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News for 31 July 2015

All the news for Friday 31 July 2015

England held by Belgium in Hamburg

Ashley Jackson lines up for a penalty corner

A hat-trick from England’s Ashley Jackson, including a last-gasp penalty corner gave Bobby Crutchley’s side a share of the spoils as their opening game of the Ergo Hamburg Masters ended in a 3-3 draw with Belgium.

In a typically close affair it was England who took the lead. Iain Lewers’ pass into the circle caused the Belgian defence problems and it was Jackson who pounced to lift the loose ball into the net for his 117th goal in international hockey. The lead lasted just a minute; however as Belgium’s No27 Tom Boon levelled from the penalty spot.

Although Belgium had the better of the opening exchanges the sides went in level at the break. It was England who had the stronger third quarter and they got their noses in front in the 33rd minute. Some good work from Alastair Brogdon freed Chris Griffiths whose cut back from the baseline found its way to Jackson near the edge of the circle. The No7 fired an unerring finish into the bottom right corner giving Vincent Vanasch no chance.

The final quarter proved to be an action-packed 15 minutes as both sides went after the win. Boon notched his second goal from a penalty corner to level the scores and then Sebastien Dockier popped up to give Belgium the lead with five minutes to go.

Jérôme Truyens was shown a yellow card a minute later and with a man advantage England laid siege to the Belgian goal. They won a penalty corner with the clock ticking to 60 minutes. Jackson stepped up and found a gap through the goalkeeper’s legs via a deflection off the defender, to complete his hat-trick and earn England a deserved draw.

England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley:

“We looked rusty at the start as this is our first match play since the World League in Antwerp. Once we got going, we acquitted ourselves well and I’m fairly happy with the performance. I’m also really pleased to see David Ames and Ian Sloan make their England debuts.

We look forward to the challenges of the rest of the tournament as we continue to prepare for the Unibet EuroHockey Championships in London.”

England 3 (1)
Ashley Jackson 25, 33, 60 (FG, FG, PC)

Belgium 3 (1)
Tom Boon 26, 48 (PS, PC)
Sebastien Dockier 55 (FG)

England Hockey Board Media release

Scotland Senior Women secure great win over Germany

Scotland's penalty corner expert Nikki Kidd opened the scoring against Germany

Scotland Senior Women recorded a fantastic result in their first match of the Euro Masters in Hamburg, defeating hosts Germany in a 4-3 win.

Following early pressure from the home side, Scotland took the lead against the run of play in the fourth minute thanks to a penalty corner drag-flick into the left corner from midfielder Nikki Kidd.

Three minutes later, the Scots increased their advantage when a quick counter-attack was finished off by Becky Merchant to make it 2-0.

Scotland goalkeeper Amy Gibson saved a Julia Muller penalty corner attempt shortly after, but the shot-stopper was beaten in the ninth minute when Anne Schroeder pulled Germany back into the contest with a penalty corner effort.

The home side restored parity to the contest in the 20th minute, Charlotte Stepenhorst scoring Germany's second goal after a nice assist from Franzisca Hauke.

Nevertheless, another counter-attack from the visitors three minutes later led to Fiona Bruce coolly putting Scotland back into the lead at 3-2.

Gibson ensured the Scots went into the half-time interval with their one goal advantage in tact, saving from Stapenhorst.

Both sides had chances during a goalless third quarter, Gibson again thwarting the hosts with saves from a penalty corner and a Hauke opportunity. Equally, the cross-bar denied a fourth Scotland goal.

Schroder was also denied by strong Scottish defending just as she was about to shoot on goal in the 50th minute.

However, Germany were not to be denied for much longer, Marie Mavers equalising again for the home side in the 57th minute.

The pendulum swung back decisively in Scotland's favour in the 60th minute though, the German goalkeeper deflecting the ball into her own net off Becky Merchant's final intervention after a Scotland counter-attack.

Gibson was once again the heroine deep into over-time, saving another penalty corner, to give Gordon Shepherd's side a fantastic win over the home side.

The Scots play Spain in their second Euro Masters match tomorrow at 15.00 BST.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

New coach Oltmans cuts a confident figure ahead of European tour

Vineet Ramakrishnan

NEW DELHI: Newly-appointed coach of the Indian men's hockey team Roelant Oltmans cut a confident figure on Thursday ahead of the team's 15-day European Tour in preparation for the World Hockey League final later this year. Amid the controversial sacking of former coach Paul Van Ass and the subsequent resignation of assistant coach Jude Felix, the team trained under Oltmans, who is also the high-performance director, in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh and the former Dutch international clarified that recent events have had no impact on India's preparation.

Speaking at the media briefing ahead of the European Tour, which will see India playing two games against France and three against Spain, Oltmans said that there will not be many changes in the structure set in place by Van Ass, who had been experimenting with the total hockey theory with each player in the field adept in defending and attacking.

"We have been in Silahroo for ten days at the high altitude training center and it is a fantastic environment to train for us and also to make a little bit of new start," said Oltmans. "I agree that you defend with 11 players and attack with 11 players, but each and everyone has a role and the important thing is that all the players should know their role.

"When we are attacking, if the ball is in the final quarter of the pitch our defenders should not stay close to our own D. They should push to certain positions on the pitch to ensure counter control so that we take possession back immediately, even if you lose the ball. So our structure is fine. Total hockey is something I totally agree upon, but we have to specify the role inside the system to get the best out of our team," said the Dutchman.

Indian skipper Skipper Sardar Singh conceded that it becomes tough for the players to cope with the changes in coaching staff, but said Oltman has been around the team long enough to understand the working. "When a coach is replaced, the players face difficulty. The team's strategy also changes with the change in coach and it takes time in building the side. But we are positive about the Olympics and the upcoming tours," said Sardar.

Oltmans, who has been India's interim coach on two separate occasions, did most of the talking during the press briefing and when asked about the secret behind his prolonged stay with Hockey India, he even joked that he might be doing certain things right. But Oltmans was quick to point out that on the field the players are improving and that aim is to maintain consistency in defeating the top-ranked teams.

