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News for 13 July 2017

All the news for Thursday 13 July 2017

Japan’s Cherry Blossoms surprise England on Day 5 in Johannesburg

Japan upset the FIH Hero World Rankings with victory over England on Day 5. Copyright: FIH / Getty Images

Johannesburg, South Africa: The quarter-final line-up in the women’s competition at the Hockey World League Semi-Final currently being played in South Africa is beginning to take shape, with only two places left to fight for at the end of Day 5 at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand.

India (FIH Hero World Ranking: 12) sealed their place in the quarter-finals with a narrow 1-0 Pool B victory over Chile (WR: 20), a result which leaves the South Americans’ own dreams of achieving qualification for the Hockey World Cup 2018 and Hockey World League Final very much in the balance. Preeti Dubey’s 38th minute field goal proved to be enough to seal the win for India, who will now focus on finishing as high up the pool standings as possible in order to get the best outcome in the cross-over quarter-finals.  

“We are happy that we won and have made the quarter-finals”, said India captain Rani after the match. “It was not our best game today and they had some good chances but they didn’t equalise. All that matters was the three points so I’m delighted.”

India join USA and Argentina as the guaranteed quarter-finalists from Pool B, although the final pool placement is yet to be decided. With a first place finish setting up a match against the team that finishes fourth in Pool A, there is plenty still to play for.

Chile now face a do-or-die clash with South Africa (WR: 13) - who fell to a narrow 3-1 defeat against Argentina (WR: 3) in the evening match - in their final Pool B match, although not even a victory would guarantee Las Diablas a place in the quarter-finals as they would still need to wait for the outcome of South Africa’s final pool match against USA on 16th July. For South Africa, a draw against Chile would being good enough to guarantee a quarter-final berth thanks in part to the point they secured against India in their opening day draw.

A full house watched South Africa take on illustrious Argentina in the final match of the day, and the home fans were thrilled to see the hosts take the lead just before half time thanks to Bernie Coston’s field goal. Argentina drew level when Noel Barrionuevo netted from the penalty spot before ferocious strikes from Delfina Merino and Florencia Habif gave Las Leonas a win that moves them level with USA at the top of Pool B.

Argentina goalscorer Delfina Merino said: “We had to work really hard to get back into the game, but I’m pleased with the victory and we are in a very good position here. The crowd was amazing, it was such a good atmosphere.”

In Pool A, Ireland (WR: 15) secured their place in the quarter-finals with a battling 2-0 victory against Poland (WR: 18), with Japan (WR: 11) upsetting the world rankings with a surprise 1-0 win over England (WR: 2). The Green Army remain unbeaten here in Johannesburg, having previously drawn with both Japan and Germany ahead of their triumph against Poland, which takes them onto five points.

Nikki Evans and Gill Pinder scored the all-important goals, with Pinder’s thunderous strike into the top right corner from distance being arguably the goal of the day.

“It wasn’t the best performance but we will take it”, said Ireland Head Coach Graham Shaw. “There is a lot of pressure in these games and the most important thing is we got the win and secured the quarter-final place. We can rest now and look forward to playing England on Sunday.”

For Poland, the defeat was a big blow to their own chances of reaching the event quarter-finals, with the team sitting bottom of Pool A with just one match remaining.

Japan’s victory over England came courtesy of a Mami Karino’s close range finish in the third minute, with the Cherry Blossoms producing a monumental defensive performance against the top ranked team in the competition. England dominated the vast majority of the match but could not find a way past Japan goalkeeper Megumi Kageyama, who made numerous world class saves as Japan enjoyed one of their most notable results in recent years.

“We had to do a lot of defending today, but we managed to hold on”, said delighted Cherry Blossoms captain Shihori Oikawa. “We want to qualify for the World Cup, something which would make us all proud.”

Despite the loss, England still have two Pool A matches to play in order to get the solitary point needed to secure their place in the quarter-finals, with the currently unbeaten Germany and Ireland being their upcoming opponents.

On Thursday 13 July, the third day of play in the men’s competition will take place, with eight teams continuing their drive to secure their respective places in the quarter-finals. The first match of the day sees Ireland playing Egypt at 1200 South African Standard Time (UTC +2), with the Egyptians needing a win to move away from the bottom of the Pool B standings. At 1400, the bottom two teams in Pool A meet with France playing Japan, a match followed by another Pool A contest as Spain and Australia - both winners in their opening matches - in action at 1600. Home favourites South Africa take on Germany at 1800, with a packed stadium expected as the host nation look to claim their first win of the competition against the Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallists.

