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News for 02 May 2018

All the news for Wednesday 2 May 2018

HI plays musical chairs, swaps coaches

Harendra named men’s coach, Marijne back with women.


Harendra Singh

New Delhi: In a bizarre decision that saw coaches exchange positions, Hockey India on Tuesday named Harendra Singh as the new men’s coach while out-of-favour Sjoerd Marijne was re-appointed as the women’s coach.

In a decision that defies logic and even points fingers at Hockey India’s selection committee that had hired Marijne of the Netherlands ahead of Junior World Cup winning coach Harendra in September last, the development throws up more questions than answers.

India’s disastrous show at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games galvanised HI and sources reveal that the federation was “all set to sack Marijne” till a last minute change of heart.

It is also important to remember that the sports ministry had not taken kindly to Roelant Oltmans’ sacking last year, asking HI to explain why they had chosen to fire the Dutchman before his term was to end. The ministry, in fact, had announced Marijne’s appointment on its own as the coaches are employed by the Sports Authority of India.

A similar situation with Marijne just seven months into the job would have made it embarrassing for HI, who decided to switch the coach’s role.

High performance director David John said “they needed to make a change (the men’s coach)” ahead of the three tournaments, particularly the Asian Games and the World Cup.

“We are result-driven and we didn’t get the best result for the senior men’s,” John said. “We finished second in the previous two Commonwealth Games and we didn’t even come away with a medal this time. We felt we needed to make a change because we got three important tournaments coming up.

“Because Harendra has dealt with at least nine of the boys from the Junior World Cup and his experience dealing with the men is possibly what we need to improve our performances.”

While John explained why Harendra was picked up for the men’s job, there was no reason forthcoming as to how someone like Marijne — who according to Hockey India was unable to deliver results — remains good enough to coach the women. It is an open secret that Marijne’s ouster was triggered following unfavourable reports from the senior men’s players.

“Numerous people were consulted from within and outside the team… They came to a decision that we needed to make a change particularly for the men to improve their performances so that when we go to the Asian Games, we can qualify for the 2020 Olympics,” John added, remaining tight-lipped on Marijne.

The move also puts a spanner in women’s team World Cup preparations as they will once again have to adjust to new coaching methods as Marijne and Harendra have extremely contrasting styles.

One-man army?

Is Hockey India going back to the K.P.S. Gill-led Indian Hockey Federation days?

The day’s developments bring a sharp focus on the role of the selection committee and also one key decision-maker who has been at the helm of affairs.

In fact, HI and its selection committee too need to share blame here. If anything, their ‘experiment’ with Marijne — with no prior experience of coaching a senior national team — was a huge flop leaving both national teams with precious little time ahead of crucial tournaments to deal with seven months of confused decision-making.

The Asian Age

Harendra Singh to coach men’s hockey team, Sjoerd Marijne in charge of women’s side

Hockey India swaps roles for the two coaches

Uthra Ganesan

Harendra Singh. Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

The musical chairs in Hockey India continue and this time around, Harendra Singh has been given the hot seat as coach of the national men's team. He swaps his position with Dutchman Sjoerd Marijne – who goes back to the women's team, a position he had held since February last year.

The decision makes Harendra the first Indian coach of the side since Joaquim Carvalho oversaw India's ignominious ouster from the Olympics for the first time ever in 2008, although he has been given interim charge thrice before. While the actual terms of the contract are yet to be drawn up, sources confirmed he would be included in the top bracket of Indian coaches and paid approx. ₹ 2 Lakhs per month. The decision was taken after a marathon meeting here on Tuesday that lasted more than five hours.

It's a decision whose timing is baffling to say the least, was most obvious in September last year but now appears coming eight months too late and too close to big tournaments – both men and women - for comfort. Harendra was the front-runner for the post after Roelant Oltmans was sacked but instead was given charge of the women's team, a first for him. Marijne was moved from women to men, also a first for him, midway through their Europe tour. Then, the two had little time to prepare but ended up winning their respective Asia Cups.

This time around, the women's team would be participating in the Asian Champions Trophy starting May 13 and is already training in Bengaluru while Marijne is back in Holland, waiting for a fresh passport and visa. The men go for the Champions Trophy in June, giving Harendra just over a month to get into the job, understand the team and make plans.

It won't be too difficult, however, given that a large number of juniors were promoted to the senior ranks after the Junior World Cup triumph in 2016 under him. Harendra also has been associated with many of the senior players in the side during their junior days and knows them well. However, it won't be easy either to handle the big names and fragile egos now for the hard taskmaster.

Under Harendra, the women's team had improved vastly, winning the Asia Cup against higher-ranked opponents last year and finishing a creditable fourth at the recent Commonwealth Games including an impressive win against Olympic gold medallists England. The same finish, however, was deemed disappointing for the men with questions being raised on Marijne's selection policies and tactics.

Officially, all parties concerned have expressed satisfaction. “Harendra Singh brings with himself wealth of experience and has previously managed a lot of the men's team players during his stints in the Hockey India League and with the junior teams,” Hockey India secretary general Mohd. Mushtaque Ahmed said.

“It is an honour for me to manage the Indian men’s team. It has been a very satisfying journey with the women's team and I would like to thank Hockey India for entrusting me with the new role,”Harendra added.

“I’m excited to reunite with the women’s team and will look to focus on building on the good form exhibited by the team in the last six months,” the 44-year old Marijne declared.

Sjoerd Marijne. 
But his blog earlier in the day hinted at disappointment.

