All the news for Tuesday 25 May 2021
Briels after final win in FIH Pro League to boost team confidence
Thomas Briels is the captain of the Belgium Red Lions. He currently has an incredible 347 caps to his name, spanning a career that began in 2008. His next FIH Hockey Pro League match against the Netherlands will be the last competitive game before an intense period of activity that will see the world number one ranked team chasing EuroHockey and Olympic gold medals.
For the Belgium captain, it is also important that the team finishes on a winning note in the FIH Hockey Pro League, not just to boost the squad’s confidence for the coming weeks but also because he feels it is the result the team deserves after consistent performances throughout the entire competition.
After a break from international competition that goes back to February,Brielssays that the match is also important for the team’s preparations for an intense few weeks of competition.
“We don’t have a lot of games in preparation before the EuroHockey Championships and also it is good to have a peek at the opponents. The more games we can play the better. We are not used to this, we usually have a lot of time to train and prepare.”
The Belgium squad is brimful of experience. Many players have well over 250 caps andBrielssays that this experience has been essential as the team has dealt with the restrictions and changes to training that the pandemic has caused.
When it comes to the encounter with the Netherlands,Brielssays the game will have extra pressure as selection is also being made at this time.
“The most important thing is to play at the highest level possible. These games before a selection are strange and people do crazy things because they are stressed. But everyone will go full out. We want to finish on a good note with a win at home.”
Official FIH Pro League Site
Eva's back and looking forwards with eager anticipation
When the Netherlands line up for their final FIH Hockey Pro League match against Belgium there will be one player breathing an extra loud sigh of relief.
Evade Goede injured her arm earlier in the year and has been working hard to ensure that she is fit for selection for the world number one side as they approach their most important few weeks of the year. Just a few days after they troop off the field in Belgium, they will be lining up to play their opening match of the EuroHockey Championships – against Ireland.
“The arm is getting better,” says the Dutch midfielder. “I am training with the team. I am not back to full training but I am back with the girls again and running and using the stick again, so that is great.”
For all the members of the Netherlands team, this final match against Belgium is an important chance to play some competitive hockey at international level. The club scene has been busy in recent weeks but the Dutch haven’t played a FIH Hockey Pro League match since March.
“The most important thing is to play together again and play a game that matters,” says the Netherlands captain. “For the past few weeks we have not been together very much because we have been playing with our club teams in the play-offs. So we haven’t spent that much time together. The most important thing is to see where we are as a team.”
With two very big competitions ahead of the Netherlands this summer, there will be a lot of nerves as players wait to hear whether they have been selected for the EuroHockey Championships and the Olympic Games. As an athlete with three Olympic Games already to her name, de Goede has some wise words of wisdom for her teammates.
“The nerves will be there and everyone wants to show their best. But it is not just about this game. We have been telling the girls it is about your performance this whole year. One game will not change anything in that matter. The nerves can show different things with different players, but I say: ‘Just play and be you’. In her head Alyson [Annan] will already have her squad, so just do your best.”
The Netherlands are expecting a tough encounter with their European neighbours. “Belgium are a side that likes to attack and the counter attack is something they will want to use. So we will need to be ready to deal with that.”
When it comes to being prepared for the intense nature of tournament hockey, such as the EuroHockey Championships, de Goede says that the disruption caused by the pandemic will have had an effect upon the team. “It will be tough because you cannot be prepared for that, no matter how much you have trained. We will be fit because we have played a lot of club matches, but we haven’t done this as a national team for a long while. But, we have done it before and we will do it again.
“We are so excited to be together both for this Pro League match against Belgium, and then, of course, we really looking forward to playing in Amsterdam, in front of fans, which will be amazing.”
Belgium host the Netherlands on 30 May at the Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein-Antwerp.
Watch her full interview on Watch.Hockey
Official FIH Pro League Site
Home Nations hockey revived with ‘development series’
A home nations ‘development series’ will take place between Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales, with the tournament set to be given longevity if proved successful.
Home nations’ rising stars will compete in July’s GB&I Nations Hockey Development Series, for athletes of both genders who missed out on European junior age grade competition over the last two years.
It follows the decision by all the home nations to withdraw from the 2021 EuroHockey Under-18 Championships.
The competition will run over three double header weekends, starting on July 10 and 11, with matches taking place in Lilleshall and in Ireland.
Hockey Ireland performance director Adam Grainger said: “This development series, combined with ongoing programme activity for the U23 girls and the soon to be communicated U21 boys programme, will create windows of opportunity for players to showcase their potential.
“International Junior Age Grade player development is of paramount importance for Hockey Ireland as we transition between Olympic cycles, and the decision to withdraw from the EuroHockey Under-18 Championships has therefore not been easy.”
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The Hockey Paper
Tenaga 'adopt' a fifth team
By Jugjet Singh
Tenaga development coach Nor Saiful Zaini. - NSTP File Pix
Tenaga Nasional have endorsed the Malaysian Hockey Confederation's (MHC) proposal to organise the Junior Hockey League (JHL) in December.
Tenaga are excited with the prospect as they have taken a fifth team under their wings.
Although the JHL was postponed last season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Tenaga still adopted SM Kuala Selangor, which have an artificial pitch.
"Tenaga support the plan by the MHC to hold the JHL in December. The pandemic should be under control by then.
"However, permission from the Education Ministry is paramount in making sure the JHL is hosted this year," said Tenaga development coach Nor Saiful Zaini.
