All the news for Saturday 23 April 2016
Wales clinch double win against France
Steve Kelly's determined to get the ball. IMAGE CREDIT: Irfon Bennett
Wales have beaten France in the closing stages of their second and final test against France to seize a double home international win at the National Hockey Centre in Cardiff. In a close fought match, it was Cardiff & Met’s Owain Dolan-Gray that secured a 1-0 win for the home side with five minutes to spare.
Wales Head Coach Zak Jones was delighted by the result, which sees them beat a side ranked 19 world ranking places higher:
“We’re thrilled to get a second win tonight. This series has been challenging for the men and we definitely have some things to work on, but to come away with two wins against a side like France is a great result.
“France played very well and we were lucky to get out of the first half at 0-0. They’ve given us a tough series, which is great for our team and makes the win that bit more special; I’m delighted with the result.”
In the first half France had a number of opportunities and kept the home side under pressure, but Wales goal keeper and co-captain David Kettle kept Wales in the game with a number of impressive saves.
Wales had their chances, with opportunities from Luke Hawker on a penalty corner and Gareth Furlong, but both went just high of the bar. After a period of pressure from Wales, it was Cardiff & Met’s Owain Dolan-Gray that was able to break through the French defence to score with a field goal in the 66th minute.
Having played a number of new caps during the series, the series win is a very positive result for the squad and stands them in good stead leading into their next home international against Poland in July (1st-3rd), again at the National Hockey Centre in Cardiff.
Hockey Wales media release
Indian women's hockey team to leave for London for 4 Tests
BENGALURU: With eyes set on Rio Olympics, the Indian women's team will leave for London next week to play a four-Test series against Great Britain as part of their preparations for the mega-event.
Though the team's recent show at Hawke's Bay Cup in New Zealand could have been better, chief coach Neil Hawgood, admits the team has learnt from its mistakes.
"We have come back from there and in the last two games that we've played against the boys' teams here (at the SAI centre) we've played better than we did in any game in New Zealand. We're playing a lot faster and people have just realised that we're coming to a point where you've just got to put in the effort that's actually required," Hawgood said.
Playing England, who figure in the same pool as India in the Olympics, will be a tough challenge for the team.
"England's a bit difficult, because all the teams that we play now (till the Olympics) are in our pool (at the Olympics). We've got Great Britain in four Test matches. Then we are planning Australia and Japan in Australia. They're all in our pool as well. Then prior to the Olympics we are planning three Tests against the USA who're in our pool as well," said Hawgood.
One of the biggest concerns for the team is their start, feels Ritu Rani, captain of the squad.
"In the quarterfinal against Japan in two-and--half minutes, we let in three goals. Then the rest of the game was 1-0 to us. So we just don't start well and historically we've always put ourselves behind and that puts the pressure on us. It's one of the things we've focused on games against the boys. In the first boys' game, we were terrible in the first quarter but were better in the next three. We're really focusing on our starts," she said.
"We want to focus on field goals and improvise on penalty corners too and perfect them by August."
To have qualified for the Olympics is a big confidence booster for the girls and according to Rani, the team is motivated to do well.
"Each of us are working individually on improving our own game and getting better. We know we are left with just three months and we want to make most of it. Though there have been a few injuries to some of the girls, and Jasprit is missed for the past three months (because of a back injury) and not having a drag flicker makes a lot of difference. However, we have other players in the team who have become better in the past four months," Ritu said.
The Times of India
Mannheim strengthen lead in German league
Mannheimer HC are closing in on being the first side confirmed in the German top four following key results against some of their closest rivals.
Last weekend, they shaded a 2-1 win against third placed Krefeld thanks to a last minute goal from Guido Barreiros in the final minute, his second of the game, cancelling out Ronan Gormley’s 40th minute opener.
Mannheim followed up with a 3-3 draw against fourth place Rot Weiss Köln thanks to a brilliant second half comeback. They were 3-0 down inside 22 minutes before Timm Haase, Florian Wösch and Tomas Prochazka all scored in a 12 minute blitz to earn the share of the result.
Those results keep Mannheim five points clear at the top of the table with five rounds of matches to go and 11 points in the tank ahead of fifth placed UHC Hamburg.
Harvestehuder moved into second place thanks to two high-scoring victories. They started with a 5-2 win over SW Neuss with Michael Körper scoring four of the goals.
