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News for 31 March 2020

All the news for Tuesday 31 March 2020

New Dates for Tokyo Olympics

Postponed Tokyo Olympics to open July 23, 2021

FILE PHOTO: Giant Olympic rings are seen at the waterfront area at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo, Japan, March 25, 2020, after the announcement of the Games' postponement to 2021, due to outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

TOKYO: The Tokyo Olympics will begin on July 23 next year, organisers said on Monday, after the Covid-19 coronavirus forced the historic decision to postpone the Games until 2021.

“The Olympics will be held from July 23 to Aug 8, 2021. The Paralympics will be held from Aug 24 to Sept 5,” Tokyo 2020 chief Yoshiro Mori told reporters at a hastily arranged news conference.

Only hours earlier, Mori had said he expected a decision from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during the course of the week.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were due to open on July 24 this year and run for 16 days, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the first peace-time postponement of the Games.

The IOC and Japan had for weeks insisted the show could go on but the rapid spread of Covid-19 prompted growing disquiet among athletes and sporting federations.

The Olympics was the highest-profile sporting casualty of the coronavirus that has wiped out fixtures worldwide and all but halted professional sport.

There was some speculation that Japanese organisers could take advantage of the blank canvas to shift the Games to spring, avoiding the heat of the Tokyo summer that had been their main concern before coronavirus struck.

Due to the heat, the marathon has been moved to Sapporo, a city some 800 kilometres (500 miles) to the north of Tokyo where the weather is cooler even at the height of summer.

The postponement has handed organisers the “unprecedented” task of rearranging an event seven years in the making, and Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto has admitted the additional costs will be “massive.”

According to the latest budget, the Games were due to cost US$12.6 billion, shared between the organising committee, the government of Japan and Tokyo city.

However, that number is hotly contested with a much-publicised government audit suggesting the central government was spending several times that amount – on items organisers claim are only tangentially related to the Olympics.

The postponement affects every aspect of the organisation – hotels, ticketing, venues and transport being among the major headaches.

Hotels have had to cancel bookings, dealing them a bitter blow at a time when tourism is already being hammered by the coronavirus.

Some venues that had booked events years in advance will potentially have to scrap them to make way for the rescheduled Olympics and there is still uncertainty about whether ticket-holders will get refunded.

Another thorny issue is the athletes’ village, which was due to be converted into luxury apartments after the Games, some of which have already found buyers.

The Japanese government had touted the Games as the “Recovery Olympics“, designed to show how the country had bounced back from the 2011 triple disaster of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in the northeastern Fukushima region.

The Games are now being billed as the expression of humanity’s triumph over the coronavirus.

“We are embarking on an unprecedented challenge,” said Mori earlier Monday.

“But I believe it is the mission of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee to hold the Olympics and Paralympics next year as a proof of mankind’s victory” against the virus.

New Straits Times

Tokyo 2020: Statement by FIH President Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra

Lausanne, Switzerland: "On behalf of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), I would like to thank the International Olympic Committee, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Government of Japan and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government for having confirmed the new dates of next year’s Olympics so swiftly.

The international hockey community fully supports this decision. Athletes and coaches can now plan their preparations in full knowledge of the new schedule, which is very helpful.

We look forward to a magnificent event which will unite the world in Tokyo next year!

In the meantime, I wish everyone to keep well and safe.”


FIH site

Indian hockey teams pleased with certainty over 2021 Tokyo Olympics

Indian men's and women's hockey teams' coaches Graham Reid and Sjoerd Marijne felt that the new dates for 2021 Olympics will help with their planning.

Both the men's and women's teams are in National Camp at the Sports Authority of India's Bengaluru campus.

With the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially announcing 23 July to 8 August 2021 as new dates for the Tokyo Olympic Games, Indian men's and women's teams are reviewing the opportunities to prepare for the Olympic Games. The IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee had jointly announced the postponement of the Olympic Games last week owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both the teams had qualified for the Tokyo Games after winning their Olympic Qualifiers matches in November as the chief coaches felt it would be easier to plan with the dates confirmed.

"It's great to get some clarity about the new starting date for the Tokyo Olympic Games," Men's team coach Graham said on Monday.

"This allows us to begin the planning process to be ready for July next year. In the meantime, we are looking forward to getting through this current tough period and hope to be back out on the training field as soon as possible," he said.

Women's team coach Sjoerd Marijne said that the team is eager to hit the reset button.

"It's good we have certainty when the Olympics will be held and we can work towards that. We are all in the same campus and available for each other in these hard times, a new date for the Olympics is good news for all of us. But for now, we are living by the day, staying strong mentally and physically and wait eagerly to get back to our normal routine. We are prepared to hit the reset button." the Dutchman said.

As both the teams are at Sports Authority of India's campus in Bengaluru due to nationwide lockdown, Hockey India president Mohammed Mushtaque Ahmed felt the planning will become easier.

"We were already in the process of looking at possible opportunities in the lead up to the new dates for the Olympic Games next year as it provides more clarity to our approach. Since we have already qualified, the planning becomes easier. We will be working closely with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Ministry, Youth Affairs & Sports and Sports Authority of India in this next 15 months to ensure both our teams have the best resources to achieve success at the Olympic Games," he said.


