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News for 24 November 2015

All the news for Tuesday 24 November 2015

Kookaburras clinch series

Australia's men win final test 3-2 over India in a deciding shoot-out

Daniel Beale lobs the keeper, PR Sreejesh, to open the scoring in the shootout.

Tristan Clemons’ diving save helped the Kookaburras claim the test series title after defeating India 3-2 in a deciding shoot-out after both sides secured a win and draw in Chhattishgarh Tuesday morning.
During the shoot-out, tensions were high. Daniel Beale, Matt Gohdes and Chris Ciriello overcame India’s goalkeeper Sreejesh Parattu, Trent Mitton and Matthew Swann were unable to successfully net their attempts. It came down to India’s final shoot-out attempt with the score levelled at 2-2.

Under the bar for Australia, Tristan Clemons went one-on-one with Raghunath Vokkaliga after India were awarded a penalty stroke after Clemons made contact with the striker during the shoot-out. It was Clemons’ diving save that block India’s final attempt and secured Australia a final 3-2 victory.
In a fairly even contest across the field in the first half, Australia were able to create themselves two valuable penalty corners early on, however, struggling to breakdown a robust Indian defence, the Kookaburras firepower Chris Ciriello and Kieran Govers were unable to hit target on both occasions. 
Australia played without youngster Blake Govers, who broke his ankle in game one on Thursday. A replacement for the World League squad will be announced in the coming days.

Two minutes after quarter time, India broke away with the lead. After successfully working the ball onto Australia’s defender Jeremy Hayward’s foot, India were rewarded with their first penalty corner opportunity of the night. Standing at the top of India’s battery, Raghunath Vokkaliga’s low drag flick was undeniable by Australia’s goalkeeper Leon Hayward, pushing the hosts in front 1-0.

It was at the 36th minute mark that Kookaburras forward Trent Mitton helped Australia to equalise. Channelling his way into the circle, Mitton took on India’s goalkeeper Harjot Sing, finishing the ball bottom right. 

Five minutes later, Pal Rupinder Singh broke the deadlock 2-1, after netting a penalty corner drag flick that was out of reach for Kookaburras goalkeeper Tristan Clemons.

In the final quarter, Australia struggled to hold out India after Akashdeep Singh netted a final strike with 10 seconds remaining on the clock, sending the match to a deciding shoot-out, which the Kookaburras finished atop 3-2.

Kookaburras head coach Graham Reid said, “There were some positives that came out of tonight’s match, such as our shoot-out performance which put us in a pressure situation, however, there’s still room for improvement in our defence which hurt us tonight. We shouldn't be losing a match in the last 10 seconds through a yellow card and a ball coming straight through the middle of our defence.
Speaking about Australia’s upcoming campaign at the Hero Hockey World League in Raipur starting Saturday, Reid added, “The rest of our squad joined us today in preparation for the World League. We have had a good look at our objectives for this tour as we look to narrow down our 2016 Olympic training squad for Rio. We have gathered a lot of information on our players over this tour, which will help us make the tough decision.

"Every game at the upcoming World League will be important for us. Having the quarter finals format in place, anything can happen as it brings into play every team at the tournament."

The Kookaburras will now look ahead to their Hero Hockey World League campaign which gets underway in Raipur, India on 27 November. The Kookaburras face Belgium in their first pool match on Saturday 28 November, live on Fox Sports in Australia.                                  
Trent Mitton 36, 53 (FG) (FG) 

INDIA: 3 (1)
Raghunath Vokkaliga 17 (PC)
Pal Rupinder Singh  41 (PC)
Akashdeep Singh 60 (FG)   
*Australia win 3-2 on a shoot-out. 

Shoot-out details
Daniel Beale [AUS] - GOAL (1-0)
Sardar Singh [IND] - MISS (1-0)
Trent Mitton [AUS] - MISS (1-0)
Akashdeep Singh [IND] - MISS (1-0)
Matt Gohdes [AUS] - GOAL (2-0)
Amir Khan [IND] - GOAL (PS Pal Rupinder Singh) (2-1)
Matthew Swann [AUS] - MISS (2-1)
Birendra Lakra [IND] - GOAL (2-2)
Chris Ciriello [AUS] - GOAL (3-2)
Raghunath Vokkaliga [IND] - MISS (PS) (3-2)
Kookaburras Squad for Indian Test Series
Athlete (Hometown, State)
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 66/12
Joshua Beltz (Hobart, TAS) 7/2
Kiel Brown (Toowoomba, QLD) 171/6
Chris Ciriello (Melbourne, VIC) 177/114
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW) 16/5
Tristan Clemons (Bunbury, WA) 28/0
Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD) 137/45
Glenn Simpson (Melbourne, VIC) 130/23
Matthew Swann (Mackay, QLD) 123/6
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW) 66/3    
Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah, NSW) [QAS athlete] 17/4
Joel Carroll (Darwin, NT) 105/2
Kieran Govers (Wollongong, NSW) 110/56
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 39/13
Leon Hayward (GK) (Darwin, NT) 13/0
Flynn Ogilvie (Wollongong, NSW) 14/5
Simon Orchard (Maitland, NSW) 181/54
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 79/34
Did Not Play - Additional Squad Members
Matthew Dawson (Central Coast, NSW) 26/3
Tim Deavin (Launceston, TAS) 118/6
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA) 71/8              
Kookaburras' fixtures at World League Final, Raipur
[All on Fox Sports]
Saturday 28 November – 22:00 AEDT: Kookaburras v Belgium
Monday 30 November – 02:00 AEDT: Kookaburras v Great Britain
Wednesday 2 December – 00:00 AEDT: Kookaburras v Canada
Thursday 3 December – tbc: Quarter final
Friday 4 December – tbc: Quarter final
Saturday 5 December – tbc: Semi final / 5-8 playoffs
Sunday 5 December – tbc: Semi final / 5-8 playoffs
Monday 7 December – tbc: Medal matches

Hockey Australia media release

India wins third and final test

Lose the series to Australia in a penalty shoot out

Raipur: The Indian Senior Men’s Hockey team today gave a display of their class winning the third and final test of the three match test series against Australia 3-2 in a theatrical finish. A goal in the last few seconds by Akashdeep Singh sealed India’s win in the final test. VR Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh were the other scorers for India. The winner of the series was decided through a penalty shoot-out which was won by Australia (3-2).

The match also marked Rupinder Pal Singh’s 50th goal in his international career. The three match series which is the pre cursor to the much awaited Hero Hockey World League Final 2015 was being played at the newly inaugurated Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel International Stadium, Raipur.

The Indian team today began on a defensive note, creating a strong wall, keeping the Australian attack at bay. PR Sreejesh along with the Indian defence saved some fierce attacks from the world champions in the second quarter of the game.

India like other days drew the first blood through a penalty corner which was beautifully converted by VR Raghunath in the 17th minute. This began a series of attacks from both sides but the goalkeepers at both ends did a fabulous job. The first half came to an end with India leading 1-0.

The second half began with Australia levelling the score to 1-1 through Trent Mitton’s field goal in the 36th minute. India came back strongly soon after to take a much needed lead in the game through Rupinder Pal Singh in the 41st minute. This goal also marked Rupinder’s 50th goal in his international career.

The game there after saw many attacks from the world champions but the Indian defence showed their class today restricting the visitors from scoring.

However a moment of error in the 53rd minute from the Indian defence led to Australia’s advantage as they levelled the score to 2-2, with Trent Mitton scoring again. India thereafter picked up pace but the visitors stood like a wall not allowing the Indians to score.

