All the news for Tuesday 26 May 2015
Ritu to lead India at Belgium Semifinals
New Delhi: Experienced forward Ritu Rani will lead Indian challenge at the Belgium Hockey World League Semifinals, in what can be categorized as the biggest ever challenge for the up and coming Indian team, which has also got a new coach recently.
Training under the new Chief Coach Mathias Ahrens, the team is aiming to finish in the top four and qualify for the FIH Hockey World League Final Round and also secure a place in the 2016 Olympic Games.
Speaking on the team line-up, Captain, Ritu Rani said, “The team is in very good shape and the ongoing preparation camp is helping us to improve our game. With our recent performance in the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 in New Delhi and the Hawke’s Bay Cup 2015 in New Zealand, we have seen improvement in our game and we have successfully rectifying the mistakes we committed in our previous tournaments. New Chief Coach is working well with us and we are learning new strategies under his coaching. The atmosphere is very positive and we are confident to take on our opponents in the FIH HWL Semi-Final.”
Chief Coach Mathias Ahrens stated, “The team is doing very well and improving perfectively. We have pointed out mistakes and loopholes in the previous matches and we are positively working on those issues. The players are keen learners and work really hard, which is a very good thing for the team. We know the fact that we will face top-ranked team in the tournament but we are not in pressure. We will just focus on our strategies and play our best game. I am sure that we will see a good competition in FIH Hockey World League Semi-Final.”
The FIH Hockey World League Semi-Final will be played from 20 June to 04 July 2015 and ten teams will be seen fighting it out for the title. India will play their first match against Belgium at 07.30 PM IST on 20 June 2015.
India plays first match on the opening day, 20 June 2015 against the host nation Belgium.
Team: GOALKEEPERS 1. Savita 2. Rajini Etimarpu DEFENDERS 3. Deep Grace Ekka 4. Deepika 5. Sunita Lakra 6. Namita Toppo 7. Sushila Chanu MIDFIELDERS 8. Ritu Rani 9. Lilima Minz 10. Lily Chanu 11. Navjot Kaur 12. Monika 13. Renuka Yadav FORWARDS 14. Rani 15. Poonam Rani 16. Vandana Kataria 17. Anuradha Devi 18. Soundarya Yendala
Indian women's team announced for FIH HWL Semifinal
NEW DELHI: Ritu Rani will lead the 18-member Indian women's team in the upcoming FIH Hockey World League Semifinal to be played in Antwerp, Belgium from June 20 to July 4.
Deepika, meanwhile, has been named the vice-captain of the side by Hockey India, which today announced the squad for the crucial tournament.
India will begin their campaign on the first day of the tournament on June 20, against the host nation Belgium. They have been placed in Pool B along with second ranked Australia, New Zealand, Poland, besides Belgium.
In Pool A, The Netherlands, Korea, Japan, Italy and Azerbaijan will contest against each other.
Training under the new chief coach Mathias Ahrens, Indian eves will be aiming to finish in the top four and qualify for the FIH Hockey World League Final Round, and also secure a berth in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
"The team is in very good shape and the ongoing preparation camp is helping us to improve our game. With our recent performances in the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 in New Delhi and the Hawke's Bay Cup 2015 in New Zealand, we have shown improvement in our game. We are trying to rectify our mistakes we committed in our previous tournaments," Ritu Rani said.
"New Chief Coach is working well with us and we are learning new strategies under him. The atmosphere is very positive and we are confident to take on our opponents in the FIH HWL Semifinal," she added.
Coach Ahrens said the team was completely focussed on working on the problem areas.
"The team is doing very well and improving perfectively. We have pointed out mistakes and loopholes in the previous matches and we are positively working on those issues. The players are keen learners and work really hard, which is a very good thing for the team.
"We know the fact that we will face top-ranked teams in the tournament but we are not in pressure. We will just focus on our strategies and play our best game. I am sure that we will see a good competition in FIH Hockey World League Semi-Final," said Ahrens.
Goalkeepers: Savita, Rajini Etimarpu.
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Deepika, Sunita Lakra, Namita Toppo, Sushila Chanu.
Midfielders: Ritu Rani, Lilima Minz, Lily Chanu, Navjot Kaur, Monika, Renuka Yadav.
Forwards: Rani, Poonam Rani, Vandana Kataria, Anuradha Devi, Soundarya Yendala.
The Times of India
Hockey India names squad for FIH World League SF
New Delhi: Hockey India (HI) today announced the team for the upcoming FIH Hockey World League semi-final to be played in Antwerp, Belgium from June 20 to July 4.
Ritu Rani will lead the 18-member Indian women’s team while Deepika was announced her deputy.
India will begin their campaign on the first day of the tournament on June 20, against hosts Belgium. They have been placed in Pool B along with second ranked Australia, New Zealand, Poland, besides Belgium.
In Pool A, The Netherlands, Korea, Japan, Italy and Azerbaijan will contest against each other.
