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News for 09 May 2015

All the news for Saturday 9 May 2015

India look for a clean-sweep

s2h team

Bhubaneswar: A positive and improved Indian side will take on neighbours Japan in the fourth & last test of the series today at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubneswar. The home side has already seized the series 2-0 after beating visitors 2-1 on Friday. Indians would be looking to sustain the same momentum which they left in the last game going in with short-passes and attacking mind-set. Whereas Japan will be working harder on their finishing and materialising the opportunities in goals.

After playing three matches and getting positive results from all three matches, India is in a better position and are more confident to win the last match of the series. Senior player such as Captain Sardar Singh, VR Raghunath, Birendra Lakra and Rupinder Pal Singh are leading from the front to implement strategies on the field. They have successfully set-up the game and even managing the younger players to play according to the strategies chalked out. Alongwith the presence of senior players, young players such as Manpreet Singh, Satbir Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and Lalit Upadhyay are playing above their level and displaying their best hockey in front of the cheering crowd.

Speaking after the Practice Session, India player VR Raghunath said: “We have been playing good hockey in this tournament and will continue to play in this way. Players are confident and in a good shape. Young players are doing a commendable job and they are taking responsibilities, which is good for the team. Penalty corner is a worry for us but we are working harder on that. Chief Coach Paul vas Ass is good in strategies and we are working on various game-plans. We are focussing on our implementations of the strategies and looking forward to win the last match.”

Speaking at the Practice Session at Kalinga Stadium, Japan Coach Keonwook Kang stated: “We are playing good enough in the last few matches. Players are committing mistakes, which cost us the match. We are working harder on rectifying the mistakes and focussing more on strategies. Tomorrow, we will play harder to win the last match of the series.”

The 4th match of the four-match Test Series will be held on 9th May 2015 at 07.00 pm at Kalinga Stadium, which will be telecasted LIVE on DD Sports.


India seek dominance over Japan in hockey Test series

BHUBANESWAR: With the four-Test hockey Series already in pocket, India will be eyeing their third consecutive win against Japan in their fourth and final match at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday.

After playing a 1-1 draw in the first match, India won the next two matches to win the series. And for the final Test, they will be aiming at continuing with their attacking game with short passes whereas Japan will look to get their first win.

After playing three matches and getting positive results from all three matches, India are in a better position and are more confident to win the last Test of the series.

"We have been playing good hockey in this tournament and will continue to play in this way. Players are confident and in a good shape," senior defender Raghunath said on Friday, according to a release.

"Young players are doing a commendable job and they are taking responsibilities, which is good for the team," the 26-year-old Karnataka player added.

"We are focussing on our implementations of the strategies and looking forward to win the last match."

Senior players like captain Sardar Singh, goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh and drag-flicker V.R. Raghunath are leading from the front. They have been backed well by youngsters Birendra Lakra, Rupinder Pal Singh and Akashdeep Singh.

Besides senior players, young players such as Manpreet Singh, Satbir Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and Lalit Upadhyay are also producing good results and will look to be consistent.

Raghunath feels that the team needs to work harder to improve the penalty corner conversion rate.

"Penalty corner is a worry for us but we are working harder on that. Chief coach Paul van Ass is good in strategies and we are working on various game-plans."

Speaking after a practice session, Japan coach Keonwook Kang stated: "We are playing good enough in the last few matches. Players are committing mistakes, which cost us the match.

"We are working harder on correcting the mistakes and focussing more on strategies. Tomorrow, we will play harder to win the last match of the series."

The Times of India

HI recommends Sardar Singh for Khel Ratna Award

New Delhi: Hockey India today recommended players for this year’s Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratan Award and Arjuna Award 2015. Sardar Singh has been recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratan Awards. For the Arjuna Awards Hockey India has recommended Danish Mujtaba, Dharamvir Singh, VR Raghunath, P R Sreejesh, and SV Sunil while in the women category the recommendation has gone for Asunta Lakra, Deepika, Rani, Ritu Rani, Sushila Chanu and Vandana Katariya.

Speaking on the recommendations, Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, Secretary General, Hockey India said, “The players that we have recommended for the Awards have proved themselves on the field through their play and through their representation in the National Teams have made India proud. They have won India accolades on the International platform and I am confident that India will stand up and give them their due credit by bestowing them with the awards that they so rightly deserve. Being bestowed with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratan or an Arjun Award is each players dream and they all work extremely hard for this national recognition.”