They followed up with a 6-3 result against Club an der Alster with Körper adding two more as did Tim-Oliver Linsmeier also scoring twice.
Euro Hockey League media release
Dragons secure superstar trio for four years
Dragons have secured the services of three of their star men for the next four years each as Felix Denayer, Arthur van Doren and Florent van Aubel put pen to paper.
It comes in the same week that Manu Stockbroeckx confirmed he will move to Bloemendaal from the Brasschaat club next season.
Dragons have already confirmed their place in next season’s Euro Hockey League thanks to their position at the top of the Belgian league.
They complete their regular season campaign with a game at home against La Gantoise before preparing for the playoffs.
The key games in the league are for the fourth and final playoff place with Braxgata hoping for victory over Herakles to give them a chance of overtaking Waterloo Ducks. The Ducks are away to already qualified Royal Leopold.
Elsewhere, recently promoted Orée have been making plenty of moves in the transfer realm. Alex de Paeuw, Charles Masson and Arnaud Flamand will all move from the Waterloo Ducks in the summer along with Jérôme Dekeyser from Braxgata.
Pol Solano Ubach became the fifth player to sign terms with the club, switching from La Gantoise.
Euro Hockey League media release
Oranje-Rood sign up Pakistani duo
New Dutch club Oranje-Rood – formed from the joining of Oranje Zwart and EMHC – have added the services of Muhammad Rizwan and Rashid Mehmood for their maiden season.
The pair have signed two year contracts with the club following four years with OZ in Eindhoven. They will join Niek van der Schoot, Caspar van Dijk, captain Rob van der Horst, Mink van der Weerden and Bob de Voogd.
Marcel Balkestein will retire at the end of this season while Rob Reckers, Vincent Vanasch and Sander Baart will also not be part of the merger.
OZ complete their regular season in the Hoofdklasse on Sunday when they play Rotterdam. Amsterdam head the table but have a tough game against Bloemendaal in the Wagener Stadium which, if they win, will earn them first place.
Up to five teams are interested in the third and fourth playoff places behind OZ and Amsterdam. If Kampong win their ninth game in their last 10 outings, a home game with Den Bosch, they will finish third.
Bloemendaal and Rotterdam will hope for HGC to drop points away to bottom placed Voordaan.
Euro Hockey League media release
Champions Trophy a "huge opportunity" for Pinner
George Pinner playing for GB
The Rio Olympics draw ever closer. With the days ticking by training is harder, selection is looming and everyone is pouring every ounce of blood sweat and tears into making sure they are on that plane.
Goalkeeper George Pinner is one such athlete who hopes to secure a spot in the squad to compete for medals in Rio and with today being St George’s day we thought we’d take a few minutes to speak to our very own George about how the preparations are going.
“Things are going really well.” says the giant goalkeeper. “We had some good results against Ireland in our training games a couple of weeks ago winning 3-0 [twice] and 5-1 with some excellent performances. It was a real morale booster because they’re a good side who we’ve had plenty of close games with.” he adds “We’ve followed that with a couple of good weeks’ training and we’re off to Australia to play them in three games over there which will be excellent. We’re all looking very sharp and selection will be really tight.”
Of course selection is not a given for any of the players and with the Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy, which takes place 10-17 June in London representing something of a last chance to impress for some players, Pinner is relishing a return to his side’s home of hockey:
“Whenever we play on home soil the support is terrific. Lee Valley is a great place to go and the home support really works in our favour. All the games were amazing at the Euros and the atmosphere was electric. We were really disappointed we couldn’t get a medal to reward the fans for their support. It’s a fantastic chance to play in front of a home crowd and make amends for last summer as well as staking a claim for a place in the Rio squad.”
With the Olympics so soon after the Champions Trophy Pinner sees the tournament in London as the perfect way to prepare for sport’s greatest show:
“You always play a number of games building into an Olympics but they are usually one-off friendlies. Being able to play in a tournament environment makes a huge difference. Your mindset has to change. You aren’t just working on tactics, you’re working on the lack of rest, lots of games in a short space of time, the meals, the routine and everything that goes with a tournament. It’s a great chance for us to prepare so close to Rio.”
George Pinner Mark Gleghorne and Barry Middleton sing the national anthem
With today being St George’s day, of course we couldn’t let the Holcombe stopper go without a word on how it feels to play for his nation.
