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News for 13 May 2018

All the news for Sunday 13 May 2018

Siti to lead women’s hockey team in Donghae

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Siti Noor Amarina Ruhani is the pillar of the Malaysian women’s hockey team.

The 31-year-old from Penang, who has represented Malaysia for the last 13 years, will marshal the defence and also deliver goals from penalty corners in the Asian Champions Trophy, which begins today at the Sunrise Stadium in Donghae, South Korea.

Five teams will feature in the tournament and Malaysia – ranked world No. 22 – will open their campaign against the Koreans today.

In the last Asian Champions Trophy in Singapore in 2016, Malaysia also faced the Koreans in the opening match and were beaten 5-2.

Siti, who has been the captain of the Malaysian team since 2014, said that they are ready to take on the speedy Korean team.

“The Koreans are ranked ninth in the world and they play a fast attacking game and we have to be on our toes throughout the match.

“The Koreans are also using the tournament to prepare for next month’s World Cup in London,” said Siti, who has represented Malaysia 187 times.

“We’ve never beaten them in the tournament. The challenge for us is to defend well and also score goals against them.

“In the last Asian Champions Trophy in Singapore two years ago, we upset Japan 2-0 in the round-robin match.

“And I want my teammates to rise to the occasion and get the better of them,” said Siti, who scored a goal against Japan in the 2016 tournament in Singapore.

In the last tournament, Malaysia finished fifth and last with one win over Japan.

Siti, who is featuring in her third Asian Champions Trophy, said their mission in Korea is to finish in the top four.

“Although we’re the lowest ranked team in the tournament, we must give our best in every match,” said Siti.

The Star of Malaysia

Incredible play-off drama as Grand Finals spots confirmed

Men’s Scottish Cup Final – Edinburgh University v Grange – photo by Duncan Gray

After today`s play-offs Scotland`s representatives in Europe next season are already decided, Grange and Grove Menzieshill have progressed in the men`s event while Edinburgh University and Milne Craig Clydesdale Western will represent the women – all that now needs to be decided at the Grand Finals is which side will be number one.

Bromac Kelburne`s lengthy era of domestic dominance came to a final end when they went down 5-3 to Grove Menzieshill in today`s play-off. The Taysiders were well worth their victory as they controlled most of the contest at Glasgow Green.

A fortuitous deflection and composed finish by Cameron Golden was Grove Menzieshill`s opener. Normal service seemed to have been restored when Johnny Christie picked his spot for the equaliser.

But the Dundonians were not to be denied their moment in the sun, at the top of the circle Olly James turned and slammed a fierce shot low into the corner of the Kelburne net. Then just on the interval a stick chop resulted in a penalty and Grove Menzieshill`s Albert Rowling converted from the spot for a 3-1 lead.

Grove Menzieshill now had their tails up and Paul Martin added a fourth when he slipped the ball over the keeper after latching on to a rebound. The contest was well and truly over with another James goal, this time the Grove Menzieshill striker flicked the ball into the roof of the net.

In the final 15 minutes Kelburne finally started to press and set piece expert Josh Cairns pulled two back, but it proved far too little too late for the Paisley outfit.

Grove Menzieshill will play champions Grange in the Grand Finals, the Edinburgh side were 3-2 winners over Western Wildcats in the other semi-final. It was 1-1 at half-time. Andrew McConnell`s opener for Wildcats was cancelled out by Grange`s Cammie Fraser. Hamish Gault put Wildcats ahead 2-1 before Callum MacKenzie restored parity as time was running out. Grange went ahead for the first time in the match with just two minutes remaining when Callum Milne converted from the spot.

The men’s relegation play-offs have left Dundee Wanderers to face Uddingston to avoid the drop to division two. The Taysiders were involved in a ding-dong battle with Watsonians from the second division, but finally fell after the Edinburgh side triumphed 4-3 in the penalty shoot-out.

Bobby Ralph put Wanderers ahead in only 6 minutes only for Harry Connolly to level for Watsonians by the interval.  Again the Taysiders took the lead but with eight minutes left Andrew Fraser tied the score at 2-2 at the end of normal time.  Watsonians` promotion to the top flight for next season was finally secured when Jamie Cochrane scored the winning penalty in the shoot-out.

A Callum Duke inspired Hillhead sealed their top flight status with a comfortable 5-1 win over Uddingston. Ewen Campbell scored the opener, Duke bagged a hat-trick and Fraser Ward finished off the scoring.

In the women`s play-offs Watsonians did extremely well to make the top four for the first time, but were beaten 5-1 in their European semi-final against champions Edinburgh University.

The students were two up at the interval through Amy Brodie and Sophie Maunder.

Watsonians pulled one back but further strikes by Brodie again, Ellie Halliday and Becky Merchant secured the victory.

Scottish Hockey Women’s play-off match – Clydesdale Western v Grove Menzieshill – photo by Duncan Gray

Clydesdale Western made the final of the women`s European qualifier with a 3-1 win over Grove Menzieshill at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre. Georgia Smith put the Taysiders ahead but by the interval Western were 2-1 in front with strikes from Heather Howie and Susie Gillman. The result was sealed with a third goal from Lexi Sabatelli.