Sardar Singh as the Captain of the Indian Men Hockey Team has lead the Indian team from the front and taken the Indian team to many successes on the International platform. He has to his credit in the last 12 months of winning the Gold Medal at the Asian Games last year and a direct qualification for the Team for the 2016 Olympic Games, in the same year the Indian Men Hockey Team won the Silver Medal at the Commonwealth Games. This has all been followed by the recent third position that the team attained during the 24th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in April.

Sardar Singh was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2012.

VR Raghunath and Dharamvir Singh have both been an asset to the team and were part of the Asian Games winning Gold team alongwith the Silver at the Commonwealth Games and the third position at 24th Azlan Shah Cup this year. VR Raghunath, the solid defender and the centre of the Indian team defence is well known for his powerful drag flicks. Dharamvir in the midfield position is a pillar of strength to the Indian defenders and provides the forward line with opportunities with his professional skills.

PR Sreejesh, debuted in 2004 and considered India’s Best Goalkeeper and acknowledged on the International arena is known for the huge saves for India and which helped India win important tournaments. No one can forget his saves during the Asian Games 2014 which helped India secure the Gold medal finish.

SV Sunil known in known for his speed and grit keep the opponents on their toes when he tears through the field with the ball and was also a part of the successful Gold winning team of the 17th Asian Games.

Danish Mujtaba has played over 130 international caps and has been instrumental in the forward line of the Indian Men Team. Danish was also a part of the winning squad at the 2014 Asian Games at Incheon where the team won gold medal and also XX Commonwealth Games where the team won Silver medal.

Deepika an important player of the women team has been part of major tournaments since her debut and has since won various accolades where she performed to help her team won podium positions. She was part of Test Match Series team against Spain at Valencia this year and played an important role in the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 in Delhi in March.

Ritu Rani is another talented women’s hockey player to emerge from the Shahbad stable, Haryana. From scoring goals for her side from the upfront to controlling midfield, she does it all with sheer perfection alongwith leading the team with elan. Ritu Rani has been captaining the Indian women hockey team and has spearheaded her team to win many international tournaments. Ever since 2009 she has been ensuring lead position for Team India in events held at The Netherlands, Thailand, Malaysia, New Zealand to name a few. Under her tenure, the team won four nation tournament at Germany, Junior Women Asia Cup, Bangkok and the FIH World League Round 2 held at New Delhi recently.

Asunta Lakra another player who the hockey fraternity remembers for her gutsy play on the field of hockey. Asunta also debuted in 2009 and has been with the team during series in Australia, China, Argentina, New Zealand and was part of the silver winning team during the FIH Olympic Qualifying tournament in 2012.

Known for her agility on the field Vandana Katariya has added the much required depth in the line-up since she has started playing for India. She played a big role in the India win during the World League Round 2 held in Delhi this year. Vandana Katariya was recently awarded the Hockey India Women Player of the Year 2014.

Sushila Chanu another important player in the women’s team that continues to creates many winning opportunities for the team. Sushila was a part of the 17th Asian Games squad where the team won the Bronze alongwith the tournament win in the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 in Delhi.

Rani who recently was adjudged the Player of the Year in the Times of India Awards 2015 has been the backbone of the team since she made it to the Indian team. Rani has won many accolades in her individual capacity for her consistent performance in Indian Women Hockey Team including being awarded the Junior Player of the Tournament at the 2013 FIH Junior Women World Cup.


Sardar Singh recommended for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award

NEW DELHI: Indian men's hockey team captain Sardar Singh has been recommended for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award while 11 other names, including six women, have been put forward by Hockey India for the Arjuna award.

Sardar has led the Indian team to many successes in the international arena in the last 12 months, including the gold medal at the Asian Games last year and a direct qualification for 2016 Rio Olympic Games, besides a silver in 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Under his captaincy, India also finished third in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup last month.

Sardar has already been conferred with the Arjuna award in 2012.

For the Arjuna awards, HI has recommended Danish Mujtaba, Dharamvir Singh, V R Raghunath, P R Sreejesh and S V Sunil among men, while Asunta Lakra, Deepika, Rani, Ritu Rani, Sushila Chanu and Vandana Katariya got the nod among women.

"The players who we have recommended for the awards have proved themselves on the field through their play and their representation in the national teams have made India proud. They have won India accolades on the international platform and I am confident that India will stand up and give them their due credit by bestowing them with the awards that they so rightly deserve," HI Secretary General Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad said.

"Being bestowed with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna or an Arjun award is each player's dream and they all work extremely hard for this national recognition," he added.

The Times of India

Kovsies knock over Tuks

UFS-Kovsies are one step closer to finishing top of this year’s Varsity Hockey standings after managing to overcome UP-Tuks 2-1 in a top of the table clash in Round Five at UJ.

