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News for 01 January 2021

All the news for Friday 1 January 2021

Rani Rampal: 'Good show against Argentina will boost our confidence'

Indian women's hockey team captain Rani Rampal feels that a good show in the series against Argentina will boost her side's confidence.

Indian women's team will hit the restart button and begin its Olympic preparations with the tour of Argentina, starting next week, almost a year after their calendar was disrupted by COVID-19 pandemic.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Indian women's hockey team captain Rani Rampal feels that a good show in the series against Argentina will boost her side's confidence heading into this year's Tokyo Olympics.

Indian women's team will hit the restart button and begin its Olympic preparations with the tour of Argentina, starting next week, almost a year after their calendar was disrupted by COVID-19 pandemic.

"If we play to our potential against Argentina, then we will attain (gain) a lot of confidence for the all-important Olympics, where we are aiming nothing short of a medal," Rani was quoted as saying in a Hockey India (HI) media release.

"Hopefully, we can make history in Tokyo and make our country proud. We are going to give our absolute best in every match we play this year," she added.

India will compete in eight matches against hosts Argentina, starting from January 17 to 31.

"We are very excited to make our return to the international circuit. The year 2020 was really tough for us, however, we continued to practice our skills at the national coaching camp." The skipper is looking forward to seeing how her teammates responds in match situations after a long break.

"All the players in the team are feeling very confident about their games and it will be interesting to see how each one of them performs in a match situation after staying away from the international circuit for almost one year." While the women''s team is gearing up for their next assignment, HI has been in talks with different nations to also organise a tour for the men''s team, which played its last international match against Australia on February 22 last year at the FIH Hockey Pro League.

Men's skipper Manpreet Singh said his side is keen to get some much-needed match practice ahead of the Tokyo Games.

"We are very excited about getting back into the international circuit. We are really looking forward to playing against an international team before the Olympics," Manpreet said.

"A few matches against a good team will help us prepare for the Olympics. This year is very important for us. We have practiced very hard in the last few months and have raised our game to a level that is close to which we usually operate in international games.

"If we play to our potential at the Olympics in July, then we will surely bring glory to our country. We have to go into the Olympics with a mindset of clinching a medal," he added.

The Indian junior men''s and women''s teams have also not played a tournament since 2019 and 2020 respectively.

"We are really looking forward to the FIH Men''s Hockey Junior World Cup 2021 and the AHF Men''s Junior Asia Cup 2021, which will be held in India and Bangladesh respectively," said junior men''s team defender Sanjay.

Junior women's defender Ishika Chaudhary expressed that the AHF Women''s Junior Asia Cup is the most immediate goal for her side right now. "We have been working towards the AHF Women''s Junior Asia Cup since we returned to the national camp. It''s been great to target a tournament and keep getting better at our game every day.

"The AHF Women''s Junior Asia Cup is very important for us since it will give us a chance to book a place in the FIH Women''s Junior World Cup," said the 20-year-old.


FIH Nations Cup offers Hockey Pro League promotion chances

Nations Cup gives countries chance of Pro League promotion

A new global tournament, the FIH Nations Cup, will be held for the first time in 2022, heralding the start of promotion and relegation from the FIH Pro League.

The Nations Cup will comprise the eight nations in the rankings outside those who compete in the Pro League. As far as the home nations are concerned, only Great Britain will be involved in the competition.

The countries selected were based on the likely international rankings as of May 2021 and will feature the likes of Canada and Egypt in the men’s and women’s formats.

FIH chief Thierry Weil said: “The FIH Nations Cup is a welcome addition to our events’ portfolio. It will enable to apply the promotion-relegation principle to the FIH Hockey Pro League. Like for most other leagues, this will generate even more excitement to the competition.

“It will also give other nations who haven’t yet had the opportunity to join the Pro League to do so and this is only fair! And it will help grow hockey in further countries.”

The FIH has launched the bidding process for hosting the Nations Cup, with submissions set for March.

