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News for 24 April 2021

All the news for Saturday 24 April 2021

Give the players time, says Arul

By Jugjet Singh

Britain’s Tom Sorsby (left) is challenged by Malaysia’s Najib Abu Hassan in Thursday’s friendly match in Bukit Jalil. -- PIC COURTESY OF MHC FACEBOOK PAGE

HOCKEY fans vented their anger on social media over the national team's defeats to Japan and Britain in a recent triangular at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Playing after an 18-month hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Arul Selvaraj's men started their campaign with a 3-0 defeat to Japan, followed by a 3-1 loss to Britain.

In the return matches, the Speedy Tigers suffered 1-0 defeats to both Olympic-bound opponents.

Although some fans did praise the team, most were disappointed as they criticised the players, the coach, the system of play and the Malaysian Hockey Confederation.

"The players need time to adjust to my new system of play as I had placed some of them in new positions during the triangular.

"The process will take time. We plan to improve in every department.

"As we had only trained together for two sessions before the triangular, teamwork was slow to click.

"For instance, Faizal (Saari), an attacker, played as a midfielder while captain Marhan Jalil was fielded as a centre-back.

"Other players were also tried out in new positions.

"We are moving players around as we want to get the best from them.

"They, however, did show progress in the last two matches," said Arul.

And on the ill feelings of fans, Arul has told them to trust the system.

"We are building a new system of play.

" I am confident the players will get more comfortable and produce results in the Asia Cup on July 1-10 in Bangladesh,

"Fans are angry right now, but they have to understand that coming out of 18 months of local tournaments and training online and into international friendlies is not an easy task for the players," Arul added.

The trainees will resume training after Hari Raya.

The Asia Cup offers three tickets to the 2023 World Cup in India.

New Straits Times

‘Great Britain can cope without hockey world-beater Ashley Jackson’

Captain Adam Dixon reckons Great Britain won’t miss the talismanic Ashley Jackson as much as they would have done in previous Olympic campaigns.

Jackson stepped away from the GB men’s programme for the second time last month, leaving Dixon as the sole survivor from England’s 2009 EuroHockey team, the last major success on the international stage garnered by England or GB.

While record goal-scorer Jackson’s decision to quit the programme may still be felt within the squad, Dixon believes the squad have the armoury to deal with the loss.

Dixon, set to play his last Games this summer, said: “Ashley Jackson has been one of the best hockey players in the world for what seems like forever.

“No doubt he is going to be a blow to our chances at the Games, what he brings, firstly with his experience. He is a terrific goal-scorer and just an all-around good guy.

“We are going to miss him but I should stress that over the last four years we’ve created such depth in the squad that someone like Ashley is maybe not missed as sorely as he perhaps would have been in the past. I think we’re in a good position as a squad.”

Great Britain were able to travel to Malaysia this month for matches and heat and humidity training.

They played five matches against the hosts and Japan over the last week ahead of some Pro League matches next month as preparations continue for Tokyo 2020.

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The Hockey Paper

Creed And Sanford On The Importance Of The 'WHY? Discovery' Project

It is the belief of both Brendan Creed and Liam Sanford that the ‘WHY? Discovery’ project has had a major impact on the understanding and camaraderie of the GB men’s team.

The programme, first introduced to the squad a few years ago by psychologist Katie Warriner, tasks each player to write down the reasons why they play hockey and the key values that they hold closest to them both in sport and in life.

They then are asked to read these aloud to their team-mates and the coaching staff, providing with a detailed insight into each individual player and an overview of what matters most to them.

It’s not an easy task and reflecting on incidents that have happened in the past can be difficult for some, as can then opening up and sharing it all with other people, but the two defenders have recognised how much of a positive impact it’s had on them personally and the whole squad.

Speaking on #InsideTheCircle: The Podcast, Brendan said: “It’s made my relationships with my team-mates, with the psychologists, with the head coach, more secure. The conversations are more open and honest.