The Bloem side took advantage of a second chukka powerplay to double their score and it proved valuable in holding off UP-Tuks who got a goal back towards the end of the game. Kovsies are now two points clear at the top of the standings.

Maties will hold the bragging rights in the Cape after the beat UCT 1-0 in a nail-biting finish in the day’s second match. There was nothing to choose between the teams for almost the entire match, however the Stellenbosch side managed a late winner in the final minute of play to take the win.

Wits made good use of their home ground advantage when they bagged their second win in the tournament. Goals in the first and the fourth chukkas were enough for the Joburg side to beat NWU-Pukke 3-2 after a late revival by the Potch team in the final 15 minutes.

UJ got their third win of the tournament after they beat NMMU 2-1 with a last quarter goal in a hard-fought encounter. It was also NMMU’s third loss in this year’s campaign.

Wits 3-2 NWU-Pukke

Wits took advantage of the support and opened the scoring almost halfway through the first chukka as they aimed to carry their momentum from their win against UCT in the fourth round. The home side then added a second just before the quarter ended to take a 2-0 lead in to the second chukka.

NWU-Pukke managed to halt Wits’ scoring form in the second chukka, but at the same time could not get a goal back themselves to get back into the game. At half-time Wits held onto their comfortable lead going into the final two quarters.

The third chukka continued where the second left off with no signs of anyone adding to the scoreboard, although there was a lot of intensity by both teams. The scoreless quarter meant that NWU-Pukke had to go into the final 15 minutes with it all to do if they wanted to get in the match.

That is exactly what happened as the Potch team opened the scoring early in the fourth chukka to reduce the deficit to just one goal with the score at 2-1. Their comeback was halted when Wits added a third to restore the two goal buffer before NWU-Pukke once again hit back with a goal of their own to set-up a tense finish to the game. Wits eventually closed out the game for the win.

Mugg & Bean Star Player of the Match: Celia Evans (NWU-Pukke)
Jet Striker of the Match: Amber Dry (Wits)
FNB Player of the Match: Toni Marks (Wits)

Maties 1-0 UCT

It was a derby in the truest sense in the opening quarter with both teams struggling to find a way past their opponent’s defence to claim the lead. The first chukka ended goalless with UCT probably the more happier of the two teams at this stage of the game.

There was a brief onslaught onto the UCT goal in the second chukka, but Maties were left frustrated that they could not finish any of their chances with their opponent’s defence standing firm. At half-time it was all square at 0-0.

There was nothing new in the opening stages of the third chukka as both teams continued to size each other up for potential weaknesses on defence. No one wanted to be the first to concede a goal in such a late stage of the match and the score remained the same going into the fourth and final chukka.

With the final 15 minutes left to play the game reached a point where a single goal would probably be enough to clinch victory and that turned out to be the case with Maties snatching a late goal to win the tie and leave UCT with only a solitary bonus point for all their defensive work during the game.

Mugg & Bean Star Player of the Match: Taylor Karstens (NWU-Pukke)
Jet Striker of the Match: Kirsten Seale (UCT)
FNB Player of the Match: Erin Hunter (Maties)

Kovsies 2-1 UP-Tuks

The first chukka came and went with no one opening the deadlock in the 15 minutes with the top of the table being the prize for the victors in this mouth-watering encounter.

The game then burst into life in the second chukka when Kovsies took a 2-0 lead after taking advantage of a powerplay in the opening four minutes of the quarter. The Bloem side scored a goal in the third minute, which meant they doubled their tally with the rule. There was no addition to the score for the rest of the chukka and the score remained the same until the half-time break.

Kovsies only conceded two goals whole tournament and their defence was once again a key component in their performance as they continued to keep the log leaders at bay during third chukka. Kovsies could not score themselves during this period, which would have taken the game away from UP-Tuks, but they still had a handy two-goal buffer going into the last 15 minutes.

Up-Tuks entered the fourth quarter with something to prove and did just that as they got a goal back early in the first few minutes to reduce the margin to just one. It made for an exciting finish to the game with Kovsies holding onto their slender lead to the end for what should be a confidence boosting win for them ahead of the play-offs.


UJ started like a house on fire in the opening chukka with four short corners in the first five minutes. Their attacking play eventually paid-off when they scored their first goal in the seventh minute. It would turn out to be the only score for the quarter.

NMMU then caught UJ off guard with an equaliser deep into the second chukka after no one took advantage of the powerplay in the opening four minutes. Both teams were unable to construct another goal before the half-time break with the game evenly poised at 1-1.

The third chukka would have been the perfect stage of the match for one of the sides to take control with goal, but both NMMU and UJ failed to take the initiative as once again a match in this tournament entered the final chukka in the balance.

