All the news for Wednesday 17 August 2016
Men's field hockey semifinal recap
By Hayley Tafuro
Highlighting everything from Tuesday's men's field hockey semifinal matches in Rio.
Belgium Secures Spot in Gold Medal Match
In a battle between two dominant tournament teams, Belgium earned the 3-1 victory that puts them through to the gold medal match.
Belgium took the lead after a scoreless first quarter between both teams.
Jerome Truyens scored on a rebound off of Belgium’s penalty corner attempt. John-John Dohmen increased the lead to two goals after sliding into the circle and tipping in a pass.
Mink Van der Weerden made sure he kept his team close before the second quarter was over when he scored his ninth penalty corner goal.
Both teams were trading opportunities back and forth for the whole third quarter. With seconds winding down, Florent Van Aubel tipped in a pass right behind the Dutch goalkeeper to put the lead back up to two.
Late in the fourth, Vincent Vanasch made a huge save to prevent the Netherlands from cutting the lead back to one goal.
Belgium continued to push and run the field, doing everything they could to preserve the lead they had built.
Ultimately it paid off, and Belgium sealed its fate to move on to the gold medal match. The Netherlands will face Germany to compete for the bronze.
Peillat's Hat Trick Leads Argentina to Gold Medal Match
The commentators started referring to Gonzalo Peillat as “that magic man.”
Peillat led Argentina to a 5-2 upset over the defending gold medalist Germany with a hat trick to send his team to the gold medal match.
Argentina never looked back after Peillat’s goal, which came from a penalty corner at about the midway point in the first quarter.
The lethal drag flicker scored another before the quarter’s end, and then one more for good measure heading into halftime.
Despite being up three goals to nil on the Germans, Argentina knew that this still may not be enough against this German team who had proven its resilience not just once, but twice in the Olympic tournament.
Joaquin Menini and Lucas Vila led the continued charge on offense scoring in the third and fourth quarters to increase the Argentina lead to five.
Germany team captain Moritz Furste finally got his team on the board by testing Juan Vivaldi, who had been perfect in goal, with his drag flick on a penalty corner. It flew past Vivaldi to cut Argentina’s lead to four goals.
With just over two minutes left on the clock and an extra man on the field, Germany kept attacking in hopes to somehow come back from the overwhelming lead Argentina had built the first three quarters.
Christopher Ruhr succeeded in cutting the deficit to three goals by chipping another shot past Vivaldi, but the effort would not be enough this time for Germany to get the chance to defend its gold medal.
Germany will have the chance to compete for the bronze medal, however Argentina will be moving on to look for the program’s first-ever men’s field hockey gold medal.
Argentina,Belgium set up clash of the titans for final
Argentina and Belgium celebrate their respective semis win (AFP)
Argentina stunned defending champions Germany, while Belgium defeated neighbours Netherlands to reach finals
Argentina and Belgium reached the Olympic Games hockey final for the first time on Tuesday as defending champions Germany and fellow favourites Netherlands came up short.
Argentina stunned Germany, the gold medallists in 2008 and 2012, by 5-2 while Belgium clinched a 3-1 semi-final win over neighbours Netherlands, the 1996 and 2000 champions.
The South Americans pounced on a German team who only squeezed into the semi-finals by scoring three times in the closing five minutes to beat New Zealand in the last-eight, 3-2.
Defender Gonzalo Peillat hit a hat-trick of penalty corners with Joaquin Menini and Lucas Vila giving Argentina a 5-0 lead. Menini's 35th minute goal was the pick of the bunch for an Argentina team who will win their first medal in men's hockey.
Agustin Mazzilli escaped a defender to lift the ball over German goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi for his teammate to tap home. Peillat's triple took his total for the tournament to 10.
"We watched a lot of videos of the Germans before this game. We had three corners in the first part of the game and then we scored three-from-three so it was good, happy," said 24-year-old Peillat. Moritz Furste and Christopher Ruhr scored late consolation strikes for Germany.
Argentina were also indebted to goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi who pulled off 10 saves in total. "We didn't play our best hockey today, that's for sure," admitted Furste. "They defended well, they scored three corners, that just can't happen. After that it was very difficult for us to come back into the game. But we believed in ourselves. We tried everything until the end, it just wasn't enough."
Argentina, ranked at seven in the world, have already surpassed their best previous Olympic performance of a fifth-place finish at the 1948 Games in London. Four years ago, in London again, they were 10th.
Belgium got the better of 2012 runners-up Netherlands and guaranteed of improving on their previous best Olympic run -- that was a bronze medal on home ground in Antwerp in 1920.
Four years ago, they could only manage a fifth-place finish but they have been revived by New Zealand coach Shane McLeod who led the Kiwis at the 2008 and 2012 Games.
Belgium scored twice in four minutes in the first half through Jerome Truyens and skipper John-John Dohmen. The Dutch pulled one back before the half-time interval through Mink der Weerden.
But a field goal in the 46th minute from Florent van Aubel gave attack-minded Belgium the advantage again.
"It's an historical night. It was a great game, amazing against Holland," said Dohmen. "We are doing the perfect tournament, the tournament for life and it's at the right moment, at the Olympics."
