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News for 29 August 2020

All the news for Saturday 29 August 2020

One more to go for MHC

By Jugjet Singh

FILE PIX: MHC deputy-president Datuk S. Shamala.

KUALA LUMPUR: Three done, one more to go.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have conducted one online and two face-to-face interviews in their search for a national women's chief coach.

The online session was with a foreign coach while two locals were interviewed at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

"We have four candidates for the national women's coaching job.

"The other foreign candidate will be interviewed later as he had other engagements," said MHC deputy-president Datuk S. Shamala.

The two foreign candidates are from England and the Netherlands.

On the interview panel were MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal, National Sports Council director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi, Shamala and deputy-president Jadadish Chandra.

The post fell vacant when former coach K. Dharmaraj decided not to renew his contract in December. He is now coaching in Indonesia.

"We will select one chief coach from the four. The coach will then pick an assistant. We hope to name the candidate by next month." Shamala added.

New Straits Times

Great Britain’s Mark Gleghorne retires from international hockey

Mark Gleghorne celebrates England’s victory over reigning Olympic champions Argentina in the quarter-finals of the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018. Copyright: Charles McQuillan / Getty Images / FIH.

After representing England and Great Britain on 164 occasions across nine years, Mark Gleghorne has announced he is retiring from international hockey.

The Rio 2016 Olympian revealed his decision in mid-August after believing it was ‘my time’ to step away from the sport and will take up a teaching role at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution.

Northern Irishman Gleghorne made the perfect start to his GB career by scoring on his debut in a 3-1 win over Belgium in November 2011, having switched allegiances after representing Ireland 80 times between 2004-2008, making numerous appearances alongside his younger brother Paul. He then made his England bow at the 2012 Champions Trophy a year later, scoring in just his third match in a 1-1 draw against New Zealand.

He went on to represent England at the 2014 and 2018 FIH Hockey World Cups, where the team finished fourth at the respective competitions in The Hague, Netherlands (2014) and Bhubaneswar, India (2018). He won bronze medals at both the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games and featured for Great Britain at the 2016 Olympics.

Throughout his career he also notched up an impressive 46 goals, with his immense power from penalty corners proving to be one of the biggest threats in world hockey. No better was this demonstrated than in 2017 when he helped Great Britain win the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and led England to European and Hockey World League Semi-Final bronze medals, scoring 17 goals in the process.

Injury restricted Gleghorne to just one appearance in the 2019 edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League, although he did feature in three of GB’s matches in the 2020 campaign before COVID-19 brought global sport to a stand-still.

Speaking about the decision to step away, the 35-year-old said: “I just felt that it was my time. Whilst my decision to retire wasn’t due to any one single reason, my body was a major factor.

“It’s a strange feeling - hockey has been a huge part of my life so I will definitely miss being a hockey player but I’m equally glad that I won’t have to do another fitness test!

“Winning the 2017 Azlan Shah Cup with GB and a bronze medal at Europeans in 2017 with England are my favourite memories. I feel I was playing some of my best hockey at that time and also in my opinion the team performed to our potential at the time. It was also great fun.

“I will miss the few minutes from singing the national anthem before a game and also being in the changing room after a good win. It’s hard to describe those feelings but they are very special.”

Speaking about Gleghorne, England and GB men’s head coach Danny Kerry said: “Mark quite simply was ‘all-in’. He would be first on his team-mates list for having your back and giving absolutely everything.

“It’s for those reasons that Mark has the utmost respect of his peers and coaches alike and had such incredible longevity in the international game. He will be an incredible asset in his new role back in Northern Ireland and I wish him all the best for his future career.”

FIH site

Athlete Spotlight: Gianna Glatz

Each athlete that wears the red, white and blue has a unique story to how their careers came to fruition. From the junior level to the senior squad, USA Field Hockey is putting national team athletes under the spotlight to share their journeys.

“Be better” – a short, but significant phrase that resonates with many athletes. Gianna Glatz is a such rising star that uses these words to excel on the pitch and between the posts for the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team.

