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News update 26 June

All the news for Wednesday 26 June 2019

FIH Women's Series Finals Valencia 2019 - Day 8
Valencia (ESP)

Results and fixtures (GMT +2)

25 Jun 2019     NAM v THA (7 / 8)     1 - 2
25 Jun 2019    WAL v BLR (5 / 6)     1 - 2

26 Jun 2019 16:45     CAN v ITA (SF)
26 Jun 2019 19:00     RSA v ESP (SF)

FIH Match Centre

2019 Test matches JPN v CAN (Men) - 2nd Test
Echizen Town (JPN)

Results and fixtures (GMT +9)

24 Jun 2019     JPN v CAN     3 - 3
26 Jun 2019     JPN v CAN     5 - 2
27 Jun 2019 16:00     JPN v CAN
1 Jul 2019 16:00         JPN v CAN

FIH Match Centre

Ward and Calnan back from injury for FIHPL Grand Final

Will Calnan and Sam Ward of Great Britain's men

Sam Ward and Will Calnan are back from injury for this weekend's FIH Pro League Grand Final in Amsterdam.

Henry Weir and David Condon also return to Danny Kerry's 20-man squad. Britain take on Australia on Friday at 4:15pm UK time in the semi-final, with bronze and gold medal matches taking place on Sunday.

Rhys Smith and Chris Grassick miss out from the squad that saw off New Zealand at the Twickenham Stoop to secure a top four finish.

Full squad:
David Ames (Holcombe) (ENG)
Will Calnan (Hampstead & Westminster) (ENG)
David Condon (East Grinstead) (ENG)
Brendan Creed (Surbiton) (ENG)
Adam Dixon (Beeston) (ENG) (C)
Alan Forsyth (Surbiton) (SCO)
James Gall (Surbiton) (ENG)
Harry Gibson (Surbiton) (ENG) (GK)
Chris Griffiths (East Grinstead) (ENG)
Mikey Hoare (Wimbledon) (ENG)
Ashley Jackson (Old Georgians) (ENG)
Harry Martin (Hampstead & Westminster) (ENG)
George Pinner (Old Georgians) (ENG) (GK)
Phil Roper (Wimbledon) (ENG)
Ian Sloan (Wimbledon) (ENG)
Tom Sorsby (Surbiton) (ENG)
Zach Wallace (Surbiton) (ENG)
Jack Waller (Wimbledon) (ENG)
Sam Ward (Old Georgians) (ENG)
Henry Weir (Wimbledon) (ENG)

Fri 28 Jun
Great Britain vs Australia, 4:15pm
Belgium vs Netherlands, 7pm

Sun 30 Jun
Bronze medal match 1:30pm
Final 4pm

All games are at the Wagener Stadium, Amsterdam. In the UK they are live on BT Sport.

The women's Grand Final features Netherlands, Argentina, Australia and Germany, and takes place on Thursday and Saturday.

Great Britain Hockey media release

What's Next For Irish Senior International Teams

Next Stop, Europeans.

Both Ireland’s Women’s and Men’s squad have secured an Olympic qualifier this coming Autumn. The locations for these have yet to be confirmed, but we will know more in the coming months. Ahead of these qualifiers, both teams will head to Antwerp in August to compete in the European Continental Championships, with important world ranking points at stake for each squad.

The Women’s team will take on England, Germany and Belarus in Pool B; and the Men will play the Netherlands, Germany and Scotland in their Pool B.

The Belfius EuroHockey Championships will take place from the 16th to 25th of August in Wilrijkse Plein, Antwerp. You can find more information on the tournament at //www.belfiuseurohockey.com/en/

How does a team qualify for the Olympics?

A total of 12 teams will take part in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.  Of these 12, the host nation Japan will be given an automatic qualifying spot, the 5 continental champions will also qualify for the Games, along with 6 teams who will play in direct Olympic qualifiers this Autumn.

(However, as both Japan’s Men and Women won the Asian Games yet had already qualified as hosts, seven nations will qualify for each of the Men’s and Women’s hockey events at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 through the FIH Olympic qualifiers).

Who will play in the FIH Olympic qualifiers?

The top two nations in each of the FIH Series Finals. They will be joined by the top four nations from the FIH Pro League

Note: should one or more of these teams win their Continental Championship later on and therefore qualify directly for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, then this/these additional spot(s) will go to the best ranked nations not already qualified in the FIH World Rankings (as at the end of the 2018 / 2019 round of Continental Championships)

The remaining spots will go to the best ranked nations not already qualified in the FIH World Rankings (as at the end of the 2018 / 2019 round of Continental Championships) not having qualified through either of the above events or as Continental Champions.

The seven FIH Olympic qualifiers will each feature two nations playing two back-to-back matches, with nations drawn to play each other based on their rankings at the end of the 2018 / 2019 Continental Championships.