Training under new chief coach Mathias Ahrens, Indian eves will be aiming to finish in the top four and qualify for the FIH Hockey World League Final Round, and also secure a berth in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
“The team is in very good shape and the ongoing preparation camp is helping us to improve our game. With our recent performances in the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 in New Delhi and the Hawke’s Bay Cup 2015 in New Zealand, we have shown improvement in our game. We are trying to rectify our mistakes we committed in our previous tournaments,” Ritu said.
“New Chief Coach is working well with us and we are learning new strategies under him. The atmosphere is very positive and we are confident to take on our opponents in the FIH HWL Semifinal,” she added.
Coach Ahrens said the team was completely focussed on working on the problem areas.
“The team is doing very well and improving perfectively. We have pointed out mistakes and loopholes in the previous matches and we are positively working on those issues. The players are keen learners and work really hard, which is a very good thing for the team.
“We know the fact that we will face top-ranked teams in the tournament but we are not in pressure. We will just focus on our strategies and play our best game. I am sure that we will see a good competition in FIH Hockey World League Semi-Final,” said Ahrens. Squad: Goalkeepers: Savita, Rajini Etimarpu. Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Deepika, Sunita Lakra, Namita Toppo, Sushila Chanu. Midfielders: Ritu Rani, Lilima Minz, Lily Chanu, Navjot Kaur, Monika, Renuka Yadav. Forwards: Rani, Poonam Rani, Vandana Kataria, Anuradha Devi, Soundarya Yendala.
Day & Night News
Danny Kerry: I hope Alex Danson can produce the goods in Rio
By Graham Wilson
Danny Kerry is hoping Alex Danson is going to produce the goods in the Olympics. GETTY
ALEX DANSON is saving her best for the big games and Danny Kerry, the Great Britain coach, is hoping she is going to produce the goods for another assault on the Olympics.
The double Olympian took the decision to opt out of playing for Reading in the Investec premier division and the striker is looking fresh and hungry for the World League qualifying tournament in Valencia, Spain, starting from June 10-21.
Danson celebrated her 30th birthday in Valencia last week where GB played two training games against Spain, losing 4-2 and winning 2-1.
She tweeted: “So I’m 30 and I’ve spent half my life with my team-mates. Wouldn’t change a thing. Spoilt. Thank you.”
Kerry said: “Alex just needs some balance in her life so that's a decision by her not to play club hockey.
“Part of it is that she doesn’t get 'over hockeyed' really.
“We probably play the best part of 30 to 40 practice internationals a year, then you add on another 40 full internationals and the training at Bisham Abbey.
“She just needs that balance in her life. It means she get some time at the weekends doing things outside of hockey.
“That is good for Alex and the longevity of her career."
On top of that, Danson is also a big ambassador for hockey, an athlete mentor for Sky Sports Living for Sports and the Youth Sports Trust.
Kerry has turned to his trio of Reading 2012 London bronze medallists with Danson, his captain Kate and midfield partner Helen Richardson-Walsh, who has recovered from career-threatening back surgery, and also brought back Holcombe’s Nicola White as an added threat up front.
Kerry wants the reliability that was so missing in England’s disappointing World Cup under previous coach Jason Lee.
GB play hosts Spain in their opening pool game before facing Argentina, Canada and China. GETTY
Kerry added: “I am delighted for Helen. She has been through the mill and and what she has come back from is a testament to her character.
“She brings a lot of experience, a lot of game nous. That game intellect is a precious commodity and Helen has it in bucketfuls.”
Sarah Haycroft, Sam Quek, Zoe Shipperley and Ellie Watton miss out on selection.
GB play hosts Spain in their opening pool game before facing Argentina, Canada and China to complete the group phase of the competition.
The top three sides qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Kumar: My final shot at Olympics
Kumar after conducting a coaching clinic for boys and girls from all over Negri Sembilan at the Seremban II Stadium Saturday. It was organised by the Negri Sembilan HA.
NATIONAL No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar will be going for broke at the Belgium World League Semi-finals on June 20 to July 5.
The 35-year-old custodian is at his prime to help Malaysia qualify for the Olympics, but if he fails, he will call it a day.
"I have played at the World Cup but Olympics has eluded me over the years and Belgium would be my last chance to make the grade to Rio de Janeiro next year. Age is catching up with me and if I miss Brazil, I would be 40 by the next Games," said Kumar after conducting a goalkeepers coaching clinic organised by the Negri Sembilan HA at the Seremban II Stadium on Saturday.
About 50 youth from all over Negri came for the clinic, which was also conducted by national goalkeeper's coach M. Nadarajan.
Kumar took Malaysia to the 2014 World Cup as well as handed Malaysia the gold medal at the World League Round Two in Singapore in January.
On both occasions, he showed nerves of steel to stop Japan in a penalty shoot-out.
