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News for 06 November 2019

All the news for Wednesday 6 November 2019

FIH CEO Thierry Weil: “A magnificent show!”

Photo credit: Chinese Hockey Association

Thierry Weil, how did you experience these FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers?

It was a magnificent show! On behalf of FIH, I would like to congratulate all teams who have qualified for next year’s Olympic Games and thank all teams involved in these FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers for having offered to all fans such great hockey over the last two consecutive weekends.
If some people not familiar with our sport have been viewing these events either on TV or on FIH.live or in the stadiums, they’ve surely seen how exciting hockey is.

Do you have specific moments in mind?

It’s difficult to select a few among so many … The first qualification of the Irish Women’s team for the Olympic Games in an incredible atmosphere at the Energia Park, a rugby stadium where a portable hockey pitch was installed, proving that this concept is a really good one for the promotion of hockey; the Dutch fans warmly congratulating the Pakistani players for having displayed such a great performance in the first leg; the numerous fans turning up for these “do-or-die” matches; the intensity of these games with many come-backs, such as USA in India or China vs Belgium, etc …

There was also an umpiring decision during the second leg of the Canada–Ireland Men’s qualifiers which generated much debate. What are your comments on that?

While anyone is of course entitled to disagree with an umpiring decision, numerous reactions after this match have gone far off the values of hockey. In order to avoid any disturbances for teams and umpires in their preparations ahead of the second week-end of qualifiers, FIH has not made any proactive statement on the matter (but responded to requests received). Let’s now outline a couple of points:

  • Hockey has been one of the first sport to introduce video technology to assist umpiring and is widely recognized as a leader in this field
  • The technology and process used for video umpiring at these qualifiers were all in line with the FIH provisions on video umpiring established since many years and applied correctly
  • For FIH events, a minimum of 4 camera angles are required in order to have a video umpire referral process in place. For the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers however, this number was raised to a minimum of 6 cameras
  • Video umpires have access to camera angles which may not always be on the live broadcast
  • The umpires selected for these qualifiers all belong to the best panel of FIH umpires, where a continuous evaluation is made

Should umpires be more supported?

Umpires are volunteers, who spend a huge part of their free-time for the sport they love and to enable athletes to play the sport they love. They follow courses organized by all National Associations, Continental Federations and FIH. They train hard to keep improving. They often have tough decisions to take. Therefore, while emotions are understandable due to what is at stake in sport sometimes, umpires need the support and respect of everyone, in line with the values which depict our sport. This is fundamental. Not only do they deserve that, but that is also a prerequisite to give them the level of self-confidence needed to fulfil their mission.

When will you confirm the pools for the Tokyo 2020 hockey tournaments?

The final participation in the Olympic Games for any team must be approved and confirmed beforehand by their respective National Olympic Committee (NOC). Therefore, FIH has now contacted all qualified teams and their NOCs to request them to confirm their participation. Once we will have received all these confirmations, we will be able to release the pools.

How will the pools be determined?

The pattern is the same as for the last Games in Rio (see: http://fih.ch/media/12236276/rio-2016-regulations-revised.pdf  - Appendix 2). The pools are determined by the FIH World Rankings.

When will you announce the match schedule?

The match schedule will be announced around mid-December.

FIH site

Reaction to Ireland men's last-gasp defeat by Canada 'far off the values of hockey' - FIH CEO

Johnny McKee scored Ireland's only goal in the second leg but missed in the shootout

The CEO of the International Hockey Federation says some reactions to the penalty award which saw Ireland men miss out on Olympic qualification has "gone far off the values of hockey".

Ireland lost their Olympic play-off to Canada in controversial fashion after the video umpire's last-second penalty call in favour of the Canadians.

Ireland were celebrating an aggregate 6-5 win as Canada asked for a referral.

Last week Ireland indicated they would be complaining to the FIH.

"We will be pursuing this through the appropriate channels," the Ireland squad said in a statement last week.

The statement added that this would be in "conjunction with Sport Ireland and Hockey Ireland".

"We believe the FIH have a duty to take action to restore credibility in the Olympic qualification process, to renew trust in the conduct of international hockey matches and to protect the integrity of both players and umpires.

"Given the importance of the video referral process, it was disappointing to witness a series of flaws in how the video referral was handed throughout the weekend.

"We feel particularly aggrieved at how the final moments of the game were managed and in particular, the video referral system. We believe this is unacceptable in a fixture of this magnitude."

As part of a Q&A conducted on the FIH website, Chief Executive Thierry Weil said: "While anyone is of course entitled to disagree with an umpiring decision, numerous reactions after this match have gone far off the values of hockey.

"Hockey has been one of the first sports to introduce video technology to assist umpiring and is widely recognised as a leader in this field.

"The technology and process used for video umpiring at these qualifiers were all in line with the FIH provisions on video umpiring established since many years and applied correctly.

