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News for 04 November 2015

All the news for Wednesday 4 November 2015

Win over Ireland gives Scotland series advantage

Scotland gather possession inside Ireland half. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

A fortuitous 2-1 win over Ireland at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre today has provided Scotland Senior Women with a 1-0 advantage in the three match international series.

Two goals inside four second half minutes were the contest’s decisive moments, Fiona Bruce cancelling out Megan Frazer’s early strike for Ireland, before Katie Robertson scored what proved to be the match-winner shortly after.

Commenting on his side’s display, Scotland Senior Women Head Coach Gordon Shepherd said, “It was a frustrating performance from us and it is fair to say the best team lost. But if you don’t take your chances at this level, it can come back to haunt you. We kept fighting to the end and our best spell came in the last twenty-five minutes.

“There have been a number of matches in the past that we have dominated and been on the losing end of, so we will take the win. However, the performance will need to be much better tomorrow.”

Ireland started the match in imposing fashion, securing a penalty corner chance in the ninth minute, which Shirley McCay passed up by striking one of her own players with the subsequent attempt on goal.

Early Irish dominance paid off four minutes later however, when Megan Frazer brilliantly secured opening goal by gliding past three Scottish defenders to hit the ball on the reverse stick into the bottom right hand corner.

When they reflect back on the remainder of the first half, the Irish playing contingent can certainly consider that they had enough goal-scoring opportunities to put the match out of sight.

Frazer had a glorious chance right in front of goal in the 26th minute but carelessly dragged the ball wide of the left hand post, before Nicola Evans’ short-range effort sailed over the bar moments later.

Then an excellent sprawling goal-line clearance from defender Susan McGilveray denied Evans right on half-time, leaving Ireland with only a narrow 1-0 advantage going into the interval.

Further frustration for the away side followed two minutes into the second period when Deirdre Duke was presented with a clear sight on goal, but the Irish forward could only fire the ball straight at Scotland goalkeeper Nikki Cochrane.

A curious repeat of a first half penalty corner set-play happened only minutes later when McCay again struck her own player from an attempted shot from the top of the circle, relieving the pressure on the home defence.

Fiona Bruce puts Scotland back on level terms. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

In a cruel twist of fate, the visitors were left to rue these missed opportunities when Scotland found an equalising goal in the 45th minute. Nikki Kidd’s reverse stick cross from the left of circle presented Fiona Bruce with the easy task of tapping the ball home from a couple of yards to restore parity to proceedings.

Two minutes later, Emma McGregor flashed a dangerous ball across the face of goal but alas there were no team-mates able to latch onto it.

A Scottish penalty corner set-play conjured up the winning goal in the 50th minute; Rebecca Condie’s effort re-bounded off an Irish defender’s stick to Katie Robertson, who cleverly looped the ball over Ireland goalkeeper Pamela Smithwicke into the right corner of the net.

Katie Robertson provides the winning goal for Scotland midway through the second half. Photo Credit: Duncan Gray

Four penalty corner opportunities were awarded to the Scots late on, but both McGilveray and Kareena Marshall were thwarted by Smithwicke.

McCay had a chance to secure a deserved equaliser for Ireland two minutes from time, but her shot cruised wide of the post.

The two sides meet again in the final match of the series tomorrow at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre, with an 11am push-back.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Grand Masters third in Pacific Rim tournament

Back Row: Glenn Paton, Bernie Morrison, Jim Chisholm, Peter Robertson, Neil Mackenzie, Alistair Ogilvie, (inset Andy Ferrol)

Front Row: (inset Derek Johnstone), Ian McCreath, George Finlayson (captain), Chris Kalman, John Candlin, Peter Gordon, Murdoch Shirreffs.
Back Row: Glenn Paton, Bernie Morrison, Jim Chisholm, Peter Robertson, Neil Mackenzie, Alistair Ogilvie, (inset Andy Ferrol)

Front Row: (inset Derek Johnstone), Ian McCreath, George Finlayson (captain), Chris Kalman, John Candlin, Peter Gordon, Murdoch Shirreffs.

With half the squad which had taken fourth place in the European Cup in August unavailable, it had always looked a difficult task for the Scotland Grand Masters (Over 60) to perform well in the Pacific Rim Tournament in Kuala Lumpur.

However new caps Neil Mackenzie and Ian McCreath, along with a number of ‘older caps’ drafted in to help make up the squad which still numbered only fourteen, rose to the occasion and helped the team to an unbeaten record in the tournament.