During the World Cup Qualifier in Johor Baru, Japan held Malaysia to a 1-1 draw in the World League Semi-finals fifth-sixth placing match, but Kumar made some heroic saves to win the shoot-out 4-3 to take Malaysia to the World Cup in Netherlands.
And in the World League Round Two, Malaysia were again held to a 1-1 draw by Japan in the semi-finals, but in the shoot-out, Kumar held the fort and took his team into the final on a 3-1 score which booked a ticket to the World League Semi-finals in Belgium.
"Hockey is all about speed and reflections today, and goalkeepers need to be on their toes the entire game. The more saves we make, the more confident the team becomes and winning becomes that much easier," said the Tampin-born Kumar.
The second goalkeeper is Roslan Jamaluddin, and both of them are sure bets to play in Belgium, leaving coach Tai Beng Hai to select 16 more outfield players.
Malaysia are in Group B of the World League Semi-finals with Belgium, Great Britain, China and Ireland. In Group A are Australia, India, Pakistan, Poland and France.
"We play China and then Ireland and need to win both the early matches to book a quarter-finals spot early as there are five teams in each group and the last placed teams will not be involved in the play-offs," said Kumar.
Malaysia need to play in the last four in Belgium to seal their Olympic ticket.
At the coaching clinic, Kumar and Nadarajan drilled the aspiring goalkeepers for three hours on basics.
"The turn-out is good, but the majority are still struggling with basics," said Nadarajan.
There were a handful of teachers who were also taught how to polish the basics of their students, and now its up to them to nurture their goalkeepers and strengthen the basics.
Negri Sembilan HA secretary P. Tamilselvan said: "Kumar and Nadarajan have shown the teachers on how to strengthen the basics in goalkeeping and we will follow up with the teachers from time to time by holding more clinics. Hopefully another goalkeeper from Negri Sembilan will follow Kumar's footsteps."
Jugjet's World of Field Hockey
T&T hockeymen begin training camp
England-based hockey standout, Kwandwane Browne along with two of his fellow coaches at English Hockey League Premier Division club, Diccon Stubbings and Stuart Goodman began a ten-day camp with the T&T men’s hockey team yesterday.
The camp was organised by the T&T Hockey Board to help with the team’s preparations for the upcoming Pan American Games to be held in Canada in July where the 29th world ranked “Calypso Stickmen” will compete in a tough Pool A with Argentina, Cuba and USA. Pool B comprises Brazil, Canada, Chile and Mexico.
It will be the first tournament for T&T since it participated in the FIH World League Round Two qualifiers in San Diego, California in March. At that tournament, the “Calypso stickmen” who were without some of their top players due to injury and work commitments were beaten in all six matches they contested.
First up T&T went under to Russia (6-1), USA (7-1) and Canada (3-0) in Pool B round-robin player before losing to Ireland (12-2) in the quarterfinal, 2-1 to Italy in the fifth to eighth semifinal, and 5-3 to USA in the seventh place playoff. However, for the Pan Am Games, the T&T team is expected to be at full strength as Browne, who has 302 appearances for the national team targets a lifelong dream of qualifying for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games.
He is currently the England Under-21 assistant coach and coach for National League Premier Division’s Canterbury, and in 2012/13 won the award for England Hockey High Performance Coach of the Season. Today, the 25-man national training squad under the supervision of coach Glen “Fido” Francis will have a field training session at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua from 6 pm to 8 pm.
However, from 5 pm to 6 pm, a specialised session will be conducted for goalkeepers while on Wednesday morning the players to have a gym session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo from 5 am to 7 am.
Current senior men’s hockey training squad: Ron Alexander, Terrence Baptiste, Lyndell Byer, Daniel Byer, Darren Cowie, Shaquille Daniel, Aidan De Gannes, Solomon Eccles, Kristien Emmanuel, Brian Garcia, Marcus James, Tariq Marcano, Teague Marcano, Che Modeste, Kiel Murray, Joshua Olton, Justin Pascal, Mickell Pierre, Jordan Reynos, Andrey Rocke, Christopher Scipio, Kelon Skeritt, Karlos Stephen, Akim Toussaint, Jordan Vieira, Dominic Young, Ishmael Campbell.
2015 Pan American Games men’s hockey groupings:
Pool A: Argentina, Cuba, T&T, USA
Pool B: Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico
Argentina vs T&T, 9am
USA vs Cuba, 11am
Chile vs Mexico, 5pm
Canada vs Brazil, 7pm
T&T vs Cuba, 9am
USA vs Argentina, 11am
Brazil vs Mexico, 5pm
Chile vs Canada, 7pm
Argentina vs Cuba, 9am
T&T vs USA, 11am
Brazil vs Chile, 5pm
Canada vs Mexico, 7pm
July 21: Quarterfinals
1st Pool A vs 4th Pool B, 9am
2nd Pool B vs 3rd Pool A, 11am
2nd Pool A vs 3rd Pool B, 5pm
1st Pool B vs 4th Pool A, 7pm
Fifth to Eight semifinal, 9am
Fifth to Eight semifinal, 11am
Main Draw semifinal, 5pm
Main Draw semifinal, 7pm
Seventh to Eighth playoff, 9am
Fifth to Sixth playoff, 11am
Bronze medal, 5pm
The Trinidad Guardian
Paragon women miss out on top spot
Ventures goalkeeper Sarayah-U Plaza makes a save on Shandy Carib Magnolias’ Brittney Hingh during their T&T Hockey Board Women’s Championship Division match at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, on Sunday. Magnolias won 7-0. Photo: Anthony Harris.
