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News for 26 July 2015

All the news for Sunday 26 July 2015

Argentina and Canada repeat as Gold and Silver medalists in the 2015 Pan American Games

2015 Pan American Games - Final - Argentina vs. Canada   

Goals by Ibarra, Vila and Brunet and team defense leads Argentina to victory. Two goals by Nicolas Renz helped lead Chile to Bronze medal.

The final of the men’s competition was between Argentina and host Canada. In all the finals of the Pan American Games, Argentina and Canada have met in the final match. Argentina won the last Pan American Games in 2011; while Canada last won in 2007.

1st /2nd place: Argentina vs. Canada: 3-0 (ht: 1-0)

From the start, the match was a very intense battle for possession with most of the play within the midfield for the first ten minutes of the match. The full stands continued to be quiet as the intense battle for possession went on throughout the first quarter. With play in the midfield both teams were without scoring opportunities or circle penetration. Thus, the first quarter ended scoreless Argentina 0, Canada 0.

The second quarter started with Canada earning one of the first attacking opportunities of the match for either team in the 17th minute when Gabriel Ho-Garcia fed Iain Smythe who looked to take a shot, but Argentina’s defense came up with the ball. Both teams continued to battle for possession in the midfield. Argentina earned the first penalty corner of the match in the 20th minute, but failed to execute the penalty corner play. A few seconds later, Argentina earned another penalty corner, Canada’s keeper Dave Carter saved the high drag flick from Argentina’s Peillat. Devon Noronha Teixeira and Matthew Sarmento then passed back and forth fast down field to earn Canada’s first penalty corner of the match in the 22nd minute that resulted in another penalty corner. Argentina’s keeper Juan Vivaldi saved the penalty corner shot to keep the match scoreless. Three minutes later, Argentina earned two more penalty corners and Pedro Ibarra put in the second penalty corner in the 25th minute to break the scoreless match. In the 28th minute, Canada earned a penalty corner, but Scott Tupper’s shot hit a foot and Argentina came up with it. Canada very quickly regained possession and earned another penalty corner, but Gordon Johnson’s shot was saved by keeper Vivaldi. In the 30th minute, Argentina earned a penalty corner, but keeper Carter saved the shot. Thus, the score remained Argentina 1, Canada 0 at halftime.

`The third quarter started with Argentina fast on attack and Lucas Vila putting in a fast shot past Carter in the 33rd minute to make the score Argentina 2, Canada 0. Argentina continued to pressure hard on attack, but Canada regained possession and both teams continued to battle. Canada’s Captain Scott Tupper and Adam Froese continued to play incredibly strong defense to hold off Argentina’s attack. For the rest of the third quarter, Argentina maintained possession, but Canada limited their attacking opportunities and largely prevented them from entering their attacking circle. The score remained Argentina 2, Canada 0.

Argentina went fast on attack to start the fourth quarter. In the 47th minute, Manuel Brunet beat multiple Canadian defenders on the left side of the pitch to lift the ball high into goal to give his team a three goal lead over Canada. In the 50th minute, Canada had their first attacking opportunity of the quarter, but Vivaldi saved the ball. Canada continued to attack, but each time Canada’s attacking circle was full of Argentina players. In the 54th minute, Carter had another save to keep Argentina from increasing their lead. Argentina continued to control possession and Carter made another big save in the 59th minute. The final score remained Argentina 3, Canada 0 and Argentina and Canada repeated as the gold and silver medalists, respectively.

3rd/4th place: Chile vs. Brazil: 4-1  (ht: 3-0)

In the bronze medal match, Chile and Brazil played. The match started with Brazil dominating possession, but Chile doing well defensively to keep play in the midfield. Brazil’s first shot opportunity came in the fifth minute when Bruno Mendonca passed to Bruno Paes standing at the penalty stroke spot. Paes’ shot was blocked by Chile’s keeper Adrian Henriquez. Chile immediately went back on attack and earned the first penalty corner of the match. A strong penalty corner drag flick by Nicolas Renz in the fifth minute made the score Chile 1, Brazil 0. Following their goal, Chile continued to maintain possession and pressure on attack. In the 12th minute, Chile earned another penalty corner, but had two shots hit the bars of the goal. Chile regained possession, but again Brazil played good defense to prevent Chile from entering their attacking circle another time in the first quarter. Thus, the score at the end of the first quarter remained Chile 1, Brazil 0.

Chile came out fast on attack to start the second quarter. Brazil’s keeper Rodrigo Faustino made two big saves in the 17th minute to prevent Chile from increasing their lead. In the 19th minute, Thomas Kannegiesser hit a hard shot from the far top right of the circle to the bottom left corner of the goal cage to make the score Chile 2, Brazil 0. A minute later, Chile had another penalty corner and Vincente Martin hit a hard penalty corner shot from the top of the circle to increase his team’s lead by three goals. Brazil prevented Chile from having another shot opportunity for the remaining ten minutes of the second quarter to keep the Chile 3, Brazil 0 score at halftime.

The third quarter started again with Chile fast on attack and earning a penalty corner in the 32nd minute. Martin fed Renz a perfect pass off the penalty corner and Renz scored his second penalty corner goal of the match to make the score Chile 4, Brazil 0. Brazil’s strong defense led to a rare attacking opportunity for Brazil in the 41st minute when Patrick van der Heijden looked to find Bruno Paes right in front of the goal, but Paes missed the pass and Chile regained possession. Throughout the match cheers for Chile were heard in the crowd. With either team unable to get another shot off before the third quarter ended, the score remained Chile 4, Brazil 0.

The fourth quarter was full of intensity as Brazil kept fighting Chile for possession. In the 50th minute, Chile’s Raimnudo Valenzuela and Brazil’s Andre Patrocino each received a yellow card. Brazil kept fighting and earned their first penalty corner of the match in the 53rd minute. Chile’s defense blocked the initial penalty corner shot to keep the score Chile 4, Brazil 0. In the 54th minute, Brazil’s Yuri van der Heijden had a shot go high over the goal cage. For the rest of the quarter, both teams traded possession. With one second remaining in the match, Brazil earned a penalty corner and Brazil’s Stephane Smith made a very hard flick high in the goal past Henriquez. Thus, Smith’s goal made the final score Chile 4, Brazil 1. With the win, Chile earned the Bronze medal in the competition; and Brazil finished in fourth place.
5th/6th place: Mexico vs. United States: 2-6 (ht: 2-4)

To decide the fifth and sixth places, respectively, Mexico and United States played. The match started with both teams having scoring opportunities in the opening minutes. Mexico had a shot saved by United States’ keeper Christopher Rea in the third minute. Immediately the United States went on attack and earned a penalty corner. Will Holt’s drag flick past Mexico’s keeper Moises Vargas in the third minute gave his team the lead. Both teams continued to battle for possession and limit each other’s attacking opportunities. In the 11th minute, Holt was waiting on the opposite post from Vargas and tipped in the ball to make the score Mexico 0, United States 2. In the 14th minute, Mexico earned their first penalty corner that was blocked by the United States’ defense and resulted in two more penalty corners for Mexico. Mexico’s Alexis Campillo had a hard flick saved by keeper Rea. Thus, the score at the end of the first quarter remained Mexico 0, United States 2.

The second quarter started with the United States pressuring on attack and earning a penalty corner in the 17th minute. The drag flick by Holt sailed high above Vargas for his third goal of the match to make the score Mexico 0, United States 3. Mexico went back on attack and Guillermo Pedraza found Captain Edgar Garcia who got the ball past Rea to make the score Mexico 1, United States 3 in the 19th minute. The United States kept most of the possession after the restart and the United States’ Michael Barminski scored in the 22nd minute to increase his teams’ lead by three goals. Mexico kept battling for possession and earned a penalty corner in the 27th minute, but Rea saved the shot. The crowd continued to cheer loudly for Mexico. Mexico’s Ruben Martinez and Pedraza both had shots for Mexico saved by Rea. Mexico earned another penalty corner in the 30th minute. Edgard Borquez shot far into the bottom right of the goal past Rea to make the score at halftime Mexico 2, United States 4.