FIH site

England frustrated in defeat to Japan

Townsend in action against Japan

A strike from Mami Karino saw Japan to a 1-0 win over England in their Hockey World League Semi-Final clash in Johannesburg.

England dominated possession and created a number of chances but weren’t able to find a way through Japan’s stubborn defence.

Of their twelve efforts England found the target five times but found Megumi Kageyama in fine form in the Japan goal whose late saves saw her side over the line.

Reflecting on the match head coach Danny Kerry said: "Japan started quicker than us and it was a big contrast to playing a slow game against Poland than to Japan's game.

"In the second half we controlled the game and Japan had little to no opportunity whilst we had a number of chances which just didn't quite fall right for us.

"Importantly we played well in the second half and we need to focus on that rather than the result."

It was Japan who carved out the first attempt of the match and with it raced into the lead in just the third minute. From the left wing a cross was crashed across goal causing confusion in defence as Karino made no mistake from close range.

England responded well to the setback and were soon looking at home, dominating possession and creating chances. Sarah Haycroft, making her 50th international appearance, struck into the circle but the ball just evaded both Danson and Bray in front of goal before Jo Hunter’s effort was smothered by the Japanese goalkeeper.

In the second quarter Japan broke out and threatened to extend their lead, but Hinch was quickly off her line and down to save well. England pushed to level but despite their best efforts weren’t able to create a clear cut chance ahead of the half time break.

Japan looked refreshed after the interval and were soon exerting some pressure of their own but England soon found their rhythm in the third quarter.

The final fifteen minutes was all England as they threw everything at the Japanese defence. Lily Owsley danced past two defenders and cut inside before firing wide while Danson’s reverse stick strike was tipped over the bar by the Japanese goalkeeper.

England forced two late penalty corners while Laura Unsworth also had a shot shaved as Japan dug deep and held firm to see out the remaining minutes and claim the win.

Next up for England are Germany which you can see live on BT Sport from 5pm on Friday.

England starting XI: Maddie Hinch (GK), Laura Unsworth, Hollie Webb, Giselle Ansley, Sarah Haycroft, Susannah Townsend, Emily Defroand, Anna Toman, Nicola White, Alex Danson (C), Sophie Bray

Subs: Amy Tennant (GK), Zoe Shipperley, Lily Owsley, Jo Hunter, Hannah Martin, Shona McCallin, Grace Balsdon

England Hockey Board Media release

Japan stun England 'golden girls'

JOHANNESBURG: Japan stunned the England "golden girls" 1-0 in Johannesburg on Wednesday with Mami Karino scoring an early goal in a Women's Hockey World League tournament matchday 3 thriller.

England, ranked second in the world and nine places above Japan, included a number of the stars who helped Great Britain win gold at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

But the favourites were rattled at the University of the Witwatersrand hockey stadium when they conceded an avoidable goal just three minutes into the initial quarter.

Goalkeeper Maddie Hinch and Giselle Ansley got into a muddle and failed to cut off a low cross, leaving Karino to calmly tap the ball into the net.

England responded by making six circle penetrations inside eight minutes of the Pool A match beginning and could have scored three times.

The failure of the English to take their chances triggered frustrations and 32-year-old superstar Alex Danson exchanged heated words with one of the umpires.

Japan, who last beat England 11 years ago, adopted a direct approach, playing long balls to try and ease the pressure as they booked a quarter-finals spot with a match to spare.

England, who opened with a 3-0 win over Poland, were not at their best, particularly during the third quarter, committing many basic errors and conceding turnovers.

Despite constant pressure from the English it took 55 minutes before they forced a short corner after the ball came off a Japanese shinpad.

They got a second short corner almost immediately, this time for a foot offence, but Japan held firm with goalkeeper Megumi Kageyama making a string of superb saves.

Recently recruited Australia-born Japan coach Anthony Farry hailed the "Cherry Blossoms" after the biggest upset so far in the Johannesburg tournament.

