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News for 17 January 2018

All the news for Wednesday 17 January 2018

4 Nations Invitational Tournament (M) - Day 1
Tauranga (NZL)

IND v JPN     6 - 0
BEL v NZL     4 - 5

FIH Match Centre

Debut players make merry against Japan

s2h team

India's debut makers Vivek Sagar Prasad and Dilpreet Singh shone with brace of goals in whipping Japan 6-0 in the opener of the double leg 4-Nation in Waikato, New Zealand. India overwhelmed Japan with a fluent 6-0 score.

Rupinder Pal Singh converted a penalty stroke to start Indian deluge in the seventh minute.

Vivek Sagar Prasad, one of the youngest to make international debut in the recent years, made it memorable striking two opportunistic field goals in the 12th and 28th minute.

On resumption, another debutant Dilpreet Singh repeated a Sagar act with two field goals in the space of 10 minutes between 35th and 45th minutes.

In between Dilpreet feat, veteran Harmanpreet Singh converted a penalty corner (5-0, 41st minute).

India will take on Belgium tomorrow.

7th Min Rupinder Singh Penalty Stroke 1 - 0
12th Min Vivek Prasad Field Goal 2 - 0
28th Min Vivek Prasad Field Goal 3 - 0
35th Min Dilpreet Singh Field Goal 4 - 0
41st Min Harmanpreet Penalty Corner 5 - 0
45th Min Dilpreet Singh Field Goal 6 - 0


India outclass Japan 6-0 in Four Nations opener

NEW DELHI: India began the Four Nations Hockey Invitational Tournament in emphatic fashion by hammering Japan in the opening contest. Early goals from Rupinder Singh and debutant Vivek Sagar Prasad, who netted two, ensured that India never lost momentum and dished out a royal hammering to their Japanese counterpart. Dilpreet Singh and Harmanpreet Singh were the other scorers.

India's performance was so clinical from the opening whistle that Japan were not allowed even a single chance, although they did get better in the second half. The first goal arrived in the seventh minute, when drag flicker Rupinder Pal Singh successfully converted a penalty stroke. Prasad, in his first match for India, then scored five minutes later and doubled his tally after another 15 to hand India a 3-0 advantage at the half-time.

Soon after play resumed, it was Dilpreet's turn, another debutant, to get among the goals. That marked a hat-trick of debut goals for India. A third debutant came on to the pitch when PR Sreejesh made way for Krishan B Pathak. Japan were just beginning to move freely after a counter attack led to India gaining another penalty corner. And this time, Harmanpreet slotted it promptly to make it 4-0.

Japan's only chance came two minutes after conceding that goal when a thunderous strike was taken at their goal. But Pathak went down low to his left and pulled off an impressive save. The third quarter got worse for Japan, as Dilpreet scored his second, and India's sixth of the match, also the third of that quarter. India seemed to have no plans of slowing down in the final 15 minutes of the match but a spell of rain seemed to have sparked Japan as they attacked more aggressively. However, they just couldn't get one past Pathak and India capped off a rather dominant win.

The Times of India

Ciriello roped in as analytical coach of Indian men's hockey team

Manuja Veerappa

BENGALURU: As the Indian hockey team got down to practice in Tauranga, New Zealand, this week - to prepare for the four-nation invitational hockey tournament - there was a fresh face amidst them. Former Australian drag-flick specialist Chris Ciriello was among the coaching staff. According to sources, the 32-year-old Ciriello has been roped in as the national senior men's team's analytical coach, pending approval from the Sports Authority of India.

The post of the analytical coach has been vacant since September last year after Hans Streeder quit following the sacking of chief coach and fellow Dutchman Roelant Oltmans. Hockey India had advertised for the post immediately but no appointments were made. In the run-up to the Hockey World League Final, the team was joined by Raoul Ehren, former coach of Dutch side Den Bosch, for a month.

Ciriello is the youngest among the support staff and comes with the reputation of being a fearless defender. Nicknamed 'the big dog', the six-footer from Victoria shot into limelight in 2014 when he scored hat-trick in the finals of both the World Cup in The Hague and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games to guide Australia to twin crowns.

