News for 25 January 2010

All the news for Monday 25 January 2010



Dejection in Duisburg


Scotland’s senior women suffered only their second demotion in what was to prove an unlucky thirteenth participation in the European Indoor Nations “A” Division Championship in Duisburg on Sunday when they were held to a 3-3 draw by Poland.

It was also a bitterly disappointing way for Grove’s Linsey Glass to gain her 50th indoor cap. A milestone which was marked with the captaincy for the make or break game which was to prove a hard fought affair. Few clear chances were created early on with Scotland controlling the game and they were rewarded in the thirteenth minute when a ball driven in from the left by Julie Bryce was cleverly deflected past the Polish keeper by CALA Edinburgh Ladies’ Amy Brodie. However Scotland once again failed to hold on to the lead and were caught out by two rapid counter attacks as they struggled to cope with the pressing game being employed by their opponents  and that left them trailing 2-1 at half time.

The Scots came out fired up for the second period and early green cards were exchanged as passions were running high with so much at stake. The Polish keeper pulled off two fine saves to keep her side ahead before Vikki Bunce (Dundee Wanderers) netted a rebound to take her personal tally to an excellent eight goals for the tournament following good lead up play from Amy Brodie. The Poles came straight back and converted  a short corner to restore the lead but this time Scotland produced an immediate response when from a well drilled corner routine Vikki Bunce slipped the ball to her club mate Julie Bryce who fired home the equaliser.

The excellent Dundee Wanderers keeper Carmin Dow then produced a wonderful save to keep hopes alive before being withdrawn in favour of a kicking back for the final minutes as Scotland chased the elusive goal they craved but to no avail. The Head Coach Gordon Shepherd said “I am extremely proud of the girls and could not have asked for more. The commitment they showed over the weekend was fantastic.”

Belarus and Poland retained their status while Lithuania join Scotland and are demoted to the Trophy in two years time where they will attempt to make an immediate return to the top flight.  

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Late show saves Spain


England began their World Cup build up with a hard fought draw against the world’s number three side Spain in Cadiz thanks to goals from HGC pairing Barry Middleton and Ashley Jackson.  Overall, it was a close affair which was lit up by three goals in a frenetic final few minutes.

It was Jackson, playing in his 40th game for England, who nearly opened the scoring as early as the fourth minute when he was set up after good work by Middleton down the right hand side.  Unfortunately for the Kent-born midfielder his effort was well saved by the Spanish goalkeeper.

England, playing in their first competitive fixture since losing to Spain in the fifth place playoff at the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy in Melbourne in early December, looked good in possession throughout, seeing plenty of the ball in a tight opening period.

And Jason Lee’s side was rewarded for that control with a half time lead courtesy of captain Middleton, who finished off from close range in the 21st minute.  It was Middleton’s 32nd goal for England in 125 appearances.

Into the second half and England were grateful to their Cannock goalkeeper James Fair who produced a number of crucial saves as Spain looked to get back on level terms.  In particular, two saves from dangerous Spanish penalty corner efforts which looked destined for the back of the net.

Although still enjoying good spells of possession, England found themselves under more intense pressure from Spain as the match wore on and with England looking like they might hold out for a narrow 1-0 victory Spain’s Juan Lainz struck to make it one apiece with just three minutes remaining.

The English response was immediate.  From the restart Barry Middleton drove powerfully forward before splitting the Spain defence with a fantastic through ball to Jackson.  From the most acute of angles there did not look to be much danger but such is the skill of the 22 year old that he managed to fire home to put England into a winning position with just over 60 seconds left on the clock.  Spain, however, were not finished and Ed Tubau netted the hosts’ second goal with the final act of the match to secure a 2-2 draw.

Speaking after the game, England team manager Andy Halliday, who last weekend coached England’s indoor team to gold at the EuroHockey Indoor Nations Trophy and Indoor World Cup qualification, said, “We’re disappointed to have conceded so late on today after getting ourselves into a winning position but overall this was a better performance from us than in yesterday’s uncapped practice match.”

That practice match had to be abandoned after heavy rain made the pitch dangerous but there were no such problems for today’s first test.  The two sides will meet again at 11:30am local time (10:30am GMT) on Tuesday in the second and final series fixture.

