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News for 16 July 2016

All the news for Saturday 16 July 2016

Indian hockey's turn to erase 2012 scars

Manuja Veerappa

BENGALURU: The happy-go-lucky, ever-smiling PR Sreejesh turns serious when a conversation veers towards the nightmare at London four summers ago. Finishing last at the Olympics in hockey continues to haunt and hurt the players, but as a team, according to the newly named captain, they laid it to rest in 2013.

The Olympic-bound men's squad which re-grouped in Bengaluru on Monday is chiseling the rough edges of the game at SAI, hoping never to revisit the London disaster. The Bharat Chetri-led team, in which Sreejesh was the second goalkeeper to the skipper, lost six matches on the trot to land the wooden spoon.

Recalling the dark days, the 28-year-old custodian, said, "The London Olympics took a long time to heal for me personally and the team. On our return, when we stepped out of home, people smiled at us, but we felt the smile had a different meaning, something like they were mocking or humiliating us. They may not have meant it, the guilt made us feel that way. People felt, 'ok he's an Olympian now, but what has he done for the country'? That hurt like crazy.

"For a long time, it felt horrible to see the equipment or the Indian jersey. It was a painful reminder of the fact that we hadn't done a good job. I let my country down, that was a bad feeling. Nobody but the 16 of us could understand the pain."


Indian chief coach Roelant Oltmans believes one of the areas the team will have to work on in the run-up to the Olympics will be on its attack. "Defensively we have proved to be stronger and stronger. Attacking wise in the previous tournament (invitational tournament in Valencia, Spain), we haven't scored many goals. That is my point of view. That's clearly what we are focusing on right now. There's always room for improvement, but we are getting closer to the level that I expect from our team," Oltmans said.

Talking about the mood in the camp, the Dutchman said, "The feeling in the camp is good. We are really looking forward to playing the Olympics. Now we are just fine-tuning and focusing on details that we need to work on."

When asked on the change in leadership, Oltmans said: "The intention is clear that it will have a positive impact on the team and Sardar (Singh)."

The Times of India

Pain of London still in our hearts: Sreejesh

Shreedutta Chidananda

LOOK, WHO IS IN CHARGE: Indian captain P.R. Sreejesh (right) and teammate S.V. Sunil are in a playful mood during the practice session in Bengaluru on Friday. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

P.R. Sreejesh is one of the six members remaining from the side that travelled to London in 2012.

P.R. Sreejesh’s stock has risen steadily for a few years now, and things reached a peak last week, when he was named captain of the Indian hockey team for the Olympic Games. Yet, as is the case with a number of elite sportsmen, all this success has come at a personal cost. “I miss being a father,” he said, staring wistfully into the grass outside the men’s hostel at the Sports Authority of India here.

“My daughter is two years old now and she recognises me, but still I’m missing that attachment. When she was four days old, I left for Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games. When I came back, it was only after two months. I spent a week with her and then left for the National camp.

“Every two months I go home for a couple of days and then I have to leave again. So I’ve missed watching her grow up; I’ve missed out on all that enjoyment.

“A kid needs security from her father and that is what I can’t give her. But I feel proud because I’m doing this for my country.”

Sreejesh downplays his elevation to the captaincy, in place of long-time skipper Sardar Singh. “Sardar is one of the senior-most players in the side and he understands what the situation is. Things that have happened outside the ground have been putting some pressure on him. Even the captaincy is a burden,” he said.

“I don’t believe there is a negative impact on the team. Captaincy on the field is the responsibility of 11 players. One individual cannot change anything. Like at the Champions Trophy, different players will wear the armband. Before, it was: ‘Sardar, what to do? Sardar, what to do?’ Now, it can be Sreejesh or Manpreet or Sunil who answer that. Everyone has that power, that responsibility.”

Same person

The 28-year-old went to the last Olympic Games as second-choice goalkeeper behind Bharat Chettri, who was captain, but has since established himself as the undisputed number one. He may have matured as a player but he has, Sreejesh insists, changed little as a person.