The nation with the highest aggregate score over the two matches will qualify for the Olympics. If at the end of the two matches both teams have same aggregate score, the winner will be decided by a shoot-out competition held immediately after the second match.

The FIH Olympic qualifiers are scheduled for October and November 2019 and the matches will be hosted by the higher ranked of the two competing nations.

*if Japan, Scotland or Wales finish in the top 2 of their respective pools, they will not secure a place in the FIH Olympic qualifiers. Japan have already qualified as both host and winners of the Asian Games; for Scotland and Wales, the reason is that England are the nominated country for Great Britain’s qualification pathway. If any of these three teams do finish in the top 2, the team that finishes third does NOT automatically qualify for the FIH Olympic qualifiers. Any such additional place is determined by the FIH World Rankings as at the completion of the continental championships (8 September 2019). [This information is received directly from the FIH website: //www.fihseriesfinals.com/aboutfihseries]

Irish Hockey Association media release

USWNT Eyes Third Straight Pan American Games Gold Medal, Ticket to Tokyo

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - As the 2019 FIH Pro League concluded for the U.S. Women’s National Team their full focus has now shifted toward the next major competition in 2019. The Pan American Games are a month away as two weeks packed with inter-continental rivals will yield a ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games for the squad that claims the gold medal in Lima, Peru. It’s familiar territory for USA, who come in to Lima as back-to-back champions of the Pan American region with a younger, and much different looking team. United, they are eying a three-peat in a historically friendly tournament and the simplest route to Tokyo.

Women’s field hockey was introduced in the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis, Ind., the tenth edition of the event. Thirty-eight countries were represented across all sports, including the USWNT, who claimed the silver medal on home soil. Since then, USA has medaled in each edition of the Pan American Games, currently holding two gold, five silver and one bronze. Their first gold came in the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, where after a 3-0 record in pool play, set USA up with Canada in the medal round. Claire Laubach (Washington Township, N.J.) led the red, white and blue's offense in that match-up, with additional goals by Michelle Cesan (Harding, N.J.) and Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, N.C.) to give USA a 4-2 victory. This set them up to face Argentina in the final. Early scores by Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.) and Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, Va.) gave USA a 2-0 advantage before Las Leonas’ Maria Baarrionuevo got her team on the board before the half. Two more goals in the second half by Katie (O’Donnell) Bam (Blue Bell, Pa.) and Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) secured USA’s first gold medal while breaking Argentina’s streak of Pan American titles at six. Throughout the tournament, USA allowed five goals while tallying 24.

These two teams would hold a rematch four years later in Toronto, Canada in the next edition of the Pan American Games. Before meeting in the gold medal match once again, USA powered through victories against Chile, Cuba and Uruguay allowing zero goals against in the process. The team’s dominant performance continued in the semifinals against Canada where USA prevailed 3-0, setting up a juggernaut final with Argentina, who had a similar performance to USA with zero goals allowed. In the gold medal match after a scoreless first half, USA gained the lead off penalty corner goals by Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.) in the 34th minute and Vittese in the 40th. The score line remained the same until the 58th minute when Florencia Habif put Las Leonas on the board on a penalty corner opportunity. But with time short, it was USA who would once again stand atop the podium.

Fast forward to 2019 as both teams, as well as the entire Pan American region, has drastically changed in faces and skill set. Seven teams from Toronto are appearing once again on the women’s side of the field hockey tournament. Argentina, like USA, looks to get to Tokyo, which they could do in a number of ways, including reclaiming the gold medal from the USWNT. Before that scenario, Las Leonas continues their FIH Pro League journey as one of four final teams in the Grand Final in Amsterdam, The Netherlands this week. On the roster are nine athletes who played in Toronto and could be action in Peru as well.

Don’t miss a moment of Pan American Games build up. Keep up to date with everything happening with the Pan American Games at usafiedhockey.com and by following the hashtag #AllEyesOnLima. For more information, check out the 2019 Pan American Games event page by clicking here.

USFHA media release

Women hockey revival started 26 years ago at Hiroshima

K. Arumugam

PIC: women hockey team of early 90s

Indian women hockey team clinched a major FIH title last Sunday at Hiroshima. The 3-1 win over traditional tormentor Japan in the FIH Series Finals reminds how 26 years ago our women hockey made a remarkable comeback to the global hockey at the same city. And how that victory in 1993 Asia Cup against the same hosts transformed Indian women hockey forever, and with that a sordid phase that the Indian ladies went through for about a decade, had come to an end, evoking in the process a series of 'Chak de' moments.

