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News for 22 February 2015

All the news for Sunday 22 February 2015

Rays to take on Warriors in the final

Uthra Ganesan

WINNING MOMENT: Daniel Beale beat Wizards goalkeeper and compatriot George Bazeley in sudden death to put Ranchi Rays into the final. Photo: S. Subramanium

Ranchi Rays maintained its winning streak against Uttar Pradesh Wizards to enter its second final in three years of the Hero Hockey India League on Saturday.

Tied 1-1 at the end of the regulation 60 minutes, the tie-breaker (12-11) continued for another 45 minutes before Daniel Beale put one past Wizards goalkeeper and compatriot George Bazeley to settle the matter with the 24th shot in the shootout.

This was the Wizards’ third straight loss in the semifinals of the tournament. The shootout was, in fact, the only interesting period in the match, which was otherwise a battle of attrition between the two sides.

Wizards sought a penalty corner in the fourth minute and was denied, a loss of their referral power would come back to haunt them in the latter stages.

Rays were the better team in terms of coordination and planning, but it was the Wizards who went ahead through a penalty corner conversion by V.R. Raghunath in the 34th minute. Seven minutes later, Rays captain Ashley Jackson converted a penalty stroke to level the scores.

The tie-breaker turned into another battle of nerves, this time between Bazeley — who was brought on specially for the purpose — and Australian teammate and Rays ’keeper Tyler Lovell as the game went into sudden death.

After missing and scoring 11 times each, Beale finally broke the deadlock, scoring past Bazeley after Alexander Baart had missed for the Wizards. “It was more a case of no luck at all,” admitted Wizards captain Wouter Jolie. “I can’t remember the last time I was part of such a long shootout. But, bringing Bazeley was not a mistake since we had specially trained him for this. The difference between the top four here is so little that anything can happen. Disappointed, but that’s sport,” Jolie said.

The second semifinal was a contrast. Except for a few chances created by Sardar Singh and Gurbaj Singh, Waveriders hardly threatened the opposition. Sandeep opened the scoring in the third minute off a penalty corner, and Mazzilli doubled the lead in the 36th with a reverse-hit from the top of the D.

The results: Semifinals: Ranchi Rays 1 (Ashley Jackson) bt Uttar Pradesh Wizards 1 (V.R. Raghunath) via shootout; Jaypee Punjab Warriors 2 (Sandeep Singh, Augustin Mazzilli) bt Delhi Waveriders 0.

The Hindu

Punjab to face Ranchi in final

Punjab Warriors’ Sandeep Singh and teammates celebrate his goal against Delhi Waveriders in their HIL semifinal in New Delhi on Saturday. HI

New Delhi - Punjab Warriors reached their second consecutive final in the Hockey India League (HIL) after they outplayed defending champions Delhi Waveriders 2-0 to set up a title clash with Ranchi Rays.

Sandeep Singh (third minute) and Augustin Mazzilli (35th minute) scored for Punjab in the second semifinal to avenge their defeat to Delhi in the final of the 2014 edition. Veteran drag-flicker Sandeep continued his rich vein of form to score his 11th goal of the league, which puts him one short of Ashley Jackson’s tally of 12 goals.

Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Wizards and Ranchi Rays fought hard for a place in the summit clash. At the end of the regulation time, the scores were tied at 1-1 which resulted in a shootout. Debutants Ranchi Rays kept their nerves to beat the Wizards 9-8.

VR Raghunath (34th minute) gave Wizards the lead from a penalty corner before Ranchi skipper Jackson (41st) levelled the scores by converting a penalty stroke.

The Tribune

Punjab Warriors set up title clash with Ranchi Rays

NEW DELHI: Punjab Warriors outclassed defending champions Delhi Waveriders in the second semifinal of the Hero Hockey India League (HIL) at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here on Saturday to set up a title clash with Ranchi Rays.

Sandeep Singh (third minute) and Augustin Mazzilli (35th minute) scored for Warriors, who reached their second consecutive final. They had lost to Waveriders in the final of the 2014 edition.

Earlier in the day, Rays defeated Uttar Pradesh Wizards 9-8 via penalty shootout.

In the league phase, Englishman Ashley Jackson-led Rays had defeated Warriors twice and that will give them a lot of confidence in the final.

The second semifinal opened at a breakneck speed with Warriors charging ahead with full flair and aggression.