"For FIH events, a minimum of four camera angles are required in order to have a video umpire referral process in place. For the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers however, this number was raised to a minimum of six cameras

"Video umpires have access to camera angles which may not always be on the live broadcast and the umpires selected for these qualifiers all belong to the best panel of FIH umpires, where a continuous evaluation is made.

"Umpires are volunteers....they often have tough decisions to take. Therefore, while emotions are understandable due to what is at stake in sport sometimes, umpires need the support and respect of everyone, in line with the values which depict our sport. This is fundamental.

"Not only do they deserve that, but that is also a prerequisite to give them the level of self-confidence needed to fulfil their mission."

BBC Sport

Ireland hockey star played with broken bone in her wrist in Olympic qualifier win

Roisin Upton suffered the injury but still played a key role in the shootout win.

Roisin Upton celebrates with fans after Sunday's game. Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

IRELAND HOCKEY STAR Roisin Upton has revealed that she played through the pain barrier with a broken bone in her wrist during Sunday’s dramatic qualifier win over Canada that booked their place in next summer’s Olympics.

Limerick native Upton was part of the Irish side that qualified for the Olympics for the first time when they triumphed in a sudden death shootout after the second leg tie in Donnybrook.

Upton was central to the late drama, running out of time with her first effort in the shootout before making amends by scoring in sudden death to ensure that Ireland will compete at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Yet the 25-year-old Limerick native has revealed that she had to battle on despite the injury she had suffered.

“I broke the top of my ulna,” Upton told the Limerick Leader.

“There was just a point in the match where I felt I couldn’t grip my stick properly and my wrist was quite sore, so I’m not too sure if I had a fall or got a bang.

“I am not too sure exactly when, but adrenaline just takes over and I just kept going. I am looking forward to re-watching the game trying to pinpoint when it might have happened.

The 42

2020 National Squad see big names return

Having secured their place at next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, the 2020 international hockey season is looking to be an exciting and busy year for the Vantage Black Sticks Women, as the national squad is announced today.

National Women’s Coach Graham Shaw has been able to name several highly experienced former players returning to the 2020 squad which sees the return of Kayla Whitelock, Gemma McCaw, Julia King and Rachel McCann. Whitelock and McCaw will feature in the squad for the first time since the 2016 Rio Games.

There is also a mixture of youth with Kaitlin Cotter (17) and Holly Pearson (21) included having been rewarded with national contracts on the back of some impressive form in the 2019 season, where they will join Central teammate Olivia Shannon (18) who has been selected for her second National Squad.

The three young Central strikers formed a formidable combination at the recently concluded Ford NHL, Shaw will be looking for them to build on this chemistry in the strike line for the national team.

The side will again be led by Stacey Michelsen who in the 2019 season became the most capped Vantage Black Sticks Women’s player of all time when she overtook the record of 274 caps held by Emily Gaddum.

Michelsen, who has previously been to the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, will be aiming to lead her side to the first medal in the programme’s history at the upcoming Games. 

There are six players with more than 200 test caps in the side and this experience will be vital as they prepare to improve on their sixth placing at the inaugural FIH Hockey Pro League in 2019.

Graham Shaw commented on naming his first national squad, “We feel the squad has a good mix of youth and experience as we start building towards the 2020 Tokyo games”.

“We have been lucky to welcome back Kayla and Gemma after they stepped away to start families. We look forward to the invaluable experience that they will bring and the pivotal role they will play in helping our team towards our goal of medalling at the Olympic Games”.

Shaw stated on the benefit of the 2019 Season “The FIH Hockey Pro League and Oceania Cup have allowed us to test ourselves against the best opposition from around the world. Having booked our place at the Tokyo Olympics we have been able to plan for the year ahead, which will allow us to have the best shot possible to perform at the Olympic Games in 2020”.

The team will begin their international season on Saturday 1st of February when they host the Belgium Women in the FIH Hockey Pro League at the new National Hockey Centre in North Harbour.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Nat'l men's hockey coach Oltmans says he'll stay


That was the reaction of national men’s hockey coach Roelant Oltmans after being asked whether he would stay until the end of his contract after Malaysia missed out on qualification to the Olympics. (NSTP/AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR)

“I AM not someone who runs away from my contract.”

That was the reaction of national men’s hockey coach Roelant Oltmans after being asked whether he would stay until the end of his contract after Malaysia missed out on qualification to the Olympics.

Oltmans arrived together with the national squad at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport yesterday from London.

His current contract runs until October 2020.

“Of course, I am not someone who runs away when I am in my contract (period). It does not make sense for me to do so,” said Oltmans.

“I signed a contract and the other party signed a contract because we want to achieve something.

“I know for many years to get something out of a group in a country it is a long term process. You cannot expect overnight results.