The third quarter started with Mexico really pressuring on their attacking end and Pol Moreno had a couple shots saved by Rea. Mexico continued to try to run on attack, but the United States kept defending the midfield well. Ten minutes into the third quarter the score was still Mexico 2, United States 4. In the 42nd minute, the United States earned a penalty corner during one of their first attacking opportunities of the quarter. The shot by Holt was saved by Vargas. The United States continued pressure on attack and a shot by Captain Pat Harris in the 45th minute made the score Mexico 2, United States 5 to close out the third quarter.

The United States continued to pressure on attack to start the fourth quarter. In the 48th minute, the United States earned another penalty corner, but the shot was blocked by multiple Mexico defenders. In the 50th minute, Mexico earned a penalty corner, but the hard flick by Francisco Aguilar was blocked by Rea. The United States went back on attack and Tyler Sundeen hit a hard shot from the top of the circle to make the score Mexico 2, United States 6 in the 51st minute. The United States continued to maintain possession, but Mexico prevented them from having more shot opportunities. Thus, the score remained Mexico 2, United States 6 and the United States came away with the fifth place finish; while Mexico finished in sixth place.

7th/8th place: Cuba vs. Trinidad and Tobago: 0-13 (ht: 0-6)

On the final day of the men’s competition, the match for seventh place was between Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago. Cuba started the match with eight players, including keeper Leordan Hernandez. In the opening minutes, Cuba’s defense of Yoandy Blanco, Yasmany Gutierrez and Darien Valero did well to hold off the Trinidad and Tobago attack. In the fifth minute, Trinidad and Tobago’s attack passed around Gutierrez to find Mickell Pierre to push the ball into goal to make the score Cuba 0, Trinidad and Tobago 1. In the 6th minute, Trinidad and Tobago earned the first penalty corner of the match and Hernandez made two big saves, but Trinidad and Tobago’s Jordan Reynos collected the ball and pushed it around Hernandez to put his team ahead by two goals. Trinidad and Tobago continued to pressure on attack and Maikel Tritzant made some good defensive saves and helped force Trinidad and Tobago to pass around the outside of their attacking circle. In the 13th minute, Pierre broke through the Cuban defense for his second goal of the match to make the score Cuba 0, Trinidad and Tobago 3. Cuba did not let up however and earned a penalty corner in the 14th minute. The play was broken up by Trinidad and Tobago’s defense, but Tritzant regained possession for a bit. With Cuba holding off Trinidad and Tobago’s attack in the final minute, the score at the end of the first quarter was Cuba 0, Trinidad and Tobago 3.

In the second quarter, Trinidad and Tobago continued to pressure on attack and Kiel Murray pushed a ball past Hernandez in the 20th minute. Valero regained possession and Cuba was down near its attacking circle for a couple minutes. In the 26th minute, Tritizant and Gutierrez had a nice passing combination down the field, but Trinidad and Tobago quickly regained possession and Pierre put in his third goal of the match to make the score Cuba 0, Trinidad and Tobago 5. Two minutes later, Trinidad and Tobago’s Kristien Emmanuel increased his team’s lead by six goals. The score at the halftime break remained Cuba 0, Trinidad and Tobago 6.

Trinidad and Tobago started off with a bang in the third quarter with a goal in the first 10 seconds of the quarter by Dillet Gilkes. Two minutes later Gilkes scored again to make the score Cuba 0, Trinidad and Tobago 8. In the 34th minute, Trinidad and Tobago earned a penalty corner, but the shot was blocked by Hernandez. A minute later Murray scored his second goal of the match to make the score Cuba 0, Trinidad and Tobago, 9. In the 39th minute, Trinidad and Tobago had another penalty corner, but the shot went high above the goal cage. Trinidad and Tobago continued to pressure on attack and Ishmael Campbell beat Hernandez for another score in the 43rd minute to make the score Cuba 0, Trinidad and Tobago 10. Stefan Mouttet increased Trinidad and Tobago’s lead by 11 goals in the 44th minute. Off the restart, Cuba had one of their first shots of the match by Captain Roger Aguilera, but the shot went wide. Thus, the score at the end of the third quarter the score remained Cuba 0, Trinidad and Tobago 11.

Murray and Reynos scored again in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter to make the score Cuba 0, Trinidad and Tobago 13. In the 50th minute, in front of a cheering crowd, Cuba earned a penalty corner. Cuba’s Yoandy Blanco put in a drag flick, but the shot was too high. Cuba continued to pressure on attack near their attacking circle. Trinidad and Tobago regained possession and earned another penalty corner in the 53rd minute, but Hernandez made the save. A minute later with the crowd supporting them Cuba was back on attack and eventually earned another penalty corner in the 56th minute. Rocke saved two high shots off the penalty corner, but Cuba maintained possession. In the 60th minute, Aguilera looked to find Marcos Martinez, but Martinez could not get a shot off before the match ended. Thus, the final score was Cuba 0, Trinidad and Tobago 13. With the win, Trinidad and Tobago secured 7th place in the men’s competition of the 2015 Pan American Games. Cuba finished in 8th place.

1st place: Argentina
2nd place: Canada
3rd place: Chile
4th place: Brazil
5th place: United States
6th place: Mexico
7th place: Trinidad and Tobago
8th place: Cuba

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

Argentina sweep past Canada to ninth Pan-Am title while Chile beat Brazil to bronze

History repeated itself as Argentina beat Canada to take the gold medal at the Pan-Am Games in Toronto. Every final since the Games began has featured these two protagonists, with Argentina holding the bragging rights with nine wins to Canada's four.

Chile picked up bronze as they defeated Brazil 4-0, and earlier in the day USA beat Mexico 6-2 to take fifth spot, while Trinidad and Tobago performed a demolition job on Cuba, racking up 13 goals to take seventh place in the men’s competition.

7/8th play-off match Cuba 0-13 Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago opened their account in the fifth minute through Mickell Pierre. Just one minute later, Jordan Reynos scored from a rebounded penalty corner and Pierre doubled his tally in 13th minute. The second quarter saw Kiel Murray (20’), Pierre (26’) and Kristien Emmanuel (28’) all add their names to the scoresheet.

In the third quarter Trinidad and Tobago continued to pile on the pressure. Just 10 seconds after the restart, Dillet Gilkes scored his first, and he then added to his own tally two minutes later. Murray scored his second of the match to make it 9-0 and both Ishmael Campbell (43’) Stefan Mouttet (44’) got on the scoreboard to bring the score to 11-0.

Murray and Reynos scored again in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter to make the final score Cuba 0, Trinidad and Tobago 13.

5/6th play-off match: Mexico 2-6 USA

USA men finished their 2015 Pan-Am campaign with a determined 6-2 win over Mexico.The hero of the hour was Will Holt, whose first half hat trick (3’, 11 and 17’), consisting of two field goals and a penalty corner meant that Mexico had a hill to climb to get back on even terms.

Edgar Garcia pulled one goal back in the 19th minute but the USA, through Michael Barminski (22’), responded immediately and the three goal cushion was restored. Edgard Boroquez scored on the stroke of half-time through a penalty corner to give Mexico a slender life-line.

Any hopes of a Latin American revival was effectively ended when Pat Harris (45’) and Tyler Sundeen (51’) scored from field goals following periods of intense pressure from the USA.

Bronze medal match: Chile 4-1 Brazil

Chile made their intentions clear as they took an early lead in the bronze medal match against Brazil, with Nicolas Renz powering home a drag flick in the fifth minute of the match. The first quarter went very much Chile’s way, as they continued to pressure the Brazil goal, both with a number of penalty corners and through fast, attacking open play. Brazil’s keeper Rodrigo Faustino was called upon time and again, and early in the second quarter he made two crucial saves to keep his side in the contest.