“Even now, the coaches tell me: ‘Show some maturity’. Because I fight with the juniors, just for fun. The coaches say: ‘Sreejesh, you’re a senior’. But I don’t want to change; what I am is why I am here. That’s why people like me. I don’t want people thinking I’ve changed because I’m a senior.”

Sreejesh is one of the six members remaining from the side that travelled to London in 2012. The pain of finishing last, it would seem, has been impossible for any of them to erase.

“The days that followed were dark. It hurt a lot. When you go out into the street and people smile at you, it never feels like a normal smile. You feel it’s an insult, that there’s some meaning behind it. Whenever you see your pads and the Indian jersey, it hurts. You feel you let your country down,” he said.

“After that last match (against South Africa), it was difficult for us to look each other in the eye. The next day, even if you’re sitting with food, you can’t eat.”

In Rio, Sreejesh is determined to make amends. “This time, we have a dream. London 2012 was a disaster and that pain is still in all our hearts. We want to change that,” he said. “This team is capable of winning a medal. The target is to come back with a medal but now the players have to decide what colour we want.”

The Hindu

Height, quick reflexes set Sreejesh apart, says Chauhan

Rohan Alvares

MUMBAI: PR Sreejesh appears to be the toast of Indian hockey at the moment. The latest evidence of that was the faith shown by Hockey India when they announced the goalkeeper as captain for the Rio Games.

One individual, though, felt who always Sreejesh was destined to enjoy bright future in the sport is Devesh Chauhan, a man who once occupied the position that now well and truly belongs to the Kochi native.

"In 2009, I was the junior team goalkeeper coach before the World Cup. I trained Sreejesh and I knew he would play for India for a long time because he's very fit, he's very quick and has lot of enthusiasm," Chauhan, a two-time Olympian, told TOI at an event organised by the Indian Oil Corporation.

"He has a clever mind too, so he's a mixture of all the goalkeepers," Chauhan added, as he elaborated on the factors he felt have made Sreejesh the 'best goalkeeper in Asia' and among the world's 'top three' in the role.

"In India, most goalkeepers, their height is 5'10-5'9. Sreejesh is a six-footer and he's so quick. So if you have good height and you're quick, you can do all things. And Sreejesh has a lot of experience.

"When I was in the senior camp in 2005, he was there with the junior camp. He also attended some senior camps, but if you are a regular in the national camp for 12 years and you continuously work hard, then hard work pays. That's what's happened with Sreejesh."

Chauhan, who represented India at the 2000 and 2004 Games in Sydney and Athens respectively, also backed Sreejesh's promotion to skipper of the national side. "I think it's a good decision because the goalkeeper is the backbone of the team. And if you look at the last three years, Sreejesh has been playing very well. If the goalkeeper plays well, it helps the team to perform well," said Chauhan.

The Times of India

Moscow Olympics (W): Did Indian coach dig team’s graveyard?

Fortune called women’s hockey in 1980, Rupa Saini’s team got not only an Olympic entry, but also a lighter field due to infamous West boycott of Moscow Olympics. But the ladies let it go.

While reviewing the women’s Olympic tournament, World Hockey Magazine editor Patrick Rowley termed it as a ‘dreadfully disappointing’ event. It’s was more so for the Indian women.

Indian women had everything in their favour to match their men – to win Olympic gold on their maiden entry. They had better competitive history than the other five teams in the fray. The players were far more experienced, and had gained entry long before others, which gave them enough time to prepare. Most other teams responded to Moscow’s panic call to see the event staged; personal interest and expertise of the then Indian IOC member, Ashwini Kumar, playing a steadying and stellar role, which we will dwell later on.

There was no inkling in the beginning that India would put up a flop show. But its often said that Indian girls would have got at least bronze but for their unwittingly coaching their rival!

Before going into the story, let us see the match sequence.

India had a dream start. It beat Austria 2-0 at the Young Friends stadium. Lorraine Fernandez and Rupa Saini struck a goal apiece in each half.

India posted a brace in each half without conceding any. It was a rout of Poland.

The third encounter was against Czechoslovakia. First half was even after Ida Hubackova cancelled out Prem Maya’s early goal. Alena Kyselicova scored the winner ten minutes before the close. This defeat seemed to have broken the spirit of India.