“Everybody wants to know each other more. Dinner conversations are more in depth than previously; they’re actually conversations about what we’re doing outside of sport, living situations and things like that.

“It’s made people a lot more open to understanding each other and it’s created such a healthy atmosphere. The more you can show vulnerability, the more people can see the strength in you and the confidence you have in the group. That makes a huge difference in a team sport.”

This was echoed by Liam, who openly admitted on the podcast that he was indifferent to some of the practices introduced by Katie when she joined the men’s programme in 2017.

But over the years he’s seen first-hand how beneficial working with Katie and fellow psychologist Tim Pitt has been and this has allowed him to become happier both inside and outside of hockey.

“The bond you get and the conversations afterwards are so different to the conversations before. Now I’m definitely more in a place where actually I think hockey is hockey and I enjoy playing it but it’s not the be-all-and-end-all of my life,” the 25-year-old said.

“Actually it’s the connections inside the squad and the connections outside the squad with other people and the process of enjoying day-to-day life that will make you happy.

“It’s a famous phrase but if you’re not good enough without a medal, you’re never going to be good enough with one. If you’re not happy without that medal you’re not going to be happy with it.

“You just have to enjoy everything and if you get to the final goal of winning the medal you so wanted it’ll be great but if you don’t reach it you’ll know you’ll have had a great time with great people along the way. That’s quite a nice way to look at it because you’ve won both ways.”

Subscribe to Inside The Circle: The Podcast to hear this episode in full and catch up on any others that you may have missed:

Great Britain Hockey media release

Hockey’s giant leap ends in mighty fall


Sticky situation: A Botswana player trails his Namibian counterpart during the recent World Cup qualifiers PIC: BHA

After opting out of the Africa Cup qualifiers, the Botswana's hockey teams dusted off their sticks and took a giant leap into the World Cup qualifiers. A brave and ambitious move ended in a mighty fall, as the team recorded some of the biggest defeats in the national sides’ history. But was the embarrassment worth it?

The last time the sticks were out was in May 2019, at the Spar International Indoor Hockey Test Series. The national hockey teams returned to action after a 23-month hiatus, which was mainly due to COVID-19. As the competitive play opened and events came flooding the Botswana Hockey Association (BHA) had to choose between FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup qualifiers and the African Cup Hockey qualifiers. A decision was made and last week the men and women’s teams were in Durban, South Africa seeking a maiden World Cup berth.

The teams were thrown into the lion’s den as they came up against Africa’s top-ranked teams, South Africa and Namibia. Without a rank, Botswana teams were to battle for a spot at the spectacle to be held in Belgium early next year. They faced a Namibia women’s side that is ranked 10th while the men’s side is placed 17th in the world rankings. South Africa came into the qualifiers as the highest-ranked men’s team at the 11th spot whilst the women’s team in number 14 on the world rankings.

The teams left for South Africa after a much-disrupted preparation and showed their minority status on the first day as the women’s team lost 26-0 to South Africa before a 30-0 beating in the hands of Namibia while the men’s side were also handed a heavy 36-0 defeat by South Africa and they lost 27-0 to Namibia. Day two of the qualification did not produce different outcomes with the team losing 20-0 and 18-0 to Namibia and South Africa respectively. The men’s team closed their tournament with a 37-0 defeat to Namibia before a 30-0 loss to South Africa. The results meant the local sides returned home without a point after four rounds of games each, however managed to, for the first time attain a continental rank, they are third in Africa Indoor Hockey.   But did the BHA jump into the World Cup qualifiers bear fruit?

“It worked and also did not work in our favour. It did not work in our favour because we were playing against the two best teams in Africa. It was a bit challenging to see our progress, I think if there were other teams it would have been better than playing just two teams who are the best on the continent.

The only positive thing we got out of the tournament is that we managed to get a ranking, we are now the third best in Africa, in terms of indoor hockey,” head coach Thabatshe Mogorosi said. He said the BHA is working on forming a competitive league as he said the national teams need to have international friendly matches occasionally.