However, the Chilean attack persisted and in the 19th minute Thomas Kannegiesser was rewarded for a well-placed shot from the top of the circle. A minute later, Chile won another penalty corner and Vincente Martin made no doubt as he struck home to give his side a 3-0 lead. Renz (32’) scored his second goal of the match and, despite a late flurry of attacking play from Brazil in the final quarter, the match and the medal went, deservedly, to Chile.

Gold medal match: Argentina 3-0 Canada

An intense match played in front of a packed stadium saw Argentina men repeat their feat of four years ago as they beat Canada 3-0 to regain the gold medal.

The first quarter was a cagey affair, largely played out in the middle of the pitch with neither side making a breakthrough. The second 15 minutes continued in much the same way until Argentina won a series of penalty corners and, from the fourth attempt, Pedro Ibarra broke the deadlock with a high drag flick past Dave Carter in the Canadian goal.

Lucas Vila doubled Los Leone’s lead in the 33rd minute as the Argentine side came out at pace after the half-time break. This lead would have been greater were it not for the incredibly high work rate of the Canadian defence led by captain Scott Tupper and Adam Froese. For the remainder of the third quarter, it was Argentina piling on the pressure against a resolute Camdian defence.

The pattern was repeated in the fourth quarter. Argentina came out of the break at speed and in the 47th minute were rewarded when Manuel Brunet beat multiple Canadian defenders before lifting the ball high into goal to give his team a three goal lead. Despite desperate attacking by the Canadians, there was no way back as Juan Vivaldi and his defence stood strong. The gold medal and Pan-Am title returned to Argentina as they ended the tournament undefeated. Despite not scoring in the final, Gonzalo Peillat was the tournament's top scorer with 15 goals.

FIH site

Silver for Canada in men’s field hockey at Pan Ams

Argentina's Pedro Ibarra, centre right, celebrates scoring against Canada during Pan Am field hockey action Saturday. Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Canada settled for silver in men’s field hockey at the Pan Am Games after dropping a 3-0 decision to Argentina on Saturday night.

Argentine defender Pedro Ibarra opened the scoring for the defending champions in the 25th minute by deflecting a shot from the striking circle that barely cleared the line.

Lucas Vila made it 2-0 in the 33rd minute when he got his stick on a sharp-angled shot from Agustin Mazzili. Manuel Brunet put the game out of reach with a goal in the 47th minute.

The Toronto Star

USMNT Beats Mexico to Claim 5th at Pan American Games

TORONTO, Canada – The U.S. Men’s National Team beat 34th FIH World Ranked Mexico to claim 5th at the 2015 Pan American Games.

"We obviously highlighted finding that finishing touch throughout the week and finally it clicked," said U.S. Men's National Team Head Coach Chris Clements. "The message we've been telling the guys all week is that you can create all of these chances, which is important but getting that final touch makes all the difference. Today was our best performance with the outcomes in the attacking circle."

Wasting no time to get on the scoreboard, the U.S Men’s National Team transitioned the ball into their offensive end and won a penalty corner at the two minute mark. Off the corner, Will Holt (Camarillo, Calif.) sent a direct drag flick on cage that hit the backboard giving USA an early 1-0 lead.

Team USA continued to accelerate through Mexico traffic to enter the attacking end as Pat Harris' (Moorpark, Calif.) backhanded attempt was saved by Mexico’s goalkeeper. After end line to end line play, Holt found the back of the cage again on a diving deflection from Christian Linney (San Diego, Calif.) to put USA 2-0.

"We moved the ball around a lot better today and had good spacing," said Holt. "We held Mexico in our half of the field and they were packing into our attack circle. So we moved the ball around really well and created several opportunities and took advantage of those."

In the 13th minute, Mexico earned their first penalty corner of the game. On the opportunity, Mexico found a USA foot to secure another corner. On the second chance, Mexico’s threatening drag flick from the top of the circle was blocked by USA’s goalkeeper Chris Rea (San Diego, Calif.).

At the start of the second quarter, the USMNT maneuvered play into their offensive end and earned a penalty corner. Netting an impressive third goal for Team USA, Holt found the top of the cage on a drag flick extending the score to USA 3, Mexico 0. Play continued to remain in Team USA’s offensive end as the backfield swung the ball with patience waiting to transition forward.

Mexico’s Edgar Garcia sprinted forward into the attack circle the 18th minute where he beat a USA’s defender in a 1v1 situation and lifted the ball beyond USA’s goalkeeper Rea’s reach to notch the goal, changing the score to USA 3, Mexico 1.

This score didn’t stand long, for in the 22nd minute, Michael Barminski (Ventura, Calif.) fired a powerful backhanded shot from the top left of the circle through Mexico’s defenders resulting in a goal and giving USA a 4-1 lead.

Not letting down, Mexico sped into their attacking circle and earned a penalty corner in the 26th minute. Holding tight to the left post, Barminski collected the shot and outletted to Tom Barratt (Greensboro, N.C.) who transitioned the ball forward. Mexico regained possession and charged to the opposite end of the pitch but USA’s goalkeeper Rea withstood a flurry of rapid shots. Being persistent, Mexico’s Edgard Boruez connected with a solid drive that went into the lower lefthand corner of the goal to make the score USA 4, Mexico 2 at halftime.

Mexico tested USA’s defense early in the third quarter as they ran the baseline and sent a shot above the crossbar. The contest continued to be an evenly possessed match but in the 42nd minute, Team USA earned a penalty corner. Holt’s backhand attempt off the corner was denied by Mexico’s goalkeeper.

Determined to extend the scoring margin, a great individual effort by Harris in the attacking circle resulted in a hard strike in the goal making the score USA 5, Mexico 2.

In the fourth quarter at the 48th minute, Alex Cunningham (Bad Kreuznach, Ger.) drove into the attacking circle and drew a Team USA penalty corner. Holt’s sharp initial shot was turned away by Mexico’s goalkeeper. A minute later, Cunningham received a yellow card but Team USA’s efforts continued as a hard cross was sent past the goalmouth going untouched by a USA player.

Continuing forward attack, Mexico was awarded a penalty corner in the 49th minute. USA’s goalkeeper Rea dove to the left denying the shot on target. Grabbing the rebound and transitioning it up the field, Tyler Sundeen (Simi Valley, Calif.) dodged a Mexico defender with a spin to blast a ball into the back of the cage making it USA 6, Mexico 2.

Ball possession stayed locked at the midfield as both teams fought to earn ball control late in the game. Team USA was able to defend any Mexico threats and secure the 6-2 win.

"Only a few members of the team have actually played in prior Pan American Games competition. So it was good to have those younger guys who are 20, 21 or 22 get this kind of experience under their belts," added Holt. "It strengthens our program as a whole."

"For the guys, this kind of win is a reward for their hard work and their willingness to try to execute the plan," said Clements. "This match leaves a strong stamp on the tournament for us. I'm incredibly proud to work with these guys on a day-to-day basis. We're grinding and giving our absolute best to make sure we make it to the top. It didn't happen at this particular tournament but that doesn't mean it was for a lack of trying or effort. Our vision and our hopes are very high. The team wants the most and best from each other and they're more than willing to give that a go. You haven't heard the last of us, that's for sure."

USFHA media release


T&T take emphatic 7th place

T&T’s men’s hockey team took advantage of a weakened Cuban side to win its 7th-8th place playoff 13-0 at the Pan American Games in Toronto yesterday. Cuba’s squad had been cut in half when eight of its players defected from the group prior to the match. Taking the field with just eight men, the Cubans were slaughtered by a full strength T&T unit which showed them no mercy.