Van der Weerden was damning in his summary of events. "We played really shit in the first half. No proper passing, no proper rhythm, nothing. We just gave it away in the first half, it was very silly," he said.
Perfect Peillat puts Argentina into final and ends Germany men's hockey reign
Argentina players celebrate after upsetting Germany 5–2 in the men's hockey semi-final (Photo: Getty Images/David Rogers)
Argentina will win their first Olympic Games men's hockey medal after a first-half hat-trick from Gonzalo Peillat helped them beat defending champions Germany 5-2 in their semi-final at the Olympic Hockey Centre on Tuesday (16 August).
Peillat scored three-from-three from penalty corners to take his tournament-leading tally to 10 goals, before Agustin Mazzilli put on a brilliant assist in the third quarter by chipping at full stretch over an on-rushing German Nicolas Jacobi for Joaquin Menini to tap home Argentina's fourth. Rio-time updates: follow the action with our daily liveblog
Lucas Vila then made it 5-0 with a field goal to put an exclamation mark on Argentina's progression to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games final, before Germany scored two late consolation goals through Moritz Furste and Christopher Ruhr.
Juan Vivaldi was terrific in goal for Argentina and made 10 saves, including some important stops during the second quarter as Germany tried to hit back.
The loss ends Germany's quest for a third successive Olympic Games gold medal in men's hockey.
In Thursday's final, Argentina will face the winner of the semi-final clash between in-form Belgium and the Netherlands, the London 2012 silver medallists.
Rio 2016 Official site
Los Leones end German Olympic reign
Argentina coach Carlos Retegui and fans celebrate their fifth goal. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek
Argentina reached their first ever Olympic men’s hockey final with a breathtaking display to oust the 2008 and 2012 champions Germany 5-2 with something to spare in the first semi-final in their history.
Three first half goals from Gonzalo Peillat saw Argentina in wonderland with the reigning champions on the ropes, 3-0 down and they never recovered.
Peillat got his first with eight minutes gone, firing passed Nicolas Jacobi for his eighth goal of the tournament. His ninth came just three minuts later, another low rocket that was too quick for the goalkeeper.
At 2-0, Germany enjoyed their best spell with Florian Fuchs going close on three occasions, Juan Vivaldi saving one of them brilliantly low down while the other deflection slipped wide.
Moritz Fuerste saw a drag-flick also tipped away by Vivaldi, Argentina, meanwhile, made the most of their chances. Peillat kept his brilliant record going from a softly conceded corner in the 28th minute and the left-back went the high route this time to beat Jacobi.
In the second half, they allowed Germany to hold more of the ball and then picked them off when the chances came their way. Agustin Mazzilli produced some gorgeous skills – including an audacious dummy – for the fourth goal before flipping the ball into the path of Joaquin Menini who volleyed in.
Lucas Vila made it 5-0 in the 47th minute when he was set free on the right of the circle and he smashed home.
Fuerste got one back for the Germans from the penalty spot with nine minutes left while Christopher Ruhr slammed in a second with two minutes left.
But it was scant consolation for them and they are now destined for the bronze medal match. Argentina, meanwhile, have a maiden final on the horizon.
EuroHockey media release
Argentina in the historic Olympic final
Carlos Retegui's Argentina tore Reigning double Olympic Champions into smithereens to enter their maiden and Pan American continent's first ever Olympic final.
After the United States of America won a fluke bronze in the 3-team Los Angeles Olympic field in 1932, no team from Americas, North or South, ever figured in the semifinals of Men's Olympics.
With an astonishing 5-2 win over Germany today, the Argentinean men's team, who always second-fiddled to highly rewarding and popular women's team.
Argentina's defining moment has come.
Germany, known in Rio for their acrobatic and magic goals in the dying seconds, had to bow to superior Argentina today at Deodara Park.
Argentina amassed a 5-0 lead in the fourth quarter, and then the coach Altenburg, much like Indian coach Roelant Oltmans did against Belgium, took away Nicolas Jacobi, goalie, and gave the yellow shirt to Haner, defender.
With 13 minutes to score five goals to take the match to extra time Germans played heart out, but the Argentineans would not give up.
A goal from Rhur Christopher and a stroke conversion from captain Mortiz Furste came along, but it was too less. Barring the Bronze in 1932 by USA, Rio will get Olympic medal, silver at least.
Earlier, a fluent hattrick from penalty corner expert, who plays Netherlands league, just took all sweat out of the Germans
THE SCORING SEQUENCE
PEILLAT Gonzalo 08:25'
PEILLAT Gonzalo 11:53'
PEILLAT Gonzalo 27:59'
MENINI Joaquin 35:20'
VILA Lucas 46:36'
50:39' FURSTE Moritz
57:39' RUHR Christopher
Gonzalo Peillat scores hat-trick as Argentina shock 2-time defending champions Germany
Argentinian players celebrate a goal against Germany (AFP)
Gonzalo Peillat was immaculate with his penalty corners.
A hat trick from Gonzalo Peillat powered Argentina into the men's Olympic hockey final with a stunning 5-2 upset against defending champions Germany in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.
Peillat, who opened the scoring with a drag-flick from a penalty corner midway through the first quarter, grabbed a second before the quarter ended and completed his hat trick before halftime to open up a 3-0 lead over the Germans.