About 30 men and women hockey players were undergoing almost a six-month training camp in the late 90s in various Government facilities in Punjab. Their task was to earn berth for the Barcelona Olympics. Indian men came behind Pakistan in the Beijing Asian Games and were thus relegated to fight for Olympic slot in the Auckland Olympic Qualifier, a 12-team event. Indian women too did not do well at the said Asian Games and were lucky to get a draw in Auckland. Lucky because those days only 8 women teams were allowed for the Olympics, the fight for the Olympic slot therefore was intense.

However, when the time came to start the journey for Auckland Indian government refused to give sanction for the women while the men's team, who always had a comfort zone in such matters, got the nod. It wasa huge disappoiontment for the girls including legendary Rajbir Rai (Three Asian Games in her kitty, she was the most decorated and well known athlete of her times).

Incidentally there were two women who were holding top notch post then when the women were deprived of their right to be in Auckland. Present Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee was the Union Sports Miniter while another lady IAS officcer was head of Sports Authority of India.

The duo were guided by the report of a Committee headed by none other than the gold winning 1982 Asian Games Women hockey team coach Balkishen Singh. Though he was Men's coach for the Auckland, he had a say in women hockey matters being Hockey Head of National Institute of Sports, Patiala.

No amount of crying by those girls, reasoning by coach MK Kaushik and manouveres of politically strong duo of Arnawaz Damania and Mrs. Nirmal Singh -- who ran the IWHF then - did work.

Women hockey for time being was frozen.

The next big thing for the women was Asia Cup, Hiroshima. There were clearance issue for women too but a bureacrat suggested that the team can be okeyed if the coach can give a written gurantee for medal! Kaushik was willing, and rescued the women's team and the IWHF (Indian Women Hockey Federation) giving written guarantee.

Indian team led by Raijbir Rai lost semis to Korea but went on to win a famous bronze at the cost of hosts Japan. The 1-0 win paved way for Indian women's hockey getting regular clearances thereafter.

Kaushik did not lost long after his team failed to get a medal at the 1994 Asian Games, where the hosts Japan extracted revenge in the bronze medal match

Col. Balbir Singh appeared on the scene and took the girls through various rounds of Qualification for the Utretcht World Cup. Same year when Kaushik moved to men's, GS Bhangu and SS Saini took the girls to Bangkok Asiad silver.

The girls thereafter, despite OQ fiasco due to dissention and discipline issues, bounced back to recokoning when they won the 2002 Manchester Common Wealth Games gold. It was a cindrella kind of result that put women's hockey on top of Indian sports scenario. Surajlata Devi, Manjinder Kaur, Pritamrani Siwach, Sita Hossain, Jothi Sunita Kullu, Tingonleima Chanu, Mamta Kharab and Amarinder Kaur turned out to be house hold names.

Their feat at Manchester even inspired Bollywood that came up with epic movie Chak De India.

Indian girls now are now top ranked Asian team, ahead of traidtional power houses South Korea and China.

They are the reigning Asia Cup and Asian Champions Trophy champions ahead of Asian trio of Japan, Korea and China.

That they failed to annex the title at Jakarta was a jarring note in an otherwise revived Indian women hockey.

It all started at Hiroshima 26 years ago with a bronze medal.


Coach Sjoerd Marijne remains one of the few constants in volatile Indian hockey

Sundeep Misra

Sjoerd Marijne has managed both India men's and women's teams. Hockey India

Sjoerd Marijne stood at the edge of the hockey pitch at the Maulana Bhasani hockey stadium in Dhaka. India had just won the Asia Cup beating Malaysia 2-1 in the final. In one corner, the Indian team posed with the trophy. One-by-one, the flood lights were being switched off. Marijne was not in a hurry. The Bhasani stadium authorities wanted to wrap things up. Summing up the win, Marijne said, “It’s a first step with the men’s team and it’s good we won. But there is a lot to do before we can be considered a very good team.” To go with the Asia Cup gold, Marijne then took the men’s team to a bronze in the HWL Finals in Bhubaneswar. It was followed by a second-place finish in a double leg four-nation tournament in New Zealand.

Things seemed stable, a lengthy run in the offing for the affable Dutchman. India, then prepared for the Commonwealth Games. And, all of a sudden, like a house of cards, everything crashed as India finished 4th, outside the comfort zone of the podium. Marijne was sacked. And he went back to the women’s team. The Dutchman kept quiet, no interviews, no off-the-record stuff that could find its way back into the public domain. There was an uncomfortable silence. The story was that the team didn’t stand by Marijne in the review that happened after the CWG. The Dutchman was the scapegoat.

June 2019

At the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Sjoerd Marijne and the Indian women’s captain Rani Rampal lead the women’s hockey team out. They have just stepped out of a flight that hopped its way from Hiroshima to Delhi. The women’s team won the FIH Women’s Series Finals beating Japan 3-1; now a step away from a place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Nothing much has changed in Marijne. He is still rushed, listen’s attentively to the question asked, asks you to repeat if he hasn’t understood and then answers with the same passion that one saw at the Maulana Bhasani Stadium, two years back. But he is careful, on his guard. And unlike the men’s team, he shepherds the women players. Ensures the players are together and constantly keeps an eye out for them. It’s a family, tightly knit.

