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News for 14 July 2015

All the news for Tuesday 14 July 2015

Big wins to start 2015 Pan American Games Women

2015 Pan American Games - Canada vs. Dominican Republic. Photo:Yan Huckendubler

The first day of the 2015 Pan American Games Women began with a sea of orange volunteers that made way for smooth operations on day one. The day included four matches each with a dominant attacking team. Throughout the day, the stands were full with fans from all over the world cheering for the teams. The competition also features umpires from all over the world, not just the Pan American region; including Michelle Joubert (RSA), Nor Hafizah Azman (MAS), and Aleesha Unka (NZL). Host Canada sits atop Pool A having scored the most goals (12) of a team on day one. Canada’s Kate Gillis and Stephanie Norlander, respectively, each had three goals in Canada’s dominating win over the Dominican Republic. In Pool B, Chile and the United States are tied at the top each with three points and a five goal difference over their opponents.

In the final match on Day 1 of the 2015 Pan American Games, host Canada played Dominican Republic. The match started with both teams battling for possession. Canada had the first shot, but the Dominican Republic’s keeper Cindy De La Rosa was there for the save. Dominican Republic’s Lucia Navamuel worked hard near her teams attacking goal, but Canada’s Sara McManus defended well to keep the match scoreless. Canada had the ball back in their attacking half. After a good crossed ball by Hannah Haughn, Alex Thicke was able to get a shot past De La Rosa to give Canada the lead in the 10th minute. One minute later, Canada’s Captain Kate Gillis gave her team a two goal lead. In the 12th minute, the Dominican Republic broke up a Canada penalty corner, but it resulted in a penalty stroke for Canada that Karli Johansen converted in the14th minute. At the end of the first quarter, the score remained Canada 3, Dominican Republic nill.

The second quarter started with Canada still pressuring hard on attack and Stephanie Norlander put Canada ahead by four goals in the 18th minute. Canada continued to dominate possession and Maddie Secco increased Canada’s lead with a hard shot from the top of the circle. The Dominican Republic did not let up and quickly after Canada’s fifth goal earned their first penalty corner of the match. The Dominican Republic penalty corner was broken up by Canada’s defense and Canada regained possession and went back on attack. Gillis got her second goal of the match as she sent in a hard shot past De La Rosa to make it Canada 6, Dominican Republic nill in the 26th minute. Again, Dominican Republic came back with greater intensity and immediately earned two penalty corners. Following their third penalty corner of the match, the Dominican Republic was awarded a penalty stroke. Benifer Moronta converted the stroke to put the Dominican Republic on the scoreboard. The halftime score was Canada 6, Dominican Republic, 1.

The third quarter started with both teams battling for possession and the Dominican Republic playing stronger defense to keep play away from Canada’s attacking circle. The Dominican Republic as a team was able to break up Canada’s attacking plays. Canada’s Shanlee Johnston scored off a penalty corner drag flick in the 38th minute. Two minutes later, Gillis scored her third goal of the match off a penalty corner to make the score Canada 8, Dominican Republic, 1. Johansen then scored her second penalty stroke of the match in the 43rd minute. Canada continued their attacking intensity and Norlander was also able to score her third goal of the match. Haughn had another great run on attack to find Thea Culley to score in the 53rd minute to make the score Canada 11, Dominican Republic 1. Two minutes later, Danielle Henning converted a penalty corner goal for Canada. With the Dominican Republic able to hold off the Canada attack in the final minutes, the final result was Canada 12, Dominican Republic 1.

In the first Pool A match in the Women’s competition, Argentina and Mexico met. Argentina earned a penalty corner in the first minute, but the shot went wide. In the fifth minute, Noel Barrionuevo’s penalty corner shot was blocked by Mexico’s keeper Jesus Castiilo. Two minutes later, however, Delfina Marino found the back of the net for Argentina to give her team the lead. Argentina kept up their attacking pressure and Paula Ortiz quickly put Argentina ahead by two goals over Mexico in the 10th minute. In the remaining minutes of the first quarter, as Argentina could not capitalize off two more penalty corner opportunities the score remained Argentina 2, Mexico nill. To start the second quarter, Argentina continued to dominate possession in their attacking half. Behind the strong defense of Mexico’s Cindy and Maria Correa, Mexico kept Argentina from having scoring opportunities. ln the 21st minute, Barrionuevo was able to convert a penalty corner to put Argentina ahead by three goals. Soon after, Castillo came up with another save to stop another penalty corner goal. But Argentina kept up their attacking pressure and Merino scored another in the 22nd minute to making the score Argentina 4, Mexico nill. Two minutes later, Agustina Albertarrio converted a penalty corner and then had a field goal to put Argentina ahead by six goals. With Mexico staying strong to keep Argentina from taking advantage of two more penalty corners, the score remained Argentina 6, Mexico nill at halftime.

