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News for 07 March 2015

All the news for Saturday 7 March 2015

World League: SA hockey men amped for China Egypt weekend


Southern Gauteng duo Clint Panther (left) n Jet Eustice (back). ACTION PIX

The SA men’s hockey team are amped for back-to-back Greenfields FIH World League Test matches at Hartleyvale in Cape Town over the weekend.

Head coach Fabian Gregory said Friday afternoon that building momentum was key in Pool A matches against turnover specialists China at 4.15pm Saturday and skilful Egypt same time Sunday. "China like to get numbers behind the ball, then counter-attack at pace on turnover ball .”

Indeed, maintaining ball possession and denying the Chinese and Egyptians on the counter is going to determine whether it's a good, or long, weekend at the office for the men in green and gold.

SA and Egypt - Africa's heavyweight teams - have a long history of fiery, bad-tempered, massively physical clashes coupled with high drama and contentious umpiring decisions. To this end, the SA head coach said it was imperative that captain Austin Smith's lads did not lose players to the sin bin or worse.

"We will seek to impose ourselves on Egypt from the start, but as against China there has to be a balance between numbers on attack and in defence; we need to ensure that our counter-defence is sound."

The coach is also calling on his penalty corner strike-force to capitalise on the set-piece opportunities that come SA's way. "We must convert those chances."

Gregory said the selectors had picked an in-form group of players and the 6.30pm final Pool A clash against Switzerland on Tuesday would require SA to pressure the skilled Swiss into making mistakes at the outset.

"The format of the tournament is such that all eight nations will qualify for the quarter-finals next Thursday, so you could make the semis next Saturday by winning just one game, but we want to build towards the quarters by putting in three solid performances in the Pool stage - and that should stand us in good stead for the knockout phase of the event."

Gregory is hoping the SA team's fans and the wider Cape Town public will pour into Hartleyvale to support the 18 men in green and gold this weekend, as "Player Number 19" could be the trump card in pulling the home nation through when the going gets tough.

The semi-finals and final are next weekend.

All the fixtures can be found at the link http://events.fih.ch/new/competition/417

Goalkeepers: Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng), Gowan Jones (KZN Coastal Raiders)
Defenders: Daniel Bell, Rhett Halkett, Austin Smith (capt), Dylan Swanepoel (all Western Province), Matt Guise-Brown (Northern Blues), Robin Jones (Eastern Province)
Midfielders: Dan Sibbald, Tim Drummond (both KZN Coastal Raiders), Clint Panther, Jethro Eustice (both Southern Gauteng)
Strikers: Natius Malgraff (Eastern Province), Keenan Horne, Shannon Boucher, Pierre de Voux (all Western Province), Taine Paton (KZN Coastal Raiders), Julian Hykes (Southern Gauteng)

Pool B: 9:30 France v Azerbaijan; 11:45 Czech Republic v Belarus
Pool A: 14:00 Egypt v Switzerland; 16:15 A South Africa v China
Pool B: 9:30 Azerbaijan v Belarus; 11:45 Czech Republic v France
Pool A: 14:00 China v Switzerland; 16:15 Egypt v South Africa

SA Hockey Association media release

Calypso Stickmen hunt first win

STICK  FIGHT: T&T’s Kwandwane Browne, centre, tries to evade two Ireland players during their FIH World Hockey League Round Two qualifiers quarterfinal at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Centre, San Diego, California on Thursday. Ireland won 12-2 and faces Canada in the semifinals while T&T plays Italy in the fifth to eighth playoff today.

T&T men’s hockey team will need to pick themselves up after a 12-2 quarterfinal loss to Ireland on Thursday when they tackle Italy in their fifth to eight place semifinal in the FIH World Hockey League Men’s Round Two qualifiers at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Centre, San Diego, California from 12.45pm.

The loss for world 30th ranked T&T against the Irish was the fourth on the trot in the tournament after it suffered defeats to Russia (6-1), USA (7-1) and Canada (3-0) in round-robin Pool B play.

This after topping its round one qualifying series in Kingston, Jamaica with wins over Jamaica, Barbados and Dominican Republic.

Italy, on the other hand, was beaten in its Pool A opener by Austria 3-1, but rebounded to defeat Chile 2-1 and the went under to the Irish 2-0 in its final round-robin match, before bowing to Canada, 4-0 in Thursday’s quarterfinal.