Still India was upto the task against Rhodesia, which has lately sported a new name Zimbabwe. The situation at that point of competition was interesting: Winner of that contest would ensure at least a medal. The wonderful match ended in a 1-1 draw. The contest was held on the polygrass sporting Dinamo Minor Area. Elizabeth Muriel Chase scored in the 45th minute and India equalised through Rupa five minutes later.

Five of the six teams were in the hunt for three medals on the last day. Only Poland was out of it. India needed a win over the hosts USSR for a bronze, which was not to be. USSR took up serious hockey only two years earlier. They made it memorable (4-1). So, poor India.

May be but it was apt insofar as Indian ladies were concerned.

Veteran journalist late R. Sriman often used to tell me another story on India’s failure. He claimed that it was India who trained Zimbabwe, to their own misery! Might sound stunning, but listen to his point.

‘India comprehensively beat Zimbabwe 4-0 in a practice game before the start of the Olympics. In fact, the Zimbabwe coach, handsomely acknowledged her team’s indebtedness to India for not only having given them valuable match practice but also learning a lesson or two in tactics from the Indian coach. The story goes that after that trouncing Zimbabwe in the practice game, the Zimbabweans were told by the Indian coach that it did not pay to dribble in their own half but instead they should clear the ball hard and keep it as far as possible in the opposing half, hoping for mistake by opponent. The coach told that until women’s hockey advanced in skill, most results would be fashioned on negative points’.

Sriman added: “While the Zimbabwe girls absorbed the lessons avidly and translated them into action, India themselves could not adopt the same tactics successfully”.

When I asked him in the mid 1990s whether he had written so in papers so that it can be a record for posterity, he replied, “Not in the newspapers, may be, but surely in a handout or book that somebody published”. He could not recollect further on the publication.

Many years later, after continued effort, I traced this record in a publishing house. Paradoxically, it was located hardly five kms from my home.

India missed not just an opportunity at Moscow, but a historical miss.

A decade later, Zimbabwe hosted and won the inaugural Africa Cup for women. The FIH awarded them with the Pablo Negre Trophy, named after present IHF president Leondro Negre’s father, for ‘achieving the maximum possible with minimal resources.’

In retrospect, Zimbabwe deserved that type of description in Moscow. Gold at the first tournament they played on the synthetic turf, most of their players had never crossed the Africa continent before. The team got entry in the last minute due to the West boycott.

For India, we need to work on theories and theories to find out what went wrong.


How to win an Olympic medal, by the Team GB hockey captain

Saphora Smith

We are the champions: England women's hockey team after winning the EuroHockey Women's Gold Medal in 2015 Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Team GB hockey captain, Kate Richardson-Walsh, on how she and her teammates won a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympic Games - and why she's going for gold in Rio

I started playing hockey in secondary school and didn’t think I was very good. But when I was 13 my PE teacher asked me to play with the 16-year-olds, so I must have been.

I worked my way up to the North of England Regional squad then the England under-16s team – but I was dropped when I was 15. Looking back, I’d rested on my laurels.

Going for gold: Team GB hockey captain, Kate Richardson-Walsh on her training ground Credit: Sahil Lodha/Sahil Lodha

This was a turning point: it made me realise how much I wanted to play for England. I knuckled down, stopped going to the pub, gave up crisps and biscuits, and joined a college that was supportive of students playing high-level sport.

At university in Liverpool, I even missed freshers’ week in favour of training.  I trained twice-weekly, played matches at the weekend and went running. I still never thought I’d play it full time; I assumed I’d become a PE teacher like my parents, but in 1999 I made it on to the England women’s team.

I was part of Team GB at the Olympic Games in 2004 and 2008, but everything really changed in the run-up to the London Olympics in 2012, as the women’s hockey team won a National Lottery grant enabling us to train full time.

Until then I’d been working in sports marketing to make ends meet. I started training twice a day, and worked closely with both psychologists and nutritionists.

Walking on to the pitch for the first time at the 2012 Olympics was so special and the first match against Japan was exhilarating. But four minutes before the end, I broke my jawbone after a tackle. I missed two games, but managed to play the rest of the tournament.