It was only in the last minute of the match, when Akashdeep surprised the Australian’s to score a fantastic goal, helping India win the match 3-2. With India’s win the three match series winner was decided through a penalty shoot-out, which was won by the visitors 3-2.Birendra Lakra and Rupinder Pal Singh from India scored in the shoot-out, while Sardar Singh, Akashdeep Singh and V Raghunath missed from scoring. Daniele Beale, Matt Gohdes and Chris Ciriello scored for Australia in the shoot out.

“I am happy that we won today’s match. It is good for the team as we enter the Hero Hockey World League with a lot of confidence. We have a few days before the tournament starts and we intend to devote time addressing our grey areas,” said Director High Performance and Chief Coach Indian Men Team, Roelant Oltmans.

The Hero Hockey World League finals will be played at the Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel International Stadium, Raipur from the 27th November – 6th December 2015.


Indian hockey team wins 3rd Test but lose series to Australia

TOI Photo

RANCHI: Forward Akashdeep Singh's blinder in the dying moments of the game helped India edge past Australia 3-2 in the final hockey Test but the hosts ended up losing the series when they faltered in the deciding penalty shootout, here on Monday.

India played a gritty game against the reigning world champions to steal a worthy win in the third and final match after drawing the opening Test and then losing out in the second.

With the score reading 3-2 at the final whistle, the match moved into the penalty shoot out to decide the winner of the series, which was tied at 1-1. The shoot-out saw a reverse of the match score as Australia won it 3-2.

The match started with the first quarter going goalless. India drew first blood in the second quarter when VR Raghunath converted a penalty corner to give India the lead in the 17th minute.

Luck was on Raghnath's side when his solid drag flick took a deflection took a deflection and beat the Australian goalkeeper.

Raghunath has been India's best man in the series with three goals. The veteran drag flick specialist has scored 12 goals from penalty corners in 31 matches this year.

India went into the third quarter with a 1-0 lead. Australia equalised through Trent Mitton's 36th minute field goal which was his his first successful strike of the series.

It was horrible defending by Rupinder Pal Singh, who lost the ball in the attacking third. Mitton was quick to pounce on the gift and ran through the 'Dee' to beat goalkeeper Harjot Singh easily.

But Rupinder made up for his folly six minutes later when he gave India the lead again. The score read 2-1 as Rupinder converted a penalty corner in the 41st minute.

It was Rupinder's 50th career goal. Brilliantly taken with a firm push that was straight and hit the roof of the net. India looking good again.

But just when it looked that India will maintain their lead till time, Mitton once again scored for Australia in the 54th minute to make matters even at 2-2.

But it was Akashdeep who found the net in the final few seconds to give India a 3-2 win and a chance to win the series in the shoot out.

The Times of India

Aussies hit by bolt from Akash

Forward’s late strike gives India 3-2 win in final match. Hosts lose series after shoot-out

India captain Sardar Singh in action during their match against Australia in Raipur on Monday. Hockey India

Raipur: India conceded the hockey Test series to Australia despite winning the third and final match after going down in the series-deciding penalty shoot-out here today.

The visitors won the penalty shoot-out 3-2 after India won the match 3-2. VR Raghunath (17th minute) and Rupinder Pal Singh (41st) converted a couple of penalty corners before Akashdeep Singh (60th) scored with nine seconds to go for the final hooter. Trent Mitton (36th, 53rd) scored a brace for Australia.

The Indian victory meant that the teams were tied at one win each in the three-match series. The first match had ended in a 2-2 draw, while the Australians won the second encounter 2-1. As per the rules for this series, the winner had to be decided by a penalty shoot-out which was won 3-2 by the visitors.

Daniel Beale, Matt Gohdes and Chris Ciriello converted their attempts for Australia. Birender Lakra was the only Indian to convert his attempt while Rupinder scored from a penalty stroke after Amir Khan was fouled by Australian goalkeeper Tristan Clemons. Dharamvir Singh, who took India’s fifth and final attempt, was also fouled by Clemons. Raghunath stepped up to take the penalty stroke, but this time Clemons guessed correctly to deny the drag-flicker and clinch the series for Australia.

Earlier, Australia was the more attacking team in the opening stages and earned a penalty corner right in the first minute. But the effort was fired wide by Ciriello.

The hosts struggled to cope with the frequent Australian attacks and took some time to find their feet. It was not until the 11th minute that the Indians had their first chance but SV Sunil could not connect with an Akashdeep cross. The Australians had two scoring chances in the last minute of the first quarter including a penalty corner. But PR Sreejesh produced a couple of acrobatic saves to deny them.

The Indians were awarded their first penalty corner early in the second quarter and Raghunath’s flick was deflected off a rusher’s shin before going past the wrong-footed goalkeeper.

The Australians continued with their attacking style. But some good defending by the Indians and another excellent save by Sreejesh saw the hosts go into the halftime break with a 1-0 lead. But the visitors could not be denied for long as Mitton snatched the ball from Rupinder just outside the circle and scored past an on-rushing Sreejesh.

The Indians soon earned their second penalty corner after a counterattack and Rupinder made amends with a powerful flick into the top net. Australia earned back-to-back penalty corners in the 52nd minute, but rusher Raghunath came up with superb blocks on both the occasions. The hosts could not rejoice for long, though, as in the very next minute, Mitton capitalised on some sloppy defending to score his second goal.

The hosts found their third goal with just nine seconds to go when Akashdeep latched onto a long pass from the midfield and fired past the goalkeeper

The Tribune

Mixed fortunes for India as they win the third hockey Test against Australia but lose the series

Akashdeep Singh Getty Images

Forward Akashdeep Singh's blinder in the dying moments of the game helped India edge past Australia 3-2 in the final hockey Test but the hosts ended up losing the series when they faltered in the deciding penalty shootout, at Raipur on Monday.

India played a gritty game against the reigning world champions to steal a worthy win in the third and final match after drawing the opening Test and then losing out in the second. With the score reading 3-2 at the final whistle, the match moved into the penalty shoot out to decide the winner of the series, which was tied at 1-1. The shoot-out saw a reverse of the match score as Australia won it 3-2.

The match started with the first quarter going goalless. India drew first blood in the second quarter when VR Raghunath converted a penalty corner to give India the lead in the 17th minute. Luck was on Raghnath's side when his solid drag flick took a deflection and beat the Australian goalkeeper. Raghunath has been India's best man in the series with three goals. The veteran drag flick specialist has scored 12 goals from penalty corners in 31 matches this year. India went into the third quarter with a 1-0 lead.

Australia equalised through Trent Mitton's 36th minute field goal which was his his first successful strike of the series. It was horrible defending by Rupinder Pal Singh, who lost the ball in the attacking third. Mitton was quick to pounce on the gift and ran through the 'Dee' to beat goalkeeper Harjot Singh easily. But Rupinder made up for his folly six minutes later when he gave India the lead again. The score read 2-1 as Rupinder converted a penalty corner in the 41st minute. It was Rupinder's 50th career goal. Brilliantly taken with a firm push that was straight and hit the roof of the net. India looking good again.

However, just when it looked that India will maintain their lead till time, Mitton once again scored for Australia in the 54th minute to make matters even at 2-2. But it was Akashdeep who found the net in the final few seconds to give India a 3-2 win and a chance to win the series in the shoot out. But Akashdeep could not show his magic in the shoout-out as he missed his strike and Australia took the series.


Harmanpreet’s goals made India’s win easy

Aakanksha N Bhardwaj

Harmanpreet Singh (HT Photo)

Trained from Jalandhar-based Surjit Hockey Academy, Harmanpreet Singh emerged a stalwart and main protagonist in the Indian hockey team with India beating Pakistan 6-2 in the 8th junior men’s Asia Cup hockey tournament at Kuantan in Malaysia on Sunday.

Harmanpreet, who is a DAV College student, belongs to Gurdaspur and was declared as the best scorer with four goals in the final and 15 goals in the tournament. He was felicitated as the best player.