“We will conduct an evaluation professionally with MHC and have discussions on it.”

Malaysia had on Monday lost 5-2 to Britain, giving the latter a 9-3 aggregate victory at the Lee Valley Hockey Stadium in London.

Olympian Tan Sri P. Alagendra was also present at KLIA in a show of support for the team. He spent time talking with the national players.

“I love all of you (players), all I ask is that you remain strong and play with passion.

“Forget what has happened and continue to work hard,” said Alagendra to the players.

The last time Malaysia qualified for the Olympics was in Sydney 2000.

New Straits Times

Coaches get the stick – and the axe


Is this the end?: National team coach Roelant Oltmans (centre) may lose his job after failing to lead the national team to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

PETALING JAYA: Now that the national hockey team’s hopes of returning to the Olympics after 20 years have been derailed, the heads of the coaches are set to roll.

Malaysia Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal hinted at coaching changes after the team failed to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

This is likely to spell the end for coach Roelant Oltmans, whose key performance indicator (KPI) was to get the team into the Olympics.

“The coaches should be responsible. MHC will reshuffle the coaching line-up especially Oltmans’ position because he has failed, ” he said.

The failure has as good as destroyed the dreams of goalkeeper S. Kumar, captain Sukri Mutalib, vice-captain Razie Abd Rahim and forward Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil of featuring in the Olympics.

The four have acknowledged that this was their last shot at Olympic glory and the defeat to Britain in the playoffs could even see them out of the national team in the future.

Malaysia had their best chance for qualification this time but in their two playoff matches at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London, they looked well below par and were soundly beaten 9-3 on aggregate by the ruthless Britons.In the first-leg on Nov 2, Malaysia were beaten soundly 4-1. On Sunday, they were thrashed 5-2.

Malaysia last played in the Olympics in Sydney in 2000 when the team captained by Mirnawan Nawawi finished 11th.

For Sukri, the defeat was a bitter pill to swallow but he admitted that Britain were better.

“The first-leg defeat made it tough for us. We had to attack in the second-leg, and they capitalised on our gaps, ” he said.

“We didn’t qualify and it’s a disappointment but I cannot fault the commitment of the players. I’m proud of everyone in this team.”

Britain’s captain Zach Wallace said the team didn’t feel that the 4-1 first-leg lead was comfortable and wanted to go with guns blazing in the second-leg.

“It would have been easy to go into this (second leg) game and try not to lose, but we wanted to make sure we won the game and go to Tokyo in style.

“These Asian sides come out so hard and quick. For us, it was about sticking to our principles.

“We knew we had better fitness so knew if we stuck to it we would come out on top.”

The 12 teams that will play in the Olympics are hosts Japan, Argentina, South Africa, Belgium, Australia, Canada, Germany, Britain, India, Holland, New Zealand and Spain.

The Star of Malaysia

Subahan: Playoffs unfair to Asian teams

Out cold: Malaysia lost 1-4 and 5-2 in the playoffs with both matches played in London last week.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal is still upset that the national team had to play both their Olympic playoff matches away from home, which resulted in the team getting hammered 9-3 on aggregate by Britain.

It was not just Malaysia, other Asian teams faced the same problem, too.

2000 Olympics silver medallists South Korea were beaten 6-2 on aggregate by New Zealand in Stratford while three-time Olympic gold medallists Pakistan were thrashed 10-5 by Holland at the Amstelveen.

Malaysia lost 1-4 and 5-2 in the playoffs with both matches at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London last week.

Subahan said the International Hockey Federation (FIH) were unfair to Asian teams who had to play both legs away.

“FIH should have been fair to the Asian teams.

“It would have been better to have a home and away format, ” said Subahan.

“If we had been beaten at home, then you can slam us but to play two away matches? How do you expect us to be at our best.

“We played well, but due to the cold and rainy conditions, our boys were struggling.

“The boys fought for the cause, and I cannot fault their commitment at all, ” he said.

Subahan said the MHC will have a post mortem with the National Sports Council (NSC) before a decision is made on the team.

“We will meet the coaching staff, players and also, with the NSC... we will decide the next course of action after the MHC elections, ” he said.

“Yes, the coaches are responsible for this result, but a decision will only be made later.

“We have to discuss with everyone and decide.”

The Star of Malaysia

Belgium bids to host 2022 Hockey Men’s World Cup

Oscar Schneider

© Belga

Belgium has submitted a bid to host the Hockey Men’s World Cup in Summer 2022, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) confirmed on Thursday.

World men’s champion since winning the title in December 2018 in Bhubaneshwar, India, Belgium joins two other bidders, Malaysia and India, while five other countries are candidates to host the women’s World Cup.

Five countries, including Belgium, applied to organise the World Cup in proposed summer slot, 1-17 July, while three others applied to host the games in the winter period, 13-29 January 2023.