"Our defence did really well to keep England out. I am taking no credit for this victory -- fantastic teamwork by a wonderful bunch of girls did the trick.

"We were lucky to score early and now there is a need to keep our feet firmly on the ground. On another day, England could have scored a few goals."

Nicola Evans and Gillian Pinder scored to give Ireland a 2-0 win over limited Poland in the same section while Germany had a bye.

Ireland have five points, Rio bronze medalists Germany and Japan four, England three and Poland none.

England need one point from matches against already-qualified Germany and Ireland to be certain of reaching the quarter-finals.

Argentina demonstrated why they are ranked third in the world by coming from behind to overcome hosts South Africa 3-1 in a Pool B match that drew a capacity crowd.

Fierce close-range shots from captain Delfina Merino and Florencia Habif during the final quarter gave the South Americans victory and top place.

A third-quarter Pretti Dubey goal earned India a 1-0 victory over Chile -- their first of the tournament after drawing with South Africa and losing heavily to the United States.

Argentina and the United States have six points ahead of a Friday showdown, India four, South Africa one and Chile none.

South Africa and Chile square off the same day to decide who accompanies the three teams above them to the knockout phase.

The Times of India

Green Army defeat Poland to guarantee spot in QF

Stephen Findlater

Ireland’s women beat Poland 2-0 in Johannesburg this afternoon to copper-fasten a place in the quarter-finals of the Hockey World League Semi-Final with a game to spare.

Goals from Nikki Evans and Gillian Pinder proved the difference for the Green Army who kept battling away against a Poland side intent on defending deep and making things difficult for Graham Shaw’s side.

Nonetheless, Ireland got the win they needed to add to draws against higher ranked Japan and Germany to assure them of a place in the top four of Pool A. They now have three days break before meeting England in their last group game on Sunday and then play a quarter-final next Tuesday which has a direct World Cup ticket on the line.

Against Poland, Ireland started brightly with the guts of the ball against a tight-knit defence. They took the lead in just the ninth minute when the vastly experienced Chloe Watkins picked a great pass down the middle to Evans which she took on the turn, weaving inside two defenders before cracking home a backhand shot for 1-0.

Katie Mullan went very close to a second moments later while a trio of penalty corners before the quarter-time break also went a begging with Lena Tice’s rebound the pick of the chances.

Poland showed more in attack in the second quarter, looking to profit on loose passes out of the Irish defence. It made for a scrappy second quarter with no real openings of note.

Evans and Mullan started the second half in lively fashion when they robbed the last defender but the latter’s shot was tame and kicked clear by Marta Kucharska.

The Poles did win a couple of penalty corners to create their best chances, one of which saw Ayeisha McFerran get down well to deny Marlena Rybacha.

But the tie, as a contest, was put to bed by Gillian Pinder with a brilliant strike from the top of the circle, angling her shot into the roof of the net after Mullan’s run and pass had squirted back out to top-D.

Tice had to do well to block Weronika Wessolowska’s corner shot but after that, the remaining 20 minutes saw Poland launch only a tepid attempt to close the gap as Ireland got more control on the ball.

Speaking afterwards, captain Mullan said afterwards: “Absolutely delighted. We came here with Poland as our target game for three points so job done.

“We wanted to play at the intensity we played the first two games at and I think we did that in patches; other patches not so much. Maybe we left a couple of goals out there today but hopefully we can pick them up later in the tournament.”

Coach Graham Shaw concurred, adding: “It wasn’t the best performance but we will take it. There is a lot of pressure in these games and the most important thing is we got the win and secured the quarter-final place. We can rest now and look forward to playing England on Sunday.”

Ireland’s men, meanwhile, will look to emulate the women’s performance on Thursday when they meet Egypt at 11am (Irish time) with a win securing a quarter-final spot.

That game – along with all Hockey World League ties – will be broadcast live on BT Sport.