The Medford, N.J. native first played soccer growing up before discovering field hockey in the third grade. From there, Glatz became a multi-sport athlete in lacrosse and field hockey for the “Junior Renegades” youth league, and over the years grew to love the latter more. As her passion for the game grew she also found being a goalkeeper was equally enthusiastic.

“Playing for the town’s youth league means everyone has to rotate playing every position, regardless of personal preference,” said Glatz. “When it was my turn to play in goal, I realized I enjoyed being the goalkeeper as my footwork and reaction seemed to rise above my other teammates who were better on the field. This ultimately led me to try out as a goalkeeper for a nearby club team and I’ve played the position ever since.”

Growing up Glatz played for a number of USA Field Hockey club teams, starting with Spirit of USA. The majority of her experience came as a member of WC Eagles before moving on to play for the Mid-Jersey Knights prior to college.

She played for Shawnee High School from 2013-17 and amassed 465 total saves for the Renegades and was named First Team All-South Jersey in 2016. While competing in high school, Glatz also remained active in goal through Futures and competed for several years. She played in each edition of the National Futures Championship from 2012-17, participated in the AAU Junior Olympic Games in 2014 and 2015 and Young Women’s National Championship in 2018 and 2019. Throughout her time in the Olympic Development Pathway, Glatz learned through the coaching philosophy of Meredith Civico, and when the time came to play collegiately, becoming a Scarlet Knight was a natural fit.

“Rutgers was my USA Field Hockey Futures site growing up, which gave me the ability to learn from Meredith and the coaching staff early in my field hockey career,” continued Glatz. “The coaching staff and the Rutgers Athletics administration were always warm and welcoming and I believed in Meredith’s vision for our field hockey program and the team culture that she created. These factors, along with the ability to play for my home state, and some pressure from my dad, who is a Rutgers alum, ultimately made my decision to continue my field hockey and academic career at Rutgers.”

In three seasons for the Scarlet Knights, Glatz has appeared in 54 games, recorded nearly 3,500 minutes of game time and holds a 1.67 goals against average. She has also accumulated a number of honors each season including First Team All-Region (2018, 2019), First Team All-Big Ten (2018, 2019) and Big Ten All-Tournament Team (2017). Most recently, she was awarded the 2019-20 Werblin Award, which is given to a Rutgers student-athlete that has received national recognition or has won a national championship in the most recent academic year. Academically, Glatz is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten recipient (2018, 2019), two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and recipient of the 2019 Athletic Director’s Excellence Award.

Her senior year, like hundreds of other student-athletes around the United States, have faced unknown territory as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted practices, competitions and championships this spring and fall. With the Big Ten officially announcing a postponement of the fall season in early July, Glatz and her teammates have been creative in staying connected and active this summer.

“Having our fall competition season canceled was not what I envisioned for my senior year,” admitted Glatz. “It has been a challenging time as a student-athlete, especially because field hockey is such an important part of my life. My teammates and I have been able to find ways to stay connected and support one another. This year has shown the importance of adapting to the current situation and controlling what we can control to prepare for the next opportunity.”

That goes double for her Junior High Performance responsibilities as well as the rest of the U-21 USWNT and other squads. While competition has been on hold, Glatz stays very active in training individually as her next opportunity to play awaits.

“I am fortunate enough to have a great strength and conditioning coach from Rutgers who personalized our team’s training program based on position and the equipment we could access,” said Glatz. “I consistently kept my personal goals and team goals in mind, and I was able to train safely with a couple of teammates throughout the summer. It has certainly been less field hockey than I was expecting to play this summer, but I tried to make the most of it and use this time as an opportunity to improve.”

Wearing the USA jersey, Glatz most recently competed with the U-21 USWNT in a series against Canada in Chula Vista, Calif. in February. In 2019, she was a member of the team that traveled to Monchengladbach, Germany to play in the 3 Nations Invitational. She also was named to the U.S. U-17 Women’s National Indoor Team in 2015-16 and  U-19 Indoor USWNT in 2017. Through the years, that motto to “be better” has pushed her further and further through the Olympic Development Pathway.