“I’m proud to be English and to be British. To represent my country is a huge honour for me. I hope to play well for England and Great Britain because it means a lot to me and my family.”
Perhaps, if Pinner collects a medal in London and then in Rio, he might not be far off being dubbed St George by Great Britain’s hockey fans.
England Hockey Board Media release
Munday: Why I welcome the FIH review
Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre
Sally Munday, Chief Executive of England Hockey and Chief Operating Officer of Great Britain Hockey, has welcomed the International Hockey Federation’s review of international hockey events from 2019.
The FIH have announced that a new calendar will come into place in 2019, with a global home and away league to include the world’s leading nations. There are three main objectives – to generate a huge change in TV/media coverage, create large-scale events and look to increase future revenues.
Munday (who was involved in the FIH working group on the new events portfolio) said, “First of all we believe the FIH is absolutely correct in looking strategically at the international calendar, it is the cornerstone of the global game and a huge amount of time has now been invested into constructing the best possible event portfolio to meet the objectives.
“They have made great strides, and on behalf of both England and GB I look forward to working further with them to translate these plans into action. We’re in a good place now after a long consultation process and it is really exciting to see the plans approved.”
Before the new calendar comes into place, England hosts the Men’s and Women’s Hockey Champions Trophy this year, World League semi-finals in 2017 then the Women’s World Cup in 2018. All three events, combined with ever-growing participation, sponsor interest & attendances and a new partnership with BT Sport, means the current calendar of events creates an excellent platform to build from.
Munday said, “The FIH have seen the great work that National Associations, partners, broadcasters, sponsors and players have undertaken putting on World Cups, World Leagues and Champions Trophies among others, and the new calendar will look to build on the commitment that the NAs have already made to grow the interest and visibility of the sport.
“We are right behind the FIH in their desire to take the game forward, and the next step for us as a National Association is to discuss the changes with players, clubs and other associations with the intention of building hockey both now and in the future.”
The FIH’s press statement outlined the new changes as follows: ‘While Hockey World Cup qualification will remain similar to the current system, Olympic qualification will change, pending approval of the International Olympic Committee’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualification criteria.
‘The introduction of this new portfolio of events means that there will no longer be Hockey World League Semi-Finals and Finals, while the last Hockey Champions Trophies will take place in 2018.
‘The proposals were approved by the FIH Executive Board in Lausanne, Switzerland earlier this month. The decision was made after more than 18 months of consultation, research and development between a number of stakeholders, overseen by a specially formed working group for this project.
‘This included correspondence with more than 700 individuals, including: athletes; National Associations; Continental Federations; the International Olympic Committee; Association of Summer Olympic International Federations; major broadcasters; individuals at Continental Federation congresses; officials and umpires; FIH Committee and Panel members and FIH staff.
‘In addition to this, internationally renowned integrated audit, tax, consulting and financial advisor Deloitte provided extensive support in developing the financial modelling for the new portfolio of events.
‘It is predicted that the increased commercial potential of implementing the new structure will generate considerably more value for the sport, which will filter down into all levels, including new and developing hockey nations, from elite to grassroots level.’
England Hockey Board Media release
Butali Sugar Warriors scent hockey league title
Butali would have won the title last weekend with victories against Police and Wazalendo.
Nakuru Hockey Club's Caleb Nyakundi vies for the ball with Zack Aura of Butali Sugar Warriors during their Kenya Hockey Union men's Premier League match at City Park Stadium on April 3, 2016. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP
After missing the chance to retain their Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) men’s premier league title last weekend, champions Butali Sugar have the chance to make amends on Sunday with a win away to Western Jaguars in Kakamega.
The league leaders have a seven-point lead over second-placed Kenya Police - who have three matches left while the champions have two left.
Butali, on 71 points, would have won the title last weekend with victories against Police and Wazalendo. They however failed to collect maximum points after drawing 2-2 with Police on Saturday before beating Wazalendo 2-0 last Sunday.
The lakeside team will be wary of an upset against an unpredictable Western Jaguars side that beat Police 2-1 at home during the first leg.
Butali coach Cliffe Okello has described the tie as “the game of the season” and challenged his charges to finish the job in Kakamega.
“Our whole season comes down to this game and the players must show that they are indeed warriors and clinch the title,” Okello told Saturday Nation Sport on Friday.