Only goal difference had prevented their making the final, England pipping them to first place in the group after both sides had finished level on points, having shared a 1-1 draw in the opening match of the group.

Scotland had to be content with playing Asian Cup runners-up, Japan, for third place in the tournament on Sunday 1 November.

In a match played in the steamy heat of the day, Scotland showed the benefit of the coaching of their new coach, Murray Paton, playing controlled, possession hockey even though the players were plainly exhausted through the heat and the aftermath of playing five matches and a friendly in a seven day period with a small squad.

The only goal of the game was scored by Alistair Ogilvie (his fourth of the tournament, making him top scorer) and the Scots hung on to their advantage to claim third place.

Overall, this was a notable performance which gives Scotland Grand Masters every reason to look forward with confidence to taking a full squad to the World Cup in Australia in 2016.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Stats Speak: Mixed Crown in International Hockey

By B.G.Joshi (India)

It was double delight for South Africa at Johannesburg African Hockey Championships on Sunday (Nov 1, 2015). In 107 years’ history of International Hockey, it occurred only 35 times, when a country has won both men and women championships of a tourney in a calendar year. It never happened in Olympics, however in World Cup and Hockey World League Netherlands became triumphant in both genders. On three occasions in Champions Trophy and once in Champions Challenge (I), a nation has won title in both categories. Certainly these charismas have been done in continental (Africa, Asia, America, Oceania) championships on most 29 times. Details are as under:

Country Nos. of Title won FIH’s tourneys Continental Tourneys
Australia 11 2 9
South Africa 8 - 8
Argentina 5 - 5
Netherlands 4 3 1
South Korea 3 - 3
India 2 - 2
Germany 1 - 1
New Zealand 1 1  
Total 35 6 29

(from Hockey Record Book of B.G.Joshi)


Shahbaz Ahmed: ‘Even 18 Olympians cannot prevent Pakistan from losing’

Abdul Ghaffar

Record four-time World Cup winners, Pakistan, will not be a part of the Rio Olympics next year and the state of turmoil the national game finds itself in is largely due to corruption and political interference.

The investigation committee set up by Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, who is the patron in chief of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), dismissed former president Akhtar Rasool and secretary Rana Mujahid.

The duo failed to bring any positive change to Pakistan Hockey, and it was surprising that they received a celebratory farewell where they were showered with flower petals.

It was time for a change and thus came in the former Pakistan captain and fan-favourite, Shahbaz Ahmed Sr, who was appointed as the new PHF secretary.

The first challenge for the Pakistan hockey team in Shahbaz’s tenure was the Sultan of Johor junior hockey tournament in Malaysia. The youth team failed miserably, finishing 6th in the tournament and getting hammered 5-1 by India along the way.

In an exclusive interview with Dawn, Shahbaz reveals the dismal state of hockey at the youth level and his plans for rescuing the national game.

Q. When you took the seat as the PHF Secretary, Pakistan had just suffered the ignominy of not qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Can you pinpoint the reasons for Pakistan falling to this historic low?

SA: It is clear that Pakistan hockey is going through a very tough time currently. Apart from the fact that we did not participate in the 2014 World Cup and will miss the Olympics for the very first time in the game's history, what depresses me most is the intense scarcity of talent at all levels.

I have been going to trials and training sessions but I've hardly noticed a player with good skills. Energy and fitness is nowhere to be seen.

But I am committed to bring change and make Pakistan shine again in the world of hockey and I am working with the same passion I had when I was a player.

Q. With things looking so bleak, how do you stay positive about the future?

Pakistan will clearly not be able to win titles for at least the next four to five years. Our aim is to organise as many domestic hockey tournament as possible so that the pool of players can increase out of which talent will be identified.

We will make hockey popular all over the country again.

Q. What are your view on the previous management of the PHF? Where did they fail?

I think that anyone who fails to bring improvement to the system after being granted a two to three year tenure, are not good administrators. The people at the helm of the previous management should be taken to task regardless of who they are.

The wounds that Pakistan has received in this time will take more than five years to heal.

Q. There were allegations of corruption and misuse of funds on the previous two managements. What is the progress on that investigation?

The Pakistan Sports Board or the sports ministry will know better about this. I will cooperate fully if the auditor general asks for any help.