“We won the Asia Cup with dominating hockey, in the World League we have shown we can beat world-class teams. Unfortunately at the Commonwealth Games we didn't perform the way we expected but still we had good statistics...I had a lot of confidence that with this way of working we could win the Asian Games and the Word Cup,” he wrote about his stint with the men's team, also defending his 'player-driven' system.

Most of the players in the men's ranks have welcomed the move. The women, however, would feel hard done by. But even they seem to have accepted the status quo and that it's business as usual in Indian hockey.

What Marijne wrote in his blog:

“We won the Asia Cup with dominating hockey, in the World League we have shown we can beat world-class teams and with our New Zealand tour, we made another step in our process to win the Asian Games and the World Cup. Unfortunately at the Commonwealth Games we didn't perform the way we expected but still we had good statistics.

The coaching style I chose was players' driven. The reason is that players learn to take responsibility for their actions, because in all decisions which were taken, they were involved and that means they were supporting the plan. The other reason is that, when you involve players in the thinking process, they will get more tactical awareness and learn faster. This is scientifically proven because they have to learn to take decisions on the pitch. It means that I prepared the matches and after this I shared it with the leaders so that they can explain in Hindi to the rest of the team.

I had a lot of confidence that with this way of working we could win the Asian Games and the World Cup.

I wish the new coach all the best with this process and I will focus on the women to continue the process I started 14 months ago to do well at the World Cup and the Asian Games. The girls have worked hard and I am looking forward to see them again at the Asian Champions Trophy in Korea.”

The Hindu

Another Swap: Harendra Singh coach of Men team

s2h team

Former India international player and the coach who got India the gold at the last Junior World Cup, Harendra Singh, has been appointed chief of the Men's national team. He will succeed Marinje Sjored under whom the Indian men failed to get a medal at the recent Commonwealth Games. Harendra was the Women's coach in the previous swap effected after Roelant Oltmans was unceremoniously dropped a year ago.

In fact, its second tenure for Harendra as Men's team coach. He led Indian men to gold in the Punjab Gold Cup before a New Zealand tour Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh in 2009.

The ad-hoc committee that managed the Indian hockey affairs after the Indian Olympic Association dissolved the Indian Hockey Federation in the aftermath of Chile fiasco (India failed to qualify for the Being Olympic in the Qualifying event held in Santiago, Chile), appointed Harendra as chief coach for Punjab Gold Cup in which four countries including India participated. India won the Gold in Chandigarh.

After three assignments, Harendra was removed with Spaniard Jose Brasas by the IOA appointed Ad-hoc committee.

Hockey India presented Harendra an opportunity to bounce back when it entrusted him the men's junior team for the Lucknow World Cup after Jr team failed in the Delhi World Cup in 2013.

Celebrated Harendra has been in the reckoning of coach for over two decades, beginning with development teams in 1998.

He was as deputy to V Baskaran in both Monchengladbach World Cup and 2000 Sydney Olympics.

He takes up men's team in the crucial year with World Cup, Asian Games and Champions Trophy coming in quick succession.

Harendra revitalized the women's team and they showed their mettle in the recent Commonwealth Games where they lost the semis by an odd goal to Australia.

its actually women's loss while it is men's gain.


Hockey India at it, again!

Marijne replaced eight months after he took over as men’s coach after Oltmans

Indervir Grewal

This was Sjoerd Marijne’s first stint with a senior men’s national team. He had coached the Netherlands’ senior women’s and junior men’s teams. File photo

Change, it seems, is inevitable in Indian hockey. It has come again, this time way too quickly. In the latest of Hockey India’s trend of hiring and firing coaches, the federation on Tuesday removed Sjoerd Marijne as the chief coach of the Indian men’s team, less than eight months after he was appointed.

The Dutchman will rejoin the women’s team as the chief coach, while women’s coach Harendra Singh will be the new men’s coach. The decision to make the swap between Indian hockey’s topmost coaching posts is HI’s seemingly straightforward and obvious solution to the men’s team’s under-par performance at last month’s Commonwealth Games. And with three months to go for the Asian Games and India playing the hosts in the World Cup in December, it seems like the most practicable decision as well. It would have been hard for the federation to find a new foreign coach so quickly.

However, the events and the decisions in the last nine months have neither been straightforward nor obvious. Firing Roelant Oltmans with just over a year to go for the World Cup was unexpected and defied logic. The naming of then women’s coach, Marijne, a low-profile name in international hockey, came as a surprise. Despite two medals in his first two major tournaments, the 44-year-old Dutchman’s removal after one fourth-place finish seems extreme. 

From the inexplicable decline in the men’s team’s performance to the meetings that have followed between the players and the officials, nothing has been clear.

Marijne’s philosophy, credentials questioned

The decision to remove Marijne, who has not yet returned to India after the CWG, might have been influenced by what some of the senior players said to HI officials during a meeting last Tuesday. The players were allegedly unhappy with some of Marijne’s decisions, including taking many youngsters to an event as big as the CWG. Also, most in the CWG squad had not played a tournament since December.

However, Marijne cannot alone be blamed for these decisions. High performance director David John and HI’s selection committee must also be questioned.

The main issue, though, was that the players had lost confidence in their coach, questioning his ability to strategise and to react in pressure situations. The players were also unhappy about his player-driven philosophy.

A current India player told The Tribune last week that Marijne had made groups and assigned leaders to each group; and the leaders discussed with the coach about what positions and roles to assign to players, match strategies and even the style to play. “Sometimes, he asked the players to make plans before matches,” the India team player said.