Our final match against New Zealand, which would determine the winners of the bronze medal, was surreal.

We’d lost the semi-final the day before, and I remember my teammates and I looking at each other with a new sense  of determination. I’ll never forget the feeling of winning – our  hard work had finally paid off.

My advice to anyone hoping to become an Olympic athlete is to commit to it fully. You’re going to have to make difficult choices when  it comes to your social life, diet and holidays. But it’s worth it.

The Telegraph

Select ladies hockey teams to battle it out for historic Greenfields Club Challenge

Three ladies hockey teams unveiled to compete in the historic Greenfields Elite Club Challenge this weekend.

Khanyisile Ngcobo

Kara Stella, first team ladies player for the Riverside Hockey Club and a current member of the South African Ladies Hockey Team with Emma Bray, head of coaching for the Riverside Hockey Club Junior Division and current women's manageress for South Africa.

Three teams from Wanderers Hockey Club, Kearsney Hockey Club and Riverside Hockey Club have been selected to compete in the inaugural Greenfields Elite Club Challenge.

Three of the first female teams, one from Johannesburg and two from KwaZulu-Natal, will battle it out in the women’s division for the challenge trophy this weekend at the Riverside Sports Centre in Durban North, alongside the men’s team matches.

Ayden Shrives, Greenfields’ synthetic turf manager, explained that the move to include the women’s division for the first time had been in the pipeline since the beginning of the tournament. “This is a major milestone for the tournament and it also marks a new beginning for the Greenfields Elite Club Challenge going forward,” Shrives said.

“Their participation confirms what we want to achieve by nurturing and showcasing the very best talent that our club scene has to offer in both the men’s and women’s divisions.”

Furthermore, the inclusion of a women’s division would reinforce the desire to bring teams and players together and Shrives expressed confidence that the inclusion of women’s fixtures would ensure the competition grew from strength to strength.

The Greenfields Elite Club Challenge will take place from 15 to 16 July, with the grand finale set to take place at 8pm.

North Eastern Tribune

Kampong add Spanish Olympic-bound player to roster

SV Kampong have added Olympic-bound Spanish international Salva Piera and junior talent Jasper Luijkx to their panel as they look to try and retain the EHL title.

Piera comes to the Utrecht-club from Real Club de Polo de Barcelona and has 70 international caps to his name.

Speaking about what he brings to the table, Kampong coach Alexander Cox said: "Salva is a physically strong midfielder who has certain specific offensive and defensive qualities that we wanted to add for some time to the team."

Luijkx, meanwhile, moves north from Den Bosch and the 20-year-old links up with his older brother Pepijn who made the same move two years ago.

He is part of the Dutch junior World Cup training panel along with fellow Kampongers Lars Balk and Jip Jansen.

Cox said of him: "Jasper is a talented attacking midfielder and striker with a lot of speed so it fits perfectly into the game we like to play."

Kai de Jager has also linked up with the club as assistant coach, moving from Oranje Zwart’s women’s head coach position.

Euro Hockey League media release

U-19 Division Wraps Up National Club Championship

LANCASTER, Pa. - The US U-19 division wrapped up the 2016 National Club Championship, presented by Harrow Sports, at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster County, Pa. After a weather delayed first day the tournament panned out to be great competition over the three day event.

Breaking a streak that was four years in the running, Princeton (Princeton, N.J.) defeated WC Eagles (Spring City, Pa.) in a very competitive championship match to earn gold and take home the prestigious sought-after Harrow gold sticks. Saints (Henrico, Va.) earned a victory over Boston (Belmont, Mass.) to claim bronze.

USA Field Hockey would like to congratulate all U-19 National Club Championship teams, athletes and coaches who participated! As well as thank the umpires, technical staff, umpire managers and volunteers who helped make the 2016 NCC a success.

