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News for 01 June 2015

All the news for Monday 1 June 2015

Sticking to the routine

It is an exciting time to be a player with the USA, but as the team rises up the rankings, one player is keeping both feet on the ground… in the right order.

As part of our countdown to the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, we catch up with one of the stars of Team USA. Michelle Kasold will be competing in Valencia as part of the fifth-ranked team that has been winning plaudits and admirers over the past two years. While Kasold attributes team success to hard work, she also reveals that for her, superstition plays a tiny role as well.

Kasold herself is a key part of the team, the 28-year-old striker has 182 caps to her name but, as she says, much of the success of Team USA in recent times has been down to the extraordinary team spirit that exists within the squad: “My teammates are crucial in my preparation for competition. Field hockey is a team sport and there are so many aspects that are so important for us to be on the same page. First and foremost, we push each other in training every single day to be better. Whether that is the person who has been on the team the longest, to the newest member. In the gym and in running sessions, it is always easier to push yourself when your teammate is pushing through the same pain right next to you.

“We find it very important to be unified in all aspects. We watch videos together, discuss tactics, give feedback and criticism to each other so we can problem solve and improve. Although we each have to physically and mentally prepare ourselves in different aspects, we still know how to motivate one another and pick each other up when we fall down. That is one of our greatest strengths as a team.”

The USA coaching team, led by Craig Parnham, encourages open communications between players, but as Kasold says, this can sometimes make for uncomfortable hearing. “It is a tough environment, where every player puts so much on the line and may not get the desired return for it. Our staff reminds us that this is the reality of our sport and our team.”

A common comment from elite athletes from a  range of sports is that they feel they live in a ‘bubble’, separated from everyday life. Kasold concurs: “I definitely feel like I live in a bubble that is hockey. I love the fact that I get to be active, play a sport I love, with some of my best friends, and travel the world doing it. It is hard work and there are many days where I am physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. On those days, sometimes I wonder how the rest of the world feels, or what they are doing, but I know hockey won’t last forever and I’ll have plenty of time in the rest of the world.”

The USA opens its Semi-Final account against fellow Pan-American team Uruguay. If we could be a fly on the wall in the USA changing room we would see the athletes going through their pre-match rituals. Some players will be listening to music, going through a stretching routine or going through the game plan in their heads. For Michelle Kasold it is all about routine: right sock before left sock; right shin guard before left; right shoe before left. And then it is the pumping music raising her levels of adrenalin until the team exits for the pitch.

FIH site

Hockey World League Buenos Aires - Let’s introduce the teams in Pool A

The Netherlands, New Zealand, Korea, Japan and Egypt are the teams battling it out in Pool A at the Argentina Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Let’s get some more information on their Road to Rio.

THE NETHERLANDS – current world ranking 2
The Olympic and World Cup Silver medallists from the Netherlands are considered by many to be among the tournament favourites to grab one of three available Olympic tickets in Buenos Aires. The current Dutch group contains a glittering array of world class talent including midfield dynamo Robert van der Horst, silky playmaker Robbert Kemperman and quicksilver goal-scorer Jeroen Hertzberger, while powerhouse defender Mink van der Weerden is arguably the best penalty corner flicker in the world. Head Coach Max Caldas – the Buenos Aires born former Argentine international who was named FIH women’s Coach of the Year for 2014 after leading the Netherlands women to glory at last year’s Hockey World Cup – has plenty of wonderful players to choose from, so you can be sure that the European giants will be a force to be reckoned with in Buenos Aires. Oranje won the inaugural season of the Hockey World League and will give everything to defend this title. However, they first need to qualify for the tournament Final, which will be held in India at the end of this year. Reaching the Top Three here in Argentina, will ensure their participation. 