Midfielder Mickel Pierre and substitute forward Kiel Murray led the attack with a hat trick each while midfielder Dillet Gilkes and defender Jordan Reynos managed two apiece. Also entering the scorebooks were Stefan Mouttet, Kristien Emmanuel and Ishmael Campbell.

The Trinidad Guardian

Half of Cuba men's hockey team defects

Half of the Cuban men`s field hockey team at the Pan American Games in Toronto defected to the United States, a player and sources close to the Cuban delegation said Saturday.

The sources said eight of the 16 Cuban players had deserted, while team member Roger Aguilera put the number at seven, just the latest in a rash of Cuban defections across several sports.

"Everyone knows what happened to our team, we have seven of them in the United States," said Aguilera, after the decimated Cubans were hammered 13-0 by Trinidad and Tobago.

Short of manpower, Cuba could only field eight players instead of the standard 11 plus five substitutes.

They are not the first Cubans to defect during the Pan Am Games, after four rowers disappeared last week, including silver medalist Orlando Sotolongo.

It is not uncommon for Cuban athletes to defect, with baseball, boxing and volleyball -- sports where Cuban stars can command big salaries internationally -- particularly hard hit.

At the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, eight members of the Cuban delegation defected.

In January 2013, Cuba eliminated legal barriers to foreign travel, but that did not end the defections of artists and athletes, who remain susceptible to the lure of higher pay abroad.

In an attempt to stem the losses, Cuba raised salaries of athletes, and began allowing them to sign contracts with foreign clubs.

But the defections have continued, including at this month`s football Gold Cup, despite a historic thaw in ties between communist Cuba and the United States.

Zee News

Former Cavs win Pan Am gold with USA Field Hockey

Former Virginia star Michelle Vittese, left, of USA, looks to pass in front of Florencia Habif, of Argentina, during the women's field hockey gold medal final at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, Friday, July 24, 2015. USA defeated Argentina to win the gold medal. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP)

Former Virginia field hockey stars Paige Selenski and Michelle Vittese won gold medals with the U.S. Women’s National Field Hockey Team at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada.

The U.S. defended its 2011 Pan American Games title by defeating Argentina, the No. 3 team in the world rankings, 2-1, on Friday. The win secured Team USA a direct invitation to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

“In a game like, this against a great team like Argentina, they’re going to have moments where they control the match,” U.S. coach Craig Parnham said. “It’s important for us to stay disciplined and part of the game is defending. I think we did a great job with that tonight. It shows a great deal of mental resilience, belief and toughness. It’s very pleasing to see the team continue to do all of this while under pressure.”

Selenski and Vittese were members of the U.S. National Team that won the gold medal at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, México as well as competing at the 2012 London Olympics. Selenski and Vittese have each earned more than 125 international caps.

Daily Progress/Cavalier Insider

Green Army Crowned Eurohockey Champions!

Ireland has been crowned Eurohockey Championships II winners after a dominant 5-0 victory over Czech Republic. Ireland controlled the game from start to finish in a confident performance that further solidified their promotion to the top division in European hockey.

Katie Mullan was first on the score sheet as she fired the ball home from close range in the 8th minute. The game was filled with a plethora of chances for Ireland but the second goal didn’t come until the 32nd minute when Megan Frazer expertly converted a penalty stroke. The third goal came courtesy of a darting run by Watkins and a precision perfect pass to the waiting Brown.

Carroll, the second highest goal scorer in the tournament with 5 to her name, made it 4-0 in the 43rd minute as she sidestepped 2 defenders and calmly slotted the ball under the already-committed goalkeeper. The chances didn’t ease with Mullan, Daly, Pinder and Brown all shooting wide in the second half. Beatty created the final goal with a shot that deflected into the goal off a Czech defender.

The Green Army were crowned deserved champions and Megan Frazer, the squad’s talented captain, earned the prize of tournament MVP.

Today also marked a significant achievement for Shirley McCay who, in earning her 209th cap, became the most capped woman in Irish hockey history. The ever-humble McCay said “To become the most capped female Irish player is an achievement I am extremely proud of. Female athletes are gaining more recognition than ever before and I am delighted to be able to create history today.

Playing for Ireland has always been a gratifying and humbling experience for me and cap 209 was no different. I’m thrilled we could mark it with a win! We have shown immense character and mental resilience to do what we came to achieve and regain our A division status”.

Despite the huge personal achievement for McCay she was quick to pay gratitude to those around her “I am lucky to be surrounded by a group of incredibly talented players and a backroom staff to match, so a huge thank you must go to them for making these opportunities a reality”.

Speaking about the achievement of his most capped player, coach Graham Shaw said “To play 209 times and become the highest capped female player for your country is a testament to her hard work, commitment and dedication. Shirley is a great team player and a fantastic person so we are thrilled for her as she thoroughly deserves this honour”.

Eurohockey Championships II Final, Prague

Ireland 5 (Mullan, Frazer, Brown, Carroll, Beatty)
Czech Republic

Team: McFerran, Brown, Mullan, McCay, Frazer (C), Carroll, Pinder, Watkins, Daly, Matthews, Sargent

Subs: Davis, O’Byrne, Lloyd, Duke, McDonald, Meeke, Beatty.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Superb bronze for England U18 Girls

ENGLAND Under-18 Girls clinched the bronze medal at the EuroHockey Youth Championships in Santander, Spain, after beating Belgium 2-0 on Saturday afternoon.

In their last match together as a squad, they rose to the occasion and dominated against a tough opponent.

Head Coach Sarah Kelleher said afterwards: “I’m very happy that we’ve managed to win the bronze medal, but they deserve it after a great performance.

“The girls worked very well from the get-go, we always knew the Belgians would give us a tough game so we went out hard from the start. We played excellently in defence, but also looked threatening in attack and played great fluid hockey.

“It was a great overall team performance. Every player rose to the occasion and played to their best.”

England took the lead in the 17th minute with Georgie Bathurst scoring at a penalty corner from a second phase rebound off the goalkeeper.

And on the hour mark, Charlotte Calnan doubled their advantage with a spectacular drag flick, again at a penalty corner.

Belgium (0) 0

England (1) 2
Georgie Bathurst – 17 (PC)
Charlotte Calnan – 60 (PC)

England Hockey Board Media release

England U18 Boys preserve top-flight status

ENGLAND Under-18 boys secured their top-flight status at the EuroHockey Youth Championships in dramatic fashion, drawing 4-4 with rivals Scotland after a hard-fought battle in Santander, Spain, on Saturday.

England looked to be heading for a comfortable win as they led 4-1 with five minutes left, but three late goals from Scotland led to a frantic finale to the match.

However, it is Scotland who are relegated on goal difference alone while England live to fight another day in the A Division.

“After the disappointment of losing to Ireland the previous day, this was a massive game for us, and one which we had to win to stay in the A Division,” said Head Coach Jody Paul.

“The way that the boys approached the game was great and they applied themselves well and delivered what I asked them to do.”

Scotland took the lead with captain Joseph McConnell scoring after just three minutes, but England hit back through Elliot Hibell who scored from a 13th minute penalty corner drag flick from the top of the D which found the net unopposed.

Tom Crowson put England ahead on 33 minutes with a reverse stick shot after some good build up, and three minutes later Euan Gilmour scored from a penalty stroke, awarded after a foul by the goalkeeper.

Nick Page’s 38th minute goal put England in the driving seat, but Scotland weren’t finished yet.

With five minutes left, England had three players injured and Scotland took advantage of their loss of shape, scoring on 65 minutes through Chris McFadden, 67 minutes through Ryan McCurry and with second left from Andrew Webb.

But England held on for a draw which was enough to keep them in the top flight.

