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News for 10 September 2017

All the news for Sunday 10 September 2017

First Match: Pakistan Development Squad and Oman in 2-2 draw

In the first match of the 5-match hockey series, hosts Oman held Pakistan's Development Squad to a 2-2 draw at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex hockey ground in Muscat.

Pakistan Development Squad: Shan Irshad & Mubashar Ali
Oman: Shafi Talib & Basim

2nd match will be played on Sunday.

PHF Media release

‘Deliver and take rightful spot’: Harendra

Time to move on, says the new Indian women’s coach

All set: Harendra Singh looks forward to working with the talented group of players. 

India’s newly-appointed women’s hockey coach Harendra Singh said he expects his players to deliver and earn their “rightful places” in the national team.

Former India player Harendra is all set to take over as coach of the Indian women’s senior team for the first time in his career.

“The last few days have been incredible to say the least. The dust has settled and it’s time to move on,” Harendra wrote on his Facebook page, referring to the latest developments in Indian hockey.

Women’s national hockey coach Sjoerd Marijne was named chief coach of the Indian men’s team — a stunning decision given that the Dutchman has no prior experience of handling a senior men’s side.

Besides, World Cup-winning junior team coach Harendra was appointed High Performance Specialist coach of the senior women’s team.

Harendra said, “Taking full responsibility for the Indian women’s team is an honour. I thank all those who have placed me in this position.

“With my staff, I now look forward to working with this talented group of players.

“We will concentrate on providing the team with the best possible environment and opportunities, in return we expect our players to deliver and take their rightful spot at the top.”

Harendra represented India from 1985 to 1991, playing 43 games, before calling it quits at just 26.

“My sole objective is to share with the women’s team what I already experienced with the junior men’s team.

“I know we can walk that road again. This is not a repeat but a new journey!”

Harendra had coached the senior men’s hockey team from 2009 to 2011. He had resigned after the team performed poorly during the Azlan Shah Cup in 2011, where it finished sixth.

The Hindu

Allegations are ridiculous: Roelant Oltmans

Manuja Veerappa

BENGALURU: Former Indian men's hockey chief coach Roelant Oltmans came down heavily on Hockey India on Saturday, a day after sources in the national body told TOI that the Dutchman was shown the door as they found that he had lost interest in the team after the Rio Olympics last year and that he had left the players confused with the changes he made in the team and tactics.

Reacting to Saturday's news report, Oltmans, who is currently in Bhopal, said: "The allegations made against me are ridiculous. It is disappointing to read what people in Hockey India are saying now. Firstly, I have no business interest in India to get distracted and to say I had become predictable as a coach or I confused the players is also wrong. After each tournament, we went through our performances and made changes."

Oltmans said the allegations were part of Hockey India's strategy to take the focus away from his sacking. "I think Hockey India is trying to justify why they sacked me. I accept they wanted another coach; they may have had their reasons, so let them hire someone else, which they have. We will see in the future if the decision is right or wrong."

Oltmans also pointed out that while accusations were being made now, he was handed a contract extension until the 2020 Olympics a couple of months after the Rio Games. "After the Olympics I was with the junior men's team for four months in the build-up to the World Cup. Thirteen from the junior set-up were included into the core group this year. So where is the question of not encouraging youngsters?" Oltmans questioned.

He also said Hockey India knew that many players were being tried out in the first three tournaments of the season. "What are they talking about results? The first three tournaments were used to find the right combinations."

The Times of India

Ortiz joins Argentina troupe at Real Club de Polo

©: Frank Uijlenbroek/world Sport Pics

Argentine midfielder Ignacio 'Nano' Ortiz is the second and last addition to the Real Club de Polo first team squad for the 2017/18 season.

Ortiz was another of the heroes that won the gold medal that at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, joining fellow Argentina internationals Pedro Ibarra and Matias Rey.

Until now, he was part of the senior team of his entity, Club Banco Provincia de Buenos Aires but the 30-year-old joins Polo for the upcoming season with an option for a second season.

Speaking about the move, the midfielder knows that RC Polo "always has great goals every time a new season starts" and is looking forward to returning to the Eduardo Dualde having previously played their with RS Tenis.

"Polo is a club that has won several championships in recent years which is something that I love. It is a challenge to be part of a team whose mentality is to win everything that they play in."

The season starts for Polo on September 24 with a trip to San Sebastian and he follows Max Plennevaux as the second major arrival, counter-acting the departures of Sander Baart to Braxgata and Lucas Vila to Mannheimer HC.

"I do not take the successes previously achieved by RC Polo as a pressure added but as an extra motivation that increases my desire to achieve as many goals as possible for the club and the team,” Ortiz concluded.