The FIH will study each application and submit its recommendations to its executive committee on 6 November. The final decisions will be issued on 8 November, at the next session of the committee, in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Candidates for 1-17 July 2022: Germany (women); Spain (women); Spain/Netherlands (women); Belgium (men) and Malaysia (men).

Candidates for 13-29 January 2023: India (men); Malaysia (women); New Zealand (women).

The Brussels Times

Three clubs pull out of Africa hockey tourney


USIU-A's Florence Karanja (left) vies for the ball with Mariam Suleiman of Strathmore University during their Hockey Premier League match at City Park Stadium, Nairobi on October 27, 2019. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Defending women’s champions, Blazers formerly Telkom Kenya, is the only Kenyan side to confirm participation at the Africa Hockey Club Championships slated for December 1 to 10 in Ismailia, Egypt.

Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) chairman Nahashon Randiek disclosed Tuesday that it’s only Blazers, who had expressed interest in travelling to defend their women’s title.

Randiek explained that financial constraints have knocked out men’s Premier League champions Butali Sugar Warriors and Kenya Police, who finished second last season, as well as Strathmore Scorpions, who settled second in women’s Premier League.

“That is the situation and there is nothing we can do to remedy it with the currently economic crunch,” said Randiek.

Blazers recaptured the women’s title when they beat champions Ghana Revenue Authority 2-0 in Abuja, Nigeria December last year.

Blazers, who have now won the continental event 10 times, are looking for new sponsors after telecommunication firm Telkom Kenya halted their sponsorship in June this year after 30 years with the iconic team.

Blazers coach Jos Openda said they require Sh4 million to take part in the continental competition. “We are battling to raise funds and remain optimistic we shall reach that target,” said Openda, who appealed to well-wishers to come to the team’s rescue.

A source that sought anonymity at Kenya Police intimated that funds from the government had been slashed by 50 per cent hence other things like security have been given priority.

Police last travelled outside the country in 2014 when the Africa Club Championships were held in Uganda and would miss the 2017 and 2018 events staged in Ghana and Nigeria respectively owing to lack of funds.

“Morale is low since there is nothing we are looking forward to apart from just winning the league. It could have been better if we even travelled to one of the event,” said the source.

Another source at Strathmore University disclosed that the team’s poor form and lack of funds have forced them out.

"As much as they would love to travel, they are not in good shape to compete effectively in Ismailia. An upgrade is also going on on facilities at the institution," said the source that is also not authorised to talk to the media.

Strathmore are currently placed third in women’s Premier League standings with 18 points drawn from five wins, four losses and three draws. 

Daily Nation

No change at the top of the Premiership table

After the top of the table fixtures in the Scottish Premiership there is no change in the leadership; despite a draw Grange are still three points ahead in the men`s league while in the women`s Clydesdale Western have a similar advantage after seeing off Glasgow University.

Grange dropped their first points of the Premiership campaign when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Western Wildcats, but still retain pole position in the table.

The champions drew first blood with a drive into the circle by John McCluskey and he finished his own move with a lift over the keeper. Just before the interval Western Wildcats were level with a spot conversion by Andrew McConnell.

Grange looked to have the points in the bag with a powerful drive into the net by Aussie Josh McRae, and that is how the score stood until ten seconds from time. Western Wildcats were awarded a penalty corner and McConnell again scored with a direct strike.

Grove Menzieshill failed to take advantage of Grange`s slip after they were held to a 4-4 draw by Edinburgh University.

The Taysiders got off to the best of starts with an early three-goal lead through Keir Robb, Luke Cranney at a penalty corner rebound and Albert Rowling with a flick from the top of the circle.

But by the interval the students had pulled it back to 3-2 through Jack Jamieson and David Mawhinney. The Edinburgh comeback continued in the second half with further strikes from Guy Rowson and Tommy Dawes. Just as it looked like a students` triumph, with five minutes left Cyril Varghese struck at a penalty corner to level the score at the end.

Watsonians earned their second victory of the campaign with a 3-1 score over Uddingston at Peffermill. Euan Burgess opened for the home side only for Chris Boyle to level by the interval. The Edinburgh outfit got their noses in front with a spot conversion by Jamie Cochrane. The result was sealed in the final minute with a breakaway strike by Ally Dougall.

Clydesdale moved up to fifth in the table with a 6-3 win over Kelburne.

Dundee Wanderers earned their second point of the season with a 4-4 draw at Hillhead. There were eight different scorers with Andrew Black, George Anthony, Callum Duke and Fraser Ward on target for the Glasgow side, while Elliott Sandison, Lewis Pyke, Robbie Alexander and Bobby Ralph levelled for the Taysiders.

Clydesdale Western increased their lead at the top of the women`s Championship with an emphatic 11-0 win over Glasgow University. There was a hat-trick for Jenny Eadie while Naomi Harkness and Lexi Sabatelli both scored twice.