Apart from his role of providing real-time inputs to chief coach Sjoerd Marijne, Ciriello will be a huge value add to the team with his specialization of drag-flick. He also shares a good rapport with most of the Indian players having played against them and teamed up with a few of them during the Hockey India League in which he represented Punjab Warriors in the past. Ciriello has Indian roots with his grandfather, Rudolph Pacheco, having played for India before moving to Australia.

Ciriello, a regular in the Victorian Vikings domestic team, captained the side at the Australian Hockey League last season. He has also coached at the college-level and a women's hockey club in Perth. He has also worked as a fitness trainer for Olympians.

Once SAI approves his appointment, Ciriello is expected to arrive in India in the second week of February when the team will regroup for the Commonwealth Games camp after a two-week break. Both SAI and Hockey India officials were unavailable for comment.

Dravid visits the camp

India's U-19 coach Rahul Dravid visited the national hockey team during their practice session and spent some time with them. Dravid is currently with the team for the U-19 cricket World Cup.

The Times of India

Hockeyroos Held By Spain In Second Test

Ben Somerford

The Hockeyroos have opened their Test Series against Spain with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Guildford Grammar Turf on Tuesday night.

After a scoreless first-half, Gabi Nance opened the scoring in the 35th minute but the visitors equalised two minutes later through Carola Salvatella’s deflection.

Jane Claxton fired a final quarter shot narrowly wide after good lead-up work from Savannah Fitzpatrick.

The Spaniards also had their chances to win it with a series of late penalty corners but Australia held them out.

Australia handed a debut to 19-year-old forward Rosie Malone, who was made to wait 24 hours for her maiden cap after the First Test on Monday was called off due to rain causing an unsafe pitch.

Malone said: "It was pretty special. Obviously with the game being rained out yesterday, there was a lot of hype building up to the game and then for it to be cancelled was sad but today I had my jersey presented to me by a fellow Queenslander Madonna Blyth, with my mum there.

"I was crying before the game, I was so happy. The hard work is slowly paying off."

Earlier, Lucia Jimenez hit the post in the fifth minute in the best chance of the first quarter, before the Hockeyroos won a series of second quarter penalty corners where they came close.

Nance opened the scoring five minutes into the second half after a nice combination with Kalindi Commerford.

Australia's lead was shortlived with Salvatella deflecting home a fierce drive, with the Spanish utilising the aggressive tactic regularly.

Madi Ratcliffe and Jimenez traded shots, both sailing well over the bar, before Spain heaped on the pressure with several late penalty corners but Ash Wells and the Australia defence kept her nerve.

Malone added: "Everyone was getting the cobwebs out for the first game of the year with the big break after Christmas.

"It's always something special and exciting and even though we didn't get the win, I'll remember this day for the rest of my life."

The two sides will meet again at Warwick Hockey Centre on Thursday from 6.30pm WST.

Hockey Australia media release

Kookaburras-Netherlands Test Series Tickets Available From $5

Ben Somerford

The Kookaburras will commence their preparations for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2018 Champions Trophy with a four-match Test Series against the Netherlands in Narrogin and Perth from 27 January to 3 February with tickets available from $5.

The world number one Kookaburras are aiming for their sixth consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medal at the 2018 event which will be on home turf on the Gold Coast.

The Dutch, who knocked Australia out of the 2016 Rio Olympics in the quarter-finals, are currently ranked fourth in the world.

The first two Test matches will be played at Narrogin Hockey Stadium on Saturday 27 January and Sunday 28 January from 4.30pm WST with tickets available here.

The third and fourth Test matches will be played at Perth Hockey Stadium on Thursday 1 February and Saturday 3 February from 7pm WST with tickets available here.

The matches will be live streamed at www.epicentre.tv. You can follow the matches on Twitter via @Kookaburras and the FIH Match Centre.