They mounted pressure on a passive Waveriders from the beginning and managed to earn a penalty corner in the third minute.

Veteran drag-flicker Sandeep stepped up to score his 11th goal of the league, which puts him one short of Jackson's highest tally of 12 goals.

Warriors, led by five-time World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer, peppered the rival circle with tenacity and accuracy, while Waveriders relied on their counter-attack and earned a penalty corner in the dying moments of the first quarter.

But World Goalkeeper of the Year Jaap Stockmaan thwarted the threat posed by Rupinderpal Singh.

Waveriders skipper Sardar Singh, unlike other matches, looked energetic at the center of the pitch. He fed Simon Child and Matt Gohdes from the top of the Warriors circle but to no avail.

Veteran Australian Rob Hammond rose to the occasion and showed that despite his international retirement, he possesses the attributes which made him one of the best holding midfielder of the game. He, along with Lucas Rey, contested Sardar on numerous occasions and came out on top on most of them.

Argentine Mazzilli and young Australian striker Jake Whetton combined well with S.V. Sunil and Affan Yousuf. They posed several challenges to Waveriders' German custodian Nicolas Jacobi.

Mazzilli got a fierce reverse-hand strike but continued to work hard and it paid up in the 35th minute.

Australia's attacking midfielder crossed for Mazzilli, who employed a reverse-hand strike to sound the board.

Even though World Player of the Year Mark Knowles of Australia didn't play a bigger role as he was returning from an ankle injury, coordination between Sandeep, Christopher Ciriello and Kieran Govers was quite good and it reflected in their performance.

Govers, who generally plays as a striker, shifted to lay further stability at the back after his team took a 2-0 lead.

However, Waveriders got two back-to-back penalty corners but wasted them due to incompetence of the stopper.

Waveriders wasted several chances and on Sunday they will take on Wizards for the third place.

The Times of India

Ranchi Rays enter HIL final

NEW DELHI: Ranchi Rays beat Uttar Pradesh Wizards 9-8 via penalty shootouts, which reached sudden death, to enter the final of the Hockey India League (HIL) at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here on Saturday.

Wizards' V.R. Raghunath (39th minute) and Rays' Ashley Jackson (42nd) scored but both teams refused to be separated after 60 minutes of play, taking the game to penalties.

The competition saw a neck-and-neck contest even in the decider. Wizards' Jeroen Hertzberger converted thrice but others were inconsistent while their swap of P.R. Sreejesh with George Bazeley didn't work out eventually.

For Rays, skipper Ashley Jackson, even though failing to convert a stroke, scored thrice to show them the way. Barry Middleton also scored thrice while Australian Daniel Beale scored the winner in the shootout. Manpreet Singh failed twice but others made amends for the mistake.

With the loss, the Wizards have failed to win three consecutive HIL semi-finals.

At the start, both teams were defensive and didn't want to lose ball possession.

Jackson and Middleton were in the thick of action from the beginning. The 31-year-old Middleton, especially, supplied twice inside the circle but Mandeep Singh and Nick Wilson failed to make it count.

Wilson played with much more accuracy in the second quarter and earned a penalty corner in the 21st minute. It needed a diving P.R. Sreejesh to ward off Jackson's flick.

A couple of minutes later, Jackson again failed to go past India goalkeeper Sreejesh twice in the second quarter.

After being dominated for the most part of the second quarter, the Wizards hit back. Dutch striker Hertzberger led a fierce counter-attack and shrugged off two Rays defenders but he poked it wide. Another Dutchman Bob de Voogd fed Nithin Thimmaiah inside the box but the Indian saw his effort being blanked by a save from Tyler Lovell.

Wizards showed a very good game of defence, counter-attack and man-to-man marking.

While India international Jasjit Singh Khullar never allowed Mandeep to break free, Wizards skipper Wouter Jolie kept a close eye on Trent Mitton.

Continuing to be more mobile and attacking, midfielders de Voogd and Sander Baart pressed forward and combined nicely with seasoned Australian Eddie Ockenden, who earned their first penalty corner in the 39th minute.

Raghunath stepped up and his flick to the top-left easily defeated Lovell to make it 1-0 for Wizards.

Ockenden regularly avoided his markers -- Birendra Lakra and Kothajit Singh -- to keep Rays on the guard. However, Rays equalised in the 42nd minute as an inspired run from South African Austin Smith was halted inside the box. That earned a penalty stroke which was easily converted by Jackson.