Q. The former president and secretary have been very vocal about ‘lack of funds’. What do you say about that?

As far as I know, a grant of Rs 90 million was received by the PHF for development. I would not like to talk about corruption as I have no proof, but the current situation does not suggest that such a high amount of money has been spent in the right direction.

Q. Former secretary Asif Bajwa talked about setting up 18 academies during his time. You were a part of the executive board then too. Are those academies still in the pipeline?

I joined the executive board as Bajwa requested me to do it and what separated me from it was the decision to set up so many academies without the required resources. Neither did we have the funds nor the quality coaches. We do not even have so many players anymore. These academies were 'built' only on paper and I knew it from the start that they would remain only on paper.

Q. Your tenure started with a humiliating defeat of the junior hockey team in the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia. What were the reasons?

The junior team did fail badly, but we hardly knew anything about the qualities the players in the squad that visited Malaysia.

However, we have our eyes on the future tournaments, especially the upcoming junior Asia Cup in which we will be aiming to reach the semi-finals.

Q. How are things planned for the senior team as there an competitive fixtures line up for the next few months?

Since the senior team has failed to qualify for the Olympics they will not play much hockey this year. But we are looking forward to next year’s Azlan Shah tournament and talks are underway for a Test series with Netherlands and Australia.

Q. What are your plans and expectations regarding the revival of international hockey in the country? Are there any chances of an Indo-Pak series?

If the international teams are not ready to tour Pakistan then, frankly, there is nothing we can do about it currently.

As far as India is concerned, it is foolish to try to contact them after what happened with Najam Sethi and Shaharyar Khan.

Q. You don't seem to have too much faith in the current talent. Are there any chances for improvement?

Future prospects can be improved only by working at the grass-roots level and promoting hockey at the school level.

We will not take unnecessary pressure but will make sure no time is wasted.

The current squad in my opinion cannot win championships even if 18 Olympians coach each player individually.


Van Aubel's impressive Dragons still have work to do

Who can beat Dragons? That is the question currently being asked on top website hockeybelgium.lesoir.be following another big win in the Belgian league.

They beat second placed Racing Club de Bruxelles 7-4, racing into a 7-1 lead before the Brussels-based side got a couple of consolation goals in the last ten minutes.

Florent van Aubel has been their top scorer to date with 11 goals from nine games to date and he says that Dragons are “very satisfied” with how they are playing.

"We have again produced a remarkable performance, especially in the third quarter. It's just a shame that we were not able to maintain the same level throughout the 70 minutes but we can be very satisfied with our game."

He says there is still plenty to “fix” and when they do so, Dragons can “become a great team”.

"Each line needs to further improve its defensive work. We still give away perfectly preventable goals as was the case deal against Brussels.

“We are fortunate to have several players scoring goals but we also take as much pleasure in denying our opposition goals as scoring them ourselves. As I said, the important thing is above all the team, the collective.

"We still have to show more consistency in order to win the title. This can clearly be our weak point, to avoid those little moments of relaxation. But if we can keep this consistency during 70 minutes, we will win all our matches."

Euro Hockey League media release

Makowski salvages 3-2 win for Pomorzanin

Michal Makowski’s corner goal two minutes from the final whistle earned KS Pomorzanin Torun a valuable three points in the Polish national league, getting the better of LKS Gasawa 3-2.

It gives Torun a five point gap to Gasawa between second and third place while WKS Grunwald Poznan set the pace with eight wins out of eight. It was a refix of a match from two weeks earlier which was postponed due to a water-logged pitch.

Krystian Sudoł’s deflection in the second minute gave Gasawa a perfect start. Marcin Strykowski then doubled the lead three minutes later for a 2-0 advantage with precious little time on the board.

Torun responded well and got back in the game when Vitaly Kalinczuk broke down the right wing. His first shot was blocked but Volodymyr Stretovych capitalised on the second phase to reduce the gap at half-time.

Four minutes into the second half, Stretovych had a second goal with an instinctive finish, tying the game at 2-2. From there, Pomorzanin showed some inefficiency in front of goal but eventually got their reward  from their sixth short corner, Makowski whipping the ball just under the crossbar.

Speaking afterwards, Pomorzanin Torun coach Piotr Zoltowski said “Gasawa set the bar high; it shows that the level of hockey in Poland is growing and certainly this match was an enjoyable one.

“We struggled in the first 15 minutes, which cost us two goals. In the locker room at half-time, we dealt with some issues and it paid off in the second half, which belonged decidedly to us.”

