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News for 14 August 2021

All the news for Saturday 14 August 2021

Mark Hager Resigns As Women's Head Coach

England and Great Britain Hockey have accepted the resignation of women’s Head Coach Mark Hager.

Hager, 57, has been away from his family in Australia and New Zealand since moving to Britain in January 2019. Having committed to and led the women’s programme over the past two-and-a-half years, this decision will enable him to move back to the Southern Hemisphere and re-unite with his wife, children and grandchildren.

He leaves after leading the British women’s team to a third successive Olympic medal as they secured bronze in Tokyo. This was the latest achievement in Mark’s successful career as both a coach and player. The second highest goal scorer in Australian history, he won Olympic and World Cup bronze medals playing for the nation and also captained his country. Having been assistant coach as Australia’s men won Olympic bronze in 2008, he was then head coach of New Zealand’s women for a decade, winning a memorable Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2018.

Mark said: “I have thought long and hard over the last few months, and especially since returning from Tokyo, but I feel the time has come to return home to family and learn to become a husband, father and grandfather all over again.

“My time with Great Britain and England Hockey has been enjoyable and one I will cherish always because the support from everyone involved within the programme has made the last few years so memorable. I leave with much pride in what has been achieved by the teams and know that the future is bright in what is a world class programme.

Mark Hager's last game in charge of Great Britain saw them win bronze at Tokyo 2020. Credit: Team GB/Garry Bowden

“To the players I have had the privilege to coach, as well as the staff involved within our programme over the last two-and-a-half years, a big thank you for making me feel so welcome. You have all made this chapter in my life very enjoyable. I will always have a special place in my heart for Great Britain and England Hockey and am so appreciative to have been given the opportunity to lead such a well run programme on and off the field.

“I wish great future success for the programme as the next chapter evolves and look forward to maintaining a connection with all the great people I have been fortunate enough to meet during my time here. Once again, thank you.”

Great Britain Hockey’s Performance Director Ed Barney commented: “I would like to thank Mark for all his efforts and contribution in the last two-and-a-half years. I fondly recall the recruitment process and many conversations with Mark during the men’s World Cup in 2018. Mark has made an almost incomprehensible sacrifice to join us in Great Britain and we are hugely appreciative of that.  

“Obviously, we had no concept of the pandemic and the added challenges, pressures and restrictions this would bring. On behalf of England and Great Britain, I’d like to offer our sincere thanks to Mark, his wife Michelle and his family. I know the squad and staff will thoroughly look forward to catching up with the Hager family when playing in the Southern Hemisphere.  

“I’m sure Mark will continue to be a presence in the hockey world, whilst perhaps balancing this with the jubilation of watching his grandchildren set the rugby field alight and getting back out on the fishing boat.

    I will always have a special place in my heart for Great Britain and England Hockey and am so appreciative to have been given the opportunity to lead such a well run programme

Mark Hager

“With the FIH Hockey Pro League, Commonwealth Games and women’s World Cup all taking place in 2022, it is a very exciting time for the next head coach to come in and help mould a talented group of players. Although Tokyo has only just been and gone, the squad’s desire to reset, push hard and kick on for Paris and Los Angeles is shining through. The recruitment process will begin imminently and I am sure we will have a world class pool of candidates.”

Captain Hollie Pearne-Webb said: “On behalf of the women’s squad I would like to say thank you to Mark and very best wishes for the future. When Mark told me the news over lunch this week I was extremely sad but I also know how much he has missed his family over the past 15 months and I can’t imagine how difficult that has been. We have all made sacrifices but what Mark has experienced has been above and beyond what most of us could cope with, and I’m so glad we could win the bronze medal in what will now be his final game as Head Coach.  

 “Of course, hockey is in his blood and I’ve no doubt we’ll be seeing him again soon enough somewhere on the other side of the world! I have thoroughly enjoyed his company in the past two-and-a-half years and hope he enjoys whatever comes next for him, Michelle and his family.”

Great Britain Hockey media release

Mark Hager: England and GB women's hockey head coach resigns

Mark Hager led GB and England teams through two Hockey Pro League campaigns, two EuroHockey Championships and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

England and Great Britain women's hockey head coach Mark Hager has resigned, one week after claiming bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Hager was appointed in 2019 after almost 10 years in charge of New Zealand, with whom he won Commonwealth Games gold in 2018.