Immediately at the start of the second half, Argentina kept up where they left off as Barrionuevo converted another penalty corner. A minute later, Florencia Habif scored for Argentina to increase her team’s lead by eight goals over Mexico. Mexico’s defense was able to hold off two more penalty corner shots. In the final minute of the third quarter, the hard work of Mexico’s defense led to Mexico with a shot on goal, but it went wide. To start the fourth quarter, Argentina’s Martina Cavallero was given a yellow card. A man-up Mexico could not take advantage as Argentina continued to keep pressure in their attacking half. Castillo made more saves to keep Argentina from scoring throughout the first part of the fourth quarter. In the 55th minute, Marlet Correa had a breakaway for Mexico, but could not get a shot off before the ball went over the end line. In the 57th minute, Macarena Rodriguez made the score Argentina 9, Mexico nill; with Mexico able to break up an Argentina penalty corner in the final minute that remained the final score.

For Pool B match on Day 1, the United States and Uruguay played. The United States came out pressuring on attack and Kate Reinprecht’s quick goal gave them the early lead in the third minute. The United States continued to force the play in their attacking half, but Uruguay’s defense prevented the United States from taking many more shots on goal during the first quarter. Uruguay did not let up and earned the first penalty corner of the match in the 12th minute. Unable to convert the penalty corner, Uruguay kept pressuring more on attack. As a United States shot went wide at the end of the first quarter the score remained United States 1, Uruguay nill. Play continued to be in the United States attacking half to start the second quarter. Uruguay’s keeper Rosanna Paselle came up with a big save, but Michelle Kasold was there for the rebound shot to give the United States a two goal lead in the 18th minute. Uruguay continued to play strong defense behind Paselle to block a United States penalty corner in the 21st minute. Late in the second quarter, Constanza Barrandeguy and Anastasia Olave had a rare attacking opportunity for Uruguay deep near their attacking circle. The United States quickly regained possession and Michelle Vittese scored in the 28th minute to make it United States 3, Uruguay nill to end the half.

The second half started with the United States continuing to pressure on attack. In the 35th minute, Katelyn Falgowski converted a well-executed penalty corner play to put the United States ahead by four goals over Uruguay. Janine Stanley and Sofia Mora played strong in the defense to keep the United States away from their attacking circle for the next five minutes.  Stanley regained possession for Uruguay, but Uruguay was unable to generate any attack. For the rest of the third quarter the United States dominated possession, but Federika Kempner and Cecelia Casarotti played strong defense and Paselle made another big save to stop a United States penalty corner shot to keep the score USA 4-0 URU at the end of the third quarter. To start the fourth quarter played continued to be in the United States’ attacking half. In the 50th minute the United States had another penalty corner, but the shot went wide. Casarotti continued to play strong defense to hold off more United States attack. Kelsey Kolojejchick sent a hard shot from the right side to the left corner past Paselle to give the United States a five goal lead in the 56th minute. With Uruguay able to hold off further United States attack, the final result was United States 5, Uruguay nil.

In the first match of the 2015 Pan American Games featured a Pool B match between Chile and Cuba. Chile earned the first penalty corner of the match early in the first quarter, but the shot went wide. Chile kept up their offensive pressure and Daniella Caram put Chile ahead 1-0 in the 6th minute. Cuba’s keeper Heidy Gonzalez made many big saves to keep Chile from scoring further in the first quarter. Daniella Caram continued her attacking intensity to give Chile a two-goal lead one minute into the second quarter. Yuraima Vera Rojas and Marisbel Sierra had some attacking runs for Cuba that led to Cuba’s first penalty corner in the 22nd minute. Cuba’s Sierra deflected the penalty corner shot to bring Cuba within one goal from Chile. Cuba continued to pressure on attack and Yunia Milanes’shot went just wide. Chile’s Javiera Villagra immediately countered the attacking pressure to make it CHI 3-1 CUB in the 27th minute. Right off the restart, Cuba went on attack and Sierra scored again to again pull Cuba within one goal from Chile. Chile held the possession on attack for the rest of the second quarter, but the score remained CHI 3-2 CUB at halftime.