Ireland: A McFerran, N Evans, K Mullan, S McCay, L Tice, G Pinder, L Colvin, N Daly, H Matthews, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson

Subs: Y O’Byrne, E Beatty, S Loughran, R Upton, D Duke, C Watkins, G O’Flanagan

Poland: M Kucharska, A Katerla, M Wypijewksa, M Wessolowska, P Slawinska, M Rybacha, M Polewczak, N Wisniewska, W Wojtas, M Kruszynski, B Strubbe

Subs: M Zagajska, D Skoraszewska, R Michalowicz, S Tatarczuk, W Blaszyk, K Grochowalska, A Gabara

Umpires: S Sutton (USA), X Liu (CHN)

Hockey World League Semi-Final


Pool A: Ireland 2 (N Evans, G Pinder) Poland 0

rish Hockey Association media release

Thursday, Pool A: Ireland v Egypt, 11am

Irish Hockey Association media release

Preeti Dubey goal takes India to quarterfinals

Indian women registered their first win of the Hockey World League Semi-finals against Chile. Preeti Dubey scored the only goal vs Chile.

Preeti Dubey scored India’s only goal vs Chile in a FIH Hockey World league semifinal match in Johannesburg on Wednesday. (Stanislas Brochier)

Indian Women’s Hockey team secured a hard-fought 1-0 win against Chile to book their tickets for the knockout stage of the FIH Hockey World League Semi-final for women in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Preeti Dubey’s 38th minute goal was enough to get India their first win of the tournament. Their match against South Africa ended in a goalless draw and they were beaten 4-1 by USA in their previous game.

Both India and Chile looked to score early in the game. India thought they had taken the lead in the 12th minute off the penalty corner rebound. However, the goal was overturned after a video referral and the first half ended goalless.

However, India finally made a breakthrough when Pretti Dubey slotted home in the third quarter. India looked to increase their lead thereafter, but had to switch tactics after Renuka Yadav was yellow carded. They thus started the final quarter with 10 men.

Chile attacked relentlessly in the final quarter which led to some tense moments for India’s defence. They even earned back-to-back penalty corners with 5 minutes to go. But India defended well in the death, thus giving them their first win of the tournament.

India will next play Argentina on July 16 in the quarterfinals of the tournament.

Hindustan Times

Indian women beat Chile for first win

Preeti Dubey scores the match-winner

Gritty show: Captain Rani, left, celebrates with Preeti Dubey after the latter’s 38th minute goal. 

Preeti Dubey scored the match-winner as a gritty India defeated Chile 1-0 to enter the quarterfinals of the FIH Women’s Hockey World League (HWL) Semifinal, here on Wednesday.

Preeti’s 38th minute goal ensured India earned its first win in the tournament after a goalless draw against South Africa and a 4-1 loss to USA.

In the 19th minute of the second quarter, Anupa Barla brilliantly stole the ball from a Chilean player, set up a counter-attack and found Rani in the striking circle but the striker missed the post by inches.

India finally made a breakthrough when Rani and Preeti worked in tandem. The duo drove into the rival striking circle and Preeti produced the finishing touch with a quick nick to put the ball past the Chilean goalkeeper.

India mounted pressure on Chile with consistent attacks and Rani got another shot on goal, only to be denied.

Soon after, Renuka Yadav found herself on the bench with a yellow card, forcing India to start the fourth quarter with 10 players.

India will take on Argentina in its final Pool ‘B’ match on Sunday.

The results: India 1 (Preeti Dubey 38) bt Chile 0.

Ireland 2 bt Poland 0.

The Hindu

Argentina fights back for win over SA

Two goals in the last chukka for Argentina secured the victory for the third best team in the world over South Africa in the FIH World Hockey League Semi-Finals.

Argentina won 3-1 after being behind at halftime. The two goals in the last chukka were scored by captain Delfina Merino and with three minutes left Florencia Habif sealed the victory.

At halftime South Africa was leading 1-0 after a great goal from Bernie Coston with some two minutes to go in the second chukka. Coston flicked the ball into the goal-box from a perfect cross, created by Candice Manuel.

With the start of the final chukka the scores were square at 1-1 after a penalty shot from Noel Barrionuevo.

South Africa is 13th on the world rankings and Argentina 3rd.

South Africa’s next match is on Friday against Chile at 14:00. The SA men will be in action on Thursday at 18:00 against Germany.

All matches in the Hockey World League Semi-Final are played at the Wits Hockey Astro in Johannesburg. Twenty of the world’s best men and women’s national teams will take part in these Hockey World Cup 2018 qualifiers from 8 - 23 July.