It’s also in a way, the metamorphosis of Sjoerd Marijne, the hockey coach. How many in the past have come in as a women’s team coach, after a while asked to take over the men’s and then shunted back to the women’s? For any coach anywhere in the world, it would be a blow to his dignity, his self-respect. But Marijne carries on, not only giving results but also making the team a tight unit, bound by skills, nationalism and the most important aspect, a healthy respect for each other’s talent knowing fully well that success comes as a team and never as an individual. Whether it was the men’s or women’s, getting Marijne to praise an individual or a group is like asking him what happened at the 2018 Commonwealth Games – all you get is a shrug, wrapped in a wry smile.

He doesn’t agree with the ‘metamorphosis’ part. “I am still the same,” he says, repeating it twice. His methods might be the same, he would still create discomfort in a training session to make match situations comfortable for his team, he would want certain drills to be done again and again till ‘he’ feels okay about it. Yes, all that would never change for Marijne. But as a man in a nation where a word is as shallow as a drying river, any person, not only Marijne would wear a couple of extra shields.

Lalremsiami stands a few feet away in the corner. She has a flight to catch to Mizoram. A day before the semi-final, her father passed away. Ignoring the option of flying back, Lalremsiami played on. She wanted to ensure India qualified and she wanted it for her father, a tribute from a daughter to a parent. Marijne signs a sheet, probably an official release of a player. Then he hugs her, a coach to a player, human being to a human being knowing that a part of his team is going into the unknown, going back to a home where she will feel a void, she has never experienced.

“I gave her space to find her way,” says Marijne. “Everybody came to her room. It made the team stronger. She dived in front of the ball when Japan had a PC. She played with her heart.” There is a sense of pride, easily discernible in Marijne. It comes when the coach knows his team will do anything for him. And also, the team knows that Marijne will stretch every sinew, look at the tiniest detail to make them win. It is also a sentiment one never experienced with Marijne when he was with the men’s team. Maybe, he never showed it. Probably, never felt it.

He does admit that the journey has been eventful. From the time he took over the women’s team, the heart-break at the World Cup quarter-finals, the agony at the Asian Games final where they lost to Japan and to deal with a fourth quarter where they had the numbers behind the ball but couldn’t pierce a Japanese defence that was a 15-minute lesson in grit . It still bothers Marijne. “Looking back has no meaning and I never like looking back but after the Hiroshima final, I did think for a few moments ‘what if we had won that final?’ and we would have qualified for the Olympic Games.”

Does he at times think like an ‘Indian’ coach, if ever there is such a definition, he smiles and says, “I think like a Dutch coach, but I adapt to the culture where I am working. We worked on the Indian defence and if you see the numbers, we have very few circle penetrations against us. In terms of skill, I ask them to increase speed and pass the ball. But I know they like a one-to-one situation, so I let them do it. One needs to mix cultures and bring out a winning blend.”

The Indian captain Rani Rampal doesn’t unnecessarily wax eloquent on Marijne’s coaching. She is subtle, almost like the soft-touches she brings as a centre-forward in the team. Or like the direct hit that got India it’s opening goal against Japan in the final. It wasn’t given a whack by Rani, but the accuracy and the speed of the hit caught the Japanese defence unaware.

“When he (Marijne) came back to the team, he knew what was required,” says Rani. “There was no confusion in the team either. We knew what structure to play in. The only focus was on basics. He worked on the team. He brought in the youngsters and more than anyone of us, he feels that the graph of the team needs to keep going up.”

Rani feels the same regret that Marijne had about the Asian Games final. “The regret will always be there,” says Rani. “If we had won the Asian Games final, there would be no stress. The moment we realised we had beaten Japan, the thought came ‘why didn’t we win in Jakarta?’”

Coaches do traverse troubled waters. For Marijne, his time with the men’s team would always bring forth a bag of mixed emotions. He does admit that there was regret early on. “In the beginning, yes, but now not anymore. I didn’t expect a lot of things that happened. But I am no one to judge. I am more reserved in telling things. I am a coach who likes to trust people and that was broken.”

Marijne is a coach in search of inefficiencies - wants to eradicate them, create a balanced work ethic with a structure of efficient defending, distribution, possession and chance conversion. The Dutchman is not radically altering anything. He is instilling belief, that age old theory which works better than the best anabolic steroid or stimulant.