GHK and Hillhead will play top flight hockey next season with 1-0 and 2-1 victories over Inverleith and Grange respectively. Katie Allison bagged GHK’s goal after a Fiona Cafolla cross from a short corner. It was a lively contest that attracted a huge support. Hillhead took a two-goal lead and battled hard to hold on for the victory on home soil.

That leaves the Edinburgh sides to come to Glasgow Green for the Grand Finals tomorrow with the loser relegated to National League 2.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Wits thump Kovsies to return to winning ways

By Sifiso Nyawo

LouFrans Esterhuizen (GK) of Kovsies during the varsity hockey at Tuks Hockey field Pretoria Photo by: Catherine Kotze/SASPA

The second day of Varsity Hockey’s Tuks leg, saw Wits and Kovsies get things underway, with Wits picking up a significant 12-4 win in the race for semi-final positions.

The first quarter of the game was a well contested 15 minutes of hockey, with neither side able to get on the scoreboard. Wits did, however, look dangerous when they went forward but Kovsies always managed to clear their lines. The second quarter on the other hand was a little different, with the dominant Wits scoring just 6 minutes into the quarter, through Rusten Abrahams.

Abrahams registered his brace just 6 minutes later to make it 4-0. That is how the score remained until the break, but Kovsies did have a few opportunities to cut the deficit but the Wits defence was up for the challenge.

The third quarter was one that saw Wits continue to dominate the bulk of the possession, often switching play at fast pace, leaving the Kovsies defence in sixes and sevens. The Witsies did eventually add to their lead, 8 minutes in, when Bryce Cressy strolled past a few defenders to give Wits a 6-0 lead. Kovsies hit back 2 minutes later thanks to a great finish from Willie Kruger to take the score to 6-2.

This seemed to motivate the men from the Free State as they added more pressure to the Wits defence. The added pressure proved worth it 7 minutes later, with Egon Van der Merwe getting another for Kovsies to make it 6-4. Kovsies, however, were hampered by losing three players due to a Power Play and a card.

Wits used this to their advantage, adding a further three field goals to finish the match 12-4. In the end, Rusten Abrahams managed to get his hatrick, with Kingsley Botes and Chad Futcher adding the last two goals. Both teams did also fail to convert penalties flicks, with Wits missing theirs, while Kovsies had theirs saved by Duncan Fischer.

Wits: 12
Goals: Rusten Abrahams (3), Bryce Cressy, Kingsley Botes, Chad Futcher

Kovsies: 4
Goals: Willie Kruger, Egon Van der Merwe

* Field Goals count 2 in the Varsity Sports Hockey competition

FNB Player of the Match: Chad Futcher (Wits)
Mugg & Bean Star Player: Duncan Fischer (Wits)
Samsung Super Striker: Rusten Abrahams (Wits)

Wits: 1. Duncan Fischer (GK), 4. Cody van Wyk, 6. Brandon James, 7. Michael Marki (c), 8. Jaryd Thomas, 10. Thabang Modise, 12. Chad Futcher, 14. Sean Donaldson, 15. Michael Horan, 18. Kamal Ramburuth-Hurt, 19. Kingsley Botes.
Subs: 2. Gareth Riley, 5. Brad Riley, 11. Chris Makaba, 13. Bryce Cressy, 17. Rusten Abrahams, 20. John Henning, 23. Sizwe Nyandeni (GK).

Kovsies: 1. Loufrans Esterhuizen (GK), 2. Andre Nel, 5. Raymond de Villiers, 6. Ryan Scheepers, 7. Matthew Ramos, 8. Willie Kruger, 10. Gerhard van Bosch, 14. Stephan van Vollenhoven, 15. Mvelase Mbombisa, 18. Cheslyn Neethling (c), 22. Tylor Oliver.
Subs: 3. Egon van der Merwe, 4. Jordan Pope, 9. Mpho Tsaoane, 11. Jason Smouse, 13. Tiaan Weldhagen, 19. Shelton Mollentze, 24. Luyolo Nkosana.

Varsity Sports media release

UCT leave it late to stun UJ in low scoring encounter

By Sifiso Nyawo

Jack Forrest of UCT during the varsity hockey at Tuks Hockey field Pretoria Photo by: Catherine Kotze/SASPA

The second game of the afternoon at the Varsity Hockey tournament, saw a low scoring match, where UCT managed to snatch it at the death, beating UJ 2-0.

The first quarter was fiercely contested, with both UJ and UCT having a rather slow start to the game. No side could find the back of the net but there was plenty of action on show. The first quarter ended with both sides settling on a 0-0 scoreline.

The second quarter, much like the first, was tame in terms of scoring opportunities. UJ did, however, have a few opportunities through short corners, which they failed to convert. UCT on the other hand looked to attack on the counter often, using their wide players to try open up the UJ defence. Nothing came of it though as the scorers were not troubled at the end of the first half, with both teams going into the interval deadlocked at 0-0.

The second half saw both teams take more risks. The UJ defensive line was often high up on the pitch, as they looked to get numbers up the astro. There was really very little between the two teams, which showed as the score remained 0-0 at the end of the third quarter. With only 15 minutes remaining in the match, one of the teams had to score otherwise they would be involved in a shootout to get the winner.