All three of Peillat's goals came from penalty corners, and the 24-year-old praised his side's tactics and preparation before the game. "We watched a lot of videos (of the Germans) before this game. We had three corners in the first part of the game and then we scored three from three so it was good," he said. "It's really exciting. Now we can do it (win a gold medal). We are in the final."
Joaquin Menini and Lucas Vila added a goal each for Argentina in the third and fourth quarters before Germany's captain Moritz Furste pulled a goal back for his team 10 minutes from the end.
The Germans stepped up their intensity as they chased the game, and were rewarded in the 58th minute when Christopher Ruhr beat Argentina's goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi to cut the deficit to three goals.
The flurry, however, came too late, and the defeat consigned the Germans to a bronze medal play-off, while keeping Argentina in the hunt for their first-ever Olympic hockey gold medal.
Furste said Germany had only themselves to blame for losing control so early in the match. "We didn't play our best hockey today, that's for sure. They defended well, they scored three corners, that just can't happen. After that it was very difficult for us to come back into the game," he added.
"Once you're two or three goals down against them it's always difficult. But we believed in ourselves. We tried everything until the end, it just wasn't enough."
Argentina will meet either Belgium or Netherlands in Thursday's final.
Peillat hat trick allows Argentina men trashing Germany 5-2 for first ever Olympic gold medal game appearance
By Jawwad Qamar
Argentina reached first ever men’s Olympic field hockey final beating the 2008 and 2012 gold medalist Germany with shocking ease thanks to the prowess of their penalty corner striker Gonzalo Peillat and the acrobatics of veteran goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi.
Peillat went 3 for 3 on penalty corners with his powerful drag flicks, high and low to the left, giving almost no chance to the German custodian, Nicolas Jacobi, in the first half. Two of Peillat’s goals came four minutes apart in the first quarter and the third in the 28th minute.
Joaquin Menini added another goal for Los Leones six minutes into the third quarter on a diving deflection for a 4-0 lead and Lucas Vila made it 5-0 two minutes into the final quarter knowing very well that no lead is good enough against the Germans. They found that out last Thursday in their pool match when the Germans tied the game 4-4 in the dying seconds. And, how can one forget the German comeback against New Zealand in the quarterfinals on Sunday when they scored two goals in the last minute to snatch a stunning victory.
While Vivaldi was not really tested by the Germans in the first half facing only two shots, the Germans turned it on in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter, peppering him with 12 shots but he did everything except stand on his head to keep the ball out.
After being denied on five penalty corner attempts, German captain Moritz Furste got one goal back on a penalty stroke in the 51st minute with Jacobi pulled out for extra field player and Christopher Ruhr added one more in the 58th minute – as they say, too little too late.
Argentina will face Belgium on Thursday afternoon for the gold medal. Belgium beat the their neighbor and another power house, the Netherlands 3-1 in the other very entertaining semifinal on goals by Jerome Truyens, John-John Dohmen and Florent van Aubel while Mink van der Weerden scored for the Dutch.
The two finalists from the 2012 London Olympics, Germany and the Netherlands will play for the bronze medal Thursday morning. Could this be a start of new world order in men’s field hockey?
Stats Speak: Los Leones Gonzalo Peillat is 9th player to score hat trick in Olympics Hockey semi finals
By B.G.Joshi (Sehore-Bhopal, India)
In 11th appearances Los Leones (Argentina) have entered in maiden final of Olympic Hockey history.
Argentina beat reigning Olympic Champions mighty Germany by 5-2 in first semi finals in Rio. Since the inception of hockey in Olympics, nine players have registered hat trick in semi final to win the match. Details are:
Player-who scored HT
Balbir Singh Senior
Taco van den Honert
Roderick Weusthof,Billy Bakker
Fuchs laments missed German chances
Florian Fuchs denied by Juan Vivaldi. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek
Florian Fuchs says things just didn’t fall Germany’s way today as their reign as Olympic gold medalists ended after an eight-year reign in a 5-2 result against Argentina.
“It’s very disappointing right now. It’s tough, 5-2 sounds really, really bad. I think we had many goal-scoring opportunities which didn’t fall for us today. The goalkeeper [Juan Vivaldi] saved them all.
“They did what they can do best and that’s on a really high level, score goals, be efficient and play well in the defence.”
Gonzalo Peillat gave Argentina the perfect start with three goals from three corner chances and they never looked back, Joaquin Menini and Lucas Vila adding the others before Germany got two back in the closing stages.
Fuchs said of Peillat: “That’s their strength, to gain penalty corners and then convert them into goals. He’s a world-class striker, no doubt about it.
“It’s also a great day for him scoring three out of three in the beginning. That’s not usual. Even a world class penalty flicker probably doesn’t score so many.”
Peillat, meanwhile, said his side now have the belief to go all the way in the competition.
“It’s really exciting. Now we can do it [win a gold medal]. We are in the final. We have to think about all the things we did to arrive to this part of the tournament.”
“We watched a lot of videos of the Germans before this game. We had three corners in the first part of the game and then we scored three-from-three so it was good, happy.”