India, Korea, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Japan, China, Oman and Malaysia had participated in the tournament with India and Pakistan reaching finals.

Apart from Harmanjeet Singh, five players from the Surjit Hockey Academy played in Indian team, namely, Harjeet Singh (captain), Varun Kumar, Vikramjeet Singh, Mandeep Singh and Gurjant Singh. All players have been trained by Avtar Singh, a coach, at the in Hockey Academy.

A proud Avtar Singh said, “The nation is proud of players. I have no words to explain how I am feeling right now. I have been flooded with congratulatory calls since the results of finals came out. The academy aims to give best players to the country.”

“All players are very dedicated and I see a very bright future for them. I have been giving training to Harmanpreet since two years, I have seen his positive growth. I am overwhelmed,” an elated Avtar Singh said.

Harjeet Singh, Varun Kumar, Gurjant Singh are the students of DAV College.

Head of department of physical education, DAV College, Manu Sood, said that it is great to see the revival of hockey in India.

“We are proud of the students of the College as they have made the country proud. We always make sure that we provide every kind of facility to them. They are the stars of the nation,” said Sood.

Hindustan Times

Here is someone who can solve Indian hockey team's penalty corner puzzle

Harmanpreet Singh Hockey India

India's senior hockey team has been struggling against higher ranked teams in major tournaments, but its under-21 squad is keeping the national flag flying high. 

India drubbed arch-rivals Pakistan 6-2 in the finals to clinch the Junior Asia Cup in Malaysia. The youngsters put up clinical performance in the tournament, but the one who stood out was Man of the Tournament Harmanpreet Singh. The drag-flicker was the leading goal-scorer of the tournament with 15 goals to his name. His speed, skill and accuracy saw him score hat tricks on three occasions in the tournament.


T&T hockey men tackle Brazil

Notre Dame’s Darren Cowie will lead a youthful T&T senior men’s hockey team into battle against host Brazil from 3 pm today in Rio de Janiero, Brazil when the four-team Olympic Test Event flicks off until Saturday. In the day’s opening match, Chile and Mexico will face off from 12.30 pm.

Tomorrow, T&T faces Chile from 1 pm, followed by Mexico and Brazil at 3.30 pm. On Friday, the final day of round-robin matches will see Mexico facing T&T at 11 am and Chile versus from Brazil from 1.30 pm At the end of the round-robin stage, the top two teams will meet in Saturday’s final while the remaining two teams play for third.

In addition to Cowie, the 18-man T&T squad also includes reigning T&T Hockey Board “Player of the Year” and Pan American Elite All Star, Akim Toussaint, veteran goalkeeper Andrey Rocke, 2013 “Player of the Year” Mickell Pierre, Kiel Murray, Marcus James and Shaquille Daniel.

With an eye towards the future, national coach Glen “Fido” Francis’ squad features ten players who are currently training with the national Under-21  squad in preparation for the Junior Pan American Championships in May, 2016 headed by Courts Malvern trio Kristien Emmanuel, Tariq Marcano and Teague Marcano.

Queen’s Park Cricket Club (QPCC) duo Jarryon Paul and Zachary Clarke along with Carib’s Dylan Francis have been named to the team for the first time.

The Olympic Test Event is an exhibition tournament and does not serve as a qualifier for any future Olympic or World Cup competition, but will however provide the organising committee with an important opportunity to test the Olympic competition area and results system, as well as integrating all relevant stakeholders and training the team of people who will be responsible for running the event during the 2016 Games.

Tournament schedule

Chile vs Mexico, 12.30 pm
T&T vs Brazil, 3 pm

T&T vs Chile, 1 pm
Mexico vs Brazil, 3.30 pm

Mexico vs T&T, 11 am
Chile vs Brazil, 1.30 pm

Third vs Fourth, 2.30 pm
First vs Second, 3.30 pm

T&T men’s hockey team

Darren Cowie (captain), Andrey Rocke (GK), Kwasi Emmanuel (GK), Akim Toussaint, Mickell Pierre, Kiel Murray, Marcus James, Shaquille Daniel, Michael O’Connor II, Jordan Vieira, Kristien Emmanuel, Lyndell Byer, Jarryon Paul, Tariq Marcano, Teague Marcano, Zachary Clarke, Dylan Francis, Che Modeste.

Technical staff:  Glenn “Fido” Francis (coach), Christabella George-Ford (manager), Kirth Davis (asst. manager), Nicholas Baldeosingh (videographer), Zynul Khan (Doctor), Karielle De Bique (physiotherapist), Kevin MacIntyre (massage therapist), Shayne Cooper (trainer)

The Trinidad Guardian

Indian eves all set for an Argentine face-off

NEW DELHI: The Indian senior women's hockey team, under the guidance of chief coach Neil Hawgood, is all set to start their Argentina tour with a clash against their under-21 team, tomorrow.

This would be the first international exposure for the Indian eves post their historic qualification for the Rio Olympics next year. The match will be setting off the tour which includes matches against Australia and Argentina from 23rd November 2015 to 29th November 2015.

The 18-member India squad will be led by experienced campaigner Ritu Rani. The second in command will be Deepika Thakur. The Indian goalpost will be guarded by Savita and Rajani Etimarpu.

The defence line will see vice-captain Deepika alongside Sunita Lakra, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Jaspreet Kaur and Deep Grace Ekka. The midfield will have captain Ritu Rani with Renuka Yadav, Lilima Minz, Navjot Kaur, Monika and Namita Toppo. Navneet Kaur, Preeti Dubey, Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya and Anuradha Devi Thokchom will complete the forward line for team India.

"The girls have been working hard and our game tomorrow will be critical to help us understand the areas which still needs attention. The good part is that we have been training hard for the last one month and the team is full of confidence," said Neil Hawgood, chief coach, Indian Women's Hockey Team.

"We have an experienced captain and the girls have been together for quite some time which is a huge advantage for us. The qualifications for the Olympics have been a boost and we will be playing in similar conditions to that of Rio which will only prepare us for the future," he added.

The Indian Women's team has been on a high this year winning the second round of the Hockey World League earlier this year which was held in Delhi.

The team gained 5th position in the Hockey World League Semi Final by the virtue of which they qualified for the Rio Olympics for the first time in 36 years.

The Times of India

India lose by 0-3 against U-21 Argentina in friendly

Indian women's Argentina tour started today with a friendly match against U-21 Argentina team.

Indian team suffered a defeat by 0-3. The goals for Argentina were scored by Juliet Jankunas, Priscilla Jardel and Barbara Borgia.

Argentina U-21 started their lead by 1-0 in the first half.

Indian eves will play their next match against Senior Argentina Team at 1:30 AM IST.


Walk The Talk With India Women Hockey Players

Shekhar Gupta (R) with Ritu Rani (C), Captain of the Indian hockey team and left defender Sushila Chanu (L).

In this episode of Walk The Talk, two very special members of the Women's Hockey Team speak on always keeping their eyes on the Ball and how focused they were which made sure that after 36 years the Indian Hockey Team qualified for the Olympics. Ritu Rani, Captain of the team, says, "Attack and defence are both my job." Sushila Chanu, member of the team, says, "We are not afraid of players that are double our size." They narrate their story of how from little known places from India they have achieved all they are today with only hard work and determination.

Following is the full transcript of the show:

Shekhar Gupta: Hello and welcome to Walk the Talk, I am Shekhar Gupta at Delhi's Dhyanchand hockey stadium flaunting a hockey stick and doing it with great pride and joy because my guests for today are two most wonderful women, members of the Indian women's hockey team which has, on paper, qualified for the Olympics for the first time in 36 years, but in effect for the first time ever because 36 years back was Moscow, where most teams were not playing because of the boycott of Afghanistan. So Ritu Rani, Captain of the Indian hockey team, right half mid fielder and left defender Sushila Chanu. Tell your full name.

