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News for 03 June 2015

All the news for Wednesday 3 June 2015

The stage is set in Buenos Aires; let the action begin

A place at the Hockey World League Final and a ticket to Rio are the rewards awaiting the teams competing in Argentina.

33 games; 10 teams; 4 continents; 9 days of intense competition; and at the end of it all three guaranteed qualification spots. The top three in the Argentina Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires will gain automatic qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as well the showcase end of year event, the Hockey World League Final.

“We want to directly qualify for the Olympics. This is part of our job,” says German coach Markus Weise. The Olympic champions are definitely among the favourites in Buenos Aires, alongside strong contenders from the Netherlands and host nation Argentina. However, there are a few teams that have the potential to surprise, including New Zealand and Korea.

Pool A in Buenos Aires will be contested by the current Olympic and World Cup Silver medallists the Netherlands, as well as New Zealand, Korea, Japan and Egypt. Pool B sees Germany, host nation Argentina, Spain, Canada and Austria in action. The round-robin pool phase will take place over five competition days (3-9 June). Following the round-robin, the top four teams in each pool will move into the crossover quarter-final phase, while the teams that finish fifth in each pool will play off for 9/10 place. The winners of the quarter-final matches will move into semi-finals and the medal games, with the losing teams playing for placement.

“Everyone is coming with the ambition to qualify for the Olympics directly from here,”  says Black Sticks coach Colin Batch. “Then you don’t have to go through the continental championships.” Asked who he thought was the favourite to win the Argentina World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires, Batch added: “I think Argentina are the favourites. They play at home and they know the conditions.” In the pool stage Batch sees the Netherlands as “very difficult to beat.”

The Black Sticks will open the tournament on Wednesday at 14:00 local time with their match against Egypt. Afterwards the crowd will see an Asian encounter with Korea taking on Japan. Korea coach Shin Seokkyo hopes that his team make the top three although he is aware of the strength of the others: “This is a very strong tournament, so it will be tough to win a medal. A top four finish would also put us in a good position to qualify for Rio. But we definitely want to win the quarter-final and I expect us to do this.”

The Netherlands will start their World League Semi-Final affair on Thursday against Egypt. “We came here to win every game. Getting a ticket for Rio would be our reward for winning every game,” states Dutch coach Max Caldas. “For us it is important to learn how to play against the top teams and how to beat them.” Caldas points out that six of the 10 participating teams in Buenos Aires qualified for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup in 2014.

Caldas, who recently led the Dutch women to the world cup title, added “They are all hard to beat. I think especially Germany are very well prepared and also New Zealand brought a complete senior team. However, I have a lot of trust in my players that they will be very good.”

Spain and Canada will open the pool B competition on Wednesday, followed by Argentina facing Austria. “We will take it game by game. I am very happy to play here in Buenos Aires,” says Argentine coach Carlos Retegui. “It is our main objective to qualify for the Olympics and this is why we were training so hard,” says Matias Paredes. “I hope that the spectators will push us.”

Austria’s captain Benjamin Stanzl explains: “It was our goal to reach the World League Semi-Final although it might be a surprise for other nations that Austria had qualified. We will see what we can expect now, it will be interesting to play four pool matches. We know that we need to win at least one game to keep our chances open to reach the quarter-final. It is our goal to win points against Spain or Canada.”

The Olympic champions from Germany open their account with their match against Spain on Thursday. A lot of action and breath-taking matches are guaranteed, so let’s get started!

#HWL2015 #RoadToRio

FIH site

Oranje going for gold

Netherlands men have a title to defend, while the women are seeking to do an impressive treble, but a few teams are standing in the path of the Oranje.

In India, two years ago, the Netherland’s men’s team won the inaugural Hockey World League Final, stampeding to a 7-2 victory over New Zealand. Constantijn Jonker found the net three times, with Billy Bakker scoring twice and Bob de Voogd and Rogier Hofman also scoring. The moment was a sweet one for the men in orange as the trophy cabinet had looked bare of late, certainly by their own high standards.

For the women, winning major trophies has become second nature. Olympic gold in 2012, the successful defence of their 2008 gold medal; and World Cup gold in 2014. Winning a World Hockey League gold medal would be a nice way to start their 2016 Olympic campaign.

Both Jaap Stockmann and Joyce Sombroek have been pivotal in their respective team’s successes. Tellingly, both were voted male and female FIH Goalkeeper of the Year in 2014. They spoke about their hopes for victory in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, qualification to the World League Final and the 2016 Olympics.

The men will be competing in Buenos Aires, and will be favourites to win by virtue of their number two world work ranking. Among the teams looking to inflict defeat upon the Dutch are Germany and Argentina, with New Zealand hoping to avenge that defeat in India. However, as Jaap points out, any team could upset the form-book, especially when little is known about some of the teams participating. “We have never played against Egypt for instance, so it is difficult to say how they will play. We don't know their qualities, which makes it hard to have expectations. No lower-ranked opposition should be underestimated, since every team can win against anybody. There is a clear development going on and that means lower ranked teams can deliver unexpected results. This is good for international hockey and also for the tournament.”