NEW ZEALAND – current world ranking 7
The Black Sticks, Silver medallists in the inaugural Hockey World League tournament last year, will come into the event in confident mood after recently claiming the 2015 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia. The Black Sticks emerged triumphant at the famous invitational event, defeating reigning world champions and world number 1 Australia in a shoot-out in the competition final. The team also recorded notable results against two nations competing in this event, running out comfortable 5-0 winners against Pool B’s Canada before drawing 3-3 with Pool A rivals Korea. Powerhouse drag-flicking defender Andy Hayward and agile goalkeeper Devon Manchester were both stars players in that particular tournament, and will be looking to make their mark on the event in Buenos Aires. The team coached by former Australian international Colin Batch is blessed with enormous talent, supreme fitness levels and an incredible will to win, all attributes that make them a side to be both feared and respected in equal measure

KOREA – current world ranking 8
Korea come into the Hockey World League Semi-Final with a big reputation that has been earned by a long period of excellence at both Asian and world level events. The world no 8 ranked team have competed in every Hockey World Cup since 1994 and every Olympic Games since 1996, although that record could be in jeopardy should they fail to achieve a top three finish in Buenos Aires. Korea missed out on automatic Olympic qualification at the 2014 Asian Games on home soil in Incheon, where India took home both the Gold medal and the ticket to Rio ahead of Silver medallists Pakistan. However, the host nation did produce an excellent performance to take the Bronze medal ahead of Malaysia, with penalty corner expert and tournament top scorer Jang Jonghyun scoring twice in a 3-2 victory. Jang also top scored at the 2014 FIH Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan, Malaysia, as Korea defeated HWL rivals Canada in the tournament final to secure a place at the prestigious FIH Champions Trophy 2016.

JAPAN – current world ranking 16
The Samurais – coached former Korea international Kang Keonwook, an Olympic Silver medallist from the Sydney 2000 Games – booked their place in the Semi-Final phase of the Hockey World League courtesy of a third place finish at the HWL Round 2 event in Singapore. Like Pool A rivals Korea, Japan missed out on automatic Olympic qualification at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon. Their sixth place finish at that event means that they need to produce a strong performance in the Argentina Hockey World League Semi-Final if they are to maintain hopes of competing in their first Olympic Games since 1968. Japan recently produced some excellent displays in a test series defeat in India against the host nation, and will be keen to make a good impression in Buenos Aires. Key players in the Japan line-up include defenders Koji Kayukawa and Tomonori Ono, while lively striker Kenta Tenaka is a reliable source of goals for his team.

EGYPT – current world ranking 20
Egypt started their Hockey World League journey in September 2014 when they participated in the Round 1 tournament in Nairobi, Kenya. The North Africans produced a dominant display by topping the table ahead of continental rivals Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania, securing a safe passage through to the second phase, where they would face several higher ranked nations in the eight-team tournament in Cape Town, South Africa. Again, Egypt showed that they were more than up to the challenge, snatching third place behind tournament winners France and surprise Silver medallists China. Egypt’s place in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals was confirmed thanks to a stunning shoot-out victory over continental rivals South Africa, condemning the home favourites to fourth place and forcing them to rely on success in October’s African Cup for Nations later this year if they are to realise their own dream of competing in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Fascinatingly, Egypt will play host to that continental championship, and will feel more confident than ever that they can break a South African event winning streak that goes back to 1993.

#RoadToRio #HWL2015

FIH site

Holland's Jeroen Hertzberger aims to turn silvers to gold for Rio 2016

Dutch forward is one of world hockey's leading players and is all too aware of national men's side clutch of silvers
By Rod Gilmour

Fronting up: Jeroen Hertzberger says finishing third and fourth is no good for Dutch hockey Photo: STX

As a 10-year-old, Jeroen Hertzberger remembers getting up in the middle of the night to watch the likes of Stephan Veen and the rest of the Dutch men’s side win gold during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Four years later, they achieved consecutive Olympic hockey titles.

But the men’s side endured a barren run during the noughties, at least in the two tournaments that matter in hockey. “It’s a big thing and everyone is talking about it,” says Hertzberger. “Since 2000 we haven’t won a major tournament and have four silvers.”

Holland have not won major title since 2000 (Getty Images)

There’s no doubting that for the Rio Games, which will mark 20 years since a young Hertzberger first watched his heroes, the world No 2 side are intent on stamping out the silver-laden years, a period which has seen the all-conquering Dutchwomen lift two world and two Olympic titles.