Euro Hockey League media release

Sliders hammer University of Nairobi in hockey league


Sliders' June Kangogo (right) battles with Vikings' Naomy Syombua during their Kenya Hockey Union women's Premier League match on April 17, 2017 at City Park Stadium. Vikings won 2-1. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Sliders on Saturday got off their second leg campaign with an impressive 4-0 win over newcomers University of Nairobi in a Kenya Hockey Union women’s Premier League match at the City Park Stadium, Nairobi.

A brace from Dorris Kirui and one goal apiece from Sarah Ragangi and striker Anita Agunda handed Sliders the three points and a good start to the second half of this season’s campaign.

The result moved the former league champions to seventh spot with 14 points. University of Nairobi (UoN) remain bottom with a single point and the wait for their first win of the season continues.

Sliders’ captain Esther Washika was pleased with the result noting that it can inspire the team to a good run in the second leg.

“Our first leg performance was not very good and we vowed to turn it around in this leg and this result give us the confidence that we can put in a string of wins and finish as high as possible this season,” the skipper told Nation Sport.

Sliders, who won the reverse fixture 4-2, needed only three minutes to go ahead as well worked move found the UoN defence napping and Ragangi was at hand to slot the ball past Quenter Okore.

The goal stunned the students and they began pushing forward in search of the equaliser.

Sliders managed to hold on to their lead at the end of the first quarter and took control of the second quarter, dominating possession.

They doubled their lead on 25 minutes through Agunda’s well taken shot that beat Okore at her near post.

A minute later, Sliders made it three with Kirui scrambling home from close range before adding her second in the last minute to condemn the students to their 10th loss of the season.

In the men’s national league, there were wins for Wazalendo Masters and Multimedia University against Gorilla and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

Goals from Cyprian Ondimu and Erick Oduor saw Multimedia down JKUAT 2-0 in the university derby, while Wazalendo recorded a similar scoreline against Gorilla.

Daily Nation

Goals aplenty as National League 1 gets off to a flyer

Katie Robertson of Grove Menzieshill – Photo by Mark Pug

The first day of the Scottish National League programme produced few surprises, although the standout result was Grove Menzieshill drawing 3-3 with a vibrant Dundee Wanderers in the women`s top division.

It took a late strike by Katie Robertson to give Grove Menzieshill a 3-3 draw with city rivals Dundee Wanderers in a thrilling encounter. After nine minutes Grove Menzieshill were two up through Sarah Jamieson and Leigh Fawcett.

By the interval Wanderers had levelled, both goals came from reverse stick strikes by teenager Emily Dark. The same player looked to have given Wanderers the three points with a solo run and low shot for her hat-trick, but Robertson saved the day for Grove Menzieshill with a belated equaliser.

Edinburgh University started their defence of the Women`s National League 1 title with a 5-1 win over GHK. The goals came from Hanna McKie, Ella Watt, Katie Crawford, player/coach Sam Judge and Louise Campbell.

At Auchenhowie Western Wildcats got off to a winning start in their National League campaign. A single strike by Alex Stuart gave Wildcats a narrow victory over Hillhead.

Milne Craig Clydesdale Western moved to the top of the table with a 7-1 win over newly promoted Grange. There were two goals each for Heather Lang and Lucy Lanigan, the other strikes emanated from Heather Howie, Ali Howie and Emma McGregor.

In the final encounter of the weekend Watsonians clocked up an excellent away 2-0 win over Kelburne.

Kelburne’s Johnny Christie – Photo by Mark Pugh

In the men’s competition Bromac Kelburne served notice of their intention to secure their 14th consecutive National League 1 title with an emphatic 5-1 win over newly promoted Inverleith.

Midfield playmaker Michael Christie may have been out of the game for a couple of years but he dominated Glasgow Green with a powerful performance and picked up a couple of goals in the process.

The contest went in Kelburne’s favour in the opening ten minutes, Ben Peterson was given plenty of time to pick his spot in the net, and then Johnny Christie found himself in a similar position and finished with a fierce drive past the stranded goalkeeper.

The Edinburgh side might have pulled one back but for an acrobatic goal line save by Kelburne defender Adam Bain.

The Christie brothers then combined to open up the Inverleith defence with a penetrating passing move leaving Michael to lob the ball into the net for a three goal interval lead – an early candidate for the goal of the season.

Early in the second half Josh Cairns earned a penalty with an illegal stop on the line, the Kelburne set piece expert proceeded to convert from the spot for a comfortable 4-0 lead.

Slackness in the champions’ defence allowed John Martin to strike for Inverleith. The Edinburgh side might have made more of an impact in the contest if they had taken advantage of their five penalty corner opportunities.