Both teams increased the pace in the fourth chukka and it was UJ who scored the breakthrough goal with just six minutes left on the clock to take the lead. The goal proved decisive in the end as UJ were the victors when the full-time hooter sounded.

Varsity Sports media release

All is not lost for Pukke

By Bertie Jacobs

NWU-Pukke may have lost all their matches in the opening weekend of Varsity Hockey in Potchefstroom but all is not lost.

This is the reassurance of their coach Elun Hack after the first round which saw them lose by a single goal against UFS-Kovsies, UJ, UP-Tuks and Maties respectively.

“I think the girls played well in all four games, although there were a few key elements where we let ourselves down. We managed to build sufficient pressure, but failed to score goals when it was needed.

“It was frustrating not to get a win out of the weekend. We were one of the sides who played the most consistent hockey even if the results don’t show it,” Hack said.

Wits will be hosting the second leg of the tournament with Pukke facing the hosts on Friday, followed by UCT and NMMU. Thereafter position five on the log will square off against position eight, while positions six take on position seven. Pukke are currently placed seventh.

“Every game is going to be massively important and each one is going to pose a unique challenge. The girls will need to keep their composure, they will have to be patient, they will need to be focused and disciplined. As we saw this past weekend, early goals are going to be crucial and it will be imperative that we try and play at the highest possible tempo,” he added.

It is a task they are not taking lightly.

“We are going to put a lot of work into our goal scoring. We have to, our backs are against the wall. There is still a mathematical chance of making the semifinals and in order to do so we need three bonus points wins. It’s non-negotiable. If we don’t succeed in doing that, we are gone,” he stated.

He is also adamant that he and his team owes a debt to those who chanted and cheered them on.

“The team would like to thank everyone who attended the games for their support. We were as frustrated as they were by not winning a game, but we will rectify that. It is not over for us.

“We have a few tough training sessions this week before we go to Johannesburg. We have a job to do, we have another bite of the cherry and we won’t let our supporters down,” he said.

Varsity Sports media release

Auckland Women and Capital Men win NZ U21 Nationals

Credit: Masanori Udagawa

Auckland Women and Capital Men are the 2015 National Under-21 Champions after playing in their respective finals in Wellington today.

In the women's final, Auckland defeated North Harbour 1-0 with Nicola McDonnell converting a penalty corner late in the game to secure the victory.

It was nail-biting viewing in the men's Auckland vs Capital final later in the day, drawn 1-1 at full time, Capital edged to a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory.

The scoring came late in the game with Capital's Matt Brougham knocking one home in the 63rd minute only for Jonty Keaney to equalise five minutes later.

Midlands Women take home the bronze medal after a 5-3 win against Central. In the men's bronze medal game, North Harbour edged the New Zealand Barbarians 6-5 in a penalty shoot-out after it was drawn 3-3 at full time.

Full daily summary to follow, but in the meantime click here for all tournament results from the week's play - http://bit.ly/1zSp9C1

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Successful Weekend for Two Men’s JHP Teams

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The U.S. Men’s Junior High Performance program had a successful weekend as the East Coast team (ECHP) hosted the Ventura County team (VCRD) for a series at The Training Center in Spring City, Pa.

For most of the VCRD team, this was their first trip away from home which made for an exciting and memorable experience. Taking a redeye to the East Coast, the team landed on Friday, May 1 and rested in the hotel a little before the first game against ECHP. The series started with a full 11v11 match.

“Both teams were excited to play and I thought the match was a very even contest,” said Ben Maruquin, VCRD Head Coach. “Both teams had dinner together and caught up with everyone before heading back to the hotel.”

On Saturday, both Junior High Performance Teams competed in small sided games in the morning followed by another full 11v11 match in the afternoon.

“In these matches you could plainly see that the ECHP group had improved dramatically and that they are the team to beat at the Cal Cup,” added Maruquin. “Very strong performances by both age groups from ECHP.”

The series finished on Sunday, as the Junior High Performance Teams played six 12-minute periods.

“For the ECHP, this was an especially great weekend since it was the first time that we were able to play a high performance test series at what we can our  home field at the WC Eagles facility in Pennsylvania,” said Rutger Wiese, ECHP Head Coach. “In my opinion, the games were even throughout the weekend with a few standout players.”

The weekend was a critical learning and growing period. The three game test series had shining moments where players learned valuable experience and hockey growth all the while preparing for the Cal Cup.

“It is critical to the growth of our sport for boys that our regions continue to develop their respective programs,” said Chris Clements, U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach. “Both Ben and Rutger play a critical role in their regions. This dedication is allowing their programs to grow and compliment the national program and for that, the boys and I are extremely grateful.”