Champions Edinburgh University slipped into second spot on goal difference over Dundee Wanderers with a 5-1 win at Grove Menzieshill. The catalyst was a hat-trick from Amy Brodie, while Becky Mill and Jenny Walls got the others, and Ellie Stott scored the Dundonians` consolation.

Wanderers fell from grace with a 6-0 defeat at the hands of Western Wildcats. The visitors were three up at the interval through Ava Smith, Megan Cox and Kate Holmes at a penalty corner. The avalanche continued after the interval when Emma McDiarmid rounded a few defenders and the keeper, Cox notched her own second and Alex Stewart finished off a good team move.

Watsonians have taken over third place with a 2-0 away win at Hillhead. It took the Edinburgh side only 40 seconds to edge ahead, Sarah Jamieson beat two defenders along the base-line, her cross resulted in a scramble and Lucy Lanigan stepped in to force the ball home.

Still in the first quarter Jamieson doubled the Watsonians` tally with a deflection at a penalty corner. Watsonians continued to dominate with a myriad of chances, but that is how the score stood at the end.

GHK move up one place into seventh after beating bottom side Gordonians 2-0, Zara Kennedy and Yemesi Edgar were on target.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Inside Coaching: The new hockey coach

By Todd Williams

Todd Williams during his time coaching Surbiton Men

With new seasons well under way, columnist Todd Williams hands out advice to those starting in a new role overseeing players

It doesn’t matter what the level, it’s always exciting to start coaching a new team. Being asked to guide and improve a group of hockey players through a combination of your knowledge, strategies and motivation is a wonderfully positive challenge to take on.

Added to that challenge, however, are the circumstances that have led to your appointment. In many cases, it’s where a team hasn’t been going as well as perhaps they should and the hope is that you’ll be able to do something about it. On the other hand, you might be replacing someone that has been very successful and that brings another entirely different set of challenges.

Either way, there are some important steps a coach can be aware of when you are taking on a new team that can be really helpful in making your integration as efficient, positive and hopefully as successful as possible.

Spread your message

Not surprisingly, these steps are based around the cornerstone of coaching – communication. It sounds obvious but there is far more to it than just your ability to explain a drill or give a half-time talk. It was Einstein that said something like “if you can’t explain something easily, you probably don’t know it that well yourself” and so putting yourself in situations where you need to explain the simple principles of what you want your team to do is a great way of testing and refining your message.

And don’t just limit it to your players. Talk to partners, parents, supporters, loyal club members and anyone else that has an interest in the team you are coaching. Most importantly though, watch their response. If they like what you’re saying then your players probably will too. But, if you find people switching off because it’s too long or too complicated then it might just be that your players will do the same.

Manage expectations

Sharing your ideas are also a great way of getting your team and the people around them to buy into what you’re trying to do. It’s inevitable that your style will bring change and whilst that can bring instant success, there’s just as good a chance that there might be some backward steps before some forward ones.

Again though, if you’ve communicated what it is you are trying to do to people either side of the fence, then everyone is more likely to be more accepting of a slow start as long as the right signs are there. Suffice to say that this is something football managers can’t bank on!

Be clear on your starting point

Another important part of your message – particularly if your team has been under-performing – should focus specifically on your plan to improve the features of the team’s play that haven’t been helping them get the results they want.

This could be too much dribbling, poor passing, below average receiving skills or even poor discipline. The point is that whilst you don’t want to be seen to be blaming previous coaches or players for seasons past, it’s also not fair to inherit those problems as your own doing.

So whilst your team might still not be able to trap in the first few weeks of the new season, it’s still important that you, the team and those around them know that you are working hard to improve it.

Understanding change

Finally, and going back to an earlier point, never forget that as a new coach you are bringing with you a process of change. As positive and enthusiastic as you are, and as welcoming as you think your players might be, change is still something that people can struggle with.

Often, players will be completely supportive of your wish to play a different way or to bring in younger players, until it directly effects them. Again, that’s why you need your simple and concise message out amongst as many people as possible.

Then, when the situation arises where someone feels aggrieved at selection, pitch time or the position they are playing, you at least have a much better starting point to the conversation. Taking the example above, if someone’s receiving is not at the level you need then it’s much easier to discuss why they haven’t been selected if you’ve made it clear to the group from the beginning that you see it as one of the most important priorities of your play.

The old saying is that a problem shared is a problem halved. So never forget, you’re a coach, not a wizard and you’re much better off trying to fix problems and improve players by being open and consistent rather feeling that it’s up to you to wave a magic wand to get the results everybody wants.

Todd Williams’ coaching column is in association with Gryphon

The Hockey Paper

Crucial elections for Msian Hockey Confederation

By Jugjet Singh

(From left) AirAsia Group Bhd executive chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah and Malaysian Hockey Confederation president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal. - NSTP/ File pic

The King’s son, the AirAsia chief, the MHC president.