However, Marijne has defended his style, saying that while the players were involved, he was the one making the plans. The reason for his coaching style, Marijne wrote in a post on his website on Tuesday, was that “players learn to take responsibility for their actions because all the decisions which are taken they were involved and that means they were supporting the plan”. “…I prepare for the matches and after this I share it with the leaders so they can explain in Hindi to the rest of the team,” he wrote.

But it seems that not being a famous name also played a part in the players losing faith in Marijne so quickly. “The Indian team needs a renowned coach, like Oltmans, who tells us how to play,” said the India player.

Results matter, process doesn’t

Ironically, the same bunch of players had accused Oltmans of favouritism and being an autocrat. His aversion to trying new faces had also been an issue raised by the players and the high performance director.  At that time, HI had sided with the players and John, despite Oltmans having been involved with Indian hockey for over four years. He had played a major role in taking India to world No. 6, also guiding them to medals in major tournaments.  However, HI had lost faith in the Dutchman after two defeats to lower-ranked teams at the HWL Semifinals last year.

Interestingly, the current India player said that the team had “realised at the Asia Cup that the coach (Marijne) was not up to the level”. “After our draw (1-1 against South Korea), at our next team meeting, he went and sat at the back of the room and asked us ‘you tell me, how do you want to play’,” said the India player.

Why didn’t the players speak out earlier? “We couldn’t say anything because we won the Asia Cup and then won a medal at the World League Final. We figured the federation wouldn’t listen. If we had won a medal at the CWG, I am sure nothing would have changed,” the India player said.

Unfair pressure

After his removal, Marijne said he had faith in his player-driven style.

“We won the Asia Cup with dominating hockey, in the World League we have shown we can beat world class teams and with our New Zealand tour we made another step in our process to win the Asian Games and the World Cup,” he wrote on his website.

“Unfortunately, the Commonwealth Games we didn’t perform the way we expected but still we had good statistics... I had a lot of confidence that with this way of working we could win the Asian Games and Word Cup.”

HI’s expectations from the men’s team can be unfairly high at times. HI’s result-minded approach has put immense pressure on the coaches, and led to coaches such as Oltmans and Terry Walsh urging the federation to respect the process. Both have said that India needed a proper structure and a strong development program to become competitive at the top level.

Marijne had confidence in his process, and HI should have shown faith in him. Or, the federation should have created an atmosphere of trust and confidence among the players for them to speak their mind about the coach regardless of the result.

While saying that he would continue the process he started with the women’s team 14 months ago, Marijne wished Harendra all the best.

Harendra, who has become the men’s coach for the second time, will need all the wishes. The difference in pressure on the coaches of the men’s and women’s teams is evident from the disparity in the levels of expectations. Both the men’s and women’s teams finished fourth in the CWG, yet Harendra landed the high-profile job.

The Tribune

Swap deal: Hockey India springs fresh surprise

Manuja Veerappa

BENGALURU: The Indian hockey musical chair continues. In a predictable move, Hockey India on Wednesday announced the swapping of coaches for the senior national men and women’s teams. In starker terms, underfire men’s team coach Sjoerd Marijne has been sacked and replaced by his women’s team counterpart Harendra Singh. The Dutchman, who became the seventh foreign coach to exit the men’s team in 14 years, has been reappointed as the women’s team chief coach, a post he held until he was roped in following the sacking of Roelant Oltmans in September last year.

Following the team’s below-par fourth-place finish at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games the Hockey India corridors were abuzz with news of the imminent change. There were talks of Marijne, who is currently awaiting his visa to return from the Netherlands, being shown the door. While Harendra was always the frontrunner for the post, CR Kumar’s name was being discussed for the post of women’s coach. But with the women’s team familiar with Marijne, Hockey India high performance director David John got the Dutchman to agree to the interchange.

According to sources, it was initially discussed that the move would be a stop-gap arrangement until the World Cup later this year, but John confirmed to TOI that both contracts would run until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But the question is, given Hockey India’s tendency and reputation of hiring and firing coaches, will both the coaches serve out their contract?

Interestingly, when Oltmans was sacked, Harendra’s was among the top picks as a replacement but they chose Marijne, who did not have prior experience in handling a senior national men’s team. Given Harendra’s experience and comfort level with most players, HI should have hired him last year.

Players unhappy with Marijne

Last week former Hockey India chief and current Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra held talks with senior members of the team to elicit their views and reasons for India’s poor showing in Gold Coast, their worst in three Games. Most of them expressed their reservations about the coaching style and team selection.

Defending his tactics and the players’ involvement in it, Marijne, in a social media post on Tuesday, said, “The coaching style I chose was player-driven. The reason being that players learn to take responsibility for their actions. All decisions which were taken involved (the players) and that means they were supporting the plan. The other reason is that when you involve players in the thinking process they will get more tactical awareness and learn faster. This is scientifically proven because they have to learn to take decisions on the pitch. It means I prepare for the matches and after this I share it with the leaders so they can explain in Hindi to the rest of the team.”

Said John: “The men’s team did not perform to expectations at the CWG. We wanted to play in the gold medal match so, placing fourth was not going forward. We have three big tournaments coming up this year and we want to make sure the team moved forward. We felt at this stage Harendra can motivate the senior men. There are nine junior players in the team and he knows most of them.”

According to John, Marijne has reconciled to the situation.