The next selection opportunity for the Junior High Performance program is at the California Cup being held May 21-25, 2015 in Moorpark, Calif. For more information on this tournament, click here, or for information regarding regional opportunities, click here.

USFHA media release

Hope and glory?

Florencia Norbis (Uruguay) and Stephane Vehrle-Smith (Brazil)

Sarah Juggins, for PAHF

Stephane Vehrle-Smith (Brazil) and Florencia Norbis (Uruguay)   

Florencia Norbis and Stephane Vehrle-Smith are two players who will go to the Pan American Games with high hopes. Florencia is a speedy goal machine who plays for high-flying Uruguay while Stephane plies his hockey trade in England, but has the spirit of Brazil running through his heart and soul.

Both Florencia and Stephane currently play for European sides – Florencia in Spain and Stephane in England – but in July they will be integral parts of their national sides in the Pan American Games. For Florencia, this will be another shot at Olympic qualification. Uruguay has already conquered many teams with a higher world ranking to qualify for the Hockey World League Semi Finals, which are an Olympic qualifier in their own right. The Pan Am Games will give the rapidly improving squad another shot at Olympic glory.

For Stephane and Brazil the path to the Olympics simply comes down to where his side finish in the Pan Am Games. Under the International Hockey Federation and International Olympic Committee ruling, Brazil must finish in sixth place or higher at the Pan Am Games to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

The past few months have been an amazing period of progression for Uruguay and 23-year-old Florencia. In February, in front of a home crowd in Montevideo, Uruguay sealed their place in the Hockey World League Semi Finals, which will take place in Valencia, Spain, in June. They came second in the Round Two competition, just losing out to Italy in the final, but the performance was enough to see the team qualify for the next stage. And for Florencia, who bases her play on the attacking style of Luciana Aymar and Dutch star Eva de Goede, this was the moment for her to take centre stage, as she scored four goals in the competition to finish the sixth highest goal scorer overall.

Florencia plays her club hockey at the Sevilla-España Universidad in Spain and, as she explains, much of her training with the national team takes place in intensive blocks over a short period of time. In May she will be returning to Uruguay where the team will train for up to six hours every day for a fortnight. “This is how we are achieving the great results at the moment. Everyone, the coach and all the players, are just training so hard.”

She also puts the team’s success down to the physicality of the Uruguay team. “We are a young team, but we are very physical, which is a positive point in our team’s favor. However, we need to keep improving our technical side. We play a lot on sand pitches, which slows down our progress in that area. In preparation for the HWL and the Pan Am Games we will continue to work on our physical fitness and the technical side of the game.”

Speaking about her own game, Florenica says: “I know I am quick and strong, which is good for a forward, but I need to work on beating players on the reverse stick and my drag flick needs work also. But I do a very good goal celebration!”

When it comes to the tournament in Toronto, Florencia has no doubts who the favorites will be, but there is an air of defiance as she says: “Argentina and the USA are both very strong and superior to us in many ways but we see Canada and Chile as our direct competition. We know we are in great form right now and our confidence is high. We know we will have a great tournament.” And she adds, “We are always learning from the higher ranked teams that we play, but who knows, maybe some of these teams will learn something from Uruguay… the power of the Uruguay claw!”

Stephane Vehrle-Smith’s aim in hockey is simple. He wants to help Brazil qualify for the 2016 Olympics and help hockey to become the team sport that challenges football’s popularity in the South American country. “I believe in my team and that we can achieve something very special together. Nothing is easy but I'm very excited for the Pan Am Games and what a good performance there can lead to.”

Stephane was adopted as a six-month old baby, and was brought up in England. He started playing hockey at the age of six and now plays for Holcombe, one of the most progressive teams in the English Men’s National League. He studied at Oxford Brookes University but, since graduation, he has dedicated himself to hockey. Stephane, who is a full-time hockey player, says: ‘I finished studying in 2010 and since then I decided to give everything to hockey, hoping I could become a full time athlete and I achieved that. Combining training with Brazil and my club, Holcombe, can be stressful and tiring but it's managed by me and the people around me so I can be a part of both teams as much as I can. So I have my coaches to thank for that. It seems to be working out fine so far and I hope it continues so I can keep living my dream

Stephane has been part of the Brazil national senior side since 2012. He played his first tournament in the 2013 South American Championship where Brazil won bronze – this is the first major hockey medal that Brazil has ever won.