Canada (10*); Malaysia (11); France (12); Ireland (13); South Africa (14); Japan (15); Korea (16); Pakistan (17); Austria (20); Egypt (21)

Spain (7); Ireland (8); India (9); Korea (11); Japan (13); Canada (14); South Africa (16); Italy (17); Chile (18); Russia (19)

*current position in the FIH World Rankings

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The Hockey Paper

Athlete Spotlight: Nicole Woods

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.

You never know how far you’ll go. As cliché as it may come off as, that statement resonates with countless athletes both young and old throughout their respective careers. Nicole Woods knows this all too well, from youth to high school, college and beyond, she recalls every step of the way to her current role on the U.S. Women’s National Team.

Woods remembers being highly motivated as a student-athlete at Beverly High School largely due to the school’s success in sports over several years. It also means hitting the ground running in being part of that culture. It’s nerve racking for any athlete found in a similar situation, but Woods took it with stride from start to finish.

“When I started my freshman year the field hockey team had been back-to-back conference champions so I was pretty intimidated going in,” admitted Woods. “I was lucky enough that my sister was a senior captain on the team which made winning the programs third straight title even more special. During high school we went on to win all four of my years creating the programs first ’six-peat’.”

On the pitch the Beverly, Mass. native was bonafide leader for the Panthers as she served as captain for three years on the varsity squad. In 2013 alone, her 11 goals and 21 assists played a key role in the team’s Northeastern Conference (NEC) championship. She was also a four-time NEC All-Star selection, All-Conference Player of the Year her senior season and was named Salem News Field Hockey Player of the Year in 2012.

Woods was also active as a member of NorthEast Elite Field Hockey club, which she credits her career in the sport to, as well as club founder Chelsey Feole.

“I had found NorthEast Elite because I was playing in a summer tournament in Massachusetts when some girls on my team suggested I try out for their [National Hockey] Festival team,” said Woods. “I had never been introduced to the club scene before, so when I was invited to Festival I was not only blown away at the size of the tournament but it felt like a whole other world of field hockey I had never discovered. After a couple of games Chelsey really saw potential in me and kind of took it from there in terms of encouraging me to play Futures and to keep pursuing field hockey.”

That conversation with Feole ended up being a major step in Woods’ young career, where in 2014 she participated in Futures and was selected to the U.S. U-19 Women’s National Team just out of high school. While her field hockey life continued to blossom, she was also busy on the ice as an active ice hockey player. As she can attest, being a dual-sport athlete is a challenge in of itself, but it also led to a rather unique situation as the thought of collegiate athletics came into view.

“I had a really bizarre recruiting path but I enjoy telling it because I think it helps players kind of slow down and take their time with recruiting,” continued Woods. “I did want to play ice hockey in college but I was really torn from hockey and field hockey. It wasn’t until the early fall of my junior year that I began club and went to my first tournament. By that time, most high school athletes are committed to their schools already, if I were in high school now I would have a tough time getting any spots at any school.”

Still undecided, Woods visited several schools around her home state. Then Louisville came into consideration, thanks to her mother who convinced Woods to visit on Junior Day. She was hesitant as she had always pictured being within three hours or so from home for college.

“After visiting Louisville over a weekend in the spring of my junior year I was blown away at the campus, the team and how insane the athletic facilities were in Louisville,” continued Woods. “The state of Kentucky has no professional sports so the whole state devotes all their energy and enthusiasm into the college athletic programs and it really impressed me.”

The rest is history as Woods played for the Cardinals from 2014 to 2017. In addition to her mother pushing her outside of her comfort zone, Woods again credited Feole for believing in her and helping shape her decision to stick to field hockey.

“If it wasn’t for NorthEast Elite I never would have found Louisville nor would I have been prepared to play collegiately after just a year and a half of playing club,” noted Woods.

Still unsure how far the sport would take her, Woods went on to be a four-year starter at Louisville while also carving her way through the Olympic Development Pathway. She recalled how intimidated she felt at her first Junior National Camp and how she kept comparing her own experience to other potential selections.