"I am very clear; the last Olympic games India finished 12th, the last World Cup we finished ninth, these are number and facts - nothing less nothing more," said Oltmans. "Do you believe India can win a gold medal in Rio? I can tell you I will strive for it, 100 per cent, no doubt about it and we know we are close to beating quite a number of teams and we have defeated quite a number of top teams. In the Champions Trophy, we beat Holland, we beat Belgium as well, we beat Australia quite a number of times last year, so it is possible, but is it consistently possible? Not yet; but we have one more year to work on it."

Being the high-performance director, Oltmans is in charge of India's women's and junior teams as well. When asked how he will juggle between the two portfolios, he made it clear that the priority is the men's team.

"The priority is the Indian men's team leading up to the Olympics. Ninety-nine per cent of my time will go in that area and the little bit left for the high performance, but of course I will do that in corporation with two high performance managers under me and they will inform me and I will be available for them any time," said Oltmans. "But there will not be a single second when they (men's team) can blame me for not preparing them 100 per cent."

The Indian team will depart for the tour on Friday morning with the first match scheduled to be played on August 3 against France and the final match on August 13 against Spain.

The Times of India

India Will Attack and Defend With All 11 During European Hockey Tour, Says Coach Roelant Oltmans

India will play twice against France (August 3, 5) before taking on Spain (August 10, 12, 13) in the tour to prepare for the Hockey World League (HWL) Final in India in November-December.

File Photo: Sardar Singh and Roelant Oltmans.

New Delhi: Newly-appointed Indian hockey chief coach Roelant Oltmans on Thursday said his team will defend as well as attack with all 11 players in their upcoming European tour.

India will play twice against France (August 3, 5) before taking on Spain (August 10, 12, 13) in the tour to prepare for the Hockey World League (HWL) Final to be held in India in November-December.

"During our practice at Shilaroo, we have been working on our attack as well as defence and in the process inculcating in us the attitude to win.

"Defending we do with 11 players and attacking we do with 11 players. Each and every one has a role and they are aware of it," said Oltmans, who also doubles up as the Hockey India (HI) high performance director.

The team was lately in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh, taking part in a fitness camp.

"When we are attacking and we are in the final quarter of the pitch, then our defenders should not stay close to our D. Rather they have to push up and be in a position so that if we lose possession then we have to immediately regain possession," said the Dutchman.

"If our defenders are far back then that leaves a gap in the midfield and in case opponents get possession then that immediately puts pressure on the goalkeeper. So we have to keep our structure in place with our roles specified and this helps get the best out of the team."

The 61-year-old added: "I always divide the game in two parts -- possession and non-possession -- and this depends on the skills as well as our cohesion on the field.

"With possession we have to ensure that it results in creating scoring opportunities and even capitalising on them. In non possession we have to work on how well to defend, how do we push the attack back and look at getting the possession back."

India skipper Sardar Singh said his boys are gung-ho travelling to Europe.

"During our training, we enhanced our fitness levels. The team is confident and looking forward to the tour. We have around 35 international games before Rio Olympics and we want to make the most of them.

"Our first match is against France and they have been playing brilliant hockey in the recent years. They will be a challenge for us. We are confident of doing well against France and Spain," said Sardar.

NDTV Sports

It’s time to look ahead: Oltmans

Ahead of India’s European tour, coach says time to move on from the Van Ass saga

Sabi Hussain

New Delhi: Things seem to be settling down in Indian hockey after a roller-coaster ride over the last few weeks. With the Paul van Ass chapter closed, the new chief coach of the hockey team, Roelant Oltmans, looks to have cracked the code for co-existence with Hockey India (HI) as the team heads for a European tour. The 15-day tour is in preparation for the Hockey World League (HWL) Finals to be hosted by India later this year.

“It’s about striking a balance. It’s not always that your demands will be met, but sometimes you get what you want,” said Oltmans in his first media interaction after being appointed full-time coach.

“It’s disappointing that coaches come and go. But the foreign coaches also need to understand that we are guests here. We need to adapt to the Indian culture here,” was how Oltmans summed up his last three years in India as HI’s High Performance Director.

Oltmans has the experience of coaching the Indian team on two previous occasions, at the Asia Cup in 2013 and at the Champions Trophy last year. But this time, he has got a whole year to turn around the fortunes of the national side at the Olympics.

“The big difference is that now I have 12 months instead of six weeks, which I got last time. On the one hand, this will give me extra time to bring in my ideas, but on the other hand, there will be pressure on us to win a medal at the Rio Games which would be very challenging,” said the Dutchman.

Oltmans has asked for the immediate appointment of his support staff after the resignation of assistant coach Jude Felix in the wake of Van Ass’ sacking. It has also been learnt that he has made a demand to HI to appoint a scientific advisor and a specialist goal-keeping coach.

“The most important thing is that we need a lot of international matches before Rio. And there are a number of areas in which we need to improve — team’s cohesion, penalty-corner conversion, defence, with includes not conceding goals in the first quarter. The players need to show that they are really improving,” he said.

Oltmans said there will not be many changes in the structure put in place by Van Ass, who had been experimenting with the positions of the senior players.

“I agree that you defend with 11 players and attack with 11 players, but each and everyone has a role and the important thing is that all the players should know their role,” said the coach.

About his alleged mail telling Van Ass that he had been sacked, Oltmans refused to clarify his side of the story. “No, I don’t want to discuss that anymore. That chapter is closed for me. We need to look forward and prepare this team for the Rio Games. There is no need to dwell in the past,” he said.

Asked about Gurbaj Singh, against whom HI’s Special Committee has recommended disciplinary action for indiscipline and creating disharmony in the team, Oltmans refuted any such charges.

“I don’t know who wrote those things about Gurbaj. I haven’t seen the report. May be there’s a comment made by a special committee member,” he said.

“There is no doubt that Gurbaj is a good player. He is valuable for the team. But everyone needs to be a part of the team according to our norms and values. It’s not about Gurbaj; sometimes people do get into such situations. When you have a grown-up who behaves like a child, you need to tell him ‘do this or don’t do that’. That doesn’t mean that there is no harmony in the family,” he said.