Chile continued their attacking pressure at the start of the third quarter, but Gonzalez saved a penalty stroke shot by Sofia Filpek to prevent Chile from increasing their lead. Chile’s Manuela Urroz sent a hard shot, but it went wide. Chile kept the possession in their attacking half for much of the third quarter. In the 44th minute, Chile’s Carolina Garcia increased Chile’s lead over Cuba 4-2 to end the third quarter. Two minutes  to start the fourth quarter, Chile earned a penalty corner and Francisca Pizzaro converted. A minute later, Filpek found the back of the net to put Chie ahead by four goals over Cuba. Gonzalez saved more Chilean shots in the third quarter. Chile’s Camila Caram scored a penalty corner goal in the 58th minute to result in a final match score of CHI 7-2 CUB.

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

Chile & USA triumph in Pool A; Las Leonas & Canada impress in Pool B

Pan American Games begin in Toronto as teams hunt down ticket to Rio

The women’s Hockey competition at the 2015 Pan American Games got underway on Monday, with Chile and USA both starting their chase for a ticket to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by claiming Pool B victories at the prestigious event in Toronto, Canada. In Pool A, Argentina and Canada marked themselves as the teams to beat with convincing wins. More details on the matches can be found below.

Pool B
Chile 7-2 Cuba
Chile and Cuba were the first teams to take to the field at the University of Toronto, with Chile’s Caram sisters chipping in with three goals in a 7-2 win over their opponents. Daniela Caram scored a goal in each of the opening two periods before a double from Cuba’s Marisbel Sierra either side of a strike from Chile’s Javiera Villagra left the match delicately poised at 3-2 at half time. However, the Chileans asserted their authority on the match in the third and fourth quarters, with Carolina Garcia, Francisca Pizarro and Sofia Filipek on target before team captain Camila Caram completed the match scoring two minutes from time.

USA 5-0 Uruguay
USA made their Pan American Games title ambitions clear for all to see in their first match, powering to a fine 5-0 triumph over in-form Uruguay. Katie Reinprecht needed just two minutes to open the match scoring, with the two Michelles, Kasold and Vittese, both on target to take the score to 3-0 at half time. Katelyn Falgowski made it 4-0 six minutes after half time with a penalty corner with Kelsey Kolojejchick netting USA’s fifth goal in the 56th minute with a well-taken open play effort.

Pool A
Argentina 9-0 Mexico
Delfina Merino, Noel Barrionuevo and Agustina Albertarrio all hit doubles as Argentina cruised to a comfortable win over Mexico. Merino opened the scoring in the 7th minute before Maria Ortiz made it 2-0 ahead of the quarter time break. Las Leonas hit top gear in the second quarter, with Barrionuevo scoring the first of her two penalty corners ahead go a second for Merino and two strikes in three minutes from Albertarrio. Barrionuevo made it 7-0 five minutes after half time with Florencia Habif adding another a minute later. Team captain Macarena Rodriguez finished the scoring in the 58th minute with an field goal.

Canada 12-1 Dominican Republic
Canada recorded a big win against Dominican Republic to move to the top of Pool A on goal difference at the end of competition Day 1, with Stephanie Norlander and team captain Kate Gillis both hitting hat-tricks. It was a case of goal-scoring symmetry for the Canadians, who scored three times in each period on route to their win. Norlander, Gillis and Karli Johansen were all on target in the first period, with Norlander and Gillis both netting in the second period either side of of a Madeline Secco goal before Dominican Republic made the score 6-1 ahead of half time thanks to Benifer Moronta. Danielle Hennig, a third for Gillis and a second for Johansen took the score to 9-1 in the third quarter before Stephanie Norlander completed her hat-trick in the fourth quarter ahead of strikes from Thea Culley and a second for Hennig.

Keep up with all of the action on www.panamhockey.org.

#PAGhockey15 #TO2015 #RoadToRio

FIH site

Canadian women rout Dominican Republic in Pan Am opener

Gillis and Norlander score three goals each in 12-1 win

Shaheed Devji

Photo: Yan Huckendubler

There really is no place like home. Just ask the Canadian Women's Field Hockey Team, which opened the 2015 Pan American Games with a 12-1 win over the Dominican Republic Monday at the Pan Am Fields in Toronto.

The Canadians didn't disappoint the home fans who came out in numbers, as team captain Kate Gillis, an Ontario native, and Stephanie Norlander scored three goals a piece in the the rout.

