News for 24 January 2010

All the news for Sunday 24 January 2010



Fight to the Finish

Scotland’s senior women suffered another setback when they went down 4 -2 to Belarus in Duisburg this afternoon. However all is by no means lost and a victory over Poland in the final game on Sunday morning will see them retain “A” Division status and claim the final World Cup spot in Poland next year. Victory is essential as Poland defeated Lithuania 7 -1 earlier in the day to leave them with the advantage of a superior goal difference in the event of a draw in the final crucial game.

The Scots took an early lead courtesy once again of Dundee Wanderers prolific goal scorer Vikki Bunce who slotted a penalty corner low to the keeper’s left. Belarus were proving to be fast slick opponents and hit back with a double strike through a goal from open play quickly followed up by a penalty corner conversion after the ball had been illegally stopped on the line.

Milne Craig Western defender Kareena Marshall levelled the scores with 5 minutes left of the first half with a strike from the top of the “D” and then followed that up with a fine stop on the line from a Belarus corner to end an evenly balanced first half at two goals each.

Early after the resumption Marshall once again made a telling save on the line and soon after their opponents hit the post from a corner. Scotland themselves were denied when the Belarus keeper made a rather fortunate save from a short corner strike.

The setback came with four minutes left when Belarus managed to convert from a set piece leaving coach Gordon Shepherd with little alternative but to sacrifice keeper Carmin Dow and go with Kareena Marshall as a kicking back. As can often happen, when left chasing the game, the opposition managed to engineer one final chance leaving the Scots  facing a winner takes all situation on Sunday morning.

Coach Gordon Shepherd’s target was to finish in the top six and qualify for the World Cup. He remains confident that if his squad maintain the same levels of commitment his target will be achieved.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Women's Hopes Dashed

Scotland’s senior women suffered heartbreak when their hopes of a semi final place were dashed when the Ukraine scored four goals in the last 6 minutes to record a 6 – 4 win in the European Indoor Nations “A” division in Duisburg, Germany in the final pool match. The fine line which exists between being “so near yet so far” means that the girls now find themselves in the relegation pool with Belarus, Poland and Lithuania but they have the advantage of carrying through the three points gained by winning their first pool match against the Lithuanians in their fight to retain their top level status.

The final games against the other two Eastern European teams will be tense affairs for all concerned. The stakes couldn’t be higher for not only do the top two in this pool remain in Division “A” but they also secure vital places in the World Cup to be held next year in Poland.

The Ukraine game started so well with Scotland taking the lead through Becky Ward when she deflected home a well rehearsed corner routine. As in previous games holding this lead proved difficult and when the Scots lost the ball in the middle the Ukraine levelled. Vikki Bunce then restored the advantage when following a neat open play move she netted a rebound off the keeper. Then just seconds before half time the umpires decided a Bunce penalty stroke, which had already been converted, had to be retaken and was subsequently saved. This would prove to be a crucial decision for the Scots.

Ukraine equalised early in the second period when a long ball was deflected net bound and despite Carmin Dow’s initial save, the rebound was slotted home. Scotland then hit back with two quick goals when Vikki Bunce dribbled in from the right and buried the ball into the right corner and completed her hat trick when minutes later she converted a penalty stroke, after the ball was stopped on the line by a Ukrainian body, to give Scotland a 4 – 2 lead.

The final 15 minutes saw the game dramatically turn in favour of their silky opponents. The Scots were under continued pressure and despite maintaining a high work rate and playing with great passion the Ukraine went on to record a 6-4 win with perhaps the rub of the green not always helping their cause along with some defensive lapses. Scotland also played the last couple of minutes with a “kicking back” and conceded the final goal with the result already decided.

Manager Margery Taylor remarked “We had our chances and certain decisions did not go in our favour. However we must show the same commitment and passion in our next match against Belarus. There is much still to play for.”

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Brave Effort Foiled

Scotland’s women fought hard in their encounter with reigning European champions Germany in the second game of the day before finally losing out 5 -2. This was always going to be a big test for a relatively inexperienced squad against a nation whose pedigree is second to none. Germany had earlier in the day defeated the Ukraine 8 -7.

Germany took the game to the Scots forcing keeper Carmin Dow (Dundee Wanderers) into producing vital saves but playing a half court system Scotland were also causing problems for the reigning champions. However after 18 minutes Germany scored from a penalty corner and quickly added a second with a backhand flick from the left. Scotland answered almost immediately when Vikki Bunce won the ball on the halfway line and drove at the German defence before lifting the ball over the keeper. From the restart a long pass into the “D” was directed into the net to restore the two goal advantage fifteen seconds before the half time hooter.

The first fifteen minutes of the second half again was fairly even with chances being created by both teams. Then Milne Craig Western striker Elspeth Cockburn led a quick counter attack with a run from open play which led to her slotting the ball past the keeper for a fine individual goal. Cruelly as in the first half the Germans responded immediately with a goal from open play and then finished with a flourish netting again at the second attempt from a penalty corner.

Coach Gordon Shepherd praised the gutsy efforts of his girls with Carmin Dow showing her class with numerous saves. Tomorrow in the final pool game a Scotland victory over Ukraine is essential to secure a semi final berth however the coach is well aware that this will be no easy task against a team who impressed despite losing their opening game to Germany.    