So how does the European style of hockey that Stephane has been brought up playing compare to the Brazilian style? “They're very different,” says Stephane, “Although, as a national team, we are aware that the leading countries in hockey are from Europe, so our style is becoming more European. The big difference for me is just the lack of experience within the squad in general towards phases of the game. Recognizing when to make certain plays. Hockey in Brazil is relatively new in comparison to a lot of other countries, so the experience isn't at the same level and that experience comes with time.”

But Stephane believes that Brazil has one very important strength when it comes to hockey and he says this will stand them in good stead as they chase Olympic qualification. “We have passion. The passion to always want to improve. Some South American teams accept their world ranking position but the Brazilian players watch, play and train as much as they can because they want to play at a higher level. That's a great trait to carry in my opinion.”

Pan American Hockey federation media release

Jarkhar hockey meet begins tomorrow

Payal Dhawan

LUDHIANA: This unique hockey festival brings together veterans as well as young talents on the same platform. Starting in 2010, hockey enthusiasts have witnessed the elders and the youngsters matching their playing skills on the field for the Olympian Prithipal Singh Hockey Festival at the Jarkhar Hockey Stadium in Jarkhar village of Ludhiana district every year. The sixth edition of the festival this year will commence on Sunday, with players as young as 14, and as old as 59 giving out their best on the field. Hockey lovers could not have asked for more.

Jagroop Jarkhar, patron of the Jarkhar Stadium, said: "The motive to start senior games was to promote hockey, and inspire several young players. The idea was to make both young and senior players play together. Every day, at least two matches will be organized, one of the junior section and another of the senior group. Thus, both the groups will get to see each other's matches. Moreover, interaction sessions of senior players are also organized for the grooming of young players."

In this festival, former Olympians Hardeep Singh, Sanjeev Kumar, and Baljeet Singh will be playing respectively for Ludhiana and Jalandhar teams. Hardeep Singh (55), who has played in the 1984 Olympics, 1986 World Cup, 1986 Asian Games, and 1999 World Cup, will be playing for the Ludhiana Warriors team. Talking to ToI, he said: "Hockey is our national game, and more youngsters should join it. As far as the concept of playing senior and junior players is concerned, I feel such games should be organized at the national level too, so that young players can learn from senior ones."

Fiftynine-year-old CS Saggu, forward player of the Mohali team, is the eldest player going to take part in the hockey festival at Jarkhar. Talking to ToI, Saggu said: "Our team is participating in the Jarkhar Hockey Festival for the first time. When we were told about the concept of playing the youngest and the eldest players, we could not stop ourselves. If we can inspire young players, it will be our pleasure." Saggu plays for the Department of Space. Last year, the eldest player was 57-year-old Paramjit Singh from Ludhiana Warriors team. This time, he won't be able to play due to some health issues.


1. As many as eight senior and six junior teams across the state will participate.

2. Players as young as 14 and as old as 59 will be playing under their respective categories.

3. Several national and former Olympian players will also be participating in the hockey festival.

The Times of India

Pakistan hockey likely to get funds for Olympic qualifiers in Belgium

LAHORE: The cash-strapped Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is likely to get funds for the Olympic qualifiers to be held in Belgium next month. The Ministry of Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) have decided to provide funds to the national sport’s governing body for the upcoming tours of Belgium as well as South Korea. The decision to this effect was taken at the 80th meeting of the PSB executive committee which was attended among others by Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) president Lt Gen (r) Syed Arif Hasan, IPC secretary Ejaz Chaudhary, PSB directory general technical Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, and PHF secretary general Rana Mujahid Ali in Islamabad on Thursday. IPC Minister Riaz Hussain Prizada told reporters after presiding over the executive committee meeting that the meeting unanimously agreed that the PHF should be provided with funds in order to help it send the national team to South Korea and Belgium for playing Olympic qualifying round.

“Actually, we have asked the PHF to send their proposal and after getting it I would take up the matter with the government for releasing immediate funds for the national team,” said the IPC minister who, however, didn’t clarify as to how much fund the government will release for the cash-strapped PHF. The minister said that the Pakistan Olympian Association (POA) would also help the PHF in connection with the expenses to be incurred on the upcoming important tours. Mujahid requested the IPC minister during the meeting to ask the government for at least Rs.35 million for the Europe tour. “If we are not provided with the required funds we won’t be able to participate in the qualifying rounds for the upcoming Olympics,” Mujahid said. The PHF secretary, however, expressed satisfaction with the IPC minister’s assurance.

The IPC minister said that the executive committee also approved Rs.one million for tennis player Sara Mahboob and Rs.500,000 for the Pakistan Tennis Federation in connection with the upcoming Davis Cup. Although the former national ladies champion Sara succeeded in getting Rs.one million from the government, she did not represent Pakistan in the Fed Cup despite the fact that she promised to be available for the event. On the other hand, star squash player Aamir Atlas Khan, who was promised a plot by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, is still waiting for his turn.