"I think it kind of flushes the cobwebs a bit," says Gillis who is from Kingston, Ontario. "It gives us that first opportunity to get used to the pitch, get used to who we're playing in front of."

Understandably, the Canadians were a bit tentative to start but it wasn't long before they began to dominate.

In the tenth minute, Norlander, who is playing in her first major multispot games, got Canada on the board and she was able to pounce on a ball in close and beat keeper Cindy de la Rosa.

"It feels amazing," says North Vancouver's Norlander. "Our first game and to come out and score so many goals and for me to get on the scoresheet three times, that's awesome."

A minute after Norlander opened the scoring, Gillis got her first of the game in similar fashion, before Karli Johansen scored on a penalty stroke in the fourteenth minute.

The Canadians were not comfortable with a 3-0 lead after one quarter, scoring another three in the second and taking a stranglehold into halftime.

Norlander scored got the first in the second quarter - as she did in the first - and Maddie Secco and Gillis followed up.

The Dominicans lone goal of the game came late in the half, when they were awarded a penalty stroke and Benifer Moronto beat Canadian keeper Kaitlyn Williams to her right.

Despite the 6-1 lead at half the Canada wasn't entirely pleased.

"I think we were a bit nervous at first. Home crowd, first time playing on our brand new home turf," adds Gillis. "But we stuck to our game plan and in the second half I think we really showed how we wanted to play."

Canada added six more goals in the second half.

Both Norlander and Gillis scored for their hat tricks, while Johansen once again scored on a penalty stroke and Dani Hennig scored on two beautiful drag flicks from penalty corners. Thea Culley rounded out the scoring for Canadians.

It will be a whole different ball game come Wednesday when the Canadian women face the tournament's top ranked team, Argentina. Game time is 4pm PT/7pm ET.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Quick Start Leads USWNT Over Uruguay in First Pan American Match

Photo: Paul Winstanley

TORONTO, Canada – July 13, 2015 – In their first pool play match of the 2015 Pan American Games, the U.S. Women’s National Team had a strong scoring performance against FIH World Ranked 29th Uruguay to secure a 5-0 triumph. A few weeks prior in Valencia, Spain, Team USA met Uruguay at the Hockey World League Semifinals and finished with a match win of 2-0. With the victory in Spain fresh on their minds, Team USA was aware of Uruguay's powerful pitch presence going into the game at Toronto University.

"I think familiarity is always handy and it's good to know your opponents," said U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Craig Parnham. "Although we do a lot of work on teams before we play them, there's actually no better experience than seeing them in the contest."

Just two minutes after the starting whistle, Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.) found the back of the cage on Team USA’s first circle penetration of the match giving them an early 1-0 lead. The USWNT continued to apply high pressure and maintain much of the possession until the 13th minute when Uruguay earned their first penalty corner of the game, but the play was reviewed and overturned by the officials.

In the 18th minute, Jill Witmer (Lancaster, Pa.) crossed a ball to the stroke mark where Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, N.C.) found the rebounded ball to put Team USA up 2-0. Persistence continued as the USWNT earned their first penalty corner of the match a few minutes later but was unable to capitalize on the opportunity. 

Team USA’s tenacity was constant as a goal came in the 28th minute just before the half to make the halftime score 3-0. The goal came from Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) who scored on a tight angled shot.

"We're focused in the moment, playing simple clean hockey, two-touch fast and working on our connections every game," said Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.). "I think we accomplished that today. There were some really good passages of play and we connected on five nice goals."

Scoring opportunities continued into the third quarter as Katie O’Donnell’s (Blue Bell, Pa.) shot flew over the crossbar. In the 35th minute, Team USA converted on their second penalty corner of the game on a sweep from Kasold that was deflected into the goal by Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg, Pa.). This additional goal for the red, white and blue changed the score to USA 4, Uruguay 0.

Remaining relentless, the USWNT earned two back-to-back penalty corners but were unable to create a result. Uruguay did not give up and had a near chance in the 46th minute but Team USA’s defensive organization held strong and was able to clear the ball.

Following several shots in a row on target saved by the Uruguayan goalkeeper, Kelsey Kolojejchick (Larksville, Pa.) was able to find an opening and cap off scoring in the 56th minute on a close range shot. The final score report was marked at USA 5, Uruguay 0.