They now sit on 18 points after seven games, six points off WKS Grunwald Poznan but with a game in hand.

Euro Hockey League media release

India name 18-men squad for Jr Asia Cup hockey

NEW DELHI: India today named a 18-member squad for the eighth Junior Men's Asia Cup hockey tournament to be held in Kuantan, Malaysia from November 14 to 22.

The Junior Men's Asia Cup will feature top eight countries from Asia.

The Indian team will be led by talented Harjeet Singh, who was adjudged the Player of the Tournament in the recently-concluded fifth Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia.

The Indian colts had finished runners up in the Sultan of Johor Cup after losing to Great Britain on penalties in the summit clash.

"Malaysia is a known territory to us, and our performance in the 5th Sultan of Johor Cup are fresh in our performance," a confident Indian junior team coach Harendra Singh said.

"The team has been together for over two months now and that just adds to the comfort and performance standards. They operate as a team and will be collectively working towards glory. The energy in the camp is very positive and we are confident of putting up a great show in Malaysia," he added.

Hockey India President Narinder Batra added: "The junior men's team has performed impeccably well in the past and are hungry for wins. They are young and I am glad that we have Harendra Singh as the coach who has been successful in channelising their energy into the right place."

"It's because of this energy and commitment that the team has performed extremely well under any condition and circumstance. We hope for the best possible results at the 8th Junior Men's Asia Cup in Malaysia," he said.

India is placed in Pool A and will play their opening match against Japan on November 14.

Indian Squad for Junior Men's Asia Cup:

Goalkeepers: Suraj Karkera, Vikas Dahiya

Defenders: Dipsan Tirkey (Vice-Captain), Varun Kumar, Anand Lakra, Vikramjit Singh, Harmanpreet Singh

Midfielders: Nilakanta Sharma, Harjeet Singh (Captain), Santa Singh, Manpreet Singh, Mangal Singh Chahal

Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Sumit Kumar, Arman Qureshi, Gurjant Singh, Mohd. Umar, Ajit Kumar Pandey.

The Times of India

Harjeet to lead Indian challenge at Kuantan Jr Asia Cup

New Delhi: Harjeet Singh will lead Indian Challenge at the Kuantan Junior Asia Cup, where just eight countries from Asia will fight for age group continental supremacy.

The Indian goal posts will be guarded by Suraj Karkera and Vikas Dahiya. The defensive wall comprises of Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar, Anand Lakra, Vikramjit Singh and Harmanpreet Singh.

The Midfield will see Captain Harjeet Singh alongside Nilakanta Sharma, Santa Singh, Manpreet and Manpreet Singh Mangalsingh Chahal. Mandeep Singh, Sumit Kumar, Arman Qureshi, Gurjant Singh, Mohd Umar and Ajit Kumar Pandey will be the forwards for India in the upcoming tournament.

“Malaysia is a known territory to us, and we are fresh in our memories from our performance in the 5th Sultan of Johor Cup. The team has been together for over two months now and that just adds to the comfort and performance standards. They operate as a team and will be collectively working towards glory. The energy in the camp is very positive and we are confident about putting a great show in Malaysia,” said Harendra Singh, Head Coach, Indian Junior Men’s Hockey Team.

Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra, President, Hockey India said, “The junior men's team has performed impeccably well in the past and are hungry for wins. They are young and I am glad that we have Harendra Singh as the Coach who has been successful in channelizing their energy into the right place. It’s because of this energy and commitment that the team has performed extremely well under any condition and circumstance. We will hope for the best possible results at the 8th Junior Men’s Asia Cup in Malaysia.”

India is in Pool A and will play their opening match against Japan on 14th November, 2015.

The Indian Squad for Junior Men’s Asia Cup :

1. Suraj Karkera
2. Vikas Dahiya

3. Dipsan Tirkey (Vice Captain)
4. Varun Kumar
5. Anand Lakra
6. Vikramjit Singh
7. Harmanpreet Singh

8. Nilakanta Sharma
9. Harjeet Singh (Captain)
10. Santa Singh
11. Manpreet
12. Manpreet Singh Mangalsingh Chahal

13. Mandeep Singh
14. Sumit Kumar
15. Arman Qureshi
16. Gurjant Singh
17. Mohd. Umar
18. Ajit Kumar Pandey


Surjit Cup: IOC and PSB in the semis

s2h team

Surjit Hockey: Indian Oil Mumbai and Punjab & Sind Bank Delhi storms into semis Jalandhar November 3, 2015: Holders Indian Oil Mumbai will take of Army XI while Punjab & Sind Bank will engage Indian Railways in the semi finals of the 32nd Indian Oil Servo Surjit Hockey Tournament at Olympian Surjit Hockey Stadium on 4th November 2015.