The teams failed to score with 10 minutes to go. UCT then saw it fit to call for a Power Play with 6 minutes left on the clock. This decision paid off for the men from the Cape, as Jack Forest did well among a few UJ defenders, to go through and sweep the ball past UJ shot stopper Matthew Martins and give his side a fragile 2-0 lead with about 3 minutes to go in the game. UJ then immediately called their Power Play but unfortunately nothing came of it, as UCT held on to narrowly beat the Orange Army of UJ 2-0.

UCT: 2
Goal: Jack Forest

UJ: 0

FNB Player of the Match: Bjorn Sorensen (UCT)
Mugg & Bean Star Player: Tristan Blackie-Roden (UJ)
Samsung Super Striker: Jack Forest (UCT)

* Field Goals count 2 in the Varsity Sports Hockey competition

UCT: Anton van Loggerenberg (GK), 2. James Watters, 4. Ross Talmage, 5. Bjorn Sorenson (c), 6. Malachy Barbour, 10. Jack Forest, 12. Dan Cole, 14. Michael Gildenhuys, 15. Jaydoe Rossouw, 19. Nick Meckechnie, 28. Ross Maharage
Subs: 3. Tim Alfeld, 8. Walter Pfaff, 13. Mawu Zukisa, 23. Daiyaan Solomons, 26. Liam Peter (GK), 31. Tino Elijah, 32. Jack Tevershan.

UJ: 1. Matthew Martins (GK), 2. Brad Robertson, 4. Andile Ndlovu, 5. Kyle Lion-Cachet (c), 7. Chad Burke, 8. Courtney Halle, 9. Che February, 10. Spencer Botes, 13. Ernest Jacobs, 16. Rayner York, 23. Keegan Smith.
Subs: 6. Michael Newland-Nel, 11. Tristan Blackie-Roden, 15. James Gilbert, 17. Jesse Martins, 18. Diego de Abreu, 20. Manessah Dube, 21. Gary Cooper (GK).

Varsity Sports media release

NWU edge Madibaz 4-2 in thriller

By Sifiso Nyawo

Andrew Oosthuizen of NWU8 during the varsity hockey at Tuks Hockey field Pretoria Photo by: Catherine Kotze/SASPA

Third game of the Varsity Hockey tournament’s second leg saw the weather get slightly colder, but the action was at its hottest as NWU scored late in the last quarter to edge past a determined Madibaz team 4-2.

Favourites going into the match, were definitely NWU, who have shown great form throughout the tournament so far. The Madibaz have sometimes been very unlucky, often losing out very late in their games.

When the game got underway, all form went out the window, with both teams vying for the win. The opening moments of the match-up were very tight, with the sides trading possession but with NWU enjoying the better scoring opportunities. The goals weren’t coming, but the NWU team showed great patience to eventually strike first through Snyman Thessner with 2 minutes left in the quarter.

That is how things remained going into the second quarter. The Madibaz were the first to strike in the quarter, just 25 minutes in when Laython Coombs converted a penalty flick to make it 2-1 to NWU. The men from Port Elizabeth were not done yet, as they struck again 2 mins later off a short corner that Brodie Fanoe stepped up and flicked into the net to level matters at 2-2 going into the break.

The second half saw a little less goal mouth action, with even the third quarter seeing the teams tied at 2-2. The last quarter was where the coaches looked to instruct the players to take more of a gamble. The Madibaz had moments where they looked like they would snatch the match but NWU cleared. The men from the North West did score but the goal was disallowed as the umpires felt their was an infringement leading up to the goal. NWU did eventually get their goal during a Power Play right at the death. The goal scorer was Killian Ludick, who sealed off a nail biting 4-2 win for NWU.

NWU: 4
Goals: Snyman Thessner, Killian Ludick

Madibaz: 2
Goals: Laython Coombs, Brodie Fanoe

* Field Goals count 2 in the Varsity Sports Hockey competition

FNB Player of the Match: Sinoxolo Mbekeni (NWU)
Mugg & Bean Star Player:  Mthokoza Mbotho (NWU)
Samsung Super Striker: Laython Coombs (Madibaz)

NWU: 5. Leonard du Plessis, 6. Anru Kock, 7. Gertjie Lamprecht (c), 10. Sinoxolo Mbekeni (c), 11. Francois Cilliers, 12. Damian Tamine, 14. Mitesh Makan, 18. Pierre Bothma, 20. Stean Naude, 21. Siyabonga Mabo, Mthokoza Mbotho (GK).
Subs: 1. Andrew Oosthuizen (GK), 3. Lochner van der Schyff, 9. Killian Ludick, 13. Francois Joubert, 15. Snyman Thessner, 17. Damian Kenny, 23. Clayton Tait.

Madibaz: 1. Nathan Waters (GK), 5. Jason McGillivray (c), 6. Callan Dewar, 7. Arno van Jaarsveld, 9. Sarvesh Naidoo, 13. Jose Smith, 14. Christopher Wynford, 15. Michael Hansel, 16. Richard Asmah-Andoh, 17. Laython Coombs, 21. Jared de Kock.
Subs: 4. Kurt Wicht, 8. Alexander Penhall (c), 10. Jacques Potgieter, 12. Brodie Fanoe, 18. Joshua Engole, 22. Andre Potgieter, 23. Duncan Hare (GK).