EuroHockey media release
Mazzilli's premonition of Menini's goal
Picture: Koen Suyk
In addition to one of the most enviable skill sets in the world game, Agustin Mazzilli also appears to have the gift of premonition in his array of talents.
‘El Pibe’ produced some wonder moments in Argentina’s incredible 5-2 win over Germany, ending their eight year reign as European champions.
In so doing, they become the first side from the Americas to be guaranteed an Olympic men’s hockey medal since the USA team in 1932.
Joaquin Menini scored the fourth goal. New Oranje-Rood signing Mazzilli had told Menini earlier in the day that he would score with him setting up the chance.
And it played out exactly that way with Mazzilli dummying a shot before lifting the ball over Nico Jacobi and into the path of the forward to score.
“Agustin told me before the match that I was going to score,” Menini said. “He told me he was going to pass me the ball to score the goal. He predicted it. We have played a long time together so we have a connection. But this is crazy. We knew we could do something like this but this is crazy.”
Mazzilli, meanwhile, said it was simply a matter of faith in his team mate who has been playing really well in the tournament.
“Yeah, he is a magnificent player and I knew he was going to score because he is always in the right place,” Mazzilli said. “He won the corners for Gonzalo; so I am happy for him but I am also happy for the team if Gonzalo scores all the goals so long as we win.”
New Mannheimer signing Gonzalo Peillat scored three first half corners to set the ball rolling before Menini and Real Club de Polo’s Lucas Vila made it 5-0. Germany could not summon a comeback like the quarter-final and will now contest Thursday’s bronze medal match.
Euro Hockey League media release
Argentina's one-on-one battles key says Hauke
Tobias Hauke pin-pointed one-on-one battles as the area where Germany’s Olympic men’s semi-final was won and lost as Argentina ran up a 5-2 win, guaranteeing them their first ever men’s medal.
Speaking afterwards, the Harvestehuder man said it was an incredibly disappointing performance as they fell 3-0 down at half-time to a trio of penalty corner flicks.
Joaquin Menini and Lucas Vila extended the advantage in the second before Germany rallied in the closing minutes with two goals but too late to affect the outcome.
“If you are in an Olympic semi-final, you have trained four years really hard for this to be in these big games; if a game goes like this, it’s really disappointing.
“Today, we were not tough enough in the one-on-one situations – offensively and defensively – and got three really soft corners and scored three out of three which is not normal.
“Then, against a team like Argentina who sit 10 metres behind the middle line, it is really tough to get back into the game. We took too long to find a solution against them.”
Even when it was 4-0, there was belief among some in the stands that Germany could come back following their exploits earlier in the competition.
But Hauke said it is “difficult to know” when to make the decision to go all out attack.
“A few days ago, you saw that things can happen really quickly. We probably thought it would be too hard if we got another goal against us but then the fifth goal came and it was too late. We can’t do it every day!
“They made a really good tactic to sit deep, meaning we didn’t have space in the midfield and striker line. They were aggressive in defence and won a lot of one-against-one moments.
They are now destined for the bronze medal match on Thursday: “We lost today but have another final on Thursday. It’s a big chance to get a medal from the Olympic Games and that’s what we have to think about from tonight. For sure, we are disappointed but we want to get a medal.”
For Argentina’s Lucas Rey, the feeling was very much the opposite as he celebrated a famous day for Los Leones.
“I cannot be more happy. It was our dream to play for a final. We expected a close match, a very tough game. But with Gonzalo on corners, we got the lead early.
“I think it’s the biggest result in Argentina hockey history for men. It’s amazing. The fans push you when you have no energy any more; they push you and you keep on going.”
Euro Hockey League media release
Belgium reach their first Olympic final
Belgium celebrate John-John Dohmen's goal. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek/EHF
Belgium advanced to their first ever Olympic men’s hockey final as they produced a counter-attack masterclass to defeat the Netherlands 3-1.
They won a medal all the way back in 1920 when they hosted the tournament in Antwerp but have not been on the podium since. They will face an Argentina side who also have never been through to the decider, meaning there will be a new champion crowned on Thursday.
Belgium took a 2-1 lead into half-time thanks to goals from Jerome Truyens and John-John Dohmen. The former latched onto a penalty corner rebound after Tom Boon’s drag was repelled.
Three minutes later, Cedric Charlier did brilliantly to catch a high ball on the edge of the circle. His initial route to goal was blocked as he slipped but he spotted John-John Dohmen arriving at the right post and he squared the ball perfectly for the captain to slide onto.
The Netherlands, though, were not ready to capitulate and had their foothold in the game before the break when Mink van der Weerden scored his ninth goal of the competition from a penalty corner flick.
Indeed, he had two other efforts denied by the impressive Vincent Vanasch in the first half, showing the threat that the Dutch always posed. He also kept out what was thrown at him in the third quarter while the Belgians looked more dangerous in attacks.
Gauthier Boccard’s surging run set up Simon Gougnard but his sweep-shot arrowed just wide of the left post from a big moment. It left the game on a knife-edge going into the final quarter with just one goal in the difference.
33 seconds in the final quarter, Belgium extended that margin with another lovely move, Florent van Aubel and Thomas Briels exchanging passes with the former on hand to tip-in at the neat post for 3-1.