The Tribune

We need a psychologist, says Sardar

Sabi Hussain

New Delhi: Indian hockey captain Sardar Singh on Thursday conceded that constant chopping and changing of coaches affected the overall performance of the team but insisted that the players were focused to give their best at the Rio Olympics under new coach Roelant Oltmans. Ahead of the team’s departure for the tour of Europre, Sardar spoke to The Tribune about the unceremonious exit of Paul van Ass and the challenges facing the team. Excerpts:

What do you make of Van Ass’ sudden exit?

It’s not good that you change coaches so often. It’s frustrating for the players and it affects the team’s overall performance. Ric Charlesworth, Jose Brasa and now Van Ass, all left… but the issue was between them and Hockey India (HI). Players can’t do much about it. Our job is to play and perform on the field. HI, however, has done one good thing by appointing Oltmans as the chief coach. We have known him for 3 years and understand his style of coaching. Had there been a new coach in place, it would have been difficult for us to follow his methods.

There were reports that Van Ass’ style of coaching was confusing. What are your thoughts?

He did not get enough time to execute his plans. He had certain ideas in his mind and that’s why he was experimenting with the players’ positions. Every player has his own opinion and it’s quite possible that some of them might have failed to relate to his coaching style. Personally, I did not have any problem. No one can doubt his credentials as a coach. His results with the Dutch national team were great.

HI’s special committee has accused Gurbaj Singh of misbehaving with the coaches and creating disharmony within the team. Are you aware of any such incident? How important is Gurbaj for the team’s success at the Rio Olympics?

When I came to know about it, I personally asked Gurbaj and all the other players whether such a thing had happened. I got a positive response and everyone spoke highly about him. As a captain, it’s my responsibility to keep the team united. I should be aware of what’s happening on and off the ground. He has also been accused of disrespecting the coaches; now that I don’t know of. That was mentioned in the report. I believe Gurbaj has requested for a hearing and he will get a chance to put forth his side of the story. I personally never experienced any such bad behavior from Gurbaj.

If the players have to depose before the committee members, are you ready to openly back him?

Yes, we will. We will tell the committee members that there’s no divide in the team and Gurbaj never indulged in such things. We all love him and respect him.

The Indian team conceded too many goals against higher-ranked sides during the HWL Semifinals? Don’t you think much needs to be done before the Rio Games?

In HWL Semifinals, we gave a chance to our reserve pool. Most of our key players were injured and there was shortage of experience. Our core group was not there and Van Ass was experimenting with the playing positions. I agree that it was a poor showing on our part conceding so may goals. It’s unacceptable. But, that’s how you will come to know about your best 16 before the Rio Games.

Coach Oltmans wants more support staff. Any demand by you?

Yes, we need a psychologist on an immediate basis.

The Tribune

If coach is replaced, players face difficulty, admits Sardar Singh

Sardar Singh

Indian hockey captain Sardar Singh on Thursday conceded that constant changing of coaches is never easy to deal with but insisted that his team's prospects in the upcoming foreign assignments and next year's Olympics won't be affected by the recent developments.

Indian hockey captain Sardar Singh on Thursday conceded that constant changing of coaches is never easy to deal with but insisted that his team's prospects in the upcoming foreign assignments and next year's Olympics won't be affected by the recent developments.

Indian hockey has been going through turbulent times with Paul van Ass becoming the fourth foreign coach in recent times to be unceremoniously sacked following differences with the national federation.

Sardar admitted that the rhythm of the team is affected by such changes.

"When a coach is replaced, the players face difficulty. The team's strategy also changes with the change in coach and it takes time in building the side. But we are positive about the Olympics and the upcoming tours," said Sardar Singh ahead of the team's departure for the tour of Europe.

Newly-appointed coach and also the High performance Director, Roelant Oltmans echoed the sentiment and hoped that the side would come good in the European tournaments following a good 10-day training session here.

"We had a good training session. Players also worked hard in different areas including basic physical exercise, technical skills, defending and attacking part of hockey," said Oltmans.

Asked about the ups and downs that the team has been through, the coach said, "Yes there are ups and downs but we are improving those areas."

"We are focusing on the attitude of how to win the games, how to create goal scoring opportunity, as only playing is not important," said the Indian coach.

Listing his objectives Oltmans said, his priority as of now is the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year. The coach emphasised on the areas which need improvement.

"Our defending, attacking, penalty corners and much important is the coordination among players. It needs improvement but our players are physically and mentally fit so they can improve," he added.

Admitting that he is in line of fire after taking over as coach, Oltmans said despite the pressure, he is "very stable".


Parnham Establishes 2015-16 U.S. Women’s National Team Roster

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. –  Coming off a successful 2014-15 campaign, U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Craig Parnham has released the 2015-16 U.S. Women’s National Team squad. Parnham and his staff evaluated athletes throughout the year who have devoted themselves for that respected spot on the new squad.

The 2014-15 squad rounded out a competitive year with a jammed packed schedule. In October, the U.S. Women’s National Team traveled to New Zealand where they played six preparatory test games against the Black Sticks. In February, Team USA hosted 3rd FIH World Ranked Argentina in a four game test match series. After tying the first three games, Team USA rallied strong to take the series in the final game. Traveling back to New Zealand in April, the USWNT finished 5th at the 8 Nations Tournament. In May in Lancaster, Pa., the USWNT hosted and swept Ireland in a three game test series before heading to Valencia, Spain for the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals. In Spain, Team USA finished 5th.

Just last week at the 2015 Pan American Games, the U.S. Women’s National Team defended their 2011 Pan American Games title by defeating 3rd FIH World Ranked Argentina by a score of 2-1. This win confirmed their qualification for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

The 21-athlete roster features 10 Olympians including two-time Olympians Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa.), Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.) and Katelyn Falgowski (Landenburg, Pa.) as well as Olympian Melissa Gonzalez (Mohen Lake, N.Y.) have a combined more than 600 collective international caps. The countless years of leadership and dedication to the team has allowed these experts to welcome two newcomers to the squad.