In the other fifth to eighth playoff from 2.45pm, 27th ranked USA and Chile, 25th, will tangle after losing their last-eight match-ups to Austria (2-1) and Russia, 5-4 via penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw respectively.

In today’s main draw semis, the rampant Irish, ranked 15th in the world comes up against 14th ranked Canada from 5pm followed by Russia, ranked 19th versus 22nd rated Austria.

The finals and other playoff matches are carded for tomorrow at the end of which the top three teams will qualify to the Hockey World League semi-finals (Round Three), where coveted berths at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are up for grabs.

Malaysia, Poland and Japan all qualified for the HWL Semifinals thanks to top three finishes at the event in Singapore (SIN) earlier this year while the remaining qualifiers involving host South Africa, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, France and Switzerland takes place in Cape Town from Saturday until March 15.

Today’s semifinals playoffs

Fifth to Eight:

T&T vs Italy, 12.30pm
USA vs Chile, 2.45pm

Main Draw:

Ireland vs Canada, 5pm
Austria vs Russia, 7.15pm

The Trinidad Guardian

Scotland end Valencia training camp on a high

Scotland Senior Women completed a testing warm weather camp in Valencia, Spain last night with an excellent and hard-fought 1-0 win over Germany in the final training match.

The Scots have made significant improvement over the week, with an opening 8-0 defeat on Sunday, followed by a 1-0 reversal, and ending the camp on a high with a win against the world number seven

"The improvement from the first game is significant, the players worked hard at specific things, especially defensive skills," said a delighted Gordon Shepherd.  "I honestly can`t remember the last time we beat a top ten team."

Shepherd can now look forward to the EuroHockey Nations Championships in London this summer with greater confidence, especially as the Germans are the opposition in the opening pool match.

"This week`s training weekend has been a very worthwhile experience, the squad have moved on significantly, excellent preparation for the Europeans," said Shepherd.

The goal came in the first quarter, Louise Campbell opened up the German defence with a penetrating move up the right and Nikki Kidd, who plays for German side Mannheimer, stroked the ball into the empty net.

No further goals but the Scottish defence, with goalkeeper Nikki Cochrane in particularly fine form, stood firm against the normally lethal German strike-force for a famous victory.

Scotland had started the week with a difficult result to take, falling 8-0 to the Germans, but Shepherd was far from dismayed by the outcome, "I was happy with the effort, but we were not a match for the German intensity and clinical finishing and I was also disappointed with the goals we lost.

"Also that was our first game in four months while the Germans were on the back of three recent games against Spain."

The Germans were restricted to a single goal in the second match largely due to a string of excellent saves by Merlins` goalkeeper Siobhan Cowie, when there were no goals conceded from seven penalty corners.

"We improved considerably from the first game and although Germany deserved to win we played two new systems with new players, so there were a lot of positives," said Shepherd.

"The effort and work rate were as good as I`ve ever seen."

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Dohmen convinced of Waterloo Ducks EHL chances

The Waterloo Ducks made a confident start to the second phase of the Belgian league season with a 5-1 win over Leopold and key man John-John Dohmen says he is “convinced” his side will be at their best come the Euro Hockey League.

The Ducks face Beerschot on Sunday in round 16 of the Audi Hockey League sitting in second place and closing in on a playoff place as they bid to retain their national title.

It is an especially impressive performance that they have remained competitive in light of five high profile departures at the end of last season.

Maxime Luycx, Thomas van den Balck and Benjamin van Hove all retired while Vincent Vanasch moved to Oranje Zwart and Alex de Paeuw left for Club Egara.

But the Ducks look in good shape to be in the title shake-up at the end of the season.

“Because we lost five players, we knew that it would be a ‘transition’ year for us,” Dohmen told the EHL website. “We are still competitive and playing well. We trusted the players who stayed and in new young players. We keep our playing style with a lot of passes and we trust in each other.

“Those are our qualities. I think we can become champion again but it will be very close like every year.”

The Ducks restarted their season safe in the knowledge that their highly decorated coach Shane McLeod has signed a contract for another two years with the club.

Dohmen says the coach is “very important for team” saying: “His impact on our style of play is huge. He always stays calm in any situation but we easily understand when he is happy or not.

“His composure helps players to improve without conflicts and it's creating leaders on the field. Shane is always trusting his team even if the things are going wrong. We are happy that he has signed for two more years. This proves he is faithful. He is the kind of coach that can stay for a long time in the club.”

And while they continue to compete at a high level in the Belgian league, Dohmen says his side has not always hit the high notes in the Euro Hockey League.