Holland will be one of 10 sides playing in the World League in Argentina this week, the first of four tournaments acting as Olympic qualifying. Taking place in Antwerp and Valencia over the next month, there are three guaranteed berths available for Rio at each event.

“This year is important to be ready and it’s about gaining confidence,” says Hertzberger, the 29-year-old who made his debut in 2007. “If we go and finish third or fourth it builds the pressure. It takes winning to know how to win big tournaments.”

Hertzberger has spent 13 years at HC Rotterdam, the busy club with 2,500 hockey players and a junior section which, the captain says, is like “600 little ants running around” every week.

However, Hertzberger was not one of these flourishing, eager juniors. The youngest of four children, the family moved away from the Netherlands when he was aged two. His father worked for a multi-national and they took in countries such as the Congo, before being forced to move due to the civil war outbreak.

The Hertzbergers spent time in Budapest and Vienna, and it was at the latter where he feels he grew up and his hockey thrived. “The roots of my career were planted here,” he says.

Jeroen Hertzberger puts his physical strengths down to Austrian upbringing

“I got more games on the ball and game time than I ever did. I played twice on Saturday and one game on Sunday. Physically, it was the smartest thing I have done.”

When he eventually returned home, he was quickly dropped from the Dutch under-18 squad and admits it took time for him to learn the tactics.

Over a decade and 100 international caps later, Hertzberger was part of the Dutch men’s squad to reach the World Cup final in The Hague against Australia last summer, a finale every bit as dispiriting on home turf as the one – 9-2 – handed out by Holland to Great Britain at London 2012.

“It’s tough to look back at that game and where it went wrong,” recalls Hertzberger of their 6-1 hammering on home soil.

“We both had five penalty corners each. We went down 2-1 at half-time but were in the game completely.

“It was still all to play for. We didn’t properly discuss it if 3-1 ever came about. We didn’t have a tactical plan to battle that. It was a tough situation and we went all or nothing.”

As Hertzberger also puts it, “no one could quite believe what was happening.” For Australia, the goals kept on coming and it was a hat-trick of penalty corners from Chris Ciriello which ultimately proved the difference.

“If we played Australia 10 times, we wouldn’t lose 6-1 again. Everyone was surprised.”

Just as surprising as Holland’s 15-year dearth of major success, an unwanted record Hertzberger is out to put right.

Jeroen Hertzberger represents STX, specialising in lacrosse, field hockey and ice hockey. www.stx.com/fieldhockey

The Telegraph

Pakistan hockey captain confident of preparations

By Nabil Tahir

Hockey World League Semi-finals scheduled to begin from June 20 in Antwerp. PHOTO: PakistanToday

KARACHI: Pakistan hockey captain Muhammad Imran is confident of the team’s preparations ahead of the Hockey World League Semi-finals scheduled to begin from June 20 in Antwerp, which will also serve as qualifiers for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The national team has already undertaken two preparatory tours for the qualifiers — the Four-Nation Hobart International Challenge in Australia where they finished second, and a four-match stint in Korea where they lost one match and drew two.

Imran believes that the tours have highlighted all their weak spots which they will tackle in the week-long training camp starting from the first week of June. “Both the tours were successful in teaching us what was needed,” Imran told The Express Tribune. “We have pointed out the mistakes and weak areas to work on which we will strive to overcome in the final phase of the training camp.”

The Pakistan Hockey Federation intends to train the players for a week before sending the team to Belgium, 12 days before the event is scheduled to start so that the players can acclimatise themselves to the playing conditions there.

Meanwhile, head coach Shahnaz Sheikh, after analysing the team’s performances on the tours, has asked the players to improve their fitness as he believes that is the key to reaching their goal.

“Players who have been active in the game since March without a gap have been given a week’s rest, while others have been advised to work hard on their fitness routine. The players need to be at their best for the qualifiers,” said Sheikh.

The Express Tribune

Subahan sings for harmony, Beng Hai whistles

Paul McCartney

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don't we?
We all know that people are the same where ever we go
There is good and bad in ev'ryone,
We learn to live, we learn to give
Each other what we need to survive together alive.
Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh lord why don't we?

MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal and national coach Tai Beng Hai gave a discreet life-line to troubled striker Faizal Saari (pic).