Olympic hockey in Tokyo set for July 2021

Tokyo Olympics set for July 2021 PIC: WORLDSPORTPICS / WILL PALMER

The news that the Tokyo Olympics has been rescheduled for next July could impact the staging of the 2021 EuroHockey Championships.

As it stands, there could be as many as three major hockey events in one year after the announcement that sport’s biggest event will start almost exactly one year after the Tokyo Games were originally due to start this year. The opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021.

It means that the Olympics – which will still be called Tokyo 2020 – will also start nearly one year from the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, which will be held between 27 July and 7 August and will mark the 10th anniversary of the London Games.

Further, there is still the possibility that the EuroHockey 2021 Championships will also take place next year.

The European Hockey Federation wouldn’t confirm anything concrete when contacted by The Hockey Paper, with its stance still in line with an announcement made last week by EHF president Marijke Fleuren.

“As the Tokyo Olympic Games has been postponed we will advise of changes (if any) to the EuroHockey 2021 calendar once the new Olympic dates are announced,” she said.

“At present, all 2021 EuroHockey events will go ahead as scheduled.”

Currently, the 2021 EuroHockey is due to start in Amsterdam just 13 days after the close of next year’s Olympics and featuring most of world hockey’s top men’s and women’s nations.

There had been talk of switching the Tokyo Olympics to spring next year, which would have coincided with the blooming of Japan’s cherry blossoms.

That would have left a gap to keep the 2021 EuroHockey’s dates in place. Monday’s news must now mean that is under threat.

The Hockey Paper

Japan defender Oikawa still targeting Olympic gold despite Tokyo 2020 postponement

Japan women’s defender Shihori Oikawa speaks to FIH.CH about the impact of the decision to postpone the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, explaining how she and her fellow Cherry Blossoms players are staying positive in uncertain times whilst remaining focussed on the dream of winning an Olympic gold medal on home soil.

Hi Shihori, thank you for talking to us. For completely understandable reasons, the ongoing COVID-19 global health crisis is affecting all major sporting events, including the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which has now been postponed. What are your thoughts about both the situation and the postponement of the Games?
Shihori Oikawa: "Since the last Olympics [Rio 2016], all athletes have been working with various thoughts for four years, preparing not only physically but also mentally. To be honest, there were some parts of the shock that were at first hard to accept, but at this moment, I am positive. I am thinking about what we will face in a year, and how we can build our team in a year."

In many parts of the world, social distancing is high on the agenda currently. Is this something that is happening in Japan, and if so, how is it affecting your team training plans?
Shihori Oikawa: “Yes. An overseas trip was planned earlier this year, but was cancelled. A domestic training camp was also planned in March for the Olympics, but it was dissolved today [26 March]."

What are the opportunities for Japanese hockey for 2021?
Shihori Oikawa: "Our goal has not changed, and it is the [Olympic] gold medal. We take positively that the preparation period for another year has been extended toward that goal. Each athlete also organises their own mentality and works again with new feelings."

Despite the postponement to 2021, the chance to play an Olympic Games in your own country will be a huge occasion for Japan's hockey teams. How much will it mean to you, your team-mates and your nation to be part of such an amazing sporting spectacle?
Shihori Oikawa: "Hockey is still a smaller sport in Japan. This one year is a period in which we [as a team] can improve our power. I think that having a lot of preparation time due to the influence of the coronavirus, it is our mission to promote hockey in Japan if we can achieve good results. I want to focus on the results."

Once the current health situation has been resolved, the entire world will once again be looking forward to what will surely be a fantastic Olympics in Tokyo. With that in mind, do you have a message of hope for the global hockey family at this time?
Shihori Oikawa: "I think many people may have various concerns. However, a lot of people, including the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, are making various preparations so that people around the world can come to Japan without worry. So please come and watch the Olympics without any concern!”

To see the IOC’s media release regarding the new dates of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, please click here.

FIH site

Reliving Indian hockey's 1980 Olympic gold win

V. Baskaran, captain of India's 1980 Olympics gold-winning team, relives the struggle that went behind achieving the coveted yellow metal.

S. R. Suryanarayan

Imagine my position as captain. If we had lost, I would have been dubbed the worst captain Indian hockey had ever had. Such was my plight, but fortunately things finally turned out in our favour. When I think of that gripping afternoon in the Moscow hockey stadium in the presence of a goodly crowd I still sweat.

In a topsy-turvy contest, we were sitting pretty until the last ten minutes when complacency on our part almost swung the game away in Spain's favour. The leather ball (unlike the plastic balls now in vogue) had become a lot heavier due to the constant watering of the Polyturf and moved with less speed.

So in the final stages free hits from even Devinder Singh, our penalty corner specialist, were not travelling beyond ten yards. Spain stormed our end to force penalty corners. Spain's strength was in that wonderfully endowed player Juan Amat, who had already struck terror with his three successful penalty corner hits.

You can imagine our tension as Amat, already the top scorer of the Olympics took four short corners hits in the last three minutes, with the score reading 4-3 in our favour. I remember, for the first corner I stood to the left of the goal post. Amat's stinger struck my stick. The situation was saved.