All the three have found themselves part of the script about the future of Malaysian hockey following the national team’s setback in London over the weekend.

Malaysian Hockey Confederation president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal came back from England yesterday, feeling down after Malaysia were outclassed by Britain 4-1 and 5-2 (over two legs). He will have to chin up for the MHC elections on Nov 16 to elect the sport’s future leaders.

Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah, the eldest son of the King and the acting Sultan of Pahang, has been nominated for the post of MHC president as well as deputy president.

However, under the new MHC constitution, a candidate for the president’s post must have at least three nominations instead of one (for the other posts).

Ten posts will be up for contest, one president, two deputy presidents (of different genders) and seven vice presidents (of which two will be of different gender).

The early indications are that Tengku Hassanal has only been nominated by Kuala Lumpur for the president’s post. This means there could be a “technical knockout” due to lack of nominations.

Johor have, meanwhile, nominated Tengku Hassanal for the deputy-president’s post but some are of the opinion that the royal should stay away from these MHC elections, and he should wait for the next one before throwing in his hat.

As things stand, the MHC are at a crossroads, and the massive 9-3 aggregate hammering by Britain has dealt a big blow to the national body’s image as well as their future.

It will take a mammoth task to restructure MHC and reestablish the national team in the world order and be good enough to qualify for the Olympics in Paris 2024, after last playing in Sydney 19 years ago.

And in another twist, Kuala Lumpur HA deputy-president I. Vickneswaran has revealed that his president, Datuk Megat D. Shahriman Zaharudin has taken nomination matters into his own hands.

According to Vickneswaran, no meeting was called, and there are no minutes to show how KL nominated their candidates for the MHC elections.

The deputy president said he was told that it was done on the “president’s prerogative”. However, a check with the KL constitution revealed that it was silent on that matter.

So, the legality of a president’s prerogative to nominate without holding a minuted meeting might come to haunt the KL nominees at a later date. Megat has nominated himself for the deputy president’s post.

For Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim, here is another reason to ponder his nomination.

Johor have nominated AirAsia Group Bhd executive chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun as president. So, it might end up with a straight fight between incumbent Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal and Kamarudin for the MHC No 1 post.

The MHC have suddenly called for a press conference today to announce the number of nominations each candidate received (after it closed on Saturday).

The president’s and deputy president’s posts are expected to see a straight fight, or even be uncontested.

Datuk S. Shamala, the incumbent women’s deputy president, will also seek re-election and she is favourite to win.

However, Subahan and Shamala have come under fire on social media after they made a U-turn on their pledge (made several times) that they would not seek re-election if the team failed to qualify for the Olympics.

Amid angry netizens calling Subahan and Shamala all sorts of names on social media, both have made a joint-statement that they will seek reelection on Nov 16.

The fact that 32 MHC delegates (only eight can vote in the elections) went on a president-sponsored trip to London to watch Malaysia play Britain in the two-match Olympic qualifier, has in itself set tongues wagging.

But it must be pointed out that this is nothing new, as MHC delegates had also gone on sponsored-trips to the Dublin and Antwerp Olympic Qualifiers as well as the Hague World Cup.

However, amid the apologies from MHC for letting the fans down, the national body have found themselves in a mess even as they try to regroup.

It is imperative that MHC overhaul their coaching set-up and players’ development programmes for Malaysian hockey to rise again and be in the required standards to fight for a place in the 2024 Olympics.

And with MHC also bidding to host the men’s and women’s World Cups in 2022 and 2023 respectively, Malaysia must have strong national teams.

The present men’s national team are just not good enough despite having so much of experience and training.

It’s better for Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim to wait for another four years to guide Malaysia hockey on the right path instead of walking into a labyrinth of problems now.

Meanwhile, Subahan clarified that national coach Roelant Oltmans is paid RM60,000 per month and not RM100,000 as reported in Timesport on Monday.

And his contract with MHC, which ends in October, does not require a golden handshake for it to be terminated if the Dutchman does not meet his KPI.

The entire national coaching set-up will be reviewed if Subahan retains his post, while the players will be given a choice to either go local or foreign on the coach.

New Straits Times

No. 7 Field hockey in control of Ivy League race

By Molly Milligan

Sammy Popper '23 hits the ball during the team's match against Harvard last Saturday. Photo by Michael Reeves / GoPrincetonTigers

Over fall break, No. 7 Field Hockey (12–4, 6–0 Ivy League) posted victories against then⁠ No. 14 Harvard (11–4, 5–1 Ivy) and Cornell (9–7, 3–3 Ivy).