From there, they game flashed from end to end; in one direction, Vanasch brilliantly denied Rogier Hofman – at the other, Manu Stockbroekx was bursting through for Dockier to almost set up another goal.
EuroHockey media release
Dohmen hails perfect Belgian performance
John-John Dohmen hailed an “historic night” as Belgium set up a new-look men’s Olympic final with Argentina as they saw off the Netherlands to reach the decider for the first time in their history.
Speaking about the game, the Red Lions captain said: “We played an amazing game. I don’t think we have ever beaten the Dutch in a tournament game.
“But now we are playing the perfect tournament of our lives at the right moment at the Olympics. We gave so many sacrifices to arrive here ready for this and it’s so hard to believe what we have done, losing only one game in seven and now we want more!”
Asked what was the difference between this performance and all their other games against the Dutch, he added: “Just the belief. We had more belief and confidence in our team than them and maybe they under-estimated us a little. We just believe in our group and what we can do. Everybody was amazing.”
They now look forward to a final date with Argentina on Thursday afternoon, meeting another team who has broken out of the pack to contest the final for the first time.
Dohmen has been impressed by them and says they, too, played the “perfect game” in their semi-final victory over Argentina.
“I think this is the two best teams; they have a really good penalty corner. Normally, we are better but we will see what happens and you never know what happens in a final of the Olympics. In the past, the final has always been very close when I watched on the television; now, I will play one – I can’t believe it!
“For my team, gold would be the perfect reward. We are training so hard for so many years, coming from nowhere.
“Ten years ago, we were nowhere in the world ranking, qualifying for Beijing with a miracle. Now, we have grown up and given so much. It’s so beautiful what we are doing and the gold would be perfect.”
Euro Hockey League media release
Women's field hockey semifinal preview
By Hayley Tafuro
Previewing the two semifinal matchups of women's field hockey in Rio.
Netherlands vs. Germany
Kicking off the women’s field hockey semifinal round is a matchup between these two teams.
In pouring rain and rough wind, the Netherlands met Argentina in what was a rematch of London’s gold medal match. Once again, the Netherlands came out on top 3-2, holding off a late run from Argentina.
The Netherlands got a balanced scoring effort from its offense, which surprisingly didn’t include team captain Maartje Paumen this time around.
That could be threatening for Germany.
However, the Germans are fresh off of a game that they never trailed in and did a strong job of keeping control of the game over a gritty United States team.
Germany is hungry, but the Dutch have a poise about them that is unparalleled in this tournament. They know what it’s like to defend a gold medal; in fact they’re looking for their third consecutive now. It wouldn’t be a surprise for the favorites to take the victory and head to another gold medal match.
New Zealand vs. Great Britain
Both of these teams are looking for something to prove.
Great Britain, the defending bronze medalists, is hoping to walk away from the Olympics with a better finish this time around.
New Zealand, on the other hand, is on a quest for its first Olympic medal. The Black Sticks had an impressive 4-2 win over Australia to send them to the semifinals. According to team captain Kayla Whitelock, they are just starting to click.
This could be bad news for Team GB, but the undefeated squad has been playing some of its best hockey ever, not to mention at the right time.
Behind the dominant force in goal Maddie Hinch, Great Britain will look to go at New Zealand early just like it did to Spain in the quarterfinal round.
The losers of each match will still move on for a shot at the bronze medal and a place on the podium.
NZ Women hunting redemption in Rio
The New Zealand Women are looking to erase some demons from the London 2012 Olympics when they battle Great Britain in tomorrow’s semi final in Rio.
Captain Kayla Whitelock doesn't like to talk about the London Games, where they were beaten in the bronze medal match by Great Britain, while Gemma Flynn remembers a ‘deep, sharp pain’ that lasted for a few months.
With the Kiwis on the edge of glory in Rio, the drive for redemption among the senior players provides an extra motivator
Six member of the current team were present on that fateful day at the River Bank Arena four years ago, when New Zealand came close to a significant upset against the Dutch. They led the reigning Olympic champions twice, only to lose in a penalty shoot-out after extra time.
The Women now face Great Britain in the first semi final at 8:00am Thursday morning (NZ time) with a chance to make amends for 2012. The game will be broadcast live in New Zealand on SKY Sport 3.
“I think it is driving them, the hurt that they have had,” said coach Mark Hager.
“For Gemma and Kayla especially, they had the experience of being in Beijing (finished 12th) and then fourth in London with the agonising finish. There are a few players in this team that have experienced the hurt and hopefully that will help us going forward.”
For Flynn, it was a turning point. She was already an established member of the team – having made her debut in 2008, but London was a reminder of the cruel reality of top level sport.
“We were quite hurt for a while – you would wake up in the middle of the night and think ‘if only’ or ‘what more could I have done’, said Flynn.
“It lasted for a few months... you had that deep, sharp pain thinking it could have been so different for us and our sport.”
“It's a hard concept to get your head around but that is what brings you back because you want to do better the next time. Hopefully this time we can turn it round because that memory is still deeply ingrained for some of us.”
Whitelock, who had also experienced the sixth placed finish in Athens in 2004, has a similar tale when she recalls 2012, admitting the experience created a strong push to return after the birth of her first child last year.