Jaap spoke about the challenge ahead: “I think we have a chance but it is tough competition. Qualification for the Rio Olympics is at stake which is very important. We see some of the best teams of the world competing and we have to be at our very best to do well at the tournament.”

His counterpart in goal for the women is Joyce Sombroek. She is looking forward to the challenge her team will face in their Semi-Final in Antwerp. “We’re really looking forward to the HWL semi final. It will give us a chance to see where we are at. We’ve trained hard and improved quite a lot of things since the Champions Trophy (Netherlands finished third behind Australia and Argentina).

“Over the last part of the season we have had a busy schedule with our club teams, but for the past few weeks our focus has been entirely on the national team. Our team selection will be announced at the beginning of June and with this squad we will play a few practice games. It’s good to get used to the new rules and game format again, as we don't use them in the Dutch league yet.”

In Antwerp, the Oranje face Azerbaijan first, followed by matches against Korea, Japan and Italy. With respective rankings of 19, 9, 10 and 16, Joyce would be forgiven for a touch of complacency, but this is far from the case. “These are all opponents with different qualities, but I expect all of them to play quite defensively. We have to make sure that we play very dynamically and at a high pace to create opportunities. We want to improve during the tournament and make sure we qualify for both the World League Final and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next summer. In the end, I hope to go home with a gold medal, as we always want to win.”

FIH site

Men’s National Team sights set high on eve of World League Semifinals

Canada faces Spain Wednesday at 2:00pm PT

Shaheed Devji

Every four years, before the world’s best athletes meet at the Olympic Games to compete for their respective world titles, they converge worldwide at various Olympic qualifiers to earn their way to the big show.

For ten men’s national field hockey teams, including Canada, that first coming together has starts tomorrow.

Wednesday marks the beginning of the World League Semifinals in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Canada and nine other teams will battle for three 2016 Olympic spots.

For the Canadians, who are ranked fifteenth in the world, and will be going up against five of the world’s top ten teams, the task is a big one but the goal is clear: Olympic qualification.

“We’re very aware of how hard the competition is going to be and we’re exciting about playing in it,” says Men’s National Team head coach Anthony Farry. “We want to win the competition first off, but the main thing is qualification.”

In its round robin matches, Canada faces Spain (June 3rd, 6:00pm local), Austria (June 4th, 6:00pm local), Argentina (June 6th, 6:00pm local) and Germany (June 9th, 2:00pm local). Of their four preliminary round opponents, three are ranked higher than Canada and two sit in the top ten.

“Canada always relishes opportunities like this,” says Men’s National Team defender Gordon Johnston, who recently played in his sixtieth international match. “We play well against teams that are ranked higher than us and we like to play up to their level and standard.”

And Canada has recently proven it is up to the challenge.

At the 2014 Champions Challenge in Kuantan, Malaysia, Canada defeated the host Malaysians (currently ranked twelfth in the world) to earn a spot in the tournament final, and held the eighth ranked Korea to a 3-3 draw earlier in the tournament.

More recently, after a strong showing at World League Round 2 in San Diego, California in March, where Canada was forced to beat Russia in the playoff round – after the Russians had defeated the Canadian in the preliminary round – to qualify for the tournament in Argentina, the Canadians’ confidence level is high.

“For a long time now we’ve been thinking about the next stage and moving on to World League 3, and qualifying for Olympics,” Johnston adds.

“The tournament has been kind of hanging over us for a couple of years now. And now that we’ve qualified and showed that we do have what it takes, there’s a quiet confidence within the group.”

The top three finishers at the World League Semifinals in Argentina are guaranteed a spot at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Canada will have a second shot to qualify for Rio later this summer at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, where the winner of the field hockey competition earns a spot at the Olympics.

Canada’s first match in Argentina is against Spain and begins Wednesday at 2:00pm PT/5:00pm ET. The match can be watched live at http://starsports.com.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Ryan Archibald returns to spark Black Sticks men for World League semifinals

Hugely experienced Auckland midfielder Ryan Archibald comes back into the Black Sticks men's squad for the World League semifinals in Buenos Aires, Argentina. NZPA/David Rowland

Veteran midfielder Ryan Archibald will try and spark the Black Sticks men to rediscover winning form as they chase qualification for the Rio Olympics at the World League semifinal, starting in Buenos Aires on Wednesday (Thursday NZT).

The 34-year-old Aucklander, who has 284 test caps to his name, was absent as the New Zealand hockey side suffered three losses and had just one victory at the International Challenge in Hobart last month.

They must secure a top-three placing at the 10-team tournament in Argentina to book their place in Rio next year, while a top-four result will put them through to the World League final in India  in November.

Archibald adds further experience to an  already experienced squad selected by head coach Colin Batch.

Phil Burrows (336), skipper Simon Child (230) and Shea McAleese (214) also have over 200 caps for their country and just six of the 18-strong squad have played less than 100 tests.

Although two of their defeats in Hobart came against the world No 1 Australia, New Zealand were also beaten 3-1 by South Korea, who they will face in pool play in Buenos Aires.