Enthused after the equaliser, Rays looked a vastly improved side and continued to attack. Sreejesh was called in to action and he had a very good game apart from the stroke.

Two Australians -- Beale and Nick Budgeon -- played crucial roles in staving off strong challenges from Wizards.

Mandeep earned a penalty corner in the 59th minute for Rays. But Jackson failed to make the most out of two back-to-back chances to enter the shootout.

The Times of India

Landmark Indian Agreement

HA and HI sign agreement for India men to tour in 2016, 2017 & 2018

Photo credit: Hero Hockey India League

Hockey Australia and Hockey India today announced a landmark bilateral agreement that will see the Indian men’s national hockey team tour to Australia in each of the next three years, 2016-2018.

In return, Hockey Australia will release its senior men’s national squad athletes for the Hockey India League for the next three seasons, including in 2016, six months before the Olympic Games in Rio.

The strategic initiative was announced by Hockey Australia Chief Executive Cam Vale (pictured, left) and his counterpart at Hockey India, Elena Norman (pictured, right), at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi, during the Hockey India League finals series.

The agreement will see the World and Commonwealth champion Kookaburras face India, the Asian Games champions and Commonwealth Games silver medallists, in a six-match test series in Australia in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Cam Vale, Chief Executive of Hockey Australia, said, “This is a milestone moment for Australian hockey. This agreement is the first step in honouring our commitment to building a calendar of top class events for Australian hockey fans and raising the profile of the sport. It also demonstrates how seriously we are taking our strategic goal to build a stronger commercial model for hockey.

“We’re committed to showing our support for Hockey India, the Hockey India League and the International Hockey Federation in their endeavours to grow the sport globally. We believe that for the sport to grow the Hockey India League needs to be successful and the inclusion of Australian athletes can play a valuable role in achieving that success.”

Addressing the potential impact on Australia’s preparation for the Olympic Games, Vale added, “Allowing our athletes to play in the 2016 Hockey India League fits with our high performance planning. It will allow them to earn income from playing in the league, which in turn helps them to commit to the substantial demands of our centralised program the rest of the year. It will also provide them with a suitable break from the program. As was the case when they played in the HIL ahead of the World Cup win in 2014, we believe there is ample time to prepare for the Olympic Games after the 2016 tournament.”

Elena Norman, CEO of Hockey India said, “We know that the Australians are World Champions and India has proved itself to be a formidable team on the international arena in the last year. Hence this move will work both ways, as when we play against each other we will learn from each other and better ourselves in the process. Also, with this tie-up it opens more avenues to organise more test series with other nations, too, and create a calendar for the entire year.”

She added, “We are happy with the commitment of Hockey Australia to release its players for the next three seasons and this in a way showcases that Hockey India League is getting earmarked in the calendar of all participating teams. We thank Hockey Australia for this support and assurance towards the League.”

Discussions around the timing of each tour are ongoing.

Hockey Australia media release

Indian hockey team to tour Australia in next 3 years

NEW DELHI: Hockey India (HI) and Hockey Australia on Saturday signed a strategic bilateral agreement that will see India men's hockey team tour Down Under every year for the next three years, i.e. from 2016 to 2018, a move that is expected to give a fillip to the sport back home.

As per of the understanding, Hockey Australia will release its national players for the next three seasons of the Hockey India League, including 2016 just six months prior to the Rio Olympics.

The agreement was signed between HI CEO Elena Norman and Hockey Australia Chief Executive Cam Vale on the sidelines of the semifinals of the third Hero Hockey India League at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

As per the agreement, India will tour Australia for a six-match Test series in the coming three years.

The arrangement will not only be limited to the men's team, as both the federations are working on plans to also include women's sides in the agreement.

"This is a milestone moment for Australian hockey. This arrangement is the first step in honouring our commitment to building a calendar of top class events for Australian hockey team and raising the profile of the sport," Vale said.

"We are committed to show our support towards Hockey India, the Hockey India League and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in their endeavours to grow the sport globally. We believe that for the sport to grow Hockey India League needs to be successful.

Hockey India CEO Norman feels this tie-up augurs well for both the nations.

"This move will work in both ways as when we play against each other we will learn from each other and better ourselves in the process," she said.

The Times of India

Wanderers still in promotion hunt despite mixed fortunes

Dundee Wanderers experienced mixed fortunes on the second day of the EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy in Vienna, beating Irish outfit Ards Ladies in the first match, but succumbing to a last gasp 4-3 defeat at the hands of promotion rivals HC Ritm Azot Grodno this evening.