Last season was the first time the Ducks reached the KO8 having regularly drawn some of the toughest opposition. This year is no different as they have been paired with Dutch giants Kampong but the midfielder says that they will be ready for the challenge.

“We are really motivated and are working hard to catch up to our best level. I'm convinced that we will be at our best for the EHL and the Belgian play-offs.

“We really like playing in the EHL and, everye season, our first objective is to qualify. In the past, we had some good games like our victories against East Grinstead, Mulheim and Beeston but we are still missing a great performance.

“I believe we are able to finish on the podium like Dragons have done three times. We haven't shown our real level in EHL yet as we can do in the Belgian competition.

“In five appearances, we always qualified for the KO16 but only achieved the KO8 once. We can say that we are unlucky with the draw because we played in the KO16 against Rotterdam, UHC Hamburg, Amsterdam, Berliner, Beeston and now Kampong.

“But I hope we can defeat one of the favourites for the tournament. They have great players and individual skills. That's why we are excited to play against them.

“In sport everything is possible. We are a good team and we trust in each other very strongly. I think we can win this match. If we do it, it will be an exploit and a great moment! I'm quite sure that it will be a beautiful game.”

Euro Hockey League media release

Hampstead face high-flying Surbiton

Hampstead and Westminster's Matt Botha. Credit Simon Parker

With just one win in their last four matches, Hampstead and Westminster are desperate for points to avoid falling into relegation danger – but they face high-flying Surbiton this Sunday in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.

At the start of the season Hampstead lost just one of their first four matches, but form has been hard to come by recently and they will by aiming to take victory at the Paddington Recreation Ground this weekend.

“It’s going to go right down to the wire,” said Hampstead and Westminster manager Thea Hitchcock. “I can see it all being decided on the last day of the season.

“We’ve had a rough few weeks, it didn’t help with our overseas player Andy Hayward breaking his thumb in October, so we’ve only had him available for nine of the 18 matches, which was a set-back for us.

“But we’re capable of getting results and playing well against the bigger teams, and we will fight to the death. I can’t call it, everybody is playing for their lives to stay in the Premier Division.”

For their part, Surbiton dropped to second spot last weekend despite recording a win over Beeston. East Grinstead overtook them thanks to their big 9-0 win against Brooklands Manchester University, but both sides will want to be top of the table which secures a European place going into the Finals Weekend at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London on April 11-12.

On Sunday East Grinstead will bid to hold on to top spot when they travel to a resurgent Canterbury side who have won their last three games as they try and avoid relegation. Wimbledon will want to maintain third spot as they head to Reading.

Brooklands Manchester University entertain Beeston on Saturday. After two losses last weekend they still need points to keep out of the bottom two.

Similarly, bottom of the table Southgate go to Cannock in search of points to move up the table ahead of a crucial last weekend when they play their rearranged match against Hampstead prior to meeting Canterbury.

In the NOW: Pensions Conference West, Cardiff and Met took over top spot last weekend, and they could clinch the title when they play Indian Gymkhana at Sophia Gardens on Sunday. If Cardiff win and second placed Team Bath Buccaneers fail to beat University of Birmingham the Welsh team will pick up their third successive West title.

Champions Bowdon head to Loughborough Students in the NOW: Pensions Conference North as they aim to remain unbeaten going into the Play-offs

Similarly, NOW: Pensions Conference East champions Holcombe will want to keep their unbeaten run going when they host second-placed Bromley and Beckenham.

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 7 2015)

NOW: Pensions Premier Division
Brooklands Manchester Univ v Beeston 14:00

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, March 8 2015)

NOW: Pensions Premier Division
Canterbury v East Grinstead 12:45
Hampstead & Westminster v Surbiton 14:00
Reading v Wimbledon 14:30
Cannock v Southgate 14:00

NOW: Pensions Conference West
Univ of Exeter v Whitchurch 12:30
Barford Tigers v Cheltenham 13:00
Team Bath Buccaneers v Univ of Birmingham 13:00
Cardiff & Met v Indian Gymkhana 13:00
Fareham v Guildford 13:30

NOW: Pensions Conference North
Olton and West Warwicks v Wakefield 13:30
Sheffield Hallam v Univ of Durham 13:30
Doncaster v Leek 14:00
Belper v Deeside Ramblers 14:00
Loughborough Students v Bowdon 14:00

NOW: Pensions Conference East
Teddington v West Herts 12:30
Richmond v Cambridge City 13:30
Chichester Priory Park v Brighton and Hove 13:30
Old Loughtonians v Oxted 14:00
Holcombe v Bromley and Beckenham 14:30

England Hockey Board Media release

Relegation battle at Bowdon Hightown

Bowdon Hightown's Natalie Wray celebrates a goal with Tina Cullen and Sarah Ingham, Credit Andy Smith

Bowdon Hightown host Buckingham in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday, in a match which is crucial to both team’s hopes of avoiding relegation.