His final match saw him lead Team GB to a third successive Olympic medal with a thrilling 4-3 victory against India.

Hager, 57, will return to his family in New Zealand and Australia.

"I have thought long and hard over the last few months, and especially since returning from Tokyo, but I feel the time has come to return home to family and learn to become a husband, father and grandfather all over again," said Australian Hager.

"My time with Great Britain and England Hockey has been enjoyable and one I will cherish always because the support from everyone involved within the programme has made the last few years so memorable.

"I leave with much pride in what has been achieved by the teams and know that the future is bright in what is a world-class programme."

BBC Sport

What we learned: Hockey wrap-up from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

From Belgium's first title to the Dutch women regaining their crown, we reflect on hockey's most memorable moments at Tokyo 2020, recap the medals, and look forward to Paris 2024.

Sikhs impact at Tokyo Olympic Games – 1964 and 2020

by Dil Bahra

Sikhs Players

Twenty two Sikhs representing Hong Kong; India; Kenya and Malaysia played at Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games.

Hong Kong’s squad included three Sikhs, namely Harnam Singh Grewal; Kuldip Singh and Sarinder Singh Dillon.

India’s Gold Medal winning squad at Tokyo 1964 included eight Sikhs, namely:  Prithipal Singh; Dharam Singh; Gurbux Singh; Joginder Singh; Harbinder Singh; Darshan Singh; Jagjit Singh and Udham Singh. India’s coach was a Sikh, Dharam Singh Sr.

Kenya’s team, led by a Sikh, Avtar Singh Sohal included six Sikhs, namely Amar Singh Mangat; Avtar Singh Sohal (Capt); Kirpal Singh Bhardwaj; Santokh Singh Matharu; Surjeet Singh Panesar; Tejparkash Singh Brar. Kenya’s coach was a Sikh, Hardial Singh Kular.

Malaysia’s team included three Sikhs, namely Kartar Singh Chandra; Ranjit Singh Gurdit and Tara Singh Sindhu.

Gursewak Singh of India was on the Umpires panel at Tokyo 1964.

It is interesting to note that the International Hockey Federation asked Tanganyika to fill the place in Pool A at Tokyo 1964 that was vacated by United Arab Republic. Tanganyika had selected a team, which included five Sikh players – Jaswant Singh Sandhu; Rabinder Singh Gill; Tarlochan Singh Lall; Tarlochan Singh Sandhu and Sem Singh Bhachu. Tanganyika Olympic Association, however, withdrew the hockey team due to lack of funds. This place was then allocated to Indonesia.

The Indonesian hockey team had three Sikh players in their squad. The Indonesian Squad was in Tokyo but withdrew shortly before the Games began (The international federations for athletics (IAAF) and swimming (FINA) refused to allow athletes that competed in the unsanctioned 1963 Games of the Newly Emerging Forces (GANEFO). This resulted in the full withdrawal of the Indonesian (and North Korean) Olympic team).

At Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games there were thirteen Sikhs representing Canada and India.

Canada Men’s team had one Sikh player, namely Sukhpal Singh Panesar.

India Men’s team, led by a Sikh, Manpreet Singh included nine Sikhs, namely Dilpreet Singh; Rupinder Pal Singh; Manpreet Singh (capt); Hardik Singh; Gurjant Singh;  Simranjeet Singh; Mandeep Singh;  Harmanpreet Singh and Shamsher Singh.

India’s Women team had three Sikh players – Gurjit Kaur; Navjot Kaur and Navneet Kaur.

Sikh Goal Scorers

At Tokyo 1964, Sikhs scored a total of 29 goals.

India’s Prithipal Singh, was the top goal-scorer at the hockey tournament with ten goals. Sikhs scored 17 of India’s 22 goals. Harbinder Singh scoring five and Darshan Singh scoring two to add to Prithipal’s ten.

Six of Kenya’s ten goals were scored by Sikhs – Avtar Singh Sohal and Amar Singh Mangat with three goals each.

Kuldip Singh Gosal scored for Hong Kong against Canada in 1964 and in 1976 he represented Canada at Montreal Olympics.

At Tokyo 2020, Sikhs scored a total of 27 goals.