Next I decided to stand on the right. Once again the ball was directed at my stick. One more escape. The third try was directed straight at the goal but the gallant (Bir Bahadur) Chettri deflected the ball away, inches from the goalmouth.

For the fourth hit I stood near the left post. As luck would have it Amat's shot struck my stick again, sending the ball away. The stick, with which I had played the whole Olympics, was broken due to the impact. Fortunately when Amat was getting ready for another crack, the final hooter came to our rescue.

We could not believe that the result was finally in our favour until the Indian national anthem was played. I have never gone through such an excruciating experience before. I have preserved that broken stick as a reminder of those nail-biting moments that preceded the golden hour.

The credit for the victory had to go to coach Balkishen Singh for his thinking, grasping of the rival's game and working of strategies. Had we lost, we would have only ourselves to blame. It was such an unpardonable lapse of concentration on our part in those final moments.

This was an Olympics where we had expected the U.S.S.R. to be one of our strongest challengers. Once we landed in Moscow, two factors dominated our planning. First was the news of the boycott and then believe me, the series of defeats against Russia in the matches before the Olympics.

Fortunately for us, Moscow provided us with video films of the teams in the fray, including U.S.S.R. and Spain, the other team which was strong. We knew ball possession would be our main asset against our faster rivals. It worked against Russia whom we beat 4-2 in the league. We held Spain in a match, where (Mohammed) Shahid played havoc with the rival defence.

The draw against Poland cost us dear for otherwise, we would have been declared winners on points after the league phase. With points tied, the rules required a final to beheld.

We decided to shuffle the wingers and bring Shahid to the centre forward position. Spain fortified its defence by bringing one more player behind. Still we dominated the first 20 minutes with Shahid and (Surinder Singh) Sodhi scoring. Spain reduced the margin through Amat by half time. Sodhi made it 3-1 soon after. Amat made it 2-3. The contest hotted up from then. Then we went up 4-2. Spain again reduced the margin and really went for the equaliser in the closing minutes. But we finally made it.

(This interview was first published in the Sportstar magazine in 1992.)


Ex-hockey stars vie to be first woman to coach the Malaysian women

KUALA LUMPUR: Ernawati Mahmud or A. Kannagi, two ex-internationals, could make history by becoming the first woman to coach the national women’s hockey team.

The two are among 22 candidates – 10 local and 12 foreigners – who are interested in the job.

MHC deputy president Datuk Dr S. Shamala said they have interviewed nine of the 10 locals who applied for the post on March 13.

“We could not interview Rizal Mohd Razman, who was in Turkey for business. We will interview him later, ” said Shamala.

The other local candidates who applied for the job are all former national men players – Shaiful Azli Abdul Rahman, Nasir Maidin, Mohd Amin Rahim, Mohd Nasihin Nubli Ibrahim, Lailin Abu Hassan, Roslan Jamaluddin and Megat Azrafiq Megat Termizi.

Shamala said that they had yet to interview the 12 foreigners, who are from Holland, England, South Africa, Canada, South Korea, India and Pakistan.

“The candidates cannot travel to Malaysia because of the Covid-19 pandemic. And we will do interviews through video call soon.

“We need to hire the best candidate for the job and we hope to name the coach by end of April. We also need the approval from the Youth and Sport Ministry and also the National Sports Council (NSC) before we name the coach.”

Ernawati played as a keeper for Malaysia for 10 years from 2000. She has experience as coach as she was to assistant to Mohd Nasihin, who handled the women’s team from 2011 to 2014. She was also the team manager of the national team in 2015-16.

Kannagi, meanwhile, played in midfield for Malaysia from 2002 to 2010. She has been coaching the KL women’s team in domestic tournaments from 2017 and led them to the Razak Cup title last year.

Shamala said they had yet to call up players for national training and training would also beging after the end of the movement control order (MCO).

The national women’s team were supposed to play in the Asian Champions Trophy in Donghae City, South Korea, from June 14-21 but the tournament has been postponed. The new dates have yet to be decided.

The Star of Malaysia

Masters World Cup 2020 Postponed

Thanks to Pierre-Yves Chegaray for our the image

The World Masters Hockey (WMH) Executive Board has been working very hard with our three host National Associations and their Organising Committees to plan the first ever WMH World Cup in 2020. Recent world events have created great social upheaval. We had hoped that things would return to normal in a relatively short time but it appears that this will not be the case.

Having reviewed the situation across the world, we believe that it is best to postpone the WMH 2020 World Cup. This is not a decision we have taken lightly.

In conjunction with the current organisers we are planning to hold the tournaments in 2021 on, or around, the same dates as we had planned for this year. The date for Tokyo is completely dependent on what happens with the Olympic Games, so it will be a while before we will be able to firm up on those dates.

As the WMH World Cup 2020 tournaments will take place in 2021, the other tournaments organised by WMH, such as the European and Asian Cups, currently in planning, will now not take place in 2021. We will be issuing further information on how the decision to postpone the 2020 tournaments will impact on the ongoing cycle of events.

As this is a postponement, the event will still be the WMH World Cup 2020. The eligibility rules will be those in place now so, for example, the relevant qualifying age for players is as at 31 December 2020.