SPAIN 2 (0)

Juan Lainz 67 (F)             
Ed Tubau 70 (F)             

ENGLAND 2 (1)

Barry Middleton 21 (F)                
Ashley Jackson 69 (F)      

England Squad v Spain, 24 January 2010

Started


James Fair (Cannock) (GK)
Richard Mantell (Reading)
Richard Smith (Loughborough Students)
Ben Hawes (Surbiton)
Alistair Wilson (Beeston)
Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead)
Ashley Jackson (HGC)
Rob Moore (Surbiton)
Iain Mackay (Reading)
Barry Middleton (HGC) (Captain)
Jonty Clarke (Reading)

Substitutes Used

Richard Alexander (Surbiton)
Adam Dixon (Beeston)
Alastair Brogdon (Bowdon)
Nick Catlin (Loughborough Students)
Matt Daly (Surbiton)

Did Not Play

Nick Brothers (Reading) (GK)
Simon Mantell (Reading)
James Tindall (Surbiton)

England Hockey Board Media release



Andy Halliday disappointed as England held

By Emily Benammar


England were unlucky to concede a late equaliser in their 2-2 draw with Spain on Sunday as the build-up to their World Cup campaign got under way in a tough two-match series in Cadiz.

With just over a month until the 12-nation tournament in New Delhi, captain Barry Middleton gave England a 1-0 lead after 21 minutes.

Cannock goalkeeper James Fair kept Spain at bay but, just as Jason Lee’s side looked likely to hold on for victory, Juan Lainz equalised with three minutes left.

England’s counter-attack was led by Middleton whose precise through-ball was met by Ashley Jackson to put the visitors back in front from an acute angle.

Spain, however, were not finished with Ed Tubau scoring a second equaliser in the dying seconds.

England team manager Andy Halliday said: “We’re disappointed to have conceded so late on today after getting ourselves into a winning position but this was a better performance than in yesterday’s uncapped practice match.” The two sides meet again tomorrow.

The Telegraph



Smith sees Slough to title

By Patrick Rowley


Slough Ladies claimed the English Indoor League title for the 8th time in  15 years at Whitgift School yesterday.

Needing to win their last game to finish above Canterbury on goal difference, Slough coasted to a 3-0 victory over former champions Chelmsford.

Jane Smith, the former international, scored all three goals to finish easily the events’ top scorer yet again, this time with 24 goals in 8 games.

Slough will be joined at the indoor championship finals, at Nottingham on Jan 30/31, by runners-up Canterbury, Leicester and holders Bowdon Hightown.

Canterbury who lost to Leicester in December but beat Slough 3-0 in the opening match of the week-end, emulated their 2003 team by finishing runners-up.

The Telegraph



US Three Nation Series open with a practice match


CHULA VISTA, CA - The Women's National Team opened their series with the Netherlands today at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. The 2008 Olympic gold medal winners, the Netherlands are the number one field hockey team in the world and a good opportunity to gauge the growth of the U.S. team as they prepare for the 2010 AtaHolding Women's World Cup Qualifier in March.

Today's game was played as an informal practice with three 25-minute periods. The Dutch controlled most of the play early, and ultimately the USA allowed five goals through the three periods. The Dutch also limited the American offense to a handful of opportunities.

"We defended very well, especially in the first 15 minutes," said Technical Director of High Performance Terry Walsh, "but we had difficulty out-letting the ball to the front line."

The contest also included a golden goal practice session. Deep in the Dutch end, the USA executed some crisp passing, and some nice stick work by Rachel Dawson led to a quick goal for the Americans. The day ended with a session of penalty strokes.

"That was a really good finish for us for the first day," said Carrie Lingo, team captain. "We're always working on things, from the goalies all the way to the forward lines, we all had different objectives today."

"You try to train every possible situation," said Men's National Team Head Coach Nick Conway, who assisted with today's game. "The same goes for the penalty corners. There's also a physical aspect as, well - both teams are playing 75 minutes, running hard. You want to see how athletes react in those situations.?It's a higher pressure environment, one mistake and it's over. "

The series continues Tuesday, January 26 at 1:00pm. USA Field Hockey encourages all fans to attend the test series. All matches for this series are open to the public and attendance is free. An autograph session with the USA Women's National Team will follow the Sunday, January 31 contest.

USFHA media release



Gill inaugurates reconstructed National Stadium

Sports Reporter


NEW DELHI: Inspired by the timely completion of the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Union Sports Minister M.S. Gill on Sunday re-assured that the remaining venues for the Commonwealth Games would be ready in time.