"It was an important game for us today," said Parnham. "Uruguay is a good team and they caused a lot of problems. We're pleased we came through today and managed to score some goals and continue to create chances. It has been a pleasing day for us. The focus now shifts to the next game."

The U.S. Women’s National Team will be back in action on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 9 a.m. EST in their second pool play game against Chile.

USFHA media release

Confident Canadian men eager to begin home Pan Am Games

Shaheed Devji

If history is any indication, there is a really good chance that Canada and Argentina will meet in the men’s final of the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, which kick off for the Canadian men tonight when they face Brazil (4pm PT/7pm ET).

The last ten men’s field hockey finals at the Pan Am Games have been contested between the two teams, who have pretty well alternated winning the title.

Argentina won in 2011 in Guadalajara, so that would mean it’s Canada’s turn. And despite what is typically said about those who make assumptions, the predication holds weight based on Canada’s performances over the last year.

“From a competition perspective, we know that we’re a lot closer to Argentina than we were four years ago,” says Canadian defender David Jameson, who will is competing in fourth Pan American Games. “Even from two years ago at the Pan Am Cup, we’re further on than that. We actually know we can compete with them.”

The two teams recently met at the World League Semifinal in Argentina, where Canada, ranked fifteenth in the world, on the shoulders of beating seventh ranked New Zealand in a shootout, finished fourth out of ten teams, giving themselves a very good opportunity to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

But when it comes to Olympic qualification, nothing is guaranteed until it’s official and Canada can make it official by winning gold at the Pan Am Games.

“I don’t think that we carry much from that last tournament other than confidence in how we played,” says Canadian veteran Matthew Guest, who will likely play in his 100th international match during the Pan Am Games. “I think coming into this one the goal hasn’t changed. The goal is to qualify for the Olympics with a gold medal here.”

The Canadians’ have come a long way in four years.

After holding a 1-0 half-time lead over Argentina in the 2011 Pan Am Games final, Canada ended up losing 3-1, taking silver and missing out on the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The team changed its coaching staff bringing in new director and head coach Anthony Farry and its core group of players lost a wealth of experience with the departure of Rob Short and Ken Pereira.

But despite the disappointment of a Pan Am loss, missing out on the Olympics, and losing key players, there was a silver lining.

“Our whole culture and everything just changed for the better and became more positive,” says Jameson. “We’re just a hard working group that has gotten better and better over the years. Our first result came in Kuantan, Malaysia last year and it’s just gone up and up from there.”

Canada finished second at the Champions Challenge in Kuantan and followed it up this year with the fourth place finish at World League.

In both instances, the Canadians were able to beat higher ranked teams en route to unprecedented finishes in the respective tournaments. It’s that ability that has confidence levels at an all time high for this particular group.

“You always go in playing against teams ranked higher knowing that you’ve got a shot, knowing that you’ve got a chance to win,” adds Guest. “We take a lot of confidence in those results and know we can get those results here.”

If the sting of losing to Argentina in the 2011 Pan Am final isn’t motivation enough, the Canadians are looking for revenge after Argentina beat Canada twice at World League in Buenos Aires.

This time, it’s the Canadians who have home turf advantage. It’s something that, while it comes with increased expectation and pressure, would add to the meaning of being able to come full circle.

“I’ve wanted to win this tournament ever since I knew it was here, says Jameson who won gold at the 2007 Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “Winning at home and getting gold again would be phenomenal.”

Canada opens its Pan Am Games tonight when they face Brazil at 4pm PT/7pm ET.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Pan Am Games: the contenders for the women’s hockey title

Argentina and the USA may be favourites for the title, but others are determined to have their say.

It really is winner takes all at this year’s Pan Am Games, as the first placed team will not only be crowned continental champion but will also book a ticket for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

There are eight contenders in the women’s competition, playing in two pools.

Here we take a brief look at each of teams.

Pool A

Argentina are ranked third in the world and will be most people’s favourites to win this competition. Las Leonas have already booked their place at Rio courtesy of a fourth place finish at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals in Valencia earlier this year. This will not mean that Argentina will rest on their laurels. Delfina Merino is very efficient in front of goal, although her partner in front of goal, Carla Rebecchi is missing through injury. However, with Agustina Habif leading a strong defence and Agustina Albertarrio taking an increasingly dominate role in midfield, this is a team that has rebuilt and is improving with every outing.