“I was really nervous and so intimidated especially since my roommate was 14 years old and had been on the U-19 team already,” continued Woods. “After playing one year on the U-19 team I went on to play for the U-21 squad and at the Junior Pan American Championship, then on to the Junior World Cup. My journey in the [Olympic] Development Pathway was really exciting. I think I was able to follow up the pathway because I had been so unexposed to this level of field hockey and rather than it showing in the way that I played, I think it showed in the way that I was willing to learn."

“I had never had more than a year and a half of true field hockey training so when I was given the opportunity to be coached by a lineup of Division I coaches and former USWNT athletes all before I even went to college was incredible to me. I really think I was selected for tours and eventually the U-21 team not because I was good at field hockey but because I was so eager to listen and learn from anyone who would help me out.”

In her final year at Louisville, her hard work paid off as Woods was named to the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2017. In May of the same year, she earned her first international cap in a series against Ireland.

Still thinking back it was surreal to think how just a handful of conversations impacted her young life. Woods went on to say that field hockey alone has given her so much in the past decade, from life lessons to opportunities and experiences that would otherwise be absent.

“At 24, I have traveled the world playing and have felt the massive highs of travel, winning and learning with my teammates but we have also felt some serious lows through injury, qualifiers and especially the loss of Larry Amar,” noted Woods. “I think I am most grateful for the way Janneke Schopman liked to measure our playing performance by asking us if we think we are playing to our potential. No matter what the answer was for one single game, I am sitting here at 24 years old coming off an injury and unable to play since April of 2019 absolutely feeling like my potential has yet to be reached.”

One of her biggest takeaways from her days at Louisville was being active in the local community where she and her teammates accumulated more than 200 hours during their time on campus. It was more than enough to win the “national championship” for most hours per person by any NCAA sports team. That achievement has continued to inspire Woods to stay active in community outreach whenever possible. One of the biggest ways she does this is through her free field hockey clinics in her hometown.

“I have been collecting equipment in order to one day run a free clinic in Massachusetts where players can try field hockey at no cost to them and at the end of the day they can take home a stick and ball to keep on playing,” said Woods. “I originally intended to run the clinics this summer in 2020 but with the pandemic it will have to wait.”

Woods also joined the leadership team for the USA Field Hockey Kentucky State Chapter as a webmaster to help the continued growth of the game in and around the Louisville area.

“Kentucky has such a competitive high school season every year and the potential to grow it is very promising,” continued Woods. “The majority of the schools involved are within the city of Louisville so the goal is to gain more interest outside of those areas and help with more access to equipment, coaches and create more programs.”

Although the pandemic put a hold on both her clinics and training with the USWNT, Woods has found a silver lining in the extra time off to focus on recovery and her own fitness levels.

“I was lucky enough to find a park with Julia Young and our strength and conditioning coach, Kyle McMinn, where we could use a turf field to condition,” said Woods. “The best part was Kyle’s creativity by using the jungle gym as a lifting space while the gyms were closed. He would have us doing pull ups on the monkey bars, he hung a TRX strap from the highest part of the playground and so much more. Working with him starting back in July through the winter was really helpful to get our fitness up and taught us to be creative and work with what we had.”

It hasn’t been easy to be away from using a stick as much during the pandemic, but Woods has kept busy in that aspect by focusing on the small skills elements in her basement. She is excited to resume training when the all-clear is given, especially with head coach Anthony Farry coming into the fold. As he described in the team’s first video conference earlier this year, for the USWNT to get back in rhythm should be just like riding a bicycle.

USFHA media release

Congratulations to Katie Dodd; Awarded MBE for Services to Hockey

Katie Dodd MBE

England Hockey would like to congratulate Katie Dodd, who has been awarded an MBE for services to hockey.

Katie has been involved in hockey for the best part of 40 years, and her roles within the sport are hugely significant. She reached the highest level as a player, winning 26 caps for England in the 1970s and 1980s, captaining the nation to bronze at the European Indoor Championships. Off the pitch, she served more than 25 years at Ealing Ladies Hockey Club and became a hugely respected administrator at club, county, southern region and national level; also part of the committee of the All England Women’s Hockey Association. Notably she was also a member of the England Hockey board from 2008 to 2015.