Short-changing the women’s team

What is baffling about the change of guard is that Hockey India seems to have forgotten the importance of the women’s team. Apparently, the thought is that a coach not good enough for the men’s team is worthy of coaching the women’s team. With the women’s team having progressed well, the latest move may impact them.

The Times of India

Harendra Singh Replaces Sjoerd Marijne As Indian Men's Hockey Team Coach

by Amit Kumar

Harendra Singh led the Indian Junior Men's Hockey team to the Junior World Cup title in 2016. © Hockey India

Indian hockey saw another change in the coaching staff with women's hockey coach Harendra Singh on Tuesday being named chief coach of the Indian men's team. Harendra has taken over from 44-year-old Dutchman Sjoerd Marijne, who returns to his job as the Chief Coach of the women's team. Harendra, who led the Indian Junior Men's Hockey team to the Junior World Cup title in 2016, was appointed as the Chief Coach of the women's team in September 2017 and saw his team finish at the fourth position at the recently concluded 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. His most important contribution was leading the Women's team to the 9th Women's Asia Cup title in Japan last year.

"Harendra Singh brings with himself wealth of experience and has previously managed a lot of the Men's team players during his stints in the Hockey India League and with the Junior teams. While, Marijne's first stint with the Women's team was a very successful one and we are sure he will continue to do well with this team as he has done in the past," said Mohd Mushtaque Ahmed, Secretary General, Hockey India.

"It is an honour for me to now manage the Indian Men's Hockey team. It has been a very satisfying journey with the Indian Women's Hockey team and I would like to thank Hockey India for entrusting me with the new role as we prepare ourselves for a very important season ahead," Harendra said.

The men's team under the coaching of Marijne finished fifth in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, returning without a medal from the Games for the first time since 2006.

"I'm excited to reunite with the Women's team and will look to focus building on the good form exhibited by the team in last six months as we look forward to the Vitality Women's Hockey World Cup 2018," Marijne said.


Coach swap: Hockey India consults men, not women

Rutvick Mehta

Harendra Singh and Sjoerd Marijne

Hockey India's (HI) decision to swap the head coaches of the men's and women's national teams was taken after consultation with some of the senior men players, but none from the women's side.

The HI on Tuesday asked Harendra Singh, the head coach of the women's team, to take over the men's squad, while Dutchman Sjoerd Marijne was removed from his role as men's coach and returned to the women's team.

Marijne was in charge of the women's team until September last year, when HI gave him the men's team while appointing Harendra as the women's coach.

A disappointing fourth-place finish by the men at the 2018 Commonwealth Games (CWG) forced HI to play this game of musical chairs.

However, while the federation made this change after a few senior members of the men's team expressed their unhappiness over Marijne and his policies a few days ago in New Delhi, the women's views about their rapport and progress under Harendra as compared to that with Marijne wasn't sought at all.

"The women players were not consulted," HI high performance director David John, a key decision-maker of this swap, told DNA on Tuesday. "I would hope that the girls take this decision on board positively and move forward."

The women's team under Harendra made several strides over the last seven months, winning the 2017 Asia Cup after 13 years and finishing a creditable fourth at the 2018 CWG despite a world ranking of 10.

"Harendra sir got the belief of winning medals back in us," an Indian women player said on condition of anonymity. "He treated all of us like his daughters, and we all felt very comfortable working with him. We're very sad that he will not be our coach anymore."

A Tale of two coaches

Under Sjoerd Marijne (R), the 6th-ranked men’s hockey team finished a disappointing 4th at CWG 2018

Under Harendra Singh (L), the women’s team, ranked 10th, also ended 4th but beat Olympic champions England

Daily News & Analysis

Sjoerd Marijne accepts new role as women's coach, but says was confident of winning Asiad, WC with men's team

Sjoerd Marijne - File Photo

Sjoerd Marijne has accepted Hockey India's decision to send him back to the women's camp, but the Dutchman said he was confident of delivering results with men's side in the Asian Games and World Cup despite a poor Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.

Women's hockey coach Harendra Singh was on Tuesday made in-charge of the men's side, while men's coach Marijne was re-designated as the women's coach in an inexplicable rejigging of roles by the national federation following India's medal-less finish at the CWG since 2006.

Dutchman Marijne, who was handed the reigns of the men's team in November last year, is currently at his home in the Netherlands. "We won the Asia Cup with dominating hockey, in the World league we have shown we can beat world class teams and with our New Zealand tour we made another step in our process to win the Asian Games and the World Cup," Marijne said in a statement posted on his official blog. "Unfortunately the Commonwealth Games, we did not perform the way we expected but still we had good statistics. (But) I had a lot of confidence that we could win the Asian Games and the Word Cup," he maintained.

The 44-year-old Dutchman did not have any past experience of coaching a men's team when he was given the India job but it seems he has now resigned to his fate with the women's side. "I wish the new coach all the best with this process and I will focus on the woman to continue the process I started 14 months ago. The girls worked hard and I am looking forward to see them again at the Asian Champions Trophy in Korea," Marijne said.

The decision to replace Marijne with Harendra was taken after a review of the team's performance at Gold Coast. Questions were raised on Marijne's team selection and preparedness for an event of such magnitude. Some senior players had also criticised Marijne's decision to blood youngsters in the CWG-side in place of experienced campaigners like Sardar Singh, Birendra Lakra, and Ramandeep Singh to name a few, besides questioning his players-driven approach.