With hosts SV Arminen also winning their two matches today, it means that Wanderers will need to win their match against the Austrians and Belgian side Royal Antwerp tomorrow if they harbour hopes of getting into the top two positions. They will also hope that they gain ground with a favourable result from the SV Arminen versus HC Ritm Azot Grodno contest too.

Wanderers had found themselves on the back foot against Ard Ladies in their first match today after goals from Chloe Brown and Zara Malseed put the Irish champions 2-0 up after twelve minutes.

However, the Dundonians dragged themselves back into the match in the 13th minute; Heather Elder on hand to fire home her second goal of the tournament after Ard’s goalkeeper Naomi McKnight had repelled attempts from Vikki Bunce and Jennifer Smith.

Charlotte Watson restored parity to the contest right on half-time, firing an equalising penalty corner goal into the left of the net to make it 2-2.

It was very different story in the second half, with Wanderers scoring five goals without reply.

Bunce fired a penalty corner high into the left hand top corner in the 26th minute to give her side the lead for the first time, before Watson took advantage of some dubious Irish defending to secure her second goal of the match and Wanderers’ fourth in the 31st minute.

The Scotland U18 international completed her hat-trick sixty seconds later, slotting a low shot from a penalty corner into the bottom left hand of the goal to make it 5-2.

There was still time left for Bunce to complete her second tournament hat-trick, showing neat stick-work in front of goal to seal a sixth goal for her side in the 33rd minute, before beating two defenders during a run from inside Wanderers’ own half that culminated in the Scotland star sliding the ball past the on-coming McKnight to round off the scoring at 7-2.

Having marched into a 2-0 half-time lead courtesy of a third minute Vikki Bunce strike, and a goal from Heather Elder shortly before the break, the National League Division 1 champions were in full control in the second match of the day against HC Ritm Azot Grodno.

However, a goal by HC Ritm Azot Grodno captain Volha Shyntar in the 28th minute and Darya Belavusava field goal in 32nd minute pegged back Wanderers at 2-2.

With Belavusava having had the easy task of tapping into an open goal to leave the Taysiders trailing at 2-3 in the 32nd minute, captain Rachel Osborne looked to have salvaged an important share of the points after firing the ball home from a well-worked Wanderers penalty corner set-piece in the 40th minute.

However, disaster occurred only moments later, as Shyntar was able to beat the on-rushing defence at a penalty corner and find the bottom left corner of the goal to leave Wanderers’ players reeling from a 4-3 defeat.

Please see the EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy website for more information.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Rivals battle out thrilling draw

Nikki Laybourne scores for Leicester women v Holcombe, Feb 21 2015, credit Andy Smith

Leicester missed the chance to leapfrog Holcombe into fourth in the Investec Women's Hockey League Premier Division after the sides played out a 2-2 draw.

Tamsyn Naylor and Nicola White scored for Holcombe after Nikki Laybourne and Katie Long had given Leicester a 2-0 lead.

The result leaves Leicester two points off the final spot in the play-offs, which are being held at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from April 18-19.

Surbiton pulled three points clear at the top of the league after coming from behind to win 2-1 at home to the University of Birmingham.

Anna Toman put the students ahead on the stroke of half time, slotting home from a penalty corner. But the league leaders levelled things up after the break with a goal from Julia King before Emily Atkinson completed the fight back two minutes from the end.

Canterbury all but confirmed their place in the top four with a tight 1-0 win at Bowdon Hightown. Jen Wilson’s late strike from a penalty corner piled further pressure on the struggling hosts who fall to ninth.

Buckingham boosted their survival prospects with a 1-0 win at bottom side Beeston thanks to Leanne Grimsley’s second half goal. The result leaves struggling Beeston facing a seven-point gap to safety.

Investec Conference West

Slough maintained their five-point lead at the top of the Investec Conference West with a solid 2-0 victory over Trojans, courtesy of goals from Melissa Ball and Charly Brydon.

The league leaders struck in each half to move a step closer to wrapping up top spot, despite second place Swansea City labouring to victory at Cheltenham.

City twice came from behind to claim a 3-2 win with Natasha Marke grabbing the final goal four minutes from the end.

The defeat leaves Cheltenham bottom and eight points adrift of safety after Stourport won 3-0 at Isca to climb to eighth.