He inaugurated the remodelled stadium and dedicated it to the country. Mr. Gill saluted the 2000 workforce for their efforts and greeted some of them in person. “This was possible only because of the workers who worked day and night in this winter,” he said.

He had a word of encouragement for the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) for building the world-class hockey stadium, also the venue for the World Cup to be held from February 28 to March 13.

The Sports Minister said though work started very late, all venues would be completed before the Commonwealth Games in October.

“The other venue which started late was the (Karni Singh) shooting range. But it will be the best shooting range in the world,” Mr. Gill said, adding that the scenic beauty of the range would be very impressive.

According to an official, the deficiency in the media box would be rectified. “The stand will be done as per international standards,” he said.

Officials of the Commonwealth Organising Committee were conspicuous by their absence at the function where the first facility for the Games was formally opened. Sources said that the OC was not invited for the function.

Talking about the Government’s stand on Hockey India (HI) elections, the Sports Minister stressed that the polls should be fair and transparent.

“A clean, accurate and correct electoral roll is the basis of all elections. Then, the Returning Officer should be independent and not be linked in anyway. The list of voters should come before the country and all States should know about it. It should be acceptable to India. Openness must be there and our officers are trying for it,” Mr. Gill said.

The HI elections were postponed on Saturday after a court order stayed the minutes of a meeting in which affiliations were finalised. The International Hockey Federation (FIH), time and again, had been insisting that a democratically-elected HI should be in place before the World Cup.

The Minister said his office would get in touch with the FIH to get a clear picture on the conduct of the mega event.

Referring to the ongoing court cases relating to the HI elections, the Minister said, “all decisions of the court will be acceptable to us.”

Mr. Gill reiterated the Government’s resolve to cleanse all sports from doping. About the reported objection of the International Weightlifting Federation on the presence of some “tainted” officials in the newly-elected Indian federation, the Minister said, “we will think about the weightlifting body. People cannot hang around like that. If you do not deserve, then you should step aside for a while.”

Mr. Gill was of the opinion that innocent weightlifters should not suffer because of others’ fault.

The Hindu



Gill Opens Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium

New Delhi – Sports Minister M.S.Gill Sunday opened the revamped Major Dhyan Chand National stadium, the first Commonwealth Games venue to be finished, and said other venues for the October mega event will be completed on time.

The remodelled stadium, which is scheduled to host the hockey World Cup Feb 28-March 13, is the first among the Commonwealth Games venues to be opened.

The stadium, revamped at a cost of Rs.262 crore, is spread over 36 acres, has three synthetic pitches, two conforming to international standards and the third a practice pitch. New polygrass turf has been laid on all the pitches which are equipped with new sprinkler systems.

The stadium has a sitting capacity of about 16,200 spectators. The second pitch outside the main arena has 900 permanent seats and a provision for 1,600 temporary seats.

‘The facilities in the stadium are state-of-the-art. So much work has been done in the stadium that you can say it is almost new. It is one of the best hockey stadiums in the world,’ Gill said.

The stadium was originally built in 1933 as an amphitheatre. It was renovated for first Asian Games held in 1951 and then for the 1982 Asian Games.

‘The stadium has a rich legacy. It is synonymous with Indian hockey. It brings back memories of my childhood when I came here with my father from Meerut during the first Asian Games to see India play in the football finals. I remember Mewalal scoring a bicycle kick goal. Today, I recall those nostalgic moments,’ Gill said.

Gill said the stadium could be completed on time because of the hard work of the engineers and the 2000 workers.

‘When I first visited the stadium last year, it was in a mess with construction work going on and I wondered whether it could be completed on time. But the CPWD engineers, Sports Authority of India officials gave me assurance that it will be done on time.’

‘It could be possible because of them and more importantly the 2000 people, who come from all over the counrty, and have worked day and night in this cold, to complete the work in one year,’ Gill said amid loud applause from the guests and the workers.

‘We got the hosting rights of the Commonwealth Games in 2003. I do not know what happened in five years, but since I came in 2008, I have visited the sites regularly. I have sat with the officials and made sure that the work is completed.’

‘I can assure you that with the opening of this stadium, we have made a beginning and now you will see the venues will be completed one after another. Yes, we could have finished the work one year in advance, like they are doing in London, to get the facilities tested, but at least we can ensure that the venues will come up well before the Commonwealth Games.’

Gill used the opportunity to take a dig at the national sports federations.