In the Men’s tournament, Sikhs scored 22 of India’s 25 goals. Harmanpreet Singh, India’s drag-flicking expert was the top Indian goal-scorer with 6 goals. Rupinder Pal Singh scored 4; Simranjeet Singh and Gurjant Singh scoring 3 goals each; Dilpreet Singh and Hardik scoring 2 goals each and Mandeep Singh and Shamsher Singh with a goal each.

In the Women’s tournament, Sikh scored five of India’s 12 goals. Gurjit Kaur scored four goals and Navneet Kaur one goal.
Sikhs in Hockey

Green Machine excited to make competitive return in Poland

Irish coach Mark Tumilty. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Twenty-two months on, Irish men’s head coach Mark Tumilty is excited to finally hit the turf on Sunday night with a first capped fixture since November 2019.

The Green Machine face hosts Poland at 7pm (Irish time) on day one of the EuroHockey Championship II in Gniezno with a new look panel with six players set to make their debut.

Among them is Kevin O’Dea who was called into the main panel earlier this week with Jonny Lynch having to step out at short notice. It means the Cork man – who completed his Leaving Cert earlier this summer – will become the first Munster player to make his debut since Julian Dale in 2016.

He is joined in the line-up by fellow uncapped players James Milliken, Kyle Marshall, Ben Nelson, Ian Stewart and Mark McNellis and coach Tumilty is excited to see how they will front up.

“With Covid, it has been a strange 16 to 18 months but very enjoyable and that’s down to the players,” he said.

“To get guys capped, to get guys into competitive international hockey is why we have trained and worked so hard. It’s been a long time coming around and obviously we have got the first chance to get out there since those Canada games. I’d like to get that out the road and move on!”

This summer, Ireland have won two uncapped series against Scotland and also have beaten a Great Britain development panel four times, most recently 3-0, 5-3 and 5-2 last weekend at Comber Road.

Now, formalities begin in earnest. The first target at this event is a top five finish from the eight-team competition which would bring a spot at October’s World Cup qualifiers. A strong performance will also boost world ranking points and offer better draw for those qualifiers and next summer’s European Championship qualifiers.

Kevin O’Dea in action against the GB Elite Development squad. Picture: Adrian Boehm

But, while Ireland are the highest ranked side in Poland at 14th in the world, that status is likely to count for little with very few of the contenders in Poland playing many games in the Covid-19 environment.

“Even from our own performances, we don’t have a lot of video so it is hard to evaluate our own level. Younger players coming into these tournaments, some will excel, some may struggle but we accept that and it is all part of what this group has to go through.

“Poland will be in the same bracket, Scotland have new faces… in general, all the teams have different faces and not many will have played many games in the last two years.”

After the Polish game, Ireland will meet Italy and then Croatia, the latter being the first ever meeting between the sides. Austria, Scotland, Switzerland and Ukraine await in the classification matches.

“We have been lucky enough to get some footage of the Polish games. 8pm, Sunday night, no doubt it will be a difficult opening game. I’ve coached against their club sides before and they always have good basics. Italy is a bit of an unknown; they had a very good World League out in Malaysia, beating China and unfortunate to go out against Canada. Croatia are an unknown.

“Most of all, I would be encouraging us to play. We need to go away from the belief simply in hard work and defence. For me, that should be a given. I would like us to play more through the midfield, a shape to allow us to express ourselves and play a more attacking style.

“That’s how I like to play and hopefully people have seen that in teams I have been involved with before. It will take time to get it fully embedded but hopefully we see it over the longer term.

“My goal is for us to consistently try and qualify for the larger tournaments and this is a small step on that road. The objective is to finish in the top five and stay in the World Cup qualification process but there are other goals in relation to our ranking for those qualifiers and also for next summer’s Euro qualifiers. To me, the focus is on the process. If we can do that, we should be grand.”