“We are delighted to welcome Loren Shealy and Ali Froede into the program,” said Parnham. “Both players performed very well at the initial trial and during the further assessment phase earlier this year. This is an exciting time to join the U.S. Women’s National Team. With qualification to Rio secured, the coming months will be crucial as we continue to develop the group. There are also a number of development athletes that we continue to track and will introduce in the New Year as their schedules permit.”

Shealy, a native of Charlotte, N.C. wove her way through the USA Field Hockey Futures pipeline for five years and attended the 2011 Junior Women’s National Championship and 2012 and 2013 Women’s National Championship. Shealy flourished in her career by earning noteworthy achievements as a University of North Carolina Tar Heel being named Rookie of the Year in 2011 and leading her team to NCAA Semifinal and Final appearances twice. Shealy was also dubbed with the prestigious title of 2012-13 Sports Illustrated College Athlete of the Year. Playing for Team USA is a standout landmark on her growing timeline with field hockey.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity that Coach Parnham and his coaching staff have given me to join the U.S. Women’s National Team,” said Shealy. “It is an honor to be given the chance to represent my country and to play field hockey at the highest level. I am really looking forward to getting started with the team in August.”

A defender from Burke, Va., Froede comes with a bundle of college experience on the pitch. As a Miami University of Ohio Red Hawk, Froede was awarded with the honor of First Team All-MAC twice and was selected for NFCHA All-West Region Second Team in 2014. Through relentless training and full investment of energy into field hockey, Froede turned a dream into a reality by getting the chance to represent Team USA.

"When I received the news that I was invited to join the team, I made no hesitation to accept the offer," said Froede. "Playing amongst and against the most elite players in the world is a dream come true and having the opportunity to represent the USA is a true honor."

“2016 promises to be a busy year and we are looking forward to this great adventure that lies ahead," added Parnham.

Congratulations to the following athletes that have earned the distinguished honor to represent Team USA:

Marie Elena Bolles (Phoenixville, Pa.), Jackie Briggs (Robesonia, Pa.), Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa.), Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.), Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg, Pa.), Stefanie Fee (Virginia Beach, Va.), Ali Froede (Burke, Va.), Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.), Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, N.C.), Kelsey Kolojejchick (Larksville, Pa.), Ali McEvoy (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa.), Julia Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.), Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.), Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.), Kat Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.), Loren Shealy (Charlotte, N.C.), Caitlin Van Sickle (Wilmington, Del.)  Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.), Alesha Widdall (Whitney Point, N.Y.), Jill Witmer (Lancaster, Pa.)

USFHA media release

MHL: Watch out for Tenaga, UniKL youth

By Jugjet Singh

THE MALAYSIA Hockey League (MHL) Division One and Women's tournament will begin today, with hope of new talent emerging from the ranks.

The Premier Division will take off with double champions Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) playing Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) in the Charity Shield on Sunday.

The six-team Premier Division has 24 foreign players, and established national and former national players. The only bright sparks for development here are UniKL Young Guns who parade 11 2016 Junior World Cup trainees, and Tenaga Nasional fielding 90 per cent youth.

Malaysia Hockey Confederation (MHC) CEO K. Logan Raj said: "Event though the Premier Division looks like its heavy with foreign players, the reality is that we need to keep its prestige to attract the fans as well as give our local players a chance to learn by playing and adapting themselves in different situations."

The other three in the Premier Division are Sapura, Tenaga Nasional and Maybank.

Tenaga Nasional are the only team without foreign players, and they will stick to their vision of nurturing locals from their partner school -- Sekolah Sukan Tunku Mahkota Ismail.

UniKL are also continuing their proud tradition in nurturing juniors.

"We had 12 UniKL players in the last Junior World Cup squad (which finished fourth in New Delhi) and this MHL team would have 11 2016 Junior World Cup trainees.

"In the short history of our club (established 2009) we have managed to nurture many players with our junior development programmes. The MHL will see 11 Junior World Cup trainees, and hopefully it will benefit them when they play in the Junior Asia Cup (in Kuantan, which is a JWC qualifier)," said team manager Faiz Isa.

As for the Charity Shield, KLHC will be gunning for their fourth shield, while THT their first. For the record, the Charity shield also offers three points to the winner.

KLHC won the Shield in 2011, 2012 and 2014. The other three editions were won by Tenaga Nasional in 2009, 2010 and 2013.

"With all our foreign players (four Argentines and a Pakistan) having arrived on Wednesday, we will surely be looking to claim the early three points," said THT coach Sarjit Singh.

As for KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj, he prefers the underdogs tag.

"THT would like a good start, just like any other team, but I'm happy to play the underdogs against early favourites THT, and if we can't claim not full points, at least one point would do in the opener."

TODAY: Division One A: MSP-YP-SSP v MSNT-THT (Kuantan, 5pm), MBI v MASUM-USM (Azlan Shah, 5pm), TNB Thunderbolts v BJSS (Taman Daya II, 5pm); Division One B: Nur Insafi-Penang Hockey v UiTM (Sg Petani, 5pm), Politeknik v SSTMI (Taman Daya I).

Women: MSNT-PHT v ATM Pernama (SHBB, 5pm).

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

MHL will see influx of imports this season

by Aftar Singh

Terengganu captain Mohd Shahrun Nabil (second, left) and KLHC captain S. Shanker (second, right) holding the MHL Charity Shield. Looking on are (from left) Terengganu coach Sarjit Singh, MHC chief executive officer Logan Raj, tournament director Datuk G. Vijayanathan and KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj. - RICKY LAI / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: There will be 24 foreign players – four more than last year – when the Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) begins on Sunday.

But what hasn’t increased is the number of teams – six – and the prize money – RM350,000.

The most number of foreign players are from Pakistan – 15. Five are from Argentina and one each from India, Germany, South Africa and Ireland.

Of the six Premier Division teams, five – double champions Terengganu, Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC), Sapura, Maybank and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) – have roped in foreign players to beef up their challenge.

Only Tenaga Nasional will rely solely on local players.

Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) chief executive officer Logan Raj hopes that the MHL will help Malaysian hockey get back on track after “our Olympic dream was derailed”.