‘If you don’t deserve to be there, then you should voluntarily and happily step aside,’ Gill said while talking about the Weightlifting Federation of India (WFI) that has been newly elected following the doping mess.

Vamban.com



Jewel in the crown could help hockey shine again

C Rajshekhar Rao


New Delhi: The Major Dhyan Chand Stadium gives hockey’s world body a ‘showpiece venue’ for the game, Indian administrators an edifice to be proud of after criticism for tardy work at Commonwealth Games venues, and provides the public hope of watching some top-class matches in the coming months.

The stadium, originally christened as the Irwin Ampitheatre (1933) but more popularly known as the National Stadium since the 1951 Asian Games, was inaugurated by the sports minister, Dr MS Gill, here on Sunday.

“The facilities in the stadium are state-of-the-art. So much work has been done in the stadium that it is almost like new. It is one of the best hockey stadiums in the world,” Gill said proudly after inaugurating the revamped structure that also was an important venue during the 1982 Asian Games.

The stadium, which comes under the central vista of the city and has thus been planned keeping in mind certain restrictions, will be used for the hockey World Cup starting February 28 as well as during the Commonwealth Games in October.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) chief Leandro Negre is hoping that the new venue, which has three synthetic surfaces in all, will give a fillip to the game worldwide. “This will surely be one of the best hockey venues worldwide,” he said recently about the Dhyan Chand Stadium, which retains its original flavour in brick colour but still manages to pull in the best of facilities.

Former hockey star Ashok Kumar is naturally amongst those elated at the revamp of the stadium, which was named after his father in the year 2002.

“It is an honour for our family that the stadium is going to be such a top class facility for hockey. We are all thankful that my father is being remembered with such pride so many years after his death,” said Kumar. “I vividly remember playing in the ‘Asian All Stars’ match here in 1975. That was a time Indian hockey was at its peak (India won the World Cup that year). It was an electric atmosphere then and one I always associate with the stadium,” he averred rather nostalgically.

Kumar also remembers the time its maintenance was ignored. “We used to stay there for long durations. There were times when the rooms were dingy and the corridors rather dark and smelly. But it was nevertheless a part of all of us ,” he added. But now of course, things are likely to be different, what with central air-conditioning, electronic surveillance and retractable light towers being just some highlights.

“Indian hockey is going through a testing phase and I hope this period will also mark a new beginning for Indian hockey,” Kumar added.

DNA



National Stadium set for hockey spectacle

Age Correspondent


New Delhi: Sports minister M.S. Gill on Sunday opened the revamped Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, the first Commonwealth Games venue to be finished, and said other venues for the October mega event will be completed on time.

The remodelled stadium, which is scheduled to host the hockey World Cup February 28-March 13, is the first among the Commonwealth Games venues to be opened.

The stadium, revamped at a cost of Rs 262 crores, is spread over 37 acres, has three synthetic pitches, two conforming to international standards and the third a practice pitch.

New poly-grass turf has been laid on all the pitches which are equipped with new sprinkler systems. The stadium has a sitting capacity of about 16,200 spectators. The second pitch outside the main arena has 900 permanent seats and a provision for 1,600 temporary seats.

The stadium was originally built in 1933 as an amphitheatre. It was renovated for the first Asian Games held in 1951 and then for the 1982 Asian Games.

"The stadium has a rich legacy. It is synonymous with Indian hockey. It brings back memories of my childhood when I came here with my father from Meerut during the first Asian Games to see India play in the football finals. I remember Mr Mewalal scoring a bicycle kick goal. Today, I recall those nostalgic moments," Gill said on Sunday.

Gill said the stadium could be completed on time because of the hard work of the engineers and the 2000 workers.

"When I first visited the stadium last year, it was in a mess with construction work going on and I wondered whether it could be completed on time. But the CPWD engineers, Sports Authority of India officials gave me assurance that it will be done on time."

The Asian Age



Dhyan Chand Stadium ready for action

Shubhodeep Chakravarty


The floodlights shone brighter than sunlight as a revamped Major Dhyan Chand Stadium was inaugurated here on Sunday.

The stadium, which will host the hockey World Cup next month and is one of the venues for the Commonwealth Games (CWG) later this year, is spread across 37 acres with a main turf and two side turfs. Refurbished at a cost of Rs 262 crore, it now boasts of a newly laid poly-grass turf, basement parking and a seating capacity of 19,000.

MS Gill, Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, rated it as one of the best hockey stadiums in the world.