“During the tryout process, I felt slight nerves before games and training sessions, but once I stepped on the field, the nerves slipped away, and I was able to enjoy competing with girls who share the same competitive nature and love for the game as I do,” said Glatz. “Playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team has been a dream of mine, which made the moment I found out I was named a member of the U-21 team absolutely amazing. It is such a great opportunity to be coached by Jarred, Martu, Tracey and Cheri, who are always ready to share their knowledge and support our development.”

Aside from training, she has stayed active in the community along with fellow Rutgers student-athletes by volunteering for Soles4Souls, a charity that donates and distributes new and gently used shoes and other service projects to those in need, including cleaning schools, volunteering at orphanages and more. She has gone on two service trips so far with the organization. Her first was to Jamaica her freshman year and the Navajo Nation the following summer to help in these endeavors. Glatz is also actively involved with the Somerset Community Action Program (SCAP) in Franklin Township, N.J., which provides daycare for children of families who live at, or are below the poverty line. Glatz actively assists SCAP staff in taking care of infants and kids, playing games with them and helping with arts and crafts.

USFHA media release

Cork Harlequins win appeal against Hockey Ireland

Stephen Findlater

Cork Harlequins will compete in the Men's EY Hockey League Division Two next season following a successful appeal against Hockey Ireland.

Quins had been leading their section of the competition with one round of the group stages remaining when the season went into lockdown and was subsequently declared “null and void”. They were subsequently omitted from the entry list for the new season due to their third-place finish in Munster Division One below Cork C of I and Bandon. That decision - made by Hockey Ireland  - was determined by a points equalisation method.

The waters were muddied further as Munster Hockey initially nominated Quins as one of their two allocated entries (along with C of I) to play in Division Two but officials then replaced Quins with Bandon. This followed a proposal from the Competitions Working Group to expand EYHL2 from eight to ten teams which would have allowed Munster an extra entry.

That plan, however, was not accepted by Hockey Ireland and left Quins – along with Leinster's Avoca – without a place in Division Two.

Both clubs challenged that decision but only Quins’ case was upheld with the Hockey Ireland appeals panel stating: “Cork Harlequins were treated unjustly, as a result of miscommunications of the position and interference with the prior nomination by Munster Branch of Harlequins, by representatives of Hockey Ireland, which resulted in their exclusion from the EYHL2.”

As such, the panel said Hockey Ireland must now make the “necessary arrangements” to permit their participation. At this stage, it is unclear whether the Farmers’ Cross side will be a ninth team in EYHL2 or if they will replace Bandon.

Quins’ men’s chairman Richie Gash welcomed the decision for its "highlighting of the unjust treatment by Hockey Ireland”.

“It's regrettable that we had to make this appeal at all, and especially that it had to play out so close to the season getting underway. However, we do understand the current landscape is difficult for everyone and we fully appreciate that difficult decisions have to be made at all levels. We were disappointed at the decision to publish the EYHL2 fixtures a matter of hours before the appeal hearing. However, we do look forward to seeing these fixtures being updated and published. We've a group of talented up and coming players who are now very much looking forward to the league getting underway.”

The Irish Examiner

Of Thakur Singh and the Sansapur hand in the wizard Dhyan Chand's magic

By Dil Bahra

Dhyan Chand (l) and Thakar Singh (r)

It’s perhaps only a myth but it says much about the magical skills of Dhyan Chand, acclaimed as the best hockey player in history. A statue of ‘The Wizard’ in Vienna Austria, the story goes, depicted him to possess four hands and as many hockey sticks – the underlying message being his skills were impossible with just two hands.

The myth may have been debunked but not Dhyan Chand’s magical skills. And certainly not the hand, not known to many, who cared and guided the young legend-to-be at the very start of his illustrious career.

His name: Thakar Singh. Six years older than Dhyan Chand, he was entrusted with the task of taking care of young charges in an Indian Army team on tour of New Zealand and Australia in 1926.