Malaysia failed to qualify for next year’s Rio Olympics after finishing sixth out of 10 teams in the World League Semi-Finals in Antwerp, Belgium, recently.

“We believe that this year’s MHL will deliver high-level matches,” said Logan at the official launch of the MHL.

“The league can only get better with quality foreign players in the fray.

“We will also be introducing video referrals in the Premier League ... but only for matches played at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.”

Terengganu and KLHC will get the season up and running when they compete in the Charity Shield match at the National Hockey Stadium on Sunday.

The Premier Division champions will get RM70,000, the runners-up RM50,000 and the third-placed team RM40,000.

The winners of the overall title will also get RM70,000, the runners-up RM50,000, the third-placed team RM40,000 and the fourth-placed team RM30,000.

The men’s Division One, comprising 13 teams, and the women’s league with 11 teams involved will begin Friday.

The Star of Malaysia

Foreign influence imminent in Malaysian national hockey development

by S. Ramaguru

Former national coach, Terry Walsh are among the leading candidates to join MHC.

KUALA LUMPUR: It will be all about the national hockey team at Friday’s joint-committee meeting between the National Sports Council (NSC) and the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC).

The meeting will focus on the future direction and target for the hockey team, with a foreign expert coming on board a certainty.

The only uncertainty is in what capacity.

Former national hockey coach Terry Walsh and Neil Hawgood, a consultant with the national team for the last six months, are the leading candidates.

Walsh could either be made technical director to oversee the entire development of the national team and the coaching system or be roped in as the national coach.

Hawgood could be given the task of developing the women’s game.

“The meeting will decide in what capacity and which of the two Australians will be picked,” said NSC director general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail.

“There are several issues on the agenda, but our priority is the national team – including the juniors – and the coaching structure.”

“It’s time for an overhaul of the overall structure. We failed to make the 2016 Olympics, so the present structure is not working. We can’t have stop-gap measures any more. We have to set a time frame to get the desired results but, as I said earlier, we have to get these done at all stages – right from the grassroots level.”

The offer on the table at the meeting is for MHC to join hands with NSC to re-develop the game.

Shapawi also said that the funding of the various MHC tournaments will also come under review.

“We have been sponsoring a number of tournaments each year. But we’ll discuss at the meeting whether to continue with it or make some changes,” he said.

The Star of Malaysia

Probe body recommends change of guard in PHF

Kashif Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: Now that the cat is out of the bag, the probe committee has finally held the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) responsible for the team’s poor performance in the Hockey World League Semi-finals which served as the Olympic Qualifying round.

The probe committee constituted on the instructions of the prime minister to find reasons behind Pakistan hockey team debacle in Belgium also requested the prime minister, who happens to be the patron in chief of the PHF, to change the incumbent PHF set-up.

The probe body which held its concluding meeting here on Thursday reached the conclusion after due deliberation that the PHF presently headed by former Olympians Akhtar Rasool (PHF president) and Rana Mujahid (PHF secretary) have completely failed to raise the standard of hockey in the country.

With the committee meeting being presided over by Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) secretary Ejaz Chaudhry, sources privy to the development said that the committee in its final report which will be presented to the prime minister had recommended that the current management should be removed in the greater national interest.

“We decided to recommend that the current administration should be replaced with a dedicated team,” said a member of the committee while requesting not to be named.

On the other hand, the probe body also issued a statement at the end of the meeting, saying: “The committee observed many flaws in the preparation of the team for the Belgium event including failure to organise training camps well on time in addition to many other flaws in selection of players and officials.”

The fitness level of the players and the way the players were managed were flawed, resulting in total demoralisation of the team which led to the Belgium debacle, said the statement.

The committee further observed that the management of the team, affairs of the federation and selection procedure both of the team as well as managers themselves was devoid of any systematic and prudent practices.

“The committee recommends to the patron in chief to take appropriate action in the interest of national hockey,” said the statement about which a committee member said that the appropriate action meant complete change of guards in the PHF.

On the other hand, the probe body also recommended to the prime minister to provide required funds for uplift of hockey which it said should be utilised in transparent manner.

The sources also said that some officials associated with the incumbent PHF set-up were accused of misusing funds which contributed to the hockey debacle.

The committee members, as per the sources, agreed to recommend to the prime minister to order release of required funds for the PHF which should be utilised through a transparent system.

The probe body also called for assigning specific role to the corporate sector to help the game of hockey in its revival through sponsorship.

Moreover, experts might also be asked to prepare a 10-year action plan for the revival of the game on modern lines.


Probe committee recommends complete change in PHF

Mohsin Ali

ISLAMABAD - After twice cancellation, the much-anticipated meeting of the Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) probe committee took place under the chair of IPC secretary Ejaz Chaudhry with members Shahbaz Senior, Khawaja Junaid, Col Mudassar Asghar, Dr Aktar Nawaz Ganjera and Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) representative Khaild Mehmood, which continued for almost six hours.

The reliable sources in the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) have confirmed to this scribe that the committee had reached conclusion and would submit its findings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is also patron of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), within next 24 hours. The committee was constituted to probe facts of the debacle of Pakistan hockey team in Belgium in the Olympic qualifying round, the conduct of the PHF, management of this event in particular and managing hockey affairs by this federation in general, finalized its proceedings/recommendations.

The sources revealed that as per expectations, the committee observed countless flaws in preparation of the team for the Belgium event including failure to organise training camps well in time, appropriate selection of players and officials on merit and fitness level of the players and the management of the players during the tournament which resulted in total demoralization of the team resulting in such a shameful debacle. The committee observed that the management of the team, affairs of the federation, selection procedure, both of team and the managers themselves were devoid of systematic and prudent practices.

Accordingly, the committee through the IPC and PSB, recommends to the patron-in-chief to take appropriate action in the larger interest of hockey. In addition, the committee recommends provision of sufficient funds for uplift of hockey under a transparent system for utilization of funds. The committee has requested the PM to assign specific role to corporate sector organization to adopt hockey for sponsorship, further, the experts may be asked to prepare a 10-year action plan to develop the game on modern lines.