Today, Indian Oil beat Indian Air Force by 3-0 in pool A and Punjab & Sind Bank beat Rail Coach factory Kapurtahala in Pool D by 4-0. For Punjab & Sind Bank Karamjit Singh scored three goals.

In first match in Pool D, runners up Punjab & Sind Bank Delhi and Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala started on even keel. RCF’s goalkeeper Jugraj Singh made good saves. In the 25th minute of the play Bankmen took lead when Karamjit Singh scored the field goal from right flank (1-0). In 32nd minute of the play Bank consolidated the lead with field goal by Ranjodh Singh (2-0). In the 35th minute of the play Karamjit Singh scored another goal from the pass of Ranjodh Singh from left flank (3-0). At half time Bank was leading by 3-0.

After changing ends both teams made counter attacks. In 62nd minute of the play Bank’s Karamjit Singh sounded the board to increase the lead (4-0).

In second match the holders displayed good combined hockey and gave no chance to Indian Air Force. In 13th minute Oilmen’s Gagandeep Singh scored the field goal from left flank (1-0). In the 29th minute of the play Indian Oil’s Captain Deepak Thakur sounded the board to consolidate (2-0). In the very next minute Gagandeep Singh netted the ball after dodging goalkeeper of Indian Air force (3-0). At half time Indian Oil was leading by 3-0.

In second half both teams not able to change the score line.

SEMIFINAL: 4th November 2015
First Semifinal: Army XI Vs Indian Oil 5.30 PM
Second Semifinal: Indian Railways Vs Punjab & Sind Bank 7-00 PM


Under-14: Impressive show from Sabah girls

By Jugjet Singh

GIRLS' defending champions Sabah powered into the second round of the National Under-14 hockey tournament when they hammered Perak 5-1 in Malacca yesterday.

Sabah, on nine points after three matches, have been impressive as they beat Selangor 4-0 and Kedah 5-1 in earlier matches to top Group A.

Yesterday, the Sabah took the lead off Nurekhmah Najwa in the 10th minute, but Perak's Dian Nursyakira Najwa equalised in the 37th minute.

But a four-goal blitz from Nor Asfarina (38th), Kersimah Kauran (42nd), Kersimah Kauran (45th) and Aj Dianisa Diva (54th) saw them sail away with three points.

RESULTS: Boys' Group A: Terengganu 2 Pahang 6, Johor 5 Kedah 0; Group B: Negri x Kelantan x, K Lumpur x Penang x; Group C: Sabah x Malacca x, Perlis x Singapore x.

Girls' Group A: Kedah 1 Selangor 3, Sabah 5 Perak 1; Group B: Johor 0Penang 1, Negri 0 K Lumpur 1; Group C: Pahang 0 Singapore 1, Malacca 7 Perlis 3.

TODAY: Boys' Group A: Perak v Terengganu (MBMB Pitch I, 6.30pm), Kedah v Pahang (MBMB Pitch I, 8.15pm); Group B: Selangor v K Lumpur (MBMB Pitch I, 4.45pm), Kelantan v Penang (MBMB Pitch II, 4.45pm).

GIRLS' Group B: Penang v Terengganu (MBMB Pitch I, 7.30am), K Lumpur v Johor (MBMB Pitch II, 7.30am).

Note: All matches in Malacca.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

The Unlimited Roster of Kindness

To those who know and love her, Victoria Boals is a strong, intelligent and gentle 15-year-old sophomore at New Albany High School in New Albany, Ohio. Like a freight train, the game of field hockey barreled its way into Victoria’s life and bore a special spot in her heart from the day she first picked up a stick in middle school. She was hooked, blossoming into a leader on her high school squad her freshman year and traveling the country for tournaments with her club, Hartland Field Hockey, now FHLife.

One crisp fall day in September of 2013, not long after returning from a successful trip to Orlando, Fla. for the Disney Junior Field Hockey Classic, the Boals family experienced a cosmic shift. Sitting among her parents, Brian and Jodi, and her three sisters, Victoria was diagnosed with an inoperable geoblastoma, a cancerous tumor, on her brainstem and her life and the lives of those who knew her and those who had yet to meet her, changed forever.