But Marijne, who replaced countrymate Roelant Oltmans at the help of the men's team seven month's ago, defended his style of coaching. "The coaching style I choose was players' driven. The reason is that players have to take responsibility for their actions because they are involved and that they are supporting the plan," he said. "The other reason is that when you involve players in the thinking process they will get more tactical awareness and learn faster. This is scientifically proven because they have to learn on the pitch. It means that I prepare for the matches and after this I share it with the leaders so that they can explain in Hindi to the rest of the team."

Marijne's first assignment now with the women's side will be the fifth Women's Asian Champions Trophy in Korea starting May 13.

Daily News & Analysis

Takara Haines rejoins England squad

By Rod Gilmour

EG’s Kara Haines tries to keep the ball from Birmingham’s Lily Owsley indoors

England coach Danny Kerry’s stance in bringing through new talent as Great Britain ultimately look to defend their Olympic title at Tokyo 2020 continued in earnest this week.

Kerry has seen a number of bright new faces grace the international scene for England and GB since Rio and Takara Haines is the latest to join the ranks at Bisham Abbey as the Olympic-winning coach looks to selecting his squad ahead of the 2018 Vitality women’s World Cup in London.

However Haines, 27, was originally one of 15 new additions to the centralised squad announced last January by Kerry.

She is an East Grinstead registered player but has been based in Australia due to personal circumstances since last summer – where she played for Victorian Vipers – and has since overcome a foot injury.

However, defender Haines, also known as Kara, has taken the decision to return to the UK after retrialled at Bisham Abbey in February, with Kerry keen to test her out ahead of World Cup selection. She rejoined the programme on Monday.

“There is a bit of pressure in that line [defence] which is good for competition and standards,” Kerry revealed to The Hockey Paper.

Haines has come through the national age group ranks, featured for GB at the 2009 Youth Olympics and scored on her home debut for East Grinstead in 2015.

“Kara is very determined, quick and can play on either flank. She is an exciting player,” said Mary Booth, East Grinstead’s coach.

“She is a worker and has the right attributes but has worked damn hard to get where she is. She is tenacious and puts herself on the line to stop people scoring.

“She is apprehensive [about joining the squad] but ultimately it’s Danny’s decision and the group will accept it.”

Although 12 of the 19 Olympians who flew to Rio retained their place in the centralised programme, Kerry has been bold in his selections with Test matches being used to give international experience to the burgeoning squad.

Kathryn Lane, the former England under-21 captain, Emily Defroand, Ellie Rayer, Anna Toman and Suzy Petty, to name but a few, all continue to make strides under Kerry.

“For some of the players like Kathryn and others, it was about helping to grow some depth,” Kerry said after England won bronze on the Gold Coast.

“So we knew the decisions we were making with the relative lack of experience but it does mean that if there are injuries we know these athletes have been tested in a big tournament.”

The Hockey Paper

Vanuatu hockey hoping for Olympic boost

The Vanuatu womens hockey team are heading to the Youth Olympics. Photo: Facebook/Vanuatu Hockey

Vanuatu Hockey hopes competing at the Youth Olympics will inspire more young people in the country to pick up a stick and give the sport a go.

The Vanuatu men's and women's Under 18 teams finished runners up in the Oceania Qualifier in Port Moresby at the weekend to earn their place at the Youth Games in Buenos Aires later this year.

Women's coach Jen Bowtell said Vanuatu hosted the previous Oceania qualifiers in Port Vila four years ago and some of the spectators from that event are now competing for their country.

"For us international tournaments is such a motivator to get all the guys coming to training," he said.

"As much as it's a challenge it definitely has its benefits but having these kind of events (such as the) Youth Olympics is such a good way to get a new crop of kids up and playing.

"When they get to travel they see the opportunities that exist within sport and it's a really good way to hold them tight for the next few years."

Vanuatu proved too strong for hosts Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands during the round robin phase but were no match for Australia.

The Vanuatu men's Under 18s also qualified for the Youth Olympics. Photo: Facebook/Vanuatu Hockey

In the men's competition the Melanesians were thrashed 20-0, 12-0 and 16-0 in three head to head clashes against the green and gold while the women's team were obliterated 30-0, 21-0 and 29-0.

Despite being brutually outclassed, Jen Bowtell said Vanuatu came up with their own scoring system to ensure the players had a way of measuring themselves against one of the top nations in the world.

"We gave the kids a point for a tackle, a point for a shot on goal where the Australian keeper had to save it, five points if we could score a goal and in the end it actually turned out the kids really enjoyed that system," she said.

"While Australia had 30 points on the board actually in the end it was like 32 to Vanuatu, in terms of our scoring system, so that was a really good way that the kids could see it as a learning curve and I think they improved against Australia."

Vanuatu and Australia will both represent Oceania at the Youth Olympics, along with the Solomon Islands men's team. Photo: Facebook/Vanuatu Hockey

Jen Bowtell said Vanuatu Hockey is hopeful their qualification will open some new funding doors to assist the team in getting to Argentina for the Youth Olympics in November.

"We were supported through the International Olympic Committee through our national organising group VASANOC," she said.

"They organised the funding to get us to Papua New Guinea. It was hard to get it there, it's not as easy as just applying and it all flowing through. You've still got to really push it to get through but it came through and we got there.

"From my understanding there's a similar pool which is available to firstly help train, so in the preparations there should be a pool of money available to train and then there should be a second pool of money to get the kids to the Youth Olympics."