As no competitions will have taken place in 2020, the Executive Board has agreed that the first-time team registration fee payment (£50 per team) will be carried forward to 2021. Clearly the annual membership fee which is used to cover ongoing administration costs is being used for that purpose so there is nothing to refund in this respect.

As each of the tournaments were at different stages of planning so this will impact each of them in slightly different ways, a separate email explaining exactly what this means for each of the tournaments will be issued shortly.

The WMH Technical Committee are aware of the issues and will be in contact with all appointed officials and umpires soon.

World Masters Hockey Facebook page

Domestic hockey activity suspension extended until 30 June

England Hockey has today taken the decision to suspend all hockey activity until 30 June 2020.
Currently hockey activity is suspended until April 15 but, with the continuing social restrictions caused by Covid-19, this extension is pragmatic in the circumstances and provides clarity for our clubs, players, officials and volunteers. We have asked that this national position is replicated at a local level by counties, leagues and independent hockey providers.
It is hugely disappointing to curtail hockey activity in this way and there will be many league and cup competitions which will not now reach their natural conclusion. The implications of the decision affect different areas of England Hockey activity in different ways, details of which can be found below. 
Finally, the health and wellbeing of those in the hockey community is our overriding concern so please follow the government guidance and stay safe. Please search #StayInWorkOut on social media for tips on how to stay active indoors.
Club hockey
We are continuing to offer support to our clubs in this difficult period and our local Relationship Managers are available as normal to support in any way they can. A list of our Relationship Managers and their contact details can be found here. We are also in contact with Sport England to best access the support they are putting in place for clubs, and will communicate more in the coming days.
Hampstead and Westminster win the Men's Hockey League
England Hockey Leagues
Following the suspension of hockey activity until the end of June, given the time it would take to complete the league and prepare nationally and locally for the 2020-21 season - which naturally we hope will be able to run as normal - there is now insufficient time to complete the 2019-20 season.
Remaining games in the Men’s and Investec Women’s Hockey Leagues 2019-20 seasons will not be played. The last round of fixtures in Divisions One North and South and the Conferences scheduled for 21-22 March and three unplayed games from 14-15 March will not take place.
The Premier Division regular season fixtures were completed. However, the League Finals between the top four teams in the Premier Division to determine the league champions and EuroHockey placings cannot be concluded in their prescribed format, nor can the Play Offs to determine promotion and relegation between the Premier Division and Division One North and South.
England Hockey understands there are significant implications to ending the season at this point and is mindful that the integrity of the League is important. We have begun a thorough process to deliver a fair and balanced outcome for teams. A recommendation will be made to the England Hockey Board in April and communicated to clubs thereafter.
National Club Championships
The current status of England Hockey’s National Club Championships is as follows:
• England Hockey Club Championships – Adult (Men’s and Women’s), Masters, U18 knock-out competitions: These Championships are mainly at the semi-final stage or finalists are known. There are a small number of outstanding quarter-final ties.

• England Hockey Mixed Championships – Tier 1 and Tier 2: These Championships are at the last sixteen stage.
• England Hockey U16 Tier 1 Championships: The eight girls and boys teams qualifying for the final stages of these Championships are known.
As there is no knock-on effect associated with the completion of Cup competitions, England Hockey is exploring whether it is feasible to schedule the final stages of each of the above Championships ahead of the new League season if hockey activity was resumed by this time, and will communicate with participating teams.
Indian Gymkhana
Other Competitions
In the following Championships, qualifiers for final stages are not yet known or the competition has not yet started. We have made the decision that the following competitions are now cancelled:
• Regional Masters Tournaments
• Men’s County Championships
• Masters Summer Championships 
• Back to Hockey Festivals
• U16 Tier 2 Championships
• U14 Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 Championships
• U12, U10 In2Hockey Championships  
National Schools Championships
The following Championships have yet to be concluded and are now cancelled:
• Notts Sport Boys U18 Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4 Championships
• Notts Sport Boys U16 Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 Championships
• Notts Sport Boys U14 Tier 1 and Tier 2 Championships.
• Boys & Girls U13, U12, U11 In2Hockey Championships 
The Notts Sport Boys and Investec Girls U18 Tier 1 Championships final matches were due to be played on 19 March. Consultation will take place with the four participating schools to ascertain if these matches could be played when hockey activity is allowed to resume.
England Hockey's Futures Cup
Player Pathway activity
No hockey activity will take place across England National Age Group and Player Pathway programmes including Performance Centres, Academy Centres and Development Centres. We are currently working through the implications of this decision on activity scheduled for later in the season and we will communicate more information as soon as possible.
Coach Development delivery will continue to take place online during this period, with a wide range of opportunities available for coaches. Follow @coachandinspire on Twitter for news, as well as hockeyhub.englandhockey.co.uk/coaching-offer
England Hockey will not be running umpiring courses during this period, but we would encourage clubs to begin thinking about how you may want to schedule courses when hockey restarts, as we will be expecting higher than normal demand at that time. We could also suggest that people check in on the free online rules test, the umpiring discussion forum, and the online introductory umpiring training available as part of the In2Hockey modules. More at hockeyhub.englandhockey.co.uk/officiating
Hockey Development Programmes
All hockey development programmes are suspended until further notice. England Hockey is in touch with clubs as appropriate where programmes are underway.