Hockey Australia media release

World XI visit: PHF ready and set for epic showdown

By Nabil Tahir

HOCKEY COMES BACK: The World XI team will play against Pakistan’s national hockey team in Karachi and Lahore on January 19 and 21, respectively, after landing in the country on January 18. PHOTO COURTESY: AHF

KARACHI: Dutch hockey player Floris Jan Bovelander expressed his excitement on Tuesday in a video message to take part in the World XI team, as the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) makes final preparations to host two matches in the country.

The World XI team will play against Pakistan’s national hockey team in Karachi and Lahore on January 19 and 21, respectively, after landing in the country on January 18. Apart from that, three exhibition matches might also become a part of the schedule, with the national junior team also in contention of getting a match.

“I am very happy to be back in Pakistan,” Bovelander, who is part of the hall of fame team visiting Pakistan, said in a video shared by the PHF.

Bovelander can be seen in the video sitting in his office with a picture of the Netherlands-Pakistan match in the background. Pointing towards the picture, he says: “As you can see, here are some good memories from the 80s and the 90s and this one from Olympics 1988 is us playing Pakistan.”

He then continued by explaining the feeling of that victory: “Of course, one of our finest moments in Lahore winning the World Cup and beating Pakistan. Four years later, Pakistan beats us in World Cup final. Good memories for Holland and Pakistani hockey.”

The hockey legend also remarked that he believes “Pakistan should always be at the top of hockey rankings. Sad to see Pakistan has had some problems keeping up. So, hopefully, with this event and with support from all of us, Pakistan hockey will be back [where it belongs].”

Bovelander added that he looks forward to meeting friends and revisiting memories in Pakistan. “Hope this aspires the children, and [proves to be] motivation for youth to get back to hockey.”

Earlier, Argentinian hockey player Diego Ignacio Paz, in a video message, said he was ‘excited’ to be a part of the hall of fame World XI team visiting Pakistan. He said: “Pakistan get ready, we are

Sohail Abbas demands hefty amount

Former Pakistan international and penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas, who was supposed to lead the World XI side, has demanded an equal amount of pay as is being given to the international ones.

However, PHF are negotiating with him and have offered him to become the captain of the hall of fame team.

“Abbas has demanded an amount which is equivalent to the amount being paid to the international players by PHF, but PHF doesn’t have enough funds and is looking to negotiate with Abbas by offering him to lead the Hall of fame team,” a PHF official told The Express Tribune.

The World XI team will feature players from world’s top hockey playing nations. The players are included from Australia, who are the reigning World champions, and Argentina, who are the current Olympic champions.

The matches will be preceded by a hall of fame induction ceremony where national and international hockey players will be named in the honorary list.

The Express Tribune

PHF slammed at first briefing for World XI tour

Anwar Zuberi

KARACHI: The nomination of half-a-dozen country’s stalwarts of yore for the Hall of Fame by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) drew severe criticism at a press conference held at the Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.

“Three of the six players — Islahuddin [chief selector], Hasan Sardar [head coach] and Shahbaz Ahmed senior [secretary] are part of the PHF which reflects nepotism as no criteria was laid down and a few notable Olympians were ignored,” reporters asked the PHF vice-president Tariq Huda and Islahuddin, who spelt out the details pertaining to the World XI visit to Pakistan for the two-match series.

The PHF president retired Brig Khalid Sajjad Khokhar and secretary Shahbaz Ahmed were conspicuous by their absence and the briefing backfired.

“It’s just a beginning and the first step for nominating players for Hall of Fame and the other legendary players will be honoured in future,” Huda said about the criteria for selection.

The notable omission of Manzoor Hussain Jr, who is a strong critic of the current PHF setup, was pointed out. Manzoor led the Pakistan team to victory at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Pakistan’s third Olympic gold after Rome in 1960 and Mexico in 1968.

Pakistan’s each Hall of Fame Olympian will be awarded Rs0.5 million.

Reporters pointed out that contrary to the PHF announcement that renowned penalty corner striker Sohail Abbas will captain the World XI in the first match, the player has expressed ignorance that he was not officially consulted and may not play.

“Abbas has been approached by the PHF secretary and in case he is not available, the World XI players will select another captain from amongst themselves,” Islah said.