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Wildcats maintain advantage

The Subway Indoor National League resumed today with Western Wildcats maintaining their two point advantage over Menzieshill . The result of the clash between the two frontrunners today could have a telling bearing on the final outcome of this year’s title race. Menzieshill took the lead on three separate occasions, through a Chris Wilson brace and a strike from Kenny Stibbles , only to be pegged back each time by Dougie Simpson, Scot McCartney and with the final strike of the game Joe Simpson equalised from a penalty corner.

Western Wildcats went on to record a narrow 4-3 win over Dundee Wanderers with goals again from Joe Simpson(2),McCartney and Steven Percy. Meanwhile Menzieshill defeated Inverleith 4-1 in an absorbing encounter appreciated by the crowd. The men from Dundee raced into a three goal lead through goals from Gavin Tomlinson, Ross McPherson and Andrew Thornton before Stephen Dick replied with a penalty corner. Then Ross McPherson netted to make it 4-1 at half time which was to prove to be the final result as Menzieshill showed all their experience and limited Inverleith to few opportunities as they absorbed all that was thrown at them.

Inverleith had earlier in the day all but finished the challenge of Dundee Wanderers with four goals from Derek Salmond leading the way in a 6-2 rout where some indiscipline also led to the Dundonian’s downfall.   For Wanderers these two reversals effectively finish their title hopes but they will still have a say in the final destination of the title  with four more games to be completed over the next two weeks. Inverleith remain firmly in contention despite falling back a little further trailing leaders Wildcats by three points. 

Grange and Glynhill  Kelburne  shared ten goals in an entertaining draw then both went on to record victories over Harris and WebEnergy Hillhead respectively to ensure their safety. The relegation issue remains a straight fight between Harris and WebEnergy Hillhead with the latter surely taking confidence from their 10-2 mauling of the Taysiders today.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



‘Pakistan’s withdrawal out of question’


ISLAMABAD: The Federal Government will process the No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the national hockey squad for the upcoming World Cup in India without any hindrance, it was said on Saturday.

“There is no question of withdrawing from the tournament as it will affect the future of hockey,” said a senior federal government official while speaking to Dawn on condition of anonymity on Saturday.

The Pakistan squad is scheduled to appear in the FIH hockey World Cup slated to be held in New Delhi, India, from Feb 28 to March 13.

“The turbulent sporting relations between the two countries will not affect the scheduled hockey tour of Pakistan Hockey Federation [PHF],” he added.

The Pakistan sports spectrum saw Indian sports, cricket and hockey teams refusing to visit the country after the Mumbai terror attacks.

In the latest sports stint the country’s star cricketers were ignored in the third edition of the IPL, a commercial venture of the BCCI, by the Indian owners of Twenty20 franchises.

“The IPL fiasco will not have any impact on the hockey team’s tour of India because we still believe that sports should be kept separate from politics. But if they [Indians] continue with their anti-sports propaganda against Pakistanis then we [Federal Government] will have to review our future sports strategy,” the official insisted.

The government, he said, would have to take decisions cautiously, not emotionally. “Total boycott from playing in India in all sports will serve the mala fide intentions of India that can only usher total isolation in the field of sports,” he said.

Asked to comment over the security of the national squad in India, the official said the national team’s security would be the top priority before issuing of the NOC and “all the requisite requirements for the issuance of the NOC will be fulfilled — getting a clearance from foreign and interior ministries.”

The official asserted: “There is no need for security assessment before the FIH World Cup event because India is the host country for the mega event.

This is an international hockey tournament, which is only being organised by the Indian Hockey Federation. The Pakistan hockey team always travels to the FIH events on their guarantees.”

The official also informed: “Any withdrawal from the hockey World Cup will affect the future of hockey in the country besides risking a possible ban from participation in future FIH events.”

The national team, he said, would likely put on a good show and “will defeat the Indian hockey team on their home ground.”

Dawn



Pak hockey players to get NoC

Pakistan's ministry of sports has started the process of giving an NOC to the country's Hockey Federation for sending the national team to the World Cup in New Delhi.

An official of the ministry said there was no chance of the government not clearing the team's trip to India in retaliation for the snub given to Pakistani cricketers at the Indian Premier League auction.

"We believe in keeping politics apart from sports and we will be soon issuing the NOC for the hockey team to travel to India for the World Cup," the official said.

He said the NOC would include security and other clearances from the ministry of interior and foreign affairs.

"Security of our players is not an issue for us since the World Cup is an international event managed by the International Hockey Federation who are responsible for security of all participating teams," the official said.

Some former Test captains and Olympians had suggested not sending the hockey team to India as retaliation for the way Pakistani cricketers were embarrassed by the IPL franchises.

The ministry official said that the NOC would be processed soon since the PHF wants to send the team a few days before the tournament to help them acclimatise to conditions and also play a couple of practice game before its opening match on February 28 against India.

ESPNStar.com



Sohail Abbas says results against Dutch were heartening

KARACHI: Star penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas said on Saturday that the results in two match series against the Netherlands in Doha (Qatar) were heartening and Pakistan team was showing good build-up for next month’s Hockey World Cup staged in New Delhi from February 28.

“Team really played well against Dutch side and drew in both the matches of the series,” he told APP on his return from Qatar here.  He said these results were very encouraging as Netherlands beat World and Olympic Champion Germany in recent tri-series in South Africa before landing in Qatar.

Pakistan played a 4-4 draw in the first test and second test ended in 2-2 stalemate. “Had luck favored Pakistan team they would have returned home triumphant,” he said.

He said Pakistan selectors have included a couple of new youngsters in the line-up so team was under slight pressure.