Varsity Sports media release

Maties reign supreme in titanic battle with Tuks

By Sifiso Nyawo

Ru Baker of Maties during the varsity hockey at Tuks Hockey field Pretoria Photo by: Catherine Kotze/SASPA

The last game of day two of the Varsity Hockey tournament saw a titanic battle between two old rivals Tuks and Maties, who are also the top two teams on the log standings. Maties fought hard to come out 5-4 victors in a match that saw spectators on the edge of their seats, right until the end.

The game got underway with no real favourites, but with Tuks getting a chance to earn their first victory in front of their own supporters. The first quarter, saw the hosts draw first blood in the match, with Steven Paulo giving his side the early 2-0 lead through a well taken team goal.

After conceding, Maties step up their game, matching Tuks in all aspects. The game was fairly evenly poised but it was the men from Stellenbosch that struck next, when Dayne Samboer nearly tucked away a short corner bringing the score to 2-1 at the conclusion of the first quarter.

The second quarter was where the game really lit up, with each team aggressively going forward in search of more goals. Maties were, however, the ones who hit the ground running in the quarter, taking the lead, thanks to a calm finish from Matthew Roman. With the score at 3-2, Tuks knew they would have to react quickly and they did, with Nicholas Pio getting his name on the scoresheet and giving the lead back to the hosts at 4-3.

Before the halftime hooter sounded, Maties did manage to claw their way back in from with just under a minute to go through Dayne Samboer, who secured a brace and ensure Maties enjoyed a 5-4 lead at the interval.

Play resumed with the third quarter seeing a slight drought of goals compared to the other two quarters. Both sides failed to contribute to the scoreboard as the score remained 5-4 to Maties. The last quarter saw both sides opt to take their Power Plays late, with Tuks taking theirs first with 6 minutes left on the clock.

That made no difference to the scoreboard as Maties hung onto their lead. Maties then took theirs and it helped them run the clock down, to eventually come out 5-4 winners in a tough battle.

Maties: 5
Goals: Dayne Samboer (2), Matthew Roman

Tuks: 4
Goals: Steven Paulo, Nicholas Pio

* Field Goals count 2 in the Vasity Sports Hockey competition

FNB Player of the Match: Alex Stewart (Maties)
Mugg & Bean Star Player: Nicholas Giger (Maties)
Samsung Super Striker: Steven Paulo (Tuks)

Maties: 2. Andrew Hobson, 4. Nicholas Giger, 5. Tom Richardson, 7. Matthew Roman, 8. Alex Stewart (c), 11. Dayne Samboer, 12. Maximillian Pike, 13. Clayton Saker, 14. Gareth Tate, 23. Reece Arendse, 38. William Eveleigh (GK).
Subs: 1. Rob McKinley (GK), 9. Wade Dollman, 15. Ruari Baker, 16. Jordan Turnbull, 17. Luke Schooling, 24. Callen Heynes, 29. Mbuso Mgobozi.

Tuks: 1. Hendrik Kriek (GK), 2. Onke Letuka, 4. Mitchell Currie, 6. James Redfern, 7. Sam Mvimbi, 8. Peabo Lembethe (c), 10. Michael Forrest, 15. Bradley Sherwood, 19. Matthew Davies, 22. Mark Chong.
Subs: 5. Jared Cass, 9. Steven Paulo 11. Ashley Kemp, 13. Matthew Butler, 16. Nicholas Pio, 20. Christian Kriek, 21. Tim Halle, 23. Sizwe Mthembu (GK).

Varsity Sports media release

Rugby & EW and Surbiton claim victory in the U12 Club In2Hockey Finals

U12 In2hockey Club Winners Boys 2018

Rugby & East Warwickshire Boys Under 12's took the title of In2Hockey U12 Club Champions after a penalty strokes victory over Surbiton following a tense Final.

Surbiton topped pool A with 4 wins from 4, in second place Cheltenham pipped Deeside Ramblers, who finished 3rd courtesy of their better goal difference after both finishing on 6 points. They were followed by Bromsgrove in 4th place and Norwich Dragons in 5th.

In pool B Rugby & East Warwickshire took top spot winning all 4 matches, Clifton Robinsons were a close second with 3 wins from 4. Guildford finished 3rd over Harrogate courtesy of their better goal difference with Old Loughtonians finishing 5th.

In the battle for bronze in the boys competition Cheltenham claimed that victory after a hard thought 3-1 victory over Clifton Robinsons who took 4th place.

In the Final Rugby & East Warwickshire were crowned champions via a 5-4 penalty stroke win over Surbiton following a tense 2-2 draw.

U12 In2Hockey Club Winners Girls 2018

Surbiton Under 12 Girls took the title of In2Hockey Club Champions after a penalty strokes victory over Sevenoaks in a thrilling Final.

Surbiton secured top spot with 4 wins from 4 and like the boys competition Clifton Robinsons finished in 2nd place with 3 wins from 4. Harleston Magpies took 3rd with 4 points, Thirsk 4th with 3 points and Rugby and East Warwickshire 5th with 1 point.