In recent years, Princeton versus Harvard has proved to be the decisive game on the Ivy League calendar. Last year, the visiting Crimson defeated the Tigers 3–1 and claimed the league’s regular season title.  In the second round of the NCAA tournament, however, Princeton exacted revenge, winning 2–1 to reach the national semi-finals. The two teams have combined to win each of the last seven Ivy titles.

This fall’s edition of Princeton versus Harvard, played at the beginning of break in Boston, lived up to the hype. In the first quarter, the Tigers’ defense did not allow a single shot. The Crimson fought back in the second period, converting the first tally of the game in its 24th minute. But with just 49 seconds to go before the half, sophomore midfielder Hannah Davey hammered home a shot to even the score, 1–1.

The Crimson went up 2–1 early in the third quarter but failed to convert on two consecutive corner attempts. Left lying within striking distance, Princeton still need to retie the score. First-year midfielder Sammy Popper got the job done late in the quarter. She dribbled to her right before knocking the ball home, erasing Harvard’s advantage heading into the final 15 minutes of play.

In the fourth, Princeton wasted no time sealing the deal. Two minutes had barely ticked away as Popper fired another shot from the right that was rebounded and converted by junior midfielder MaryKate Neff. The Tigers would only allow one shot on goal in the final 13 minutes, coming away with a 3–2 victory.

With the win, the Tigers moved to 5–0 against Ivy opponents and into control of their own destiny as they seek a second Ivy League title in three years. Neff also earned Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week honors following Princeton’s victory at Harvard.

The Tigers concluded fall break with a Sunday matchup against Cornell. As it was the last home game of the season, Princeton also celebrated Senior Day. The Class of 2020 includes goalie Grace Baylis, fullback Maddie Bacskai, midfielder and fullback Carlotta von Gierke, midfielder Krista Hoffman, and striker Taylor Nolan. They have registered 50 wins, three NCAA tournament appearances, two Final Fours, and an Ivy League title.

On the field, Princeton dominated Cornell, earning a 3–0 win. The Tigers scored just four minutes into the action as Popper converted a corner. At halftime, Princeton held a 7–1 shot advantage.

In the third quarter, junior striker Emma Street forced a turnover, then found sophomore striker Ali McCarthy, who took advantage of a 3v1 situation to put Princeton ahead 2–0. Junior midfielder Julianna Tornetta added a third tally for the Tigers on a penalty stroke in the fourth.

Princeton is now undefeated in the Ivy League with only one game remaining. The Tigers’ victory over the Big Red also guarantees them at least a share of the league’s regular season title and an automatic NCAA Tournament berth. Princeton will be back in action Saturday at Penn.

The Daily Princetonian

‘Diabolical Umpiring Decisions’ Sink Field Hockey in Loss to Princeton

By Faith Fisher

Princeton outshot the Red, 14-3, in a dominant performance. Jason Ben Nathan / Sun File Photo

In just the fourth minute of its game against Princeton, Cornell field hockey conceded an early goal to the Tigers that ultimately amounted to the game-winner, but two “diabolical umpiring decisions” turned a competitive game into a 3-0 walkover.

“Unfortunately for us, we haven’t executed properly, but two diabolical umpiring decisions made the scoreline 3-0,” said head coach Andy Smith. “Princeton is a very good team, they were probably the better team on the balance of today, but I think the 3-0 scoreline was very unfair to us.”

“As I said, two diabolical umpiring decisions went against us today,” Smith continued. “They are outrageous. Appalling.”

Sunday’s disappointing loss added another chapter to a conference rivalry that has not stood in the Red’s (9-7, 3-3 Ivy League) favor. In the past 29 years, Cornell has only notched two victories over the Tigers (12-4, 6-0), with the most recent coming in 2016.

Not only did Princeton earn yet another win over the Red, but in doing so, it clinched a share of the Ivy League title. Meanwhile, Cornell sits at fourth in the Ancient Eight standings with only one game remaining.

Within a few minutes of the first whistle, the Tigers held the early advantage. Princeton’s Sammy Popper gained control of the ball in the Red’s defensive circle. With a quick dribble to the left, she found an opening and fired it past the Red’s senior goaltender Maddie Henry for the Tigers’ first score.

“We knew they would come out and have a fast start,” Smith said. “We expected that, and they scored early. Credit to them — they executed a rebound on a corner very well. It was a great hockey from them, but we were right in it all the way through the first half and most of the way through the second half as well.”

Following the first goal, the game stood at a standstill. The Red struggled to penetrate the Tiger’s defensive zone, and it did not come up with a scoring opportunity until the 20th minute of the game. A penalty corner granted Cornell its first piece of ammunition on offense, but freshman midfielder Caroline Ramsay’s scoring attempt was shut down. The Red would be playing catch-up into the second half with Princeton possessing a one-goal edge.