However he said team showed fighting qualities and offered Dutch team a great challenge.

Sohail Abbas, the highest goal-scorer in the world hockey, said a large number of Pakistanis around 5000 living in Doha turned out to watch the matches and supported the team.

He said team was on the right track and if they maintained the hard work and momentum they are capable of reaching the semifinals of the world cup.

Commenting on boycotting the World Cup in India after Pakistan’s top cricketer were snubbed by franchise in the IL auction, he said he will follow the policy of PHF and government.

But he expressed his surprise over none picking of members Pakistan’s World Champion T20 team in the IPL.

He said he will leaving for Lahore in a couple of days to join Pakistan’s final phase training camp.

Associated Press of Pakistan



Women hockey players receive grants

BANGALORE: Financial help continues to pour on the country's women hockey players as the GoSports Foundation on Saturday announced a monthly grant of Rs 4000 each for two members of the national team -- Rani Rampal and Savita Poonia.

"The grant, which will award 15-year-old Rani Rampal and 19-year-old Savita Poonia a monthly amount of Rs 4000 each, is a testament to the girls' perseverance and determination to succeed against all odds," a release said.

Forward Rampal, daughter of a cart puller, was the top scorer and adjudged the Young Player of the Tournament at the Champion's Challenge trophy held in Kazan, Russia last year.

The Haryana girl also played a pivotal role in the team winning silver medal at the Asia Cup in last November.

"I am very happy with the good news. It will help me buy better shoes and kit to improve my game. I will also use this assistance for my education," Rampal said.

Her statemate goalkeeper Poonia said, "I am thrilled to receive this support and fund. It will help me achieve my goals and has created within me an even greater desire to succeed."

National women's coach MK Kaushik also hailed the move. "Rani and Savita are young and upcoming players with great skills and great character for the game. They are the future of the country and need to be nurtured well," he said.

The players will receive the grant money from this month. Women hockey team came in the news recently after a revolt started brewing with the players, camping in Bhopal, rejecting a Rs 50,000 payment offered to them and demanded the same treatment that had been meted out to their male counterparts.

Following that, money started flowing with the state governments of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Assam collectively pledging Rs 2.5 crore for both the male and female players.

The Times of India



Govt fund fails to enthuse players

V Narayan Swamy


BANGALORE: Hockey’s development is quite different from the welfare of its players. The point came to the fore at the women’s hockey camp in Bhopal once the players realised that they would be getting only a small percentage of the money received from contributions on Friday.

Players and coaches refrained from commenting on the issue but the unrest was visible after reports surfaced that a huge chunk of the Rs 1.1 crore donated by Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Chouhan and Assocham Commonwealth Games chairman Vinay Rai would go to the ministry’s National Sports Development Fund to promote women’s hockey.

"We will pay them some money from the Rs 1.1 crore," sports minister MS Gill had told TOI on Friday.

Sources in the camp said it made little sense to create a fund when the need of the hour was to meet the immediate needs of the players. "This decision will jeopardise the lives of many needy players at the camp," said a source, adding that the situation was no different from what it was a few days ago.

"Only, the focus has shifted from Hockey India to the ministry. But the players, who were actually instrumental in attracting donations, haven’t got a penny. Neither do they have access to the fund. What is the point in creating a fund for the future without meeting their needs now?"

The team has been invited to a meeting with the Madhya Pradesh chief minister on Sunday, but as the players continued with their black armband protest, the amount in their joint account rose to Rs 83,889.

The Times of India



Court order forces HI to postpone elections

Special Correspondent


NEW DELHI: The elections to Hockey India, scheduled for February 7, have been postponed indefinitely following a stay issued by the Rajasthan High Court.

HI issued a release on Saturday to state that following advice from the Returning Officer, G.S. Mander, the elections have been postponed till a final decision is given by the Rajasthan High Court.

The court, acting on a petition filed by the Rajasthan Hockey Association (RHA) had, on Friday, stayed the operation of the minutes of the meeting held here on January 11 in which affiliations of 30 State units and Union Territories and four institutional boards were approved. Justice R.S. Chauhan, after hearing the counsel for the petitioner, issued notices to the respondents, including the Union Government, and directed that rules be made returnable within four weeks.

HI referred the court order to Mander who in turn sought legal advice on the matter and asked HI to defer the elections since the entire electoral college had been stayed, according to him.

“Hockey India has kept the FIH (international federation), Ministry of Sports, Government of India, Election Observer of Government of India and IOA observer updated about the developments,” HI stated in the release. All the members of HI held an urgent meeting and unanimously decided to defer the elections, according to the release. Earlier, the electoral college was made available to the Government Election Observer by HI.

Now, there could be serious doubts about HI having an elected body before the World Cup scheduled to be held here from February 28.

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court on Friday issued notices to HI and the IOA on an application moved by the Union Government regarding the appointment of Mander as the Returning Officer for the HI elections and a request to nominate a retired High Court judge for the post. The court, however, declined stay. The matter was posted for Monday.

The Hindu



Hockey elections deferred again

Latest Rajasthan high court order ‘stalls’ process

By Tushar Bhaduri in New Delhi


THE ill- fated Hockey India elections were deferred once again after an order from the Rajasthan high court.

The polls to the national body, already postponed more than once, were scheduled for February 7, after the court slapped a stay on the affiliation of 30 state units and four institutions and boards.

The legal advice received by returning officer GS Mander prompted the federation to defer the polls. The decision was taken at an urgent meeting of Hockey India members.

