MJHL will take a break next week for the Chinese New Year.

UniKL coach I. Vicknesweran believes his team have what it takes to win the title.

“The title destiny is in our hands. We have not taken any team for granted thus far. Our objective is the same, that’s to take one game at a time. Our aim now is to collect full points against SSTMI and MBPJ,” he said.

UniKL have several experienced players they can count on in the title run-in.

Defender Maxhans Christi has scored six goals and is among the league’s leading scorers. Mohamed Shahfirul Agmar is also in good form, having netted five times. Others whom UniKL can depend on are Norsyafiq Sumantri, S. Devendran and Hafifi Elken.

In contrast, SSTMI are worried about the team’s sudden dip in form.

The good thing is that they will play UniKL at home. And they have been unbeaten at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru since last year.

Said manager Adam Izamry Idrus: “We have won some of our recent matches despite playing poorly. The draw with MBPJ hurt us and we now have to do the chasing for the title. We need to win on Friday to keep our title hopes alive.”

For 2006 overall champions MBPJ, they will be waiting anxiously for the outcome of the SSTMI-UniKL showdown.

“We are not going to give up on the title chase. We will pounce should both SSTMI and UniKL falter in the title run-in,” said MBPJ manager Zainal Abidin Ismail. “I believe the fight for the title will go down to the wire.”

The Star of Malaysia

Friday the 13 JHL title decider

By Jugjet Singh

DOUBLE champions Thunderbolts will be on a do-or-die mission when they face UniKL Young Guns in what could turn out to be a title deciding weekend of the MHC-MILO-NSC Junior Hockey League.

There was no thunder in the champions when they beat Bukit Jalil Sports School (4-1) and OLAK PKT Tigers (4-1), and this has got coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman worried.

On the other hand, Young Guns hammered Olak 9-0 and whipped BJSS 6-1 to warm-up for a Friday the 13th clash at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru with Thunderbolts.

“Yes, we knew that we had UniKL on our radar next week and that could be the deciding match for the title, but still, I told my players to go out there and give it their all and I have to admit they were really below par in both the matches.

“Now I have to ensure that the boys wake up from a poor weekend and be ready to face our title challengers."

UniKL are second in Division One, one point behind Thunderbolts, but they have a game in hand going into the weekend.

UniKL chief coach I. Vickneswaran said: “I think both teams have enough firepower to do the damage when in the semi-circle. My players were really sharp against OLAK, but to carry that form into next week would not be easy, but I believe the boys will give their best again."

The playoffs will see six teams from Division Two – two teams each from Group A, B and C - being split into two groups of three teams, where the top two from each group will then join the top four from Division One to battle it out for the Milo Cup.

Thunderbolts, UniKL and Petaling Jaya City Council are almost assured of a spot in the knock-out while the fourth and final spot for qualification is still an open battle between KLHC, Politeknik Malaysia, BJSS, SSP/MSP/Thunderbolt and OLAK.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Three-star Haseem puts Customs in semifinals

KARACHI: Olympian Abdul Haseem Khan banged a hat-trick as Pakistan Customs stormed into the semifinals of the 5th Customs Quaid-e-Azam Gold Cup Hockey Tournament when they whipped Pakistan Police 7-2 at Customs Sports Complex Ground here on Monday.

In other match of the day, skipper Kashif Ali scored ht-trick as Pakistan International (PIA) outclassed Pakistan Air Force (PAF) 5-1.

Leading the Customs team, Haseem blasted field goals in 8th, 26th and 31st minutes to complete his hat-trick. Imran Khan, Muhammad Mateen, Ali Azlan Khan and Muhammad Naveed scored one goal apiece in the 15 minute four quarters match. Captain Ozair Ahmed and Ehteshmuddin scored the consolation goals for Police.

Mohammad Muneer and Atif Malik supervised the match. International Kashif sounded the board in 18th, 39 and 40th minutes to achieve the feat. Atif Mushtaq also struck through penalty corner. Imran Abbas scored the fifth goal for winners. PIA earned penalty corners and converted four. Right winger Mudassar Ahmad scored the lone goal for PAF in the 36th minute. Kamran Shareef and Hanifuddin supervised the match.

Today’s Matches:

PIA vs Railways
NBP vs Customs

The Daily Times

Big plans for Lautoka hockey in 2015

Zanzeer Singh

THE Lautoka Hockey Association in Fiji expects to get back to winning ways at the national tournaments this year.

The Sugar City side has not won any major titles in recent years.

The association will hold its annual general meeting at the Natabua High School tomorrow.

The Fiji Hockey Federation season starts with the five-a-side Inter-district competition (IDC) during the Fiji Games from March 28-29.

The National Championship which will also be a five-side event will be held during the Easter long weekend from April 3-6.

The 11-a-side IDC will be held from May 24-24.

The President's Cup will be played from August 22-23.

The Marist Eastgate tournament will be held from September 19-20 and the Fiji Open Championship will played from October 10-11.

The Mates Championship will be held from November 7-8.

Association's executive Fergus Underwood said they would comply with the national federation's ambition to start age-group competition.

Underwood said as part of the government's efforts to boost the sport, plans were in the pipeline to hold a hockey fest during the National Sports Day holiday.

"We will start with the five-a-side competition soon," he said.

"The 11-a-side league will begin on May 2. The player registrations for the Fiji Games must be paid to the national federation by March 28.

"There are plans to hold fund raising drives.

"The national trials for the Pacific Games and Oceania Championship will be coming up.

"Though none of our players are in the national training squad, we expect them to be in the future."