International Masters
All England Masters teams activity will be suspended until 30 June. Late last week, World Masters Hockey took the decision to postpone this summer's O35s and O40s Masters World Cup in Nottingham by a year until 2021.

England Hockey Board Media release

PAHF Webinars

From PAHF we want to be with you in this difficult moment, that's why we decided to transform this situation into an opportunity to generate free webinars. It is the first time in PAHF’s history that we are developing this kind of platforms. We want to be close to you and we believe that this is a good way to do it.

PAHF Webinars are online chats. Thanks to the unconditional support of our coaches, umpires, players, and officials we developed the following calendar so that our community can join, interact and learn.

(Right click and View image for a larger picture)

Signing up is very easy

Click on the link of the webinar of your interest and complete the form.

Close to the start date you will receive an email with the login data for the webinar.

Remember that we have limited number of participants and that throughout these days we will be adding more content.

Sign up!


Herramientas de Control y Manejo del Partido
Soledad Iparraguirre 31/3


Tecnicas Despeje c/ Guantes y Piernas PORTEROS

Inés Delgado 1/4


COACHING - Bloqueos

Nicolás Tixe 2/4


Introduction of Hockey at early Years

Virgina Casabo 3/4


COACHING - The Shoot Out - Game within the Game

Anthony Marcano 6/4


COACHING - Plan and Execute a Training Session

Pablo Mendoza 7/4


El Oficial Tecnico (Juez de Mesa) Internacional

Lorena Rinaldini  7/4



Tomás Santiago 8/4


UMPIRING - Modern Hockey & Umpires Skills

Roger St Rose 9/4


COACHING - Diseñar ejercicios y entrenamientos

Pablo Mendonza 10/4


Tareas y Responsabilidades de Oficial Tecnico Int

Lorena Rinaldini 10/4


COACHING - Giros, Pases y gestos de despido

Juan Casas 11/4


COACHING - Detalles Tecnicos en Pases y Recepcion

Pablo Mendoza 14/4



Lau Del Colle 15/4


Pan American Hockey Federation media release

Dutch goalkeeping ace Sombroek on the front line in fight against COVID-19

Photo taken from Joyce Sombroek's Instagram handle

Not so many years ago, Joyce Sombroek was widely regarded as the finest goalkeeper in women’s international hockey. With the Netherlands she won every major prize the sport has to offer, becoming a European champion in 2011, an Olympic champion in 2012, a World champion in 2014 and being named FIH Hockey Stars Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year both in 2014 and 2015.

After retiring from the game following a silver medal at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 due to a persistent hip injury aged just 26, Sombroek put all her energies into completing her medical studies at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Now, the former shot-stopper finds herself on the front line of a global health crisis, playing a key role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When I finished my studies almost two years ago, I started working in the Internal Medicine, Pulmonary, Cardiology and Gastro-Intestinal departments”, said Sombroek, who made 117 appearances for the Oranje between 2010 and 2016. "After that I went to the Emergency rooms at a big hospital in Amsterdam to become more experienced in acute situations and traumatology. But since the start of March, I started training to become a General Practitioner [GP], where a lot of the healthcare in the Netherlands is performed, and we currently find ourselves in a very special situation.”

Working at a medical practice in Aalsmeer, a town located 13 kilometres south-west of Amsterdam, Doctor Joyce Sombroek spends her days largely focused on helping those who might be suffering with COVID-19. Initial contact with patients is made via telephone in order to determine whether hospital treatment or a home visit is required. If it is the latter, Sombroek - or one of her colleagues – will assess the patient wearing a protective suit to help slow the spread of the virus. Luckily, the majority of people have mild symptoms, meaning that they can stay at home.

It is a challenging, chaotic time for everyone working in the medical profession, but Sombroek is unswervingly positive, determined to play her part in this unprecedented situation. “A lot of people have to stay at home, and I feel grateful that I can help others. We are preparing as well as we can and it’s slowly getting busier. Much of my [GP] training has been cancelled, but the most important thing is providing care to those who need it. I’m really happy that I can do my job, and I think that accounts for everyone working in healthcare or other vital jobs.”

Sombroek talks openly about the incredible camaraderie amongst her healthcare colleagues whilst also being greatly moved by how other organisations are contributing to the effort, praising the support provided by everyone from the Dutch Armed Forces to the Dutch Olympic Committee (NOC*NSF), with the latter recently making a very significant gesture. “The NOC*NSF have provided the athlete cooling vests they had for Tokyo 2020, to keep healthcare professionals, who are wearing protective suits all day long, cool”, explains Sombroek. “They have also provided Slush Puppy machines. I really like that people are being proactive and creative as they try to help with this situation. There are so many stories like that, where people are coming together to make a difference.”

Regarding Tokyo 2020, Sombroek feels the difficult choice to postpone the Games to 2021 was the “one and only right decision” the organisers could make. “I understand it was a difficult one because it is really complex. One or two months ago I still thought that it could happen, but the virus spread very quickly. It is such an important event, and everyone works towards it for many years, so it is a shock for the athletes and people who are involved. But you want the Olympics to be fair, for everyone to be healthy and you want fans to be there. I think it is a good thing that it will be held in 2021 and not cancelled completely, which would have been devastating. It is something really positive that we can all look forward to next year, and I’m sure it will be an amazing event.”