“The honorable court has stayed the operation of the minutes of the meeting dated January 11, 2010 in which 30 states/ union territories and four institutions/ boards were granted affiliation,” Hockey India said in a release.

“Hockey India referred the matter to the returning officer GS Mander, along with copy of the said order and minutes. The returning officer, after taking legal advice, has directed Hockey India to defer the elections till the final decision is taken by the honorable Rajasthan high court, because the entire electoral college of Hockey India has been stayed.” Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra said the petition in Jaipur may have been filed by some disgruntled elements.

“We had given affiliation to a state body in Rajasthan and it may be some other group which filed the petition. We had also got approval from the International Hockey Federation ( FIH) for our list,” Batra told M AIL T ODAY . Arun Saraswat and Shobha Singh were named to represent Hockey Rajasthan in the February 7 elections.

The bench, headed by Justice RS Chauhan, has asked Hockey India to respond within four weeks.

“As the whole affiliation process was stayed, the returning officer recommended that we defer the polls, otherwise we would be guilty of contempt of court,” Batra said.

“We don’t have a voter list and can’t proceed with nominations, throwing the whole process haywire.

We will now have to issue a fresh notice for the elections.” Batra claimed Hockey India’s affiliation process was “open and transparent”. “The units were recognised by the respective state Olympic associations and also the government observer. The minutes of meetings were also appraised and approved.” When contacted, government observer SK Mendiratta said he went by Hockey India’s recommendations.

“I don’t know any members whose names were suggested.

I only acted upon the certificate provided by Hockey India that the individuals recommended were members of their respective state bodies and boards,” he told M AIL T ODAY . There is no chance of deciding on a new date for elections but Hockey India will try to get the stay vacated.

“We can only move the court on January 27 after the Republic Day break. We would like a hearing at the earliest, but the matter is not in our hands. The petitioner has chosen the date very smartly to give us less time,” Batra said.

“The fact that most of the lawyers are out of town also does not help.” The court has given Hockey India, headed by interim president Vidya Stokes, time till February 17 for the reply. “We may ask either for an urgent hearing or a double bench,” he said, adding the FIH, Mendiratta and the sports ministry have been informed about the development.

The world body wants an elected body to be in place before the February 28- March 13 World Cup which will be held in the Capital. But the latest event puts that in doubt.

“We can’t do anything about a court order. In any case, the World Cup is an issue handled by the FIH and the Indian Olympic Association,” Batra said.

According to the FIH constitution, a country without a properly- elected hockey body cannot

Mail Today



HI elections deferred indefinitely

B Shrikant


The Hockey India (HI) elections have been deferred once again ---this time indefinitely following a stay order issued by the Jaipur bench of the Rajasthan High Court.

Justice RS Chauhan had on Friday stayed the operation of the minutes of HI meeting of January 11, 2010 in which affiliation was given to 30 state units and four institutions and boards.

The Rajasthan Hockey Association (RHA), which was recognised by the now-suspended Indian Hockey Federation and has been in existence for around 60 years, was denied affiliation. Instead, a new ad-hoc body called Hockey Rajasthan was recognised. RHA went to court challenging HI's decision and got the stay.

The HI board met in New Delhi on Saturday and decided to defer the elections for an indefinite period, following the advice of the returning officer GS Mander.

"Board members of Hockey India held an urgent meeting and have unanimously decided to defer the elections till a final decision is taken by the Rajasthan HC," HI secretary general, Narinder Batra said in a release on Saturday.

HI, along with the Sports Ministry, the Rajasthan government and its Sports Council, the Indian Olympic Association, IOA president Suresh Kalmadi, Rajasthan Olympic Association and Hockey Rajasthan have been asked to submit their replies to the notice within four weeks.

This means, the elections cannot be held until after the World Cup in New Delhi, starting on February 28, unless the stay is lifted. Mander, on receiving the legal notice, concluded that elections cannot be held on February 7 because the entire Electoral College has been stayed, the HI release said.

HI claimed that it has kept the international hockey federation (FIH), the Sports Ministry, election observer of the government and IOA observer updated with the development.

However, government observer, SK Mendiratta, said he came to know about the decision from the media and would comment on the situation only after ascertaining the scope of the HC order.

This is the third time that the elections have been postponed.

They were first set to be held on November 18, 2009 but were postponed to January 29, 2010 as the affiliation process was not complete. The polls were deferred again, on January 8, as HI was not able to issue the 21-day notice for the elections. HI, on January 12, decided to hold the elections on February 7, barely three weeks before the World Cup.

Hindustan Times



Hockey India election deferred

Mihir Vasavda


The Hockey India (HI) elections, scheduled for February 7, have been deferred yet again, the interim office-bearers of the national body said on Saturday.

The election, which has already generated a lot of controversies, was postponed due to a stay order from the Rajasthan High Court.

The office-bearers of HI met on Saturday for an emergency meeting and decided to put off the elections indefinitely till the court gives the final decision.

“We didn’t have any other option. We have to abide by the court order and wait until the matter is resolved,” HI treasurer Narendra Batra told DNA.

The elections, which have already been postponed a couple of times, were to be held before the hockey World Cup scheduled for February 28-March 13 in New Delhi, but the latest legal development is bound to delay it further. HI referred the matter to the Returning Officer GS Mander along with a copy of the said order and minutes.