“Our opponents are a tough team and beating them at home will not be easy but we are fired up ready to take the three points,” he added.
Butali will make the short trip from Kisumu to Kakamega this morning before holding a training session on the grass surface later in the day. Jaguars - who lie in 11th place in the league table - have vowed to wreck the champions’ title bid.
“We will not roll over and allow them (Butali) to win the title at our ground. They should be prepared for a fight of their lives,” Jaguars coach Michael Malungu said. Butali won the first leg encounter 6-1 and a repeat performance will see them clinch back-to-back titles.
Police, who have slim hopes of reclaiming the title, take on Kenya College of Accountancy of University (KCAU) this afternoon at City Park Stadium. Police need to win their last three matches and hope Butali falter.
The law enforcers will be without the Birir brothers - Richard and Samson - who are mourning after the death of their mother. Police coach Kenneth Kaunda believes the title race is out of their hands but promised to fight till the end.
“It is a very trying time for our team but we will play until the end and hope other results go our way,” he said.
The race for third place also takes centre stage with Greensharks and Wazalendo locked up in the fight. Sharks will be away to Jaguars this afternoon while Wazalendo take on two-time champions Strathmore University Gladiators at City Park.
FIXTURES (All Matches at City Park unless stated)
National men: Chase v Wazalendo Youth (2pm)
National women: MSC v KU Titans (2pm) - Mombasa
Premier men: Jaguars v Greensharks- 3pm - (Kakamega), Mvita v KU Vultures – 3.30pm (Mombasa), Police v KCAU (4pm), Strathmore v Wazalendo (6pm)
Premier men: Jaguars v Butali -9am (Kakamega), MSC v KU Vultures- 9am (Mombasa) Parklands v Wazalendo (11am)
National men: Thika Rovers v Karate Axiom (11am)
Quilter Cheviot Scottish Schools Cup & Plate finals provide feast of entertainment
Photo: Duncan Gray
A fantastic day and evening of hockey was enjoyed at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre where the destination of the Quilter Cheviot Scottish Schools Cup and Plate titles were decided.
(all photos Duncan Gray)
Open Boys Scottish Schools Cup
An emphatic 6-1 scoreline against Stewart's Melville College ensured Loretto won the Quilter Cheviot Open Boys Scottish Schools Cup.
Loretto were first on the scoresheet, Alex Humphrey's diversion on a Cameron Golden cross-come-shot putting them 1-0 up in the seventh minute.
In the 18th minute, it was Golden's turn to register with the scorers, his drag-flick battering the goalboards to give Loretto a 2-0 advantage.
Shortly after half-time, Loretto captain Joe Waterston fired his side three goals in front, his reverse stick effort giving the Stew-Mel 'keeper no chance.
Midway through second half, James Stuart thought he had thrown Stewart's Melville College a lifeline with a penalty stroke.
However, two goals for Loretto in three minutes killed off any threat of a comeback; Kyle McGhie restored the three goal cushion before Waterston put his side 5-1 up with his second of the game.
Eight minutes from time, Humphrey notched his second goal of the contest to give Loretto a 6-1 win and the Scottish Schools Cup.
Open Girls Scottish Schools Cup
Mary Erskine School won a dramatic final in the Quilter Cheviot Open Girls Scottish Schools Cup, defeating a valiant Craigholme by a 3-2 scoreline.
The match's opening goal arrived in the seventh minute, Hanna McKie bursting through on goal to emphatically smash the ball into the net to make it 1-0.
McKie's second goal came in the 15th minute, the attacker fashioning space for herself at the top of the circle to dispatch a fantastic reverse stick shot to double the lead for the Edinburgh school.
However, Craigholme were back in the match in the 20th minute, Mayam Malik finishing off at the far post to reduce the deficit to one goal.
And the Glasgow side were back on level terms shortly after the interval, Margery Justice striking ball low and hard into the corner in the 37th minute.
Emily Cross' solo effort for Mary Erskine was the winning goal, coming just minutes before full-time, her reverse shot finding the right hand corner to send their fans into raptures.
Boys Aspire Cup
In the first ever Quilter Cheviot Boys Aspire Cup, Hermitage Academy defeated Harris Academy 6-1 in the final to win the trophy.
It was the Dundonians, however, who took the lead inside sixty seconds with a penalty stroke.