At the outset, the PHF vice-president and chief selector reiterated that the World XI visit to Pakistan is aimed at reviving the national game and send a positive message that Pakistan is a peaceful country.

It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan’s sporting image was tarnished globally following attack on Sri Lankan cricket team at Lahore on March 3, 2009, that led to embargo on foreign teams visit to the country.

Clarying his position, Islah said his selection in the list of Hall of Fame by the PHF at their behest is an honour for acknowledging his achievements. Perturbed at the volley of questions, Islah, however, said he was ready to withdraw his name.

According to Islah, the World XI includes 17 players from seven reputed hockey playing nations including the hosts. Some of the players are still playing for their countries, he added.

Tariq Huda said Pakistan enjoyed enviable record in hockey including three Olympics, four World Cups, inaugural junior World Cup besides numerous Asian Games, Champions Trophies and other titles.

“Pakistan’s record of winning four World Cups is still intact despite the fact that the space is available to other teams since 1994 after Pakistan’s last feat at Sydney,” he stated.

The officials did not disclose the approximate budget allocations of hosting the World XI matches and Hall of Fame. When pressed, they said the foreign players will get appearance money between US $ 3,000 to 5,000.

The PHF official thanked the corporate sector for coming forward and playing positive role in the uplift of game.

Meanwhile, the entrance of spectators to the stadium for the first match will be through nominal tickets amounting to, Rs250, Rs500 and Rs1,000.

The first batch of three people, two Dutch celebrities — Paul Litjens and Rob Lathouwers — and Sultan Ahmed (manager designate of World XI) arrived here on Tuesday.

Besides Litjens and Lathouwers, Floris Jan Bovelander (Holland), Christian Blunck (Germany), Juan Escarre (Spain) and Don Prior (Australia) will be the six foreigners to be included in Hall of Fame.


Hockey legend Litjens expresses dismay over current state of Pakistan hockey

KARACHI: Netherlands hockey legend Paul Litjens has expressed dismay over the current state of Pakistan Hockey.

Litjens arrived here on Tuesday to attend the hockey extravaganza of World XI and participate in Pakistan Hockey Federation’s Hall-of-Fame during the event.

Talking to the media at the Jinnah International Airport on his arrival, 70-year-old Litjen said it was terrible’ to see the Pakistan hockey team struggling to match the international standards of the game.

“In my days, Pakistan were one of the best hockey teams in the world; now they are ranked on the thirteenth position by the International Hockey Federation and that is not enough for Pakistan,” he said.

“I think there is lot of talent, and they have to manage the talent and take part in tournaments again to get stronger. So I hope Pakistan will recover,” said Litjens.

The former hockey player, who once held the world record of most goals (268 in 177 matches), termed the arrival of World XI Hockey team in Pakistan as the first step towards the right direction to revive the sport in the country.

“It is very important that new initiatives are being taken to revive hockey’s popularity in Pakistan, just the way it was back in my days. They did win a lot of medals and I hope they will come back to the top. I think this is the start.”

Responding to a question about helping the Pakistan hockey team in regaining its past glory, Litjens said that he is too old to help Pakistan hockey.

Litjens was a member of the Dutch team that became the world champions in 1973.

In 1981, Litjens was part of the Dutch team that won the Champions Trophy in Karachi. He was also the top scorer in the event held in Pakistan.

The Daily Times

Telkom start Africa title defence against Nigerians


Telkom coach Jos Openda follows the action during their Kenya Hockey Union women's Premier League match against Multimedia University at the City Park Stadium on January 14, 2017. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Telkom women’s hockey team will launch their Africa Cup for Club Champions title defence against Nigeria’s Yobe Desert when the competition gets underway on Saturday in Accra, Ghana.

According to the draws released on Tuesday by the Africa Hockey Federation, Telkom who are gunning for a record 10th title, will then take on compatriots Strathmore University Scorpions in their second match on Sunday.

The 2017 annual continental club showpiece has attracted six men and women’s team and will run till January 28 at Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium.

Telkom and Scorpions will be the only representatives from the country.