That match between the world No 7 Black Sticks and world No 8 Koreans could decide who finishes second in pool A, with No 2 ranked Netherlands likely to finish top and Japan (16) and Egypt (20) the other teams in the group.

New Zealand open their campaign against Egypt at 5am on Thursday NZT, followed by Japan at 5am on Friday, the Netherlands at 5am on Monday and Korea at 9am on Wednesday.

Germany (No 3) and hosts Argentina (No 6) are the two teams expected to top pool B, with one a potential semifinal opponent for the Black Sticks if they reach the quarterfinals and are successful.

Despite three players being unavailable, Batch was happy with his squad and looking forward to seeing skillful North Harbour midfielder Steve Edwards joining the team's strike-force.

"We have some injuries at present with Nick Wilson, Shay Neal and James Coughlan all sidelined, but have created good depth and are still able to put out a very good side for Argentina.

"Steve Edwards will also move into the attacking line. He is a very talented player with great attacking skills and we think he can be genuine goal-scoring threat."

Southern defender and drag-flicking option Kane Russell has been rewarded for a strong period of training and is the only other player to join the squad who was not in Hobart.

Black Sticks men's squad: Ryan Archibald (284 caps), Phil Burrows (336), Simon Child (captain, 230), Steve Edwards (192), George Enersen (12), Nick Haig (164), Andy Hayward (190), Blair Hilton (142), Hugo Inglis (146), Stephen Jenness (128), Devon Manchester (55), Shea McAleese (214), George Muir (31), Arun Panchia (157), Dwayne Rowsell (18), Kane Russell (45), Blair Tarrant (126), Nic Woods (18). Coach: Colin Batch.


'Games against Australia, Pak brings best from us'

s2h team

New Delhi: Indian team is geared up for the all important FIH Hockey World League semi-finals in Belgium. Indian tales are riding high after some decent performances under new Indian coach Paul Van Ass in Azlan Shah Cup and Indo-Japan Test Series last month.

The Indian Men Hockey team is practicing hard and is gearing up for the upcoming challenge. Placed in the Pool A of the tournament the team will be seen clashing against Australia, Pakistan, France and Poland and will be aiming the Top 2 position in the Pool phase.

The team is looking forward to their matches against both Australia and Pakistan wherein with the former the Indian boys have proved to be dominant team in the recent clashes and with the latter the team will be looking at settling scores.

Speaking on the tournament and the challenges, Captain Sardar Singh said “The team is shaping out well in the last few practice sessions. Our new game plan of 10 attacking and 10 defending gives the extra boost to the mid-field position, as this will help in countering the counter attacks from the opponents. We are even working on our speed as we realize that this new strategy will work in our favor only if we keep pace with each other and not miss the vital passes.

Speaking on the challenge most awaited by the team, Sardar added “The boys are specially waiting to meet Australia and Pakistan. While playing against Australia we deliver our best hockey and playing against Pakistan is always something which we look forward to and a win against them will be very special.

FIH Hockey World League Semi-Final is scheduled from 20th June - 05 July 2015. India will be seen clashing against France at 09:30 PM IST in their opening match of the tournament on 20 June 2015. The matches will be telecasted LIVE on Star Sports.


New game plan will help boost mid-field position: Sardar

NEW DELHI: Gearing up for the upcoming FIH Hockey World League Semifinals, Indian men's hockey captain Sardar Singh on Tuesday said that his team is working on a new game plan, which is expected to give boost the mid-field position.

Placed in Pool A along side Australia, Pakistan, France and Poland, the skipper said India would be aiming for the top 2 finish in the league phase.

"The team is shaping up well. Our new game plan of 10 attacking and 10 defending gives the extra boost to the mid-field position, and this will also help in negating the counter attacks from the opponents," said Sardar.

"We are working on our speed also as we realize that this new strategy will work in our favour only if we keep pace with each other and not miss the vital passes," he explained.

Sardar said his side was looking to clash with World champions Australia and arch-rivals Pakistan in the upcoming tournament, scheduled to be played from June 20 to July 5.

"The boys are waiting to meet Australia and Pakistan. While playing against Australia, we deliver our best hockey, and playing against Pakistan is always something we look forward to and a win against them will be very special," said Sardar.

India will begin their campaign against France on the opening day of the event, June 20th.

The Times of India

Pakistan's Hockey camp begins on Friday

LAHORE: Around 30 probables have been called for the training camp for the Rio Olympics qualifying round scheduled to be held in Belgium.

The probables have been asked to report to head coach Shahnaz Shiekh on June 4 as the camp starts on June 5 at the Pakistan Sports Complex.

The selected squad will leave for Belgium on June 15 just five days before the start of the qualifying round which is scheduled to be held from June 20 to July 5.

It is a crucial event for the cash-strapped Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) as in case of failure Pakistan will be disqualified from the 2016 Games having already failed to qualify for the last World Cup for the first time.

Earlier, the PHF has planned a one-month training camp in Europe to provide enough practice to the players before the important event but as the federal government is yet provide the federation any grant the squad will be off just five days before the start of the event.


