All the news for Tuesday 23 February 2021
Tokyo build-up: Indian women’s hockey team to tour Germany
Back from a lengthy tour of Argentina, Rani Rampal-led India will depart for Germany to face the world No. 3 team in four matches.
By Naveen Peter
Continuing with its preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, the Indian women’s hockey team will embark on a 10-day tour of Germany on Tuesday to face the hosts in four matches.
The 18-member Indian team, led by Rani Rampal, will play against the world No. 3 side on February 27 and 28 and then on March 2 and 4. All matches will be played in Dusseldorf.
The Indian women’s hockey team’s German tour comes on the back of a lengthy trip to Argentina where it played seven matches, including three against the senior national team.
“We feel privileged to travel in a short span to play yet another top team in the world,” the Indian team’s chief coach Sjoerd Marijne told Hockey India.
“Germany will be one of the favourites at the Tokyo Olympics and to test our level against them will really help in our preparations.”
Unlike the Indian hockey men’s team, who will be turning up for the FIH Pro League in the coming months, the women’s side has chosen to skip the 2020-21 edition of the competition.
This makes the tour matches crucial as the Indian eves continue their build-up for Tokyo 2020.
“We have to make the most of every opportunity we get to play against these higher-ranked teams,” Marijne said.
“Germany plays with a very unique and different style compared to Argentina and this will help us prepare for the Olympic Games. Also, since these are back-to-back matches, our level of fitness will also be tested.”
Meanwhile, the Indian vice-captain Savita Punia believes that the tour games are an opportunity for the players to stake a claim in the Indian team for the Tokyo Games.
“This will be another opportunity for our team to try out various players in different formations,” Savita, also the Indian goalkeeper, said.
Indian women’s hockey team squad for tour of Germany
Goalkeepers: Savita Punia (vice-captain and goalkeeper), Rajani Etimarpu
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Udita, Nisha
Midfielders: Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Neha, Lilima Minz, Sushila Chanu, Salima Tete, Navjot Kaur
Forwards: Rani Rampal (captain), Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Rajwinder Kaur, Sharmila Devi
Indian women’s hockey team schedule, fixtures and India match times for German tour
Saturday, 27 February: India vs Germany - 4:30 PM IST
Sunday, 28 February: India vs Germany - 4:30 PM IST
Tuesday, 2 March: India vs Germany - 4:30 PM IST
Thursday, 4 March: India vs Germany - 4:30 PM IST
How Mareeswaran Sakthivel made his way from Indian hockey outpost to junior national camp
The 20-year-old from Kovilpatti, a hockey-mad pocket of Tamil Nadu, dreams of breaking into the senior national squad
By Deepti Patwardhan
It wasn’t the deeds of Indian hockey greats, as relayed on television screens, that captured the imagination of one of India’s fastest rising junior stars Mareeswaran Sakthivel. The seeds of his hockey dreams were laid in Kovilpatti, an industrial town in Tamil Nadu situated about 567 kilometers from the state capital Chennai and seemingly a million miles away from Indian hockey’s nerve centre.
The 20-year-old took to the sport simply because his father once had.
“I started playing hockey at the age of 12,” Mareeswaran, who is part of the Indian men’s junior 37-member core group, told the Olympic Channel.
“My earliest memories of the game revolved around my father. Even though he couldn’t play, he’d watch games from the stands, whether it was state or district games. Although hockey is not a popular sport in Tamil Nadu, it has quite a following in the town I come from.”
Though his father loved the game he couldn’t continue to pursue it due to the financial struggles. Mareeswaran’s parents work at a matchbox factory and his father is a machine operator there. Growing up, he didn’t have the resources to buy a hockey stick or shoes. Or have a television at home to beam India’s exploits on the TV screens.
“Managing finances at home was tough. To be honest, it is still is,” said the midfielder.
“I moved to SDAT’s [Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu] sports hostel five years ago, and they helped me buy shoes and a hockey stick. Previously, my parents had to borrow or take loans from people they knew for my expenses.
“We never had a television at home. We couldn’t afford one. As a kid, my only taste of hockey was accompanying my father to watch state or district matches in Kovilpatti. It was only after I moved to the sports hostel did I start watching matches on TV. That was where I saw games on television for the first time and understood what it takes to play for India.”