FIRST PLACE : Princeton
Head Coach: Kristen Holmes-Winn
Not in Order: Sabrina Solomen, Kristina Sickmueller, Jillian Farley,
Morgan Irons, Kathryn Roncoroni, Madison Morano, Sophia Albanese,
Gabriella Arata, Jordyn Cane, Melanie Scibilia, Sammy Popper, Molly Gorczyca, Caroline McGovern, Victoria Hannah, Krista Hoffman, Kristiina Castagnola,
Erica Solomen, Lauren Hausheer, Melissa Nobile, Susan Orth, Julianna Tornetta, Haley Gelberg, Paige Zytkowicz, Roxy Vassighi

Head Coach: Jun Kentwell
Not in Order: Laura Lasprogata, Cassie Sumfest, Abigail Pitcairn, Claire Webb, Madison Orobono, Mya Christopher, Corinne Zanolli, Charlotte De Vries,
Sarah Johnson, Elizabeth Gaebel, Megan Duvernois, Kiley Allen, Marykate Neff, Kathryn Scheerer, Kiley Gallagher, Mayv Clune, Erin Matson, Jaime Natale, Madeleine Bacskai, Casey Allen, Makayla Gallen, Whitney Harris, Madeline Henry, Anarose McDonough

Head Coach: Scotty Tyson
Not in Order: Kimi Jones, Cassidy Atchison, Natalie Belden, Alexandria Brewer, Alexis Gingerich, Cassy Goodwin, Ashley Dykema, Bethany Dykema,
Kristen Ferguson, Marlee McClendon, Hannah Tammaro, Christie Van De Kamp,
Erica Royal, Korena Shaw, Phoebe Large, Erin Malone, Haley Schleicher,
Cameran Strickland, Michelle Taylor, McKinzie Tomes, Lacey Krazier, Hailie Gray

USFHA media release

Glasgow to host Men’s World League One in September

Scottish Hockey will host the Men’s 2016/17 Hockey World League (HWL) Round 1 competition on 6-11 September at the National Hockey Centre in Glasgow.

It is an exciting time for the men’s team as they kick off their qualifying campaign for the World Cup in 2018. The team has made a great start to the summer by winning a 4-Nations tournament in Poland as part of their preparation for HWL 1 in September.

It was announced recently that Kenny Bain will play with HGC next season in the Dutch Hoofdklasse, making the switch after a season with AH&BC Amsterdam. Also, David Forsyth has just been named as a sporting ambassador for the Coaching Network.

At HWL 1 in Glasgow Scotland will feature in a five team round robin tournament which also includes Switzerland; Wales; Portugal; and Slovakia.

Rankings at the Round 1 competitions will determine which teams will qualify for the Round 2 events that will take place in in early 2017. Composed of four rounds and played over two years, the HWL takes place in venues around the world. The 2016/17 HWL competition will ultimately decide the teams that will qualify, alongside the Continental Champions and hosts, for the FIH World Cups in 2018.

For Scottish Hockey, the competition will follow on from the EuroHockey Youth Championship II (U18 Boys & Girls) competition in July, also held at the National Hockey Centre in Glasgow, as the city continues to prove itself to be a world-class host for international hockey competitions.

The next outing for Scotland’s men’s team will see them take to the pitch against India U21s and an England development squad at Lilleshaw next week.

Match schedule

Tuesday 6 September 2016

17:00 - Portugal v Wales
19:15 – Scotland v Switzerland

Wednesday 7 September 2016

17:00 – Portugal v Switzerland
19:15 – Scotland v Slovakia

Thursday 8 September 2016

17:00 – Switzerland v Wales
19:15 – Portugal v Slovakia

Friday 9 September 2016

Rest day

Saturday 10 September 2016

12:00 – Slovakia v Wales
14:15 – Portugal v Scotland

Sunday 11 September 2016

12:00 - Slovakia v Switzerland
14:15 – Scotland v Wales

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Scottish Hockey coach and umpire workshops at the U18s Euros

Umpire WorkshopScottish Hockey will run coach and umpire workshops during the upcoming EuroHockey U18 Youth Championship II girls and boys event, offering a unique development opportunity for budding coaches and umpires. They will be held on Tuesday 26 July and Friday 29 July, in the evening, at the National Hockey Centre, Glasgow.

The workshops will allow delegates to watch the evening game then discuss observations with other attendees at half time and full time, as well as with leading coaches and umpires. The workshops offer a great opportunity to analyse teams from 12 different countries, while learning from the very best Scottish Hockey has to offer.