Hockey World League: FIH to make 'significant changes' to tournament portfolio in 2019

FIH's World Hockey League has four tournaments in three different cities over the next month - hardly a recipe for attracting a new audience to the sport
By Rod Gilmour

All to play for: India will compete in World League Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) will make “significant changes” to its tournament portfolio from 2019, according to Kelly Fairweather, chief executive of the sport's world governing body.

On the eve of the World League semi-finals, Fairweather admitted to Telegraph Sport that the current structure offers some “shortcomings” in terms of raising hockey’s profile and making tournaments relevant to a wider audience. Changes are expected to be ratified by the end of the year.

The men’s and women’s World League doubles up as an Olympic qualifier and will be staged in three different venues - Buenos Aires, Antwerp and Valencia - over the next month.

In the first of the men’s World League tournaments, which reaches the semi-final stages on Wednesday in Buenos Aires, 11 of hockey’s top-ranked teams will be joined by qualifiers from earlier rounds, which will include the likes of Austria, Canada and Egypt. The top three sides will qualify automatically for Rio 2016.

Great Britain men will compete in Antwerp, one of World League's three venues

However the convoluted nature of qualification, the staging of tournaments in different cities and the significance of the World League as a whole, at least as far as the top-ranked nations are concerned, have raised questions over the future of the event.

“Part of the strategy at our congress last year was to review our event portfolio top to bottom,” said Fairweather.

“We will look at hockey’s product line across the board with a blank sheet of paper."

The FIH’s tournament structure is currently in place until after the World Cups take place in 2018 - London will host the women's event and India for the men - and Fairweather admitted that the governing body is looking to build an “evolution” in the sport.

“There have been peaks around the World Cups, but nothing to sustain the interest in the game from a fan or broadcasting perspective,” Fairweather, a South African, said.

“As part of the Olympic qualifying, you have to provide two opportunities for teams to qualify which is a reasonable principle.

“We have tried to do this [through the World League and the Continental Championships], but recognise there are some shortcomings with these.

“It will take time to find the right formula. The broadcasters were saying there wasn’t enough competition, while some were saying there was too much.

“Perhaps it is a question of having more consistent international competition, but also meaningful ones that make sense.”

Fairweather used the rugby union template as an example. “As a rugby fan you know what is coming up, with the Six Nations, the Rugby Championship and the Autumn internationals,” he said.

“I don’t know where it is going to end but what I do know is there will be significant change to the current structure [from 2019].”

Hockey 5s, the shortened version of the game which the FIH has been keen to promote since the sport was nearly excluded from the Olympic programme in 2013, will also play a key part in hockey’s future blueprint.

Fairweather said: “Hockey 5s has been quite powerful in terms of our developing countries. They appeal to the younger audience and it’s about getting the sport to new markets.

“You can see a lot of interest in South America, Africa and the Pacific Isles. There is a lot of interest at that level."

Part of the income received from the FIH’s $250 million, eight-year deal with Star Sports, the Indian broadcaster, will also be spent on furthering Hockey 5s, with the governing body having recruited a facilities manager and plans to develop pitches for the shortened format.

Great Britain women begin their Olympic qualification campaign next Wednesday in Valencia, while GB men play in Antwerp, starting on June 21.

The Telegraph

Green Machine Squad for Belgian Series

Ireland’s Men’s National Squad will take on Belgium, ranked 4th in the world, in their final warm up matches before World League 3. The 2 tests will take place on Saturday June 6th and Sunday June 7th at 3pm (Belgian time). The matches will be hosted at KHC Dragons, the same venue that will host World League 3 (June 20-July 5).

Speaking about the encounters, Men’s National Coach Craig Fulton said “We are looking forward to playing against Belgium, the top seed in our pool. They have picked their World League 3 squad and we will do so as well after this weekend’s matches. We are also looking forward to playing at Dragons, the World League 3 venue, and getting a feel for it all beforehand.”

20 man squad for Belgium series

1.Jonny Bell
2.Jonny Bruton
3.Drew Carlisle
4.Peter Caruth
5.Chris Cargo
6.Mitch Darling
7.Stephen Dowds
8.David Fitzgerald
9.Paul Gleghorne
10.Kyle Good
11.Ronan Gormley
12.Conor Harte
13.David Harte
14.John Jackson
15.Eugene Magee
16.Shane O’Donoghue
17.Michael Robson
18.Kirk Shimmins
19.Alan Sothern
20.Micheal Watt

Ireland vs Belgium - Saturday 6th June 3pm (Belgium Time)
Ireland vs Belgium - Sunday 7th June 3pm (Belgium Time)

Irish Hockey Association media release

Wapda, PU Club in hockey final

LAHORE: Wapda and Punjab University Club reached the final of the third All Pakistan Fatima Jinnah Gold Cup Hockey Tournament at the District Sports Ground in Multan on Tuesday.

PU Club were fourth on the points table but defeated Sindh 6-0 in their last league match to earn three precious points and take their tally to 12.

Meanwhile, an exciting match between Army and Punjab Colour ended in a goalless draw. Both teams had 12 points each but the latter made the final on better goal average.

Army bagged third position.

Brilliant performance by Hina and Sehrish steered PU Club to the final. The whole match was played in Sindh’s half as PU Club earned as many as 22 penalty corners but converted none.

