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News for 01 January 2016

All the news for Friday 1 January 2016

2016 - a massive year for hockey!

As we move into 2016, there is yet another massive year of hockey action ahead of us.

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games will ultimately be the highlight of the year, but with the Champions Trophy, Junior Hockey World Cup and Hockey World League Round One events all taking place over the next 12 months, hockey fans will be able to follow world class hockey action throughout the year, across the world.

The second edition of the Hockey World League came to dramatic and action-packed finales in Raipur, India (men) and Rosario, Argentina (women) in December, with Australia crowned as the men's champions and Argentina the women's.

The two-year long journey starts again this April as the first Round One Hockey World League events take place at venues around the globe. The ultimate prize at stake for the fifty-plus teams taking part is a place in the 2018 World Cup, as well as the chance to compete in the glittering end of season Hockey World League Final against the world's best teams.

Nine venues have been announced as hosts for the third edition of Round One events, with joint men's and women's events to be held in Accra (Ghana), Singapore, Prague (Czech Republic), Salamanca (Mexico), Chiclayo (Peru) and an Oceania venue, which is still to be announced. A women's event will also take place in Cambrai (France), while Antalya (Turkey) and Glasgow (Scotland) will host men-only events.

Excitement is also building around the prospect of the men's and women's Champions Trophies. The men's event takes place from 11-19 June at a location in Argentina yet to be confirmed, while the women's event runs from 18-26 June and will be held at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, England.

These are the last major international hockey competitions before the Olympic Games in what will be one of the final opportunities for teams and management to try out their squads before hockey's pinnacle event in Rio.

The six men's and six women's teams who will take part in the Champions Trophy will be confirmed shortly. This will be the 36th edition for the men's Champions Trophy and the 22nd holding of the women's event. 

From Argentina and England, all attention then turns to Brazil as the Rio 2016 Olympic Games get under way. Two weeks of back-to-back hockey will keep even the most passionate hockey fan satisfied.

With all the qualification slots now filled, the teams are preparing to take their places at one of the most important events in the sporting world. Netherlands women might well be chasing their third consecutive gold medal but a host of teams are lining up to attempt to end the Dutch supremacy in the event, while the men's competition will see holders Germany facing stiff opposition from a raft of teams led by the World Cup holders and current world number one ranked team Australia.

While today's superstars will be gracing the blue turf in Rio, the stars of the future will be showcasing their skills later in the year in Chile and India. The women's Junior Hockey World Cup will take place from 24 November to 4 December, while the men's Junior World Cup runs from 1-11 December.

In the men's competition, Germany are the most successful team, they have won six of the 11 editions, while in the women's competition, the Netherlands are the most successful team with three titles to their name, just ahead of Korea who have won gold twice at the Junior Hockey World Cups.

This year also sees the 45th International Hockey Federation (FIH) Congress. This important event in the hockey calendar takes place in Dubai on 12 November. Delegates from around the globe will come together to discuss the future of our sport and its direction of travel over the next few years.

At the heart of discussions, formal and informal, will be the Hockey Revolution, which is transforming the way hockey is being played, viewed and supported across the world.

2016 certainly has a lot of exciting events taking place. We hope that you join us as part of the Hockey Revolution and continue to show your remarkable support for the sport again this year

FIH site

Oman Hockey Association to bid for Asian Champions Trophy

Former hockey official Mohammed Shambeh al Raisi (right) gets a memento

In what could give hockey in the GCC region a big boost, the Oman Hockey Association (OHA) has decided to bid for the hosting rights for the 2016 Asian Champions Trophy.

The OHA's decision - albeit taken informally as of now - was confirmed by the visiting Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) CEO Tayyib Ikram on Wednesday.

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Ikram said, “The OHA has shown keenness to host the Asian Champions Trophy next year. It is one of the flagship events of the AHF and it features the top six teams from the continent. The AHF is keen to expand the game by hosting such top-class events in new places. It will give a boost to the host nation and to the game as well.”

However, Oman faces stiff competition as a prospective host. “Malaysia, Japan and Bangladesh have shown their interest in bidding for the fourth edition of the tournament,” Ikram said.