However, Hermitage responded in the 13th minute, Cameron Dye finding the equaliser with a field goal.
Three minutes later, Dye was on target again, again netting from open play to put his side 2-1 up.
On the stroke of half-time, Tom Barton increased Hermitage's advantage with another field goal to leave the Glasgow side 3-1 to the good.
Dye completed his hat-trick in the 46th minute, and was on the mark again for his fourth goal ten minutes later.
Adam Carmichael rounded off the scoring bang on full-time to leave the final score 6-1.
Girls Aspire Cup
St. Margaret's Academy were worthy winners of the inaugaral Quilter Cheviot Girls Aspire Cup, defeating a determined Douglas Academy 11-0.
St. Margaret's took an early lead in the fourth minute when Eilidh Campbell was afforded space at the back post to dispatch a low shot into the left corner.
Sixty seconds later it was 2-0; captain Stephanie Watson cracking a shot direct from a penalty corner to double her side's advantage.
In the 19th minute, Watson was again on target, her penalty corner strike deflecting in off a defender's stick to make it 3-0.
Watson was involved in St.Margaret's fourth goal shortly after, her pass finding Lucy McLean in space on the left of the circle, the youngster's shot nestling in the bottom right corner.
The goals continued; Jennifer Tait's two close range field goals coming within a minute to give St. Margaret's a resplendid 6-0 margin.
Five minutes after the half-time interval, Watson secured her hat-trick, an easy finish from a few yards out.
Just after the mid-point of the second half, McLean was on the mark again, firing the ball into the bottom right of the goal for an 8-0 lead.
In the 47th minute, Watson continued her prolific goalscoring form, notching her fourth of the game from close range.
Not to be outdone, both McLean and Tait completed their hat-tricks, the former registering in the 48th minute, while the latter found the easy task of knocking in from three yards out a minute later.
Open Boys Scottish Plate
Glenalmond College were the victors in the Quilter Cheviot Open Boys Scottish Schools Plate final, beating Douglas Academy 4-2.
Lewis Goodfellow broke the deadlock for Glenalmond in the sixth minute, only for Rory McDiarmid to equalise for the Glasgow school five minutes later.
Glenalmond restored their lead through XXX three minutes before half-time, before John Stephen extended the lead to 3-1 in the 34th minute.
The Academy pulled one back after an Andrew McConnell penalty corner in the 41st minute but Jamie Arnaud's goal for Glenalmond ten minutes from full-time made sure of the win.
S3 Boys Scottish Cup
An excellent performance from Glasgow School of Sport ensured they defeated Loretto 4-0 to win the Quilter Cheviot S3 Boys Scottish Schools Cup.
Glasgow School of Sport took the lead in the 10th minute, Euan Cowan giving his side the lead with a well struck effort.
A minute before half-time, Euan Cochrane extended Glasgow School of Sport's advantage, dispatching a well executed effort to make it 2-0.
Five minutes after half-time, Fraser Moran put further daylight between the two teams, his reverse stick shot deflecting off a defender's stick on the way to finding the back of the net.
In the 46th minute, Cowan all but wrapped up the win with his second goal of the match, putting Glasgow School of Sport four goals up.
S3 Girls Scottish Cup
Goals from Kirsten Oag and Hannah Marchant gave Dollar Academy a 2-0 success against Strathallan School in the Quilter Cheviot S3 Girls Scottish Schools Cup.
Dollar Academy eventually broke the deadlock a few minutes before half-time when Kirsten Oag pounced on a loose ball inside the circle to beat Strathallan goalkeeper Sarah Cameron-Sutcliffe.
Midway through the second half, Hannah Marchant doubled Dollar's advantage, scoring with a sweetly struck effort to make it 2-0 and ensure the silverware made its way to Fife.
S3 Boys Scottish Plate
Hutchesons' Grammar were the winners of the Quilter Cheviot S3 Boys Scottish Schools Plate after a 4-2 victory over Edinburgh Academy.
Hutchesons' Grammar took a 1-0 lead into the half-time interval, Lewis McNiven the scorer.
Academy responded through Jake Inglis six minutes after the break, only for Struan Walker and Rory Anderson to put Hutchesons' Grammar back in front.
Inglis pulled one back for the capital outfit in the 55th minute, but Walker's second goal made sure of the win.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
Shahbaz unhappy over Pakistan’s hockey decline
LAHORE: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Shahbaz Ahmed has expressed deep disappointment over declining standard of the game in the country.