Indian women's hockey coach Sjoerd Marijne extols 'power of repetition and mental training' ahead of Olympic qualifiers

The Indian womne's hockey team will play in the Olympic qualifiers in November. Image courtesy: Twitter @TheHockeyIndia

New Delhi: Coach Sjoerd Marijne wants the Indian women's hockey team to understand the "power of repetition" to train their mind and body ahead of the Olympic qualifiers in November.

The Indian women not only sealed an Olympic qualifier spot by reaching the summit clash in FIH Hockey Series but also won the tournament by beating Japan in the final.

Marijne said he is happy with the overall performance of the side.

"As a higher ranked country, if you go to a qualifier, you know you have to win and I am very happy with their performance. I know a few teams were really low ranked and there was not much challenge in the pool matches, so the challenge in the semis and finals was even bigger," he said.

"You have to keep training and improving, it is the power of repetition and also train the mental side. Now they have the experience of winning and playing difficult matches and it gives a big boost to the team."

India missed a few opportunities initially against Chile in the semi-finals but Rani Rampal's side bounced back from a goal down to outwit them 4-2 to seal their place in the Olympic qualifiers.

"We were not in the rhythm, we also had three days rest but the team did very well. The first half against Chile was not perfect because we had to adjust to the speed of the game but after that, we did well," Marijne said.

"I was happy how we came back but I was not happy with how we started. The level went too low, we can't allow that because we need to have a basic level where everybody plays.

"They had some nerves in the semi-finals. The nerves disappeared in the finals and that is something we have to keep working on if we can improve that our level will only get higher. So the psychologists we have — Priyanka Prabhakar and Somya Awasthi — are important for the team."

The 45-year-old from The Netherlands also said it will be an advantage if India plays their Olympic qualifiers at home.

"We are ranked ninth, so we will have to wait for the continental championships to be over, so yeah we will play at home but still we will have to wait," he said.

"It is a good thing because these girls didn't play enough match in India like the men. So it would be a great opportunity and an advantage."

Asked if he was happy with the penalty corner conversation of the team, he said: "Yeah, there is no worry but we have to maintain that. Gurjit (Kaur) has the quality to do that in the right moment and not many drag-flickers can do that the way she did in the semi-finals and finals."

Seven qualifying events will now be held in November to determine the seven teams for the Tokyo Olympics, and the FIH will come up with the draw in September.

Talking about their preparation for the qualifiers, Marijne said: "It will be the same, because in the camps, we have played Korea, Ireland, Spain for preparation. We have practised against these countries and now we will have pre-Olympic qualifier events like Australia will come there.

"Good opponents will be there. We will do everything possible to be well prepared."

Asked if he felt India could have scored more goals, Marijne said: "Ya, of course, but you play against Uruguay, Poland and then Fijji, who are really lower ranked.

"So when is it enough, if we score 5 goals or 10 goals. You know if we score 10 goals today will we get medals? No, the medal is after the end of the tournament so we have to save your energy," he said.

"If you see, we scored four against Chile and three goals in the finals, and it is not about scoring only goals, we defended very well and especially in the finals.


Sports Minister offers all support to the women’s hockey team

Skipper Rani Rampal says squad gained confidence from its Hiroshima show

Bhrigu Bagga

Hail the champion: The triumphant Indian team with Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju. 

The Minister of State of Youth Affairs & Sports, Kiren Rijiju has extended all support to the women’s hockey team as it prepares for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The team, which won the FIH Women’s Series Finals in Hiroshima during the weekend, was felicitated on Tuesday.

“The Indian women’s hockey team has played very well and made us proud. I shall visit both the men and women’s team and their coaches in Bengaluru to discuss what all they need for the qualification process,” said Rijiju.

Skipper Rani Rampal said the squad had gained confidence from its performances in Hiroshima and would strive to build on it.

Unbeaten campaign

During its unbeaten campaign, India scored 29 goals and conceded four.

“Things have developed quite a bit and I want to lead by example, to inspire girls to come out and to raise the level of hockey in the country,” she said.

In fact, striker Lalremsiami showed exemplary spirit ahead of the semifinal against Chile.

In spite of learning of her father’s demise, the Mizoram player went on to take the field to make her father proud.

Vice-captain and goalkeeper Savita Punia said, “Our focus is to do our job.

But when we look at the social media and elsewhere and realise so many people are backing up, it feels good from the core.”

Punia also lauded Dutch coach Sjoerd Marijne terming him “lucky” for the team.

“You can see it in his eyes, the intensity to win is the same. He makes us feel at home and we work as a family” she added.

The Hindu

Gurjit Kaur: I became a dragflicker for team’s sake

Indian women's hockey team's chief dragflicker Gurjit Kaur revealed that she learnt the art of dragflick only after making the senior team.