For PU Club Hina completed hat-trick in the 14th, 39th and 51st minutes. Uniza struck the first goal for PU Club in the fourth minute. Sehrish (39th) and Iqra (58th) scored one goal each.

Meanwhile, Punjab Colour dominated the proceedings in their match against Army.

If Punjab Colour excelled in making excellent moves Army braved to make some excellent saves. Both teams demonstrated their speed, skill and stamina to applause of a large crowd.

Army’s Aqsa, Ayesha and Sahil combined to make excellent moves. On the other hand, Mehwish, Sobia and Zakia fared brilliantly for Punjab Colour. Both teams got penalty corners but failed to convert any.

The final will be played on Thursday.


Wapda, PU Club in Fatima Jinnah Hockey final

Lahore - Wapda and Punjab University Club have entered the final of the ongoing 3rdAll Pakistan Fatima Jinnah Gold Cup Hockey Tournament.

PU Club were fourth on the point table but defeated Sindh 6-0 in their last match to earn three precious points and take their tally to 12. While match between Army and Punjab Colour ended into a goalless draw. Both Army and PU Club had 12 points each but the latter qualified for the final on better goal average. Army bagged third position.

Brilliant performance by Hina and Sehrish steered PU Club into the final. The whole match was played in Sindh’s half as PU Club got 22 penalty-corners but converted none. Naintara, Zaibunsa, Mehreen, Samina and Fazilat saved a number of attacks. For PU Club, Hina completed her hat-trick scoring goals in the 14th, 39th and 51st minutes respectively. Uniza struck the first blow for PU Club in the 4thminute. Sehrish (39th min) and Iqra (58th min) scored one goal each.

Punjab Colour dominated the proceedings of the second match from the beginning and the tussle to take control of the ball was largely fought in Army’s area. But Army defended their fort effectively. Aqsa, Ayesha and Sahil from Army showed excellent understanding in their moves. Mehwish, Sobia and Zakia performed brilliant for Punjab.

The Nation

AHF chief executive Tayyab appointed as member IOC Commission

LAHORE: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has appointed Pakistan’s Tayyab Ikram as member of an IOC Commission. A highly decorated sports leader Tayyab, who is also the chief executive of the Asian Hockey Federation, will be the member of the IOC Sports and Active Society Commission.

The Sports and Active Society Commission performs by sharing some of the common goals with United Nations to achieve its global objectives. Tayyab’s appointment is an acknowledgment to his passionate involvement and outstanding achievements for the Olympic Movement and advocacy for Olympic values. Talking to Daily Times on Tuesday, Tayyab said that he was honoured to be part of the Olympic Movement. “I will always strive to work hard for the betterment of the Olympic Movement.” Tayyab said he was delighted to be part of this noble cause. “I am determined to contribute to the IOC deliberations to make an important impact on society through sports and much pleased to share to the success of Olympic Agenda 2020,” he maintained. It is pertinent to mention that recently Tayyab was also appointed as member of an important commission of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).

The Daily Times

Tayyab honoured by IOC

LAHORE: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has appointed Pakistan’s Tayyab Ikram who is also chief executive of Asian Hockey Federation as member of its Sports and Active Society Commission (SASC).

The United Nations and the commission, said Tayyab while talking to Dawn, share some common goals to achi­eve their global objectives.

Tayyab who said he was proud of getting the important slot has also recently be­en inducted as a member into the World Association of Nat­i­onal Olympic Committees.

“I am determined to contribute to the IOC cause to make an important impact on the Society through sports besi­des working diligently for the success of Olympic Age­nda 2020,” maintained Tay­yab whose induction as member into the Sports and Active Society Commission was also hailed by Pakistan Hockey Federation president and secretary.


Tayyab named in IOC Commission

Lahore – International Olympic Committee (IOC) has appointed Tayyab Ikram as member of IOC Commission.

Tayyab Ikram started his professional career in hockey from Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) where he served Pakistan hockey in various capacities.
Then he moved to Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) as an official and currently he is AHF chief executive.

Tayyab will be the member IOC sports and active society commission, which performs by sharing some of the common goals with United Nations to achieve its global objectives.

Tayyab’s appointment is an acknowledgment to his passionate involvement and outstanding achievements for Olympic movement and advocacy for Olympic values.

The Nation

England hockey under-21 star James Gall seriously injured in fall

By Graham Wilson

England hockey under-21 star James Gall was seriously injured in a fall. GETTY

FAMILY and friends were rallying to the bedside cause of England Under-21 hockey player James Gall, who was seriously injured in a 12-foot fall on Saturday morning.

Gall fell on his head in an accident in Surbiton, suffered a fractured skull which caused severe swelling to the brain, and fractured his spine.

He was taken to St George’s Hospital, Tooting, London, and put into an induced coma for 36 hours.

His father Iain Gall said: “It has been a harrowing time. But he is able to move his limbs and talk clearly. The doctors and nurses have been fantastic. 

“He is likely to be intensive care for another week. He is just exhausted. Under the circumstances he is doing well. It is still early days.”