Having competed at both London 2012 and Rio 2016 as a player, Sombroek was set to have a very different role at Tokyo 2020, combining her love of sport and medicine as a doctor at the ‘TeamNL Tokyo Center’, the central hub where Dutch sports fans gather in their thousands throughout the Games. “I am still hoping to be there next year, and it will be amazing to be part of it. Hopefully I can get the chance to cheer for my former team-mates and maybe see some other sports whilst there. In the future I’d really like to combine being a General Practitioner with sports medicine, as I still really like working toward goals with a team of motivated people.”

For now, thoughts of Tokyo are very much on hold. Alongside her incredible, fearless colleagues in the medical profession, Sombroek is fixated on the task in hand and wants everyone to look after each other as much as they can, despite the obvious challenges. “While there is a physical distance between many of us at the moment, it is still so important that we try to stay together by staying connected. We all need to help each other, so focus on the things you can control and stay positive and resilient. Things will be better!”

FIH site

#HockeyatHome with Hockey Australia

With all Australians being urged to #StayAtHome during the coronavirus outbreak, Hockey Australia (HA) is producing a series of daily unique hockey video content aimed at helping you and your family keep healthy, active, engaged and entertained.

The content will be provided by your favourite Kookaburras & Hockeyroos players, various coaches, other High Performance support staff, as well as officials and other members of the hockey community.

So get out your hockey stick, ball and improvise with other items from around your home – it is all about being creative!

In this tough and challenging time, we hope this brings some enjoyment, health and fun into your homes as we go through this unprecedented period together.

Below is a rundown of what to look out for and expect each and every day on Hockey Australia’s social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

And if you miss any of the daily videos, the content for each week will be published in a news article on the website.

Let us know if there are any skills or things you would like to see demonstrated by messaging us in whichever social media platform you are watching on.

Take care of yourselves, your families and each other, and we hope this keeps you excited to when we can all get back out there and take the field again.

Monday 8pm AEDT
Kookaburras and Hockeyroos athletes and coaches will teach and take you through specific skills and how to help to improve your game and technique. They will explain, educate and execute varying skills so you can be an even better player once you are back out on the pitch. Even if you only have a confined space to work in at home, these home coaching clinics are sure to help you improve but most importantly keep enjoying everything that is great about hockey.

We also encourage everyone at home to develop their own mini clinic. If there are some drills you have learnt, make sure to take a video of you doing them and use the hashtag #HockeyAtHome so everyone can check them out and learn something new.

Tuesday 5pm AEDT
Athletes and coaches will demonstrate drills and exercises in their homes that focus on the basics so you can practise them at yours. And don’t worry if don’t have any cones, markers or training equipment, they will show you how to make use of your household items.

Even for the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos at the elite level, there is a huge emphasis on the basics and doing them right. So find a place in your backyard, front yard, garage or passage and get ready to practise at home.

We also encourage everyone to take a video of themselves practising at home so make sure to use the hashtag #HockeyatHome and get practising!

Members of HA’s High Performance Strength & Conditioning staff, as well as the athletes, will share exercises that you can do at home to stay fit and healthy. This could include strength or cardio circuits, stretching, warm-ups or warm-downs.

And feel free to film your own hockey fit program or exercise and use the hashtag #HockeyatHome when you post it.

The Kookaburras and Hockeyroos coaches, plus other coaches from various levels and some of Australia’s best hockey officials will provide insights and perspectives into a range of different areas of the game. This will include perspectives and clarifications on rules and officiating, as well as special tactical intel from assistant and line coaches.

Thursday 5pm AEDT
See above (same as Tuesday).

Friday 12pm AEDT
Set yourself up for the week as HA’s experts in this field and athletes give insights into a host of health and wellbeing topics including nutrition, mindfulness, focus, commitment to training and more.

Saturday 7pm AEDT
Each Saturday night, highly respected and renowned hockey commentator Ashley Morrison will conduct a special interview with a player from the Kookaburras or Hockeyroos. To comprise a mix of hockey related topics and what the players enjoy doing off the field, it is a weekly segment not to be missed as you get to know your world class hockey stars.

Sunday 8pm AEDT
They are exceptional at hockey but have you ever wondered what other hidden talents or interests our Kookaburras and Hockeyroos players and coaches have? Every Sunday night get a special insight into one of their favourite off field hobbies…and if you are lucky they may even demonstrate or show us some of their handiwork.

YOUR #HockeyatHome CONTENT
At the end of the week we will feature and showcase some of the best #HockeyatHome videos filmed and posted by you, the hockey community. So get your phone camera out, get filming your best #HockeyatHome and post it up online.

So put all of these times in your calendar each week and join in with #HockeyAtHome.

Hockey Australia media release

Shopping shockers unearthed in brand new GB Hockey podcast

Inside The Circle: The Podcast - Ep 1

Great Britain Hockey's brand new podcast 'Inside The Circle: The Podcast' is launching at 5pm on Monday 30 March.

Join Shona McCallin, Esme Burge and Amy Costello for 40 minutes of hockey related chat in our first episode entitled 'Shopping Shockers'.