“As soon as the restrictions on sport are lifted, we want to focus on the local league to keep our athletes busy, we want to start this immediately. One of the things we want to do is play more friendly games with other countries, this is in a way, trying to gauge our level before competitive games.

Our chances of qualifying were very slim, if all other countries made it to the tournament we were looking at the margins to target the third or fourth spot, I was pretty sure that we would end in these positions looking at how we prepared, I wasn’t really expecting to reach number one or two,” Mogorosi said.

Mmegi Online

India women's hockey team at Olympics: A look back

India women's hockey team will be making their third Olympic appearance in Tokyo.

By Samrat Chakraborty

India women's hockey team are set to make their third appearance in the Olympics later this year at Tokyo. Incidentally, it will also be their second consecutive appearance, after they featured in Rio 2016.

The Rani Rampal-led side made a cut for Tokyo 2020 in dramatic fashion. They beat USA 5-1 in the first leg and later shrugged off a stiff challenge in the second leg to qualify on a 6-5 aggregate in 2019.

The ninth-ranked team returned to international competition in 2021, following the hiatus due to Covid-19 pandemic, with tours to Germany and Argentina. Though they could not win a game in both the tours, Indian women will be hoping to learn from the experience and put it to use at Tokyo.

Let us have a look at India women team's past performances at the Olympics.

Sushila Chanu in action for India women's hockey team Photo: Hockey India.


It was a breakthrough year for the India women's hockey team as they finished on the fourth spot in their maiden Olympic appearance in Moscow. It is also their best performance at the Olympics till date.

It must be noted that 1980 was when women's hockey was introduced into the Olympic roster.

The Indian eves, which had some star players in the Saini sisters, Lorraine Fernandes and Prem Maya Sonir, started the preliminary round robin stage on a positive note as they defeated Austria 2-0 and followed it up with 4-0 win over Poland 4-0.

A setback befell them in the third match as they lost to Czechoslovakia by a slender 1-2 margin. The Women in Blue then registered a 1-1 draw against Zimbabwe and finally lost 1-3 to Soviet Union to finish on the fourth spot.

Overall, India registered five points from five games, scored nine goals and conceded six. But they missed out on the bronze medal by a whisker with Soviet Union finishing just ahead with six points.


After a drought of over three decades, India women's hockey team qualified for Rio Olympics, after England made it to the final of the EuroHockey Championships in London, 2015.

India sealed the quota place for Rio Olympics on the basis of their fifth-place finish in the women's Hockey World League Semifinals in Antwerp, Belgium in 2015.

The Women in Blue, however, did not enjoy a long run at the Games as they were knocked out in the group stage. The Sushila Pukhrambam-led side started the campaign with a 2-2 draw against Japan. Current India eves captain Rani Rampal and Lilima Minz scored the goals for India.

They were later blanked 0-3 by Great Britain and thrashed 1-6 by Australia, where Anuradha Thokchom scored India's consolation.

The Indian eves continued their poor run as the United States would later outplay them 3-0 before Argentina made it worse for them with a 5-0 thrashing.

Olympic Channel

“I cannot wait” – Umpire Carolina de la Fuente set for fifth Olympic Games

Photo credit: Argentina Field Hockey

Following appearances at the Olympic Games of Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016, Argentina’s Carolina de la Fuente will bring the curtain down on a remarkable international umpiring career at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Carolina – who umpired the women’s final at Beijing 2008 and has numerous World Cup and Pan American competitions etched onto her dazzling CV – is one of only a handful of officials to have umpired over 200 internationals, earning her Golden Whistle on the occasion of her 100th international match way back in 2009.

As of 22 April, Carolina had umpired 204 senior international women’s matches as well as one men’s – the recent FIH Hockey Pro League clash between Argentina and India in Buenos Aires. She has also been in the video umpire hot seat on 17 occasions (although she openly admits that she prefers to be on the field of play), with 14 Under-21 international contests under her belt.