England (2) 4
Elliot Hibell – 13 (PC)
Tom Crowson – 33 (FG)
Euan Gilmour – 36 (PS)
Nick Page – 38 (FG)

Scotland (1) 4
Joseph McConnell – 3 (PC)
Chris McFadden 65 (PC)
Ryan McCurry – 67 (FG)
Andrew Webb – 70 (PC)

England Hockey Board Media release

Scotland U18 sides experience relegation as European campaigns conclude in Spain

Scotland U18 Men and Women's EuroHockey U18 Nations Championship campaigns ended in disappointment today as both sides were relegated from the competition.

Scotland U18 Men faced England in a relegation decider, with the winner guaranteed survival in the top division for the competition in 2017.

The Scots got off to a great start in the fourth minute when Joe McConnell scored from a penalty corner set-piece to put them 1-0 up.

However, England were soon back on level terms when Elliot Hibell dispatched a penalty corner in the 14th minute.

Tom Crowson delivered a vital goal for the English a minute before the half-time interval, scoring from open play to make it 2-1.

Two goals in as many minutes immediately after half-time effectively inflicted the crucial blows to Scotland's survival chances.

Euan Gilmour slotted a penalty stroke into the left corner of the net for England's third goal in the 36th minute, before Nick Page stole ahead of his marker to finish off a cross into the centre of goal shortly after.

Scotland then produced a courageous comeback in the closing stages; Chris McFadden's drag-flick pulled the Scots back into the contest with their second goal in the 65th minute, followed by Ryan McCurry's cool finish three minutes later. Andrew Webb then fired in a fantastic penalty corner right on the 70th minute to level the scores at 4-4.

But England hung on until the final hooter to ensure they finished agonisingly above Scotland on goal difference, resulting in a seventh place finish for the Scots and relegation to Championship II in 2017.

Scotland U18 Women were faced with the prospect of having to record a miraculous high scoring win against Spain to survive in the competition.

Alas, the Spaniards ran out 4-0 winners, meaning Scotland finished bottom of Pool C and will play in the Championship II division in 2017.

Three minutes from the half-time break, Florencia Admundson opened the scoring for the host nation with a field goal.

Patricia Alvarez doubled her side's advantage two minutes after the re-start with a goal from open play.

Clara Ycart's field goal on the 45th minute resigned Scotland's survival ambitions to a forlorn task.

There was time for one more goal just before full-time, Alvarez netting her second goal of the match in the 68th minute to round off the scoring.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Breda 6N: Indian Junior Men finish fourth

Breda (Netherlands): The India and England U-21 Men Team playing for the 3rd position of the Volvo Invitational U-21 (Men) Tournament 2015 at Breda, Netherlands, saw a skilful and strategic game of hockey as both the teams aimed at outwitting each other and winning the match. It was England who through their better performance came out winners as they claimed the 3rd position and India settling for the 4th position in the tournament.

Both the teams started the game with huge motivation as they looked to score the quick goal. But unfortunately for India, England pounced on an easy opportunity just 7 minutes into the game as they skilfully entered the D and it was Edward Horler who hit the ball past the Indian goalie. With the goal England took the early lead and the scorecard read 1-0 in their favour.

Not allowing the goal by England to deter their determination, India was soon seen in the opponents D as they tactfully earned a penalty corner in their name. But the opponents defence proved to be stronger as they cleared the danger and India lost the opportunity to equalise. India continuing its pressure with another penalty corner which again went a waste, as the England goalie saved for his team. Just more than a minute left for the first half to end, India had another chance on the penalty corner but they were still kept away from the goal and the session ended 1-0 in England’s favour.

The teams stepped on the turf in the second half with clear intentions. While India was looking at equalising the game, England knew they had to double its lead and make their stand stronger. It was yet again England’s Edward Horler who again successfully beat the Indian defence and scored the second goal of the match in the 47th minute. While India was trailing the entire team was still playing with a spirit of going all out and scoring. They gave a tough time to the England defence as they looked for the gap and put the ball in the nets. In the 68th minute, England again scored through Samuel Hatherley as he hit past the Indian goalkeeper to score their third goal and in a manner sealing the fate of the game. The three goals helped England win and take the 3rd position in the tournament.


England U23 Women aim for bronze

A second-half strike from Kate Holmes proved enough for England Under-23 Women to beat India in the Six Nations Tournament on Saturday, and line up a bronze medal clash against the same opponent on Sunday.

Holmes struck with a low drag flick from the top of the D which found the bottom corner, and the team held on to take the win.

Head Coach Craig Keegan said: “It was a much deserved victory in tough conditions. India are always a tricky team as they have fantastic individual skills. Today our organisation and solid team defence enabled us to gain and maintain good periods of possession.

“In the first half in particular creating numerous opportunities, and it was pleasing to see Kate Holmes score from a short corner later in the game, but in the second half we had to withstand a little bit of pressure. We are now looking forward to playing for the Bronze medal tomorrow.

“It has been a tough tournament in a number of ways, but testament to the players’ commitment that they have put themselves in a position to play for a medal.

England’s bronze medal clash with India is tomorrow, Sunday, 6 July, at 12noon (GMT).

England (0) 1
Kate Holmes – 47 (PC)

India (0) 0

England Hockey Board Media release

Losses for Future Black Sticks in Breda

Photo: Koen Suyk

The Future Black Sticks Men and Women have both been defeated at the Volvo Invitational Series in Breda.

The Men went down to table toppers Belgium 4-1, while the Women were well beaten by India 6-1.

It was a slow start for the NZ boys, who were under pressure from the first whistle. It wasn’t long before the pressure told, with Belgium scoring to take the lead.

Belgium scored again midway through the second quarter, taking the score 2-0 at halftime.

As the second half wore on the Kiwis began to stand up, making some telling plays that threatened the Belgium goal. After some good play it was the Future Black Sticks who would score next through a Sam Lane penalty corner conversion.

The game then opened up with both teams creating chances. It was Belgium who would score next however, capitalising on some good lead up play.

With just over five minutes left in the match and searching for the win, coach Bryce Collins took his keeper off the field, opting to play with 11 field players.

The attacking play looked to be working as New Zealand threatened to score but Belgium broke away and scored in a vacant goal to take the match 4-1.

Meanwhile, the Future Black Sticks Women were disappointing in a 6-1 loss against a fired up India side.

India scored two field goals in quick concession after inside the opening six minutes and then were on the board again right on halftime.

India scored another three goals in the second half while the Kiwis could muster just one goal through Pippa Norman.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Future Black Sticks Men finish sixth

Photo: Koen Suyk

The Future Black Sticks Men have finished sixth after being defeated 4-2 by the Netherlands at the Volvo Invitational in Breda.

It was a rematch from the opening day when both sides played out a draw.

The weather, which had been so perfect all week, turned nasty for the final day of the men’s competition with wild wind and rain testing the resolve of players and spectators.

The FBS went in to today’s game down in numbers with David Brydon resting a leg injury.

As they have done all tournament, the Kiwis went after their opponents early on. They had the first goal scoring opportunities of the match and the first penalty corner of the match.

Despite the pressure, and against the run of play however it was Holland who scored first.

The young Kiwis persevered and the effort paid off with a nicely worked penalty corner goal to Mac Wilcox. The Dutch side took the lead shortly before halftime thanks to some brilliant individual skills.

The rest of the match went much the same, with New Zealand fighting back to within one goal of the Dutch team, only to have their hopes dashed with the final score-line 4-2.

Head coach Bryce Collins, while disappointed not to have secured a win for his team, was philosophical about the performance.

“It’s been a steep learning curve for many of these boys, and I’m sure they will have learnt a lot from their experience.

“It will be important that we build on the gains we’ve made this week, and continue to develop these boys.”

Meanwhile, the Future Black Sticks Women secured their first win at the tournament by defeating Germany 2-1.

In their final pool game, and while neither team could make the final, both had plenty to play for.