Another of her remarkable contributions to the sport came as the first ever Chair of The Hockey Museum, starting in 2011. Under Katie’s stewardship the Woking-based museum has gone from strength to strength, now housing roughly 75,000 items from in excess of 1,000 collections. The museum formally became a charity in 2014, and then in 2018 it was awarded full Arts Council England Museum Accreditation status, as well as the International Hockey Federation’s President’s award for services to the sport. The museum has hosted exhibitions at a number of international events, and has also undertaken an incredible amount of work to accurately catalogue the history of the England and Great Britain international teams, among numerous other projects.

In 2018 Katie became one of only eight people to have been awarded the England Hockey Member of Honour; the highest accolade awarded by the governing body.

Her contribution to the sport has been quite remarkable, as is her spirit, love for the game and willingness to help others for the good of hockey. She fully deserves to be made an MBE and sincere congratulations go to her from all at England Hockey.

England Hockey Chief Executive Nick Pink said, “This is a worthy award for Katie after a lifetime of service to the sport. Her contribution to the running of hockey is one of the most significant that anybody has made in recent years, so it is only right that she is recognised in this manner.

"In the past decade she has helped create a Hockey Museum that the entire game can benefit from for many years to come. On both a personal and professional level I would like to offer congratulations to her, and this is a spark of good news as we all enter 2021 with renewed hope for what is ahead.”

Image: Katie Dodd (second from left) receives the England Hockey Member of Honour award in 2018, with Sue Bodycomb, Richard Leman and Royston Hoggarth

Image: Katie Dodd (far right) in action for England in 1979, along with teammate Rosie Sykes

England Hockey Board Media release

Obituary: Neat tackler, sturdy full-back, Kind was one of a kind


Sports fans brought up with AIR’s running commentary in the 1970s, will recall the name “Michael Kindo” frequenting the air waves. That’s because, as right full-back in India’s hockey team, his solid and tenacious defence laid the platform for the midfield and attack to get going.

On Thursday, December 31, 2020, Kindo, 73, bid adieu to the world as it readied to usher in the New Year. Long bed-ridden, Kindo fought bravely and hard against ailments arising from age.

Arjuna Awardee & WC hero Michael Kindo

Kindo, who hailed from Jharkhand, passed away in Rourkela, Odisha, an area which loves hockey. As on the pitch, he battled courageously, not just against illness but also financial hardships right through his life. Kindo is survived by his wife and two daughters.

In his heyday, he represented Indian Navy in domestic competitions while breaking into the Indian team in 1971.

He was the bulwark for champions Services at the 1973 National Championship in Mumbai and carried his prowess to the India team at the World Cup in Amsterdam that very year with a typically composed, solid performance.

MP Ganesh who captained the team was crestfallen when he heard the news from this writer. “It’s a big loss for Indian sport and for me as well as he was a close friend.”

World Cup Gold winning team: Michael Kindo sitting at far right

“India has lost a great sportsperson and a wonderful human being,” he added.

Ganesh was Kindo’s Services teammate and remembered him to be an outstanding full-back. “His tackling, interception and covering of areas were superb,” the Bengaluru-based former Sports Authority of India (South) director said.

“I have no doubt that he was one of the best full-backs in the world. He was a little player (1.70m and 62kg) but was sturdy and was all over the field. A real quality player.” Off the pitch, Ganesh reminisced Kindo’s value to the team. “He was jolly and made us laugh with his little jokes and entertained us with songs he sung,” he said.

Satinderpal Walia, former Western Railway goalkeeper and India coach, was all praise for Kindo, a teammate for several years. “He was a neat tackler. He seldom made contact with the opponent’s stick or body,” Walia said of his former Railways colleague. “Kindo was a sturdy full-back. He was absolutely dependable which allowed me to move towards the top of the circle,” he added.

Kindo received the Arjuna Award in 1972 which acknowledged his value to India hockey, having helped his country to a bronze medal at the 1971 Barcelona World Cup as well as the 1972 Munich Olympics. He was also an integral part of India’s silver medal winning team at the 1973 Amsterdam World Cup.