Currently ninth, Bowdon Hightown will leap-frog Buckingham if they take victory. Buckingham will want to replicate the 3-1 win they secured over their rivals back in September, but in recent weeks Bowdon have looked the team in form having beaten Holcombe and drawn with Leicester.

“It is the most important match of the season for us,” said Bowdon Hightown manager Roger Hunt. “We have a tough match against Surbiton next week so it’s really important that we get a result against Buckingham.

“We want to rectify the 3-1 loss earlier in the season. We were up at half time then had a poor second half. But we’ve done well recently, beating Holcombe was our best performance of the season and then drawing with Leicester last week was a boost.”

Saturday could be the last throw of the dice for Leicester’s hopes of making the play offs at the Finals Weekend, which this year is being held at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

Leicester go to third-placed Canterbury, aiming to close the four-point gap between them and Holcombe in fourth.

Holcombe are at home against Reading who similarly still have hopes of reaching the play-offs, while the University of Birmingham entertain bottom of the table Beeston as they look overtake the three teams above them and extend their season.

Leaders Surbiton play against second-placed Clifton at Sugden Road with top spot up for grabs. Surbiton are the only team to beat Clifton outdoors this season.

Title rivals Brooklands Poynton and Wakefield meet in the Investec Conference North, with second-placed Brooklands having home advantage. However they trail Wakefield by three points with an inferior goal difference so this is a must win game for them. When they met earlier in the season, they fought out a dramatic 4-4 draw.

Slough host Olton and West Warwicks in the Investec Conference West, knowing that a win would see them crowned champions. Meanwhile, Swansea City, the only team who can still catch them, entertain Gloucester City.

In the Investec Conference East, champions East Grinstead play Maidenhead at Saint Hill Road, and second-placed Sevenoaks are at home against Chelmsford.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 7 2015)

Investec Premier Division
Univ of Birmingham v Beeston 12:30
Bowdon Hightown v Buckingham 13:45
Surbiton v Clifton 14:00
Canterbury v Leicester 17:00
Holcombe v Reading 18:00

Investec Conference West
Trojans v Oxford Hawks 12:00
Stourport v Bristol Firebrands 12:00
Swansea City v Gloucester City 12:00
Cheltenham v Isca 12:30
Slough v Olton and West Warwicks 12:30

Investec Conference North
Brooklands Poynton v Wakefield 12:00
Liverpool Sefton v Univ of Durham 12:30
Loughborough Students v Ben Rhydding 12:30
Kendal v Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 12:30
Sutton Coldfield v Cannock 14:00

Investec Conference East
Sevenoaks v Chelmsford 12:00
Bedford v Ipswich 13:00
East Grinstead v Maidenhead 13:30
Horsham v Harleston Magpies 13:30
Wimbledon v St Albans 12:30

England Hockey Board Media release

Division One teams unmatched in junior hockey league quarter-finals

By S. Ramaguru

UniKL player Mohamed Nur Faiz (far left) celebrates after scoring a goal against Nur Insafi in the quarter-finals of the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysia Junior Hockey League at Bukit Jalil. UniKL won 3-0. - SAMUEL ONG / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions SSTMI-Thunderbolt led their three other Division One counterparts to comfortable wins in the quarter-finals first leg of the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysia Junior Hockey League.

The champions virtually sealed a place in the last four, carving out a 10-0 win over 1MAS Perlis at the Kangar Hockey Stadium. SSTMI will also play the return leg match at the same venue.

Pahang SS-Thunderbolt also have a leg in the semi-finals, scoring a 6-1 win over BJSS Juniors at the Temerloh Turf.

In Kuala Lumpur, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) won 3-0 against Nur Insafi while MBPJ defeated SMK Datuk Bentara Luar 3-1 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

SSTMI team manager Adam Izamry Idrus was delighted with the big win.

“Our players took their chances well and made sure of a comfortable lead. We expected a tough time, but in the end we were able to win easily. We will now stay focused with our task and plan for the semi-finals. We will give the reserves a try-out as well on Sunday,” he said.