Carolina talks to FIH about her wonderful career, reflecting on some of the key moments and also how she is just as excited about Tokyo as she was for her Olympic debut at Athens.  

Carolina de la Fuente, thank you so much for talking to us. You are one of the world’s most experienced international umpires, having umpired well over international 200 games. You must be very proud of everything you have achieved in the game.

Carolina de la Fuente: “Well yes, I am. I am happy and I feel that I am where I want to be. I always tried to get here, so I feel very happy. My major dream was to always be a good example for the rest of the umpires, so it is not just about being in my fifth Olympic Games. It is to deserve it, so I feel happy [about that].”

As you mentioned, Tokyo 2020 is your fifth Olympic Games, following appearances at Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016. Are you as excited about Tokyo as you were for your first Games in Athens?

Carolina de la Fuente: “Yes. I think it has been a long journey, with different feelings, but I think because this will be my last, it is as exciting for me as the first one. In the first one, I felt like a VIP spectator, to be there with the best umpires in the world. Now, I think I will be a VIP spectator about myself, [reflecting on] when dreams come true. I am very excited – I cannot wait. I know that it will be a different [experience] because of the covid situation, but I am still very excited.”

Going back to that first Olympic Games in Athens, that must have been a very special experience for you. What are your memories from that one?

Carolina de la Fuente: “I remember the panel of umpires who shared that moment, like Chieko Soma [of Japan], who I shared a room with. It was a very special moment for her, because her dad had died recently. But I still have good memories of it. We lived in a special military centre, which was both funny and different – it was strange, but okay! The atmosphere, being in Athens where the Olympics started, was amazing too.”

You must have great memories from all of the Olympic Games that you have been involved in, but is it possible for you to name your favourite so far?

Carolina de la Fuente: “Well, yes! Beijing was my favourite. I think the atmosphere, the opening and closing ceremonies, and because of my personal moment – I did the final in Beijing – I think out of all of the tournaments it was my favourite.”

What is it like to umpire an Olympic final? That must have been very special.

Carolina de la Fuente: “Yes, it was. I didn’t expect and wasn’t working to be [in the final]. Sometimes it depends on you, but also the teams [that are playing in the final] and which are the best umpires to be on the field [for a particular match]. Sometimes you are good enough but there are a lot of [factors]. I prepared to be the best version of myself for that moment, which I think I [achieved]. It was so great to be in that final.”

Going back to the very start, can you tell us what or who inspired you to become an umpire?

Carolina de la Fuente: “I was never a very good hockey player, but I always wanted to be part of the game, to share [experiences] with my colleagues and feel like an athlete. When you are young you always umpire friendly matches, and the feedback from the players was good, saying ‘ah, Caro, you are good enough!’, so I said why not! There were some people at my club that pushed me, and told me that if I studied English, I could become an international umpire, and here I am!”

Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to any young umpires out there, what would it be?

Carolina de la Fuente: “Enjoy the trip! It is not all about umpiring finals. Recognise how you can be a good part of the team. Just do it and enjoy it.”

The hockey competitions at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will take place from Saturday 24 July to Friday 6 August 2021. Both the men’s and women’s competitions feature 12 teams, split into two pools of six ahead of quarter-finals, semi-finals and medal matches. For more information about the hockey competitions at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, visit https://tokyo2020.org/en/sports/hockey/.


FIH site

Chilean player told to leave the UK after visa confusion

By Rod Gilmour

A Chilean hockey player studying at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has been told to leave the UK and reapply for her visa in what has been deemed as an “extremely complex situation” following delays during lockdown.

Sofia Navarro has been studying since last September and had been waiting to complete her biometrics test and photo to finalise her Tier 4 Visa.

But UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) said that Navarro now has to leave the country by April 27 and reapply from Santiago, despite having paid all her university fees for 2021 in November.

Michael Gibney, Sofia’s stepfather, said that she was “confronting an extremely complex situation due to negligence from the International Student Services and UKVI.”

According to Gibney, an Englishman who has helped boost hockey in Chile, the NTU international student was informed two weeks ago by phone that her visa had been rejected before the end of the month.