The Kiwis looked sharp early, with the speed of the forwards troubling the German defence. Despite numerous opportunities, New Zealand again struggled to convert opportunities into goals.

At halftime, the FBS had made 15 circle entries to Germany’s 6, however the scoreline remained 0-0.

Germany converted their first penalty corner of the match in the second half to take a 1-0 lead.

The Kiwis would not be denied however, putting pressure back on to the German defence and winning a penalty corner. This time they were able to take the opportunity with Kelsey Smith getting the final touch on the set piece.

With nothing to lose, the girls continued to press hard and search for the winning goal. With just over three minutes left, Catherine Tinning was on the end of a penetrating run and fired home the winning goal.

The Future Black Sticks will now play Germany again tomorrow in the 5th/6th playoff match. Holland will play China for gold, with England taking on India for bronze.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Pruyser and Merkus on board for Amsterdam

Amsterdam have extended the contract of top striker Mirco Pruyser for another two years in addition to strengthening their hand with the arrival of Niek Merkus from Schaerweijde.

Speaking about the new contract, Dutch international Pruyser said: “I am very happy because Amsterdam is my club and it is nice that the love is mutual”.

Looking at the upcoming season, he adds: "Of course we want to win the Hoofdklasse title after a good third place last season. It’s also nice to come back to play the EHL after a two year absence.”

Pruyser is the 13th highest scorer in EHL history with 13 goals in the competition before.

As for Merkus, he was one of the nominees for last season’s top talent in the Netherlands and has played at underage level for the Netherlands.

Euro Hockey League media release

IOC shuts out PSB, to meet Army in final

It was a performance worthy of a champion team.

K. Keerthivasan

Deepak Thakur struck IOC’s second goal, his ninth of the tournament, against Punjab & Sind Bank and effectively sealed for his team a berth in the final. Photo: R. Ragu

Defending champion Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) produced a game that was authoritative as well as eye-catching.

Coming out with all guns blazing after a none-too impressive display in the league, IOC shut out Punjab & Sind Bank 2-1 in in the semifinals of the 89th all-India MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium here on Saturday.

Challenging IOC will be a sturdy Army XI, which scripted a facile 3-0 win over Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

The first-half was a keen pointer as to how IOC would like to take this match forward.

Whatever sorties IOC came up with turned out to be wonderful exhibition of attacking hockey. To put it succinctly, it was IOC show all the way. If Sheshe Gowda tipped one past the right post off a pass by Gagandeep Singh from the right, then a minute or two later, Inderjit Singh’s shot from the left missed the stick of Deepak Thakur by a whisker. PSB, on the other hand, was taken aback by IOC’s attack mode.

Relying on long balls, PSB tried to score through deflections with passes, concentrating more from the left flank. But the IOC defence would not allow one bit.

Gauthampal Singh’s scoop from just near the goalmouth was stopped by the IOC ’keeper Baljith Singh; that was the only time that PSB came close to scoring the goal.

Seven minutes into the second session, IOC found the back of the net. Vikash Sharma charmed the spectators with a solo effort as he worked his way to the left to unleash a backhander that left PSB ’keeper Guriqbal Singh with little time to move his left foot.

PSB forced a corner right away; its first, but it was badly executed. IOC attacked in tandem. Rosan Minz and Sheshe Gowda combined well to rattle the PSB defence. Of its second corner, Sunil Yadav’s two successive strikes were stopped by the PSB ’keeper.

Deepak Thakur scored his ninth goal of the tournament, running in from the left to a calculated pass by Rosan for a withering strike. All the while, PSB struggled to make an attacking move of its own. A consolation goal by Karamjit Singh was all that PSB could take from the match.
Facile win

It was a canter of sorts for Army. The match was as good as over in the first half with Army scoring all the three goals. CAG just couldn’t force the pace of the contest with the forwards coming a cropper.

Of the three goals, the last one is worth a mention. Anup Topno worked his way from the goal-line to back pass it to the centre of the circle where Binoy Bengera was waiting to strike a blinder, and he did it with panache.

The results (semifinals):

IOC 2 (Vikash Sharma 41, Deepak Thakur 60) bt Punjab & Sind Bank 1 (Karamjit Singh 69).

Army 3 (Biraj Ekka 13, Chandan Aind 17, Binoy Bhengra 28) bt CAG 0.

The Hindu

Army XI to meet IOC in final of Murugappa Hockey

Army XI to meet IOC in final of Murugappa Hockey

Chennai: Former champions Army XI will meet Indian Oil Corporation (Mumbai) in the final of the glittering 89th Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament here on Sunday.

Star studded IOC got the better of Punjab & Sind Bank 2-1, while Army thrashed Controller and Auditor General XI 3-0 in their respective semi-final matches, here today.

In the first semi-final, the going was tough for both IOC and PSB and the latter defended their citadel very tightly.

IOC's sporadic raids in Bankmen's area were thwarted duly. In fact, experienced Deepak Thakur, who on ocasions raided the striking area was intercepted by the defenders.

After changeover, IOC forwards with able assistance from the winners were able to make in roads and went in to the lead.

Vikash Sharma broke the deadlock in the 4th minute with a superb field goal. Former India international Thakur, the highest scorer in the tournament, scored a spectacular goal to increase the lead. However, Karamjit Singh scored the consolation goal for the Bank in the 69th minute.

In the second semi-finals, Army went into the attack and were fluent in their passing scored all three goals in the first half itself.

Biraj Ekka sounded the boards in the 13th minute and four minutes later,Chandan Aind made it 2-0.

In the 28th minute, Binoy Bhengra completed the tally.

Zee News

Indian Hockey Legend Late Dhyan Chand Awarded 'Bharat Gaurav'

Several accomplished Indians attended the event and the chorus was clear - Major Dhyan Chand's contribution to Indian sports is unthinkable, incomparable. The Hockey Magician as he is referred to made the country proud on several occasions. He won three Olympic golds. He had scored over 400 goals in his international career of 26 years.

by Radhika Iyer

Born on August 29, 1905, Major Dhyan Chand is regarded as the greatest player of hockey the world has seen till date.

London, UK: India's most popular Hockey player, Late Major Dhyan Chand was today awarded the 'Bharat Gaurav', a Lifetime achievement award by an NRI organisation. But the venue of the ceremony made it even more special for his family which was there in London to receive the award. Olympian Ashok Kumar, son of Major Dhyan Chand walked with pride through the magnificent corridors of the British Parliament to receive the award inside the House of Commons. 'I never imagined that someday I would be here and would be the guest of honour. This is a matter of great pride for my family. Major Dhyan Chand ji would be happy.'

Several accomplished Indians attended the event and the chorus was clear - Major Dhyan Chand's contribution to Indian sports is unthinkable, incomparable. The Hockey Magician as he is referred to made the country proud on several occasions. He won three Olympic golds. He had scored over 400 goals in his international career of 26 years.

Major Dhyan Chand was one of the nominees in 2014 for the prestigious Bharat Ratna, an award which cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and scientist CN Rao eventually received. 'I do feel very sad that the Indian Government is yet to recognize Dada Dhyan Chand ji. In 2011, when Ajay Maken was Sports Minister, it was announced that he would receive the Bharat Ratna. Media persons came to my house all day for interviews, But at the end of the day his name was announced. According to some players in his time, during 1936, when India won the gold medal in Berlin Olympics, Hitler offered Dhyan Chand to join the German team but he had denied the offer. My father used to score goals like how runs are scored in Cricket.' added an emotional Ashok Dhyan Chand.