The Fiji Times

FIH talk to the 2014 Rising Star of the Year Florencia Habif

Does Florencia Habif's award signal the rise of the next generation of Las Leonas?

(Photo: FIH)

Habif is likely to be a familiar name on the Argentina team sheet for a few years now. Florencia Habif won her first national cap in 2010, and she was followed into the national squad two years later by her elder sister Agustin.

At 21 years of age, Florencia already has a host of titles and medals to her name. Now, sitting alongside her 2012 Olympic silver medal and her brace of Champions Trophy gold medals, is the award for FIH Rising Star of the Year.

With more than 100 caps between them (Florencia has 77), the Habif sisters are promising to be the stars of the so called ‘New Generation’ of Las Leonas.

Where Agustin is a player who is making a name for herself as an attack-minded defender, Florencia herself is a different type of player: “I'm a pretty defensive player, my strength is to try to make good tackle, although I can make some incisive runs up the pitch.”

Talking about the award as Rising Star, Florencia said: “Winning this award is a real honour for me. It was an honour just to be nominated, so it is even more special to win it. I am far from the finished product though, I’m a young player and I have a lot to learn yet.”

When you are surrounded by players such as eight times Player of the Year Luciana Aymar and Las Leonas legends Carla Rebecchi, Silvina D’Elia and Delfino Merino, it is difficult not to keep learning. Florencia pays tribute to these players: “It is inspirational. It is an honour and a pleasure to play alongside great players. You learn a lot seeing them or playing with them as partners.”

Like the remainder of her teammates, Florencia also appreciates the value of a passionate fan base. She smiles at the memories of the capacity crowds that cheered the blue and white team to victory in the recent Champions Trophy in Mendoza: “I think the tournaments in Argentina are very exciting. We play with the stadium full and the people are so encouraging. They are really fans of hockey.”

That win in December went some way to erasing Argentina’s disappointment at the World Cup in The Hague where they finished in bronze medal position. Speaking about that time Florencia says: “All the team felt better in the Champions Trophy than in the World Cup. I think we went through a lot of changes last year which disrupted us. This year those changes are beginning to take affect and now we are better as a team. We want to continue to the top of the podium. We will train hard for what is coming.

“We have a lot of faith in our coach Santi (Capurro). Santi is a person who already knows the team and we know that, despite his young age, he has enough experience. He is a coach who proposes new things and we like that.”

For the next few months the team will be training hard in preparation for the World League and the Pan-American Cup, but for the immediate future Florencia is looking forward to celebrating her award, “with a delicious barbecue with my family and friends.”

FIH site

Kookas go for Team award

Kookaburras up against netball and para-rugby for AIS Team of the Year

The Kookaburras are amongst the finalists in Wednesday night's inaugural AIS Sports Performance Awards (ASPAs). The Kookaburras are on a shortlist of three - including the Australian netball team, the Diamonds, and the Australian para rugby team, the Steelers - in the Team of the Year category.

The award winners will be announced at an awards ceremony and cocktail function at the Melbourne Museum on February 11 2015.
The ASPAs recognise Australia’s leading athletes, teams and coaches, and celebrate their outstanding achievements in high performance sport.

AIS Director Matt Favier said the awards reflected the new and expanded role the AIS plays in high performance sport.

“The old AIS Awards have been won by some great athletes but the timing is right to expand the pool of talent eligible to win some of the country’s most prestigious sports awards,” he said.

“The new ASPAs capture the flavour of what the AIS is now all about and the awards align with Australia’s Winning Edge plan which involves supporting more sports than ever before. 

“We asked national sporting organisations (NSOs) to nominate athletes, coaches and leaders as well as community clubs and volunteers to ensure we are recognising all levels in Australian sport.

“It is very important that we publicly acknowledge the hard work and achievements of   people involved in Australian performance sport.

“As always it was a difficult choice to come up with the finalists in each category and I congratulate everyone who made it through."

There are a further two categories –  Sport Performance of the Year and Sport Personality of the Year – which are people’s choice awards with public voting running online earlier this year. The shortlists for those awards did not include hockey teams or athletes.


Athlete of the year – presented by Berlei

• Jess Fox (Canoeing)
• Stephanie Gilmore (Surfing)
• Mitchell Johnson (Cricket)
• Warren Potent (Shooting)

Coach of the year – presented by Melbourne Business School

• Myriam Fox (Canoeing)
• Lisa Alexander (Netball)
• Cord Spero (Aerial Skiing)

Junior athlete of the year – presented by Nestle

• Dante Exum (Basketball)
• Amy Cure (Cycling)
• Eleanor Patterson (Athletics -high jump)

Team of the year – presented by Gatorade

• Australian Netball team (The Diamonds)
• Australian Men’s Hockey team (The Kookaburras)
• Australian Para Rugby team (The Steelers)

Para Performance of the year – presented by Dairy Australia

• Australian Para Rugby team (The Steelers)
• Australian Para Basketball team (The Rollers)
• Curtis McGrath (Para Canoeing)

Leader of the year – presented by Melbourne Business School 

• Chris Symington (Surfing)
• Kate Palmer (Netball)
• Damien Marangon (Shooting)

Community Club of the year – presented by Beiersdorf and Club Warehouse

• McKinnon Basketball Association
• Wynyard Yacht Club
• Olinda Ferny Creek Football/Netball Club

Volunteer/Administrator of the year – presented by United Pacific Industries

• Bridie Galea (Basketball)
• John Rosser (Sailing)
• Percival John Kepple (Swimming)

Follow the ASPA awards on Twitter @Ausport or Facebook www.facebook.com/theAIS

Hockey Australia media release

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