Radio New Zealand

South African Senior Womens IPT A-Section - Day 6

Results 1 May

SGW v KZNM (Play-Off 9-12) 2 - 2 (3 - 2 SO)
SA21G v FS (Play-Off 5-8) 5 - 0
KZNC v EP (Play-Off 5-8) 5 - 0
NW v SG (Semi Final) 1 - 2
NG v WP (Semi Final) 1 - 1 (2 - 3 SO)

SAHA Match Centre

South African Senior Womens IPT B-Section - Day 5

Results 1 May

BOR v SACDB 5 - 0
NGB v KZNI 10 - 0
SGN v KZNR 1 - 1

Final Pool Standings

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Northern Daisies (RSA) 6 5 1 0 31 1 30 16
2 SACD A (RSA) 6 3 2 1 21 6 15 11
3 Border (RSA) 6 3 2 1 16 13 3 11
4 SG Nuggets (RSA) 6 3 1 2 6 9 -3 10
5 KZN Robins (RSA) 6 2 2 2 14 11 3 8
6 SACD B (RSA) 6 1 0 5 5 23 -18 3
7 KZN Inland (RSA) 6 0 0 6 2 32 -30 0

SAHA Match Centre

Its Southern Gauteng vs. Tuffy Western Province in the final

We obviously have to start at the most obvious place this morning and that is with the two semi-finals in the A section.

It was an incredible atmosphere at the Riverside Sports Club as the opening match between Southern Gauteng and North West got underway.

North West could not have asked for a better start as National skipper Sulette Damons finished off a fourth-minute penalty corner to give the lead to Shaun Hulley’s side.

Southerns also knew that should they push they would open themselves to the devastating counter of North West and the finishing ability of Dirkie Chamberlain was in wait.

But as we have seen from Southern Gauteng over the years, they have probably the best BMT in the country and they know how to win semi-finals. They pulled level through their skipper Robyn Johnson just before half-time. And in the 49th minutes Lilian du Plessis, in front of the National selectors, reminded everyone how good a finisher she is.

Southerns would see out the game and see themselves into another IPT final.

Tuffy Western Province then took on Northerns Blues and the odds must surely have been stacked against them. The Blues had not conceded a goal in winning five out of five, they had the best keeper in goals in Phumi Mbande and a defensive line led by the other co-national skipper Nicolene Terblanche.

Tuffy Western Province has some big names themselves but had not really impressed in the group stages, squeezing through only on goal difference. But tournament hockey is much like a boxing match, you need to land the right punch at the right time.

Tarryn Glasby seemed to do that by netting as early as the seventh minute to leave the Blues trailing for the first time in the tournament.

Jade Mayne was marshalling her troops in a superb display of leadership and they managed to hold out until the dynamo that is Natalie Esteves scored to pull level.

Despite chances at both ends, it would end that way and the game would be decided in Showdowns.

Izelle Verster & Natalie Esteves (Northerns Blues) and Tarryn Glasby (Tuffy WP) started the showdowns with three consecutive misses, or saves rather, before Quanita Bobbs breached Mbande’s goal.

Nicolene Terblanche equalised immediately before Candice Manuel and Megan Anderson were both denied. Mayne then scored for Tuffy WP to make it 2-1 with one showdown left. Anel Luus had to score and she did. 2-2.

Final shot. Up steps Kelsey Bailey. Facing Phumi Mbande. She sets off. She turns. She shoots. She scores! Tuffy Western Province are through to the final!

In the B Section Border steal a final spot but knew that victory for SG Nuggets would take the spot away. Instead, the Nuggets played out a heartbreaking 1-1 draw with the KZN Robins to miss out on the final, while SACD A then saw off SACD B to leapfrog Border on goal difference. They will now take their spot in the final against the unbeaten Northern Daisies.

You can follow daily updates on SA Hockey or check out the Tournament Management site through https://saha.altiusrt.com/competitions/25#matches SA Hockey would like to thank our sponsors for their continued and valuable support: Private Property, Tsogo Sun, Old Mutual, iWyze, Grays, Olympic International, SRSA, Virgin Active, Fox 40, Greenfields and Belgotex Sport.

SA Hockey Association media release

Defending champions crash out, Western Province sneak through

The final spots in the top four were only decided in the final game of the group stage, which added to the excitement in front of a packed Riverside Sports crowd, one of the best ever seen for a Women’s IPT in South Africa.

Earlier in the day, Free State put themselves in a great position for making the semi-finals when they demolished WP Pens 5-1, with who else but Cornelle Holtzhausen netting a brace.

That result set up the following scenario, Tuffy Western Province would have to avoid defeat against Southern Gauteng to make the final four.

It became evident very early in the Southerns vs. Province game that the crowd was backing Southerns in order to see Free State progress to the final four.

It was a tactical masterclass by Tuffy Western Province as Jade Mayne marshalled the team incredibly well, never keeping quiet, and they limited Southerns to very few chances. Of course, when Southerns did get a chance, Nicole la Fleur was more than equipped to deal with it.

The game ended 0-0 and that saw Free State slip into the 5-8 playoffs. In the other pool, it was North West who secured their place in the Semi-Finals with a workmanlike performance to defeat the SA Invitational under 21 side.

Skipper Amore de Wet broke the deadlock, but North West was made to sweat for the victory before Sulette Damons and Dirkie Chamberlain, still, the finest striker in the country, made the game safe.

The result means that SPAR KZN Raiders would have to beat the Northern Blues by 5 goals. The Blues had not conceded one yet. And that would remain the stat intact at the end of the game.