Tickets for the event can be purchased online at http://hockeyworldleague.nutickets.co.za/HWL

SA Hockey Association media release

SA hockey women take fight to Argentina

by Karien Jonckheere

Celia Evans © Getty Images

The South African women’s hockey team looked like they may just pull off a massive upset by beating Argentina in their second match of the Hockey World League in Johannesburg today.

Taking on a team ranked 10 places above them in the world was always going to be a tough ask for the 13th-ranked South Africans. But they were up to the task and it was a controversially awarded penalty stroke that proved the turning point as they eventually went down 3-1.

The South Africans absorbed plenty of pressure in the frantic first 15 minutes and their defence did well to keep out several shots on goal. Most notable in defence were Celia Evans and keeper Nicole La Fleur, who ensured the scores were still level at 0-0 as the first quarter came to an end.

The South Africans were the first to earn a penalty corner, in the second quarter, but nothing came of that. It wasn’t until three minutes before the halftime break that an excellent cross from Candice Manuel saw Bernadette Coston deflecting the ball under the Argentinian keeper’s outstretched leg to give the home team a 1-0 lead.

Argentinian striker Delfina Merino admitted afterwards that coach Agustin Corradini wasn’t too pleased to be going into the break 1-0 down. “He was a little angry,” she said. “We weren’t doing the things we were supposed to be doing so we just tried to get our heads ok and do our jobs… It was a bit more complicated than what we expected,” she added.

The Argentinians showed their composure though and kept piling on the pressure in the third quarter. It was in the 41st minute that the contentious stroke was awarded – for a stick check in the circle. The South Africans sent it for a video referral, which was ultimately unsuccessful, but the decision as to whether it was intentional or prevented a certain goal was certainly debatable.

Stroke specialist Noel Barrionuevo made no mistake in slotting it past La Fleur, who went the right way but just couldn’t get down in time to prevent the equaliser.

The whole scenario seemed to rattle the South Africans a little and they conceded two more goals – one a brilliantly executed shot from Merino in the 49th minute and the other one from Florencia Habif in the 58th.

“We were really happy with the first half but the second half, some of the goals that went in were errors from our side which was disappointing because we just let it slip,” said SA captain Nicolene Terblanche afterwards.

As for the stroke decision, she added: “For us it really changed the whole game. At 1-0 up, you get a stroke against you, we were not happy with that. Then it went to 1-1 which changed things and Argentina just kept going and going. We did fight and we kept going too but that definitely changed things.”

SA coach Sheldon Rostron added: “We still have to go back and look at that footage but decisions are decisions and we’re not going to blame that for performances. I think the momentum changed and it was important for us to know how to manage the phase directly after that again. To get results against top teams like Argentina, street-smartness if what we’ve got to grow in.”

In other matches played at the Wits Astro today, Japan pulled off a massive upset in defeating England – who as the majority part of the Great Britain team claimed Olympic gold in Rio last year. The 1-0 victory was 11th-ranked Japan’s first win over England in 11 years.

Meanwhile, India claimed their first victory of the tournament in beating Chile 1-0 and Ireland claimed a comfortable 2-0 win over France to now top Pool A.


Why Hockey India is embattled on many fronts

by Mihir Vasavda

India’s dismal show at the Hockey World League semifinals in London has been overshadowed by the developments that have taken place off the field.

India’s dismal show at the Hockey World League semifinals in London has been overshadowed by the developments that have taken place off the field. First, former captain Sardar Singh was interrogated by Leeds police in connection with a sexual assault case a day after India defeated Pakistan. Former Hockey India (HI) president Narinder Batra, who now heads the International Hockey Federation (FIH) jumped to his defence and instead alleged the British MPs of Pakistan origin orchestrated it. An upset FIH forced Batra to personally apologise to Pakistani and England officials.

The issue looked settled but last week, HI raked up the issue again. They alleged that there was an attempt to fix HWL matches and then pulled out of the Hockey Pro League, a tournament that will begin in January 2019. Amidst souring relations between the Indian and world body, the national team’s performance has been swept under the carpet. Here is a look at how the events unfolded:

The World League was one of the worse tournaments India has played in the last couple of years. There was a performance review scheduled, did it take place?