Defending champions Paragon missed a chance to reclaim top spot in the T&T Hockey Board Women’s Championship Division after it was held to a 1-1 draw by Notre Dame at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, on Saturday night. The Dames took the lead through national forward Blair Wynne in the tenth minute, but national and club captain Alanna Lewis got the equaliser for Paragon in the 53rd after which both teams failed to find a winner.
With the draw, its third on the trot after three wins, Paragon improved to 12 points from seven matches, one behind Georgetown Crick Club while Shandy Carib Magnolias is next with ten points followed Harvard Checkers with nine and Notre Dame with seven. On Sunday, former national standout Stacey Siu Butt banged in a beaver trick to lead Magnolias to a 7-0 drubbing of long-time rival, Ventures.
Siu Butt got her goals in the sixth, 22nd, 50th and 54th minutes while current national trio Savannah De Freitas (1st), Brittney Hingh (9th) and Brianna Govia (48th) added the others. In the lone Men’s Championship Division match contested on the weekend, Paragon spanked Fatima 4-2 for its third win of the season.
T&T international, Kiel Murray led the way for Paragon with goals in the 12th and 16th but Fatima responded through Andrew Vieira and Quinn Clarke in the 14th and 18th minute respectively to level the match at 2-2. However, the second half was all Paragon as national forward Cogie Butler restored his team’s advantage in the 32nd minute before the T&THB reigning “Men’s Player of the Year” and T&T forward Akim Toussaint sealed the victory with a 45th minute item.
Paragon now has nine points, the same as Defence Force to trail unbeaten leaders Petrotrin (15 points) by six while Notre Dame is second with 11 and Queen’s Park fifth with eight. In the Trinity Men’s Division, Ishmael Campbell netted in the 49th and 65th as Notre Dame blanked Courts Malvern 3-0 to join Paradise at the top of the standings.
Tariq Thomas added the other item for the Dames in the 63rd as they moved to 13 points the same as Paradise, while Malvern stayed on 12 points, two more than Queen’s Park Cricket Club.
Paragon 4 (Kiel Murray 12th, 16th, Cogie Butler 32nd, Akim Toussaint 45th) vs Fatima 2 (Andrew Vieira 14th, Quinn Clarke 18th)
Paragon 1 (Alanna Lewis 53rd) vs Notre Dame 1 (Blair Wynne 10th)
Paragon 0 vs Raiders 0
SC Magnolias 7 (Stacey Siu Butt 6th, 22nd, 50th, 54th, Savannah De Freitas 1st, Brittney Hingh 9th, Brianna Govia 48th) vs Ventures 0
Notre Dame 3 (Ishmael Campbell 49th, 65th, Tariq Thomas 63rd) vs Courts Malvern 0
The Trinidad Guardian
Sundeen brothers lead LA Tigers to second Cal Cup title and $7,500 cash while Dragon Ballaz from Vancouver take women’s title on their first visit
By Jawwad Qamar
Moorpark, CA: Four long days of non-stop field hockey in the beautiful setting of Moorpark College came to an end with two exciting finals in front of a capacity crowd. In the Men’s Super Division final, Sundeen brothers provided all the scoring for the LA Tigers with three opportunistic goals for a 3-2 championship win over home crowd favorites the Conejo Bulldogs.
Tyler Sundeen slotted in a rebound of Bulldogs goalkeeper Andrew Zayac’s save on Jags Gill’s penalty corner flick to put the Tigers ahead 1-0 in the 13 minute mark. The Bulldogs had a great opportunity to level score after Pat Harris earned a penalty stroke from an infraction on his fine run into the circle but his attempt hit the right post.
Sundeen brothers celebrate after Tyler’s goal - photo by Jag Reyatt
In the 43 minute Ryan Sundeen found himself at the receiving end of a two-pass sequence brilliantly started by Sukhpal Panesar who threaded the needle from 30 yards into Sonu Paramjit and Paramjit found an open Rayan for an easy tap in for a 2-0 lead. After being denied by Jeb Saez who was superb in the goal for the Tigers, Harris finally found the net in the 56th minute by pouncing on a loose ball to reduce the deficit to one goal. However, this was very short lived as the Tigers came right back in the next minute with Ryan Sundeen connecting on another long ball by Panesar for his second goal and a two goal cushion. Troy Sutherland added a goal in the 60th minute for the Bulldogs but it was too little too late and the celebrations started for LA. Interestingly, it was Ryan Sundeen’s three goals two years ago that garnered the Tigers their first Cal Cup crown.