“It's tough to think about sometimes,” said Whitelock.
“It was bittersweet and that is probably why I am here today. That semi final was probably the best we have ever played so to lose on a shoot-out was tough. We were probably mentally and physically drained after that but we had to back it up the next day [for the bronze medal match.]
“The memories are still there and we need to keep pushing for that level every time we step out onto the field.”
So far, the signs are good. There is a confident vibe throughout this New Zealand side, who have been clinical on attack and committed and compact defensively.
After a slow start, the 4-2 quarter final victory against Australia was ruthlessly efficient, perfect preparation ahead of the challenge against the unbeaten British side.
“We have been building and the best is yet to come,” said Flynn.
“Our team has come together and we are sticking to our structures a lot more. There is no one person winning it for us. We are really confident and knowing we should be here. Our approach is - bring it on!.”
“We can’t get too carried away,” added Hager.
“Last time we got into this position we went home with nothing, so we need to do better this time.”
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Hard work paying dividends for Kerry and his team
Danny Kerry and Susie Townsend share a joke after the win over Spain
Great Britain continued their impeccable run at the Olympic Games by making it six of the best against Spain in the quarter finals. Waiting for them in the semi-finals will be New Zealand in what is a repeat of the bronze medal match at London 2012.
Great Britain’s first half performance in the quarter final simply blew Spain away. Three goals in the opening half an hour put them in a commanding position and although the Redsticks came back into the contest in the second half the damage was done. It was a display so impressive that Head Coach Danny Kerry, a man well known for the straightest of poker faces praised his charges in the post match reaction, before returning to the perfectionist who has made Great Britain one of the feared sides in this competition:
“It’s the quarter-finals of an Olympic Games, it’s a do or die match against a side who have a lot of variation in how they get the ball out at the back. The reality is in the first half we absolutely creamed them and then the second half it gets a bit wobbly. That’s high performance sport and it’s just whether you find a way through that.” he added “As much as I’d love to play an entire game the way we did in the first half the reality is sport doesn’t work like that and you have to find a way. I’m very proud. Our defence was strong when it needed to be and we were just superb in the first half.”
Kerry’s side have built momentum as the tournament has gone on; putting behind them the disappointment of a seemingly below par Hockey Champions Trophy just weeks ahead of Rio. From the outside looking in, fifth out of six did not bode well for the greatest show on earth in Brazil. In truth, Kerry was never worried:
“I’ve been doing this job for 11 years and you don’t want to win Champions Trophies before Olympic Games. You want to identify little areas. We also had four players coming back from injury and they were very ring rusty. We’ve changed that and worked hard on that. And it just creates that bit of impetus.” he adds “If you do well at a Champions Trophy you don’t perhaps work as you should. We worked hard, we had a good training block and it’s paying dividends.”
Having swept aside Spain in the quarter finals, Great Britain’s path to the gold medal match is blocked by New Zealand. The Blacksticks are on a real high after dumping their Oceania rivals Australia out in the last round. Kerry is all too aware of their strengths:
“New Zealand are a very fast side. They’ve got a lot of pace and a lot of good goalscorers and it will be a hell of a game.”
Great Britain’s record in the Olympics against the Kiwis is played 3 won 3, including of course that memorable bronze medal victory in London. There is no doubt, however that this one will be a very close battle with nothing taken for granted on either side.
Great Britain Hockey media release
How former national women hockey captain's Olympic dream came true
By Natasha Raheel
Rabia poses for a picture while on duty as a volunteer at the Rio Olympics in Brazil. PHOTO COURTESY: RABIA QADIR
KARACHI: While Pakistan's former national women’s hockey captain Rabia Qadir was never able to realise her dream of featuring at an Olympic event, she is fulfilling her ambition of being part of the Games by volunteering at this year’s mega event in Rio.
Rabia, who began her hockey career in 2003 and represented Pakistan at the Asian Games qualifiers in Malaysia, lamented the state of women’s hockey in Pakistan, and opined that volunteering was the only way for a female hockey player to be part of the Games.
“I knew it before and I know it now as well that it would take the Pakistan women’s hockey decades to be in a position to qualify for the Olympics, therefore for me to be able to fulfil my dream [of being part of the Games], this was the only way,” Rabia told The Express Tribune from Brazil as soon as she got done with her volunteer duties for the day at the rugby stadium at Olympics.
The 31-year-old, who applied for the volunteer programme through the International Olympic Committee’s global portal in 2013, lamented Pakistan’s poor run at this year’s Olympics. “It’s sad because by the time I got some free time from daily duties, I realised all the Pakistani athletes were already out of the events.”
She further added that sporting federations in Pakistan lack ambition and view the Olympics as a vacation for themselves.
“Our sports culture is twisted; and now seeing top athletes here [at Rio], I strongly feel we need to change the system,” she rued. “Our Pakistani federations only count on wild card entries. That’s not enough.”
Rabia also revealed that the threat of the Zika virus made her think twice about travelling to Brazil but, in the end, she decided to go. “If it wasn’t now, I don’t think I would’ve ever tried again. I was a little scared, of course. But there are safe zones here and we’ve been given these lotions to apply at all times. So it’s not that bad,” she concluded.