The coaching workshops will be led by FIH Coach and former National Squad Coach, Keith Joss (Tuesday) and Scotland U21 Men’s Coach Graham Moodie (Friday), and includes networking opportunities with other club or school coaches. Tuesday's focus will be on attacking principles, while Friday's focus will be on creating goal scoring opportunities.

The umpire workshops will be led by Ian Diamond, FIH Umpire on the Tuesday evening and Aileen Ross, FIH Umpire Manager on the Friday evening. Tuesday's focus will be on positioning to enhance decision making, while Friday's focus will be on using body language to enhance behaviour management.

With Glasgow hosting a European tournament it allows Scottish umpires the interesting opportunity to observe umpires from other countries. The workshop will also allow specific focus on areas of umpiring people don’t necessarily think about and raising awareness of good practice

Scottish Hockey organises continuous professional development opportunities for coaches and works with a number of external bodies to support the development and education of hockey coaches, including local authorities and sportscotland.

The EuroHockey Youth Championship II workshops will be held on 26th July (5.30pm) and 29th July (6.15pm) at the National Hockey Centre, Glasgow. The cost of attendance is £8, which provides entry to all matches that day and a reserved seat.

Reserve your place by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Equipment delivery provides huge boost to West Africa

Coaches, umpires and players descended upon the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium in Ghana at the beginning of June to make yet more giant steps forward in the development of hockey in West Africa.

The week long training sessions and workshops were led by International Hockey Federation (FIH) Coach and Umpire Educators as part of the Targeted Assistance Programme (TAP) but the concentration of the players, coaches and umpires was momentarily broken at the sight of a container of equipment that turned up too.

With the TAP two years into its four-year lifespan, the delivery of a further 2,000 sticks and other hockey equipment to West African countries involved in the project was just one of the highlights of a recent trip by the TAP delivery team of Darren Cheeseman, Mark Jarvis, Michel Kinnen and Siegfreid Elkman.

Coaches from Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Nigeria have all been working to develop the sport in clubs, schools and regions and the arrival of a heap of equipment was just the boost the coaches needed.

The equipment has been collected from clubs and schools across the UK over the past few months thanks to support from FIH, UK Sport and England Hockey. It had been stored in a warehouse provided by hockey equipment specialist Barrington Sports and was transported to West Africa by logistics giant DHL.

High Performance Coach and Coach Educator Darren Cheeseman has been involved in the project from the outset. He said: “I was last here in Accra a year ago and it is really encouraging to see the development of the coaches, the players and the umpires. You always wonder whether people benefit from the work you do but it’s clear that TAP in West Africa is doing well.”

Cheeseman, himself a former international with England and Great Britain, has been working with coaches and players from Ghana for the past two years.

During that time the team has risen up the rankings to 31st in the world as well as finishing second to South Africa in the African Championships.

The emphasis of the programme has been on developing coaching and umpiring talent within West Africa so that hockey becomes sustainable when the TAP project ends in 2018.

As part of the drive for sustainability, umpires from the region are also receiving training and coaching. This is being led by FIH Umpire and Coach Educator Mark Jarvis. He said: “It is fantastic to see some very happy coaches receiving sticks and other equipment to take back to their respective countries to aid the development of hockey throughout those countries and beyond.”

Under the TAP project there are plans for further equipment deliveries; the creation of umpiring and coaching pathways to recruit and train more officials and coaches; support for elite players; and enabling Ghana hockey to host world level events.

The FIH Targeted Assistance Programme (TAP) is the FIH's global initiative to support Continental Federations and National Associations in the development of long-term sustainable development projects or programmes.

It was created to drive an increase in high performing sport which falls under the FIH's 10-year Hockey Revolution strategy aimed at making hockey a global game that inspires the next generation, specifically in relation to Key Initiative 5. For more information on Targeted Assistance Programme, click here.


FIH site

Hockey Wales President Anne Ellis OBE retires

After 20 years in post, Anne Ellis OBE is stepping down as the President of Hockey Wales. Anne is known and respected world-wide not only for her sporting career as the captain and coach of both Great Britain and Wales, but also for her supreme dedication to the wider world of sport in the years to follow.

