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News for 18 September 2020

All the news for Friday 18 September 2020

International teams return to Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in 2021

Great Britain’s international hockey teams will return to Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in 2021 for home games in the FIH Hockey Pro League.

Throughout May; Britain's internationals will face India, China, Argentina, USA and Spain in three back-to-back weekends of world class hockey on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Tickets will be go on sale first to our Hockey Family in the coming weeks, with priority access to seats at reduced prices, starting from just £5 for under 18s. We will be delighted to host spectators once more, and the games will of course only take place in front of supporters if the government restrictions at the time allow. Safety and comfort of our fans is our utmost priority.

Our first FIH Hockey Pro League matches in the 2020/21 season are away to the Netherlands and Belgium, beginning at the end of October, live on BT Sport. We then play behind closed doors on home soil later in November, again live on BT Sport.

As it stands, with the ongoing impact of Covid-19 we have currently not been able to schedule any fixtures at the Twickenham Stoop for May 2021, but we are committed to returning to the home of Harlequins as soon as possible. Along with our partner Harlequins we are committed to bringing Big Stadium Hockey back to the Stoop, and this option remains open should both the right conditions and ticket sales make this feasible.

2020 away games behind closed doors, live on BT Sport
Tue 27 Oct NED v GBR women & men (3:30pm and 6pm UK time)
Thu 29 Oct NED v GBR women & men (3:30pm and 6pm UK time)

Sat 31 Oct BEL v GBR women & men (1pm and 3:30pm UK time)
Sun 1 Nov BEL v GBR women & men (1pm and 3:30pm UK time)

2020 home games behind closed doors (venue TBC), live on BT Sport
Sat 14 Nov GBR v GER women & men (12pm and 2:30pm)
Sun 15 Nov GBR v GER women & men (12pm and 2:30pm)

2021 home games, Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, tickets on sale soon
Sat 8 May GBR v IND men; GBR v CHN women (1pm and 3:30pm)
Sun 9 May GBR v IND men; GBR v CHN women (12pm and 2:30pm)

Sat 15 May GBR v ARG women & men (1pm and 3:30pm)
Sun 16 May GBR v ARG women & men (12pm and 2:30pm)

Sat 22 May GBR v USA women; GBR v ESP men (1pm and 3:30pm)
Sun 23 May GBR v USA women; GBR v ESP men (12pm and 2:30pm)

To find out more about the FIH Hockey Pro League please click here

Great Britain Hockey media release

Post Covid-19 complications may halt Surender Kumar return to Indian hockey

Navneet Singh

Surender Kumar in action.(Getty Images)

The chances of India defender Surender Kumar taking the field when the hockey competition resumes in 2021 has become slim because of post Covid-19 complication at this moment. Kumar, along with five other hockey players including skipper Manpreet Singh, tested positive for virus in August when an Olympic preparation camp resumed at Bengaluru.

While the other five recovered, Kumar was readmitted to hospital as he had blood clotting or Venous Thrombosis (VT) in his right arm. Mandeep Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Varun Kumar and goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak were the others, who tested positive for Covid-19.

According to Ashok Ahuja, former head of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) sports medicine department, restrain in training load is the most important aspect of recovery and rehabilitation as possibility of VT will increase with strenuous physical exercise. “Firstly he (Kumar) should be under constant monitoring for next three to six months. Secondly to avoid micro clotting circulating in the system he might have to take blood thinner,” Ahuja said.

“It means Kumar wouldn’t be able to resume tough regimen in coming months where heart rate goes beyond 200 beat per minute in training.

The Hockey India, in a statement said, the athletes are slowly getting back to sports activity, but didn’t share details on how and when players would resume match fitness or high intensity training. “SAI is preparing a policy so we are unable to formally comment,” Elena Norman, Chief Executive Officer of HI said. “SAI is putting together a policy for all athletes for all sports regarding their return to sports. It is best to check with them.”

SAI’s director general Sandip Pradhan, didn’t respond to text messages or phone call. The SAI, though, has put in place Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to enter training centres under its jurisdiction, but yet to announce training and rehabilitation protocol for those who have tested positive for Covid-19.

At the SAI’s Sonepat training centre, the men’s wrestling camp started recently as 14-day quarantine period is over said Vinod Tomar, assistant secretary of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). The four wrestlers who had tested positive for Covid-19 including Deepak Punia, who had earned Olympic quota in 86kg freestyle event, will join the camp only after getting approval from medical experts. Punia, according to Tomar was discharged from hospital and was in home quarantine since September 6.