Canada have two new tools in their locker: the benefit of home support and the recent experiences gained at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals. Although they are ranked 20th in the world, Canada have been mixing it with the highest ranked teams of late. The team competed against Great Britain, China, Germany and Spain in the Hockey World League – all matches that gave the players a taste of fast, intense hockey many of the squad had not previously experienced. Expect Kate Gillis and her squad to come out all guns blazing.

Mexico are ranked 27th in the world and have a young and relatively inexperienced squad. Captain Michel Nallely Navarro Hernandez is the most capped player with 67 caps and 12 of the squad are under 25 years old. However, coach Arely Castellanos is happy with the team’s preparations and will be eyeing Dominican Republic and Canada as teams Mexico can gain points from. Mexico’s best finish at a Pan Am Games was fourth place in 1991; the team in red and green will be looking to match that this year.

At 51, the Dominican Republic are the lowest ranked team in the tournament. They do come to the contest as silver medal winners from last year’s Central American and Caribbean Games and their confidence will be high as a result. The team has only competed in one previous Pan Am Games, in 2011, where they finished eighth but, in line with FIH’s plans to extend and develop hockey in more nations, the Dominican Republic is a youthful hockey nation in transition.

Pool B

Chile are ranked 22 in the world and have high hopes of a medal according to head coach Alfredo Castro. Four of his side play in Europe and bring that experience to the competition. Captain Camila Caram has a wealth of experience and Daniela Caram was top scorer at the recent Hockey World League Round 2 event. The past three editions of the Pan Am Games has seen Chile finish fourth, fourth and third. Expectations of matching or bettering that are high in the camp.

Cuba, ranked 43 in the world, have performed consistently at the past two editions of the Pan Am Games. A fifth-place finish in 2007 was followed by a sixth-place in 2011. With no player holding more than 30 caps, this is the most inexperienced team at the Games, and Coach Alain Lopez will be looking to Captain Mileisis Quintana and most capped player Brizaida Perez to lead the young team against their more experienced rivals.

Uruguay – ranked 29th – come to the Pan Am Games on the back of a learning curve courtesy of the Hockey World League Semi-Final. In Valencia the squad played on a water-based pitch – something not available in Uruguay – against teams ranked more than 20 places higher. That they were competitive against teams such as South Africa and Ireland bodes well for Uruguay at this Pan Am Games.

Holders of the title, USA, come to Toronto on the back of a disappointing Hockey World League Semi-Final – they finished fifth. They know that winning the Pan-Am Games is the only way they can guarantee a place at Rio 2016. Key to their success will be rediscovering their scoring powers – but there is enough experience in the squad for the USA to put the Hockey World League disappointment behind them and seek to emulate the moment four years ago when they beat Argentina and qualified for London 2012 in the process.

FIH site

Fiji men's hockey team makes impressive return

Shalveen Chand In Port Moresby

Tiara Dutta controls the ball during a tussle with her Tongan counterpart yesterday. The Fiji women's team is defending champions in the Pacific Games. Picture: SHALVEEN CHAND

THE Fiji hockey teams made an impressive start to their Pacific Games campaign in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea yesterday registering fine wins at the Sir John Guise Stadium Sports Complex.

The men had an early morning game and met Solomon Islands.

Fiji scored first but soon after the Solomon Islanders equalised but after that it was all one way. Fiji won 22-1.

The Fiji women's team annihilated Tonga and its medal aspiration by teaching them a lesson on the turf. For the girls, it was more like a training run where they were virtually taking shots from anywhere on the turf.

Fiji beat Tonga 30-1.

Fiji women's coach Alison Southey said the first game was always important.

"Getting a win in the first game is always important.

"The girls have done that and now it is about having a positive mindset as we head into our next game," she said.

"We are here with a purpose and that is to win. We have worked on all aspects of the girls' game especially fitness because five-a-side is fast.

"The team is playing well together and the older players are guiding the team well."

The Fiji women are defending champions while the men's hockey makes a return to the Pacific Games after 36-years.

The Fiji Times

Grand & Great Grand Masters 4 Nations Round Up

2015 Scottish over 65s

Scotland's Grand & Great Grand Masters hosted a 4 Nations tournament at the weekend, and although the event at Peffermill was an over all succes, results on the pitch didn't quite go Scotland's way.

There was a disappointing end to the Home Internationals at Peffermill on Sunday 12 July when Scotland Grand Masters, with the majority of possession, failed to take their chances and allowed Wales to snatch two early goals, from which they never recovered, going down 3-1 in their final match (scorer Gordon Loudon) and dropping to third place. Goals by Gordon Loudon and Alistair Ogilvie had given Scotland a 2-1 win against Ireland on the first day and the team had put up a battling performance against England, going down 2-0 on Saturday 11 July.