Sushila Chanu: Pukhrambam Sushila Chanu.

Shekhar Gupta: And you play defence at the left. And Ritu Rani you attack also and defend, also roam around here and there and Sushila Chanu you defend. And I have heard when the opposition takes a penalty corner you are the fourth thrasher, you are the last person left with the goalkeeper. Tell me the feeling, how does it feel when you are the last one left with goalkeeper with your hockey stick and with your...

Sushila Chanu: Only shin guards and face mask.

Shekhar Gupta: It's quite dangerous because people now use drag flicks, so what is the feeling when the ball comes to you with that speed?

Sushila Chanu: Firstly, when we used to practice it was very scary but now doing it I don't feel afraid, when we make eye-to-eye contact with the ball we can easily save.

Shekhar Gupta: So you look the ball in the eye. Keep the ball in the eye and see.

Ritu Rani: We have to fully concentrate.

Shekhar Gupta: Ritu, you like to defend or attack?

Ritu Rani: No, my work is to do both so I like both to defend and attack.

Shekhar Gupta: But what did you enjoy the most? First you were the centre forward.

Ritu Rani: I enjoy attacking but have to do both the things.

Shekhar Gupta: So tell me, you have played so well in last one and a half, two years and you are all junior team players. Essentially it's the same junior team, which had won the bronze medal in the Junior World Cup and after that your coach brought you to the senior team. You took about one year to settle down and now you are senior right? And in your team you have seniors also and juniors also. At this time juniors are playing outside, so tell me the progress. How did the Women's team succeed so much? You are the Captain and she is the defender and without defender nothing happens.

Ritu Rani: No, the team, which recently played the World Cup in 2013, got the medal. First they were in the junior team, then entered into the senior team and from the past 2-3 years they are continuously in the senior team, so that has increased their experience and it became easier for them to play in the World Cup. It matters with the experienced player, that's why tension is reduced and get to know and knowledge increases, that if we are in the senior team then it becomes easier to play in the junior team.

Shekhar Gupta: You have played in the past, you play with the European teams, those girls are elder to you, and are in double, triple size than you, their training is also good, and speed is also good, so how do you prepare for them? Sometimes do you feel afraid?

Ritu Rani: No, as such we don't feel afraid but we need more speed. If you compare us with them we need more speed and the way they play with the body, when we play matches here we don't use it. In Indian Hockey we don't have such kind of thing and we play simple hockey.

Shekhar Gupta: Body play is used by our cricketers these days; see Ishant Rani who has been banned for one match.

Ritu Rani: That is also necessary, like in our game it is necessary to have body contact so we have to improve in such things. Like, if we play matches here and if we play with the boys also, we play away from them, they also don't compete with us that much, in the sense closely with us, we play freely, but the international hockey is not like that. In that, all the world-class teams, they all play physically. That's why we play test matches so that we can improve in such things.

Shekhar Gupta: So Sushila you defend, most defenders are little bit physical in tackling.

Sushila Chanu: Yes, when they come we push them.

Shekhar Gupta: That's your own player.

Sushila Chanu: Yes, in our practice, we play one versus one or attack or defence and pressurise them.

Shekhar Gupta: And you are doing the same job, defence type work, checking the people, checking the tickets in Central Railway, so how do you check the tickets? 

Sushila Chanu: Standing at the station, whichever train comes I ask for a ticket.

Shekhar Gupta: Sometimes stick check also?

Sushila Chanu: No, in hockey field only.

Shekhar Gupta: From which players did you get impressed?

Ritu Rani: Surinder, Gaura who was our captain earlier, they are my idols, have learnt watching them. They left in 2010 and are now in Haryana Police as DSP.

Shekhar Gupta: I have heard that you are also an inspector?
Ritu Rani: Yes, I am also an inspector.

Shekhar Gupta: So you roam wearing the uniform to show muscle power?

Ritu Rani: No, haven't worn the uniform yet.

Shekhar Gupta: But the Haryana Government has a good policy for sports.

Ritu Rani: Yes, we have great support from Haryana, they are doing a lot for sports, not for only us but for every sport.

Shekhar Gupta: Ritu, just tell me one thing in hockey what is the role of the captain? Because in cricket we know whom to ask to ball and whom to ask to bat and how to set the field and when to declare, when toss takes place, choose between bat and ball. What is the role of the captain in hockey? First you played as a player and now as a captain so how did your life change in between?

Ritu Rani: When we play as a player we play with free mind and there is a slight pressure on the captain that she has to handle the entire team and also have to perform herself also. So have handled the team nicely, what things I have to tell to the team I tell, like before our match, whatever our Sir tells us to do, have to remind it that we have to do these things in the match, so that no mistake takes place and our result doesn't get worse.

Shekhar Gupta: Do the girls listen to you?

Ritu Rani: Yes, they surely listen, it's important to listen because unity is really important.

Shekhar Gupta: I have heard that unity is there in your team. It's a bit chak de style, right? So tell, in Indian hockey people say the players are individualistic, whosoever gets the ball thinks to strike the goal and if snatches, then people appreciate that I have played a really good game.

Ritu Rani: Now you see, the turf has come, the hockey has become totally different, there is so much speed that if we run with the ball it has no use, so if we help to run the ball only then we can perform well. So there is no meaning of being individualistic.

Shekhar Gupta: So there is no point one person running the ball every time, we have to make the ball run.

Ritu Rani: So because of that it becomes easier for us to attack, for that it is best to keep on passing the ball, the sooner we pass the ball we can perform well.

Shekhar Gupta: But do you think that the players have understood this thing or not?

Ritu Rani: No, they have very well understood. It does not happen individually, like this is a circle right? Inside the circle we can do such thing, like we have to make a PC, so naturally she has to do that thing, have to dodge. There in the circle such things can be done; we can't call it an individual game. The best option is to make a PC.

Shekhar Gupta: Tell the meaning of dodging, in this country people don't understand hockey.

Ritu Rani: Dodge means to beat a player.

Shekhar Gupta: Teach me how to dodge?

Ritu Rani: It's about the safe movement.

Shekhar Gupta: So when our player dodges, we have that training that our player knows where will she pass after dodging?

Ritu Rani: That's only what we practice about, we should have the understanding, only then we can play well. We know that where will this player pass the ball after dodging.

Shekhar Gupta: You tell you are defender; everybody is trying to dodge you every time, so how do you handle it? How do you understand it that what is the other player's intention?

Sushila Chanu: Because we practice daily, attack or defence and from where will she dodge and where is she weak so we note it.

Shekhar Gupta: You know the players of the other's team?

Sushila Chanu: Yes, we know the players of the other team because we watch their videos; that her right is strong or left is strong, so through this we get to know about them.

Shekhar Gupta: So in the past you have seen 2-3 big matches, in that, after watching whose video you have decided. Like tell me about the Japan's match, it was your most famous match in which we struck a goal in the beginning, it was like our qualification match and after that we effectively qualified for the Olympics. We scored a goal in just 2 minutes and then they kept on putting pressure and in last quarter it became tremendous pressure. So did you feel under a lot of pressure, because they were all in the D all over our goal?

Sushila Chanu: In our Japan match mostly they attack on the right side and I play on the left so there is lot of pressure on my side and mostly the attack is on my side only, so I saved a great defence and then I wasted some time.

Shekhar Gupta: So tell me how did you waste the time?

Sushila Chanu: I had to take the free hit and I was coming very slowly and had to start...

Shekhar Gupta: Was there no whistle for wasting time?

Sushila Chanu: It did take place, warning was issued to the Captain and then green card was given to me.