In the first segment, the three spend time discussing the 2019/20 domestic season, with Amy describing her first season at East Grinstead, Esme explaining why atmospheres at BUCS matches are so special and Shona reflecting on her first year as a coach.

Part two sees the trio looking back on how the GB women's team has grown and changed since Mark Hager was appointed as head coach, with some amusing anecdotes about the Australian and his assistant Paul Revington.

Finally the third part features the athletes answering questions sent in by #ThePride, with them all sharing embarrassing shopping stories.

You can listen to the podcast on Spotify, Deezer, Podchaser, RadioPublic and YouTube. We are currently waiting for the episode to be approved by Apple Podcasts.

Great Britain Hockey media release

Scottish ace Sarah Robertson hails hockey mentor Janet Jack

Sarah Robertson has seen rapid rise in elite hockey PIC: WORLD SPORT PICS

We speak to Scotland’s Sarah Robertson as she looks to fulfill Olympic dream

Hockey is filled with multi-talented stars and Sarah Robertson is no different. Growing up in Selkirk, Scotland, Robertson was a talented junior footballer and luckily for hockey she was mentored by former international Janet Jack, who told the current GB international that there was a big future for her in the sport.

“I had grown up in a state school area, hockey then was dominated by the private schools and it was all about rugby and football for me,” she said. “But Janet’s belief was ‘well, who cares?'”

It wasn’t until she was 16 that Robertson had to make a decision (in 2011) as she had hockey and football on the same day.

The 25-year-old said: “I had always wanted to play football, I was a little bit better. But Janet took me aside and said I was a talented hockey player and that I could be playing in the Commonwealth Games.

“I thought ‘wow, that’s how close I am’. That’s what got me excited, the multi-sport big events. At the time that wasn’t possible in football. It was a whirlwind and I am glad I chose hockey.”

She duly made the Scotland squad and experienced that superb summer in Glasgow. Then, after the Rio cycle, she went back to Edinburgh University to finish her law studies before re-trialling in 2017 and being handed a full-time contract. “It’s been pretty amazing since then,” she admitted.

Scotland women were well-funded leading into Glasgow 2014, but in recent years have faced the same problems as the men as they look to return to Europe’s top elite.

“The girls have adapted brilliantly. It’s credit to all the players, they basically commit to a full-time programme without the funding,” added Robertson. “They are doing early morning weights sessions, late night pitch sessions and have jobs. Sometimes it can spur you on even more. We all get together and make sure you do it.

“But it’s difficult for us as GB athletes in the Scotland squad. We’ve all been in touch with Jen [Wilson, the coach] and all three of us are committed and want to get back up to the A Division.”

And Robertson says that Jack’s words still ring true as she looks towards securing a selection berth in the GB Olympic squad.

She said: “Janet taught me some invaluable lessons; she told me I had the determination and the ability and that I should go out there and show it. Being a Scottish athlete in the GB programme, that’s something I’ve had to keep with me. That’s the attitude I’ve got and to keep believing in myself.”

This originally featured in a previous Hockey Paper edition. Don’t miss out. Subscribe in print or in digital format.

The Hockey Paper

Wales’ first ever International match takes place in Rhyl: Saturday 26 January 1895

By Phil Bailey

The first ever hockey international featuring a Welsh Team took place on Saturday 26 January 1895 at Rhyl against Ireland.

At the time Rhyl was the only town in the principality that possessed a hockey club, and it was this, combined with the huge effort by the members of the club, that allowed the contest to take place.

The Wales selectors met on Friday 18 January 1895 to choose their side to face the Irish. Following the announcement, some press sources expressed dissatisfaction that there were too many players picked from the Rhyl club. The consensus was that Ireland was the stronger side and should win the game.

The press’ prediction came to fruition with a 3-0 win to the Irish side.

Whilst the score line was a real testament to the strength of the Irish side, it was an even greater feat due to team having had a dreadful sea passage. They were reported as having been a most pitiful spectacle when they arrived at Holyhead, as all members of the team had been seasick on their express boat journey from North Wall.

On the morning of the match they took the slow train from Bangor to Rhyl. On arrival, both teams were photographed; Wales in black with the Prince of Wales feathers in gold, whilst Ireland had shirts with a light green centre and the shamrock in dark green.

Wales played with the X1 selected on the 18 January. Ireland had to make a last-minute change as Bud Hamilton of Dundrum was unable to play due to an indisposition, possibly still feeling the effects of the sea trip and his position was taken by HC Birmingham.

This first international started in a blinding snowstorm, which continued for the duration of the contest.

Ireland won the toss and elected to play with the wind. By half time the visitors were two goals up, and went on to win the game by 3-0, with goals from T. Beckett [2] and A. Carroll.

Throughout the game Wales made repeated powerful runs but these were spoiled by wild shooting. It was reported that splendid play was shown by Hugh Parry and James Evans.

After the match the teams and two umpires, Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Barnes, were entertained to dinner by the Welsh Committee and Mr. Strachan J.P., President of the Rhyl Hockey Club.

Mr. Strachan complimented Ireland on their victory and the Irish Captain, Mr. Dobbs of Dundrum responded and hoped the Welsh Team would soon visit Ireland.