Commenting on these two issues, the IPC minister said that the PSB would give Rs.one million to Sara but she would also be asked to submit a surety bound guaranteeing that she would represent Pakistan whenever she would be asked to represent the country. Talking about the promised plot for the squash player Aamir, the minister stated that Aamir would also be given a plot soon. The PSB executive committee also approved new cash award policy besides approving summary of several contractual employees for making their jobs permanent.

The Daily Times

The George vs Azmi match

by Jugjet Singh

THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) has never seen such an intense campaigning in their half a century history, as candidates start making their final calls and rounds for the May 13 elections.

While the president, Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal won unopposed when nominations closed on April 28, the deputy president's posts are being contested by heavyweights in their own rights.

In the men's deputy president battle it will be a straight-fight between former Kuala Lumpur HA president George Koshy and incumbent vice-president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad.

The women's deputy president post will also see a straight battle between incumbent vice-president's S. Shamala and K. Maheswari.

George, who has also held the post of senior team manager for a decade, said he hopes to see changes this time around, as in the past, most pre-election ideas fizzled out after the hype and fanfare of canvassing for votes.

"In my mind it isn’t a battle between Datuk Azmi and I. It’s more akin to who is the right person to initiate and implement the much needed changes MHC requires.

"This isn’t a popularity contest, about any individual or state, it is about Malaysian hockey, which is the only world recognised team sport which is doing relatively well in the country," said George.

He feels the new team will have to make hard decisions, tough calls and drastic changes to the leadership, infrastructure, financial position cum sponsorship structure.

"There is so much to be done, even in competitions format, the national team and age group programs, players welfare and imaging. Ultimately it comes to re-branding MHC to be current, relevant and in line with the changes taking place globally," said Koshy.

Going by Koshy's manifesto, MHC needs a total overhaul, so states must cast their votes for the best among the two who they feel can make it happen.

As for Azmi, he also has many plans and has been busy on a blazing campaign trail.

"As a senior vice-president for many years, I have helped many states as well as individuals who needed help to develop hockey. Everybody in MHC is family and there are no enemies. George and I have also worked together on many occasions, but unfortunately the delegates can only choose one," said Azmi.

Azmi also feels the MHC needs an overhaul from top to bottom: "Before this only the president (Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah) used to bring in the money but now, MHC needs a strong team to not only bring in the money, but also plan and execute sound development plans.

"For example, I personally feel that the 1Mas Programme is heading nowhere and and needs urgent attention. The programme is supposed to unearth new talent and not nurture those who are already in hockey playing schools as well as belong to clubs.

"1Mas should be training at least 1,000 new kids every year, but their focus is more on developing players who had already been identified by hockey schools or states. This is not what 1Mas was set up for, and I feel it needs urgent revamp," was one of Azmi's election clarion call.

The stage is set, and the ceramah's albeit among small target group, has come out with many plans to help MHC and hockey grow stronger at the world stage.

The delegates have less than a week to make their mind, before going to the ballot on May 13.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Datuk Rahim bows out

by Jugjet Singh

DATUK Rahim Ariff, Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) vice-president for the last 10 years, has thrown in the towel three days before the election bailout date.

When nominations closed on April 28, Rahim received the higest for vice president with nine states naming him.

The exit date for candidates is May 9, while elections will be on May 13.

"We received a letter from Datuk Rahim today (yesterday) stating that he does not want to stand for elections as he feels he has served enough for the last 10 years," said MHC Competition Committee secretary Hashim Yusoff, who is in charge of accepting nominations.

Seven men and three women were nominated for the veep position which requires a minimum of two women and five men to be elected. However, if the third placed woman received higher votes than that of the fifth placed man, she would also be eligible to become a vice-president and the numbers will be three and four.

With six men standing, and two more days to withdraw, at least one more candidate is contemplating throwing in the towel.

The six remaining men are incumbent Manjit Majid Abdullah (eight nominations), Penang HA president Datuk Ow Soon Kooi (seven), MHC treasurer Datuk N. Radhakrishnan (nine), Kedah HA president Sathis Kumar (seven), A. Vijayshankar (one) and Datuk Wan Ahmad Nizam (six).

The women's vice-presidents, minimum two posts, will see a three-cornered fight among Juriah Abdul Wahab (three), Nik Zarah Kadir (four) and S. Nagula (Four).