The news of her retirement as President was officially announced at the Hockey Wales AGM yesterday evening, when her achievements and contribution to the world of hockey were recognised. Anne gave thanks to those she has worked with during her time in post:

“It has been a privilege and an honour to be your President and to be connected with so many wonderful people, all passionate about the sport I love. It has been a huge part of my life and will never stop being my passion.  Thank you for your friendship and support over the years”

Anne gained her first cap in 1963 and went on to play 138 consecutive times for Wales and 14 for Great Britain, including no less than five World Conference/Cups. Under Anne’s leadership, in 1975, Wales played England in the first IFWHA/FIH World Cup in Edinburgh.

Her finest hour as captain would have been leading GB in the first ever women’s Olympic Hockey Championship in Moscow, an honour that was denied her by the boycott of the Games. Following her retirement from playing in 1980, Anne went on to coach both GB and Wales, including coaching Wales against England at Wembley in the first match to be played in front of the Queen.

Her fellow Wales and Great Britain teammate Sheila Morrow, who is one of Hockey Wales’ Elected Directors of the Board, spoke on behalf of the organisation in a presentation to Anne:

“Anne’s great contribution to hockey and the enormous influence she has on hockey players throughout Wales is unparalleled. I am yet to find anyone who has a bad word to say about Anne, which goes to show the high regard in which she is held, even those who don’t necessarily agree with her views - this is down to Anne’s honesty and integrity in everything she does.

“Her advice has always been sound and constructive through her knowledge and love of the game. We can’t thank Anne enough for her work in hockey and we will all miss her as president.”

Among her other honours, Anne has been the President of the WWHA (Welsh Women’s Hockey Association), a Member of the FIH Executive Board and Chair of the Coaching and Development Committee, as well as Chair of the EHF Coaching Committee.

Her many accolades includes the Sports Council for Wales Medal of Honour and British Coach of the Year, along with being inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame. On top of this she was also the first female recipient of the Sydney Frisking memorial goblet awarded by the Hockey Writers Association.

On hearing the news, members of the hockey family have taken to Twitter to give thanks to Anne, who will now focus on her other roles, which includes President of the Commonwealth Games Council for Wales. However, as ever dedicated to hockey, you will also find her helping at the Swansea City Hockey Club café on the weekends.

Hockey Wales media release

Bollywood and Hockey

By Ijaz Chaudhry

Alia Bhatt at premiere of 'Udta Punjab'

The recently released Bollywood movie ‘Udta Punjab’ has something special for the hockey lovers. The movie which focuses on the drug abuse problem in the Indian state of Punjab has hockey as a major influence with actor Alia Bhatt playing a role of a hockey player.

Alia trained in hockey for a month and a half in Mumbai, before she began shooting for the film in Punjab. "I was given a coach and we trained at a place in Bandra. I would reach at around 6 am every morning. The idea was to get the postures right, learn to hold the stick right and to control the ball. Hockey is a very difficult sport but I had to push myself because I wanted to be comfortable with the hockey stick, and project the certain ease in the body language of hockey players. I also wanted to bring a degree of strength and force to my character".

Udta Punjab revolves around drug-related problems in Punjab. The film stars Shahid Kapoor essaying the character of a high-on-drugs rockstar. Kareena Kapoor plays a doctor determined to fight the illegal transportation of drugs. Alia Bhatt plays the part of a Bihari girl who has gained prominence at the local hockey scene but is forced to give up her dream to work the fields in a village in Punjab to support her family.

Interestingly, film’s release coincides with the time when Indian hockey is on the rise. The men’s team recently finished second at the 36th Champions Trophy, their best ever position. Women’s team qualified for this year’s Olympics. It will be Indian hockey eves’ first ever appearance at the quadrennial stage since 1980, when women hockey made its debut at the Olympics.

Alia Bhatt plays the role of a hockey player in this movie based on the theme of the problems related to drugs. But in 2007, a Bollywood movie entirely based on women’s hockey, reverberated not only in India but got attention of the hockey lovers even outside.