“Oman will be the fourth nation to bid and I am waiting for the formal bid application from the OHA.” Redha al Lawati, the OHA's general secretary, confirmed the development to Muscat Daily, informing that 'the board has given the go-ahead and a formal bid will be filed once the Ministry of Sports Affairs okays the proposal'.

“It is one of the best hockey championships in Asia. If we manage to meet success with our bid to host the event, I am sure it will open a new chapter for the sport in the sultanate,” said Lawati. Oman is also set to be formally awarded the hosting rights for the AHF U18 Championship in January, when the Asian body will pick the host nation for the Asian Champions Trophy.

“We are ready to host both the events, if we are handed the responsibility by the AHF,” said Lawati. Ikram said that in case Oman wins the bid, then the Asian Champions Trophy will be held in October and there might be a change in schedule for the U18 AHF Cup. Since its launch in 2011, the Asian Champions Trophy has seen three editions take place.

Defending champion Pakistan has won the crown twice, while India triumphed once. The format features Asia's top six teams competing in a round-robin format. Ikram was speaking at an event to honour S A S Naqvi, former national team hockey coach and veteran sports administrator, with the AHF Lifetime Sports Achievement Award.

The award to the octogenarian hockey coach, who had coached the Indian women's team at the 1978 World Cup in Madrid, Spain, was in recognition of his contribution to the development of hockey in Oman.

Also, former Oman Olympic Committee (OOC) vice-chairman Habib Abdulnabi Macki was also presented with the AHF Lifetime Sports Achievement Award earlier this week.

Kurtz sacked

The national team coach, Oliver Kurtz of Germany, is on his way out with the OHA deciding to terminate his contract on Thursday. Lawati said, “We have a few Omani coaches as our replacement options. Anyway, there is no major tournament coming up in the next six months.”

Albawaba Sports

Navy edge Police to stay in contention in national hockey

Anwar Zuberi

A view of the match between Police (red and blue kit) and Navy at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium on Thursday.—Anis Hamdani / White Star

KARACHI: Two-goal M. Sabir guided Navy carve out 3-1 victory over Police to stay in contention for a place in knock out quarter-finals of the 62nd National Hockey Championship at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium on Thursday.

Sabir struck twice, both off penalty corners, in the 16th and 53rd minutes as sailors post second victory in three games. Earlier, Sultan Amir gave sailors the early lead by converting first PC in the first minute.

Waqas Umar scored the consolation goal for policemen during a melee in the 44th minute.

The sailors enjoyed an upper hand during the play that yielded half a dozen PC’s which produced fifty percent results.

The sailors play their last league fixture against PAF on Sunday that will decide as to which team will join the National Bank in the last eight.

The PAF had won both their games and the remaining two against the NBP and the Navy are crucial for them.

In an earlier pool A match, Railways held Higher Education Commission (HEC) to a two-all draw

M. Abid put HEC in front by converting team’s first PC in the second minute while Ashar Tariq made it 2-0 in the 14th minute.

Railways retaliated after conceding twice and succeeded to capitalise second and fourth PC’s in the 25th and 45th minutes through Mohsin Javed and M. Usman respectively.

In the pool B match, Wapda sent Steel Mills packing 6-1 to live up to their billing.

M. Usman scored two goals and followed by Aleem Bilal, Umer Bhutta, Rana Umair and Fareed Ahmed one each, for winners. Naseer reduced the deficit for losers.

Friday’s fixtures:

HEC v Sindh at 1.30pm; PIA v PQA at 3.30pm.


WAPDA and Navy score victories

KARACHI: Pakistan WAPDA, and Pakistan Navy registered victories against their respective opponents in the ongoing 62nd National Hockey Championship at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium here on Thursday. WAPDA defeated Steels Mills 6-1 while Navy downed Pakistan Police 3-1. The third match between Pakistan Railways and Higher Education ended in a 2-2 draw. Star studded WAPDA maintained their supremacy throughout their match against Steel Mills.

Their forwards relied on short passes and ball control to exert pressure on the Steelmen who couldn't match the skill and experience of their superior opponents despite some brilliant stick work by Mohammad Imran and Abdul Rahman. Mohammad Usman's field goal in the 5th minute and Aleem Bilal's successful conversion of a penalty corner in the 11th minute put WAPDA in a commanding position. Steelmen showed signs of bouncing back and succeeded to reduce the margin with a beautiful field goal by Mohammad Naseer in the 13th minute. However, that proved the only goal for the Steelmen whose forwards failed to put further pressure on their opponents. Usman slammed another field goal in the 24th minute. Umar Bhutta, Rana Umair and Fareed Ahmed struck a field goal each in the 49th, 55th and 59th minutes respectively. Sohail Janjua and Hamza supervised the match.