Kindo’s moment of glory arrived at the 1975 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur where India won their only title. In both, the 1973 and 1975 World Cups, Kindo was a cog in two fateful substitutions.

Ganesh recalls: “We were 0-1 down against New Zealand against the run of play in the 1973 World Cup. Surjit Singh, our main penalty corner striker was off colour. With 10 minutes remaining, I substituted him with Baldev Singh but I retained Kindo. “When we forced our next penalty corner, Kindo dutifully came up to take the hit. I scolded him, ordering him to stay behind and let Baldev do the needful. He responded obediently, cooly and with his ever present smile.

“Baldev scored and we drew the match.”

In 1975, however, Balbir Singh Sr, manager of the team, replaced Kindo as India trailed Malaysia 1-2 with only minutes remaining. Surjit was again off target and Balbir brought in Aslam Sher Khan for probably the most famous substitution in hockey history. Aslam scored to take the match into extra-time during which Harcharan Singh scored the winner.

Balbir, however, was to explain that the substitution was a testimony to Kindo’s temperament. He knew Kindo would take it in his stride but was afraid Surjit would have been devastated had he been replaced.

Kindo, however, was kept on the bench for the final against Pakistan which India won 2-1 but it didn’t, in any way, affect his team spirit or morale.

A freak ankle injury denied him a place in the 1976 Montreal Olympics but Kindo quit the game after India’s dismal performance there that saw them crash to seventh place.

Recollects Dronacharya award winner Ajay Kumar Bansal, who has seen him closely:

Michael Kindo (c) and AK Bansal (r) Pic: AK Bansal

“We were together at the National Institute of Patiala doing Coaching Diploma. Later when I was posted in Odisha, I worked with him. Kindo was always a jovial, perfect gentleman. I still remember the diploma days when he used to visit my house in Ambala, giving him ride at the back carrier of my cycle! Very often he used to poke at me ” arre kaisa hockey coach hai yaar kabhi drink nahi karta (What a coach you are, a teetotaler….). Kindo used to sing funny songs always with his hockey stick as guitar”.

As Indian hockey took one body blow after another in the artificial turf area, the sport’s profile nose dived and stalwarts such as Kindo were forgotten and incognito to younger generations.

At the 2010 World Cup in New Delhi he was put through stringent security checks, albeit as any other, but lamented that he was unrecognizable by anybody in the crowd.

Any treatise on Indian hockey, however, will celebrate Kindo as a genuine team player who made solid defence an art form.


Olympic bronze medallist and World Cup winner hockey player Michael Kindo dies

73-year-old was bed-ridden for quite some time and was also suffering from depression

India's 1975 hockey World Cup-winning and 1972 Olympics bronze winning team member Michael Kindo died at a hospital here on Thursday due to age-related ailments. He was 73.

Kindo is survived by his wife, a son and two daughters.

"Michael Kindo passed away at the Ispat General Hospital due to age related problems. He was bed-ridden for quite some time and was also suffering from depression," a family source told PTI.

"Last rites will be performed tomorrow," the source added.

Kindo was bestowed with the Arjuna Award in 1972.

A full-back in his playing days, Kindo was a member of the team that won the lone World Cup for India in 1975 in Kuala Lumpur, beating arch rivals Pakistan in the final.

He was also in the team that won a bronze medal in the 1972 Olympics in Munich. He scored three goals in that edition of the Games.

Hockey India grieved Kindo’s death.

"We are deeply saddened by the demise of our former hockey player and 1975 World Cup winner Michael Kindo. We send out our heartfelt condolences to his family," the HI said in a tweet.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik described Kindo as a "tribal icon".

"Deeply saddened to know the passing away of hockey legend and Arjuna Awardee #MichaelKindo, a tribal icon and part of India's World Cup winning team of 1975. My thoughts are with his family and fans," Patnaik said on his official Twitter handle.

Former India captain Dilip Tirkey also mourned Kindo's death. "Hockey legend Michael Kindo will be remembered for his memorable sporting performances. He brought home lots of pride and laurels. Undoubtedly a brilliant hockey player, he also made a mark as a great mentor," he tweeted.

The Tribune

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