Dragflicker Gurjit Kaur (Center) has scored 11 of the 29 goals India has scored at the FIH Series Finals in Hiroshima. (File Photo)   -  AFP

The Indian women’s hockey team returned home to a rousing welcome on Monday after remaining unbeaten throughout its triumphant campaign at the FIH Women’s Series Finals in Hiroshima, scoring 29 goals and conceding just four.

Of the total 29 goals India scored, 11 were netted by dragflicker Gurjit Kaur, who played a significant role in helping India seal a berth for the Olympic qualifiers for 2020 Tokyo Games.

Kaur found the back of the net 10 times from short corners while one was scored from the penalty spot.

The 23-year old said that she mastered the art of dragflick after making the senior national squad as the team needed a penalty corner specialist.

“I was selected for the junior team but my first tour was with the senior side. I didn’t know much about dragflicking at that time, but I tried to gain knowledge about it as our team needed an experienced dragflicker. I feel there is more to be learnt. I also have to work on my speed,” Kaur said.

Kaur trained under renowned Dutch coach Toon Siepman, who also mentored Pakistani great Sohail Abbas and Netherlands' Mink van der Weerden among many. Siepman helped Kaur improve her balance and taught her how to generate power through front-foot positioning.

“Toon was a great dragflicker during his time. I used to make minor errors which I wasn’t aware of and it was he (Toon) who helped me recognise my mistakes. He told me how to use my first foot, what could be the movement and how to use my hands swiftly so that the ball travels faster towards the net. He helped me improve a lot.”

Kaur also wants to impart her skills to the junior girls. “I am making the junior ones learn dragflick better. I enjoy teaching them the skills,” she said.

Most of the teams at the FIH Women’s Series Finals were lower-ranked when compared to India, but Kaur felt it was not because of their rankings that her team comfortably won the tournament.

“We take all the team as same irrespective of their rankings, as any team which participates in an international event gives their best on the turf. We won the tournament because of the hard labour we put in. Had we taken them (opponents) lightly, may be we could have lost due to over-confidence,” she asserted.

Kaur, however, said the mission was far from over as now the team's sole focus is on the Olympic qualifiers.

“We have just completed one mission and the next one is on cards. We will face many strong teams in the qualifiers and will try to deliver our best once again. Our team is ready for the major challenge,” she said.

The Indian women’s team will return to the national coaching camp at the SAI facility in Bengaluru on July 15 to prepare for the Olympic test event in Japan. The goalkeepers will return on July 8 for a special week-long camp before their compatriots join them for the national camp.


Nothing was conveyed to me, reveals Jude Felix after reports of Hockey India sacking him came out in media

Chiranjibi Pati

Jude Felix, who was in-charge of the Indian junior men’s hockey team, has revealed that the Hockey India didn’t inform him before putting an advertisement for the same post on its website. Reports of Jude Felix being sacked from the coach’s post of the junior team came in the media last Wednesday.

Earlier this week, there was a PTI report which carried the news of former India captain Jude Felix being sacked from the position of the chief coach of the Indian junior men’s team because of the poor performance of the team in an eight-nation under 21 invitational hockey tournament in Madrid. The Hockey India has also put up an advertisement in the recruitment section of its website inviting applications for the same post before July 5.

Although Felix is not “surprised” with the development and the steps taken by the Hockey India because of a few of the international matters, he has revealed that he has not been conveyed anything regarding the same by the administrators from the apex body of the sport in India.

“I am not surprised at all (with Hockey India putting an advertisement for the post on its website). Nothing, nothing was conveyed to me. They just went ahead and did what they had to do,” Felix told SportsCafe.

In the junior tournament in Madrid, the Indian colts lost against Australia, the Netherlands, Spain and Great Britain and the only win came against a poor team like Austria who were beaten by a score of 4-2.

The performance of the junior team is given as the main reason behind Felix’s sacking but he the former coach himself has mentioned that there is more to the reports in the media. He also mentioned that the Hockey India had already taken the decision to sack him a few days before the eight-nation junior tournament started in Madrid.

“I don’t want to say anything. There is much more to it than what is written in the newspapers. The people reading were made fools. Also, the decision of not to extend my contract was taken on the June 6 and the tournament started on the June 10. When the time comes, I will talk.”

Felix, who had played more than 250 international games for India in the past and had led the senior national team as well, was given the responsibility of the junior side in August 2017. Earlier in his coaching career, the Bengaluru man was the assistant coach of the senior men’s team as well. Felix asserted that the junior boys have reached a good level in the last couple of years.

“I have taught them for two years. They have reached a good level. I don’t know who the other guy is, so I wouldn’t know what he teaches. But, in two years what they have learnt is of very very good level.

“Hockey India should send more under 21 players like the other teams. In our team, 10 out of 18 played for the first time, five players for the second time and three were playing for the third time,” the three-time Olympian concluded.