The Blues ceded tons of possession to the hosts but they were unable to create too many opportunities, and they will be disappointed with their inability to make their penalty corners work. Anel Luus scored a fantastic individual goal before the superb Natalie Esteves made it 2-0 in the third quarter to leave the partisan crowd disappointed and to send the defending champions out of the final four.

The other two results on the day saw Eastern Province dismiss the KZN Mynahs like swatting a fly away and Mpumalanga secured their first victory of the tournament beating the SG Witsies. In the B Section Border continued their fightback from an opening defeat to be contending for a place in the final. The Northern Daisies are already secured of their spot and will be joined by one of SG Nuggets, SACD A, Border and KZN Robins.

You can follow daily updates on SA Hockey or check out the Tournament Management site through https://saha.altiusrt.com/competitions/25#matches SA

Hockey would like to thank our sponsors for their continued and valuable support: Private Property, Tsogo Sun, Old Mutual, iWyze, Grays, Olympic International, SRSA, Virgin Active, Fox 40, Greenfields and Belgotex Sport.

SA Hockey Association media release

Kenya Police hit back to down Parklands


Kenya Police defender Robert Masibo (left) vies with Kenyatta University's Griffith Okumbe during their Kenya Hockey Union Premier League match on January 13, 2017 at City Park Stadium. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Champions Kenya Police maintained their unbeaten start to the season after coming from behind to beat Parklands 3-1 in a Kenya Hockey Union men’s Premier League match at the City Park Stadium, Nairobi on Tuesday.

Police trailed 1-0 at halftime thanks to Victor Mwashi’s 23rd minute field goal for the home side. However, Police improved after the break and hit back through goals from forwards Calvins Kanu, Moses Cheplaiti and defender Samuel Oungo.

In the men’s Super League, Kenyatta University (KU) Vultures also came from behind to defeat Multimedia University (MMU) 2-1 at the same venue. International Moses Ademba had fired MMU ahead after only seven minutes after finishing off Brian Aura’s penalty corner.

However, two goals in the last 15 minutes from skipper Dave Makori gave the Vultures the impressive win, leaving MMU stunned.

In the men’s National League, Gorilla overcame Thika Rovers 1-0 courtesy of a 55th minute goal from Billy Gura.

Kenya Police coach Patick Mugambi was pleased with his side’s second half fight back after a disappointing opening period.

“I think we struggled in the first half and Parklands fully exposed us to take the lead. We were able to play our game and the lads fully deserved the three points after their second half performance,” Mugambi said.


The win takes the law enforcers to 12 points after four matches, six head of second-placed Butali Sugar Warriors, who have played two games less.

Parklands remain in seventh place on three points after three loses and one win.

Parklands were the better side in the opening exchanges, winning a couple of short corners which they, however, failed to convert as Police survived. They did eventually take the lead as Mwashi’s back hand shot beat Police keeper Martin Agesa.

Police’s attack led by Amos Barkibir and Calvins Kanu was surprisingly well contained by Parklands defence led by skipper Fredrick Okeyo.

However, it was a different ball game in the second half as Police would return back stronger and with renewed spirit.

After both Kanu and Barkibir went close, the former levelled for the champions in the 51st minute after been teed up by Cheplaiti to fire past Parklands keeper Fahard Shire.

Two minutes later, Police took the lead as Kanu returned the favour to set up Cheplaiti for the simplest of finishes.

Parklands were stunned and before they were able to recover, they conceded another goal with defender Oungu blasting home from a short corner.

“We went to sleep in the second half and they punished us. It is that simple,” Parklands coach Kul Suri said.

Daily Nation

Teen Akhimullah on track to be top hockey striker

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Mohd Akhimullah Anuar Esook (pic) is a scoring machine and on the right track to becoming the next top national hockey striker.

The 18-year-old from Terengganu was the top scorer in the just concluded Youth Olympics Games Qualifier in Bangkok.

He scored 16 goals to help Malaysia finish runners-up to eventual champions India on Sunday to qualify for the Youth Olympics Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from Oct 6-18.

Last year, Akhimullah won the top scorer award in the Malaysia Junior Hockey League (MJHL) with 17 goals to help Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt win the overall title.

He is the leading scorer with 14 goals this season and wants to help SSTMI-Thunderbolt retain the overall title.

Akhimullah, who is in the Project 2020 squad, was thrilled to bits with his efforts in Bangkok.

“It was a double joy for me as I won the top scorer award for the first time in an international tournament and also qualified for the Youth Olympics Games for the first time.

“This augurs well for my career in hockey as my dream of becoming a national forward is on the right path,” said Akhimullah.

“My mission is to continue scoring goals in domestic and international tournaments. But for now I want to help SSTMI-Thunderbolt win the double this season.

“We won the league title with a 100% record and we want to continue doing so in the knockout stage,” said Akhimullah.

SSTMI-Thunderbolt will take on Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) Tigers at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today. SSTMI and MBPJ played to a 0-0 draw in the league.

The semi-final matches will be played on Friday and the final is slated on Sunday.

The Star of Malaysia

Sam Quek to co-host the England Hockey Awards Dinner

Sam Quek celebrates at Rio

Great Britain Rio gold medallist Sam Quek is to help co-host the 2018 England Hockey Awards Dinner in Leicester on 19 May.

Quek will help host the event alongside former Great Britain goalkeeper Simon Mason at the Athena in Leicester where members of the hockey family will come together to celebrate the great work of clubs across the country this season.