“The court has stayed the operation of the minutes of the meeting January 11 in which 30 states/union territories and 4 institutions/ boards were granted affiliation,” HI said in a statement.

“The matter was referred to the returning officer, GS Mander, who after taking legal advice, has directed HI to defer the elections till the final decision is taken by the Rajasthan High Court, because the entire electoral college of HI has been stayed,” HI said in a statement.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has in the past warned HI to conduct the elections before the World Cup begins. Now with so little time for the quadrennial event to start, it remains to be seen what stance the FIH takes.

When contacted, FIH spokesman Arjen Meijer said they would react only by Monday. But on that day, more trouble could follow HI with two crucial hearings in the Delhi High Court and the Mumbai High Court lined up.

Surprises in Electoral College

Meanwhile, election observer BK Mendiratta released the Electoral College to the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs earlier after a day’s delay. The list did throw up some surprises, with the big one being KPS Gill being named as the New Delhi representative.

Former secretary of the Indian Women’s Hockey Federation Amrit Bose, who was also a strong contender, found her name being struck off from the list. Another big surprise was the omission of Hockey Karnataka (HK).

The list says that the names of HK representatives haven’t been received but the association’s secretary Krishnamurthy says he has the evidence of him sending the names. Batra, though, clarified the issue.

“They have sent their names on the Karnataka Hockey Association (KHA) letter pad. KHA is affiliated to the now-dissolved Indian Hockey Federation and not to us. Despite repeated requests, they didn’t change it. They just have to change the name on the letter head and their affiliation will be done,” Batra explained.

Suresh Kalmadi, who was speculated to be vying for the president’s post, has been left out of the list representing the Maharashtra Hockey Association. Ikram E Khan and Leena Walia will represent the state.

JB Roy, also one of the big players, will represent the Bengal Hockey Association. There is also a dispute concerning Hockey Chandigarh, which will be settled by the Returning Officer on the day of election. An array of former players, Pargat Singh, his bete noire Thoiba Singh, Neeta Dumre and Savitri Purty’s names are in the list.

DNA



Hockey India polls put on hold: India may lose World Cup

NEW DELHI: The ad hoc body of Hockey India (HI) on Saturday deferred the February 7 polls, putting a question mark over India hosting the World Cup. The world body (FIH) had stated last year that India could stage the World Cup - slated to begin on February 28 - only if an elected body was in place before the tournament.

HI secretary general Narinder Batra said a Rajasthan HC order staying operation of minutes of a January 11 meeting in which 30 states/Union Territories and 4 institutions/boards were granted affiliation, had forced them to take this decision. Batra also added that it was a unanimous decision.

HI had referred the matter to returning officer GS Mander, ‘‘who has directed HI to defer the elections till the final decision is taken by Rajasthan HC because the entire electoral college of HI has been stayed’’.

This decision has caught the sports ministry by surprise, which refused to comment on the development. ‘‘We will have to study the order,’’ said an officer. Even FIH refused to comment. ‘‘We don’t work on Saturdays. We will respond on Monday,’’ Arjen Meijer, FIH’s communication manager, told TOI.

The timing of the decision raises a few questions. The judgment came on Friday but there was no reaction from HI then. They waited the whole day on Saturday and sent the release late in the evening.

This also brings into question the role of returning officer GS Mander. The ministry has seriously objected to his appointment against guidelines issued by the election observer. In fact, the ministry has moved the High Court over his appointment.

It’s anybody’s guess how FIH will react now but world body president Leonardo Negre’s comments on his recent visit here would give hope to the ministry and HI that the World Cup would not be affected. Negre had praised India’s efforts towards getting the National Stadium ready in time and had said he was keen to see hockey flourish in India.

It seems HI officials will now go into appeal against the order in a higher court and try to get the stay lifted. The nomination process was to begin on Sunday.

The Times of India



Hockey India election deferred

NEW DELHI: The Hockey India election scheduled for February 7 and which has already generated a lot of controversies was on Saturday deferred yet again because of a stay order from the Rajasthan High Court.

The office bearers of Hockey India met for an emergency meeting and decided to put off the election till a final decision is taken by the Rajasthan High Court.

The election which has already been postponed a couple of times was to be held before February 28-March 13 Hockey World Cup here next month, but the latest legal development is bound to delay it further.

Hockey India referred the matter to the Returning Officer GS Mander along with copy of the said order and Minutes. The Returning Officer after taking legal advice has directed Hockey India to defer the elections till the final decision is taken by the Rajasthan High Court, because the entire electoral college of Hockey India has been stayed," a HI statement said.

"Hockey India has received an order from the High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan, Jaipur Bench, passed by Justice RS Chauhan. The Court has stayed the operation of the Minutes of the Meeting dated 11th January, 2010 in which 30 States / Union Territories and 4 Institutional / Boards were granted affiliation," it added.

Earlier, incensed at Hockey India's move to ignore the 60-year-old Rajasthan Hockey Association and give affiliation to the newly formed ad-hoc body on January 10, RHA officials moved the court.

"Hockey India has kept the (games world body) FIH, Sports Ministry, Government's Election Observer (SK Mendiratta) and IOA Observer updated about the developments," the statement said.

"The Judge vide order dated 22nd January, 2010 after hearing the Counsel for the Petitioner has issued notices in the Writ Petition to the respondents and directed that the rules to be made returnable within four weeks," the statement added.

The election, which have been postponed twice, were supposed to be held last year, but were pushed back to January 29, and had to be deferred again after HI was not able to give 21 days' election notice to the Sports Ministry for the same.