HEC's Abid slammed a goal on penalty corner in the 2nd minute of the match to give his team lead which was doubled by Ashar Tariq's field goal in the 14th minute. After conceding two goals, Railways bounced back in the second quarter when Mohsin Javed converted a penalty corner in the 25th minute to reduce the lead. In the 45th minute, captain Mohammad Usman equaled the score on a penalty corner. Fourth quarter produced good hockey as both teams fought hard to outclass each other. Both wasted chances in the last three minutes of the match. HEC got two back to back penalty corners in the 58th minute which was wasted. Railways too failed to avail a penalty corner in the 60th minute. Kamran Sharif and Rana Munna were the field umpires.

Navy launched an immediate attack on Police as the match started and got a penalty corner in the first minute which was successfully converted by Sultan Amir. Mohammed Sabir too slammed a goal on a penalty corner in the 16th minute. Sabir scored his second goal also on a penalty corner in the 53rd minute. Police's lone goal was scored through a beautiful deflection by their captain Waqas Umar on an equally beautiful pass from Zeeshan Akram in the circle. Mohiuddin and Zahid supervised the match.

The Daily Times

Tight battle for the South Premier title

By Mike Haymonds

This season’s title race in the South League Premier Division One – with automatic promotion to the national England Hockey League for the winners the prize – is being closely contested by Havant and Old Georgians, spearheaded by their leading scorers, Old Georgians’ James Tindall and Havant’s Sandeep Singh.

The two clubs have been neck-and-neck all season with Havant edging ahead at the mid-season break by one goal on goal difference after the duo reached the mid-point level on 28 points.

Old Georgians won the first meeting of the pair at home in October, thanks to a lone strike by Will Collins.

Tindall, 32, a Beijing and London Olympian in his second season with the Old Boys, has played in every game bar one - on his wedding day - and has scored 26 goals, proving to be a worthy replacement for their former star striker South African Ryan Van Der Reit.

Sandeep, 29, a former Indian international drag-flick specialist, has 14 goals and has also  missed one game but has had injury problems, early on with an ankle and more recently back trouble, preventing him from taking corners in the latest matches.

He has returned to India to play in the Hockey India League and may not return when that competition is over at the end of February. Havant plan to recruit a former Pakistani international forward, not a drag-flicker, who will step down if Sandeep does return.

The League leaders have a three-point margin over their nearest pursuers Spencer, who would benefit if either stumbles.

Chris Pickett, Havant’s president, said: “Last season was our first after relegation from the National League and our aim was to bounce straight back but it didn’t work out that way.

“This league is extremely tough, with the top teams stronger than the lower sides in the National League Conference Divisions.

“History has shown that getting a side to challenge for promotion is usually a three-year cycle but our ambition is still to win the league this season.

“We have had big injury problems and we are not as favourably located as Fareham for attracting players as we are 180 percent surrounded by water.
“Our return fixture with Old Georgians at home on February 6 will be a crucial six-pointer.”

Last season Old Georgians were pipped to the title by one point by Sevenoaks.

The Old Boys’ manager Jonny Stephens admitted: “The first half of the season has proved to be far tougher than last year. Last year we were very blessed that we did not suffer too many injuries but this year we have been blighted and not once have we had a full squad to choose from.

“It seems this year that other sides in the league have strengthened and there are very few ‘easy games’. With Spencer, Oxford Hawks, Havant and Old Cranleighans all performing strongly it seems that more clubs will have a say in the ultimate destiny of the title.

“Obviously Havant are our closest competitors but it is by no means a two-horse race. Havant have improved as a side from last year but Spencer, Oxford Hawks and OCs will all still feel that they have a chance of the title and rightly so.

“We look forward to a really competitive second half of the season where the other eleven sides will raise their game in the matches against us. We know that, if we win all of our remaining games, then we will win the league.

“But I know that there will be a number of twists in the tale”.

South League website

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