FIH reaches settlement agreement with Pakistan Hockey Federation

Lausanne, Switzerland: After considering all the elements submitted by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), the International Hockey Federation (FIH) today put an end to the disciplinary case opposing hockey’s world governing body to PHF by reaching a settlement agreement with PHF to ensure hockey continues to grow in the country.

This agreement consists of a settlement amount, with half of it to be invested by PHF in youth development and/or grassroots development activities in Pakistan within the next two years; these development funds will be monitored by the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) and reported to FIH with documentary evidence.

The other half shall be paid to FIH in three instalments until July 2020; in case the first instalment is not paid until 19 August 2019, Pakistan may not enter the FIH Olympic qualifiers for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Commenting on the agreement, FIH CEO Thierry Weil said: “FIH came to today’s proposal in view of protecting the development of the game in Pakistan, while making it clear that jeopardising one of our events cannot be accepted. Considering the circumstances, we think this is the best possible outcome and wish that Pakistan hockey will soon flourish again.”

The disciplinary case had been brought after Pakistan withdrew from the FIH Pro League on 23 January 2019, after the competition had started. The disciplinary proceedings are now closed

FIH site

Scotland U21 men’s squad announced for matches against Ireland

Scotland U21 men’s preparations for U21 EuroHockey Championship II continue as they head to Ireland for three matches this weekend.

The Scots will play Ireland on Friday 28th June at 19:45; Saturday 29th June at 15:30; and Sunday 30th June at 14:30 at Ulster University, Jordanstown.

James Nairn is out the series with a broken finger and Aidan McQuade; Callum Mackenzie and Cameron Golden are also unavailable for the games against Ireland after playing for Scotland men in Le Touquet.

Scotland U21 men are building towards EuroHockey Junior Championship II (men) in July and are deep into their preparations for their drive for promotion. At the tournament in Plzen Litice, Czech Republic, Scotland will play in a Pool with Portugal; Russia; and Italy before the final stages.

The Scots are on the back of a successful Club All Star Series that saw the U21s play three competitive games against All Star teams made up from National League players; and also a series win against Wales U21 Men in Glasgow.

Scotland U21 Men’s squad selection for the Euros will be made after the matches in Ireland.

Scotland U21 Men’s Head Coach Graham Moodie said, “These are our final preparation games before going to the tournament in the Czech Rep. Ireland is a really strong team and exactly the level of match we need to help us best prepare for the Euros. Following positive performances in the Wales matches we are taking a larger squad to Ireland (21 players) and we want to build on the progress we made.”

Scotland U21 Men’s squad for Ireland Series:
Douglas Gourlay     Grange
Martin Rose         University of Edinburgh
Andrew McAllister     Western Wildcats
Robbie Croll         University of Edinburgh
Andrew Lochrin     Uddingston
Ali Richmond         Loughborough University
Andrew Webb         Loughborough University
Ewen Mackie         University of Edinburgh
Sam Weissen         Durham University
Ben Pearson         University of Edinburgh
John Stephen         Grove Menzieshill
Alex Batstone         Bath Bucaneers
Jamie Golden         Grove Menzieshill
Joe Waterston     Beeston
Fraser Moran         Western Wildcats
Andrew McConnell     Western Wildcats
Alan Johnston         Grange
Hamish Roberts     Loughborough University
Struan Walker         Clydesdale
David Nairn         Clydesdale
Jack Jamieson     University of Edinburgh


Friday 28th June – 19:45
Saturday 29th June – 15:30
Sunday 30th June – 14:30

Scottish Hockey Union media release

IOC, WOA honour Olympian extraordinaire Alagendra with pin and certificate

By Adrian David

Tan Sri P. Alagendra was accorded an award which entitles him to use the post-nominal letters ‘OLY’ after his name. -NSTP/Mohd Khairul Helmy Mohd Din

Hockey icon and former crimebuster Tan Sri P. Alagendra has added another feather to his cap.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Olympians Association (WOA) accorded him a pin and certificate, signed by WOA president Joel Bouzou recently.

The award, handed over to him by the Malaysian Olympians Association (MOA), entitles him to use the post-nominal letters ‘OLY’ after his name.

Hence, Alagendra, who is fondly referred to as ‘Aly’, can now be called ‘Oly’ as well!

Alagendra said: “I would not have lived any other way. I still continue to believe in the magic of sports!

“For without sports, life will be a dull affair. Imagine, living in a world without sports.

“You get up in the morning, go to work, return home, have your dinner and then sleep.

“Life will be so monotonous,” said Alagendra, who was part of Malaya’s first Olympic contingent of 34 athletes in Melbourne in 1956.

Freddie Vias and Alagendra are the last surviving members of the 1956 Olympic team.

Alagendra, who retired as Selangor’s police chief in 1984, recounted how he was spurred to excel in sports by his superiors.