It is pertinent to mention here that PHF secretary Rana Mujahid was due in Islamabad, but he remained notable absentee, while president Akhtar Rasool was in Islamabad on Wednesday, but he left for Lahore as the probe committee didn't invite any official in person for the final round before submitting detailed report to the PM house.

The sources rubbished the claims about minus-one formula, as it was not possible for the probe committee to save skin of any person involved in the federation’s affairs. It was further disclosed by the sources that the committee strongly recommended sacking of entire PHF office-bearers, selection committee, coaches. There was free hand and full mandate given to the probe committee, otherwise, it would have not been possible for them to conduct inquiry, as sparing anybody's skin could have raised eyebrows from different sections and entire process could have lost its credibility.

The sources confirmed that now the committee would inform the PM about ways and means how to show door to entire PHF management and ways to give charge to new body. The changes in the PHF would take place in next few days, the sources added.

Meanwhile, lobbing is going on from different quarters to occupy hot slots of PHF president and secretary. After former Prime Minister Mir Zafar Ullah Khan Jamali, another strong candidate for this slot surfaces in shape of former PHF secretary Brig (R) Khalid Khokar, who enjoys a lot of respect among the ruling party and has neat and clean reputation and also his close relation with Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal, which can help him get the top slot while Olympian Shahbaz Senior is quite confident of landing secretary slot. Same is the case with Khawaja Juniad, but the probe committee has recommended not to give any slot to the probe committee members in new set up, while Olympian Naveed Alam is dark horse to land secretary job as he enjoys lot of backing of Mir Zafar Ullah Khan Jamali. In case Jamali backs off from taking over president office, Naveed Alam is highly likely to become new PHF secretary, the sources concluded.

The Nation

Probe Committee spots flaws in preparation of national squad for Olympic Qualifiers

Finalises its recommendations for uplift of national sport, submits report to Prime Minister

By Abdul Jabbar Faisal

ISLAMABAD: The Government Probe Committee, constituted by the Prime Minister of Pakistan to investigate the facts that led to the Pakistan hockey team’s failure to qualify for the Olympics 2016, on Thursday finalised its recommendations to lift the game out of gloom and submitted the report to the Prime Minister. The last and final meeting of the Probe Committee was held here at Cabinet Division. Three-time Olympic gold medallists and four time World Champions Pakistan, one of the pioneers of field hockey, failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics for the first time in the history of the game after finishing poor last in Belgium earlier this month. “The Probe Committee observed flaws in preparing the team for the Olympic Qualifying Round in Antwerp where Pakistan finished poor eighth,” said a spokesman for the Pakistan Sports Board.

The Probe Committee was headed by Inter Provincial Coordination Secretary Ejaz Chaudhry and comprised Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) Secretary General Muhammad Khalid Mahmood, former Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary General Col (r) Mudassar Asghar, former Olympian Shahbaz Senior, former Olympian Khawaja Junaid Ahmad and PSB Director General (Technical) Dr Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera. “The Committee took into consideration the conduct of the Pakistan Hockey Federation and the team management of the event in particular,” said a spokesman for the PSB. “The Committee observed many flaws in the preparation of the team for the Belgium event including the failure to organise training camps well in time, appropriate selection of players and officials on merit and fitness level of players, which contributed to poor performance and resulting in debacle,” he added.

The PSB official said the Committee further observed that the management of the team, affairs of the federation, selection procedure, both of the team and managers, was devoid of systematic and prudent practice. “Accordingly, the Probe Committee through the PSB and Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination has recommended to the Prime Minister, who is also PHF Patron-in-Chief, to take appropriate action in the interest of national sport of the country.” He said the Committee had asked for sufficient funds for uplift of hockey under a transparent system for its utilization. “The Prime Minister is requested to assign specific role to a corporate sector organisation to adopt hockey for sponsorship. Further, the experts may be asked to prepare a 10-year action plan to develop the game on modern lines,” he said. The Probe Committee on July 9 held its first meeting during which national team Head Coach Shahnaz Sheikh and captain Mohammad Imran, PHF Secretary General Rana Mujahid Ali and PHF President Akhtar Rasool recorded their statements.

The Daily Times

PHF under the cosh as probe committee submits report

The probe committee observed that the national sport has been suffering due to a lack of funds and suggested finding suitable sponsors to improve the morale and development of the players.

KARACHI: The probe committee, set up by the Prime Minister to uncover reasons for the poor showing of the national team in the Olympic qualification rounds in Belgium, finally submitted the report to the PM on Thursday after a three-week long process.

Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Secretary Ejaz Chaudary headed the committee and, according to the press release by the IPC ministry, found many flaws in the preparation of the team, including the fitness of players, the federation’s failure to organise training camps and the appropriate selection of players on merit.

“The fitness level of the players and their management during the tournament resulted in the total demoralisation of the team and contributed significantly to the shameful debacle,” read the statement.

The committee also found major issues within the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and expressed its concern at the lack of any systematic procedures within the organisation claiming to safeguard the interests of the national sport.

“The management of the PHF will be asked to step down as they have failed to lift hockey in the given time and have not made any serious efforts in the improvement of the national game,” said a member of the probe committee. “Hockey needs personnel that can handle the players as well as gather sponsorships for the betterment of the game.”

The committee also observed that the national sport has been suffering due to a lack of funds and recommended finding suitable sponsors to improve the morale and development of the players and also advised the development of a 10-year action plan to mature the game along modern lines.

Earlier, the committee had suggested to hand over the management of the PHF to one of the departments — PIA, NBP or Wapda — as they had ample experience to look after the demands of Pakistan hockey.

Meanwhile, the committee set up by the PHF to look into the reasons for the debacle, will submit their findings on August 2.

The Express Tribune

Multiple AHF posts for Mujahid

LAHORE: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary and Olympian Rana Mujahid has been elected chairman of two and secretary of one committee of the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF).

While Mujahid heads the Master’s Panel Committee and Equipment Committee, he will also run the Events and Venues Committee as its secretary.

Anjum Saeed, another Pakistani Olympian, has been elected as a member in the Coaching, Development and Education Committee for the 2015-2018 term.