Last season’s men’s league winners Strathmore University Gladiators and second-placed Butali Sugar Warriors have pulled out of the competition due to lack of finances. After Strathmore, Telkom, who clinched a record 20th Kenya Hockey Union women's Premier League title on Sunday, will then play Nigeria’s Kada Queens before clashes against hosts Ghana Revenue Authority and Ghana Police.

The top two sides at the end of the round robin preliminary round will face off in the final. Reacting to the draw, Telkom coach Jos Openda is bullish about writing more history with the side.

“Every team is going to be training their sights on us and that means we must work extra hard if we are going to defend the title,” Openda said yesterday.

Telkom beat GRA 2-0 in the 2016 final held at the City Park Stadium last January to win their ninth title courtesy of goals from Jackline Mwangi and Terry Juma. The two Ghanaian clubs will provide stiff competition for Telkom.

Scorpions, who are making a return to the tourney after a three-year absence, will open their account against GRA before their clash with Telkom. The students, whose best performance was silver at the 2014 final in Kampala, will then face Ghana Police, Kada Queens and Yobe Deserts.

“We are eager to make our make our return in the competition. We have a young squad who are hungry to win the title,” Scorpions coach Meshack Senge said.

Men’s champions Eastern Company and record 23-time winners Sharkia from Egypt will once again be favourites to dominate the tourney. Eastern Company beat Kenya Police 3-2 on post-penalties in the 2016 final at the City Park Stadium.

The hosts will be represented by the duo of Ghana Revenue Authority and Ghana Trustees with Nigeria’s Niger Flickers and Police Machine rounding up the numbers. This will be the fourth time the West Africa nation will be staging the tourney.

Daily Nation

KLHC vow to return stronger after defeat to Tenaga

KUALA LUMPUR: Star-studded KL Hockey Club (KLHC) are down but not out despite a shocking 2-4 defeat to Tenaga Nasional in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) last Sunday.

KLHC, powered by seven internationals and six foreign players, have only one point to show from two matches and they are currently in fifth place in the six-team standings.

They drew 2-2 with Terengganu in the Charity Shield before winning 4-3 in a penalty shootout last Friday.

KLHC face Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) at the KL Hockey Stadium today.

KLHC – who won the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup and Charity Shield – need full points to stay on course to retain the league title.

KLHC coach Lim Chiow Chuan said they needed to learn from last Sunday’s defeat and look ahead.

“As I said before, it’s about consistency and enduring roller-coaster rides.

The Star of Malaysia

New signings power up Tenaga Nasional in MHL

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: New signings Tengku Ahmad Tajudin Tengku Abdul Jalil and Muhd Firhan Ashaari have come out with guns blazing for Tenaga Nasional in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

The duo played for Terengganu for a few seasons before joining Tenaga.

Tenaga, featuring an all local line-up, have shown great form in the MHL by winning their first two tough matches.

Tengku Ahmad scored once to help Tenaga beat Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), powered by six foreigners, 3-2 last week.

Firhan too netted a goal as Tenaga upset star-studded KL Hockey Club (KLHC) 4-2 to top the Premier Division.

The 31-year-old Tengku Ahmad, who has been playing in the MHL since 2004, said he had assisted teams like Sapura, KLHC and Terengganu to win titles in the league.

“I joined Tenaga this season to help them win a silverware,” said Tengku Ahmad, who is one of the coolest players in the MHL.

Tenaga last won a title – the overall Cup – in 2009.

“I’m happy to join Tenaga. Firhan and I have no problem combining well with other forwards to give Tenaga a good start in the league,” said the father of two.

Tengku Ahmad, who has 245 international caps to his credit, added that the players were clicking well.

“However, we need to improve on every aspect of the game and also our fitness level as we’ll play three tough matches this week,” said Tengku Ahmad.

Tenaga face TNB-Thunderbolt today before taking on Terengganu on Friday.

They will be up against Maybank on Sunday.

“We also need to play consistently well and make full use of the chances to stay on course for the league title.

“We can’t take the young Thunderbolt team lightly as they are fast on counter attacks. They’re also hungry for success after upsetting former champions Maybank last week.