The Times of India



No representation of Chandigarh, Karnataka in HI polls

NEW DELHI: Chandigarh and Karnataka will not get the right to vote in the Hockey India elections scheduled to be held on February 7 as there was no representation of the two affiliated units in the list made public by the sports ministry.

A day after Hockey India (HI) missed the deadline to release the voters list, the ministry brought out a list of authorised representatives of the 64 affiliated member states and union territories.

The statement, however, said there is a misrepresentation by Chandigarh, while no name was received from Karnataka.

"Hockey Chandigarh (Names sent Mr. Chander Shekhar & Mrs. K Atma Ram). It has been observed that there has been misrepresentation by Hockey Chandigarh. Chandigarh Olympic Association has sent a letter that they have not recommended any unit from Chandigarh concerning hockey for affiliation," the statement said.

"Returning Officer to take decision on their status," it added.

The statement also said that affiliated units, namely, Services Sports Control Board, Railways Sports Promotion Board, Inter-University Sports Board of India and Air India Sports Division will have voting rights only after amendment of constitution in the AGM.

"They will be entitled for voting rights only after amendment of constitution in the AGM," it said.

Government observer SK Mendiratta received the full list of electoral college for the February 7 elections from the HI interim president Vidya Stokes. Hockey India was supposed to release the list on Friday.

Earlier, former secretary general Mohammad Aslam had made public the list of units who have been granted recognition by the HI affiliation committee and had accused the body of lack of transparency.

"They will be entitled for voting rights only after amendment of constitution in the AGM," it said.

Government observer SK Mendiratta received the full list of electoral college for the February 7 elections from the HI interim president Vidya Stokes. Hockey India was supposed to release the list on Friday.

Earlier, former secretary general Mohammad Aslam had made public the list of units who have been granted recognition by the HI affiliation committee and had accused the body of lack of transparency.

The Times of India



Protests over nominations to HI electoral college

NEW DELHI/CHENNAI: Hockey India's (HI) list of electoral college has some curious inclusions and omissions, kicking up another storm ahead of February 7 election.

While the names of the representatives of Hockey Karnataka are missing, the footnote mentioning that no nominations were received, the former secretary-general of the All India Women's Hockey Association (AIWHA) Amrit Bose has been left out from the Delhi nominees even though she is the secretary of the state association.

Ministry-appointed observer SK Mendiratta said that if the Karnataka association has sent their nominations and it has received the acknowledgement their names will be included.

As for Amrit Bose, he said there is nothing he could do if her name does not figure in the list submitted to him. A source close to Bose said that she was shocked to find her name missing from the list.

The source said her name was removed without her knowledge and that as secretary Hockey Delhi she has every right to attend the meeting. She was replaced by Sudarshan Pathak.

Interestingly, the president of the superseded Indian Hockey Federation KPS Gill is back in circulation and will represent Delhi at the HI General Body Meeting. He could even be in the running for presidency.

Speculation over Suresh Kalmadi becoming HI president has at last been put at rest as he will not be representing any state association to contest, though it was said he might get nominated from Maharashtra.

JB Roy, another candidate for presidency, has been nominated from Bengal. He was instrumental in getting Sahara India Pariwar release Rs 1 crore for the immediate payment to the agitating players.

The Hockey Karnataka (HK) is exercised over the omission of its representatives from the list of voters released Saturday by HI president Vidya Stokes.

Stokes, who took charge following the resignation of AK Mattoo in the wake of players' rebellion, released a list of 64 units and its representatives.

When contacted HK secretary Kannan Krishnamurthy said from Bangalore that he was unaware of the latest development, but pointed out that it was a deliberate act of omission.

"How is it possible? We have duly complied with all the requirements as specified by the Hockey India's election notice with regard to documentation. I am certain that this is a deliberate act to keep us out of the election process.

"I have spoken to Mendiratta and he advised me to speak to Hockey India officials. I called Mrs Stokes, but she said she was busy with a Congress party meeting and asked me to contact her tonight," said an angry Krishnamurthy.

The HK executive committee had authorised Krishnamurthy and Kamala Srinivasan as its representatives to the electoral college.

He said the necessary documents were sent to HI by email, courier and fax, and they have been delivered. A separate fax was sent to Narendra Batra, the HI treasurer who is also handling secretarial duties, he added.

Krishnamurthy and HK president RK Shetty, will be flying to Delhi on Monday to meet Mendiratta and also HI officials.

Curiously, Krishnamurthy along with Bose and Batra were the leading contenders for Hockey India's plum post of secretary-general.

Former India captain Pargat Singh, who is also in fray for the post of HI secretary-general, has been nominated by Hockey Punjab.

The fate of the election itself will be decided Monday when a division bench of the Delhi High Court hears the response of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on the sports ministry's plea for replacing the returning officer.

The Times of India



Pargat, KPS Gill nominees for HI polls

M.S. Unnikrishnan


New Delhi: Battle lines have been drawn for the Hockey India elections with HI acting president Vidya Stokes forwarding a list of 60 authorised representatives from 32 State units to Government observer for the election S.K.Mendiratta. Prominent names figuring in the list are Hockey Punjab secretary-general Pargat Singh, former Indian Hockey Federation president KPS Gill, representing Delhi, Hockey India treasurer Narinder Batra (Jammu and Kashmir), president Vidya Stokes and cricket official Anuraag Thakur (Himachal Pradesh), Rajeev Mehta of Uttarakand, who was in the affiliation committee and J.B.Roy of Bengal, who had raised a banner of revolt when Hockey India Ad Hoc Committee was formed, and the merger process was set in motion.