Speaking after the second Executive Board Meeting on Saturday, Subahan said harmony was back in the team leading to the World League Semi-finals in Belgium on June 20 to July 5.

The WL Semis is an Olympic Qualifier: "I have met the players and had a heart-to-heart talk with them and I believe the players are in harmony with each other. Eight of them will get a last chance to play in the highest level, Olympics, and they know better than throwing away this golden opportunity as age is not on their side any more."

Subahan also said since all the problems, including money, has been solved he believes the players will give their best in Belgium.

As for Beng Hai, he is looking for a fresh start by erasing the past as he is in dire need of a striker as he has two players on the crock list.

After a reboot, its back to factory settings for the team.

"The players have been told to forget the past and play for their future. I have two players on the injury list and I need a striker, so Faizal is still in the running to make the Belgium squad provided he maintains his form and attitude.

"He attends training and also has a better attitude now, and hopefully all his past will be forgotten and the other players will not hold it against Faizal," said Beng Hai.

On the injury list are Ramadan Rosli who pulled a hamstring Hafiz Zainol has a hairline fracture on his right hand suffered in a car accident last week.

Faizal went into controversy mode right after scoring 12 goals and being named as the Best Player in the Singapore World League Round Two in January.

He went missing for a month, because he wanted the bonuses and match allowance owed to him. He was then dropped from the Australian Tour, and also a Tour of Netherlands and Belgium.

When asked if Beng Hai was willing to take the risk of player-power disrupting his preparations like what happened at the World Cup last year, the chief coach said he does not have much of a choice.

"I need a striker, and Faizal is still among the best. This is their shot at Olympic glory, and I believe they will not throw it away just for a grudge against one player," said Beng Hai.

For the record, at least 10 players had approached the then MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah to drop Faizal from the Netherlands World Cup squad, but their request was not entertained.

And during the World Cup, Faizal rarely received the ball, and was a total washout.

The players can't afford this attitude in Belgium, if they want to play in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

A hockey Super League in the pipeline for Malaysia

By S. Ramaguru

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation is looking to restructure the current Malaysian Hockey League to make it better.

KUALA LUMPUR: A hockey Super League is in the offing in Malaysia.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee is now looking at revamping the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) and replace it with the Super League.

“But this Super League will not start immediately. Due to time constraint, this year’s MHL will go on as planned at the end of July,” said newly-appointed competitions committee chairman George Koshy.

“As part of our long-term goal we need to look at restructuring the MHL to make it better and more inclusive.

“For the moment whatever tournaments that are in the pipeline will go on as planned. There is no rush as we don’t have the time to make drastic changes,” said Koshy, who is also the MHC deputy president

He added that the Super League would involve teams from all their 16 affiliates.

“We hope to have a league in every state with 10 teams in the fray. After that, all the state champions would gather to play in the Super League. Before we get this project off the ground, the competitions committee need a thorough discussion as we also have to get the sponsors to come on board to work with us,” said Koshy.

Koshy is busy now recruiting members to join the competitions committee.

“I’ve yet to decide on the composition of the committee or how many members. But it will be set up in a week’s time as we need to start planning for the MHL and call for entries,” he said.

Other tournaments remaining in this year’s MHC calendar are the Razak Cup, Under-14 championships and the women’s RNA Cup.

The Star of Malaysia

Majchrzak hat trick inspires WKS in Poland

WKS Grunwald Poznan won back the Polish national title as they gained revenge over Pomorzanin Torun in devastating fahsion in their final, running up a 7-1 success.

They got off to a flying start with Mateusz Poltaszewski on the mark before Karol Majchrzak netted another two for a 3-0 lead.

Pomorzanin responded in kind with a lovely goal from Krystian Makowski, leaving them 3-1 behind at half-time.

But the second half was even tougher for last year’s Polish winners as they tired. Waldemar Rataj restored the three-goal margin while Tomasz Dutkiewicz fired home a corner for 5-1.

Adrian Krokosz got the next and, less than two minutes from the end, Majchrzak completed his hat trick for the military side.
The Polish bronze medal went to AZS AWF Poznan who beat AZS Politechnika Poznansk 3-0.