Cal Cup 2015 Champs LA Tigers waiting for their $7,500 loot- photo by Jag Reyatt
Earlier, in an entertaining third place encounter, San Jose Khalsa beat Montauk Sharks in a shootout. The 2-2 regulation tie ended with a frantic 20 seconds where Khalsa hit the goal post twice and were saved at the other end by great goalkeeper stop on a counter attack.
In the Women’s Super Division final, Dragon Ballz denied Mexico a third Cal Cup title. Tyla Flexman scored in the 11th minute on her team’s first penalty corner and the 1-0 lead stood until the end in an uninspiring contest that surprisingly was controlled by the Dragon Ballaz team. Great result for the team from Vancouver, BC and a great bounce back from an earlier forfeit after the team failed to show up for its scheduled pool play.
Mexico on the defense against Dragon Ballz - photo by Jag Reyatt
A very jubilant Cal Cup 2015 Women’s Champs Dragon Ballz - photo by Jag Reyatt
Third place went to Jolie Pitts as Daphane Voormolen scored twice against Rick’s chick.
Luke Doerner from Australia playing here for the Montauk Sharks was the tournament’s leading scorer with six goals and earned the Ross Rutledge Award.
Congratulations to 2015 Cal Cup Tournament Committee and everyone involved for once again doing a superb job hosting this excellent international field hockey tournament despite all the challenges.
This tournament served as a final tune up for Mexico men and women teams, Canada and USA men playing on various teams here, along with umpires Saleem Aaron (USA), Meghan Mcclennan (Canada), and Susie Sutton (USA) for the Pan Am Games that take place in Toronto in July.
The 44th edition of one of the oldest and largest the field hockey tournaments in the world, more popularly known as the Cal Cup, featured a 148 teams from Argentina, Canada, Mexico, and the USA, consisting of over 2,500 athletes competing in 14 divisions ranging from Mixed Under-8 to Men/Women Super Divisions at four different locations including the main venue, Moorpark College.
For a complete list of all 2015 Cal Cup winners, final standings and Super Division Match Reports, please visit www.calcup.com.
SEA Games: Self-belief drives Singapore's quest for hockey gold
Singapore's men's hockey team face an uphill task for gold with powerhouses Malaysia in their way, while the women's team head coach is aiming for a bronze.
By Noah Tan
SINGAPORE: With just four teams competing in the men’s hockey tournament at the 2015 SEA Games, Singapore are fully expected to add one more medal to their tally come the event’s final on Jun 13.
What the colour of that medal will be, however, is far less certain.
The minimum target for the Singapore men’s hockey team at the coming Games is a silver medal - anything less and it would be a “huge kick in the teeth”, according to head coach Solomon Casoojee.
But it is not the fear of failing to finish second that drives the team on. Instead, Casoojee and his charges have been toiling hard - they train twice a day, five days a week - over the past year for only one reason: To wrest the SEA Games gold from Malaysia’s near-unyielding grip.
It is an uphill task that has only been accomplished once in the history of the biennial event when Singapore, hosting the Games for the first time in 1973, stunned the Malaysians in the final to secure the gold.
With Malaysia, who are currently ranked 12th in the world, choosing to send their Under-20 team to the tournament in the Republic this year, there is genuine optimism that Singapore can upset the odds once again. And the hosts were given a boost in their quest for gold when 10 players from the 18-man squad were given the necessary support and funding from Sport Singapore’s “Final Push” programme to train full-time since last July.
While Casoojee says his team are “aiming for, but not promising a SEA Games gold”, he is confident his players have improved enough to give their rivals from across the Causeway a real run for their money.
“I think we’ve improved tremendously. The entire team is so much fitter and stronger now and we’re better placed (for the gold) than ever before, but it still won’t be easy,” the South African said. “They’re (Malaysia) a quality outfit with a good bunch of young lads who do the simple things right. But we know what needs to be done in order to get on top of them, and I believe we can make a real go for the top prize.”
As part of their preparations for the Games, Singapore played a series of friendly matches against Malaysia earlier this month - it resulted in a whitewash victory in all five encounters for the Malaysians as they beat Casoojee’s side 2-1, 7-0, 5-0, 4-2, and 6-1.
It was hardly the sort of result to instil confidence within the local hockey community ahead of the Games, but national captain Enrico Marican, a three-time Games veteran, refuted suggestions that the losses had damaged their confidence.
“We still believe that we can beat Malaysia when the time comes,” he said. “It will be difficult, but we played teams as good as them during our training stint in Australia earlier this year and we managed to make it a really competitive game then.”