Each State unit has recommended a male and female representative while Karnataka was the only State which did not forward any names. Hockey Chandigarh's representatives Chander Shekhar and Mrs K. Atma Ram have not been accepted by Hockey India as according to Stokes, "it has been observed that there has been mis-representation by Hockey Chandigarh". She said the Chandigarh Olympic Association had sent a letter, saying that it had not recommended any unit from Chandigarh "concerning hockey for affiliation". She has left it to the returning officer "to take a decision" on Chandigarh's status.

Following are the final list of representatives of the various State units for the Hockey India elections after the expiry of the nomination date yesterday: Hockey Jammu and Kashmir: Narinder Batra and Mohinder Kaur; Hockey Bihar: Md. Mushtaque Ahmed and Meenakshi Singh; Hockey Haryana: M.L.Tayal and Subhita Dhaka; Maharashtra Hockey Association: Ikram E Khan and Leena Walia; Hockey Nagaland: K Viphrezo and Khruhituonuo; Hockey Tripura: Rupak Debroy and Mahua Kar; Hockey Uttar Pradesh: Andeshwar Pandey and Pushpa Srivastava; Hockey Assam: Himanta Biswa Sarma and Kalyani Deka; Hockey Orissa: Pratap Sathpathy and Sanjubala Mohanty; Hockey Andhra Pradesh: V Dinesh Reddy and Sangeetha Rani Gummi; Hockey Mizoram: H Khiangte and Zothankimi; Hockey Gujarat: I.D.Nanavati and Pravina R Shelar; Hockey Chattisgarh: Firoz Ansaari and Neeta Dumre; Hockey Manipur: Thoiba Singh and Nirmalata Devi; Hockey Jharkhand: T.P.Sinha and Savitri Purti; Goans Hockey: Rodento de Souza and Frell Furtado e Gracias; Hockey unit of Tamilnadu: N.R.Radhakrishnan and M Renukalakshmi; Hockey Rajasthan: Arun Saraswat and Shobha Singh; Hockey Punjab: Pargat Singh and Anupam Vashisht; Hockey Delhi: KPS Gill and Sudarshan Pathak; Hockey Arunachal: Gunjum Haider and Kohman Lungphi; Hockey Himachal: Anuraag Thakur and Vidya Stokes; Hockey Meghalaya: Raj Kakati and Sumita Singha; Hockey Andaman and Nicobar: V.A.Shiyad and Lally Joseph; Hockey Uttarkhand: Rajeev Mehta and Neeraj Singh; Bengal Hockey Association: J.B.Roy and Suravi Mitra; Hockey Puducherry: R Ejilane and Asha Gupta; Hockey Kerala: M.M.Abdul Rehman and Mariamma Koshi; SSCB: Capt. U.K.Thapa; RSPB: Rakesh Yadav; IUSBI: Gurdeep Singh; AISD: Dr Ramesh Nambiar.

The Tribune



Withdrawal threat!

By Jugjet Singh


NUR Insafi of Penang beat Sapura 4-1 at the Bukit Serindit Stadium in Malacca yesterday, and then threw a bombshell when their coach S. Thaitchana said he will withdraw the team from the quarter-finals if the Malaysia Hockey Federation (MHF) says no to his home-andaway request.

The MHF plans to hold all the quarter-final matches, starting on Friday, in Kuala Lumpur, but Thaitchana feels it will rob him of home ground advantage.

“My stand is clear, if the MHF does not allow us to play in Penang in the two-leg quarters, I will withdraw the team. It does not make sense as the MHF said it is keen to promote hockey at the states, and then deny us the chance to play in front of our crowd,” said Thaitchana.

Thaitchana also said that he has made his request known to MHF, but it has indicated it will not budge from the decision.

“If MHF is not willing to budge, I am also not willing to budge, and I am prepared to face the consequences of being banned.

“We can live with that as it becomes pointless playing in the MHL if it is run unprofessionally,”said Thaitchana, who is also the club president.

UniKL-Ibil also dished out a surprise of their own when they held Maybank 4-4 in their final Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division league match.

It was actually a full dress rehearsal for the quarter-finals, as they will square off again in the last eight on Friday.

Nur Insafi and Sapura will also square off again in the last eight.

Yesterday, K. Gobinathan set the tone for Maybank with a fifth minute penalty corner goal, but Nor Faeez Ibrahim equalised in the seventh, and the match went into high gear. Nor Faeez then gave Unikl-Ibil the lead in the ninth minute, and Taufik Hamid made it 3-1 in the 27th.

Maybank came back strongly with goals from Gobinathan (28th), Hafifi Hafiz (40th) and Suhaimi Ibrahim (52nd). But in the final minute, Amir Farid scored a field goal to give the young side a well deserved draw.

In another match, Nur Insafi scored off Vinod Kumar (10th, 66th), Kul Bushan (15th) and Nur Hrsikesa (56th). The Sapura goal was scored by S. Kuhan in the 34th minute.

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club’s (KLHC) unbeaten record was shattered in the last league match when they lost 4-3 to Tenaga Nasional. Amin Rahim scored a hat-trick for Tenaga (33, 63 and 67), while Tajol Rosli added the other in the 52nd minute. KLHC got their goals off Razie Rahim (ninth), Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (25) and Shahrun Nabil (41).