Kelburne then added their fifth towards the end when Michael Christie deflected a powerful free hit into the Inverleith net.

Grange, who finished second in last year`s competition, made a positive start to this year`s campaign with a 4-0 win over Clydesdale at Titwood.  Under-21 international Callum McKenzie scored twice while the other goals came from Callum Milne from the spot and Dan Coultas at a penalty corner.

Western Wildcats got the better of the odd goal in five over Hillhead in a thriller at Auchenhowie. The Wildcats clawed themselves into a 2-1 lead at the interval, open play strikes from Fraser Moran and Richard Pollock were partially negated by a penalty corner conversion by Callum Duke.

Duke scored another set piece for Hillhead in the second half but the three points remained at Auchenhowie with a goal from Matt McGinley.

In the Tayside derby Grove Menzieshill came out on top with a 3-1 win over local rivals Dundee Wanderers.  It was level at the interval, Ben Cosgrove opened for the `Hill but Elliot Sandison levelled three minutes later.

Grove Menzieshill advanced their cause in the second half with further strikes from Olly James and Gavin Byers and clock up a win in the derby.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

The greatest pleasure of my life was playing for my flag: Hockey great Balbir Singh

Hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr. has lost and found many things in life. But it’s his stolen medals that rankle the most. At the age of 93, the former India captain still harbours a childlike enthusiasm for hockey

Balbir Singh’s childlike enthusiasm for hockey belies his age of 93. (Source: Express Photo by Siddhant Kalra)

As a child, Balbir Singh Sr. could never sit still. Almost every single hour in the day was spent playing pranks, climbing trees or just running around. But, come evening, the boisterous child would sit in silence and watch older kids play hockey near his house in Moga.That young boy in pre-Partition India grew up to be the hockey legend, Balbir Singh Sr. “She [hockey] found me at the age of five and since then, I have loved her, respected her and worshiped her,” says Singh Sr., whose childlike enthusiasm for the sport belies his age of 93.

Balbir Singh Dosanjh was born on October 10, 1924 to Karam Kaur and Dalip Singh Dosanjh. His father was a freedom fighter and educationist, who travelled extensively and was frequently in and out of jail. As a result, Balbir’s early childhood was spent at his maternal village, Haripur Khalsa. At the age of five, his father moved the family to the small town of Moga for the sake of Balbir’s education. Little did he know that Balbir would spend his time daydreaming about scoring goals rather than studying. “My father was strict and unshakeable in his values. But he never put a limit on doodh and jalebi, which I loved,” he says. But when he failed his Class X exams, his father sought the help of a friend who lectured at Sikh National College, Lahore. Having seen Balbir’s game, the lecturer offered him full scholarship and a spot in the hockey team. Singh Sr.’s father, with no money to afford college otherwise, agreed.

The Sikh National College team was promoted to the first division soon after Balbir’s inclusion. He was soon poached by the rival Khalsa College. Balbir became captain of the Khalsa College team, which remained all-India champions under his command between 1942 and 1945. Sir John Bennet — the inspector general of Punjab Police at the time — was impressed by Balbir’s game and commanded his officers to ensure his recruitment to Punjab Police.

But Balbir had grown up detesting the police, which had jailed his father and other freedom fighters on multiple occasions. So he ran away to Delhi and joined the Central Public Works Department team in 1945. But one day, he found officers with handcuffs at his doorstep. He was arrested, taken to Jalandhar and presented before Bennet. “He asked me, ‘Do you want to play hockey for Punjab or go to jail?’ I chose hockey”. He ran away multiple times in protest, but was handcuffed and brought back every time.

The undivided Punjab team, which hadn’t won the nationals in 14 years, got lucky in 1946, when Singh joined. Playing under Colonel AIS Dara and alongside Shah Rukh — two of his closest friends from the future Pakistan team — Balbir won the national championships for Punjab again in Bombay, 1947. But the team returned only to find their homes bloodied and burning.

Just the previous year, Balbir had married Sushil, his college sweetheart from Lahore. When the team arrived at the Lahore railway station in 1947, it was the future Pakistan captain, AIS Dara, who drove Balbir to his wife in Model Town. On the way, the car was stopped by mobs a couple of times, presumably because of Balbir’s turban. Dara stepped out and spoke to them, while he sat in the car, unaware of everything. After a heart-breaking farewell to the house, Sushil came away with Balbir to Ludhiana.

In Ludhiana, Balbir resumed his duties with the Punjab Police and witnessed the horrors of Partition. “Brothers and sisters, who lived so lovingly before, were killing each other. It was shocking how human beings can change so suddenly. Good people are those who retain their humanity even in a climate of hate,” he says.