In the other pool Sevenoaks were victorious winning all four matches, whilst home side Beeston took 2nd spot with 7 points. Yeovil & Sherborne came in 3rd with 5 points, Alderley Edge were 4th with 2 points whilst Teddington came in 5th with 1 point.

Beeston claimed the bronze medal beating Clifton Robinsons with a late goal to take 3rd place.

In the Final Surbiton held their nerve to secure a 3-1 penalty strokes victory over Sevenoaks following a thrilling 2-2 draw to claim the title.

Well done to all those who competed and umpired!

England Hockey Board Media release

A decades-old tribal hockey tournament in Odisha has a unique prize — a goat

Saurya Sengupta

The winning team, Medinipur, with their prize goat. Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

There are no shin guards or helmets, but, technique, guile and passion are in ample view in these ‘khasi’ tournaments

It’s 4.30 p.m. in Bhawanipur village in Odisha’s Sundargarh district. The sun has begun to make its way towards the horizon, and the place wears a deserted look for the most part. The few farmers still to be seen are on their way home. But by the side of the arterial road, a small patch of land is just beginning to come alive. A large group of people armed with hockey sticks are huddled on one side, and more keep coming in. This is the final match of the ‘Khasi Cup’, a tribal hockey tournament, and the play-off is between Gajore and Medinipur villages. The winning team is awarded a khasi, a goat, a tradition that goes back several decades.

In these parts of Odisha, hockey is an obsession, much more than cricket or football. Residents grow up worshipping the sport. The Khasi Cup isn’t a single tournament played once a year. There are several Khasi tournaments played through the year, in all the villages, all sharing two common strands — the prize goat and that all players are tribal people.

Lost in time

“Hum adivasi logon ke liye hockey humaari jaan hai (For us adivasis, hockey is life).” Lucas Ekka, the captain of the Medinipur team, tells me this hurriedly, before jogging off to huddle with his team. The teams take these tournaments very seriously. The khasi will bring them pride, the murgi or chicken, given to the runners-up, ignominy. “The tournaments have been around longer than any of us or any of our fathers,” says Ajit Xess, one of the organisers and a former regular player. “Our grandfathers played it too, so nobody can say when the tradition started or why.”

While its origins seem lost in time and unrecorded history, it’s possible to guess that hockey’s popularity here is grounded in its simplicity, the few resources and investments needed and, above all, its intensity. “Hockey is breathless, aggressive, and requires every bit of your energy,” says Deepak Kujur, a player on the Gajore team. “Much more than football, cricket or other sports,” and these players seem to welcome it.

Till not very long ago, says Sylvester Tirkey, another organiser, they all played with bent bamboo rods for sticks, and for the ball, they would wrap up a semul (cotton tree) fruit in tape and rope. “But around 20 years ago, we started buying proper balls and sticks and shoes if we could afford them.” And today, all 22 players I see are armed with top-notch professional sticks and balls.


On the field, the match is about to start. There are no uniform jerseys, so the teams are split into ‘shirts’ and ‘skins’ — one team wearing t-shirts and the other bare-bodied. Gajore wins the toss and chooses to play in shirts. The Medinipur players take off their shirts and pile them up in a heap by the field.

The ‘hockey field’ is a square, undulating plot of land, roughly 100 metres on each side, punctuated with patches of grass and weed. Two football goals occupy either end of the pitch. To make them into the narrower hockey goals, a bamboo pole has been tied down vertically roughly midway between the posts.

What is missing conspicuously are shin guards; not even the goalkeepers wear them. And nobody seems bothered. In fact, the goalkeepers don’t have facial protection either. “We’ve played this way since we were children; we’ve been hurt on our shins, knees, faces endlessly. It doesn’t hurt anymore,” says Ekka, the Medinipur goalkeeper. When he grins, I see he’s missing a couple of teeth.

The 60-minute game starts, and the pace is relentless from the word ‘go’. There are no formations, but technique and guile are in ample view. Medinipur seems to monopolise possession, but Gajore is brutal on the counter-attack, especially down the left flank. Still, the game enters half-time with no goals. The break is minimal; some players run to the edge of the field to a bucket of water, grab a mug, splash their faces, wet their throats, and that’s about it. “They never seem to get tired,” Ajit says. “This is the fourth game they’re playing in two days, but it has no impact on their stamina.”

Interestingly, all games need not be of 60-minute duration; this changes depending on the time of day, the number of players available, sometimes even on whether the players want to continue playing or not. “If they want to keep playing, we can’t stop them,” Sylvester says.


The government is aware of the madness that hockey is in these parts — it’s one of the reasons why one of Odisha’s many sports hostels was set up here, to house promising youngsters and provide them with training, education, and nutritious food.

Team Gajore’s players aren’t the least bit dejected at having lost the final. Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

The ones who aren’t playing today are probably in a sports hostel somewhere. Tournaments in Sundargarh have, in the past, provided great yields for the State and national hockey teams, the most prominent being former India captain and Padma Shri awardee Dilip Tirkey.