“We’ll also face a strong challenge from Terengganu as they have a solid team. It will be an emotional game for me playing against my former club.

“But I’ll continue to give my best in every match,” said Tengku Ahmad.

The Star of Malaysia

2018 girls’ hockey challenge dates announced

Tournament Director, Les Galloway shows off the trophy that is up for grabs in the eighth SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge that kicks off next month.PHOTO: suppliedI

ROLLING into its eighth year, the Spar KwaZulu-Natal School Girls’ Hockey Challenge kicks off in Glencoe, at the end of February 2018 with the first of 10 regional tournaments in South Africa

One time winner, Sarel Cilliers, will host the first regional at their school on February 24.

An anticipated 12 schools are expected to battle it out, including six time winners, Ferrum High School from Newcastle.

In previous years, the Pietermaritzburg Central and Pietermaritzburg Northern regionals were held on the same day, however, this year both these regions will have their own day in the sunshine.

The only newcomers to the grand finals last year, St John’s DSG will have home turf advantage as they defend their PMB Central Regional title on March 10.

The following day, St Anne’s College welcomes the teams participating in the PMB Northern Regional to their picturesque grounds. No stranger to the grand finals, St Anne’s will also have home ground advantage, having won their regional six times.

Heading to the first of the Durban and surrounds regionals, St Henry’s hosts the Durban Central Regional at the 3 Schools Trust March 17. This tournament has been dominated by Durban Girls’ College, the only team in the tournament’s history to have a 100% record.

Kuswag hosts the Durban South Regional on completely neutral territory at the 3 Schools Trust Astro on March 25. Kuswag School has previously participated at the grand finals and will be keen to make an appearance, releasing the stronghold Amanzimtoti High School have had on the region.

The sixth regional takes place after a two week break with Reddam College hosting the Durban North Regional at their school on Sunday 15 April.

Our Lady of Fatima will be defending their title, having won this title in the first tournament, and again last year. They will be keen to hold out previous winners Ashton and Danville.

The tournament then travels to the outlying areas. On Saturday April 21 former defending champs, Kokstad College will host the Southern KZN Regional at their school. Three teams have raised the trophy in this region, with current defending champs and three times winners, King Edward High School taking on rivals, Kokstad College and Creston College who have both twice travelled to the grand finals.

Returning to Durban, and certainly the feistiest of the regional tournaments, the Highway Regional will be hosted by Westville Girls’ High School on May 6.

In 2014, Westville managed to topple St Mary’s DSG in a thrilling game where they won 2-1. Saints have dominated the region, winning it six times and adding to their impressive successes, they are also the overall 2017 grand finals tournament winners.

Travelling inland for the second last tournament, Wartburg Kirchdorf will defend their title at home on May 12, hosting the Umvoti, uThukela and Umzinyathi Regional.

Finally, the last regional will be competed in Richards Bay for the North Coastal Regional. Defending champs, Grantleigh will host the tournament again, on their magnificent turf, just outside of Richards Bay. The tournament takes place on May 19 concluding the 10 KZN Regionals.

Once all the regional winners have been crowned, they will each travel to the action packed grand finals that takes place at St Mary’s DSG on July 20 and 21.


Book Review: My Golden days by Gurbux Singh

K. Arumugam

An elegantly produced coffee-table book entitled 'My Golden Days: The life of a hockey player', dwells on the life and times of bespectacled Olympic gold medallist Gurbux Singh.

Son of an Army officer, Gurbux Singh took to hockey early in the life though his first love was badminton. His story, effortlessly and elegantly prosed by seasoned journalist Subroto Sirkar, revolved around hockey in Meerut, Mhow, Lucknow, Indore and other hockey centres of last century as his father would be posted there.

The book gives a glimpse of Indian hockey as it existed from 50s through to last decade. Gurbux was born in Peshawar (now in Pakistan) and had to migrate to India due to partition. His description of partition and personal trauma, are moving.

The highlight of the work is how India could wrest Olympic gold in 1964, which it lost to Pakistan in 1960. And then the Asian Games gold two years later.