“He should join camp from September 21,” Tomar added. “Covid19 patients might take months to regain lost fitness and achieve top performance. All physical activity has to be very gradual,” Ahuja said. “Taking antioxidant and immune booster supplements are beneficial.”

Deepak Natarajan, a Noida based cardiologist says those having tested positive can suffer serious problems including persistent inflammation of heart (Myocarditis). “The athletes should take a break,” Natarajan said. “The officials should ensure there is regular check-up. If cardiac MRI shows inflammation then the athlete has to wait before resuming training. The comeback has to be very gradual. Officials and athletes have to be cautious in its approach to resume match fitness.”

Hindustan Times

Only Selangor look formidable

By Jugjet Singh

(From left) Melaka coach Azrul Effendy Bustaman, skipper Firdaus Omar, MHC competitions chairman Datuk Seri Anil Jeet Singh, Selangor women’s team skipper Raja Nor Sharina and coach Ikmal Abdul Jabar with the Razak Cup trophy.

The 58th Razak Cup begins today at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil with no clear favourites among the men, but Selangor look the best bet to defend the women's crown.

Last year, unfancied Melaka pulled off a great escape in the men's tournament when they beat Johor 3-1 in the final.

For the women, the Razak Cup is in its fifth edition, Defending champions Selangor edged Kuala Lumpur 1-0 in the final last year.

And with eight national players in their side, Selangor look imposing this year.

"Yes, we have eight national players in our team and are looking to defend our title. Two national seniors and six juniors will lead the side while the rest are development players.

"We have played four friendlies with other state sides, and the overall outcome is encouraging," said Selangor women's coach Ikmal Abdul Jabar.

Fifteen men's teams will play in a one division format, with Sarawak the only missing side. In the women's tournament, 11 teams have registered with Kedah pulling out at the last hour.

"Kedah will field their men's team while their women's team had to withdraw because most of their players are students and did not get a release from their schools," said Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions chairman Datuk Seri Anil Jeet Singh.

Minor adjustments were made to the fixtures regarding playing times, and Selangor women will start their title defence by playing Terengganu at 7.30am today.

Melaka, who will play Perlis at 9pm, look set to claim three points.

"With national players (men's and women's) being fielded this year, we have our share of four national players. But I expect a difficult time defending our title as fitness is my main concern.

"We did not get to train much as a team. Hopefully they improve with every match," said Melaka men's coach Azrul Effendy Bustaman.

MEN — Group A: Melaka, Penang, Perlis;

Group B: Johor, Perak, Selangor, Sabah;

Group C: Terengganu, Police, Armed Forces, Kelantan;

Group D: Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Negri, Kedah.

WOMEN — Group A: Selangor, Terengganu, Penang, Perak;

Group B: Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Pahang, Sarawak;

Group C: Police, Armed Forces, Negeri Sembilan.

New Straits Times

Tar Heels Welcome Moyer to the Bench

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – A familiar face is back on the bench this season for the North Carolina field hockey team. Lauren Moyer, who lettered for the Tar Heels from 2013-16 and now plays for the U.S. Women's National Team, will serve as a volunteer assistant coach for the 2020 season.

"It's great to be back in Chapel Hill," Moyer said. "I love it here and definitely missed it – it's such a special place."

The Tar Heels open the 2020 season on Sunday with a game against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C. It's the site of last year's NCAA Championship, where Carolina finished the season 23-0 and won its second title in a row.

Although it's her first game on the coaching staff, which was honored as the nation's best in each of the past two seasons, Kentner Stadium will be a familiar setting for Moyer. She played there during her four years at UNC, during which Carolina went 78-19 overall, won an ACC crown in 2015 and reached the final four each year. Moyer was a third-team All-America selection in 2016, her senior year as a Tar Heel. She also earned All-ACC, All-ACC Tournament and All-NCAA Tournament honors that season.

She joined the National Team in 2017 and has currently has 77 caps.

"It's always good to have someone who has gone through the program then gone to the national team come back and lend expertise and inspiration," UNC coach Karen Shelton said. "Lauren is doing a great job and it's just terrific to have her here."

As Carolina launches into the season, Moyer's goal is to do whatever she can to help make the Tar Heels better.

"I try to help the girls in any way I can, whether they need more reps before training, or they  need help on attacking corners, or they have any type of press or outlet questions," she said. "I'm excited to see where they can go and how I can help in any way they need me to. I'm thrilled to be here."