As is the case after every tournament, chief coach Roelant Oltmans was asked to submit a report within 48 hours of the tournament getting over. Hockey India’s high performance director David John had told PTI that ‘tough questions’ will be asked and a review will be held in first week of July. However, it hasn’t happened till now. Instead, HI has complained to the FIH that there was an attempt to fix the India-Pakistan match. It has also attacked the England hockey federation and FIH for not ‘protecting’ the players.

The match-fixing allegation sounds serious. Is there any truth to it?

The allegations are based on reports submitted by Indian team manager Jugraj Singh and former captain Sardar Singh. The contents of their letters are similar to what former HI president Narinder Batra had posted on his Facebook page. Batra had accused the Indian-origin British girl, who has alleged that Sardar sexually assaulted her, of taking help from British-Pakistani MPs who were elected to office in the recent elections. Hockey India further added that the MPs paid the girl £5,000 to file the police complaint.

Batra is also the president of the FIH. Embarrassingly for him, he was forced to delete those posts and made to apologise to Pakistan and England officials. Even in its letter to the FIH, HI said the evidence was circumstantial. An investigation, though, has been ordered according to an unnamed FIH official, who told PTI that they will ask England to probe the match-fixing allegations and submit a report in 2-3 months.

Hockey India then pulled out of the ‘Pro League.’ Is it linked to any of this?

HI had gone out of the way to promote the newest competition from the FIH stable. So the decision to pull out was a surprise not just for the FIH but even the Indian players and coaches. It is believed that HI is unhappy with the way FIH handled the Sardar Singh issue and made Batra apologise. The recent sequence of events suggests this is an arm-twisting technique. HI used the poor ranking of the women’s team as an excuse but it makes little sense. Even then, there was no reason to withdraw the men’s team. HI have not made any official statement yet. The FIH, on the other hand, gave an uncharacteristically quick confirmation.

What is Pro League? Will Indian hockey be affected?

The Pro League is an international home-and-away tournament that will be played every weekend from January to June 2019 onwards. The top four countries will qualify for the Olympic qualifiers. The Indian officials feel there will financial implications for the FIH if they pull out and the tournament will lose some sheen. That may be true but India stand to lose more. By skipping the league, India will struggle to play quality opponents for half a year, resulting in a virtual isolation. The Hockey India League, too, will be impacted since it takes place during this period and most players will choose country over club.

Isn’t the HIL already in trouble?

There are serious concerns over the 2018 edition. The franchises are bleeding and because of the indoor World Cup, which will be played in February, several international stars might be unavailable for full season. A final decision is likely to be taken by the end of this month. Sounds like Hockey India is fighting on multiple fronts.

Yes and we haven’t even focus on the on-field part. The camp gets underway this week in Bangalore and there are many issues that need to be addressed. Several key players, including captain PR Sreejesh and defender Rupinderpal Singh, are injured while some others are going through a lean patch. To add to the mess, speculations are rife over Oltmans’ future. He is likely to meet Hockey India officials this week to thrash out issues.

Indian Express

Rosebery Women's Hockey Association celebrates 90th anniversary

Lachlan Bennett

In 1927, as workers flocked to Rosebery and the iron ore processing mill was being constructed, about 17 young women united and decided to play hockey.

Little did they know 90 years later the Rosebery Women’s Hockey Association would still be going strong and bringing joy to more than 120 member in the region.

More than 200 people will celebrated the 90th anniversary of the RWHA at a dinner at the Memorial Hall on Saturday.

President Stefanie Plazina said the fact RWHA had lasted 90 years was “an outstanding achievement for a small town like Rosebery”.

Life member Kay Williams started playing hockey when she was 11 along with her neighbour.

Fifty-nine years later, Mrs Williams still runs out onto the hockey field every weekend to play.

“I'm not ready to stand on the sidelines yet,” she said.

Theresea Jarvis played for the Shamrocks for 20 years, one of five teams currently in the RWHA.

She said the RWHA had a great community.

“You're enemies (with rival teams) when you're out on the field but everyone is friends afterwards,” she said.

Mrs Jarvis retired from hockey last year but not before passing the baton to her 17-year-old daughter Kelsi.

“It's good to play with your daughter and then retire and watch her continue on,” Mrs Jarvis said.

Kelsi has played hockey for seven years and loves the game.

“My three best friends who are all my age, we all play together,” she said.

The anniversary dinner will follow the RWHA finals.

The Advocate

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