Euro Hockey League media release

India's preparatory camp for Junior Women's Hockey Asia Cup begins

NEW DELHI: India's preparatory camp ahead of seventh Junior Women's Asia Cup started on Sunday at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

A total of 48 core probables will take part in the camp under the watchful eyes of coach NS Saini for a week after which the list will trimmed down to 33 on June 5.

The Junior Women's Asia Cup will be held in China from September 5 to 13.

Commenting on the camp, Hockey India's High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans said: "This year the national championship was very fruitful for us. We got players who could be further nurtured and taken to the next level. This camp includes players who are very skillful and we know they will make it to the international arena very soon."

List of Probables:

Goalkeepers: Sonal Minz, Swetha, Inderpreet Kaur, Divya Thepe, Priya Rani, Suruj Kisku.

Defenders: Priya, Ashmita Barla, Rukhmani Dodray, Rashmita Minz, Rajani Soreng, Anuja Singh, Aarti, Sitamani Topno, Lalhlun Mawii Pachuav, Mahima Chaudray.

Midfielders: Manpreet Kaur, Pooja Rani, Ranjitha A K, Shyama Tirgam, Preeti Dubey, Karishma Yadav, Navdeep Kaur, Swetha, Rajni Bala, Subhasi Hemron, Nil Projita Manji, Lalruatfeli H, Lalhmun Mawii Fanai, Udita.

Forwards: Rashmi P P, Anima Minz, Narinder Kaur, Puja Yadav, Jyoti Gupta, Sonika, Navpreet Kaur, Jyoti, Manisha, Kanti Pradhan, Priyanka Wankhede, Sarita Devi, Pramila Soreng, Alka Dung Dung, Sandhya H P, Neha Goyal, Navneet Kaur, Pratiba Arya.

The Times of India

Junior women's hockey core probables' camp starts

NEW DELHI: A preparatory camp for the Indian junior women's hockey core probables will commence at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium from Sunday and will continue till July 11.

The camp is the groundwork for the seventh Junior Women's Asia Cup slated to be held from September 5 to 13 in China. A total of 48 players have been selected for the camp, Hockey India (HI) announced on Sunday.

The probables will be part of the camp where they will be trained under coach NS Saini for one week and on June 5, top 33 players will be selected to continue training till July 11.

The camp includes players who made a mark through their consistent performance in the recently culminated fifth Hockey India Junior Women National Championship at Rajnandgaon, Chattisgarh.

Among the goalkeepers, Suruj Kisku gets an opportunity to be part of the camp - all because of her great show under the bar during the National Championship.

Among the defenders, the players who have made the cut for the all important camp are Rukhmani Dodray, Rajani Soreng, Aarti, Sitamani Topno, Mahima Chaudray and Lalhlun Mawii Pachuav.

Similarly the new mid-fielders include Navdeep Kaur, Swetha, Rajni Bala, Subhasi Hemron, Nil Projita Manji, H Lalruatfeli, Lalhmun Mawii Fanai and Udita.

Several talented forwards like Pooja Yadav, Sarita Devi, Pramila Soreng, Alka Dung Dung, Sandhya HP, Neha Goyal, Navneet Kaur and Pratiba Kaur will be seen training and looking at making it for the big platform.

"This year the National Championship was very fruitful for us. We got players who could be further nurtured and taken to the next level," HI high performance director Roelant Oltmans said in a release.

"This camp even includes players who are very skillful and we know they will make it to the international arena very soon," the Dutchman added.

The Times of India

Canara Bank lifts title in hockey tourney

Defeats BSF in the final

Triumphant: Canara Bank fought back from 4-1 down to draw the match 4-4 at full time, before winning 2-0 via tie-breaker.

Canara Bank, Bengaluru defeated BSF, Jalandhar 2-0 via tie-breaker to win the seventh Lakshmi Ammal Memorial all-India hockey tournament at the Lakshmi Ammal polytechnic grounds here on Sunday.

It was a brilliant rear guard action from Canara Bank, Bengaluru to draw the match 4-4 at full time after it was down 4-1 in the first half. For BSF, Jalandhar, Hatinder Singh, scored three goals in the first half.