But it is not just the Malaysians that Singapore will have to worry about overcoming. Casoojee expects his team to be fully “switched on” during their matches against the other two teams in the tournament - Myanmar and Thailand - with the former expected to prove “hard to break down defensively”, while the Thais will likely provide a “stern physical challenge”.
With Singapore expected to play their matches in front of a capacity crowd at the 500-seat Sengkang Hockey Stadium, it is the perfect platform for the youthful national squad — with an average age of 22 — to showcase their potential and capabilities to the vibrant local hockey community.
Forward Ahmad Faris Johari, 18, who featured for the national team at last year’s Asian Games in Incheon, is one of the young stars who has been tipped to shine at this year’s Games. “I think he (Faris) is one of our brightest and most exciting young talents,” said Silas Abdul Razak, one of the senior members of the team.
“It tremendously helps Faris to have played in the Asian Games last year and to feature in the coming SEA Games. The only thing he lacks is experience, but already I have seen a huge improvement and he’s been pushing himself very hard for these Games.”
While the Singapore men dream of winning gold, the aim for the nation’s 18-strong women’s team is slightly more subdued.
The last time Singapore won a medal in the women’s category was back in 1993, when former national player Melanie Martens scored the winning goal in the final against Malaysia to lead the Republic to their only gold medal to date.
To expect the current squad - all of whom are part-time players - to repeat that historic feat would be unrealistic, according to head coach Sunil Prasad, who took over the reins of the team in February this year.
He has set his aims on winning at least a bronze medal and added that the team had “improved in terms of their fitness and structure over the past three months, but still lack sufficient exposure of playing against much higher-ranked teams”.
But while Malaysia and Thailand are regarded as favourites for the gold, Martens, who is now principal of the Physical Education and Sports Teacher academy, believes Singapore should still aspire to the top prize.
“Anyone who takes to the field in any competition always has a chance of winning,” Martens said. “At this level, if you don’t think you can win then you shouldn’t be in the competition. I do think the team can win gold.”
SEA Games hockey
Date: Jun 6-13
Venue: Sengkang Hockey Stadium
Visit the SEA Games site for the full schedule
Channel News Asia
Gold medal success for Grove Menzieshill; but European disappointment for Clydesdale Western and Grange
Grove Menzieshill celebrate European success. Photo Credit: Grove Menzieshill
There were highs and lows for Scotland's European club representatives today, including Gold Medal success for Grove Menzieshill, relegation for Clydesdale Western, and a fifth place finish for Grange.
A Gold Medal for Grove Menzieshill as the Taysiders defeated HC Rotweiss Wettingen to win the EuroHockey Club Champions Challenge II event in France.
Tournament top scorer Linda Clement bagged a second half double in addition to a thirteenth minute Louise Carroll penalty corner to give the Dundee outfit a comfortable 3-0 win.
The Scots finished the tournament with a 100% record from their three matches, scoring fifteen goals and only conceding one.
Please visit the EuroHockey Club Challenge II website for more information.
Grange finished fifth in the EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy in Dublin.
Despite a 5-2 win against Ukrainians HC OKS-SHVSM yesterday, including two goals for Frank Ryan, and strikes from Hamish Imrie, Cameron Fraser and Andrew Campbell, the Stags could only finish third in Pool A.
Consequently, the capital outfit faced SG Amsicora ASD of Italy in today's 5th/6th place play-off match, and they made light work of the task, winning the contest easily 5-0.
The deadlock was finally broken four minutes after the half-time interval, Todd Harmsworth opening the scoring from open play, before Frank Ryan doubled the advantage two minutes later to make it 2-0.
Scotland international Hamish Imrie finished off the Italians in seven minutes before the full-time whistle, rattling home goals in the 63rd, 65th and 70th minute to wrap up the 5-0 win and storm up to the top of the goal-scoring charts with seven goals in total.
Please visit the EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy website for more information.
Despite an encouraging start in their opening two games in the EuroHockey Club Champions Challenge I event, two subsequent losses led to Clydesdale Western being relegated to the Challenge II division.
Yesterday, the Scottish Cup winners lost their final pool A match against Italians SG Amsicora ASD, going down 2-1, resulting in the Titwood side missing out on second place in the pool on goal difference and progressing to the relegation play-off today against SK Slavia Praha.
A goalless first half was followed by a second half glut of goals, beginning in the 37th minute when Adela Mejzlikova gave Slavia Praha a 1-0 lead. However, the Scottish side were soon back on level terms, Jennifer Eadie notching the equaliser two minutes later.
The match swung back and forth again when Millie Brown put Clydesdale Western in front in the 59th minute, only for Renata Capouchova to pull the Czechs back on parity sixty second later.
Captain and Scotland international Susan McGilveray made it 3-2 eight minutes from time, but yet again the Eastern Europeans pegged them back, captain Adela Bizova's field goal four minutes from time leaving the final score at 3-3 and taking the match into penalties.