Shekhar Gupta: But time wasting was important then, because they got so many penalty corners after that.

Ritu Rani: We have to hold the last minutes.

Shekhar Gupta: So everyone attacked at that time. So tell me about that match, describe it? I will say that match was important for the Indian hockey in the last few days.

Sushila Chanu: Our right defender, Deepika Thakur, she is very skill full and mostly Ritu di and Deepika go through and attack and after that our fast goal also took place, attacking from the right side. Both make a good combination. But in the last there was a huge pressure because in Japan match mostly the attack is on the right only and they are weak on left while attacking, so there was a huge pressure and suddenly a PC was given against us and we saved it. Our goalkeeper Savita is really good.

Shekhar Gupta: Savita is from Haryana and there is also another goalkeeper from Orissa, oh you have your drag flicker from there.

Ritu Rani: Our drag flicker is from Haryana and the girl who slaps is from Orissa.

Shekhar Gupta: You were the last defender with the 7-8 penalty corners, what was in your mind?

Sushila Chanu: The only thing in mind was God, please save me; pressure was very high.

Ritu Rani: Because if one goal happens then shoot out and then it becomes difficult, because in shoot out its 50-50, whether players are good enough but still.

Shekhar Gupta: You tell me your favourite. You started playing hockey at the age of fifteen?

Ritu Rani: Yes, I played the Senior World Cup at the age of fifteen.

Shekhar Gupta: One year less than even Sachin.

Ritu Rani: But anyway all our players have come from... 

Shekhar Gupta: The junior team?

Ritu Rani: Yes, they've come from the junior team.

Shekhar Gupta: Imagine, I'm carrying a hockey stick to look cool and to show off with you. Sushila was the one who told me to take the hockey stick with me. It's because of her that I'm carrying this hockey stick. So I don't know too much about hockey, I only played a little bit at school.

Ritu Rani: Than you must know a little bit, dribbling and all you must know?

Shekar Gupta: Not too much, hockey sticks used to be heavy at that time. 

Ritu Rani: Yes, they were wooden.

Shekhar Gupta: Yes, they were, and these are very light compared to those. They were quite thick; we used to coat them in oil.

Ritu Rani: And their blade used to be wider too.

Shekhar Gupta: That's right. And fullback used to have the heaviest.

Ritu Rani: Yes, they did, yes they did.

Shekhar Gupta: Anyway, coming back to your interesting moments.

Ritu Rani: Well, to begin with I was really afraid, being only a junior, I was the youngest, I was afraid of making mistakes. But gradually, with time, after two or three years, with experience, I gradually became a senior myself. I now have the confidence to play against any team so there's no problem now. And right now we played the Asian Games, where we won the bronze medal. That was really important for us. That was similar to a match we played with Japan recently where which we won 2-1. That match was also crucial, but still we played well. That gave us the confidence to play well in the Asian Games and Word Cup, and get medals in both.

Shekhar Gupta: But you came to the national team at such a young age, the pressure must be a lot?

Ritu Rani: Not so much pressure as a fear and lack of confidence, which comes from being inexperienced.

Shekhar Gupta: And now I hear you have too much confidence. Both in you, and in your team.

Ritu Rani: Not really, our team is a mostly young team, there are only a few senior players, so they realise what a big deal it is that we're going to the Olympics soon.

Shekhar Gupta: And going on your own merit, this isn't like Moscow where you're all going, because you're just all outsiders? You're going on your strength this time.

Ritu Rani: Yes.

Shekhar Gupta: And you qualified quickly this time.

Ritu Rani: Quickly?

Shekhar Gupta: You know, there's no suspense dragging on till the last moment about whether you'll get selected or not.

Ritu Rani: No, that's true. Like last time in 2012 we played the qualifying round of the Olympics right here in India.

Shekhar Gupta: Yes, this time you have a year to prepare. Tell me about your home, what do your parents do?

Ritu Rani: My father works for the government, mother's a housewife, I have two brothers, and two sisters-in-law. They even have a son. My younger brother also plays hockey. He's in the BSF right now, through sports quota. He's played till the national level.

Shekhar Gupta: So, tell me, when did you go to play hockey for the very first time? Tell me about that scenario?

Ritu Rani: When I, first time went to play the hockey, my brother, who was playing before I had started playing, so he asked me to come to play, it's really good there and he asked me a lot, then I told him that I don't have any interest in sports. I refused a lot, for two days I kept on saying I don't want to go. But he said it's good to go there and it will be good if you go for sports. So he said I also go so you also come along with me. So that's why I decided to go there and I went there. Our coach Baldev Sir, he is very strict about the rules, like you have to come at 5 in the morning and if you are late by even 1 minute you get punishment.

Shekhar Gupta: What punishment did you get?

Ritu Rani: He used to ask us to perform front roll.

Shekhar Gupta: How many front rolls?

Ritu Rani: There is no counting. It is based on the hours. That's why we have really worked hard. We have never taken an off, we went for the training in the morning and evening and also to school.

Shekhar Gupta: Sushila, where did you find your first coach? When did you find your first coach?

Sushila Chanu: I got my first coach from Manipur, Romace and Sandeep Kumar and late Herojit, I feel sorry about their death and could not meet.

Shekhar Gupta:  So he taught you?

Sushila Chanu: So in starting when I went to the ground they taught me holding the stick.

Shekhar Gupta: And then you knew naturally how to play after that.

Sushila Chanu: No, at the starting for two three days, did play here and there, but after observing them I learnt playing.

Shekhar Gupta: You have done graduation from Kurukshetra University, in which subject you have done?

Ritu Rani: Yes, have done in Arts.

Shekhar Gupta: And you?

Sushila Chanu: Passed 12th.

Shekhar Gupta: And what are you doing after that? Studying or like Sachin Tendulkar you will play for the whole life?

Sushila Chanu: No, I am studying right now, studying history now.

Shekhar Gupta: Because you are an Inspector now in the Railways or not?

Sushila Chanu: Yes, in the Railways.

Shekhar Gupta: So you got the job early?

Ritu Rani: No, still graduation is very important.

Shekhar Gupta: Yes, that is good about what you have talked about.

Shekhar Gupta: Tell me how good is our team's penalty corner? Because you said PC is the main thing.

Ritu Rani: Our PC is good now we have a dragger, earlier we also had a dragger but...

Shekhar Gupta: Dragger means drag flicker.

Ritu Rani: It gives us a lot of benefit.

Shekhar Gupta: Many people cannot register the speed of the ball.

Ritu Rani: That benefits us a lot. We can identify the direction and the speed of the ball. We are good at it. The easiest chance is a PC. There are only 5 defenders and we are eight, so it gives us an easy chance to score a goal and we keep working on it to make it better.

Shekhar Gupta: So there are 5 defenders and 8 attackers.

Ritu Rani: There is no limit to the number of attackers.

Shekhar Gupta: Even if they stop the ball you have a chance if the ball rebounds.

Ritu Rani: Yes, we have chance with the rebounds, otherwise the goal is full packed and there is no easy chance, but we if you are perfect in the PC you can score a goal.

Shekhar Gupta: What is our set piece PC? What is the pattern, I have heard you are doing something?

Ritu Rani: Yes, I push. She is one of the stoppers, there are two other stoppers, Monika and Deepika are also stoppers. Generally everyone is a stopper but we need to change the one who is free. We have a flicker, Jaspreet and slapper, Sunita Lakra and Deepika Thakur.

Shekhar Gupta: Slap means hitting?

Ritu Rani: There is a slight difference between slapping and hitting. Slap is used for deflection and for direct hit we use hitting.

Shekhar Gupta: Dragging is different?

Ritu Rani: Yes, dragging is different.

Shekhar Gupta: So there are three. So you how do you signal each other, what do you use?