India has declared 29th of August each year, the Birthday of Late Major Dhyan Chand as National Sports Day. Prestigious awards like the Bharat Ratna, Khel Ratna are given away n this very day. Ironically, Major Chand is yet to receive it. But support for him across the globe doesnt seem to die down. 'There should be no politics specially when it comes to sports. Major Dhyan Chand ji should receive the award. When in London he is so popular that a tube station can be named after him, why is India delaying in recognising the contribution Major Chand has made?' said Sunil Kumar an NRI businessman. While Dr Parag Singhal, an Award winning Medical Consultant in London said ''We and the future generations are never going to see Major Dhyan Chand's games live. We can only admire his style now. He should be given the Bharat Ratna before it is too late.' Representing Major Dhyan Chand's family at the award ceremony was his Grand daughter, Divina Singh, a retail industry expert. 'Although I have never met him, I have learnt so much from him. He was so good at what he did. We should all try to do one thing very well.' she added.

NDTV Sports

Indian Hockey in chaos again

Dutch Coach dismissed. What next?


Yet another foreign hockey coach stands axed at the altar of egoism evoking the avalanche of polemical exchanges for over a week now.

There is a despicable element of mystery, perhaps deliberately choreographed to confuse the issue by the officials involved in the whole episode.

It is yet unclear what prompted the Dutch coach, Paul van Ass, hired only six months ago after much debate, to stay back and not join the camp in HP.

Ass contends that his sacking was conveyed by Roelant Oltmans, the High Performance Director, but the Hockey India boss, Narinder Batra, disputes this line. Needless to say, everything looks murky and unwarranted.

What comes clear from the whole drama is that Pal van Ass will not be with the Indian team again. The sequence after the defeats India sustained in the final stages of the Hockey World League semi-finals at Antwerp has been tragic and traumatic for our hockey in more than one sense.

It is believed that exchanges between the HI President and the coach in the match involving India and Malaysia triggered a massive misunderstanding leading the current chaos.

Again, it is unfathomable why van Ass took exception to Batra having a word with the players. The incident looks too trivial to have such repercussions leading to the removal of the coach from the scene just a year before the Olympics at Rio.

The debate on why this occurred may take a long time for the analysts and self style experts to decipher. But the fact that India will have to take a new full time for the men’s team cannot be ignored.

There are indications that the current High Performance Director, Roelant Oltmans, may assume charge for the team purely based on his association with the team for over two years.

In fact, he was the coach when India played in the Asia Cup at Ipoh before the World Cup at The Hague. India finished as the runner up to Korea, and then went to take a spot got the World Cup.

Understandably, a lot of formalities need to be completed before Oltmans takes charge of the team. There is a great amount of logic in this move rather than to tendering for a new coach before the Olympics at Rio.

Four coaches in a period of five years reflect poorly on the HI administration. Apart from denting the image of the country, such occurrences send very bad signals among the fraternity of the top professional coaches.

There is already a joke within the hockey community that any coach going to India on an assignment purchases the return ticket first and keeps it in his wallet every minute!

It is a pity that so much time has been wasted in fruitless discussions on coaches when the concentration should on preparing the team for Rio.

Amidst all this turbulence, the only good news for India relates to its elevation to the eighth place in the World Rankings over Korea, Pakistan and Malaysia.

The road to Rio is getting tougher by the hour, and how the players fine-tune their mindset for the battle is best left to conjecture at this point.


Oltmans to be India hockey coach till Olympics

Uthra Ganesan

A file photo of Roelant Oltmans.

Roelant Oltmans was officially named as the new chief coach of the Indian men’s hockey team on Saturday following a series of meetings between the Dutchman, Hockey India president Narinder Batra and Sports Authority of India Director General Injeti Srinivas.

“Oltmans has agreed to be the chief coach till 2016 Olympics and he will now be the Director, High Performance and the chief coach. His requirements have been given to us which we will be discussing with the SAI in due course. I think everything is in place,” Batra said after meeting Srinivas here.

The 61-year old Oltmans would replace compatriot Paul van Ass, whose tenure ended in controversial circumstances earlier this week.

The decision comes on Friday’s recommendations of a special nine-member committee constituted to decide on the coach issue and evaluate both the men’s and women’s teams performances at the Hockey World League semifinals in Antwerp. The face-off between Batra and van Ass began in Antwerp though the HI president has denied any tussle.

Though Oltmans arrived in Delhi to meet Batra, he did not accompany the latter for the meeting with SAI.

Srinivas refused to speak to the media but the HI president confirmed that the federation was not happy with van Ass’s performance in the five months he had been in charge.

Interestingly, van Ass had claimed that he was told of his sacking by Oltmans and shared a series of mails to prove his point, though the first communiqué on the issue remains confidential. But Batra claimed he had all the mails sent by Oltmans and defended him.

“On July 5th itself (the last day of the tournament), he had said it was a goodbye meeting.

“He had already decided not to come back and now saying that I have terminated his contract on the 10th. He has shown only four mails, I have a lot more but I don’t want to get into that.

“He writes on July 13th that he will not send any report to me. He tells me that you can talk to the players, then he says you leave. He says he doesn’t have a ticket when he had the ticket. I have spoken to the players.

“He was demoralised before the Malaysia match, he was telling them he was nervous, HI was putting pressure.

“Who was putting pressure when I spoke to him just twice in five months? A coach does not motivate like that,” Batra claimed.

Asked about the effect of frequent changes on the players, Batra agreed it was a distraction. The team is currently in Shilaroo for a fitness camp.

“This is a setback and players are getting affected, I concede that. But it’s not the result that matters it’s the way you play. It’s time to bring consistency. If they had lost 1-0, 2-1 to Australia, I would have said there’s consistency.

“Same with Britain and Belgium. But losing 6-1, 4-1, 5-1 is not accepted. India needs to be in the top-four in the world,” Batra added.

The Hindu

Oltmans to shoulder Indian hockey till Rio Olympics

Sabi Hussain

NEW DELHI,: The Paul van Ass chapter has been closed once and for all. Hockey India (HI) and Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Saturday decided to terminate his contract to pave the way for Roelant Oltmans to officially take charge of the Indian hockey team till the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The 54-year-old Dutchman’s sacking was more to do with his alleged dishonesty rather than his moderate performance as the chief coach.

After initially saying that he didn’t receive the ticket back to India after the Hockey World League in Antwerp, Van Ass later acknowledged that he had received, Van Ass later acknowledged that he had received the ticket through a mail on June 9.

He also said that he had received a mail from Oltmans on July 13, informing him about his sacking. However, according to SAI and the HI-constituted special committee, he hasn’t shared the mail with them. HI president Narender Batra, after meeting the SAI DG Injeti Srinivas here today, formed the basis of his defence on these two points. Batra not only described Van Ass as “incompetent”, but also said that said that the Dutchman had told the players and the coaching staff in Antwerp that he won’t be coming back. “He was incompetent as a coach but was good as a motivator. He was so demoralised before the quarterfinal against Malaysia that he told the players he was nervous and HI was putting pressure on him to perform. A coach does not motivate the team like this. Who was putting pressure on him when I spoke to him just twice in five months?” Batra said.

“On July 5, he told the players that it’s his goodbye meeting as he has decided not to come back. On July 13, he wrote to us that he would not send the report. He needed a reason to pick a fight with me so that he could plan his exit. From our side, the matter is finished and Oltmans has taken charge of the team,” he added.

Batra said: “Oltmans wrote those mails in his personal capacity, discussing about Van Ass’ return and the performance report. There was no sacking mail as such. In fact, Van Ass had told Oltmans that ‘give me the notice pay and send me the termination letter from SAI and HI’. We wanted him back but he did not turn up.”

New coach

Age: 61

Coaching career

The Netherlands women’s team 1989-93 (Gold in 1990 World Cup)
The Netherlands men’s team 1993-98, 2005-08 (Gold in 1994 Olympics, Gold in 1998 World Cup)
Pakistan men’s team 2003-04 (Fifth in 2004 Olympics)

The Tribune

Hockey India director Oltmans to coach men's team till Rio Olympics

"Oltmans has agreed to be the coach till the Rio Olympics and we would want him to continue after that till the World Cup (in 2018)," Batra said after the meeting.