Gall, a former Cranleigh School student, left Surbiton hockey club to study economics at Nottingham University where he plays for Beeston.

His brother Jonny, an England Under-21 captain, still plays for Surbiton.

Surbiton said on their website: “The club’s thoughts and best wishes are with the Gall family at this time. Get well soon Jamma!”

“It’s shocking,” said a Beeston spokesman. “Our fingers are crossed for him.”

England assistant coach Jon Bleby said: “We are aware that James Gall was taken to hospital after an accident at the weekend. 

“He's a fighter on the pitch and we wish him well and hope he has a speedy recovery from this. Obviously our thoughts are with him and his family at this difficult time."

Daily Express

Wildcats and CALA take U18 National Competition honours

Congratulations to both Western Wildcats and CALA Edinburgh who won the Boys and Girls U18 National Competition last weekend.

In the Boys Final, Wildcats narrowly defeated Perthshire 2-1, while in the Girls Final, CALA overcame Inverleith Ladies by the same scoreline.



Classification Matches

Clydesdale 4 Gordonians 1
Grove Menzieshill 9 Watsonians 0


Clydesdale 1 Western Wildcats 3
Perthshire 6 Gordonians 0


Perthshire 1 Western Wildcats 2


1st Western Wildcats
2nd Perthshire
3rd Clydesdale
4th Gordonians
5th Grove Menzieshill
6th Watsonians


Classification Matches

Fjordus Reivers 2 Watsonians 1
Clydesdale 4 Hillhead 3
Granite City Wanderers 3 Grove Menzieshill 0


Watsonians 2 Inverleith 2 ; Inverleith won 3-1 on penalties
CALA Edinburgh 6 Borders Fjordhus Reivers 0


CALA Edinburgh 2 Inverleith 1


1st CALA Edinburgh
2nd Inverleith
3rd Borders Fjordus Reivers
4th Watsonians
5th Clydesdale
6th Hillhead
7th Granite City Wanderers
8th Grove Menzieshill

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Scotland retains Euro Hockey League place

Scottish Hockey yesterday recieved confirmation from the European Hockey Federation (EHF) that Scotland will retain its Euro Hockey League (EHL) place for the 2015/16 season.

The breakdown of EHL national representatives for 2015/16 will remain the same as last season following the release of the confirmed final ranking positions by the EHF.

Grange will be Scotland's representatives in 2015/16 following their success in the Play-Offs last season.

Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Spain will have three places in the EHL once again with England, Poland, France and Russia designated two berths.
Ireland, Austria, Scotland and Italy will once again have one place in the premier club competition in the world.

Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Spain will have three places in the EHL once again with England, Poland, France and Russia designated two berths.

Ireland, Austria, Scotland and Italy will have one place in the premier club competition in the world.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Scottish Hockey looks to positive future despite reduction in funding

Scottish Hockey moved today to confirm that the national governing body for hockey has received a near 11% reduction in sportscotland’s investment into Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport for the Gold Coast 2015-19 four year cycle.

The decrease in overall income, announced today by the national agency for sport, from £3.6m (2011-15) to £3.2m specifically represents a decision by sportscotland to reduce its investment in the performance programme for Scotland Senior Men following a review of the squad’s results in all international competitions over a sustained period of time.

Funding from sportscotland for Scotland Senior Women’s performance programme remains at similar levels to the previous four year cycle.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Scottish Hockey Chief Executive David Sweetman said, “It is naturally disappointing to receive a reduction in funding from sportscotland for our Senior Men’s performance programme. However, we welcome the decision to retain investment in our Senior Women’s performance programme.

“Against the backdrop of reduced funding for our Senior Men’s squad, we have already taken proactive steps to ensure we can provide them with the strongest possible performance programme. This includes securing sponsorship income from Artemis Investment Management and Glynhill Hotel, as well as strengthening our coaching partnership with Edinburgh University.

“We will also continue to source additional funding to ensure this, and all of our performance programmes, are resourced to help support the players, coaches and other staff in preparing for important forthcoming international competitions.

“Furthermore, we have embraced sportscotland’s philosophy to work with sports where challenges exist and it recently supported our ambition and drive to undertake a high performance review with independent consultants. By doing so, we will be able to identify and work on specific areas where hockey can improve in a high performance capacity.”

Despite a reduction in the allocation of funds to the aforementioned Senior Men’s performance programme, Scottish Hockey has successfully achieved funding from sportscotland for the employment of four Regional Development Managers.

The organisation has already demonstrated vindication of this investment by recording membership growth figures of over 8%, exceeding the target set by sportscotland.

Moreover, the organisation’s successful Women in Coaching Programme, which aims to the increase in numbers of female coaches and available mentorship opportunities in hockey, has also resulted in financial support from sportscotland.

“We are delighted with the investment in Regional Development Managers and these individuals are already displaying positive outcomes as a result of working in partnership with our member clubs to retain and grow membership in hockey”, said Sweetman.

“It is also gratifying to note that sportscotland has recognised the value of our Women in Coaching Programme and has allocated investment to increasing the number of female coaches in the sport.