Ritu Rani: Our coach informs us about it. We know beforehand what PC to set up.

Shekhar Gupta: If 4-5 PC's are not converted in goals you change your plan of action?

Ritu Rani: We run outside the field to our coach ask him and then come back running to the field, because they keep watching the defence from outside.

Shekhar Gupta: You have a German coach?

Ritu Rani: Yes.

Shekhar Gupta: Tell me something about him. His name is Mathais Ahrens.

Ritu Rani: He is a good coach, he joined us sometime before. In so little time the things he told us we worked on it and we will do well in future.

Shekhar Gupta: Yes, sure you will do well, but what language does he use with you?

Ritu Rani: He speaks English and if we do not understand anything Kumar Sir helps us.

Shekhar Gupta: You understand what he says and the coach understands what you say, that is more important.

Ritu Rani: He understands.

Shekha Gupta: Did you teach the coach some Hindi?

Sushila Chanu: Only "Bharat Mata Ki Jai"

Ritu Rani: We say this before every match, so he feels if he says the same we will feel good, so he learnt it and says before every match.

Shekhar Gupta: You play hockey, do you think the appreciation and the reward you get for hockey is sufficient? 

Sushila Chanu: Yes, that is alright, there is no complaint.

Shekhar Gupta: And you must be quite the heroine at home, playing for the national team and all?

Sushila Chanu: No, no, nothing like that.

Shekhar Gupta: So what do people say when you go back?

Sushila Chanu: Well, I never get a chance to find out, because, like, last time I only went for a week. And I don't even like staying at home for too long because I end up missing my teammates.

Shekhar Gupta: Do you also end up quarreling or fighting sometimes?

Ritu Rani: No, not really.

Shekhar Gupta: So how will you be preparing for the Olympics this time round?

Ritu Rani: Well, we intend to work twice as hard to improve our performance, seeing as we only have a year, and try to play as many international matches as we can. Gain some exposure to some of the best teams.

Shekhar Gupta: Which team do you find difficult to play with?

Ritu Rani: All the teams are good, we cannot say this team is weak or strong but the best 4 or 5 team of the world is our competition. Holland plays with speed and we have skill.

Shekhar Gupta: They have speed and hit and run also.

Ritu Rani: They are all based on speed.

Shekhar Gupta: So the defence has to be always alert, because you never know when the ball will come. One big hit and somebody will come running and these days there is no off side in hockey.

Ritu Rani: Yes, now it is now open you can play wherever you want.

Shekhar Gupta: Do you think there should be off side in hockey?

Ritu Rani: No, without off side we can use the skill any ways and anywhere on the field. But we have not played that hockey. But still...

Shekhar Gupta: See, are you both happy that you chose hockey and not some other sport?

Ritu Rani: Yes definitely, very happy.

Shekhar Gupta: You never feel any regret? Like people say why hockey? And till people don't feel the pride for hockey then even hockey won't progress.

Ritu Rani: See, like there is Major Dhyanchand ji and this stadium was built on his name and sports day is also celebrated on his name, so that is also there and this is our national game and it is good for us, I mean we are playing hockey so that's why.

Shekhar Gupta: And you? What do you think?

Sushila Chanu: Me too of course, by choosing hockey I made a very good choice.

Shekhar Gupta: Not like Mary Kom now, she is from your state?

Sushila Chanu: Had I chosen boxing, who knows if I would have been able to reach the top or not?

Shekhar Gupta: And in hockey, you are in the top right now, in the Indian team, so that is why now, hockey of the Indian team is doing so good. In fact the women's hockey is doing better than the men's hockey. Many congratulations and may you go and win an Olympic medal in hockey. Thank you very much; it was a pleasure to speak with both of you.

NDTV Sports

Men’s Hero Hockey World League Final 2015 begins Friday

Best players in the world set to battle it out for World League title

Photo: FIH

The hugely anticipated men’s Hero Hockey World League Final gets underway in the Indian city of Raipur on Friday 27 November, featuring eight of the best national hockey teams in the world.

The top four teams from the two Semi-Final events played in Argentina and Belgium over the summer will go head to head in this epic end of year showdown, which will see the winners crowned Hockey World League Season 2 champions and guarantee their place in the 2016 Champions Trophy.

With all eight teams already qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and vital FIH World Ranking points on offer, competition is set to be fierce.

Reigning World and Oceania champions Australia (FIH World Ranking: 1) will be seen as favourites in Pool A.

The team were in excellent form at the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final in Antwerp, Belgium last summer.

Teenage striker Blake Govers - brother of fellow Kookaburra Kieran - announced himself to the world by finishing as top scorer and being named as Young Player of the Tournament, while five times FIH Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer showed that even at 36 years of age he is a virtually unrivalled talent.

Australia’s rivals in Pool A come in the shape of Great Britain, Belgium and Canada. Great Britain (WR: 4) arrive in Raipur with a much changed team from the one that finished third at the HWL Semi-Final in Antwerp, with captain Barry Middleton and record scorer Ashley Jackson both absent.

32-year-old defender Dan Fox will captain the team in Middleton’s absence, with plenty of additional experience being provided by the likes of attack-minded trio Harry Martin, Simon Mantell and midfielder Nick Catlin.

Belgium (WR: 7), who fell to a narrow final defeat against Pool A rivals Australia at the HWL Semi-Final in Antwerp, come into the event under the guidance of a new Head Coach, with New Zealander Shane McLeod, who enjoyed spells coaching New Zealand men and women,  taking charge following the departure of Dutchman Jeroen Delmee in September.

The team has many high quality players, but creative midfielder John-John Dohmen is arguably their most consistent performer.

Canada’s Red Caribous (WR: 14) are the lowest ranked team in the competition, but are one of the success stories of the 2014-15 Hockey World League. The team has made huge strides forward over the past 18 months, with a third place finish at the HWL Round 2 event in San Diego being followed by an impressive fourth place finish at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires, Argentina. That result sealed a ticket to Raipur and as well as proving good enough for a place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Scott Tupper, Mark Pearson and Matthew Guest are star players outfield while goalkeeper David Carter is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the finest shot-stoppers on the planet.

In Pool B, European and reigning HWL champions the Netherlands (WR: 2) are likely to take some stopping, if their form in recent months is anything to go by.

In 2015, the influence of Max Caldas – the Buenos Aires born former Argentina international who between 2012 and 2014 guided the Netherlands women to Olympic, World Cup and World League glory – has been clear for all to see, with the team sealing their place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with a third place finish in the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires before winning the Unibet EuroHockey Championships final 6-1 against Olympic champions and Pool B rivals Germany.

Their squad contains world class talent including midfielder Robert van der Horst, striker Jeroen Hertzberger and playmaker Billy Bakker, while powerhouse defender Mink van der Weerden is arguably the best penalty corner flicker in the world.

The Netherlands will be challenged in Pool B by Germany, Argentina and host nation India, all teams that on their day are capable of beating any team in the world.

Germany (WR: 3) are the current holders of the Champions Trophy and were victorious at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires.

They will have to cope with the loss of legendary coach Markus Weise, who recently decided to step away from the team to start a new career with the Deutsche Fußball-Bund (DFB).

However with FIH Men’s Player of the Year winners Tobias Hauke (2013) and Moritz Fürste (2012) as well as FIH Young Players of the Year Christopher Rühr (2013) and Florian Fuchs (2012), they have plenty of talent within their team.

Pan American champions Argentina picked up the bronze medals at last year’s Rabobank Hockey World Cup. Since then they have climbed to fifth place in the FIH World Rankings thanks to a Pan American Cup success and a second place finish in the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires.

Lucas Vila is the creative mastermind of the team, while defender and 2014 FIH Young Player of the Year Gonzalo Peillat is a prolific scorer from penalty corner situations. 