Cornell reversed the offensive advantage in its favor on the outset of the second half, with two shots on goal, one of which came from a penalty corner attempt. But up against the Tiger’s defense, the Red struggled to capitalize on their opportunities. Cornell only placed one more shot on goal for the rest of the game.

“We didn’t maintain possession of the ball. We had a lot of soft turnovers in the midfield today,” Smith said.

In a burst of offensive energy in the 37th minute of the game, the Tigers forced a midfield turnover into a three-man breakaway.  Up against three undefended Tiger players in the disputed play, Henry was left helpless in goal. With a quick fire into the net, Ali McCarthy extended Princeton’s lead.

Later, a fourth-quarter penalty corner gave the Tigers even more breathing room in their 3-0 win.

The validity of those last two goals, however, was brought into question. The umpires ultimately ruled in favor of the Tigers, much to the dismay of the Red.

“It’s two bad decisions, but you have to move on,” Smith said. “I do not usually talk about umpires. But today really was sad. I am not going to tell you that we would have won the game otherwise, but the two decisions that were made for the second and third goals were appalling.”

Two questionable calls by the umpires were not the only force that tipped offensive advantage toward the Tigers. Not only did Princeton have a 14-3 edge in shots on goal, but it also held a 13-3 edge in penalty corners for the day. Limiting the penalty corners the Red grants its opponents has been an ongoing focus for the team.

“We have to be better at defending our own circle,” Smith said. “It is something that we are trying to minimize right now but it is probably something that will not be totally fixed until we go into next season. We have to be smarter when teams are attacking our circle.”

Although the game ended with a three-goal chasm between Cornell and the Tigers, “the game was a lot closer than the scoreline would suggest,” Smith said.

“I am really proud of the way the team played today,” Smith said. “We could not play a lot better than that without scoring goals. We knew what Princeton was going to do, and they’ve outshot everyone all season. They were great, but we are getting there, and we will continue to grow from here.”

The Red will cap off the regular season next weekend with a road game against its final Ivy League opponent — Dartmouth. The showdown will take place on Saturday at 12 p.m.

The Cornell Daily Sun

Wildcats thrash Indiana as they head into postseason play

It’s time for Northwestern to make some noise in the Big Ten Tournament.

By Lia Assimakopoulos

Bente Baekers (knee brace) celebrates a goal with Katie Esselman (left) and Saar de Breij (right) Northwestern Field Hockey

Northwestern finished its regular season with a dominant 6-0 senior day victory over Indiana on Friday, earning the Wildcats the third seed heading into the all-important Big Ten tournament. The ‘Cats finalized a 13-6 overall regular season record and a 5-3 conference record with the win and regained some confidence before entering the post-season.

Northwestern had a standout offensive performance, tallying a whopping 30 shots, 12 penalty corners and six goals on the day. The seniors, who were honored pregame, accounted for half of the day’s goals, with scores coming from Lily Gandhi, Saar de Breij and Kirsten Mansfield.

First-year Ana Medina Garcia continued her late-season hot streak and kicked things off with Northwestern’s first goal of the day. Bente Baekers added one soon after off a penalty corner to give Northwestern the 2-0 lead at half.

Gandhi extended the lead to three at the start of the second half with her first score of the season, before De Breij charted her ninth of the year off a rebound to make the lead four.

Bente Baekers later added her second of the game off another corner to extend her nation-leading tally to 24, with Mansfield quickly delivering the final blow of the game in the fourth. She also recorded two assists on the day and leads the team with 16 on the year.

The Wildcats’ victory and Michigan’s loss earned them the third seed in the conference tournament this weekend at Penn State, where they will take on sixth-seeded Rutgers in the first round. Iowa defeated Michigan, which put Northwestern and Michigan in a tie; however, Northwestern won the head-to-head earlier this year, giving them the advantage.

Northwestern defeated Rutgers 4-1 on the road on Oct. 13 during an especially difficult stretch of the season. If the Wildcats can get past the Scarlet Knights again, they will face the winner of second-seeded Iowa and #7 Ohio State in the semifinals. Northwestern defeated the Buckeyes 4-1 back in September when OSU was ranked twelfth in the nation. However, they fell to the eighth-ranked Hawkeyes 2-1 last week.

From there, Northwestern would take on the winner of one-seed Maryland and either four-seed Michigan or five-seed Penn State in the championship on Sunday to earn a share of the conference title.

Northwestern’s road to the Big Ten title is absolutely manageable. They have either defeated or come within one goal of every team they could face. The Wildcats are tough competition for just about anyone in the nation at this point, and they are back on track with the momentum they need heading into the tournament.

If NU brings the dominant play that they have for most of the season, they have a great shot at the conference title on Sunday and the NCAA Tournament outbid that comes with it.

Northwestern will travel to University Park, Pennsylvania to kick off its postseason against Rutgers on Thursday at 5 p.m. CST.

Inside NU

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