Ireland squad for EuroHockey Championship II, August 15-21; Gniezno, Poland
Jamie Carr (GK, KHC Leuven, 36)
James Milliken (GK, Lisnagarvey, 0)
Lee Cole (Monkstown, 89)
Kyle Marshall (Old Georgians, 0)
Tim Cross (Annadale, 8)
Mark McNellis (Lisnagarvey, 0)
Peter McKibbin (Lisnagarvey, 1)
Luke Madeley (KHC Leuven, 21)
Sean Murray (captain, KHC Leuven, 78)
Shane O’Donoghue (Glenanne, 190)
Michael Robson (Annadale, 113)
Kevin O’Dea (Cork C of I, 0)
Daragh Walsh (Three Rock Rovers, 51)
Jeremy Duncan (Monkstown, 56)
Ben Walker (Three Rock Rovers, 35)
Ben Nelson (Lisnagarvey, 0)
Ian Stewart (Corinthian, 0)
Johnny McKee (Banbridge, 43)
Travelling reserves: Neal Glassey (Crefelder HTC, 61), Sam Hyland (YMCA, 0)

** All of Ireland’s EuroHockey Championship II games will be live streamed on www.eurohockeytv.org

Irish Hockey Association media release

Pan Am Junior Champs provide springboard to stardom

The men’s and women’s Junior Pan American Championships will be bursting into life on 21 August as seven men’s and six women’s teams contest the title and qualification for the Junior World Cups, which take place in India (men) and South Africa (women) at the end of 2021.

These two events are always hotly contested and have provided a launch pad for many stars of the senior international scene.

In the final of 2012, a 20-year-old Gonzalo Peillat caught the eye when he calmly despatched a drag flick past Kevin Pereira in the Canada goal to bring the scores level, before his Argentinian team went onto win 3-2. Peillat was top scorer and Player of the Tournament - and eight years later he was top goal scorer again on the biggest stage as his penalty corner goals helped his side win the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

At the same 2012 Junior Pan American Championships, while their role models Carla Rebecchi, Luciana Aymar and Delfina Merino were winning silver at the 2012 London Olympic Games, sisters Florencia and Agustina Habif, along with Agustina Albertarrio were helping guide Argentina to complete a double victory against Canada. Those same stars have all become major players for the Argentina senior team, with Albertarrio winning silver at the recent Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Competing in the men’s competition in Santiago, Chile, will be Argentina, USA and Trinidad and Tobago in Pool A, with Pool B comprising teams from Brazil, Canada, Chile and Mexico.

Argentina, who are coached by Olympic gold medallist from 2016, Lucas Rey, are ranked at number one for the event. Their strongest challenge is likely to come from Canada and Chile, ranked two and three respectively, although USA indoor and outdoor national team player Pat Harris will be using all his experience as Head Coach to the USA team.

The women’s competition sees Argentina, Canada and Uruguay competing in Pool A, with Chile, Trinidad and Tobago and USA vying for the honours in Pool B.

Like the men’s team, Argentina are ranked number one but in USA and Chile in particular, they face tough competition for top spot. On player who already has a wealth of knowledge about playing top level hockey is Valentina Raposo, who was a star of the Argentina senior team at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.   

History is on the side of Argentina in both the men’s and women’s competitions. The men have not been beaten to the title since the competition began in 1978. Canada and Chile have both finished second on four occasions, with Cuba the other team to appear in the final in 1996 and 1988.

Argentina women have been beaten just once, in 2008. On that occasion USA won gold, beating Chile in the final. Argentina overcame the challenge of Mexico to win the bronze medal.

The Leonas’ most recent victory in 2016 saw the team win 6-0 against USA. Player of the tournament and top goal scorer was Maria Granatto, who was voted FIH Rising Star in 2016 and 2017. Of the victorious Argentina team on that occasion, seven players, including Granatto, recently represented Argentina as they won silver at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Previous Pan American Junior Championships provide a roll-call of honour for international stars and each edition is a spring board for stars of the future. The competition gets underway with a tantalising meet between Argentina and Trinidad and Tobago in the men’s event, while the curtain raiser for the women’s event is a battle between the South American neighbours, Argentina and Uruguay.


FIH site

Virus opens JWC door for Malaysia

By K. Rajan

Thanks to Covid-19, Malaysia don’t have to fight to qualify for hockey’s Junior World Cup (JWC) in India from Nov 24-Dec 5. - NSTP file pic

THANKS to Covid-19, Malaysia don't have to fight to qualify for hockey's Junior World Cup (JWC) in India from Nov 24-Dec 5.