“Our recent research partnership with the University of Stirling has highlighted a gender imbalance at the higher levels of performance coaching and therefore this programme will help to encourage and support more females to work along the pathway to becoming fully qualified coaches via the UKCC coach education framework.”

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Suva retains hockey 2015 IDC title

Zanzeer Singh

SUVA retained the Fiji Hockey Federation Inter-District Championship men's title at Nadovu Park in Lautoka on Sunday.

The Capital City boys came from behind to down Lautoka 5-2 in the final.

Lautoka went up after a goal from Ernest Coffin. Suva equalised through Owen Smith who went on to score a double.

Hamlet Wedlock scored Lautoka's second before the first half.

The visitors were on fire in the second spell with Liam Bentley scoring twice and Zane Ah Yuk a goal to seal victory.

In the women's final, Lautoka defeated Nadi 2-1. Raicheli Lemeki and Cheyanne Underwood scored for the Sugar City team while Anna Lee scored for the Jetsetters.

The Fiji Times

Women's Sport Week: The Captain's View

Kate Richardson-Walsh on the Road to Rio

This week is Women’s Sport Week in the UK. The whole sporting sector in this country will team up with the government and the media to celebrate the first ever National Women’s Sport Week, to raise the profile of women’s sport at all levels in the UK.

In the first of our series of coverage of Women’s Sport Week, we caught up with England and Great Britain Captain Kate Richardson-Walsh to get her thoughts on a topic that is very close to her heart.

To many sports fans, Richardson-Walsh needs little or no introduction. She is the player who caught the nation’s attention during London 2012 when she battled back from a broken jaw in the opening match of the Olympics to lead her team to a bronze medal in front of a partisan home crowd. Richardson-Walsh is approaching 350 international caps and was recently awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list. It is fair to say that she has a high public profile. With that increased profile, she believes her responsibility to women’s sport has also grown:

“I feel it’s part of our jobs to promote women’s sport and I know the rest of the squad feel the same. Lots of us go to schools and clubs to speak about sport. It’s really important to understand what it’s like for young women these days. They’re under so much pressure to be perfect in every way; in their grades, their appearance, their personalities, even the sports they play. We have to play our part in letting them know it’s ok to make mistakes. It’s ok to chase your dreams and to be prepared to just go for it. Only by doing that can you learn and grow. Sport is such an important part of those lessons and I love going on those visits and having that responsibility.”

The England players listen to the half time team talk

The Reading defender made her international debut in 1999 and has played in almost 30 international tournaments since then. In that time, she has seen things change a great deal, in particular in the media and coverage of women’s sport.

“When I first started playing, hockey was never really in the public eye except perhaps during the Olympics. We got some attention at the Commonwealth Games at Manchester [2002] because we did well and won a silver medal. We got some column inches but that was the first time. Since then, things have changed a lot. Having a sponsor like Investec has really altered the landscape. We’re on billboards, the side of taxis, magazines, things we’d never have dreamed of when I started out. Five or six of the squad have newspaper columns, too; it’s come a long way, definitely.”

Despite the positive strides, the fact remains that Women’s Sport makes up 7% of all sports media coverage in the UK. Just over 10% of televised sports coverage is dedicated to women’s sport, 5% of radio coverage, 2% of national newspaper coverage and 4% of online sports coverage is devoted to women’s sport. Such small figures show that whilst progress is made, there is a long way to go, something the England Skipper agrees with:

“Things have moved on but we have a long way to go. I heard Clare Balding speaking recently and she was saying everyone has to play their part in making a difference. We can’t just blame the media; we have to make our own strides to make changes. The Olympics and the Paralympics obviously play a huge part in that, you see women pushed to the fore during those competitions but it’s up to us to seize those opportunities and make it an everyday occurrence.” she adds “Social media, online channels and TV coverage mean there are more ways to get the information but we still have a role to play in making it more widespread across those channels.”

Richardson-Walsh is an avid sports fan as well as a player, trawling the weekend newspapers for sporting stories is a favourite pastime of hers. A keen football fan, she enjoys the in-depth coverage the press provide on the sport, but she is also acutely aware that the all consuming power of football leaves little room for anything else:

“I’d love to see more variety in what’s reported. It’s so rare to see women’s sport covered in any detail. There are always sporting events going on, and I want to know about them all! We had the story of the England Women’s rugby team all going back to work a week after winning the World Cup, which caused a lot of attention and a lot of surprise, but sadly that’s the reality for a lot of female athletes. The public don’t realise and it’d be great to see those stories told in the mainstream media. I love football and the coverage it gets, but it'd be great to see some other sports getting a look in.”

England Hockey Board Media release

Women's Sport Week: The view from the bench

Karen Brown

With this week being the first-ever Women’s Sport Week, we bring you the second in our series of articles marking the occasion.

Here’s a trivia question: How many Assistant or Head Coaches in International Hockey are women? How many can you name? We’d be willing to bet not many. England and Great Britain’s Karen Brown is one of two that spring to mind (the other being the USA’s Janneke Schopman) and beyond that, you start to draw a blank. Why is there such a difference in the numbers involved? We took some time to ask Karen Brown her views on the topic.