Born in a tribal family in Saunamara village, Dilip started watching Khasi matches when he was seven or eight. “I learnt hockey because of these tournaments,” Dilip says. “My father, Vincent Tirkey, was in the CRPF and used to play a lot of hockey. He later started coaching the village teams.” Dilip played in the village before entering the State team, but says he was “never good enough to even make the Khasi B-team!”

The tribal players try their best to get into a sports hostel or academy so that they can play professionally, but it’s not easy. They try till they are 13 or 14, the cut-off age. “There used to be selections in school; we used to try those,” says Sushil Kilpotta, 21, now in his first year at the Sundargarh Government College. “Some of our friends made it; we didn’t get through,” he says, disappointment writ large on his face. “There are some very talented players here, but opportunities are few and far between.”

The parents are equally willing to risk losing an additional hand on the farm if the child can make hockey a career. Ekka’s son Akash, for example, plays for the Odisha U-19 hockey team, and played in the Junior National Hockey Championships in Bhopal last year.

Boys only?

At one time, boys from the sports hostels could participate in the Khasi tournaments. “Only a few players would be allowed on each team,” says Tej Kumar Xess, district sports officer at Sundargarh. “It was almost like a foreign-players quota in the IPL!” Teams would often lie to get them in, but their physique and technical ability would be clear giveaways. Then, a few years ago, the players from the sports hostels were disallowed from playing in these tournaments. “It isn’t advisable to play in these conditions; they may injure themselves,” says Rajendra Kumar Singh, an athletics coach at the Sundargarh hostel. For now, the Khasi tournaments are dominated entirely by men. Even the Sundargarh hostel, run by the Sports Authority of India is boys-only, but this is a one-off. A lot of the sports hostels in Odisha have a majority of girls. The one in Rourkela, for example, has 75 girls. As for Khasi, it’s not that girls don’t want to play or that they aren’t allowed to, but there isn’t a separate tournament for women yet.


The 23-year-old Luice Barla has scored for Medinipur, as the game clocks around 45 minutes. Team Gajore looks neither shaken nor perturbed, and their game-plan seems the same. In fact, neither team seems intent on defending. Clearly, they’re in to attack. Sure enough, Gajore scores within five minutes. The worry now is that the game will finish as a draw, and the tie will have to be settled with a penalty shoot-out. But with the day fast closing, light is in short supply. The teams must hurry.

This is, in fact, an off-season tournament. Most people are busy on the farm and the weather is unconducive. October to November is peak season for the Khasi tournament, and there are 20 to 25 tournaments continuously through the 60-70 days. Each tournament can have upwards of 15 teams participating, whereas this off-season one I am watching had to make do with just eight. “Not many people like to travel in the heat,” says Tej Kumar, “plus, there’s farm work.” In ‘Khasi season’, each team will take part in as many tournaments as it possibly can. If a team is knocked out in the first round, it can register afresh, in the hopes of a fresh draw. Some villages even have multiple teams (A team, B team, etc.).

The Sundargarh belt is mostly populated by the Oran, Munda, Kisan, and Kharia tribes, all of whom play. Teams aren’t split by tribes, but by villages. So, one team has members of several tribes, but there is never any tension or discrimination among the players. “We’re all part of the same village, and so from the same team. Why would we ever bother who is from which tribe?” asks Mathias Toppo, a farmer.

I prefer chicken

The organisers charge an entry fee from each team, anything from ₹151 to ₹601, depending on how many teams enter the tournament. The entry fee, in return, determines the size and quality of the goat and chicken. The potential for a larger prize, though, means more teams will enter the fray, so it’s a self-servicing cycle in many ways.

It’s not quite clear how the fee is spent — even the healthiest goat costs no more than ₹4,000, and the players fund their own hockey kits. The organisers are vague. “We use it in a fund for the development of the sport,” says Sylvester, dreamily. “We assure you there are no profits made from this,” he adds. The players couldn’t care less, as long as the tournaments are held regularly.


The penalty shoot-out has begun. Gajore is taking first strike. Given the size of the goals, penalties are nigh-on impossible to stop, and each side sends in goals by the dozens. Finally, the experienced Ekka steps up for Medinipur, and plants his shin in front of Gajore’s sixth penalty. The fierce shot — which would have crumpled the best of us into sobbing heaps — doesn’t so much as sting Ekka.

The winning Medinipur players are in raptures. The Gajore players don’t seem the least bit dejected, quite looking forward to their chicken. “There’s nothing to be sad about. Between two teams, someone has to lose. We’ll win another tournament, for sure,” says an upbeat Kujur. “And I prefer chicken to mutton any day!”

All the players are either farmers or daily-wage labourers, whose incomes are neither stable nor even enough for anything more than the mere basics. But hockey is fundamental to their lives. It was Ajit and Sylvester who formed a Khasi team for Sundargarh town in 1994. “We save up all year if we have to, but we can’t go on without playing hockey for even the shortest while,” says Medinipur’s Prashant Tiga. Barla graduated school last year, and doesn’t have a job yet. He helps out on his parents’ farm.

“My mother scolds me whenever I ask for money to buy hockey equipment,” he says. “But whenever we bring a khasi home, she stops being angry.”