The hockey politics of 60s and 70s is well-evident as one flips through the book. Sidelining of Harbinder Singh in the 1962 Ahmadabad Internationals, humiliation handed out to Dhyan Chand there, unknown faces in the Indian team that toured Sri Lanka, appointment of three vice-captains for national team, internal squabbling that led to poor finish (third) at Mexico, and how Ashwini Kumar, then Indian Hockey Federation President’s whimsical selection of team officials spoilt the Mexico run up, and all are there in the book.

The graphic details that led to Prithipal Singh and Gurbux Singh being appointed joint captains of Mexico Olympics, then how Gurbux almost gave away all his rights to Prithipal Singh in the interest of the team, add more valuable substance to what we know so far.

But in the end its sports that won when Gurbux describes how Prithipal wept after India lost to Australia in the Mexico Olympic semifinal.

'Prithipal had been bothered by a back strain the night before the match (semifinal of Mexico Olympics). He felt he should not play, but I forced him to agree. Once on the ground he did not worry about his discomfort. He had an outstanding game. When the match ended, he was wiping his tears as he told me, I have failed to replay your love and effort. I was at a loss for word to console him. Why me alone? None of us know what to say. Th man whose life was hockey was weeping like a child'.

This is the kind of anecdotes that we deserve to know, and the book provides a lot.

In a sense, more than the 1964 win the details of 1968 Olympics is the icing on the cake.

Gurbux Singh has the habit of writing diary daily. He used them in the book, which anchors a touch of originality to the text.

Portrayal of heroes such as Joginder Singh, Balbir Singh (Services), Harbinder Singh (his return goal in Lyons is well captured), legendary goalie Shankar Laxman, and unpredictable Inam-ur-Rahman, makes interesting read.

In hindsight, it looks dropping of Shankar Laxman for Mexico Olympics without suitable replacement, seemed to be the main reason for Indian decline rather than joint-captain issue. This is a worthy part of the book.

If he were to be selected, Shankar Laxman would have played his fourth Olympics, but it was not to be.

Gurbux's view of leading players of his times, and also of some administrators, collated in the last chapters make a good read. He has also added a section called Decline of Indian hockey.

The book generously gives enough space in write up and images to all contemporary greats, which is a welcome part of the autobiography. Its not a book of self-glory.

With vintage images in place, and pleasing design, the book is worth its weight.

A must for those who wants to know how hard work and dedication went behind glorious past of Indian hockey.

Title: My Golden Days. The life of a hockey player by Gurbux Singh
Genre: Autobiography
Pages: 232, A4 size
Price: Rs.1100
Published by: Sujata Sett, All Sport Foundation, 91B Chowringhee Road, Kolkata 700020
Designed by: Biswarup Garai
Graphics: Biswajit Ghosh
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


New Years Honours for Rotherham hockey club president

Rotherham David (picture credit Rotherham Advertiser)

David Woodward has been awarded the British Empire Medal for meritorious service to youth hockey in South Yorkshire.

“It was a brilliant surprise to be nominated and awarded this great honour. I am absolutely delighted to receive the BEM for doing something that I am passionate about.  I love what I do for the young people in South Yorkshire and particularly for those at Rotherham Hockey Club, my home club, for nearly 50 years.”

David has been chair of South Yorkshire Hockey Development Group for 15 years, supported by England Hockey, with the aim to promote the sport in the area especially to young people whilst begin the youth co-ordinator at Rotherham club for over 25 years.

He carried on; “Whilst extremely delighted with the award I am conscious that it would not have been possible without the invaluable support from the many volunteer enthusiasts throughout South Yorkshire and Rotherham who have worked so hard in helping achieve our aims. They should also be congratulated and I hope that they will accept my thanks and share in this award with me.”

James A Swinscoe, Chairman of Rotherham Hockey Club couldn’t be prouder of David. “He undertakes his voluntary work in a quiet and dignified manner expecting little, if any, reward. His dedication and hard work over many years are deserving of this overdue recognition.”

Well done David from England Hockey – keep up the great work!

England Hockey Board Media release

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