“It’s an interesting time for women in sport because it’s only been a focus in recent years to push women not just in sport but in all walks of life. Sport is often a little further behind the rest of society. Look at the situation in government, in business etc. sport is only just catching up.” says Brown, adding “I’ve worked for England Hockey for 10 years now and I’ve only ever seen three or four female coaches at the top level tournaments. Proportionally that seems a discrepancy to me.”

Whilst she is keen to close the gap between the number of male and female coaches, the former GB international knows the situation will take time to develop, as it has in other walks of life:

“Obviously female coaches need to be able to do the job but we don’t have an equal situation at all. It’ll never be fully equal in my opinion, but I think the focus from all countries and the IOC, FIH etc needs to be one that gets more women involved at the top level. I see no reason why in ten years time we can’t have something like that level footing, but it will take some time to get to that point.”

England Celebrate at CWG

Whilst she is keen for there to be progress in the development of female coaches in hockey, it is fair to say there is a way to go. Often, at club level, male coaches will be able to walk into jobs in charge of women’s sides despite some relatively meagre achievements previously, whilst for women the onus seems to be on proving themselves time and again at a lower level before the big opportunities are presented. For Brown, and indeed Schopman, their reputations as players helped give them the boost they needed. Brown is her country’s most capped player with 355 caps whilst Schopman is a two time Olympic Medallist and a former World Cup Winner. Without such pedigree the GB Assistant Coach believes they would have struggled to scale the heights the currently do:

“My playing credentials undoubtedly opened doors for me and gave me a leg up but then you still have to prove yourself. Look at Schopman and the USA. Would she have got the job if she hadn’t been the Dutch captain and one of the best around? She might not even have got an interview. Now she’s in the role she’s proving what a good coach she is and she’s making some great impact on the game. You can’t do anything about other people’s perceptions. It doesn’t bother me but I am aware of it and aware of a need to change it.”

Part of the change, Brown believes, will come from the move towards a more professional game which hockey has seen in recent times. Players will now see coaching as a viable career path when they finish playing which has perhaps not always being the case in the past:

“In the last 5-10 years the game has become more professional. Before, it was a hobby for most people, whereas now we are starting to see people making a living from the game. I don’t think it was viewed that way before. I think we’ll start to see more professional players moving into coaching. These players understand the game and what they’ve experienced as a player helps, but like the others they will still have to go and do the hard work, working with a club side, a junior national side etc. It’s not just what you do on the training pitch; it’s about off the field as well. It’s now a career but you need to work your way up like in any other career in any other industry.”

With that in mind, Brown’s advice for those hoping to follow in her footsteps as a top female hockey coach is, as you’d expect, straightforward, though not necessarily easy:

“I’d recommend people do their coaching awards, work hard and do well at club level first. If you keep pushing your teams and keep pushing yourself you’ll be successful. It’s not easy, but if you learn your lessons from hockey and other sports, and keep working hard, hopefully the rewards will come and we’ll see that gap in numbers between male and female coaches starting to close.”

England Hockey Board Media release

Umpiring Seminar in Trinidad & Tobago

In keeping with the Trinidad and Tobago Hockey Board’s (TTHB) commitment to the development of the sport of hockey throughout the twin island republic the TTHB hosted their annual Umpiring Seminar on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th May, 2015 at the National Hockey Centre, Eastern Regional Sports Complex, Tacarigua. The seminar was conducted by the TTHB’s Umpiring and Technical Committee and featured Ms. Renee Cohen, a former Dutch International Grade 1 Umpire and currently a World Panel Umpires Manager.

The seminar was targeted towards practicing umpires, who are interested to learning new tips and tricks to aid in the improvement of their craft. It served to educate participants on various psychological and technical skills involved in umpiring the sport of hockey as well as offered in depth interpretation of the rules of the game, incorporating theoretical and practical sessions where participants were engaged indepth match analysis. The seminar also outlined the possible stages of development through the local, regional and international umpiring bodies.

This seminar is part of the TTHB’s strategic thrust to increase the number and quality of young international umpires. Thirty persons, including participants from Tobago, Jamaica, Guyana, Barbados and Bermuda were in attendance

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

FIH and PAHF Presidents visit Trinidad

The Trinidad and Tobago Hockey Board (TTHB) was pleased to have hosted the President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), Mr. Leandro Negre and the President of the Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF) Mr. Alberto “Coco” Budeisky to Trinidad. Both gentlemen arrived to Trinidad on Wednesday 20th May, 2015 and departed on Thursday 21st and Friday 22ndMay, 2015, respectively.

During their brief visit both officials, along with representatives from the TTHB met with officials from the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago and the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee to discuss issues, concerns and opportunities related to the sport of field hockey in Trinidad and Tobago.

This visit is all part of the FIH and PAHF’s attempt to provide impetus to boost the development of hockey in the region. Some of the major topics discussed were the installation of new pitches throughout the twin island republic to aid in the expansion of
the sport, the promotion of the hockey 5’s version of the game and the possibility of a Caribbean Hockey Premier League.

The TTHB expressed gratitude for the visit of their prestigious guests and the opportunity to discuss avenues for the further development of the sport in the country.

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

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