In the third place play-off, Sivamani’s brace helped Income Tax, Chennai thrash MPHA, Bhopal 7-3.

The winners walked away with prize money of Rs. 100,000.

The runner up took home Rs. 75,000. Third placed team got Rs. 50,000 while Rs. 30,000 went to team that finished fourth. The quarterfinalists were given a cash award of Rs. 20,000 each.

The results: Final: Canara Bank 4 (Shesha Gowda, Ronald Kiran, Ratan, Swamy) drew with BSF 4 (Hatinder 3, Ranjit Singh); Canara Bank won 2-0 via tie-breaker.

Third place play-off: Income Tax, Chennai 7 (Sivamani 2, Arun 1, Charles 1, Nijanthan 1, Chingappa 1, Hasan Basha 1) bt MPHA, Bhopal 3 (Mohit Kumar Pathak, Tarun Adhikari, Arjun Sharma).

Special awards: Best forward: Somanna (Canara Bank, Bengaluru); Best defender: Sathish (Income Tax, Chennai); Best mid-fielder: Ratan (Canara Bank, Bengaluru); Best goalkeeper: Sunny Samuel (BSF, Jalandhar); Most promising youngster: Mathan (LAMHOT, Kovilpatti); Player of the tournament: Vikas Chaudhary (MPHA XI, Bhopal).

The Hindu

Fitting finale, joint winners for Joe Ezekiel Cup

May 31, New Delhi: Coming from 1-3 down, Citizen XI team surprised fighting and dominating Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, Ashok Nagar, to earn join winners label in the first Prof Joe Ezekiel Inter-School Hockey Cup 2015, with a pulsating score of 3-3.

Chief Guest Mrs. Khorshed W. Ezekiel and sponsor Mr. Gulu Ezekiel with the joint winning teams at the end of the first Prof. Joe Ezekiel Memorial Inter-school Hockey Cup organized by One Thousand Hockey Legs at the Shivaji Stadium on Sunday. The final ended 3-3.

Citizen XI took the lead through an immaculate penalty corner conversion, only to concede three goals to Ashok Nagar school and then from 1-3 down came up with two good performances that yielded two goals to end the match 3-3.

Hardworking front player Parshant managed to outfox entire defence to bring the score to 2-3 when he created enough dodge to enter into the D with the ball.

Just when less than a minute remained for the hooter, energetic midfielder Sanjay Soni of Citizen XI, which played the recent Sub-Junior Nationals in Jammu, struck much to the delight of goody crowd (3-3).

Due to bad light and over-running time, the organizers decided to award the title jointly to both the deserving teams.

Mrs Khorshed W. Ezekiel and her son Gulu Ezekiel on the occasion

The inaugural event was started four days ago, which saw exciting schools hockey in Delhi, which normally is deprived of quality tournament.

Grabbing the opportunity that came their way, the participating 8 teams showed enough gut and prowess, and also braved hot summer, to garner enough match experience.

Graceful Khorshed W Ezekiel, wife of late Prof Joe Ezekiel, in whose memory the event is conceptualized and executed, was present herself to witness the event, and also to give away the winners trophy and other prizes.

Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, Bangner, was adjudged as the Fair Play winner, while Navneeth of Ashok Vihar team won the Outstanding Player of the Tournament.

Ten players were selected as the Rising Stars and were presented with a pair of quality shoes and a trophy each.

Its worthwhile to note here that the teams were mostly from government schools, who do not get opportunity to showcase their latent potential and the players are normally from very low rungs of of the stratified society.

Celebration after Citizen XI struck the equalizer in the last minute

When these players, who turn out to be exciting artistic players, like Rahul and Rohit of Citizen XI, it augurs well for the welfare society that we are, and when they together with captains of all participating teams bowed in utmost respect to the feet of the Chief Guest Mrs. Korshed W Ezekiel, it evoked etching memories and emotional moments.

Gulu Ezekiel, son of prof Joe Ezekiel, was excited to be with his age-old mother and witness the grand and fitting finale.

"Perhaps my mother, an ardent follower of great legends like AIS Dara of early 30s and 40s, is witnessing a hockey match after almost 5,6 decades" Gulu recollected.