Rewind to four months prior, as she trained for her freshman year of high school field hockey. While she experienced many typical emotions of nervousness, excitement and love for the game, Victoria was gradually becoming sick in subtle ways. The seemingly tiny symptoms would be difficult for anyone to put together in a growing 14-year old girl: double vision, nausea, hearing problems, balance issues, painful headaches and difficultly walking. Her daily routine that summer began with waking up and getting ill almost every morning, leading her to believe that she had a hardy stomach virus.

After training hard all summer, Victoria was in top running shape, but she slowly began losing her stamina and speed.

“It got to the point where I could barely run a lap without throwing up,” explained Victoria. “I was really beating myself up over it. I didn’t understand what was going on.”

At one point in Disney, Victoria distinctly remembers a vivid moment of double vision, where she saw two balls lying on the pitch in front of her.

“I had to pick which one was real, and luckily I picked the right one and scored! It was a great moment, but I knew something was really wrong.”

The words inoperable brain tumor hung in the air for the Boals family that fall and racked the New Albany community. The Boals have lived there for 15 years, with Jodi, Victoria’s mother, regularly volunteering in the community. Victoria’s club coach at Hartland, Yvette Pederson wanted, needed to help in some way.

“With everything going on, I didn’t want them to have to worry about money,” said Yvette. “At the time, Victoria was taking at least three chemotherapy pills a day, which weren’t covered by insurance and cost about $700 per pill, and that was just the beginning of medical expenses.”

From that one thought of kindness, the Team Victoria movement was born.

“The field hockey community has just completely wrapped itself around me and our family, and it’s been incredible,” said Victoria. “I’ve been so lucky to see and be a part of so much good in humanity.”

Yvette began hosting local youth field hockey clinics with the help of Olympian Keli Puzo, and the New Albany community mobilized to support the cause and the Boals. The fourth grade class, which does a fundraiser every year and donates to various charities, donated a quarter of their $100k profit to Team Victoria. High school students have hosted boys vs girls field hockey games to raise money. Nearby schools’ field hockey teams have rallied around Victoria and sent well wishes with inspirational posters and YouTube videos.

A Play4theCure field hockey game was held in honor of her in Columbus, Ohio, the softball team held a tournament fundraiser, New Albany held a Golf and 5K fundraiser, the varsity football team introduced her as a captain on a Friday night game under the lights and the girls and boys basketball teams held charity bake sales for her. The outpouring of support even came from Victoria’s favorite university, Ohio State, when they hosted Kent State University at their home stadium for a Team Victoria field hockey play day.

The fundraising initiatives have been numerous and creative. Victoria designed a new Team Victoria t-shirt for the New Albany Aquatics club to raise funds and Hollywood Imprints, owned by her father’s friend BJ Doss, has donated all the printing of Team Victoria t-shirts. There are Team Victoria bracelets and even shoebies designed by a breast cancer survivor.

Founded by Yvette, Team Victoria has grown exponentially over the last year to reach people from all over the country, drawn together by Victoria’s love for the game of field hockey. The cause has its own bank account, to which proceeds are directly deposited.

“Victoria is such a gentle soul and she’s so mature for her age,” said Yvette. “How she has dealt with all of this is just incredible.”

Even with a schedule consisting of physical therapy on Mondays, occupational therapy every other Friday, blood labs every other week, various doctor appointments scattered in and maintaining a 4.0 GPA in school, Victoria makes it a priority to attend every single clinic and fundraiser held in her honor.

“This diagnosis has allowed me to see the overwhelming goodness of people,” said Victoria. “Team Victoria has turned something awful into something very positive and good. I know my time is short, but I’m making a difference that way.”

Victoria has touched the lives of thousands of people over the last year, but she intends to, one day, touch the lives of thousands more.

Kent State University has a new neo-medical school designed for young achievers. If accepted into the program, Victoria would be able to begin med school next year, rather than having to wait until she graduates high school in two years.

“I’m trying to find the best way to use my time,” said Victoria. “Being in that hospital and on the cancer floor for labs I saw so many beautiful, innocent children being racked by this disease. If I make it through this, I really want to give back, work on research and do something to fight cancer.”

This summer, Victoria’s tumor shrank slightly and she was able to attend school in the fall and help out with the field hockey team. Her coach, Nicki Wimsatt, gave her a varsity letter, embraced her as part of the team and allowed her to assist in coaching new players.