It was a squad of 17 and included the 21-year-old Dhyan Chand, who would soon stride the hockey world like a colossus. The coming together of both personas provided a deeper legacy for Indian hockey that would bask in glory for decades during which six successive Olympic gold medals came the country’s way from 1928 to 1956 and a further two in 1964 and 1980.

It also laid the foundations of one of the most famous hockey nurseries in the world – Sansarpur in Punjab. Sansarpur was the birthplace of Thakar, born on 12 June, 1899. His junior teammate Dhyan Chand was born on 29 August, 1905, now celebrated as the country’s national sports day, in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. Together they sowed the seeds of Indian indomitability in distant Australia and New Zealand.

Official Souvenir Guide Lancaster Park, June 1926

Thakar Singh was born on 12 June 1899. Dhyan Chand was born on 29 August 1905 in Prayagraj. Together they sowed the seeds of Indian indomitability in distant Australia and New Zealand.

Thakar joined the British Army on 6 June 1917, serving with the 1st Battalion, 4th Prince of Wales’ Own Gurkha Rifles in Bakloh, Himachal Pradesh. Dhyan Chand joined the British Indian Army on 29 August, 1922 and served with the 1st Brahmans Regiment based in Delhi. Following the reorganisation of the Indian Armed Forces in the same year, the unit was designated as the 4th Battalion, 1st Punjab Regiment.

Both were members of the team to Australia and New Zealand in 1926. The team of 17, led by Captain David Tenant Cowan, widely known as “Punch”, of the 1st Battalion 6th Gurkha Rifles, included five officers – four English and a Sikh and 12 Indian soldiers.

Naik Thakar Singh was one of three senior Non-Commissioned Officers on this tour and had the added responsibility of looking after the welfare of the young soldiers, all on their very first visit overseas. Dhyan Chand, a sepoy of the 4th Battalion, 1st Punjab Regiment, was among them.

Travel by ship made or a long tour lasting five months. But it also helped the team bond well. Hockey on board also helped them retain their sublime touch with the game while staying fit.

It counted for a lot. Dhyan Chand scintillated on tour. He donned the role of centre-forward to perfection from the word go. He was a spearhead of the Army attack that brooked no answer from hapless opponents.

On the day after landing, the Indian Army side made short work of a Navy team, winning 11-1 at the Remuera ground. Dhyan Chand had his say, netting four goals. Two days later, it was 11-0 against Waipa in TeaWumutu – the first of 21 scheduled matches. Dhyan Chand scored three times.

Captain Cowan and Thakar Singh

The huge wins set a trend and the Indian outfit turned crowd pullers. An unprecedented number of spectators turned up to watch their matches. The Indians appeared to hold a mystical aura, bewitching and bewildering their opponents testified by the results: 18 matches won, two drawn and one lost. They scored 192 goals and conceded only 24. Dhyan Chand top scored with 80!

There was also the touch of the exotic. The colour and flamboyance of the Indian Army team clad in their scarlet turbans, navy blue blazers with the star of India emblazoned on the pockets, white trousers, and scarlet stockings excited public imagination.

And the team played their full part off the field. They attended civil receptions at all the venues they visited, attended care homes, took time to discuss and demonstrate the finer points of hockey with players and spectators, as well as interact with the Indian community settled in different parts of New Zealand. The team had a natural tendency to mix with people.

Dhyan Chand quickly became a great favourite with the crowd in New Zealand. He repeated his performance during the team’s short stay in Australia where they played five matches.

In the very last match of the tour, on Thursday, 5 August, 1926, the Indian Army team defeated South Australia 14–0 at the Adelaide Oval. Dhyan Chand, was given the rare honour of captaining the Army team, which included three officers (unprecedented in those days for a private to captain a team which included officers).Thakar Singh manned the centre-half position.

The Indians attracted a lot of attention and the match against South Australia drew a large crowd among whom was the Governor of South Australia Lieutenant General Sir George Tom Bridges who was introduced to the teams before the “bully-off”. Dhyan Chand didn’t disappoint him or anyone else in the crowd, scoring nine goals. The man of the match, however, was left-winger Susan Nathan.