In school, Mareeswaran dabbled in athletics too, but hockey was the sport he felt most connected too. Though his father encouraged him to pursue hockey full-time, his mother was more eager for him to take the tried-and-tested academic way.
“I was just having fun with hockey initially, when I had played it in school. I guess, I got better at it over time,” he said. “I became serious about the sport only after SDAT took me under their wing.”
After putting in the hard yards the past few years, Mareeswaran’s breakthrough came last season when he was selected for the Tamil Nadu senior side and also represented the state at the Khelo India Youth Games Guwahati 2020.
Though his team didn’t quit make the knockouts, Mareeswaran’s performance at the Khelo India Youth Games was impressive enough for him to earn a call-up to the junior national camp.
Having taken the first step into the national set-up, the 20-year-old is determined to stay.
“I am 20 now. At the moment, I only focussed on the camp and the months ahead, where we have the Junior Men’s Asia Cup (July, 2021) and the FIH Junior World Cup (later this year),” he said. “I want to make the best use of the opportunities available right now and gradually make the step up to the senior team. Hopefully, that will happen soon.”
Bloemendaal maintain perfect men’s Hoofdklasse record while Rotterdam hit seven
HC Bloemendaal extended their perfect record to 10 wins out of 10 with a 3-2 win over ninth placed Klein Zwisterland.
Tim Swaen’s 11th goal of the season made it 1-0 from a corner but he was denied a second from the penalty spot by an excellent save. KZ took the reprieve to equalise with David Huussen deflecting high into the net in the 30th minute.
But Bloemendaal took control in the second half when Arthur van Doren scored from another penalty stroke and Jasper Brinkman fired in a drag-flick for 3-1. Aki Kaeppeler got one back with 18 minutes to go but the leaders held on for their win, retaining their nine point lead at the top.
HC Rotterdam continue their pursuit with a remarkable 7-0 victory over HGC with Joaquin Menini scoring a hat trick. The result drops HGC to fourth place with Pinoké moving just above them on goal difference thanks to their 6-1 win over Almere.
SV Kampong left it late to beat Hurley 1-0 with Robbert Kemperman stealing the ball in the circle in the 67th minute before shooting home on his backhand. They are now one point outside the playoff places with a game in hand on HGC.
Then there is a six-point gap to sixth place after Den Bosch beat Tilburg 3-1 while AH&BC Amsterdam and Oranje-Rood drew 2-2.
Billy Bakker had given Amsterdam a very early lead and it remained 1-0 all the way to the final three minutes when Thomas Briels and Teun Beins’ net-ripper swapped the lead. But Teun Rohof replied in the final minute to make it a draw.
Euro Hockey League media release
Amsterdam stunned by HDM as Den Bosch return to top
AH&BC Amsterdam – the EHL FINAL4 hosts – were stunned by a late HDM goal to see them drop off top spot in the women’s Hoofdklasse with Den Bosch returning to the head of the table.
Amsterdam made much of the early running in the Hague with Eva de Goede’s effort cleaned off the line from one of a couple of big chances.
HDM, though, took the lead when Pien van Nes’s strike was half-blocked and while everyone else stopped, Jip Dicke dived in to score a great goal with a diving backhand touch.
Michelle Fillet equalised before half-time with a powerful drag-flick and her side looked more likely to score next but they found HDM goalkeeper Julia Remmerswaal in flying form.
And they were caught in the closing minutes when Tessa Beetsma produced an excellent action, peeling away down the left flank and firing a reverse-stick cross in for Pien van der Heide to touch in for 2-1.
Den Bosch were far too strong for Laren with Lidewij Welten cracking home a first half hat trick in a 7-0 victory. Further goals came from Emmeliene Oonk, Teuntje de Wit, Pien Sanders and Marloes Keetels. That result puts them two points clear of Amsterdam.
SCHC, meanwhile, remain in third place courtesy of an 8-0 win over Victoria which keeps them ahead of HDM. The gap to the sides outside the top four is six points after 10 rounds of action.
Euro Hockey League media release
Atlèti produce remarkable comeback against Polo
EHL Men’s entrant Atlètic Terrassa produced a remarkable comeback to beat Real Club de Polo 3-2 to keep up their chase near the top of the Spanish Honor Division.