“It was so bittersweet to help out with the team,” Victoria explained. “I love to play this sport so much that I wish I could just throw myself into the game. I have such a passion for it that it was hard to be on the sidelines, but it was great to be a part of the team and still have the game a part of me.”

Aside from her dreams of making the world a better place, conquering cancer and sharing her passion for the game of field hockey with others, Victoria loves photography and her Corgi Willow, who she got while she was sick in the hospital for two weeks after first being diagnosed. Victoria also manages to remain quite the social butterfly and is constantly surrounded by family and friends.

“Victoria has the special ability to always find the bright side of things in life,” smiled Jodi. “She has never been the doom and gloom kind. She’s told me ‘I’m not going die and if I do I’ve had a wonderful life. I have no regrets. Of all your girls, I’m the one that can handle this.’ And it’s true, she’s just special.”

In April, Victoria and her whole family were able to take a trip to Tahiti through the Make a Wish Foundation.

“It was so magical and amazing. If I never got cancer, I never would have been able to go Tahiti,” she said laughing innocently, lightening the mood.

Victoria’s endearing spirit is palpable and igniting even through phone lines, and her vivacious passion for life is infectious.

“You have to take a step back and realize there’s nothing I can really do about cancer,” said Victoria. “I’m going to try to play field hockey and go to school even if people say I can’t, as long as I’m happy and I think I’m doing the right thing, that’s what matters. I just have to believe that maybe I’m paying for things in advance, and one day I’ll be healthy and be able to play field hockey again.”

For ways to get involved or to learn more about Team Victoria, visit https://teamvictoria.shutterfly.com/. Follow along with Victoria’s journey on Facebook and Twitter @TeamVictoria.

** This article was originally featured in the Winter 2015 edition of FHLife: The Magazine of USA Field Hockey.

USFHA media release

Executive Board elected to African Hockey Federation at record breaking Championships

The African Hockey Federation (AfHF) Executive Board elections took place on Saturday 31 October during their Congress in Johannesburg, South Africa, which saw Egypt's Seif Ahmed re-elected as President.

Ahmed, also an FIH Executive Board Member, became Honorary Treasurer of the AfHF in 1995 following a highly successful career as an international umpire and player.

He remained Treasurer until elections following the death of Gamal Shirazi after which he was elected President.

Under his Presidency the number of members of the Federation has increased, with a record number of teams taking part in this year's men's and women's African continental competition.

16 teams participated in the African Hockey Championships 2015, with seven women's teams representing South Africa; Kenya; Namibia; Zimbabwe; Nigeria and Tanzania, while nine men's teams from South Africa; Egypt; Kenya; Ghana; Nigeria; Zimbabwe; Namibia; Tanzania and Botswana also took part. This year's Championships were won by South Africa men and women.

During that event, at which the Congress took place, the following individuals elected to the AfHF Executive Board:

President: Seif Ahmed (Egypt)
Vice-President: Nii Quaye-Kumah (Ghana)
Vice-President: Ginny Ross  (Zimbabwe)
Treasurer: Elizabeth King (Ghana)
Members: Ediga Agbo (Nigeria); Shiraz Yakub (Kenya); Kaushik Doshi (Tanzania)
Coopted Members: Marelize De Klerk (South Africa); Sheila Brown (South Africa)
African Hockey Federation Manager: Marc-Olivier Thirion (Appointed professional position, non-voting)

South Africa's Clare Digby, former Treasurer of AfHF, was not available for election this year after 25 years of service to the Federation.

Kenya's Resham Singh Bains and Steve Jaspan from South Africa were also recognised for their long standing service to African hockey as they received the African Order of Merit.

FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather, from South Africa, was also in attendance. He said: "As is evident from the record number of teams taking part in this year's event, hockey is developing incredibly fast throughout Africa. Many of the results at this year's Championships have shown just how much progress is being made. The hockey on display has been really good and I'm confident that many more people will be inspired by the athletes representing their country here in Johannesburg."

Speaking about the elections, FIH President Leandro Negre said: "I would like to congratulate each of the elected Members of the African Hockey Federation Executive Board. Their next steps will be crucial as, together with FIH, we look to continue this positive growth throughout the continent as we drive on with our Hockey Revolution aimed at making hockey a global game that inspires the next generation."

For more information about the African Hockey Federation, visit their website: africahockey.org

Information about the African Hockey Championships 2015 can be found on the event webpages by clicking here.

FIH site

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