Hockey India (HI) high-performance director Roelant Oltmans was on Saturday officially appointed as the chief coach of the Indian team till the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The announcement was expected after the HI special committee had recommended the removal of Paul Van Ass from the coach's post on Friday. The confirmation of Oltmans taking over the post was taken after a meeting between Sports Authority of India's (SAI) director general Injeti Srinivas and HI president Narinder Batra in New Delhi on Saturday.

"Oltmans has agreed to be the coach till the Rio Olympics and we would want him to continue after that till the World Cup (in 2018)," Batra said after the meeting.

Oltmans had come down from the camp in Shilaroo to New Delhi and met Batra and HI CEO Elena Norman before Batra and Oltmans went to meet the SAI DG to sort out contractual matters.

The Van Ass chapter ended after he failed to turn up for the ongoing national camp in Shilaroo, alleging that he was fired by Batra after the recently-concluded Hockey World League Semifinals in Antwerp. The two had an on-field spat during the tournament.

"We should move ahead, coaches come and go," Batra said. "We want to look ahead and prepare the team for the Olympics. We will talk to Oltmans about his requirements regarding the support staff and will give all possible assistance."

Assistant coach Jude Felix had also put in his papers hours after Van Ass's removal on Saturday.

Van Ass had alleged that Oltmans had sent him e-mails saying HI had sacked him. Asked about his views on the matter, Batra refused to get into the details, saying: "I can't blame Oltmans for the e-mails," he said.

The HI chief once again said Van Ass wasn't a good coach, and that he was beating around the bush.

"Paul Van Ass had his personal problems. He is not a good coach. He is away and beating around the bush putting allegations. We can't give clarifications to his allegations," he said.

Van Ass was the fourth foreign coach to be axed prematurely ever since HI took charge of Indian hockey in 2009.

However, with Oltmans having been a part of Indian hockey for close to three years now, and the players comfortable with his style of working, this Dutchman's tenure might just be a lot less controversy-filled.


Roelant Oltmans appointed India hockey coach till Rio Olympics

NEW DELHI: High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans was on Saturday appointed coach of the Indian hockey team, replacing Paul van Ass, who was unceremoniously sacked after a bitter spat with Hockey India president Narinder Batra.

The 61-year-old Dutchman, who has been associated with Indian hockey for close to three years now, will be at the helm of affairs at least till next year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The decision to appoint Oltmans was taken at a meeting between Sports Authority of India's director general Injeti Srinivas and Batra.

"Oltmans has agreed to be the coach till the Rio Olympics and we would want him to continue after that," Batra told reporters after the meeting.

Batra said that Van Ass' ouster was a disappointing chapter but it was important for Indian hockey to move ahead.

"We should move ahead, coaches come and go. We want to look ahead and prepare the team for the Olympics. we will talk to Oltmans about his requirements regarding the support staff and will give all possible assistance," Batra said.

Earlier on Friday, a nine-member committee headed by Olympian Harbinder Singh, formed to decide Van Ass' future, recommended that the Dutchman should not be continued.

Van Ass blamed an "autocratic" Batra for his ouster and said the recommendation to remove him did not come as a "surprise" to him.

Oltmans has been associated with Indian hockey for nearly three years and to add to it, the players also gel well with him and some have even aired their views of handing the reins of the team to the Dutchman after Van Ass' ouster.

Van Ass, who was appointed at the end of January this year, was awarded a three-year contract till 2018. The World League semifinals in Antwerp, earlier this month, was the Dutchman's second assignment with the Indian team.

Van Ass' sacking will be formalised after further discussions between SAI and Hockey India officials.

Van Ass' sacking left India without a coach with barely a year to go for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics for which the team had already qualified by virtue of its gold medal in last year's Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

The decision to appoint Oltmans puts an end to the uncertainty over India's coach since a national camp has already started.

Van Ass was the fourth foreign coach to be shown the door unceremoniously ever since Hockey India took over the reins of the game in 2009.

His predecessors Jose Brasa, Michael Nobbs and Terry Walsh -- all of whom were hired by Sports Authority of India on the recommendations of HI at hefty salaries -- also left the country on a bitter note.

The Times of India

No regrets over sacking, Paul van Ass was incompetent: Narinder Batra

NEW DELHI: Hockey India chief Narinder Batra on Saturday conceded that the premature exit of Paul van Ass was a setback to the national team's preparations for the 2016 Olympics but made it clear that he had no regrets for letting go of "an incompetent coach".

Batra responded to criticism from van Ass, who had called the Hockey India boss as an "autocratic administrator".

"That is his opinion. To me, he was incompetent as a coach but was good as a motivator. I didn't know this when he came here first five months ago," Batra said after his meeting with Injeti Srinivas, Sports Authority of India (SAI) Director General, here.

The SAI chief, however, chose not to comment after his brief meeting with Batra.

"SAI will make its recommendation to the Ministry on Monday. I don't wish to make any comments at this stage," Srinivas said.

Batra, who visited SAI headquarters after meeting Oltmans and HI CEO Elena Norman, did most of the talking.

"It is indeed a setback and I concede that. We have got behind in our Olympic preparation by a month. Now we should move on from all this and look to the future," he said referring to the latest controversy to have hit Indian hockey, triggered by an on field altercation between Batra and van Ass during the World League Semifinals in Belgium.

"I don't want to say much about a person who says one lie after another. He says he doesn't have a ticket, when the ticket was there. He was so much demoralised before the quarterfinal against Malaysia. The players told me he was nervous before the game, how can he motivate the team in that case?"

Talking more about van Ass not being a good coach, Batra said he was only a good motivator.

"I started evaluating (after World League), when you are in Holland, you get a support staff of 10. Forward coach, midfield coach, goalkeeper coach and other strategists, it doesn't happen in India. He felt he was overworked. He was not able to deliver. He said to the players that Hockey India was putting pressure on him. Who has put pressure? I met him twice only in five months.

"As I said, he was a good motivator but not a good coach. Planning, strategy is also part of coaching," Batra explained.

The Times of India

Gospel and ACS dominate U19 hockey tournament

Kalesi Mele

Ema Vosailagi of Adi Cakobau School (left) tussles for the ball against Raijieli Salabogi of Nabua Secondary School in the girls U19 Secondary School Hockey competition at the National Hockey Centre in Suva yesterday. Picture: JONE LUVENITOGA

GOSPEL High School and Adi Cakobau School dominated the U19 hockey Suva District play off tournament held at the National Hockey Centre yesterday.

Playing a round-robin of matches to determine which schools would qualify for the national meets later in the year, defending champions ACS and Gospel stamped their mark to seal a qualifying spot.

In other grades, St Joseph's Secondary School gained top position in the U16 grade with today's matches having been conducted to determine which schools would take top three positions with Ballantine Memorial School and ACS also qualifying.

In the boys division, Cathedral Secondary School defeated Marist Brother's High School 3-1 and later ousted Gospel High School 3-0 to take first position.

MBHS and GSS have also qualified for the national meets later in the year in the U19 division.

Marist's U16 grade has also made it through alongside Nabua in the U16 division.

BMS and SJSS will face off again next week to determine which school will be third in the U19 girls grade.

Suva district playoff results:

U16: Girls: BMS 0-0 ACS, BMS 0-0 SJSS, ACS 0-1 SJSS. Boys: MBHS 9-0 Nabua.

U19: Girls: ACS 0-3 SJSS, GHS 0-0 ACS, BMS 1-1 SJSS, ACS 11-0 Nabua, BMS 5-0 Nabua, SJSS 0-3 GHS, ACS 4-0 BMS, BMS0-2 GHS. Boys: MBHS 1-3 Cathedral, GHS 0-1 MBHS, CSS 3-0 GHS.

The Fiji Times

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