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News for 02 January 2018

All the news for Tuesday 2 January 2018

Dutchman De Wijn out to make his presence felt for UniKL in MHL

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Dutch international Sander de Wijn vows to make an explosive debut in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

Just a day after arriving in Malaysia, the 27-year-old midfielder has promised to lead his team, the Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) to their first MHL title.

The university team have yet to win a title since making their debut in 2011.

De Wijn will be banking on his vast experience to make a difference for the team.

De Wijn has played in two Olympics – London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016. He also featured in the 2014 World Cup in The Hague, Holland.

Holland were silver medallists in London and The Hague.

He was also the member of the Dutch side that won the European Championships in Amsterdam in August.

The Dutchman said he was inspired to play in the MHL after his stint in the Hockey India League (HIL).

“I felt my playing days were over after the Rio Olympics but playing in the HIL gave me a fresh perspective,” said De Wijn, who led Dabang Mumbai to a runner-up finish in the six-team league.

Aware of the strong presence of foreigners in the other teams, De Wijn said: “I expect nothing but a closely-contested tournament.”

UniKL have signed six foreign players and three Malaysian internationals in a bid to end their title drought in the MHL this year.

Besides De Wijn, the other foreigners are three Australians - Glenn Turner, Kieran Gowrers and Tim Deavin; an Irishman David Harte and another Dutchman Jeroen Hertzberger.

The national players are Mohd Marhan Mohd Jalil, Najmi Farizal and Joel Samuel van Huizen. They’ve also recalled ex-international Kevin Lim.

The Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup begins tomorrow and UniKL will begin their campaign against Division One team Selangor at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

UniKL coach A. Arulselvaraj said they would not take Selangor lightly.

“I won’t tolerate complacency. Every player will be expected to fight for playing time,” said Arul.

“We need to stay focused and consistent in order to win at least one silverware this season to repay the management’s faith in us,” he said.

The Star of Malaysia

Will all the medalists of elite tourneys be in Breda Champions Trophy?

India’s appearance will be 16th in a CT

By B.G.Joshi (Sehore-Bhopal,India)

37th edition of men’s Champions Trophy will be played in Breda (Netherlands) from June 23-July 1, 2018. Alongside the host nation (Netherlands), the defending champions (Australia-winner of London CT 2016), the last Olympic (Argentina-Rio 2016)), World Cup (Australia-Hague 2014) and World League champions (Australia-Bhubaneswar 2017) qualify automatically.

World Number-1 Australia have 3 qualifications, thus vacate 2 slots. Thus the 3 spot will be nominated by the FIH Executive Board, making a total of 6 competing teams.

As per current scenario Belgium (World Ranking-3), Germany (World Ranking-5) and India (World Ranking-6) are likely to compete in Breda.

Since the CT is an elite tourney of top six teams of the World. Netherlands, Argentina and Australia have booked their tickets. To judge capability of remaining 3 teams, standings in 4 major tournaments of 5 contenders are given below:




World Cup



Trophy 2016

World League


Likely seeding

for CT 2018































 Above table shows that Germany, Belgium and India should fill the 3 remaining slots. Argentina have won 1 Gold (OG-2016), 1 Silver (WL-2017) and 1 Bronze (WC-2014); Australia have won 3 Gold (WC-2014, CT-2016 and WL-2017), whereas Netherlands have won 1 Silver (WC-2014) in recent 4 elite tourneys. It seems that all the medalists of recent elite tourneys (OG, WC, CT and WL) will be in Breda.


Sargent targeting Ireland recall for 2018 World Cup

Cliodhna Sargent in Ireland action. Pic: Adrian Boehm

When Cliodhna Sargent made her return to the Cork Harlequins’ line-up in November against Belfast Harlequins, it was a big step forward in her ultimate plan to break back into Graham Shaw’s Irish plans for the 2018 World Cup in London.

The 209-capped Corkonian last played for Ireland at World League Round 2 in Malaysia in January competing just a week after she found out she was expecting her first child.

It came around the time Serena Williams was winning the Australian Open while pregnant and the medical advice was that while it was an “unusual situation”, some people have played up to five months in.

“[Williams] had just announced just after World League Round 2 that she was expecting while she had been playing. I was like ‘God, she was doing the exact same thing’,” Sargent said.

“There’s plenty of other like Jessica Ennis and Paula Ratcliffe have all competed in their respective sports so its not something that’s new. You just have to make sure that you are well enough to be able to compete.”

With a gold medal and a big step in the World Cup qualification chain complete, Sargent duly stepped out of the squad. Dylan Michael Hobbs subsequently arrived on August 21.

In her absence from the Green Army set-up, Ireland did enough at the World League semi-finals to earn their ticket to a first world cup since 2002.

Despite the circumstances, the dream of being part of that occasion was not going to be let go without a fight. Throughout her pregnancy, Sargent was working on a training plan with strength and conditioning coach Darren Collins to have her in the best possible shape.

“People have this thing that you have to completely cut back when you are pregnant. You don’t,” she said.
“All you have to do is take into account how fit you were before and reduce your load according to that. I was still running until five or six months and in the gym to seven months.”