It is claimed that emails had not arrived to her inbox and were wrongly titled “Sheffieldstudentteams” which were subsequently not opened.

Gibney has called on the authorities to allow his step daughter to complete her biometrics test in the UK.

A Nottingham Trent University spokesperson told The Hockey Paper: “This is a decision which has been taken by UKVI in line with its standard process. We are in contact with them and continuing to support Sofia with her case.”

A Home Office spokesperson told THP: “We aim to process all visa applications as quickly as possible. In this case, we sent the customer a reminder to enrol their biometrics, with the visa clearly referenced in the subject, and outlined what would happen if biometrics were not enrolled.

“We sent a further email reminder last month and still received no response, therefore the application was rejected.

“The sponsor has been in touch with UKVI regarding the circumstances and we will work with them on appropriate next steps for Ms Navarro.”

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The Hockey Paper

Sweetman stepping down from Scottish Hockey

After more than seven years as CEO with Scottish Hockey, David Sweetman is stepping down from his role to pursue other opportunities and we wish him every success for the future.

David leaves Scottish Hockey on Friday 23 April, and we will be looking to recruit a new CEO as soon as possible to allow them to be part of the strategic review process. We will release details of our recruitment for the CEO position in due course.

David said, “I am proud of the achievements of Scottish Hockey over the last seven years. We have seen membership grow by 90%; secured the investment for our Regional Development Managers; delivered more events and competitions than ever before; hosted sell out European tournaments; and seen our international teams and athletes excel.

“The Scottish Hockey team has done outstanding work to deliver new initiatives including Lead the Way; Club Pledge; the GB coaching framework; and Project Brave, helping to grow and strengthen hockey in Scotland. With Scottish Hockey due to start the strategic planning process for the next four years, I feel now is the right time to step down from Scottish Hockey to explore new opportunities.

“It has been an honour to work for Scottish Hockey, it is a fantastic organisation that is built around great people. I’d like to wish Scottish Hockey all the very best for the future.”

– Martin Shepherdson, Chair, Scottish Hockey

Scottish Hockey Union media release

David Sweetman leaves Scottish hockey

Scottish Hockey chief executive David Sweetman is quitting his role to “explore new opportunities” after seven years.

Sweetman leaves the post ahead of Scotland’s international summer, which sees the women’s side take part in the EuroHockey elite Championships, while the men attempt to regain their EuroHockey A Division status.

Sweetman said: “I am proud of the achievements of Scottish Hockey over the last seven years. We have seen membership grow by 90 per cent; secured the investment for our Regional Development Managers; delivered more events and competitions than ever before; hosted sell out European tournaments; and seen our international teams and athletes excel.

“The Scottish Hockey team has done outstanding work to deliver new initiatives including Lead the Way; Club Pledge; the GB coaching framework; and Project Brave, helping to grow and strengthen hockey in Scotland. With Scottish Hockey due to start the strategic planning process for the next four years, I feel now is the right time to step down from Scottish Hockey to explore new opportunities.

“It has been an honour to work for Scottish Hockey, it is a fantastic organisation that is built around great people. I’d like to wish Scottish Hockey all the very best for the future.”

Sweetman joined Scottish Hockey from drinks giant Diageo, while he is also a grade one FIH umpire.

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The Hockey Paper

Connecticut and Old Dominion advance to Big East Field Hockey Championship on Saturday

By Kevin Tierney

No. 1 seed Unversity of Connecticut and No. 3 seed Old Dominion advanced to the Big East Field Hockey Championship being played at the Proving Grounds in Conshohocken (Plymouth Township). The championship is hosted by Villanova University which has its home field at the Proving Grounds.