The elections were held in October, last year, but its results were announced recently. The term starts on March 28, 2015.


Cambodian women’s hockey coach Dilawar optimistic

LAHORE: The Cambodian women hockey team, under the coaching of Pakistani coach Dilawar Bhatti, is all set to take part in the Asian Junior Championships to be held in Bangkok from Aug 6.

Dilawar, who has been working with the Cambodian team for the last two years, said hockey was fast getting popular among Cambodian women and his team stood a fair chance to achieve good results in the continental event.


Men, women and hockey’s level paying field

While other sports quibble about the gender pay gap, hockey is quietly leading the way when it comes to equality.

Tim Doutré

Hockeyroo Anna Flanagan chose her sport very wisely.

“This is a man’s world, but it would mean nothing without a woman.”

James Brown once sang that. Great song, but these days the lyrics could do with a tune up.

The hockey field, I’d like to think, is owned by both genders.

It’s something I can’t say for a lot of other sports.

The gender pay debate in sport raged recently, after the wages of Australia’s women’s soccer team, the Matildas, made headlines at the World Cup.

It is an entirely different story when it comes to hockey.

Hockey Australia CEO Cam Vale. Photo: Hockey Australia

In the words of Hockey Australia CEO Cam Vale, “we treat our athletes as athletes”.

“Whether you’re a Kookaburra or a Hockeyroo, when it comes to basic terms and principles in how we remunerate our athletes it’s exactly the same,” Vale said.

So Hockey Australia dishes out equal pay for men and women who perform the same job.

A refreshing thought, that.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Bridging the gap

The men currently receive more funding from the Australian Sports Commission (a success-incentivised funding model – not gender-based), so Hockey Australia tips in extra cash to create gender parity.

“One of our key strategies as a board and as a CEO, is to help bridge that gap by using more of our commercial income disproportionately to fund women’s programs,” Vale said.

“A big part of the difference between us and other sports is that we can truly say, hand on heart, we try to win both [men and women].

“I think it’s certainly not the common thread [in other sports].

“I’m sure there are other team sports, particularly in the Olympics space that would be similar [to hockey].

“Sports like water polo and potentially volleyball, team-based sports would have a similar approach you would hope.”

Vale, whose sports administration career includes time with NRL and AFL clubs, was measured in his criticism of other sports, but I don’t have to be.

The pay gap in many other sports in Australia is an embarrassment and their failures are exposed ever more by hockey’s commitment to equality.

Gender equality has been a key foundation for hockey in Australia and it is this mindset that has allowed it to flourish on the international stage.
The simple discussion

For Vale, the recent conversation surrounding pay disparity between the Matildas and the Socceroos was “interesting”.

“For a sport like hockey, this is a pretty simple discussion.

The Matildas were at the centre of a recent gender pay dispute at the recent women’s world cup. Photo: Getty

“You read this debate around how sports are approaching this… saying, we’re going to be focussed on having more women in this area or whatever it may be, it’s great to see.

“But from our perspective, isn’t that just something you should be doing rather than having to force yourself to do?”

So does Vale see a time when men and women will be taking home the same pay packets across all sports?

“For some of the bigger sports that are caught in this debate they have to make serious change if they are really going to address this issue and I think it’s going to be very difficult.”

One thing is for sure, these sports could do worse than look to Hockey Australia for a bit of guidance.

In Vale’s words:

“I do get fascinated that the debate centres around the bigger sports and not enough of the debate centres around the sports that can say: ‘hey, we’re actually doing it.’

“We have a lot to offer in how this whole issue could be tackled.”
Five Cam Vale quotes on gender equality to make you proud

1. “We’ve had gender equality and pretty much a dual focus for a long time.”

2. “It’s just core business, standard business for us.”

3. “It’s ingrained in what we do, so we don’t need to fix or change or manufacture anything.”

4. “The debate and discussion is well and truly needed about the reality for female athletes in sports.”

5. “As far as program funding goes we are always going to fund the programs as close to the other one so we have as equal a chance to have success across both.”

The New Daily

UPEI field hockey players fight to regain varsity status

Policy change means women's teams at UPEI, Dalhousie, Saint Mary's can't compete at nationals

Members of the UPEI women's field hockey team are fighting a Atlantic University Sport decision that they say could prevent them from earning a national title. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Some Maritime university women's field hockey players are fighting a decision they say threatens the future of their sport.

Women's field hockey teams at UPEI and Nova Scotia's Dalhousie University and Saint Mary's University are unable to compete nationally due to a recent policy change by the governing body Atlantic University Sport.

The move means the teams lose their varsity status and no longer have a shot at capturing a national title.

Former UPEI Panther, Ellen Andrews launched an online petition to protest the AUS actions. (CBC)

"It's devastating," said Panthers captain Katherine Koughan.

"We've worked all year long training for this season and it's sad to think it might not even happen."

Ellen Andrews, a former UPEI Panther, launched an online petition protesting the actions of the AUS. Within days, it received more than 1,000 signatures from across the Atlantic region.

Women's field hockey has not been officially sanctioned by AUS for the past 10 years. But a handful of universities have kept their squads in national competition by working directly through the national governing body, Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

'Definitely unfair'

Earlier this year, AUS members voted to effectively eliminate that option.

Now, teams must be officially sanctioned and must win an official AUS championship before going to national finals.

"The CIS, 10-plus years ago, made a decision to create a hybrid pathway to CIS national championship to keep field hockey going in Atlantic Canada," said Phil Currie, AUS executive director.

"And AUS has never been in favour of that, and members felt it was time to fix that through the pathway motion."

Phil Currie, executive director of the AUS, says his organization was never in favour of the hybrid pathway to national championships. (CBC)

The AUS says it will help make access to top-level competition consistent and fair.

Andrews says she's overwhelmed by the support and calls it a testament to the importance of women's sport and the vitality of the field hockey community.

"The recruitment to the university levels has grown and we're recruiting people from the States, not just our own home provinces," said Andrews.

"We wanted to let the public, parents, coaches know what was happening because we thought it was definitely unfair."

Andrews hopes to convince AUS members to reverse their decision.