League champions KLHC pocketed RM30,000, runners-up Tenaga RM20,000 and third-placed Maybank RM15,000. Division one champions UiTM received RM20,000, ATM Airod RM15,000 and Malacca City Council RM10,000.

New Straits Times



Nur Insafi cry foul

By S. RAMAGURU


KUALA LUMPUR: Penang’s Nur Insafi are contemplating pulling out of the knockout stage of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division if the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) insist on playing their two-leg quarter-final tie against Sapura in Kuala Lumpur.

Nur Insafi coach S. Tatchanamurthy said the MHF were neglecting the team who were the only outstation side in the MHL.

“It is only reasonable that one leg be played at our home venue (in Penang). It was alright when they played the preliminary rounds on a carnival basis across the peninsula,” said Tatchanamurthy.

“Is this the MHL or the KL League? We have made the request but MHF are unwilling to consider it. Thus we are thinking of withdrawing from the quarter-finals,” he said.

Nur Insafi are the only team to hire foreign players for the league. They have 15 foreign players in their ranks and they finished fifth after the preliminary rounds ended yesterday.

The first leg will be played on Jan 31.

What irks Tatchanamurthy more is that they have to pay for their own accommodation and transport in the knock-out stage.

The other teams received a transportation allowance and were provided accommodation for matches in JB, Penang and Malacca.

Nur Insafi, on the other hand, had to pay for two out of the four trips to KL for the preliminary rounds.

“That is downright unfair as the other teams get their expenses covered each time they play outside KL. Why are we given RM2,500 for transport while teams who went to Penang were given RM3,000?” asked Tatchanamurthy.

“I am just fed up with the double standards and may withdraw from the knockout stage,” he added. “Nur Insafi could be banned (for withdrawing) but we can live with that as it has become pointless to play in the MHL.”

The Star of Malaysia



Hat-trick hero Amin helps Tenaga inflict first loss on KLHC

By PERCY D’CRUZ


Unbridled joy: MHL Premier Division champions KLHC players celebrate with the prizes yesterday. — A. MALEX YAHAYA / The Star


MALACCA: Mohd Amin Rahim scored a hat-trick as Tenaga Nasional rallied from two goals down to defeat newly crowned Malaysia Hockey League Premier Division champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) 4-3 in their last match at the Malacca City Council Stadium here last night.

The loss was KLHC’s first in the league but they had every reasons to smile as they pocketed the RM30,000 prize money as the champions, which they sealed at the Johor Baru round last weekend. Tenaga received RM20,000 for finishing as the runners-up.

KLHC had gone two goals up through Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim in the 17th minute and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Jalil (25th) but Mohd Amin reduced the deficit two minutes before the break.

KLHC restored the two-goal advantage in the 41st minute through Mohd Sharum Nabli Abdullah but gritty Tenaga hit back to level the score through Tajol Rosli Mohamed (52nd) and Mohd Amin (65).

Mohd Amin went on to complete his hat-trick and seal Tenaga’s shock victory three minutes from time.

In the other two matches, 13 goals were scored with Nur Insafi stunning fancied Sapura 4-1 while Maybank came back from a 1-3 deficit to draw 4-4 with UniKL-IBIL.

Nur Insafi started off aggressively to take a 2-0 lead with goals from Vinod Kumar Jagbir Singh (10th) and Kul Bhusan Vashist (15th).

Former national defender S. Kuhan pulled back a goal for Sapura in the 34th minute off a penalty corner. However, two goals after the break through captain Anesh Kumar Shanmugam (58th) and Vinod (63rd) gave Nur Insafi a comfortable 4-1 win.

The UniKL-IBIL match saw end-to-end action and kept the large fan turnout on the edges of their seats.

After K. Gobinathan put Maybank ahead in the fifth minute UniKL stormed back to take a 3-1 lead just before half-time with goals from Mohd Noor Faeez Ibrahim (7th and 9th) and Mohd Sabri Mohamed (27th).

Undaunted, Maybank levelled the score at 3-3, through Gobinathan (28th) and Hafifihafiz Hanafi (40th). The bankers nosed in front in the 52nd minute through Suhaimi Ibrahim. However, Amir Farid Ahmad Fuzi had the final say, clinching a last-minute equaliser for UniKL for a rousing 4-4 result.

The Star of Malaysia



PSHA to find solution to save pitch

By K. Kandiah


PENANG State Hockey Association (PSHA) will come out with its own report on the Muiara Impian Sports School synthetic hockey pitch next week.

PSHA secretary Ranjit Singh said its technical committee is in the midst of discussing the statement released by the Education Ministry on Thursday.

“PSHA will come out with its own report. Although the ministry’s statement seems to be convincing, we are looking at a solution.

“We will also come out with possible suggestions to overcome the problem of the pitch not meeting international specification so that it will be a win-win situation for all concerned.

Until the reports are out,PSHA will refrain from making further comments,” Ranjit said yesterday.

The sports school’s synthetic pitch has attracted attention after it was revealed that it did not meet International Hockey Federation (FIH) specifications.

The Education Ministry, in its statement, confirmed it had known from the start the playing surface was not according to specifications. The ministry said it decided to go ahead with the pitch’s construction despite knowing there was inadequate space as it had to take the safety of the students into consideration.

The statement had added that the intention of the pitch was for exposure purposes as training on the artificial turf, despite it not meeting requirements, would help the players if selected for state or national teams.

New Straits Times