The other four teams under Tenaga are Bukit Jalil Sports School, Ipoh Anderson, Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) and Temerloh Sports School.
SSTMI were the double champions when JHL was last held in 2019.
On Sunday, MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal said they were looking at hosting the JHL in December using the bubble concept, depending on the Covid-19 situation.
"We have a rough idea of SM Kuala Selangor players' quality. It is a long-term project.
"I believe it will take at least three years in the JHL for the school to establish themselves as a top challenger," Nor Saiful added.
New Straits Times
‘I wish he was still around for his only passion – hockey, and its fans’
Eldest daughter of triple Olympic gold medal winner and former Indian hockey captain, Padma Shri Balbir Singh Senior, remembers her father on his first death anniversary, May 25
By Sushbir Bhomia
Balbir Singh Senior and daughter Sushbir Bhomia.
As somebody whose association was the longest with my father, Sardar Balbir Singh Dosanjh, after that of my mother, I still cannot believe that he is no longer with us. I feel his presence in every corner of our home and in our lives in every moment that goes by. Everybody says time is the best healer, but somewhere deep inside my heart, I wish he was still around for his only passion – hockey, and its fans.
I was born four months after the Indian hockey team won the historic gold medal in 1948 London Olympics and my father called me the ‘Olympics’ baby.
As he returned after the London Olympics triumph, he would often tell my mother, Sushil Kaur, that winning the Olympic gold medal was his biggest joy and being father to a daughter was his second biggest joy. He named me with letters from my mother’s name and his own. I grew up watching him practice at the goal post made at our home in Jalandhar Cantt. I and my younger brother learnt playing hockey at the same goalpost. We would also watch him play in some tournaments. Watching us in the audience brought him a lot of joy. I played hockey at the university level and got the Panjab University colour later, which he was very proud of. He would often tell my mother that she is his lucky mascot as he won all the three Olympic medals after their marriage.
One of the many things that he taught us by example was to respect every religion and every human being.
During the 1975 World Cup Indian hockey team training camp and then the World Cup, he would tell all the players to keep their respective idols or religious books on one table and pray together. For him, it was Team India despite the different religions it represented, and that’s what he lived for all his life. While he was in England during the training camp, my grandfather was admitted in a hospital. One week later, my grandfather died and later my mother also suffered brain haemorrhage. But country came first for my father. He conducted all the religious ceremonies for his father post the Indian team’s win and after his return to India.
During the last one year of his life, I would watch all international matches live on TV with him, sometimes during the night, and he would tell me when the Indian team wins the Olympic gold, he would do bhangra with them. Watching players across any sport discipline made him happy.
He was a big believer of karma and never chased the fruit of his hard work. He would say that both Lord Krishna and Guru Nanak Dev taught that one should work and not worry about the results. But I disagree with him. Having won three Olympic gold medals and being the chief coach of World Cup winning Indian team, he deserved Bharat Ratna. We would have long discussions on this issue, but his only reply would be that it is all God’s will.
We wish his legacy is preserved and the Indian government is able to trace the missing memorabilia of my father, including his 1956 Melbourne Olympics blazer, and a museum is built so that future generations can be inspired. On Tuesday, Punjab government will rename the Mohali Hockey Stadium after my father and I will be praying from home for the departed soul.
Few years ago, a young child portrayed the role of young Balbir Singh Senior in a documentary. Years later, the same child came with his father to meet my father and told him that he has been selected in the state’s junior team and it was due to my father that he got inspired and play hockey. That’s what Balbir Singh Dosanjh’s true legacy is and I am sure whenever the Indian hockey team will win an Olympics gold, he will be watching with joy from the heavens above.
(As told to Nitin Sharma)
FIH strikes deal with Gold Town Games to launch hockey manager game
By Geoff Berkeley
The International Hockey Federation has agreed a five-year partnership with Gold Town Games ©Getty Images
A new hockey management game is set to be launched after the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced a five-year partnership with Swedish company Gold Town Games (GTG).
GTG is to develop the game, which will be available on mobile and is expected to be released before the end of 2021 for Android and iPhone users.
The game will be free to download.
GTG already has manager games in ice hockey and football and is due to be releasing an American football version later this year.
"It is an honour for us at Gold Town Games to be able to produce the world’s first mobile hockey manager game," said GTG chief executive Pär Hultgren.
"It will be a challenge but also lots of fun and hopefully we can please the fans.
"The game of hockey has old, strong roots and it’s going to be exciting to develop and publish a game to its broad and growing global fan base."
According to the FIH, the game will allow users to create their own club, draft a team of players and build up their stadium, academy and training facilities.
FIH chief executive Thierry Weil believes the new hockey manager game will "add significant promotion" to the sport ©Getty Images
They will also be able to join a league with friends to challenge others and compete for tournament prizes, the FIH said.
The FIH’s partnership with GTG comes as electronic games were added to the organisation’s statutes at its recent Congress, expanding the FIH's oversite.
"As an International Federation, entering the gaming world is a must nowadays, frankly," said FIH chief executive Thierry Weil.
"We’re glad to be partnering with GTG to help us doing this with a high-quality product.
"The hockey manager game will add significant promotion to our sport by bringing it to the attention of the huge gaming community around the world.
"From there, I do believe that a number of gamers will become hockey fans as well, and possibly even hockey athletes.
"That would be a really great outcome.
"Furthermore, with this new initiative, we’re also providing hockey lovers with a game they’ve been waiting for since a long time."
Inside the Games