According to Head Coach Roelant Oltmans, Asian champions India (WR: 6) have been “showing tremendous progress” in recent weeks, and a 1-1 draw in the first of a three match test series against top-ranked Australia is certainly testament to that.

The team who finished fourth at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Antwerp will be looking to impress in front of their home fans in Raipur.

With the likes of midfielder Sardar Singh, goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh and drag-flicking defenders V.R. Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh amongst their ranks, they are certainly capable of winning the title.

The tournament kicks off in style on Friday with two mouth-watering Pool B fixtures. A large crowd is expected be on hand to witness host nation India take on Argentina at 18:30 (Indian Standard Time), before Germany and the Netherlands meet in a rematch of the 2015 European final at 20:30.

Match schedule: click here.

How teams qualified: click here.

FIH site

BT Sport secures Hockey World League Finals rights for UK and Ireland

Chris Griffiths celebrates GB goal

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has confirmed that BT Sport will broadcast the men’s and women’s Hockey World League Finals in the United Kingdom and Ireland later this year.

BT Sport will show every single game from the men’s Hero Hockey World League Final in Raipur, India from 27 November until 6 December and the women’s Argentina Hockey World League Final in Rosario, Argentina between 5-13 December.

Whilst the current agreement covers the Hockey World League Finals, both organisations have shown considerable desire to explore further opportunities for the sport as the United Kingdom gets set to host several key hockey events over the next three years.

The world’s best hockey teams will descend upon London for the Champions Trophy in 2016, Hockey World League Semi-Finals in 2017 and the Hockey World Cup in 2018, which will all take place in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

This broadcast agreement comes shortly after Ireland men qualified for the Olympic Games for the first time in over 100 years, following Great Britain men and women who qualified for Rio 2016 earlier this year at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals.

England women also enjoyed recent success as they defeated reigning Olympic and World champions Netherlands to become European champions for only the second time in their history.

Their women’s form has seen them receive a number of awards in recent weeks. At present they are currently shortlisted for this year’s BT Action Woman of the Year Award which celebrates the ten most outstanding sporting performances by British female athletes in 2015.

Speaking about the broadcast deal, FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather said: “This agreement is testament to the growing interest in hockey in these key markets - Great Britain and Ireland, following their national teams’ recent success. It is therefore extremely encouraging to see hockey added to BT’s already impressive programming. We look forward to working with them to make BT Sport the ‘Home of Hockey’ in the UK and Ireland.”

He continued: “This is the latest broadcast deal to be agreed in cooperation with our Media Partner Star Sports. We are delighted that the men’s and women’s Hockey World League Finals will now be broadcast into millions of homes around the world. With exciting developments being introduced to the TV production we are making important steps to providing world class TV content in line with our overall aim to make hockey a global game that inspires the next generation.”

Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “Securing the FIH men’s and women’s Hockey World League Finals is a superb addition to our line-up, further expanding the range of our programming. The UK is set for increasing interest in hockey with the world’s best hockey teams playing in London for the Champions Trophy in 2016, Hockey World League Semi-Finals in 2017 and the Hockey World Cup in 2018.”

Sally Munday, Chief Operating Officer of Great Britain Hockey, said: “Hockey in Britain is receiving increasing broadcast coverage and this partnership provides another welcome opportunity for sports fans to enjoy the best international competition. It’s an important year for both men’s and women’s teams with Rio 2016 fast approaching. The Hockey World League provides great preparation for the teams and we hope the coverage will inspire fans to come along to the women’s Champions Trophy which we’re hosting at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in June.”

This broadcast deal follows recent agreements with Fox Sports in Australia and ATN in Canada. CCTV have also agreed to broadcast games from the women’s Argentina Hockey World League Final, which will see hockey broadcast into millions of homes throughout China.

With 14 broadcasters now covering these events, the Hockey World League Finals continue to be a popular acquisition for the world’s media.

In addition to BT Sport, Media Partner Star Sports (India); Canal Siete (Argentina); NOS (Netherlands); Sky Sports (New Zealand); Astro (Malaysia); OSN (North Africa and United Arab Emirates); Supersport (South Africa); PTV (Pakistan); Telenet (Belgium); Fox Sports (Australia), Willow TV (USA), ATN (Canada) and CCTV (China) will all broadcast action from these events.

For more information about the men’s Hero Hockey World League Final in Raipur, India, click here.

Details about the women’s Argentina Hockey World League Final in Rosario can be found here.

England Hockey Board Media release

Spotlight on: China women

About the team: China (FIH World Ranking: 5) have been in something of a transitional phase in recent years, but the current group is really starting to make some serious headway in their bid to restore the team to the performance levels achieved in 2008, when they claimed the silver medal at the Beijing Olympic Games.

There is a clear focus on youth these days, with the vast majority of players that have featured in recent squads being aged 23 or under. 28-year-olds Xu Xiaoxu and Ma Wei were the oldest members of the squad that took part in the Valencia Hockey World League Semi-Final in June, with the vast majority of the squad being aged between 19 and 23.

The relative youth of the team did not stop them from making big waves in Valencia, recording some excellent victories on their way to a hugely impressive second place finish behind Great Britain.

Their best performance came in the competition semi-final meeting with Argentina, with penalty corner expert Wang Mengyu scoring twice to give China a 2-1 win over Las Leonas. Ace goalkeeper Li Dongxiao and lively attacker De Jiaojiao are also influential players for a China team that is growing in confidence with every tournament that they enter.

Key player: Wang Mengyu. The 23-year-old defender is one of the most experienced campaigners in the
 China team, and is fast developing a reputation as a feared goal-scorer from penalty corner situations. Despite her tender age, Wang has played well over 100 internationals and already has Olympic, World Cup and Asian Games experience under her belt.

Notable honours:
Olympic Silver medallists (2008)
World Cup Bronze medallists (2002)
Champions Trophy Gold medallists (2002)
2x Champions Trophy Silver medallists (2003, 2006)
Champions Trophy Bronze medallists (2005)
3x Asian Games Gold medallists (2002, 2006, 2010)
2x Asia Cup Gold medallists (1989, 2009)

FIH site

Junior hockey team needs to go through sterner tests: Coach

NEW DELHI: Winning the 8th Junior Men's Asia Cup is just the beginning for Indian colts and they need to frequently face "sterner tests" to become world beaters, feels coach Harendra Singh.

With their traditional play and boosted by Harmanpreet Singh's hat-trick, India spanked arch rival Pakistan 6-2 to clinch the eight Asia Cup yesterday in Kuantan, Malaysia.

"It is just a beginning for this team. We are improving match by match and with this win I am sure that the roadmap we have developed for the junior team is in the right direction," Harendra told PTI Bhasha over phone from Kuantan.

He however cautioned that one should not read much into this win.

"We must not focus only on tournaments. We need to play against top teams regularly and face sterner tests. I would like to have more bilateral matches against teams like Germany, Belgium, England and the Netherlands next year so that we can judge ourselves better.

"These players need to go through those hard tests," said the coach who took over the charge 18 months back.

When asked about the importance of winning Asia Cup, he said that it will be beneficial at the time of grouping of teams for next year's Junior World Cup.

"Indian junior team will play the tournament as subcontinental champion which will certainly enhance the morale of players. It will also benefit us during the grouping of teams and we might get 1 or 2 relatively easier opponents," he said.

Junior Hockey World Cup will be held in New Delhi from December 1-11 next year.

Harendra also refused to give credit to any single player for this win and said that in hockey every victory is a result of team efforts.

"I don't like individualistic approach and will never allow that in my team. Hockey is a team game and every win is a result of team efforts and Asia Cup is no exception," he said.