Unfortunately for Clydesdale Western, all penalty takers were unable to beat Andrea Vancurova in the Slavia Prague goal, while Capouchova and Bizova held their nerve to put their efforts beyond goalkeeper Louise Duffy to give them a 2-0 win in the shoot-out.
Please visit the EuroHockey Club Challenge II website for more information.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
Winners unveiled at glittering awards ceremony
Buckingham Ladies win Investec Women's Team of the season 2015
On Saturday 23rd May, 240 hockey lovers from all over the country gathered at Reading’s Madejski stadium for the annual England Hockey Awards Dinner. Former Olympian Simon Mason presided over proceedings, with 17 awards being presented during the course of a fun filled evening.
The winners in all categories were:
Men’s Performance Players’ Player of the Season: Barry Middleton
Men’s Junior Performance Player of the Season: Harry Gibson
Investec Women’s Performance Players’ Player of the Season: Susannah Townsend
Investec Women’s Junior Performance Player of the Season: Emily Defroand
Performance Coach of the Season: Bobby Crutchley
Performance Umpire of the Season: Frances Block
Sevenoaks win men's team of the season 2015
Unsung Hero of the Season: Donna Mills
Club Champion of the Season: Ruth Sealey
Hockey Maker of the Season: Taff Ahmed
Young Umpire of the Season: Jenny Ratcliffe
Club or HUA Umpire of the Season: Graham Seaton
Club Coach of the Season: Andy Tooke
Best Local Promotion of the Season: Bicester HC
Men’s Team of the Season: Sevenoaks 1st XI
Investec Women’s Team of the Season: Buckingham Ladies 2nd XI
Notts Sport Club of the Season: Old Silhillians HC
Perkins Slade Lifetime Achievement Award: Roger Lomas
Old Sils Notts Sport Club of the year 2015
Steve Tabb, Old Silhillians HC’s Chairman commented:
"We are absolutely overwhelmed to have won the Notts Sport Club of the Season award, particularly against such outstanding opposition. It is when you attend events like this Awards Dinner that you realise what a fantastic group of people the hockey world is made up of. The evening from start to finish was incredibly enjoyable. We all loved getting to meet and greet the internationals as there really are not many sports where you get this opportunity and it was fantastic to see so many worthy contenders for awards that we already knew so much about - from Sevenoaks' and Wapping's all conquering sides, to the incredible unsung heroes. Perhaps the highlight of the whole evening though, was that, whoever won, the whole hockey family were joined in congratulating all of them as worthy winners”
Over £1500 was raised from the charity auction, with guest bidding on lots which included a Unibet EuroHockey hospitality package, shirts signed by England and GB athletes and a selection of signed shoes!
We would like to extend our congratulations to all the winners. Check out the event photos from Ravi Ghowry on Facebook.
England Hockey Board Media release
How an ex-Indian hockey captain is reviving the lost glory of the game
Mukesh Kumar with his family
Nandanoori Mukesh Kumar was one of the finest field hockey midfielder of his times, and has represented India internationally for 16 years. A winner of Arjuna Award and Padma Shri, Mukesh has seen it all – from glory to disappointment, from rage to disillusionment. But the only thing that remains is his undying passion for the sport. At 45, his dedication towards bringing back the lost glory of India’s national sport is unquestionable.
The glory of the game
There was a time when India was the undisputed world champion in field hockey. Internationally, the most celebrated players of the sport were from India. With the passage of time, and with technology coming in, other countries got better at the sport and India fell behind.
Mukesh wants to bring back this lost glory, but has been facing huge difficulties in the process. Over the past 10 years, he has been trying to start a hockey academy in Hyderabad. “But honest attempts are not heeded immediately,” Mukesh says, as he has painfully witnessed his countless applications die a slow death in the havoc created by India’s complicated and alienated bureaucracy.
In a recent meeting with YourStory, Mukesh remembers some special moments of his sporting life and expresses his deep dissatisfaction towards the falling standards of our national sport.
More than a sport
Right from childhood, hockey was his life. Mukesh used to breathe the sport and had no other ambition but to master it.
Hockey was also the reason I was able to make a living. It is because of hockey, that I am a respected man today. I came up from a small town middle class family and was suddenly an international sensation. I have no one to thank but the sport.
Mukesh’s family had a keen interest in sports. Both his elder and younger brothers played hockey. His family was known for its inclination towards the sport in the Sikh village in Secunderabad. Hockey became his favourite sport right from his childhood. Although he played gilli danda, kancha and other games as well, soon, hockey as an interest took over. His school and college also encouraged the sport, and soon Mukesh had become the most popular hockey player in his town.
Tryst with the Indian hockey team
During his intermediate education, Mukesh got a chance to join a camp for the junior national team. Passionate about the sport, he immediately left his studies and joined the camp. He soon became the first person from his town to be part of the Indian junior hockey team.
During his time with the junior team, Mukesh set many records which remain a challenge for many accomplished players even today, but what he dearly recalls is a goal against Pakistan, which he considers the most special goal of his career.