As for the two deputy president's positions, it would be straight fights between George Koshy and Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad; and S. Shamala and K. Maheswari.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Long-serving veep not contesting in MHC elections

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: Long-serving Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) vice-president Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohd Ariff has decided to withdraw from the race at the May 13 Congress.

Although the closing date for withdrawals is on Saturday, Rahim has already submitted his letter to the MHC informing them of his decision.

With his withdrawal, nine candidates will now vie for the seven vice-presidents’ posts, with two reserved for women.

The men are incumbent Manjit Majid Abdullah, Datuk Radhakrishnan Nair, S. Satish Kumar, Datuk Wan Ahmad Nizam, Datuk Ow Soon Kooi and A. Vijayashankar.

The three women candidates are Juriah Abdul Wahab Fenner, Nik Zarah Nik Abdul Kadir and S. Nagula.

Selangor HA’s Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal has been elected unopposed for the president’s post.

The two deputy presidents’ posts (men and women) will see a straight fight between incumbent vice-president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad and former treasurer George Koshy and Prof S. Shamala and K. Maheswari.

Another long-serving MHC official, Puan Sri Noora Ashikin Raja Abdullah, will also be bowing out of the hockey scene after heading the women’s wing for almost two decades.

The incumbent deputy president had decided not to stand for election.

The post of secretary general has been abolished and the MHC are expected to appoint a chief executive officer to run the administration. The treasurer will also be appointed by the president.

The Star of Malaysia

Sarawak poser

by Jugjet Singh

MORE administrative worms crawled out of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) affiliates as their May 13 election fever reaches a burning point.

This time, it was Sarawak HA's turn to fail miserably in merging the men and women's section and Sports Commissioner Datuk Zaitun Othman has caught them by their scrotum.

"Sarawak have yet to merge their men and women's section as well as register with the Sports Commissioner's office. However, they still have time to rectify the situation by submitting the relevant paperwork before May 13 to be eligible to vote," said Zaiton.

Zaiton said she only needed a minute to approve their paper work, if its in order.

A merger between the men and women has long been championed by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) but MHC affiliates have been slow as snails to get this administrative side in order.

"Sarawak can still vote in the May 13 elections, provided they give me the completed paperwork. I would only need a minute to make them legal voters when everything is provided," said Zaitun.

The worrying factor is that Sarawak HA have been actively involved in the MHC matters for the last three years even though they have yet to register with the Sports Commissioner's office.

The Sports Development act 1997 came to force in East Malaysia in 2012, but Sarawak have yet to comply with its requirements.

Sarawak were also involved in nomination candidates for the MHC elections.

"If they submit the papers, they can vote, if not it is better Sarawak HA stay away from the MHC Annual General Meeting (AGM)," said an MHC official who declined to be named.

The other worm came out from Perlis' can, as they have yet to submit annual reports since 2012.

"The Sports Commissioner's office has sent a warning letter to Perlis on as they have yet to submit their annual reports to us. But Perlis can still vote in the AGM as we have only warned them to comply," clarified Zaitun.

The odd matter was that while Sawarak, still registered with the Registrar of Societies, sent in nominations for the election, Perlis did not nominate anybody as they feared being branded as an illegal body.

Sarawak HA secretary William Lee could not be contacted for comments.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

PAHF announces sponsorship agreement with Resinsa-Polytan “Official Turf Provider of the PAHF”

The PAHF is proud to announce that it has signed a four-year agreement with Resinsa-Polytan, which is now the exclusive “Official Turf Provider of the PAHF”. The objective of the partnership is to promote and make available the expertise of Resinsa-Polytan, in order to support plans to build or renew hockey pitches in Americas. The sponsorship includes branding opportunities on Events for which PAHF holds the rights, and promoting at the PAHF communications channels.

The PAHF Honorary Secretary General, Mr. Aaron Sher, said: “We are delighted to welcome Resinsa-Polytan as PAHF’s sponsor. The PAHF wants to assist National Associations in their development plans – including planning and construction of facilities. For this purpose, the deal with Resinsa-Polytan will provide good opportunities for both organizations as well as for the National Associations.”

Resinsa-Polytan CEO for Latin America, Mr. Rodolfo Schmidt, considers “a pleasure to work with PAHF for the noble cause of promoting and developing field hockey in the American continent”. The company has a long history of supporting different sports: “All efforts will be made to achieve the goals of improving the structures of the current hockey pitches and also install new hockey facilities, wherever it is required.” - said Mr. Markus Deimling, Polytan CEO.

PAHF President, Coco Budeisky, looks ahead and points out that ”the PAHF is very actively supporting projects and plans from many National Associations and the partnership will be an important tool to maximize opportunities and effectively deliver quality facilities. This can be very fruitful in the near future.”

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

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