When asked about his strategy for the final against Pakistan, he said that the team played its natural game and did not take any pressure.

"I did not talk about Pakistan team in the dressing room. I only told my boys to stick to the basics and play it like any other match. I told them to play their natural game, without taking any pressure. Of course I told them about their weaknesses but set realistic goals as well," the coach concluded.

The Times of India

Winning India showered with cash prize

· Cash prize of Rs 1 Lakh each for the players and the Head Coach
· Cash prize of Rs 50,000 for the remaining coaches and support staff
· Additional Rs 1 Lakh each for the tournament awardees

New Delhi, 23rd November 2015: Indian junior team have won the Kuantan Jr Asia Cup without losing a match, in sync with both the times it won the same prestigious event in the past.

The winners therefore deserve every appreciation and the one that is presented below by the Hockey India is all the more welcome.

Kuantan Asia Cup winners and head coach will get Rs. 1 Lakh each other coaches and support staff Rs 50,000 each.

Additional prizes of Rs 1 Lakh each will also be given to Harmanpreet Singh ebign the Highest Scorer of the Tournament and Vikas Dahiya, who got the Best Goalkeeper title at Kuantan.

India defeated Pakistan by 6-2 in a scintillating performance to lift the cup. Harmanpreet Singh was awarded the Leading Scorer of the Tournament with 15 goals to his name and Vikas Dahiya was awarded the Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament.

Hockey India, President, Dr. Narinder Dhurv Batra said, “It is a proud moment for all of us. I congratulate the players, the coaches and the support staff for their hard work and dedication. The lifting of the 8th Junior Men’s Asia Cup is a testimony to their caliber and passion for the game. This win will give the team confidence and they should only go from strength to strength from here. I wish the boys the very best for a promising future.”


Hockey India announces cash prize money for junior Asia Cup triumph

NEW DELHI: Hockey India today announced a cash prize of Rs one lakh each for the players and the head coach of the Junior Men's Asia Cup-winning team.

Besides, HI also announced Rs 50,000 for the other support staff of the team.

Additional prizes of Rs one Lakh each were announced for Harmanpreet Singh -- the highest scorer of the tournament -- and Vikas Dahiya -- the best goalkeeper.

India defeated Pakistan 6-2 in a scintillating performance to lift the cup. Harmanpreet Singh was awarded the Leading Scorer of the Tournament with 15 goals to his name and Vikas Dahiya was awarded the Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament.

Hockey India President Narinder Dhurv Batra said, "It is a proud moment for all of us. I congratulate the players, the coaches and the support staff for their hard work and dedication.

"The lifting of the eighth Junior Men's Asia Cup is a testimony to their caliber and passion for the game. This win will give the team confidence and they should only go from strength to strength from here. I wish the boys the very best for a promising future."

The Times of India

Five-star Gleghorne shoots down Cannock

Mark Gleghorne was in scintillating form for Beeston as he hit five goals in a 6-2 defeat of Cannock in the English men’s Premier Division as the Nottingham club moved above the Birmingham outfit on goal difference.

Hamish Imrie scored their other goal with Rob Farrington and Arjan Drayton Chana getting the consolation goals for Cannock.

Holcombe are still at the top of the table on goal difference after an Iain Lewers brace helped them to a 3-0 defeat of Canterbury. Rob Field was also on target.

Surbiton kept the pressure on in second place, beating Hampstead and Westminster 4-1. Andy Hayward scored a first half hat-trick after Muhammad Irfan had given Hampstead an early lead. Michael Watt scored Surbiton’s fourth in the second half.

East Grinstead moved from ninth to seventh with a 4-2 win over third-placed Reading. Louis Gittens, Simon Faulkner, Adam Seccull and Sam Driver scored their goals with Richard Mantell and Chris Newman replying for Reading.

Brooklands Manchester University, meanwhile, have their sights set on a play-off berth and they closed the gap with a comprehensive 4-0 win over last season’s champions Wimbledon.

Aidan Khares put them ahead on 30 minutes and Louis Weir doubled their advantage after the break. Khares added a second before Peter Flanagan sealed a fine performance with a minute remaining. They are now up to fifth and just five points off Wimbledon.

The sides play one more round of the league before going into their winter break.

Euro Hockey League media release

Yearning for Rio 2016: SA hockey teams let down by Sascoc

Donald Lobelo

South Africa winners of the 2015 Greenfields Africa Hockey Championships men final game between South Africa and Egypt at the Randburg Hockey Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa on November 01, 2015. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - The South African men's and women's hockey teams have had their aspirations to represent South Africa at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games shattered.

The South African national hockey team captains and coaches spoke to eNCA.com about their disappointments after the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) announced that the teams would not be going to the Olympics.

Both teams qualified earlier this month for the Olympic Games after being crowned the African champions at the Greenfields African Hockey Championships which took place in Randburg, Johannesburg.

The teams met qualification criteria as set out by the International Hockey Federation and the International Olympic Committee but had not met Sascoc's preferred qualification route.

"Sascoc took hard line with SA Hockey and insisted that the national hockey team qualify via the Hockey World League Round 3 event and would not consider the additional option available to the team of qualifying via the continental competition," the South African Hockey Association said.

Women's captain, Nicolene Terblanche said her team had accepted they were not going to Rio.

"It's really sad and disappointing. It's tough but we will keep working. The decision for us not to go changes a lot of things and things will be different for the sport and its future."

Women's hockey coach Sheldon Rostron said the team was very disappointed.

"It has taken a long journey to prepare for the Olympics. The announcement by Sacoc was a massive blow to the team and it has had a huge impact on how the team feels.

"This was a huge opportunity for the team to crack and break into the top ten rankings. This will have a huge effect on our rankings.”

An online petition to get the teams to the Olympics was handed over to Sascoc. It had been signed by more than 15,000 supporters.

Rostron said no further action had been taken.

"The criteria set by Sascoc was difficult to meet and we only missed it by 1 point. It's unfair and Sascoc should have reconsidered. The Olympics are a privilege and honour and the pinnacle of sports. The team going to Rio was going to be the first step in achieving medals but now we will slide in world rankings, most likely to 15" he said.

"The team is extremely disappointed as it is the pinnacle of our sport to play in an Olympic Games. We currently have a very talented and determined bunch of players in the SA Men's Team and I strongly believe if we were given the opportunity to play in Rio, we would have done something special," said Timothy Drummond, SA hockey men's captain.

"As in all sporting careers you experience highs and lows. We went from a very proud moment winning the Africa Nations Cup which have the team a tremendous boost in confidence and morale to a very disappointing moment finding out we would be unable to display our true potential at an Olympic Games."

Drummond thanked the public for its support with the petition.

"The public support has been incredible and we are sincerely grateful for the backing we have received with regards to the Petition and other media platforms. Unfortunately it was unable to influence the decision to send our Men's and Ladies team 's to Rio next year."

Fabian Gregory, hockey men's coach said he was also disappointed after having qualified.

"We believe the way we qualified is the correct route.

"There are no sponsors in both teams. No support," he said.

"The players have to pay to get to events. It will be difficult to get players motivated. I don't know how many players would want to go to the 2018 Hockey World Cup. This will affect our rankings."

Gregory said it was time the Department of Sport and Recreation "stepped in and looked at what was done at Sascoc."

"It is sad to witness such decisions from administrators who claim to have the best interests for sport. Sascoc did not take the 2022 Olympics into account when they decided not to take the teams to Rio."

The men's and women's hockey teams are currently ranked 15th and 11th respectively in the FIH world rankings.


Smile for the day

Famous Kiwi Hockey player Gemma Flynn with boyfriend. Not sure who he is?? - Kelly Fairweather, CEO FIH (Photo Courtesy Richie McCaw Facebook page)

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