Dilip Tirkey, whose term as Rajya Sabha member ended last month, now works closely with the Odisha government for the development of hockey among tribal people. He spearheaded the Biju Patnaik Rural Hockey Championship, which saw 1,500 teams take part from 900 villages. The magnitude of the tournament means that it is still underway, with the final rounds due to be played over the coming months.

The State government has also initiated the Tribal Sports programme, to promote sports and scout talent among tribal people. “We’re starting the programme across all levels — block, district, and State, and it is purely for tribal people,” says Vishav Dev, secretary of the Odisha government’s Sports & Youth Services department.

Apart from scouting potential talent, the programme serves another purpose for the government— drawing children away from the influence of left-wing extremist (LWE) groups. “Connecting with young people can wean them away from LWEs. Talented youngsters are housed in a hostel and we take care of everything from boarding to coaching,” Dev says.

The day has drawn to a close, and a shroud of darkness is descending upon Bhawanipur village. The victors are heading home, one of the players holding the khasi atop his bicycle carrier. “We will be welcomed like kings,” Toppo says. “Our people will be ready with fruits and sweets, and some of them will be playing dhol and mandal when we enter,” he says. There’s one more step after that. A feast awaits, and it must be prepared.

The Hindu

University hockey club ‘punishes’ racist players in drinking game

By The Hockey Paper

Players at a university hockey club initiated a drinking game where members had to reportedly drink pints as ‘punishment’ for being racist.

The claim came in a story published on student website The Tab, where members of the University of Hull’s men’s hockey team are asked to down pints when they are caught being racist.

A member of the team said that the initiation was formed in order to combat racism in the team.

He told The Tab: “This member gets punished a lot for his comments, as he has racist tendencies when he drinks, which we do not accept. We, as a club, took it upon ourselves to punish him as it occurred within our walls.

“We do not condone racism, which is why we try to punish those that are involved.”

A screenshot revealed some of the team discussing racist pints, most of which is unsuitable to be published by The Hockey Paper.

Reportedly taken from a group chat, a player wrote: ‘Black people always get there way …’

Meanwhile another member of the club replied: ‘That’s by far more than one racist pint surely.’

A University of Hull and the Hull University Union spokesman said: “The University of Hull is committed to actively promoting equality of opportunity for all, and seeks to ensure every individual has the chance to achieve their potential, free from prejudice and discrimination.

The Hockey Paper

Hockey journalists nominated for Sports Book Awards with Rio Olympic success

By The Hockey Paper

Rich Stainthorpe, right, with Olympian Katherine Grainger

Two English hockey journalists have been nominated for the Sports Book Awards with their brilliant recollection of Great Britain women’s Olympic gold.

Sarah Juggins and Rich Stainthorpe co-wrote ‘The History Makers’ in the aftermath of GB’s Rio win and this week they were rewarded with a nomination in the Thomson Reuters Illustrated Book of the Year category.

Juggins and Stainthorpe, who also work in the media department at the FIH, admitted to surprise over their nomination.

Stainthorpe said: “To be honest, I’m still struggling to get my head around it. As two seasoned hockey writers, this was very much a dream project for us – the stars aligned.

“We approached Sally Munday about it in the weeks following the gold medal win, outlining our vision to create something that would contribute to the legacy of the achievement whilst also bringing some deserved attention to women’s team sport.

“Sally and everyone at GB Hockey backed us wholeheartedly, and we cannot thank them enough for trusting us with this.”

The author also recognised the help of two of hockey’s best photographers in helping to bring the book to life.

“The nomination is fantastic recognition not just for Sarah and myself, but also to our friends Frank Uijlenbroek and Koen Suyk. They are without doubt two of the best hockey photographers in the world, and their iconic imagery brought the whole project to life.”

Olympic Champions Dame Katherine Grainger and Christine Ohuruogu were present in their capacity as judges at the nominations launch.

The awards will be presented at a star-studded ceremony, which takes place at Lord’s Cricket Ground on June 7.

The Hockey Paper

Pak hockey legend Mansoor Ahmed passes away in Karachi

The 49-year-old Olympian had reached out to India for help in securing a heart transplant.

Pakistani former field hockey goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed being treated at a hospital in Karachi, following complications stemming from a pacemaker and stents implanted in his heart. Photo Credit: AFP

Pakistan’s World Cup-winning hockey goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed passed away at a city hospital here today after battling a prolonged heart ailment.

The 49-year-old Olympian had been suffering for weeks from complications stemming from a pacemaker and stents implanted in his heart, and had reached out to India for help in securing a heart transplant.

Pakistan government had reportedly offered Ahmed a mechanical heart transplantation which, had he accepted, would have been the first time the procedure was to be conducted in the country.

But Ahmed had refused the offer as he wanted a more conventional and proven procedure, for which he had wanted to go to India.

Unwell for past three years

The hockey legend, who was known as the 1994 World Cup hero for Pakistan, had been suffering from heart ailment for the past three years and was under treatment at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases here.

Mansoor passed away this afternoon due to heart complications, Dr. Naveed Qamar said.

Mansoor was advised by senior heart surgeons at the hospital to undergo an operation to have a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) implanted to help pump blood to his heart.

They are all looking after me very well here but I want to go for a proper heart transplant as the are donors available in India right now, the weak and frail looking Mansoor had told PTI from his bed on May 1.