The contours of the undivided Punjab team also changed with Partition. Many players from the team donned the colours of Pakistan. “The same players with whom I passed every waking hour, were gone. Azam, Maqbool Hashmat, Aziz, Masood, Dara, Anwar, Shah Rukh were such great friends of mine. They all left.”
Balbir would go back to Pakistan many times later in life. The most memorable visit was when he accompanied the Indian contingent during the India-Pakistan series in 2005-’06. “I met Shah Rukh again and it was overwhelming. We spoke as if we had separated just yesterday. The language was the same, the person was the same,” he says.

In the 1948 London Olympics, the first for independent India, Balbir Singh got his hammered in six of nine goals. (Source: 1947 Partition Archives)

When asked how many goals he must have scored in his career, Balbir chortles. “To give you an idea, the Indian team played 16 matches in Singapore in 1954. They scored 121 goals, out of which he scored 83. In the Australia-New Zealand tournament the following year, he scored 141 out of 203 in just 37 matches,” says Prof. SK Gupta, his friend and a sports historian. However, his effortless goal-scoring didn’t always ensure him a place in the squad.

In the 1948 London Olympics, the first for independent India, Balbir got his chance in the second game and hammered in six of nine goals. But in the following game against Spain, he was pulled back before stepping onto the pitch. In the next game against Holland, he was just about to bully-off when he was called back. Indian fans in London expressed their dismay at his unjust exclusion, which forced the management to include him in the final against hosts and former rulers, Britain. Balbir lapped up the opportunity and scored two of the four Indian goals. Britain didn’t score. “When I saw the tricolour unfurled at Wembley, I was overcome with joy. It was the greatest pleasure of my life, playing for my flag instead of the Union Jack.”

India had scored 13 goals in all in London, a number Balbir swears by. In the 1952 Helsinki games, he donned jersey number 13. He was warned by a Finnish fan that it would bring him bad luck. He promptly replied that 13, tera in Punjabi, was a word for God, and narrated the story of Guru Nanak chanting tera, tera, tera in a divine trance. The fan didn’t make much of the story, but Balbir set the unbeaten record for most goals in an Olympics final, with five of the six goals against Holland. The Helsinki Olympics were also the 13th Olympic Games (excluding the two cancelled due to war).

In 1960, Balbir was in the fittest condition of his life and was still scoring goals in a flurry. But despite being in prime shape, he was appointed to the selection committee. He didn’t protest. India lost the final that year. The then chief minister of Punjab, Partap Singh Kairon (being guarded by ASP Balbir Singh at the time) was asked how India’s streak ended. He replied, “How would they have won? The man who could have won it for us is here guarding me”.

In 1964, Balbir took on the responsibility of coaching the Olympic squad. He brought the team into its finest form, but, just a night before flying to Tokyo, he was instructed to stay back in India and was replaced by a new coach. India won gold at the Olympics, but Balbir’s contribution was never acknowledged. Despite the humiliation, he responded to every request to coach the Indian team and won India’s solitary World Cup in 1975.

The gravest injustice came in 1985. He was approached by a representative from Sports Authority of India (SAI) to hand over all his medals and memorabilia for a sports museum. Unsuspectingly, he acquiesced and handed over 36 medals, his 1956 Captain’s blazer and hundreds of rare photographs. It was only in 2008 that his family realised that no museum of the sort had been set up and all his belongings were lost. Multiple inquires and many years later, there’s still no sign of them. “It felt like a part of me had died when I found out,” he says ruefully.

After trying the RTI route since 2012, the family recently discovered that SAI never had Balbir’s belongings. Earlier this year, SAI and its academic wing NIS, promised to file an FIR about Balbir’s belongings. Instead, they filed only a missing article report which does not warrant a police investigation. In a meeting this week, SAI and NIS promised to file an FIR yet again.

Looking back, Balbir says he is filled with gratitude, both for the people in his life and to hockey herself. But he finds it difficult to mask his disappointment, even through all his calmness. Asked about his most treasured accolade, he points to the smallest trophy in the room — his first ever from a local tournament in Moga. “I was 10 at that time and used to play full-back or goalkeeper. In that tournament, the centre forward spot was open in my cousin’s team and there was no one to fill it. By chance, I played there. As luck would have it, I scored lots of goals and never looked back.”

Siddhant Kalra is an independent writer and researcher for the 1947 Partition Archives. This interview is part of that project.

Roll of honour
* As a player, he won three Olympic golds.

* As coach and manager, he helped the Indian team win two Olympic golds and the only World Cup victory to date.

* He was recognised as one of the 16 most iconic Olympians of all-time at the 2012 Olympics — the only Indian and hockey player on the list.

* Led the Indian contingent as the flag bearer in two consecutive Olympic Games (1952 and 1956)

Indian Express

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