Indeed, the Togher woman still went on hill runs with her international team mates Katie Mullan and Yvonne O’Byrne who joked she had an advantage of “two heart-beats” to power her.

Did she feel that extra power? “Oh hell no! I was miles behind.”

Indeed, it was the first time she has had to slow down since making her international debut in 2007.

“You do get to the stage then where you feel a little like a slob when you are so used to being out all the time. To then be restricted and not able to do stuff, it is hard.”

Similarly difficult was being a spectator. Sargent, a long time part of the Green Army’s leadership group, has never been on a sideline this long in her life.

“The Irish girls did so well over the summer. A few different results, a few inches here and there, and they would have qualified automatically rather than having to wait.

“But the games [in Johannesburg] were all really hard to watch; you are tearing your hair out. I was literally sending texts to the Munster girls in the Whatsapp group, telling them to score the next corner; it was the only thing I could do to actually talk to them!

“I couldn’t complain about not being there. It was very much my choice, I am just delighted they could get the results [and qualify].”

With Dylan happily arrived, Sargent returned to full club training in October and met with Irish coach Graham Shaw who was at Farmer’s Cross, keeping tabs on the sizeable Quins international contingent.

She also felt her touch at the time was “better than I expected it to be! I still have reflexes; it’s nowhere near where I want to be at but I still have reactions, still have skill on the ball which I know I can build on.

In action for Cork Harlequins in late 2016. Pic: Adrian Boehm

“My main focus is to get my physical conditioning back because I need to physically compete with players in the national team before I can break back in. If I can’t keep up, having unbelievable skills won’t be of any use!”

Indeed, getting back into a team that has adapted in her absence – with Lena Tice and Zoe Wilson stepping up admirably in the centre of defence while Megan Frazer could also return after her cruciate injury – will be a huge task but not something she will let go lightly.

“A World Cup is always something I wanted to be pushing for it and I still do,” she says. “I know it’s going to be very hard in so many different ways than what I have experienced.

“I have always been fit enough and able to maintain that. Now it’s different. I have gone through a huge body change.

“The added thing is being away from Dylan – going to tournaments will have its own hardships. John and I have a really good support system. We both have really big families that are willing to baby-sit and help us but he is at the age where if, I go away for two weeks, he will be completely changed.

“That’s the choice I make if I end up getting back into the squad.”

** The original version of this article appeared in the Irish Examiner on November 9

The Hook

Jaipal Singh's village learns to play hockey once more

Great grandnephew hosts U-14 memorial tournament to revive legacy of legendary olympian

A.S.R.P. Mukesh

CATCH 'EM YOUNG: Budding players during a match of Jaipal Singh Munda Memorial Hockey Tournament at Takra village, 30km from Ranchi, on Sunday. Telegraph picture

Ranchi: He had captained the Indian hockey team at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics and returned with gold. But, younger generations in Jaipal Singh Munda's native Takra village in Khunti district, around 30km from here, have long been ignorant about their rich legacy. So much so that the game itself has sunk into oblivion.

All that will possibly change if hearty endeavours of John Munda, gram pradhan of Takra and great grandnephew of Jaipal Singh, bear fruit.

With the solitary goal to promote the legend of a Marang Gomke (great leader) - a sobriquet earned by the sportsman who was also a campaigner for the Adivasi cause - fans and descendants a few months ago set up the Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh Munda Memorial Trust, which is currently holding the first-ever hockey tournament in Takra.

The Under-14 league for 12 teams from Takra and its four neighbouring villages began a week ago and the final will be played on Wednesday, January 3, to mark the 116th birth anniversary of Jaipal Singh. Medals will have a picture of the hockey legend embossed on them.

"People prefer playing football in our village. They have been doing so for long. It may sound surprising that children here never saw a hockey stick before, let alone playing the game. The elderly know about my great granduncle, but the youth are clueless. We want to revive hockey here," John told this correspondent over phone on Monday.

Khunti has given birth to a few hockey players over decades, but none ever hailed from Jaipal Singh's native Takra.

"Simdega district, on the other hand, has become a nursery of the game. We hope to hold tournaments in every district in the memory of Jaipal Singh," John said, adding that they had managed to procure 100 hockey sticks through donations for the 12 teams.

"We have six teams each for boys and girls. These children hail from Hatudarmi, Dabdana, Potamgarha and Patibera villages, besides Takra. They are holding a hockey stick for the first time. Old-timers coached them for a couple of weeks before the tournament began. You may say Jaipal Singh's village is learning to play hockey again," John smiled.

The 11-day tournament is being supported by Ranchi Munda Sabha, a voluntary outfit. On the eve of the final, a three-room school named after the Marang Gomke will also debut in Takra. It will be inaugurated by ADG Rezi Dungdung of Jharkhand Armed Police.

"Students will be enrolled from nursery to Class VI. The fee will be nominal so that villagers can afford to send their children here. Apart from being a regular school, special classes will be held to teach people about Jaipal Singh's life and times, his principles and struggle to promote tribal culture," John said.

The Telegraph, India

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