Dhyan Chand’s  brilliant performance during this tour led to his selection for the Amsterdam 1928 Olympic Games and the rest, as they say, is history. Naik Thakar Singh was in good company with another Gurkha Officer, Captain L.A. Alexander of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles, in the squad.

Thakar Singh played as a centre half in this Army team. At the end of the New Zealand tour, an interesting ceremony was held on July 18, 1926 at the Evelyn Firth Home, Parnell. On behalf of the Auckland Returned Soldiers’ Association, the president, S.A. Carr, gave each player a silver medallion, specially struck as a souvenir of the New Zealand tour.

Naik Thakhur Singh Silver Medallion, 1926

Each Indian player was also presented by L.O. Kent, President of the Auckland Hockey Association, with a silver badge as a souvenir of the visit to Auckland.

An interesting anecdote related to the tour appeared in the Gisborne Times (New Zealand) dated 31 August, 1926:

“Here’s an incident from the stay of the Indian Army Hockey Team in Auckland. On the day when the team left the Dominion, one of the side, Thakar Singh, a Sikh, gave “Billy” Williamson, the President of Canterbury Hockey Association, who was up there for the test, a Sikh knife as a souvenir. “Billy”, not to be outdone in generosity and to return the gift, rushed up town and bought a gramophone, and handed it to Thakar Singh as the men went up the gangway”

Gurdev Singh, Thakar Singh’s son, and Kulwant Singh, Thakar Singh’s grandson, fondly remember this gift and state that the gramophone was a precious family possession for a long time. Thakar Singh left the Army after completing 23 years’ service and breathed his last on 19 September 1975 in Sansarpur, Punjab.


His son, Gurdev Singh Kullar, was also born in Sansarpur, Punjab, did his father proud by representing India at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games where India won the gold medal. He scored two goals on Olympic debut, against Afghanistan in a 14–0 win. Gurdev won silver at the 1958 Asian Games. He captained India at the 1962 Asian Games (Silver).

Gurdev made a mark in the game while studying at Cantonment High School in Jalandhar before playing for Punjab Police from 1956 to 1967.

And GenNext, in the case of both Thakar and Dhyan Chand kept up the tryst with New Zealand.

Indian Wanderers team that toured the Kiwi’s land, 1961

In 1961, Gurdev toured New Zealand, playing for the Indian Wanderers Team. Ashok Kumar, Dhyan Chand’s son, was also to do so 14 years later.

He joined Punjab Police in 1956 and played for Punjab Police and Punjab from 1956 to 1967. He was a member the Gold Medal winning Punjab Team in National Hockey Championship in Bhopal 1962 where he was the Captain and Bombay 1965; Bronze Medal in Hyderabad 1961, Madras 1963 and Delhi 1964. He was a member of the Gold Medal winning Punjab Police Hockey Team in All India Police Games in Gwalior 1956, Calcutta 1959, Hyderabad 1961, Trivandrum 1962, Jaipur 1964 and Guwahati 1966. He was in the Bronze Medal Team in Delhi in 1960.He was in the Punjab Police team that won the Beighton Cup in 1966, scoring the winning goal against Signals team.

Author Dil Bahra with Gurdev Singh Kullar (r), 2007

Gurdev interacted frequently with Dhyan Chand, then a national selector and coach, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He retired from international hockey in 1967 and migrated to the UK where he currently resides.

Dhyan Chand’s son, Ashok Kumar, kept up the hockey-playing lineage and represented India at the 1972 Munich and 1976 Montreal Olympics. He donned India colours also at the 1971 Barcelona, 1973 Amstelveen, 1975 Kuala Lumpur and 1978 Buenos Aires World Cups.

Ashok Kumar is immortalized by the match-winning goal in the 1975 World Cup final against Pakistan in the final to bring India its only title. He continued the tryst with New Zealand in 1975, touring with the India team that won a four-match series 3-1, a far closer contest than those that his father Dhyan Chand and Thakar Singh were involved in almost half a century earlier.


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