It was the junior world cup match between India and Pakistan, and as expected, things heated up. The dignity of players from both teams were at stake. The match lived up to the hype. For most part of the match, our scores remained equal. And then I got a chance, dived into it, and scored. We won the match.
The audience fell in love with Mukesh. The selectors and senior players, who had come to witness the contest, were impressed by his talents. It was this goal that got him a place in the senior team.
It was 1992. At a time when Hockey was paramount and contenders were countless, getting a chance to play for the national team was a huge accomplishment. Mukesh was only 22 when he joined the senior team. It was the same year that he participated in the Barcelona Olympics. Over the next 16 years, he played over 300 matches representing India in field hockey. He represented India in the Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000) Olympics, and participated in two World Cups and two Asian Games. He also went on to become the captain of the Indian hockey team.
For his contribution towards the sport, Mukesh received the Arjuna Award in 1995, and Padma Shri in 2002.
My daughter used to visit a temple and pray that I get the Padma Shri. My family was expecting that I will receive it in 2001, but I didn’t. In 2002, when I received a telegram that I have been given the prestigious award, I was on cloud nine. I was so excited, that if someone had taken me to a ground on that day, I would have scored several goals against the opponent (laughs). My daughter continued to pray that I get the Padma Shri. It had become a habit for her. We had to explain to the kid that I have already received the award and her prayers have been answered.
The excitement of getting the Padma Shri was soon gone. He says with a heavy heart that none of the awards he received led to any benefit for him or the sport. After retiring from the international career, he wanted to start a hockey academy in Hyderabad to help new players come up, but no one offered any help. He sold his house to raise money for the academy, but till date, his dream of starting the hockey academy remains unfulfilled.
This delay took a toll on my mental health as I became a short tempered person. This led to quarrels between me and my loved ones in the family. But, thanks to their support, I was able to recover soon.
Change the game
His flare to start the academy and help rejuvenate the sport lives on. He believes that he’ll be successful in helping many more players to come up and become part of the national team. Disappointed by the falling standards of the sport, he does not hesitate to blame the politicians and bureaucrats for interfering with the hockey federations and associations of India.
There are a few powerful people at the top who have made their chairs in these bodies permanent. They have been holding important positions in hockey federations and associations for years now. They don’t understand the needs and conditions of our players, nor are they interested in the betterment of the sport. Their only interest is to hold their position of power for personal benefit and let their children inherit their chair even after they are long gone. Bureaucrats cannot manage hockey in India. Today, most federations are run by these people, while our players struggle to get even the smallest of tasks done.
Mukesh believes that those who are not aware of the sport should stay away from it. Experienced, talented and trustworthy ex-players should come together and work towards the betterment of the sport. Rules and guidelines concerning sports should also be made by ex-sportspersons, and bureaucrats should be involved in their implementation only. Mukesh claims that many ex-players like him are willing to help the current state of Indian hockey but are not receiving any support. He takes the example of Pargat Singh.
There is no better defender in the world than Pargat Singh. He knows more ways to stop a progressing ball than anyone else. His talent is getting wasted as it is not getting passed on to the future generation. But there is no one willing to listen to him.
He also takes the example of Mohammad Shahid and Dhanraj Pillay who are willing to contribute, but since no one cares , the inertia is too high to conquer. He does not hesitate in criticising the foreign coaches too.
While our management fails to identify talent and experience in the ex-players of its own country, they bring in inexperienced foreign coaches who are not skilled enough to understand the strengths and talents of our players. They are willing to pay millions to the foreign coaches but expect Indian coaches to contribute free.
With a heavy heart, Mukesh tells us how many ex-players, who should be rather training young talent, are today either staying home or struggling in offices. They who understand the intricacies of the sport and should be on their toes are learning computers and searching for office jobs. He jokingly tells us that Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the Olympic Silver medalist is today Information and Broadcasting minister, while India’s sports minister hasn’t played any professional sport all his life.
Mukesh and Nidhi
Displeased with Hockey India too, Mukesh says that it is primarily a show-off and formality in the name of work. He takes the example of the committee for Performance and Development of Hockey India, meant to help the sport grow at the ground level, which has not had a single meeting till date. This committee consisting of Olympians, international players and coaches must play a greater role to bring out talent from every nook and corner of India, he urges.
Hockey as a sport has changed. From a display of skill and talent, it has transformed into a display of strength. India has a lot of talent in hockey but it is not being recognized. In cases where it is being recognized, the necessary effort needed to help them grow is not being put.
Mukesh fears that if corrective measures are not taken, hockey will go further away from us. The little craze for the sport left among Indian players will be lost soon, if we don’t rise up to the situation.
Nidhi nods. Mukesh’s wife and an ex-international women hockey player herself, she has represented India on countless occasions too. The two international hockey maestros are training their daughter in badminton and not hockey. This – in a way – speaks of the state of India’s national sport and the disillusionment the two have gone through.