He had said that the LVAD procedure basically is a plastic mechanical pump implanted in a heart to help it function but he preferred to have a proper heart transplant which was available in Chennai, India.

A renowned heart surgeon, Dr Komarakshi Balakrishnan at the Fortis Malar hospital in Chennai had looked at Mansoor’s case and assured him if he came to India he could do the heart transplant immediately.

Dr Qamar who is the administrative head at the NIVCD said Mansoor’s condition was not right for him to travel anywhere.

Mansoor, who became a household name in 1994 after heroic saves in penalty shootouts against Germany and Holland in the Champions Trophy and World Cup finals, had also appealed to the Indian government to issue him the necessary visa to travel to Chennai.

Mansoor, who represented Pakistan in some 338 internationals, had already had a major heart surgery in 2016 and since early this year was battling for his life.


The Pakistan hockey fraternity was shocked at the sad demise of the goalkeeper who won many a match for his country.

It is very sad that he has passed away at such a young age. He was working with us and contributing to the development of goalkeepers and junior players, Shahbaz Ahmad, the secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) said.

Shabaz, a former Pakistan captain, said the PHF was aware of Mansoor’s condition and had approached the government for help and also assisted him financially.

The Hindu

Hockey hero Mansoor Ahmed passes away in Karachi

Zeeshan Ahmed

Pakistan's World Cup-winning hockey goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed passed away at a hospital in Karachi on Saturday.

The 49-year-old had been suffering for weeks from complications stemming from a pacemaker and stents implanted in his heart, and had reached out to India for help in securing a heart transplant.

The government of Pakistan had reportedly offered Ahmed a mechanical heart transplantation which, had he accepted, would have been the first time the procedure was to be conducted in Pakistan.

However, the hockey legend had wanted a more conventional and proven procedure, for which he had wanted to go to India and had thus refused the offer.

Ahmed has been a sporting icon in Pakistan since helping the country win the 1994 World Cup in Sydney with his penalty stroke save against the Netherlands in the final.

He played 338 international matches and also participated in three Olympics and various other high-profile events in a career spanning from 1986 to 2000.

In addition to being named the world's best goalkeeper on four occasions, Ahmed was bestowed with a presidential award in 1988 and the Pride of Performance in 1994.


Hockey legend Mansoor Ahmed passes away after prolonged illness

Atique ur Rehman

KARACHI: Pakistan’s World Cup-winning hockey goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed passed away on Saturday after prolonged illness. He was 49.

His health had steadily deteriorated over the past few days, and earlier today he was put on life support after his lungs and heart ailment worsened.

The hockey legend, who was known as the 1994 World Cup hero for Pakistan, had been suffering from heart ailment for the past three years and was under treatment at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Karachi.

Last month, he had said he wanted his surgery to be done in India as the facilities there were better than those offered in any other country.

He was said to be wary of the surgery in Pakistan as it would be the first of its kind in the country.

National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases' Dr Nadeem Qamar had said they were ready to perform the surgery on Ahmed, but if he was not comfortable then he could go to India.

He had also reached out to the Indian government for a visa so that he could get the needed treatment.

Mansoor Ahmed represented Pakistan in 338 hockey matches from 1986 to 2000.

His funeral will be held after Zuhr prayers in Karachi's D.H.A. on Sunday, May 13.

Geo TV News

Pakistan’s hockey hero Mansoor passes away in Karachi at age of 49

KARACHI: Pakistan’s World Cup-winning hockey goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed passed away at a hospital here on Saturday. The 49-year-old had been suffering for weeks from complications stemming from a pacemaker and stents implanted in his heart, and had reached out to India for help in securing a heart transplant. He was put on ventilator, but didn’t survive since his heart was functioning with only 20 per cent efficiency. Mansoor had represented Pakistan in 338 international hockey games between 1986 and 2000. He also captained the Pakistan team for a short time. The government of Pakistan had reportedly offered Mansoor a mechanical heart transplantation which, had he accepted, would have been the first time the procedure was to be conducted in Pakistan. However, the hockey legend had wanted a more conventional and proven procedure, for which he had wanted to go to India and had thus refused the offer. Mansoor has been a sporting icon in Pakistan since helping the country win the 1994 World Cup in Sydney with his penalty stroke save against the Netherlands in the final.

“I may have broken a lot of Indian hearts on the field of play by beating India in the Indira Gandhi Cup (1989) and in other events but that was sport,” Mansoor had said. “Now I need a heart transplant in India and for that I need support from the Indian government.” India-Pakistan ties, including sports and cultural contacts, plummeted after the 2008 militant attacks in Mumbai, which New Delhi blamed on Pakistani militant groups. Despite the strained ties, Pakistanis are eligible to apply for medical visas to India, renowned for its booming medical tourism industry. “Humanity is paramount and I too would be obliged if I get a visa and other help in India,” Mansoor had said. He also participated in three Olympics and various other high-profile events in a career spanning over 14 years. In addition to being named the world’s best goalkeeper on four occasions, Mansoor was bestowed with a presidential award in 1988 and the Pride of Performance in 1994.

The Daily Times

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