Rabia saw the opening ceremony while fulfilling her duties on August 5 and feels that the experience will stay with her for life, but she may not be attending the closing ceremony as she will be returning by August 22.
The Express Tribune
Indian hockey players forced to skip meal, only fed peanuts at Independence Day function
Indian men's hockey team
The event was organised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and was attended by the two hockey teams who were already out of the competition.
Nothing seems to be going right for the country's Olympic contingent currently in Rio de Janeiro as a group of athletes attending an Independence Day function at the Indian Embassy were only fed "peanuts" after being forced to skip their dinner.
The event was organised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and was attended by the two hockey teams who were already out of the competition. The players had cancelled their dinner at the Games Village expecting a full-course meal.
Asked to confirm, Indian chef de mission Rakesh Gupta smiled and said,"You please talk to the hockey players, they would say it better. I just made a flying visit and returned to be on time for the boxing bout of Vikas Krishan." A member of the hockey team was fuming.
"It was all about peanuts. We expected a dinner at least but what they served was beer and some soft drinks, and peanuts," a member of the hockey team fumed.
"We had cancelled our dinner at the Games Village and came all the way. It's really disappointing," he said as they were taken in two buses to the venue.
Firstly, the celebration of the 70th Independence Day hosted by the Embassy of India in Brazil and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport (MYAS) became a low-key affair as the timing clashed with many key events last evening.
While the media entourage was busy covering the badminton and boxing matches, among the players only from the men's and women's hockey teams could make the function at the Olympian Reunion Centre at the Clube de Regatas do Flamengo near the rowing venue in Lagoa in Copacabana.
The invitation had come from the office of Rajiv Yadav secretary (sports) department of sports, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports Government India. "It's a special day (I-Day) in our life. I also congratulate our players are doing a job for our nation. Good luck to the Indian team for the remaining events. Many in last eight of the competition.
"Victory at this level depends on several factors, you are included, only matter of small things. Our athletes in top eight, we must congratulate them for that," Yadav said in his welcome speech.
"I congratulate all of them for the superlative performances they have put in. You're the pride of our nation. This is just a process. You have come close, Dipa created history, Abhinav came fourth. There will be many more. All our best wishes to our athletes," Sunil Lal ambassador of India in Brazil said to a round of applause from the athletes, little knowing that what is in offer for them.
Pawandeep Singh Kohli, the Chief Medical Officer for the Indian contingent present at the reception and also confirmed that there was no proper food available. "They all were asking me about the food... But the function was fine," Kohli said.
Orange top women’s league as Butali remain unshaken in hockey
By Elizabeth Mburugu
Hockey-Orange vs Kenyatta University Orange Telkom celebrate after scoring against Kenyatta University when they played premier ladies at Citypark on 02/07/2016. Orange scored 10-0. PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE
Defending champions Telkom Orange returned to the peak of the Kenya Hockey Union Women’s League standings following their 6-1 conquest over United States International University of Africa (USIU-A) Spartans.
The 18-time winners now top the log with seven points from two wins and a draw. Hot on their heels are debutants Amira Sailors who are tied on points with Orange but forced into second place due to their inferior goal difference.
Orange have scored a total of 18 goals and conceded three while the Sailors scored 10 and maintained a clean sheet in their three encounters. Orange Coach Josephine Ataro told Feverpitch that they intend to maintain consistency as they seek to retain their crown.
"The league is tightly contested and I believe we need to be consistent to defend our trophy. We are every team’s target because they want to snatch the crown hence the need to fight harder,” Ataro said.
Last season’s first runners up, Sliders, are third with six points from two matches and have scored an impressive 17 goals in their two outings. Sliders are yet to concede a goal and together with Sailors pose a major threat to Orange’s ambitions of a record 19th title.
Strathmore University Scorpions are fourth with four points from two matches while Daystar University lead from the wrong end of the table without a point and have soaked in 13 goals from three unsuccessful outings.
In the men’s premier league, Pool B is stiffly contested with three clubs tying on seven point and only goals making a difference between them. Kenya College of Accountancy University (KCAU) top with a five-goal difference following their 4-0 drubbing of Parkroad. Greensharks and newcomers Chase Sailors come in second and third places with a four and three goal difference respectively.
Both teams were on a winning spree at the weekend, with Sharks thumping Wazalendo 2-0 while Chase walloped Western Jaguars by the same margin. Former champions Kenya Police moved three places up to fourth thanks to their 4-0 victory against Jaguars.
In Group A, champions Butali Sugar Warriors top the pool with nine points despite not being in action at the weekend.
The reigning kings have won all their matches impressively as they seek to win their third title in a row. USIU-A men are second two points adrift of the leaders while Strathmore Gladiators close the top three with four points.
The battle for a premier league promotion has intensified in the men’s second division tier, with three clubs tying on points. Wazalendo Youth, Parkroad Tigers and Technical University of Kenya are in first, second and third places in that order on nine points but separated by the goal difference.
The Standard Online
UniKL defender Najmi is fine with double duty
by Aftar Singh
File photo shows Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) skipper and defender Muhd Najmi Farizal Jazlan in action.
KUALA LUMPUR: Muhd Najmi Farizal Jazlan is ready to shoulder double duty for Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in the Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).