On Thursday, April 22nd, Connecticut defeated the No. 4 seed Temple University, 4-0, in the first semifinal. Old Dominion then upset the No. 2 seed Liberty University.
The University of Connecticut is making its 19th consecutive Big East Championship game and is looking to win its ninth straight title. Old Dominion returns to the title game for the third time. Old Dominion previously faced Connecticut in 2013 and 2019 falling each time.
The Big East Championship game will start at Noon on Saturday, April 24th. The field hockey championship is a non-ticketed event and a limited number of fans will be allowed. Fans in attendance must be masked and follow social distancing guidelines according to COVID-19 protocols.

More Than the Curve

Field Hockey Falls At Kent State

Photo: Keara Chaperon

KENT, Ohio – Central Michigan field hockey fell to Kent State, 8-2, on Friday in the opener of a two-game Mid-American Conference series at Kent State's Murphy-Mellis Field.
"They're a very good team, they really capitalized on their opportunities," CMU coach Catherine Ostoich said.
The Golden Flashes improved to 10-3; 8-3 MAC. CMU is 5-6, 3-5.
Going into the game, Ostoich said the Chippewas would have to make the most of their opportunities, defend well, and limit Kent State's penalty corners. The Golden Flashes finished with 15 corners, nine of which came in the first half.
Kent State led, 4-1, at halftime.
"I think we kind of struggled with that in the first half," Ostoich said. "I don't think we really started to get into a rhythm of the game until the second half."
The Chippewas managed three corners and scored off two of them.
Sophomore Alice O'Hagan scored both of the Chippewa goals, bringing her season total to a team-high five.
O'Hagan's first came 12 minutes into the game with assists from Caroline Beairsto and Anna Riesenberg. The second came with a minute to play in the third, assisted by Hannah Havrilla.
"Our corners have gotten a lot better," Ostoich said. "We've just got to give ourselves more opportunities like that tomorrow."
Kent State outshot Central, 32-5, with 22 shots on goal compared to CMU's three.
Central Michigan freshman goalkeeper Katie Maxim made a career-high 14 saves.
The Chippewas and Golden Flashes will square off on Saturday (5 p.m.). It is the Chippewas' season finale.
"We've got to be ready to go as soon as the game starts tomorrow," Ostoich said. "We've got to start that first quarter way better than we started today. Overall, we just have to keep fighting."

CMU Chippewas

FIH appoints Lumi to operate voting in virtual Presidential election

By Liam Morgan

The FIH Congress is due to be held virtually next month ©FIH

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has confirmed British company Lumi will operate the voting in the Presidential election at its remote Congress next month.

Lumi has been entrusted with running electronic votes for a host of International Federations during the coronavirus pandemic and it had been widely expected it would be selected by the FIH.

An independent notary from British firm Cheeswrights Scrivener Notaries LLP will chair and oversee the election process, the FIH said.

Incumbent President Narinder Batra is being challenged by Royal Belgian Hockey Association head Marc Coudron in the election, the main item on the agenda for the May 22 Congress.

The FIH was forced to abandon plans to stage the Congress as a hybrid event, with some attending in person and others remotely, because of growing concerns over the COVID-19 situation in India.

The Presidential election, where Narinder Batra is being challenged for his position by Belgium's Marc Coudron, is the main item on the agenda for the Congress ©Getty Images

The Congress is set to expel Indonesia as a member and replace it with a new National Association in the country.

"This is due to the non-fulfilment of their obligations by the current National Association," the FIH said when publishing the agenda for the Congress.

Congress members will also vote on accepting The Gambia, Saudi Arabia and Timor-Leste as full members and statute changes to extend its powers to cover virtual or esports activities and competitions in the sport.

The elective Congress had been scheduled for last year before it was postponed to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, extending Batra's term as President.

Hockey's worldwide governing body had hoped to hold the entire Congress, where four places on the Executive Board are also up for grabs, in person before changing its plans due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The full Congress agenda can be read here.

Inside the Games

Vale BG Joshi

By Ashley Morrison

BG Joshi and Ashley Morrison at the FIH Women’s World Cup 2018

There are some sports that have recorded their history with great pride and preserve those records meticulously. There are some clubs that do the same. Regrettably there are many more who haven’t.

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