Talking to reporters at the National Hockey Stadium on Friday, Shahbaz said the players were simply not good enough to compete at the international level and the way they performed at the recently-concluded Azlan Shah Cup was nothing but a great disappointment.
He added the players lacked stopping and receiving the ball skills and the PHF needed time to train the players. “Not even 20 Olympian coaches could turn these players into match-winners overnight.”
Around eight members of the Pakistan team which participated at the Azlan Shah Cup had played more than 100 matches.
Shahbaz was of the view that shortage of finance was also one of the major hurdles in resurrecting the game.
He said no European team would prefer to play a Test series with the current Pakistan team and advised the PHF to defer such series for some time to prepare the national team at home.
APP adds: The United Kingdom-based Slough hockey club has decided to organise three matches between Pakistan and India veterans next month.
Shahbaz said Slough chairman Harjit Sandhu was organising the matches.
“They have laid a new astro-turf in their club and these matches are part of inauguration,” he said.
The matches will be played on May 13, 14 and 15, he said.
“This is a very good initiative by the Slough hockey club,” he said adding there would hardly be anybody in this part of the world who did not want to see these teams play against each other.
M. Atiq, M. Rizwan, M. Khalid, Adnan, Zakir, Akthar Ali, M. Imran, Sharif Mohammad, Hussain Mohammad, M. Saqlain, Rehan Butt, Salman Akbar and M. Arshad are likely to play for Pakistan.
Indian team could have the services of Deepak Thakur, Pargat Singh, Yuvraj Walmiki, Harpal Singh, Rajpal and Inderjeet.
Sanction saga: All is well say AHF
By Jugjet Singh
THE ASIAN Hockey Federation (AHF) are in negotiations with the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) regarding the stiff sanction fee to host the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) at the end of the year.
Initially, the AHF had asked for a whopping RM155,000 (US40,000) sanction fee from the MHF, but the figure is still under discussion.
AHF CEO Tayyab Ikram said yesterday that since the matter is still under discussion he can't divulge much information.
"Suffice to say that the matter is being discussed and we are in a good discussion. I must say very positive discussions, so its not wise for me to comment on any statements made by others," said Ikram.
An official of the MHC had said that AHF wanted higher hosting fees than the previous editions because of broadcasting rights as well as video-umpiring coming into the picture.
The AHF event made its debut in 2011 in Ordos, China, followed by Doha, Oatar, in 2012 and Kakamigahara, Japan, in 2013.
India won the inaugural title in Ordos, while Pakistan were champions in Doha and Kakamigahara. Malaysia finished third in all three editions.
The tournament is not a qualifier and neither does it provide any International Hockey Federation (FIH) ranking points.
The late AHF president Sultan Azlan Shah and secretary Tan Sri P. Alagendra were among those who strongly proposed to hold an Asian tournament in 2007.
Alagandra was quoted at the sidelines of the 2007 Asia Cup in Chennai: "The idea mooted by the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) chief K.P.S Gill has been accepted by AHF. It will fill the void of quality tourneys in the Asian continent."
India were supposed to host the first three editions but they failed to organise the event. Ordos, Inner Mongolia, started the ball rolling with a minimal sanction fee.
"Initially, we never had full broadcasting and there was no video umpiring (in the last three editions), but for the next ACT, we have made full arrangements for both (which doubled the cost)," said Ikram.
If the sanction issue is resolved, Kuantan is expected to host the Fourth Edition which will involve the top-six Asian Games teams.
Jugjet's World of Field Hockey
Hockey Academy inspires in Ipoh
A rugby coach, plus several Olympians, were all on hand to deliver a range of programmes to an enthusiastic audience at the recent Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia.
The high profile annual invitational hockey competition provided the perfect opportunity for International Hockey Federation (FIH) Academy trainers to deliver a series of Hockey Academy programmes and courses to participants from across the Asia region.
At the end of the nine day period, more than 60 people had benefited from one of four training programmes.
The Asia contingent of umpires, coaches and educators turned out in numbers to take advantage of the hockey training available. The courses offered were as Academy Trainers, Academy Educators, Advanced Umpires and Level Two Coaches.