Wales Great Grand Masters avenged their defeat by Scotland in the Celtic Cup earlier this year by hitting them with three goals in the last five minutes on Friday 10 July to finish 4-1 winners in a match which had looked like finishing in a draw. Scotland had taken the lead through Colin Tucker in the first quarter but were pegged back on the stroke of half time. With an already depleted squad further reduced by injury, Scotland went down 7-0 to a very strong England team on the last day of the tournament.

As expected, England comfortably retained both trophies, the very impressive Great Grand Masters team going through the weekend without conceding a goal, and the Grand Masters comfortably winning all their matches. Scotland continue their international season on August 21-28 in London, when the Grand Masters team will hope to gain revenge on Wales in their group which also includes France, Germany and Netherlands. Scotland Senior Grand Masters (Over 70) will be competing in the European Cup for the first time and play in a round robin competition with England, Germany and Netherlands - a tough challenge ahead but one which the squad are looking forward to greatly.

Grand Masters Results


England 7 - Wales 1

Scotland 2 - Ireland 1


Ireland 1 - Wales 1

Scotland 0 - England 2


Ireland 0 - England 2

Scotland 1 - Wales 3

Final Postions: 1st England  2nd Wales  3rd Scotland  4th Ireland

Great Grand Masters Results


Scotland 1 - Wales 4


England 6 - Wales 0


England 7 - Scotland 0

Final Positions: 1st England  2nd Wales  3rd Scotland

Scottish Hockey Union media release

HIL franchises to retain 3 domestic, int. players each

s2h team

With the players auction slated to take place in September, the Hockey India League today confirm that the six existing franchisees have the option to retain up to 3 domestic and 3 international players from their team of 2015.

The franchisees will submit to Hockey India League by 20 July 2015 the confirmation of the players they would like to retain from the squad contracted up to 2015.

Presently the League boasts of six teams with a minimum of 10 international players in each team and 14 domestic players in their squad. Amongst the foreign players already present, World Champions Australia alone had 26 players and the highest number of foreign players in the 2015 League. The presence of Australian players for the upcoming editions was further strengthened through an agreement between Hockey India and Hockey Australia last year, wherein the latter announced that they would release their players for the League for the coming three years including 2016 (Olympic year).

Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra, Chairman, Hockey India League said "The move is aimed at giving an opportunity to the franchisee to retain the best talent among their existing squad. This way the teams will have a healthy mix of existing good players and young newcomers who will get a chance to learn from the experienced members.” Dr. Batra added, “With the opportunity to retain up to 3 domestic and 3 foreign players, each of the franchises can retain players that are recognized with their team and have a connection to their teams fan base.”

Hockey India League has successfully completed three seasons and is the most sought after tournament among the hockey fraternity world over. The League has witnessed participation of many leading players from teams across the globe.


Hockey World League fiasco: Probe committee holds PHF responsible

By Nabil Tahir

Body suggests establishing long-term welfare programme for players. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

KARACHI: The probe committee formed by Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif in the aftermath of the national hockey team’s disastrous campaign at the Hockey World League has declared the Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) management incompetent and held them responsible for the downfall of the team in its final report.

According to details in the report, the committee also suggested giving hockey affairs into the hands of people who command expertise in modern hockey.

The five-member committee further stated that the current federation failed to incorporate the basic requirements of modern hockey and has failed to achieve its targets.

According to a committee member, two out of five individuals involved in the probe were in favour of appointing an ad-hoc committee to run the affairs, but the other three members did not want to take any undemocratic action as they believe it will bring further ruin to the sport. The panel advised establishing a long-term plan for the welfare of the players by reviving the clubs and departments and organising leagues, which will support the players financially. They also recommended appointing qualified coaches at the junior level to make a bright future of hockey in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the three-member fact-finding committee formed by the PHF comprising Olympians Shahid Ali Khan, Muhammad Akhlaq and Mansoor Ahmed will start working from Tuesday at the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore and said that they will provide their final, detailed report after two weeks.

“Two committees are better than one, as more facts will come forward,” said Akhlaq while talking to The Express Tribune. “We will present an unbiased report to the PHF, who will forward it to the Pakistan Sports Board and the PM.”