The 21-year-old defender will take on the roles of skipper and penalty corner specialist when UniKL begin their Premier Division campaign against Sapura at the Tun Razak Hockey Stadium on Friday.
He will go into the Premier Division campaign on a high, having scored 11 penalty corner goals in eight matches on the way to helping home state Perlis finish as runners-up to eventual champions Penang in the Sukma in Kuching, Sarawak, last month.
The last few months have been memorable for him.
“First, I received a national call-up in January. Then, in June, I went on a playing tour of Japan.
“Now, I’ve been given the honour of captaining UniKL ... which is a surprise really as I only joined UniKL last year.
“I want to thank coach A. Arulselvaraj for having faith in me,” said Najmi, who takes over the skipper’s role from former international defender Baljit Singh Charun.
“It’s a big responsibility, but I hope to carry out my duties well. I also want to deliver goals from penalty corner set pieces in the MHL as it would help me win a place for the Asian Champions Trophy (in Kuantan in October).”
UniKL, who finished bottom of the six-team Premier Division last year, hope to put up a stronger challenge this time as they have signed up six foreign players.
The six are Robert Luke Madeley, Daragh James Walsh, goalkeeper James Ruairi Carr (all from Ireland); Adrian Coster (Australia); Muhammad Toseeq Arshad (Pakistan); and Patrick Neil Schultz (Germany).
Toseeq and Robert are the other penalty corner flickers in the team.
The Star of Malaysia
Collegiate win hockey challenge
SPAR extending sponsorship
Collegiate were crowned the inaugural champions in South Africa's SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge when they defeated Hudson Park in an exciting final at Woodridge on Saturday.
In a day of entertaining hockey that saw five teams vying for the honours, PE Coastal winners Collegiate and East London Coastal champions Hudson Park qualified for the final.
Even though Hudson Park lost their final match against EL Inland champions Kingsridge 2-0 they had done enough to contest the final.
The final, played over 15 minutes in each half, was a thrilling encounter, with both sides having their chances to break the deadlock before it ended 0-0 after full time.
This resulted in a three-player shootout which Collegiate took 3-1 after Hudson Park missed their second shot.
That miss gave the PE team a 2-1 advantage, and when they slotted their third goal they took an unassailable lead.
The inaugural tournament involved about 50 schools spread across five regions and the good news for the players is that SPAR have extended their sponsorship to next year.
“I can say to all of you that this has not been a one-hit wonder,” SPAR Eastern Cape promotions and advertising manager Wendy Westraadt said at the prize-giving ceremony.
“We will be back next year doing it all over again.”
She said the aim was to grow the tournament as the group were delighted with their involvement.
“We came on board almost to see how it went. We wanted to be involved with schools hockey and to grow up-and-coming sportswomen.
“So we dipped our toes in and have been blown away by the support and reception from the schools. The vibe is so great.”
Collegiate coach Andrew Beynon said the players had thoroughly enjoyed the competition.
“It is just so great to have a major corporate supporting schoolgirl hockey and to be involved in a tournament like this,” he said.
“We have had a long season and Saturday was quite tough, playing five matches in the end, but it was a lovely way to end the season.”
The concept was started in Kwa-Zulu-Natal by former SA women’s team manager Les Galloway, now the Challenge’s national director.
She called the inaugural Eastern Cape tournament an overwhelming success.
“It has worked from a players’ point of view where they enjoyed interaction with teams they don’t normally play.
“Then you come into a final like today which sees sides from Border, EP and South Western Districts all competing against each other.”
Galloway was confident the tournament would grow in the future.
“This was the first year and nobody really knew what it was about. Now that they’ve heard about it, I know more teams will want to be involved.”
She paid tribute to SPAR for their commitment to the initiative.
“This would not happen without them. They come in with the family feel and the aim of supporting women in sport.”
Regional tournament director Peter Wilson said Galloway’s role should not be forgotten.
“It’s an amazing concept and I think she has made an outstanding contribution. She has been the driving force in spreading the concept to the Eastern and Western Cape and must be congratulated.”
Motorcyclists run amok at Karachi Hockey stadium
By Nabil Tahir
Express News screengrab
KARACHI: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has decided to take action against the management of a televised programme that was organised at the Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium if it is proved that the astro-turf there has been damaged.
An official of PHF, who was involved in the recently concluded Pakistan Cup 9-a-Side Hockey Tournament, told The Express Tribune that the programme was run after the closing ceremony of the tournament and no one was allowed to go in the field area of the turf, which is also called the blue area.
“They were clearly told that they cannot do anything on the field, not even walk on it, while the pink area was allowed for camera cranes only,” said the official. “However, they rode motorbikes on the pink area, which could have damaged the turf.”
He added that the PHF, after surveying the turf, will take action against the management of the program for damaging the Rs57.1 million turf, which was imported from the Netherlands by the Sindh Government.
The turf, which was inaugurated on December 25 last year with the 62nd Hockey National Championship organised as its inaugural tournament, was the fourth synthetic turf that has been laid at the Hockey Club of Pakistan during the last 37 years. The first was laid in 1979 ahead of the second PIA Champions Trophy that took place the following year.
The Express Tribune