For UniKL, they were in control against Division Two champions Nur Insafi.

UniKL took the lead in the 11th minute through a field goal by Mohamed Nur Faiz. After that, they struggled to translate their domination into goals.

In the second period, they were more enterprising and managed to score two more goals. Mohamed Nur was on target again in the 38th minute and Mohamed Hafif Elkan added a third off a penalty corner in the 61st minute.

The return leg will be played in Sungai Petani on Saturday.

UniKL coach I. Vicknesweran said they will not take the three-goal lead for granted.

“It is good to have a good lead, but there is still one more game to go. I don’t want the players to be complacent and take anything for granted. We have to stay on top to make sure of a last-four place,” said Vicknesweran.

In the other match, Johor’s SMK Datuk Bentara Luar got off to a great start by taking the lead in the 22nd minute through a field goal by Zulsyafiq Amirul.

But MBPJ, the 2006 champions, stormed back in the second half. Mohamed Azwadi Ridzuan sparked the fightback by scoring the equaliser in the 46th minute. Further strikes by Mohamed Afiq (50th) and Mohamed Faiz Farahadh (69th) gave the Selangor side a two-goal advantage.

The Star of Malaysia

U.S. Indoor Senior and U-19 National Teams Compete in the Big Apple International Indoor Championships

The U.S. Senior and U-19 Indoor National Teams Head Coach Rennie Milne will lead both squads during the weekend, assisted by Erik Enters USA U-16 Coach, and Matt Jobson USA Goalkeeping Coach.

Coach Milne says, "The weekend's tournament will prove a good test for our players. It has been a good indoor season for the program. We have competed in the 4 Nations series in Canada, trained and compete in Germany against top Germany Bundesliga clubs sides. We are well prepared and are looking forward to showcasing the USA Indoor Program at the Big Apple Indoor Indoor Tournament. "

Senior & U-19 Head Coach - Rennie Milne
Assistant Coach - Erik Enters
Assistant Coach - Matt Jobson

USA Senior's:
Women's Division: http://bigapple.altiusrt.com/competitions/7
Spark FHC
New York Islanders
Toronto Titans
Team USA

USA U19's:
University Division: http://bigapple.altiusrt.com/competitions/8

You will be able to follow the score and pool placements for the tournaments by login onto http://www.bigapplehockey.com

USFHA media release

NT to host national teams

Hockeyroos & Kookaburras to play in NT 2016-2018

Australia’s men’s and women’s hockey teams - the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos - are set to play international test matches in the Northern Territory from 2016.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Gary Higgins said the Northern Territory Government has agreed to a three-year partnership with Hockey Australia to host matches from 2016 to 2018 with the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras.

“This is certainly a coup for the Northern Territory,” he said.

“I’m especially pleased the agreement will showcase our elite women hockey players to Territory fans just months out from the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“The Hockeyroos are one of Australia’s most successful women’s sporting teams, winning Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medals as well as two World Cups.

“The Kookaburras will be just as exciting to see in action. They are ranked the number one men’s hockey team in the world and are the only male or female Australian team to win a medal at each of the last six Olympic Games.

“With a strong contingent of Northern Territory Institute of Sport alumni including Brooke Peris, currently in the Hockeyroos squad and Elizabeth Duguid in the National Development Squad, as well as Joel Carroll and Leon and Jeremy Hayward in the Kookaburras squad, there will certainly be plenty of local talent on display.”

Mr Higgins said the agreement with Hockey Australia includes game development for players, coaches and officials as well as coaching and skills clinics to develop junior hockey.

“The tournament will be another chance to grow grassroots participation in hockey and for the Territory to showcase its great sporting facilities while encouraging Australian and overseas fans to Do the NT,” he said.

Mr Higgins said the first tournament will be played in early April 2016.

“Negotiations are continuing around opponents for the tournament but fans can expect appearances from other big hockey nations.”

Hockey Australia Chief Executive Cam Vale said the partnership with the NT is an important one.

“Providing more opportunities for Australians to see the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras on home turf is a significant priority for us over the coming years and this agreement allows us to do just that,” he said.

“The 2016 series will form a significant part of the Hockeyroos’ preparation for the Rio Olympic Games and the Champions Trophy and we look forward to having the backing of the Northern Territory at such an exciting time for Australian hockey.”