The event was organized by the Delhi based NGO, Hockey Citizen Group, which runs the universally popular One Thousand Hockey Legs project in five cities of India. Its Founder & CEO K. Arumugam was also present on the occasion.

The list of award winners:
Best players:
Parshant, SBV Ashok Vihar
Tinu, SBV Ashok Vihar
Pankaj, GBSSS, Khanpur
Mukul, SBV Ashok Nagar
Vikky, GCSBV, Shahpurjat
Abhinandan, GBSSS, Mahrauli
Parvez, Anglo-Arabic Sr. Sec. School


Once TN's Hockey Hub, Today Victim of Multiple Self-goals

By Yazhiniyan

Members of Kovilpatti Sports Club posing with the trophy in Thoothukudi on Sunday | Express

THOOTHUKUDI:  If you think Kovilpatti is only about matchsticks and crunchy ground nut candies, then you are not all that right. The quaint little town in Thoothukudi district plays a significant role in the evolution of the country’s national game, hockey. Sadly, the buzz is waning, because of dwindling matches and sponsors.

Hockey was introduced in Kovilpatti in the pre-Independence days, largely due to the efforts of a doctor, Durairaj, who was a player himself. It was because of his untiring efforts that the Kovilpatti Sports Club was formed in the year 1944 and State-level matches were conducted from 1946. Soon the game spread to all parts of the State and several talents started to emerge. In 1960, Durairaj purchased a piece of land and constructed a hockey stadium with contribution from Lakshmi Mills, where he worked as medical officer. Later, a trust named Kuppusamy Naidu Memorial Trust was formed and the State tournament was converted to national tournament under the banner Kuppusamy Naidu Memorial Tournament. A local team was formed in the year 1962 and was coached by legendary Dhyan Chand. Star players like Olympians Baskar and Peter have also played for the Kovilpatti team.

However, contemporary players feel that sport of 60 years has hit a low that it needs government intervention and private sponsors to conduct matches again.

Mathiah, who played several club matches in Mumbai and Bangalore, points out that the frequency of hockey tournaments has reduced drastically in the last five years. “Hockey players were assured of central government jobs earlier but now that the government has stopped recruiting sports persons, budding talents prefer to focus on other professions. Apart from this, private sponsors have declined and the rural clubs are in no position to generate resources to conduct tournaments,” he said. “The past glory of Kovilpatti could be restored only if Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) conducts hockey competitions here,” said Mathiah.

The New Indian Express

Munir Dar — Pakistan hockey legend remembered

By Ijaz Chaudhry

LAHORE: June 1st marks the fourth death anniversary of Pakistan hockey’s legendary full-back Munir Dar. Four years back that day, I was in Holland with Dar Hockey Academy, a brain child of Munir Dar himself. Dar HA was about to play the opening match of its 2011 European tour. As the sad news arrived, the academy officials wanted to cancel the match but Munir Dar’s son Taqueer, the Dar HA president, advised from Pakistan, to fulfill the commitment. The academy played the match wearing black arm bands and before the start of the match a one minute silence was observed in the memory of the departed legend. Munir Dar lived a remarkable rather an enviable life.

Born in 1936 in Amritsar, the young Munir moved to Lahore in 1947. At his new home, he found a hockey stick; the life-long love affair started. Blessed with a very athletic and strong physique, Munir displayed all the attributes of a solid defender at the right full-back position. Moreover, he was a wonderful striker of the penalty corners. All this meant, he was soon on the radar of the national selectors. The 19 year old Munir earned a spot for the 1956 Olympics. At those Melbourne Games, Pakistan won their first ever Olympic medal in any discipline – silver. Young Munir’s display in the final was memorable. There was no looking back. Munir created sensation at the 1958 Asian Games. Against Korea, who had made headlines by restricting India, the undisputed kings of hockey at that time, to a 2-1 victory, Munir successfully converted as many as five successive penalty corners – a feat never done in international hockey before and only equalled twice since then. In fact, Munir’s goals against Korea made all the difference. The hockey tournament of the 1958 Asiad was played on a single league. The Pakistan-India match ended scoreless and the two sides finished with equal points. Pakistan won the gold on goal difference largely due to their big win against the Koreans.