On the other hand, Shahid said that they will also consider the report submitted to the other committee led by former head coach Shahnaz Sheikh. “We will also discuss reasons for the defeat with PHF President Akhtar Rasool and secretary Rana Mujahid, as they were present in Belgium,” he said.

The Express Tribune

Footprints: The final nail in hockey's coffin

Mirza Khurram Shahzad

Eleven year old Nasir Shah plays a shot at Raja Abdul Qadeer's hockey academy in Panjgiran village, Islamabad - Tanveer Shahzad/White Star

He ran faster than the ball, continued flying over the turf year after year, was always heavy on the opponents’ goalpost, but Raja Abdul Qadeer could never catch the eye of the selectors. Yet, he never got disheartened.

In 2004, as he approached 32, he made one final attempt to capture the selectors’ attention but failed again. He was still not dejected.

Rather, he was brimming with optimism and ardour and decided to pass on his skills to the next generation — to produce many more Raja Abdul Qadeers.

He joined an elite school as a coach and set up his own academy in his village on the edge of the eastern suburb of Islamabad.

Then he ran from pillar to post: from the departments of sports to education, to the Capital Development Authority (CDA), to the Hockey Federation, to local politicians and hockey heroes. All this to garner some support for his small set-up in the tiny Panjgiran village, some 25 kilometres from downtown Islamabad.

In the end, he succeeded in securing just a few hockey sticks, a bunch of kits and a fence around the place he calls ground.

Never disappointed, he continued supporting young kids from his own meagre salary of Rs25,000 that he is earning as a school coach.

Because of his love for hockey, he never married — because he could not take the time and money away from his academy.

He worked hard day and night for a decade, and produced over 100 players who played at various national levels.

None was picked up by the Pakistan selectors. He held no grudge — because his motto is ‘hockey khelo, hockey khilao, qaumi khel ko aage barhao’.

But on July 3, he felt like he was dead. His devotion, optimism and craze, everything just vanished.

Dressed in a T-shirt and shorts sporting the national colours, with a whistle dangling around his neck, he now coaches with half the passion he displayed before.

The goalposts of the so-called ground are broken, grass has grown wild, small bushes are bruising the calves of the young players who have lost the vigour and motivation that had kept them going against all odds with only one goal in sight: to represent their country in a sport which is said to be their national game.

They are poorly fitted out. None of them is wearing a complete hockey dress — they turn up in jerseys of different colours, shalwars, sandals and school shoes with different coloured socks and hold cracked hockey sticks. And Raja Qadeer is left with no more courage to provide them with a false boost regarding the glorious future of Pakistan hockey.

“The day Pakistan was thrown out of the Rio Olympics, I felt like all the life had been squeezed out of my body. I was dead, lifeless,” Raja Qadeer says, wryness writ large on his sweating face. “They are all responsible for it. The Pakistan Hockey Federation, the government, former Olympians.”

“I have not seen any selector visiting any high school in a decade to pick up fresh talent, or go to district teams to look for potential stars. They just pick and choose players from some major teams in major cities to form the national side,” he continues, exasperated. “The district associations are dead and officials have turned ghosts. This Nawaz Sharif government has hammered the last nail in the coffin of our national game by not providing the funds.”

Of Raja Qadeer’s academy, the best player is 11-year-old Nasir Shah, son of a farm labourer who works on the CDA’s lands. His dribbling, short corners, scoops and dodging are of no less quality than that of any professional player at the moment. Even he thinks Pakistan underperformed in the recently concluded Olympic qualifier World Hockey League.

“They were visibly unfit and weak. They missed passes and chances,” says the young man, with his silky brown hair. His broken tooth is possibly the result of a game of hockey.

Another star player, Adnan Khan, who has helped the club win a series of tournaments, believes nepotism, politics and corruption has destroyed his favourite sport in Pakistan. “Our hearts are broken. The game of hockey is over in Pakistan,” says the 16-year-old centre-forward who is famous in the area for his classy style.

“The government must invest huge funds in hockey. Former Olympians must play their role for the revival of the sport and the Federation should be handed over to honest, hardworking and devoted managers,” Raja Qadeer says, then proposing a revival plan. “We have over 100 Olympians. If each Olympian produces 10 quality players, there will be over 1,000 best players to compete with any team in the world. But they don’t work, they only talk and issue statements. All of them.”

The players have played their game. They are tired. There are no signs of hope on their faces. They are sweating. Their hearts are broken. There is gloom all over the pitch. Hockey is dead. The national game is dead. There is no pride. Just remorse.


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