He said former Inspector-General of Police Tun Salleh Ismael, the country’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra and the late Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah were great sports lovers.

“It was through sports that I managed to forge a close rapport with such luminaries, who often invited me to accompany them to great sporting events like the World Cup and Olympics.

“We shared many great moments together,” said Alagendra, who was also involved in five other Olympic Games either as a national coach, manager, event judge or chef de mission.

“Sports helped unify a young multi-racial nation during its trying times after Independence (from Britain in 1957).

“To me, sports is the biggest gift in life. It helped mould us into good characters. So enjoy it,” said Alagendra, who will turn 90 on July 23.

On Malaysians who had competed in the Olympics, Alagendra said they were ‘worth their weight in gold’.

“It is a great honour to be an Olympian because participation in the Games represents the pinnacle of sporting achievement.

“The Olympics are held only once every four years and fewer than 10,000 of the world’s finest athletes are selected to compete.

“I feel proud to have represented the country at several Olympics in different capacities,” said Alagendra.

He coached the 1964 Tokyo Olympic team and was appointed team manager of the 1968 Mexico and 1986 Montreal teams.

He was also an FIH judge for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and Malaysia’s chef de mission to the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The MOA, who were registered in 2002, have a special place in Alagendra’s heart as he was the founding president of the association.

Meanwhile, MOA president Lt Cdr (Rtd) Karu Selvaratnam regards Alagendra as a sporting legend.

“He has played hockey at the highest level and in the first Olympics the country took part in.

“His accomplishments are many and it may take me the whole night to name them.

“Alagendra is a gentleman, sportsman and an officer,” said Karu after presenting him the pin and certificate at a simple ceremony at Alagendra’s home at Taman Titiwangsa.

Present were Olympians Datuk R. Yogeswaran, Datuk Poon Fook Loke, Nor Saiful Zaini, M.A. Sambu, Noraseela Mohd Khalid and MOA founding secretary M.P. Haridas.

Also present were Alagendra’s wife, prominent criminal lawyer Puan Sri N. Saraswathy Devi, and daughters Raja Rajesvari and Anna Poorani, and his grandchildren Arjuna Alagendra Sen, M. Gayathri Divya Alagendra and M. Tara Thanushka Ahilya Alagendra.

New Straits Times

Vancouver Hawks field hockey club welcomes refugees and immigrants for 125th anniversary

'When i decided to join the club I felt really welcome,' says Canada newcomer

The Vancouver Hawks have 45 participants through the YMCA newcomer program, some of whom are from South America, Central America and Iran.  (Submitted by Vancouver Hawks)

The Vancouver Hawks field hockey club is celebrating its 125th anniversary this week. As part of the celebrations, the club, in collaboration with the YMCA, is hosting an event Monday night to introduce immigrants and refugees to the sport.

The club first partnered with the YMCA Newcomer Program in 2018, according to Hawks club manager Alex Bale. The program offers support to those who are new to Canada, whether it be with language courses or fitness or social programs.

"They have a fantastic program for newcomers ... trying to introduce them to various parts of Canadian society. And we feel field hockey is totally a part of that," Bale told Stephen Quinn, host of CBC's The Early Edition.

The Vancouver Hawks have 45 participants through the YMCA newcomer program, some of whom are from South America, Central America and Iran.

Mayra Alvarez, far left, moved to Vancouver from Guatemala in 2014. She participated in a Vancouver Hawks field hockey newcomer event last year and continues to play. (Submitted by Vancouver Hawks)

Mayra Alvarez moved to Vancouver from Guatemala in 2014. When she heard of the YMCA's programs for immigrants, she joined up. Alvarez participated in a Vancouver Hawks field hockey newcomer event last year. She had never played the game before.

"It was hard for me starting my life in Canada, because I didn't speak English, I didn't have friends and no job," said Alvarez. 

"So when i decided to join the club, I felt really welcome because all the members are really friendly, nice and really good people. They made me feel proud of myself and I felt part of the community."

Popular, but unknown sport

Bale says that while many Vancouverites may not be familiar with field hockey, there's still a huge community in Surrey, Vancouver and West Vancouver who play regularly. The public just might not see it all the time.

"It's not a widely known sport here, but it is in a lot of countries," said Bale. "So, the YMCA immigrant program is a natural fit just to reach out to [the community]."

Vancouver Hawks club manager Alex Bale and field hockey participant Mayra Alvarez at the CBC Vancouver studios. (Laura Sciarpelletti/CBC)

The Vancouver Hawks have more than 1,000 members. There are teams for juniors, men, women and seniors. There are three Olympians in the club, all of which went to the Rio de Janeiro games in 2016 for field hockey.

The event for newcomers is Monday night from 5 to 8 p.m. It's open to the public and takes place at Eric Hamber Field in Vancouver.

CBC News

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