Two years later, Munir again figured in Pakistan’s first ever Olympic gold medal in Rome ending India’s 32 year hegemony. He remained Pakistan’s first choice until his retirement after the 1966 Asian Games when he had the honour of captaining the national side. In three Olympic appearances, he garnered one gold and two silvers. In as many appearances at the Asian Games, Munir’s medal cabinet had two golds and one silver. Before his exit from the international scene, Munir had already groomed his younger brother Tanvir Dar to be his successor. Tanvir, also a right fullback, was a member of the 1968 Olympic gold medal winning team. He also reigned supreme at the inaugural World Cup in 1971 where he was tournament’s top scorer with eight goals for the victorious Pakistan side.

The Dar success story continued and Munir’s eldest son Taqueer completed the unique family treble when he figured in the Pakistan team which won country’s third Olympic gold medal in 1984. His second son Taseer was a stand by for those Olympics. It was only dirty politics that Taseer couldn’t don the senior national shirt. The experts rated his penalty corner strike more powerful and accurate than any of the other Dars. All this disheartened the youngest son Tafseer, who had been showing great promise, to the extent that he decided to say good bye to hockey and turned to cricket. Tafseer played first-class cricket for quite some time. Munir also coached Pakistan’s senior and junior national sides in 70s and 80s.

Hockey was just one part of Munir Dar's multi-faceted personality. An avid horse racer with an eye for horses, his stable won a number of races at the Lahore race club. His interest in sports was not confined to hockey. Dar Sahib was the founder president of the Pakistan Karate Federation and also served at the executive committee of the Pakistan Rugby Federation. A police officer by profession, he was the chairman of the Police Sports Board from 1985 to 1995. His tenure is remembered as the golden decade of the police sports. The policemen won laurels not only at the national level but also made Pakistan proud at the Asian and world level.

At the 1990 Asian Games, Ghulam Abbas won an athletics gold for Pakistan after 16 years – no one has won since. Yahya Butt and Mansoor Butt won Mr Asia titles in bodybuilding. Dar was instrumental in raising the Asian Style Kabaddi team of police. Coming to his own discipline of hockey, under Munir Dar’s direct supervision, the Police team won the national championships in 1993 for only the second time; the first was way back in 1960 when Munir himself was a member of the team. The year of 1994 saw Pakistan hockey’s last hurrah at the global stage. The green shirts won the World Cup after 12 years and the Champions trophy after 14 years. The police team provided five players in the national outfits for the two tournaments, more than any other department. A very bold and vocal personality, he never hesitated in calling spade a spade and was much feared by the incompetent and failed sport administrators of the country who often faced Munir’s wrath. He was an institution in himself. Blessed with an excellent memory, Dar was a reservoir of stories from the sports world. We all miss him.

The Daily Times

FIH and PAHF Presidents visit Guyana

Selfie with FIH President!. Philip Fernandes, Guyana Hockey Board

FIH President Leandro Negre and PAHF President Alberto ‘Coco’ Budeisky made their first ever visit to Guyana on May 19th 2015.  While in Guyana, the Presidents occupied themselves with a full schedule in meeting with the executive members of the Guyana Hockey Board, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Sport, the President and General Secretary of the Guyana Olympic Association along with some lighter moments in meeting some of the young and old hockey players.

The primary item being discussed was a plan aimed at securing land for Guyana to lay its first artificial hockey pitch.  Hockey in Guyana dates back to the late twenties with its most successful period being in the 1970’s.  Since the introduction of artificial pitches for hockey, Guyana has enjoyed occasional international success but finds it difficult to keep abreast of its regional counterparts.  The lack of an artificial pitch for international hockey has proved a serious impediment for Guyana to be able to adequately prepare its athletes for international competition.  In addition, the long rainy seasons prohibit the use of grass fields in Guyana for hockey as they are all cricket fields where cricket is the priority.

The Guyana Hockey Board expressed great pleasure in hosting their prestigious visitors especially as an FIH President has never visited the country before and it has been over 25 years since a PAHF President has last visited.

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

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