Hockey NT Executive Officer Ian Harkness said hosting teams of the calibre of the Hockeyroos, currently ranked number 2, and the Kookaburras, ranked number 1, reflected the joint approach of Hockey Australia and Hockey NT to grow participation and the development of athletes, coaches and officials.
“Having world ranked national hockey teams play in the NT provides an outstanding opportunity not only for devout hockey players and spectators but for sports lovers generally to see the best at their craft display their skills,” he said.

The Hockeyroos last played in Darwin in June 2004 in a tri-nations tournament with New Zealand and Japan, and the last time the Kookaburras played in Darwin was in May 2008 as part of a four-nation tournament with China, Korea and India.

Hockey Australia media release

Women’s hockey stars are on a roll

International Women’s Day on Sunday is a chance to celebrate hockey as a gender neutral sport and pay tribute to the inspirational figures of the game

(Photo: FIH)

When 15,000 people chant your name, when your face appears on billboards around your home city and when your team coach is mobbed by adoring fans, you truly know that you are an icon or a role model. This happens regularly to some of the male soccer, basketball and American football players – think Messi, LeBron James and Jameis Winston, but increasingly our female hockey stars are also proving to be crowd-stoppers in their own right.

In The Hague for the 2014 Hockey World Cup, the stadium was as packed for the women’s matches as it was for the men’s games and when the home nation took to the turf, it was the likes of Maartje Paumen, Ellen Hoog and Naomi van As who were clearly stars of the show. And six months later at the 2014 Champions Trophy in Mendoza, Argentina, it was hockey that was hitting the headlines and one player’s name in particular was on everyone’s lips.

Luciana Aymar has recently been revealed as one of the top five most marketable female athletes, ahead of tennis legend Steffi Graf and snapping on the heels of Venus Williams. To see one of our hockey stars leading the way on the global stage is welcome news in a world where women’s sport so often gets over-shadowed by men’s. And one of the most wonderful things about hockey is that it is a gender-neutral sport. Across the globe it is equally accessible to men and women, boys and girls; television and press coverage is of equal time and standard; and the athletes receive equal coverage regardless of gender. In the game of hockey, it is all about merit.

However, there are occasions when focus shifts one way or the other, and this article unashamedly celebrates the female athletes in our game. International Women’s Day (8 March) is all about celebrating female achievements, so here, we look at some of the icons of our game and hear from some of the players about the influence such role models have had upon them.

Australian Jodie Kenny is fast becoming a Hockeyroo legend in her own right, and it is not difficult to see why the defender and drag-flick specialist counts Angie Lambert (Skirving) as her role model. A member of the so-called golden generation that won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Angie Lambert played for the Hockeyroos 229 times and is feted as one of the best defenders to have pulled on the gold and green kit. Jodie says: “She was a tall, strong defender who was a great player and drag flicker. Basically I wanted to emulate the way she played and I also respected how wonderful she was off the field.”

Meanwhile, Belgium international indoor hockey player and FIH international umpire Laurine Delforge seeks inspiration from a number of sources. Five times player of the year in Belgium, Sofie Gierts, is a constant source of inspiration and pillar of support to the up and coming umpire. Laurine says: “Sofie is so determined. She knows what she wants and she goes and gets it. But as an attacking player myself, I also really like watching Great Britain and England striker Alex Danson. I would love to have her skills.”

When it comes to umpiring, Laurine’s admiration turns to South African Marelize De Klerk. Of the veteran international umpire – who was the first female umpire to reach 200 senior internationals – she says: “You can only have respect for someone who had such a long and successful umpiring career; besides which, she has given me much precious advice on my career path.”

Team USA hot-shot Kat Sharkey paid her own tribute to the players who had gone before her. “My inspiration and role models are the members of the United States women's national field hockey team who have come before me. Their tenacity, dedication, and hard work paved the way for the modern era of field hockey in the US. They worked hard to create a name for women's field hockey in the US where the sport is not as popular as it is in other countries. I think that without their selfless commitment to this sport, our program would not be where it is today.”

There is no doubt that inspirational role models are essential to the future and development of our sport. The young people in the stands at international hockey matches marvel at these elite athletes and want to emulate their speed, skill and power. It is only by showcasing these great talents that hockey will continue to attract the best young sports players.

Nagai Hazuki, one of the stars of the Japanese Cherry Blossoms, sums up her source of inspiration. Her twitter home page reads: “I want to be a Luciana Aymar.” Many thousands of young aspiring hockey players agree with you Nagai!

FIH site

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