Among the 16 nations who took part were Iran, Myanmar, Oman and Qatar – all countries that are relatively new to the international hockey scene, demonstrating the increasing reach that hockey is having across the globe.
In addition to the courses, there were opportunities for representatives of hockey in Asia to meet with some of the best coaching brains in the game - Netherlands coach and former Argentina international Max Caldas; former Kookaburra and High Performance Director to Malaysia Hockey, Terry Walsh; Hockey India’s Head of High Performance Roel Oltmans; and Tayyab Ikram of the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) were all on hand to offer their expertise over the course of the programmes as well as being available for discussions about ways of developing hockey across the continent.
In a great example of cross-sport collaboration, Simon Jones, an experienced coach with England Rugby and a trainer with the World Academy of Sport, was also on hand to help with the delivery of courses.
Talking about what a rugby coach can bring to hockey, Jones said: ‘Initially, I was a little concerned that not being an expert would mean that I had less to offer as a trainer in other sports/businesses, I quickly found that the skill is in asking the right questions to challenge people in whatever situation to reflect on what they are doing and why.”
The result of the investment in these programmes has been tangible: 27 newly qualified Level Two coaches; 18 umpires reaching Advanced status, four Academy Trainers and 13 Academy Educators. The future for hockey across Asia is looking very bright.
The work between the FIH Hockey Academy and the Asian Hockey Federation is one more important step towards achieving the ambition of the FIH Hockey Revolution – developing a global game to inspire the next generation. Increasing the number of highly qualified and knowledgeable coaches, umpires and training local and regional coach educators to deliver programmes will raise the standard of hockey delivery at all levels of the game across the Asian continent.
Mike Joyce, FIH Master Trainer for the AHF project, explained that the next stages include further developing the Level Two coaching programme and planning a 2017 programme of development activities, which would involve collaboration between AHF and the Hockey Academy workforce.
For more information about the FIH Hockey Academy, click here.
Importance of society
Belgian women's star tackling social issues through sport
For Jill Boon, international hockey player with the Red Panthers of Belgium, taking action to tackle social exclusion is of the utmost importance if all a country's residents, from the youngest child upwards, are to feel part of the society they live in.
It is one of the reasons she co-founded the MW Fund, a charity that aims to use sport to help children who are deprived or disadvantaged in some way.
"Hockey and all sports in general are my main passion but I always wanted to get involved in more social work. I'm convinced that sport is an amazing way to help children who are living out on the street. The main goal of the MW Fund charity is to give every underprivileged child in Belgium access to sport."
The figures are shocking, particularly for a wealthy country such as Belgium. Boon says, "The number of people living in poverty in Belgium are dramatic. There are 420,000 children living below the poverty line. These include families where no-one has a job, one-parent families and immigrants who have recently arrived here are the most vulnerable. Their situation means they are threatened with social exclusion."
Boon is one of three co-founders of the charity. Speaking about her work with the organisation she explains the rationale: "I have always thought sport could help a lot in a child's life. Sport teaches you discipline and respect. Importantly it teaches you how to fall and to get up and try again. The recent events in Brussels (terrorist attacks) only confirmed to an even greater extent that we should do something."
The MW Fund, which is a national project, helps out in very practical ways. It pays membership fees or entry fees for deprived children to enable them to participate in projects, sports clubs or other activities. It is all about encouraging children to engage in a sport, says Boon.
This important work is supported by a whole raft of Belgian sports stars. Boon has managed to get both the men's and women's national hockey teams – the Red Lions and the Red Panthers – involved as ambassadors; Manchester City and Belgium footballer Vincent Kompany, tennis star Kim Clijsters and a host of other stars have all put their names – and actions – to the project.
Boon explains some of the things that the ambassadors are doing to raise funds and awareness. "To fund the future projects we'll hold a range of different events, sporting and otherwise. Dine with a Star is one of these. Celebrities from all parts of the country, even some people based in France, are giving a diner away via an auction. For example, you can bid to have a dinner with me and my brother."
Other activities include a 20k race through Brussels, a beach hockey tournament on the 18 June and a training clinic for children with both the men and women's national teams providing coaching, and a mass dining event in October.
The actions of Jill Boon and her fellow hockey stars is just one more way in which hockey players are backing the FIH Hockey Revolution and raising the sport's profile across communities. For more information about the FIH's 10-year strategy, click here.
For more information about the MW Fund, click here.