Content Courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications

USFHA media release

Connacht Hockey’s Misneach Le Cheile campaign gathers big support

Members of Connacht Hockey

Connacht Hockey’s “Misneach Le Cheile” campaign gathered pace this week with Canadian-Irish automation software company, SmartSimple Software, coming on board as the first corporate sponsor to step in to support the campaign for access to much-needed facilities.

It is among a number of positive inroads with preliminary plans to get a first club up and running in Mayo getting under way.

And representatives from Connacht Hockey were among a group from Doughiska, Roscam and Ardaun who are meeting Minister for Sport Jack Chambers last Friday. They are part of a multi-sport proposal and believe a 2G turf could be a centrepiece of the proposal and can have much wider benefits.

European Hockey Federation President Marijke Fleuren has also personally taken up the case, writing to Minster Catherine Martin to push for improved facilities.

The western branch recently launched the €1 million campaign, calling for equal opportunities to access sports facilities for their community, other minority sports and Women in Sport.  

The catalyst for the movement was the planned and confirmed removal of the suitable playing surface at Oranmore Village, a decision taken by the Board of the Oranmore Community Development Group.  

The community decided now is the time to fight for access to correct facilities, other sports are well catered for ahead of minority sports in the region and the sport is being left behind.  

Since the 2018 World Cup silver medal and last year’s Olympic qualification, the five clubs in Galway have been inundated with requests from young girls to take up the sport.

But while interest is at its highest, the ability to cater for them has become markedly more acute with the recent decision to replace the Oranmore astroturf pitch from 2G to a 3G surface, unusable from a hockey perspective.

It follows the loss of a full-size pitch in 2013 in Mervue which was replaced by a 3G turf, taking away the ability for Connacht to host tournaments like intervarsities.

And now the problem is even more acute. It means over 200 newcomers will likely be turned away this season with just NUIG’s Dangan pitch on the west side of the city serving five clubs – Renmore, Kinvara, Galway, NUIG and Greenfields. The nearest other pitches in the province are in Athlone and Sligo.

“Facilities affect everyone,” Connacht Hockey’s Aisling Keogh explains. “Dangan is now saturated with five clubs using it. The overspill was going to Oranmore before. Without it, everyone is fighting for pitch time. We can’t run fundamental coaching courses; we can’t develop our umpires.

“If you have an EY Hockey League game, we have to take time away from junior girls on Saturday. They are just told, ‘sorry’. There is a knock-on everywhere.

“Then you have Kinvara who have 200 members and more knocking on the door and they have to turn them away. Renmore is the same as well as the other clubs and they have to just say ‘sorry, we have no space’.”

Alanna Huban hand delivers her message to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Young Kinvara members Alanna Huban and Zoe Rodgers took the cause, hand-delivering letters to the door of Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in Dublin to plead their case.

They are part of a multi-sport proposal and believe a 2G turf could be a centrepiece of the proposal and can have much wider benefits.  

Indeed, their proposal is a more progressive one overall, believing that Ireland needs to get out of the cycle of individual clubs and organisations scrabbling and competing for grants. Instead, a focus on clusters of sports facilities – as happens in many European cities – in strategic areas would benefit more people and more sports.

“With the amount of 3G pitches going down, they are mostly secondary facilities for soccer, GAA and rugby. If only one in ten were 2G and could be used for hockey as well as these other sports, it would be massive.

“It’s not just about a hockey pitch but minority sports in general who are being left behind. We’re putting it out there for all minority sports. But we are not going to give up until we have got a pitch!”

As for the sponsorship, Brendan Bradley, Managing Director of SmartSimple Software’s Dublin based office said: “The entire SmartSimple team is delighted to support Women in Sport and equal opportunities for accessing facilities in the community.  

“We believe it’s important that both girls and boys in the Region have the same opportunity to stay active, build self-confidence and develop their skills and talents, all in a suitable space open to all.

“Connacht Hockey’s campaign aligns well with our over five-year membership to the Canadian Centre for Diversity & Inclusion,” Mr. Bradley continued, “Inclusivity is a deeply important value of our team and how our software helps our clients to connect and empower their communities, so we stand strongly behind gender equality in sport”.
** To donate to the campaign, visit Connacht Hockey’s GoFundMe page today at https://gf.me/u/ym5vmk

The Hook

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