The sides were:


GK: J Evans [Rhyl and Wrexham]

Backs: BP Griffiths [Rhyl] and RB Jones [Huyton and Abergele]

Half Backs: JH Evans [Rhyl and Flintshire], Sergeant E Bennett [Chester Military and Flint], Idris Jones – Captain - [Sefton and Glamorgan]

Forwards: EW Powell – Oxford University and Montgomery, H Hughes [Rhyl and Llangollen ], T Evans [Rhyl and Aberystwyth], EH Parry [Rhyl and Flintshire], JWG Casson [Oxford University and Festiniog]

Reserves: FH Hughes, HT Roberts and J Roberts


GK: J Birmingham [Palmerston]

Backs: WB Dobbs - Captain – [Dundrum] and B Ramsay [King’s Hospital]

Half Backs: JE Mills [Palmerston], T Walsh [Palmerston], W Butler [King’s Hospital]

Forwards:  P Carlton [Trinity], H Birmingham [Palmerston], T Beckett [King’s Hospital], H Rutherford [Trinity], A Carroll [Dundrum]

Reserves: D Gordon, Clifford, WD Hamilton, TC Devlin and B Hamilton [due to play but ill]

Hockey Wales media release

Bringing hockey to world’s second youngest nation

By The Hockey Paper

Timor Leste players were helped out with Gryphon sticks and equipment

Last year, Vijay Trivedy travelled as a volunteer to Timor Leste, the second youngest country in the world after South Sudan. Primarily he was there to work as a volunteer – but his love of hockey turned his trip into another story.

Where did you go? Located an hour north by plane from Darwin Australia, Timor Leste sits in the Southern Hemisphere sharing an island with Indonesia. As an ex-Portugese colony who fought for independence from Indonesia until 2001, they are the second youngest country in the world after South Sudan. Their favourite sport is football.

What did you do?

I was volunteering for the United Nations in a voluntary engineering position and wanted to explore if there was any scope for coaching hockey whilst I was out there for eight weeks.

By then we had a team in the capital, equipment for training and had engaged with the National Olympic Committee for registering a National Hockey Federation.

How did you do it?

I made a connection with Gryphon and linked them with the NOC. Through coincidental timing, the NOC were looking to register their hockey federation that year and Gryphon were keen to help by providing equipment.

What were the biggest challenges?

Sourcing an appropriate pitch, language barriers when coaching hockey, customs and shipping taking longer than expected and making sure we didn’t train midday when the sun was scorching.

What was not a challenge was getting local volunteers to help run and organise the sessions where we had some amazing support.

How would the opportunity have been even better?

If customs had released the sticks in time for us to use them. If we had been granted access to the country’s only Astroturf pitch whilst I was there!

And if we had been able to reach out to people outside the capital as well.

What’s next for the Timor Leste Hockey Federation?

Right now they are focusing on training sessions and their domestic game.

Next year could see them organising international friendlies with neighbouring countries and potentially entering the pacific games in 2021!

Vijay Trivedy was supported by Gryphon Hockey

You can read Vijay’s full story here 

The Hockey Paper

Irish Hockey mourns the loss of Hall famer Anne Laing

Anne Laing, right, in action in goal for Ireland against England

Irish Hockey is mourning Hall of Famer Anne Laing who passed away last Friday.

In a long and illustrious international career, Anne played as goalkeeper for Ireland 32 times between 1961 and 1974.

A player with tremendous anticipation and positional sense, she was a formidable opponent for strikers to beat.

Anne always remained composed and unruffled while under pressure and her long clearances relieved many dangerous situations.  One of her career highlights was in 1973,  defeating England 2-1 at Wembley Stadium.

Anne was inducted into the Irish Hall of Fame in 2008.

Anne had a life-long association with Larne Grammar School both as a former pupil and member of the Board of Governors and the Anne Laing Shield was contested for House hockey in the school.  A Life Member of Ulster Hockey, Anne played for Instonians.

Former team-mate Jenny Redpath (née Givan) played alongside Anne and provided the following tribute:

“I was deeply sad to hear of Anne’s passing.

“To me, she was a true legend of our game both as a player and a person.  She possessed so many lovely qualities, not least a great sense of humour.

“Her greatest sporting achievement was undoubtedly in 1973 in Ireland’s 2-1 historic victory over England in front of 60,000 screaming school girls.

“Anne was truly outstanding that day, a colossus in goal which kept England at bay. Not just her reflex saves but her unique ability to kick the ball half way down the pitch, no doubt relieving our defence and intimidating the English forwards! Route 1 in the modern game!

“I’ll never forget her performance that day and her comment that she did it with the assistance of her four leprechauns positioned at each of the four corners of her goals!

“As a youngster entering the fray of top international hockey, she was extremely supportive both on and off the pitch.

“She possessed such a calm and reassuring manner and encouraged me to go out, enjoy and just play my game to the best of my ability. Wise words that really stood by me in the years ahead as a player and coach.

“Finally, Anne was a very good friend of my mother’s family from Magheramorne and indeed we all loved to hear the craic when they all met up in Islandmagee for the monthly church Bingo! Great fun and great times.

“It was a great privilege to know you Anne. Thanks.”

The Hook

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