Sam will be co-hosting the event for the first time and can’t wait for the evening to celebrate everything hockey in England, she said: “I am so excited to be co-hosting this event, this is a great evening where we are celebrating the amazing work our clubs across the country have been doing over the past year.

“It is always a great night, especially for us athletes meeting the club volunteers who go above and beyond to make hockey happen in this country.

“Everyone that has been shortlisted will be celebrated for the great work they have done and I cannot wait to be a part of this special evening and celebrate with them.”

England Hockey Board Media release

Hockey girls do PE proud

Collegiate first team make it through to finals of SPAR national sports festival

By Amir Chetty

Collegiate High’s first hockey team came second at the SPAR National All Girls Sport and Cultural Festival at the weekend. The squad is, back, from left, Andrew Beynon (coach), Shelby Sofianos, Taz Preller, Josi Hofmeyr, Gemma Bisdee, Jessica Parker, Sinead Walsh, Chantell Posthumus (manager), and front, from left, Lara Grant, Monique Titus, Jade Voigt, Lara Cunningham (captain), Caitlin Brooks (vice-captain), Camilla Warner, Caitlin van Goeverden and Taylor Gilbert

Collegiate Girls’ High School first hockey team can hold their heads high despite falling to Oranje Meisieskool in a final shootout at the South African SPAR National All Girls’ Winter Sports and Cultural Festival on Monday.

This is according to first team coach Andrew Beynon, who watched his side come agonisingly close to beating the Bloemfontein outfit, only to lose in the shootout to one of the top girls’ hockey teams in the country.

“We have been in two tournaments now over the last month or so, and for them to make two finals and come so close speaks to the passion and commitment they have been showing both on and off the field,” a proud Beynon said.

He said the team fared particularly well in the festival held at Clarendon High in East London, where they had gone unbeaten all the way to the final.

Grouped this weekend with Danville Park, Kingsridge, Rustenburg and Saint Michael’s, the girls showed their class, going through the pool stages unbeaten.

In the knockout stages they met Paarl, who they beat 3-0, before edging Rhenish in the semi by a single goal.

In the end, though, they were edged 2-1 by the Bloemfontein side in the shootout.

They also participated in the St Mary’s Waverley Investec tournament in Johannesburg last month, where they again showed their class on the Astroturf by making it to the final.

But there too they fell short, going down 2-0 to St Mary’s Kloof in a another shootout.

Filled with a mix from grades 10, 11 and 12, the girls have spent the better part of 18 months playing together and this has played a vital role in them understanding each other both on and off the field.

Beynon, who is also the school’s head of hockey, said the team put in at least three sessions of training a week with the addition of a morning conditioning session.

Their next assignment will be the Reunion Weekend next weekend, and they are also hoping to qualify for the FNB Super 12 Hockey tournament in August.

According to school sports website SA School Sports, Collegiate are ranked as the fifth-best team in the country.

But with the latest rankings due for release this week, they could move up a few places.

Herald Live

Hockey legend Mansoor to receive Pakistan’s first mechanical heart aid

KARACHI-For the first time in Pakistan, a unique technology is being introduced to treat heart patients, whose left or right valves have become dysfunctional, enabling them to have mechanical hearts valves implanted.

Former goalkeeper of the Pakistan hockey team, Mansoor Ahmed will be the first patient to have this device implanted.

On the request of the head of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) in Karachi, Professor Nadeem Qamar, world famous heart transplant surgeon Dr Pervez Chaudhry has joined the institute.

The use of this new technique is the result of the efforts of Prof Qamar. The head of the hospital has also given an order to an American firm to implant a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) in Ahmed. It will be implanted next month at the NICVD.

The use of an LVAD allows patients to live normal lives in cases where they otherwise would not be able to do so. The hospital’s administration has begun work to offer new and advanced procedures to cardiac patients.

Ahmed has been suffering from complex cardiac issues for the past several years. Two years ago, a cardiac resynchronisation device was implanted in his weak heart, after which he was able to lead a normal life.

However, his cardiac issues resurfaced this year, after which Prof Qamar contacted Dr Chaudhry to intervene. He requested the surgeon to visit Pakistan and join the hospital to save several precious lives, including that of the former hockey team player.

Hospital administrator Dr Hameedullah Malik was quoted as saying by Express Tribune that Dr Chaudhary has indeed joined the institute. According to Dr Malik, all preparations for Ahmed’s procedure have been completed. He attributed the success of implanting a mechanical device in the heart to Prof Qamar.

Dr Malik said this is the first time the LVAD is being introduced in Pakistan. A mechanical device is inserted in the right side of the patient’s heart. Due to the procedure, the right side of the heart will start functioning with the help of the device. He shared that the new technique is receiving acknowledgment and that this technique is a ray of hope for cardiac patients.

Patients whose hearts stop functioning are candidates for LVADs. Dr Malik said that the cost of the procedure is very high but it will be provided free of charge at the NICVD. He thanked the Sindh government, saying that the chief minister has supported the institute and played an important role in ensuring treatment for poor patients with the most advanced technology.

Contrary to media reports that Ahmed had refused to be treated at the NICVD and instead wanted to undergo a heart transplant in India, Dr Malik said he is still under observation at the facility.

He said that currently, the team of doctors is trying to control Ahmed’s dehydration that he has been suffering since his lungs were filled with water. According to Dr Malik, there is no one to look after him and he has not turned down the hospital’s offer of the free of charge procedure as long as he recovers completely after the surgery.

The Nation

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