But the AUS says it has not closed the door on any sport. Field hockey can regain official status if three universities request it and if those universities agree to fund their teams accordingly.

CBC News

Punt, Hayward take out People’s Choice Awards

Black Sticks Anita Punt and Andy Hayward have been voted the winners of the 2015 Gatorade People’s Choice Awards.

The People’s Choice Awards were open to all fans and decided by an online vote through the Hockey New Zealand website.

It’s the second straight award for the Black Sticks Women’s captain, with Punt winning last year’s inaugural title.

Drag flick maestro Hayward was voted overwhelming men’s fan favourite following on from 2014 winner Simon Child.

Thank you to everyone who made their vote count!

As part of the voting, all entries went into the draw to win a signed Black Sticks shirts and a Gatorade prize pack. The randomly drawn winner was Ross Heslop.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

PAHF Structure Going Forward

2015 PAHF Congress

With the Completion of the Pan American Games 2015 in Toronto, Canada, the Pan American Hockey Federation is happy to publicly release the information regarding the composition of the Board of Directors and Committees, with mandate until 2017, when the next Congress will be held in Lancaster, USA.

The PAHF Congress 2015 approved new statutes, 100% in line with FIH and the new membership fees (also in line with FIH). Haiti was accepted as full member, and Bolivia and Nicaragua accepted as provisional members (they will become full members once ratified at the next FIH Congress in 2016). The Congress 2015 also elected 5 female ordinary members and 1 male ordinary member, named:
- Mary Cicinelli, Canada – elected for a term of 4 years
- Maureen Craig-Rousseau, Trinidad & Tobago – elected for a term of 4 years
- Zuleika Seijas, Venezuela – elected for a term of 4 years
- Sandra Isola, Argentina – elected for a term of 2 years
- Danae Andrada, Uruguay – elected for a term of 2 years
- Gianni Delucchi, Peru – elected for a term of 4 years

Apart from the elected, the remainder of the Board of Directors is composed by:
- President – Alberto “Coco” Budeisky, Argentina
- Honorary Treasurer – Derek Sandison, Canada
- Athletes’ Representative – Scott Sandison, Canada
- Managing Director – Julio F Neves, PAHF Staff
- Ordinary member - Walter Kramer, Chile (mandate until 2017)
- Ordinary member – Hector Motta Rios, Puerto Rico (mandate until 2017)

The new composition of PAHF Committees were approved subsequently, by the new Board of Directors, as indicated below:

Appointments Committee:
- Chair – Laura Pigretti, Argentina
- Secretary – Laura Macchiotti, (PAHF staff)
- Members: Sumensh Putra, Canada – Cameron Burke, Barbados – Valerie Hall, Jamaica – Roque Viegas, United States

Competitions Committee:
- Chair – Willard Harris, Trinidad & Tobago
- Secretary – Rene Zelkin, United States (also member of the FIH CC)
- Members: Ann Doggett, Canada – David Ruiz Sessarego, Peru – Nigel Traverso, United States – Thiago de Mattos, Brazil – Reyah Richardson, Trinidad & Tobago.
- Sub-committee members, Working Group: Alicia Takeda, Mexico – Guillermo Stakemann, Cuba – Victor Tomlinson, Jamaica – Liliana Capurro, Argentina.

Umpiring Committee:
- Chair – Roger St. Rose, Trinidad & Tobago
- Secretary – Soledad Iparraguirre, Argentina
- Members: Gus Soteriades, Unitd States – Lurah Hess, United States – Wendy Stewart, Canada
- Working Group collaborators: Alejandro Shön, Paraguay – Hans Martin Schäfer, Chile

Media & Communications will be led by Yan Huckendubler, from Canada.

Medical area will be led by Dr. Virgil René Best, from Barbados.

Development will be lead by Laura Macchiotti (PAHF staff) supervised by  Walter Kramer, Chile.

Finally, the PAHF considered the Athletes elections highly successful with rate of participation of around 50% of more than 500 eligible voters.

The Athletes Committee composition is:
- Chair – Scott Sandison, Canada
- Secretary – Julio F Neves (PAHF staff)
- Elected members (4 years mandate): Ana Macarena Rodriguez, Argentina – Keli Smith-Puzo, United States – Yoandy Blanco, Cuba – Kwandwane Browne, Trinidad & Tobago.
- Appointed member (2 years mandate): Tricia Fiedtkou, Guyana - Pablo Kuhlenthal, Chile

For information on the PAHF competitions and programs, please visit the Pan American Hockey Federation web site at www.panamhockey.org.

The Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF) is recognized by the FIH as the governing continental federation for all field hockey in the Pan American region. There are 27 member Nations of the PAHF. For more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

New Zealand Olympians sign up as Brand Ambassadors with Polytan

New Zealand's Stacey Michelsen has signed up as a Brand Ambassadors with FIH supplier Polytan.

New Zealand Olympians Simon Child and Stacey Michelsen are the latest athletes to sign up as Brand Ambassadors with Polytan, an FIH preferred supplier.

Polytan's ongoing support for local sporting heroes continued with the signing of these two Brand Ambassadors who will represent the supplier of some of the world’s best Olympic hockey field pitches.

Both players have certainly made their mark on the hockey world having developed through the ranks on the international stage.

27-year old Black Sticks captain, Simon Child, was named Hockey New Zealand Young Player of the Year in 2007. He earned his first cap for his national team as far back as 2005, and has gone on to win 244 caps for them, representing his nation in both the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.

24-year old Stacey Michelsen has 180 caps for New Zealand, competing at both the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2012 Olympics. She was also named New Zealand's Young Women’s Player of the Year at the Hockey Federation’s 2011 awards.

Some of Stacey’s other achievements include: New Zealand young player of the year 2010; Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014; World Cup 2010 and 2014; Champions Trophy 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014; First cap; 2009 age 18.

Both athletes will be looking to attend the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. New Zealand women have already qualified through the Hockey World League Semi-Final while New Zealand men have one last chance to qualify through their Continental Championships where they will have to beat Oceania rivals Australia if they are to reach the Olympics in 2016.

FIH site

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