Goals in the last eight minutes from Pau Cunill and Quim Malgosa completed the turnaround, putting a six point gap between them in third place and Polo in fourth with both looking to chase down Club de Campo and Club Egara.
Polo had the best of the early stages and they eventually went in front in the 23rd minute via Marc Miralles from a smart counter-attack move.
Álex Reynè’s goal increased the lead a minute into the second half to make things even harder for the Can Salas hosts but got on the board in the third quarter via Jordi Bonastre.
Cunill then ramped up the pressure with a direct strike from a penalty corner to equalise in the 62nd minute and the game was won with four minutes to go via Malgosa.
Club Egara stayed just ahead of Atlèti with a comfortable 6-1 success against Giner de los Rios. Campo, meanwhile, won 3-1 in Santander thanks to late goals from Jose Basterra and former Wimbledon man John Kinder.
Euro Hockey League media release
Grassroots hockey set for March resumption
Grassroots hockey in England is set to be one of the first sports to have restrictions lifted from the end of March under the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
Prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the plan is for organised outdoor sports to start again from March 29 during Step 1 of easing restrictions.
After school sports clubs for pupils will begin again from March 8, while organised outdoor sport can be permitted for both children and adults from March 29 and “will not be subject to the gatherings limits, but should be compliant with guidance issued by national governing bodies.”
It is unclear at this stage whether some sports may have stricter limits due to having more physical contact.
England Hockey this month laid out its intent on concluding the domestic campaign with a shortened season. “We await further detail and anticipate making another statement within the next 72 hours,” EH said in response to Monday’s announcements.
Once the government’s third step kicks in, it is reported that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed back into stadiums for sport. This is planned from May 17.
Great Britain host several nations in the FIH Pro League between May 6-16 and the governing body said it would be making a further announcement “as soon as possible”.
Asked about grassroots sports, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Monday: “The simple way to look at this is that outdoor is safer and therefore we prioritise versus indoor.
“Outdoor sports – tennis, golf, outdoor organised team sports, grassroots football – will go back on March 29.”
“That is not an argument to say we can have crowds back at football matches. But sports involving small numbers of players or sports for children: they could start safely today.”
Children will be able to play sports indoors from April 12.
FIH releases new Hockey Turf & Field Standards for 2021
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is pleased to announce that the FIH Quality Programme – which is designed to ensure good quality hockey facilities are built for all levels of play, from elite level competition to community development – has released the latest updates to its Hockey Turf & Field Standards for 11-a-side fields and HOCKEY5s courts.
The documents define the standards and qualities that FIH Approved Hockey Turfs, fields and courts need to satisfy, outlining crucial elements such as construction, sports performance, player welfare, layout and durability requirements as well as environmental considerations.
An important part of this update, which replaces the 2017 edition and is effective immediately, sees the creation of a new system of classification for products and fields, a move intended to provide greater clarity to the intended uses of the different products available, from community sports fields all the way through to very highest level of international, televised hockey.
The update also provides a clear separation between the Hockey Turf and Field categories. The various Hockey Turf designations range from Global through to Community 3G Multi-Sport surfaces, while the Field designations are now from Category 1 (Venues designed to host international Tier 1 televised hockey) to Category 5 (Multi-sports fields primarily intended for large ball sports, but also used for school and foundation level hockey).
All new fields requiring FIH certification from June 2021 should be designed and tested in accordance with the standards contained within the updated documents.
To see the updated Hockey Turf & Field Standards document, click here.
The publication of the new standards coincides with an updated facilities section on the FIH website, that contain new facilities and field guidance, together with details of all the members of the FIH Quality Programme and their FIH Approved products. If you are considering installing a field or purchasing new field equipment, we strongly encourage you to visit www.fih.ch/qp
About the FIH Quality Programme
The FIH Quality Programme is an internationally recognised quality-assurance programme that provides consistent and dependable industry standards for the performance, construction and durability of hockey turf installations worldwide and ensures the appropriate quality for the intended level of play. As a result it will help inspire more people to play hockey, promote player welfare and protect the investment of those funding hockey facilities.
For more information about this programme, click here.