‘Chak de India’ starring Shahrukh Khan was a huge success.

It is widely believed that the background of the movie was an actual Asian final involving India, a quarter of century back. In 1982, Asian games final, India lost to arch rivals Pakistan 1-7. To compound the misery further, it was in the capital city of New Delhi with the rest of the nation following on TV. Goal keeper Negi was made the scapegoat. Negi was humiliated by press and public in no uncertain terms. After some years, Negi took to coaching. He became a national hero when Indian women team unexpectedly won the gold medal at the 2002 Commonwealth games with Negi as the assistant coach. The theme of Chak de India was also that of a perceived villain turned hero. Indian captain Kabir Khan (Shahrukh Khan) misses a vital penalty stroke in final against Pakistan which meant defeat. He endures the same trauma as Negi.

 After taking coaching, he takes Indian national women team which the federation was even reluctant to send to the World Cup. Then the team was completely ridden with factionalism. Shahrukh blends the side into a cohesive unit which goes to Australia and ultimately lifts the World Cup itself.

In a country where Bollywood is The Passion, the success of movie had a profound effect in raising popularity of the game. A simple gauge for measurement: 20% increase in manufacturing of hockey kits in sports industry of India. But the movie’s influence went even beyond that. Corporate groups, Banks and even Police had special shows/group bookings for their workforce as a lesson in discipline, dedication motivation and team spirit.

 Els van Breda Vriesman, the then FIH President, also enjoyed the film, which she understood with the Dutch sub-titles, and could recollect every dialogue.   The ‘Chak De’ cry became the tagline for every sport in which India competes; not only hockey.

Today, in India, country’s national sport stands no comparison with cricket which has been completely overshadowing hockey for last more than 30 years.  Moreover, Indian hockey has failed to win any medal in Olympics or the World Cup since the gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics when they benefited from the boycott of all the major hockey nations. That was against the invasion of Afghanistan by the erstwhile Soviet Union.

There was a time when hockey was the most followed sport in world’s second most populous country. Hockey gave India a medal at every Olympics till 1972 including eight golds (more than any other nation). Their only other gold has come in 2008 via shooting.  In 1975, India also won the hockey World Cup for the first and last time.

All this meant, hockey often found prominence in several Bollywood flicks.

The scribe can recall quite a few. In the early 1970s movie ‘Guddi’ Dharmendra plays the real life role that of the movie star Dharmendra. While shooting for a film, he is visited by some girls. When told that they had skipped school just to see him, Dharmendra responded, “During my school days, we used to miss classes to watch hockey matches.”

In Raj Kapoor’s epic,’Mera Naam Joker’ it was a hockey match in the school, where Rishi Kapoor ‘s teen age crush for his teacher Simi Grewal transforms into lust.

In fact, Raj Kapoor was a great fan of Indian hockey. When the Indian team returned home with the 1975 World Cup, he arranged a big reception from them at his farm house.

Hockey stars enjoyed celebrity status and big names of Bollywood took pride in socializing with them in public as well as in private.

When India won the World Cup in 1975, hockey was at the peak of its glory. An exhibition match was played in Mumbai between the Film Stars team and the Indian World Cup winning side. The film stars side included mega names such as Raj Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Simple Kapadia, Jeetendra, Rishi Kapoor, among others. A huge crowd of almost forty thousand turned up to watch the match. The whole atmosphere of the playground was charged with the romance of hockey.

Dyhan Chand is widely acknowledged as the greatest hockey player of all time. He was India’s star performer in their first three Olympics victories, 1928, 1932 and 1936.  National Sports Day in India is celebrated on August 29, the birthday of Dhyan Chand. Reportedly, two production houses including Yash Raj films are working on a film on Dhyan Chand. 

Hockey India League (HIL) is the most lucrative hockey league in the world. One of the teams, Delhi Waveriders is co-owned by the Bollywood hero John Abraham.

Many believe if Indian hockey team manages to win a medal at Rio, it could lead to production of a number of hockey themed movies.

Ijaz Chaudhry writes on hockey and other sports. For more about him and his work, visit: www.sportscorrespondent.info


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