Elsewhere Oxford Hawks beat Olton and West Warwicks 5-0 and Gloucester stayed third with a 2-1 win at Bristol Firebrands.

Investec Conference North

Wakefield moved three points clear at the top of the Investec Conference North on Saturday with a 5-1 defeat of bottom side Cannock. Gwen Smith led the scoring with a brace.

Brooklands Poynton couldn’t keep pace with Wakefield after falling to a rare defeat at the hands of Ben Rhydding. Jo Ellis scored all three of Ben Rhydding’s goals in the 3-2 win.

Sarah Parkinson-Mills was another hat-trick hero in Sutton Coldfield’s 7-2 defeat of Kendal. The win keeps them third.

Liverpool Sefton drew 1-1 with Whitley Bay and Tynemouth and the game between Loughborough Students and University of Durham also ended all square with the score at 2-2.

Investec Conference East

East Grinstead made it 14 games without defeat in the Investec Conference East this season as a Sophie Bray hat-trick guided them to a 5-2 defeat of Horsham.

Harleston Magpies chalked up their seventh win as Susan Wessels fired all three of their goals in a 3-0 defeat of Chelmsford.

Wimbledon beat hosts Bedford 2-1 courtesy of first-half strikes from Olivia Martineau and Karlijn Van Der Linden.

The game between Ipswich and St Albans looked to be heading for a 0-0 draw before the game exploded into life in the final ten minutes.

Lizzy Aldous missed a penalty stroke for Ipswich on 60 minutes but redeemed herself, scoring six minutes later. But St Albans tied the game late on with Eleanor Watton making it 1-1 in the final minute.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, February 21 2015):

Investec Women's Premier Division: Beeston 0, Buckingham 1; Bowdon Hightown 0, Canterbury 1; Surbiton 2, University of Birmingham 1; Leicester 2, Holcombe 2.

Investec Women's Conference West: Bristol Firebrands 1, Gloucester City 2; Isca 0, Stourport 3; Oxford Hawks 5, Olton and Weat Warwicks 0; Slough 2, Trojans 0; Cheltenham 2, Swansea City 3.

Investec Women's Conference North: Liverpool Sefton 1, Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 1; Loughborough Students 2, University of Durham 2; Kendal 2, Sutton Coldfield 7; Ben Rhydding 3, Brooklands Poynton 2; Cannock 1, Wakefield 5.

Investec Women's Conference East: Bedford 1, Wimbledon 2; East Grinstead 5, Horsham 2; Ipswich 1, St Albans 1; Chelmsford 0, Harleston Magpies 3; Sevenoaks 3, Maidenhead 1.

England Hockey Board Media release

Fiji hockey prepares for Gold medal defence

Emoni Narawa

FIJI Hockey is prepared to defend its Gold medal title at the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea.

With a milestone achieved earlier this week, when Epeli Tukuca was inducted as an international outdoor umpire, Fiji Hockey is confident the achievement will help the team's performance.

Fiji Hockey president Doctor Robin Mitchell said everything was going according to plan.

"The preparation is well underway," he said.

"We have a squad at training at the moment, we're preparing the five-a-side teams for the Pacific Games and also the rest of the squad are preparing for the Oceania event."

He said players had shown dedication and commitment at training.

"The coaches have been working with the team for the past couple of weeks and we're confident of defending our gold medal in PNG during the Pacific Games."

Fiji is currently the top ranked Pacific team at the moment.

The national men and women's teams defeated PNG, Samoa and Vanuatu during the Oceania Pacific Cup that was held at the National Hockey Centre in Suva last December.

Mitchell is confident competing at the Oceania competition would be a huge exposure for the players especially rubbing shoulders against the world teams, Australia and New Zealand.

The Fiji Times

Arminen provide ten of Austria WL2 panel

SV Arminen provide a massive ten players to the Austrian national team as they embark on the second phase of the World League in San Diego which gets underway next Saturday.

They feature a large contingent from the Arminen side that were so impressive at the Euro Hockey League in Barcelona last October. They include Robert and Alexander Bele, Sebastian Eitenberger, Daniel Fröhlich, goalkeeper Michael Mantler, Michael Minar, Patrick Schmidt, Florian Steyr, Mateusz Szymczyk and Dominic Uher.