This came after the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) decided to cancel the Junior Asia Cup — men and women in Japan and Bangladesh which would have acted as qualifiers — due to Covid travel restrictions.

Following the cancellations, AHF designed a quota system, which allows Malaysia, as the third ranked men team, to qualify.

Top-ranked India have qualified, along with second-placed Pakistan and fourth-ranked South Korea.

The Malaysian women are the second reserve team behind South Korea.

The top three ranked sides: China, India and Japan have booked their berths in the women's JWC.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) hope to get the green light early from the authorities to start their national junior team training camp.

With barely four months to go before the JWC, the team need to start preparing fast, and a training tour of Europe especially in Belgium, the Olympic champions, would be ideal.

National Junior team manager I. Vikneswaran said MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal has been in discussion with the National Sports Council (NSC) on the matter.

"We understand that Covid-19 is making things difficult, but we must get the team to start training.

"|We are willing to train in any way, including doing camp-based centralised training where we will be under a bubble.

"Southeast Asia is under lockdown, so it's tough to get teams to come over for test matches.

"We are thinking of tours in either Australia or Europe because of the quality of the opponents and because they have opened up their countries."

New Straits Times

Under-21 women’s series raises curtain on new season

This weekend and next will see a series of high quality challenge matches with a focus on development leading into the Irish Under-21/Junior Green Army selection.

It started on Friday with a training game between Munster and Leinster and continues with Connacht facing Munster at Rosbrien at 3pm.

Sunday sees Connacht take on Leinster at Athlone before the focus switches to Abbotstown with Leinster meeting Connacht next Friday (4pm) and Munster the day after (2pm).

The series is primarily focused on bringing on the Under-20 age group who have moved out of the Under-19/18 age group and will give those players a chance to develop and be considered for selection into the national Under-21 programme.

The competition is not a formal interpros and scores will not be recorded into the record books. Ulster have opted to not take part this season with a selection from the province taking part in a UK schools event scheduled for early September.

A women’s Under-20 interprovincial competition is scheduled to be played during the season with matches in October, November, December and January.

Under-21 challenge series – schedule
Friday, August 13: Munster v Leinster, 6pm, Garryduff – training game
Saturday, August 14: Connacht v Munster, 3pm, Rosbrien – Irish U-21 selection match
Sunday, August 15: Connacht v Leinster, Athlone – training game
Friday, August 20: Leinster v Connacht, 4pm, Abbotstown – Irish U-21 selection match
Saturday, August 21: Munster v Leinster, 2pm, Abbotstown – Irish U-21 selection match

Irish Hockey Association media release

2020 Hall of Fame Inductee: Moira Colbourne

Coulbourne; a true builder of the sport, has wide-reaching community impact

In the builder category for this year’s hall of fame, field hockey Canada honours a pioneer for women’s involvement in the sport. Moira Colbourne has led many teams and initiatives and helped expand the game of field hockey across the country

Colbourne grew up in British Colombia, as part of a sports family. Her biggest influence within the family was her eldest sister, Pat, who excelled at field hockey. Moira followed in her sisters’ footsteps as she would go on to play field hockey through many of her school years.  

During her playing career, Colbourne most notably won a gold medal at the 1969 Canada Summer games as team captain of BC’s field hockey team. She also won field hockey’s highest individual honour in 1968 when she was awarded the Watson trophy. Moira credits her playing success to working very hard and respecting the game regardless of the outcome.

“I’ve always worked hard, and I’m not a poor loser,” said Colbourne. “You don’t win all the games and that’s all right with me, I just love playing.”

While playing, she also played a huge role in starting up Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) field hockey program back in 1966. This new role gave Colbourne a platform to grow the game at the grassroots level.  

“When I got hired at SFU, I could then go into the elementary schools and show them my credentials to introduce younger girls to the sport,” said Colbourne. “I don’t know if I would’ve gotten into the schools if I hadn’t been a coach at SFU.”

Moira ended up coaching SFU for almost thirty years. She played a huge role in establishing a big field hockey presence in Burnaby with her continuous involvement in the community. She also helped lead the creation of artificial turf fields as Commissioner on the Burnaby Parks and Recreation board. She was also inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 1985

Congratulations to Moira Colbourne on being inducted into the Field Hockey Canada Hall of Fame.

Field Hockey Canada media release

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