Tomasz Laskowski’s side is bolstered by three Harvestehuder THC stars, Michael Korper, Xaver Hasun and captain Benjamin Stanzl, while Julius Heimann is another who plays in Germany with Dusseldorf.

The world number 22 Austrians must finish at least third to move on to the semi-finals where the Olympic Games will be decided.

Italy are their first opponent as part of an initial group that also features world number 15s Ireland and Chile with Canada (14), Russia (19), USA (27) and Trinidad and Tobago (30) in the other group.

Euro Hockey League media release

Umpires flash red card to MHC

UMPIRES and match officials yesterday blew the whistle and flashed a red card to the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) who still owe them money from last year.

Joining the chorus were four Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) semi-finalists, as they too have yet to receive their TNB Cup winnings -- even though the finals were held in December last year.

And Faizal Saari is also said to have jumped ship after the Singapore World League Round Two, as he and his team-mates have been promised cash incentives since qualifying for the World Cup, but have yet to see the money.

"We have been waiting for a long time as we have only received empty promises when ever we called to inquire about our allowances for the MHL. Each umpire and official are waiting for at least RM3,000 and there are 50 of us on the empty promises list," said an official who declined to be named.

Terengganu Hockey Team, who won the TNB Cup, are still awaiting for their RM70,000. The same goes for runners-up Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (RM50,000), bronze medallists Tenaga Nasional (RM40,000) and fourth placed Maybank (RM30,000).

The TNB CUP roll of honour is also still not honoured, as THT players Fitri Saari (best player of the final), Faizal Saari (top-scored, 17 goals) and Hafizuddin Othman (best goalkeeper) were supposed to receive RM2,000 each.

Tenaga are the title sponsors for MHL and other domestic tournaments, to the tune of RM2 million per-year.

Faizal, after scoring 12 goals and being named the Best Player in the Singapore World League, refused to attend training since because promises made by certain MHC officials were never realised.

An official who is close to Fazial said: "He is a very good player, but has been disillusioned since promises were broken after the World League Semi-finals in Johor Baru. Some quarters promised the team the sky if they qualified for the World Cup, but were no where to be seen or heard after Malaysia finished fifth and qualified for the Netherlands World Cup.

"Players, umpires and even officials are in a quandary as they have not received their match bonuses and allowances for a long time," lamented an official.

The financial situation of the MHC is really in dire states, as even state affiliates have not received participation subsidy of RM3,000 each for the Raja Noora Ashikin Cup in November.

Faizal has agreed to turn up for training on Wednesday to join his mates as they get ready for the Azlan Shah Cup in April, but if money still does not reach their pockets, more players might just turn their backs on Malaysia.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Hockey lass Hanis ready to strike in New Delhi

By Aftar Singh

Hanis Nadiah Onn plays forward for the national women's hockey team.

KUALA LUMPUR: Teenager Hanis Nadiah Onn dares to dream.

The 18-year-old Johor forward is optimistic Malaysia will qualify for the World League Semi-Finals in Belgium and Argentina in June.

The national women’s hockey team have never gone past the World League Round Two.

But Hanis believes all that is about to change when she spearheads the Malaysian challenge in the World League Round Two in New Delhi from March 7-15. She has even set a personal target of scoring five goals in the competition.

Last June, Hanis netted two goals in her international debut in the women’s World League Round One in Singapore.

Hanis, who is pursuing pre-university studies at the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), said that netting two goals in her first international outing in Singapore was “a good start for my hockey career”.

“I aim to do better in Round Two in New Delhi. I’m well-equipped for the task after scoring nine goals for Malacca in the Raja Noorashikin Cup in Bukit Jalil last November. I’m sharper in front of goal, too,” said Hanis, who featured for Malaysia in the Under-18 Asia Cup in Bangkok in 2012.

Eight teams will compete in the World League Round Two next month. Malaysia (world No. 21) are seeded second behind India (No. 13).

Malaysia Open their Group B campaign against Kazakhstan on March 7. The other matches include against Singapore (March 8) and Russia (March 10).

Hanis believes they should have no problems beating Kazakhstan and Singapore again. In Round One in Singapore, Malaysia routed Kazakhstan 5-0 and thumped the host 10-0.

“However, we will face strong opposition against Russia (world No. 23),” said Hanis.

India are in Group A with Poland, Ghana and Thailand.

The World League is the qualifying tournament for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

There are 30 players in the training squad and the final 18 will be named soon.

The Star of Malaysia

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