“I am proud to present it, especially, because many felt we wouldn't complete it on time. It is one of the best hockey stadiums in the world,” he said.

More than 2,000 workers were employed in the stadium's makeover. It is the first in the list of CWG venues to be completed so far. Siraj Ahmad, a worker at the site, said: “We worked from 8 am till 9 in the evening. The last one month was difficult because our working hours were increased and we had to brave the extreme cold.” For Abdullah, another worker at the stadium, it was a day of 'resounding' success.

“The man on the mike (referring to M.S Gill) sounds happy. It must mean something good for us, and, we have been promised a grand lunch,” he said.

While the outside wall of the stadium resembles a small fort from medieval times with three domed minarets on top of the entrance, the interior looks suave and modern.

Hindustan Times



Delhi has world class hockey venue now

Mohammad Amin-ul Islam


NEW DELHI: Sports minister MS Gill appropriately used the urdu word az-sar-e-nau (anew) for the remodelled and reconstructed Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium which was inaugurated on Sunday. It is the first Commonwealth Games venue in the Capital to be completed and showcased to the world.

The historic stadium, where the first Asian Games were held in 1951, will begin its new journey with the hockey World Cup which begins on February 28, unless of course, the world body (FIH) reacts negatively to the postponement of Hockey India polls.

Such worries looked far from the minister’s mind in the morning, as he proudly addressed the media inside the stadium. There was lots of pressure over deadline delays in the past month or two and he was relieved at the completion of the work. "I dedicate it to hockey lovers across the globe," Gill said and described it as a ‘brilliant architectural marvel.’

During his half-an-hour speech, the minister even took a stroll down memory lane when he vividly described the sheer joy of watching Sahu Mewalal scoring the winning goal in Indian football team’s 1-0 win over Iran at this very venue during the 1951 Asiad final.

"Let’s not get into criticism mode over delays in venue completion. At times we should also appreciate the good work that has been done," he said, adding, "Let’s salute everyone, including the wage labourers who have put in tremendous effort day in and out to complete this stadium."

Built in 1933 as an amphitheatre, National Stadium was originally called Irwin Amphitheatre. It was renovated for the Asian Games in 1951 and later for the 1982 Asiad.

"It has become such a beautiful ground for hockey that I would like to play on this turf again," gushed former India captain Zafar Iqbal.

For those who haven’t been to the ‘original’ ground, its slick new look would definitely be an attraction. As many former players said, it can definitely compete with the world’s best hockey stadiums. "We should have more and more events here. It will be good for the game as well as for the stadium," said a former player.

One thing which will interest hockey fans is the fact that the view from the stands will be much better now. The stadium has got an international look with modern changing rooms equipped with sauna, massage, lockers and other facilities. Add to that plush lounge, modern media rooms, cafeteria and lifts and it surely compares with the best in the world.

Sneak Peek

Total renovation cost: Rs 262 crore
Spread over 37 acres
Centrally air-conditioned, fitted with lifts
Two synthetic pitches and a third for practice
New polygrass laid on all the pitches
Total capacity: 16200 spectators
State of the art sound system with acoustic effects
Computer operated sprinkler systems
Floodlights to provide 2200 lux illumination
Two scoreboards on right and left flanks overlooking the spectators area
State of the art facilities for players like change rooms, relaxing rooms
Uninterrupted power supply

The Times of India



FIH can't take World Cup away: Kalmadi

Mihir Vasavda


Mumbai: In the end, it seems the international hockey federation (FIH) might backtrack over its ultimatum given to Hockey India (HI): conduct elections or no World Cup.

The FIH has maintained that HI’s failure to conduct the polls before the World Cup would result in India losing the right to host the event. However, in spite of a stay order on the elections issued by the Rajasthan HC on Friday, there is little the FIH can do to implement its ultimatum.

“Anyways, the World Cup is a joint venture between the IOA and the FIH. So HI doesn’t really come into the picture directly. I don’t think they can take the World Cup away from us,” IOA president Suresh Kalmadi told DNA.

It is highly unlikely that the HI elections will happen before the World Cup, if the court stay order is not lifted. HI polls were deferred for the third time after the Rajasthan HC stayed the minutes of a crucial meeting held on January 11.

The ad-hoc body is expected to appeal to the higher court on January 27 requesting that the stay order be lifted.

FIH said they will make an announcement on Monday and it will be interesting to see if they continue to remain stern. The international governing body’s president Leandro Negre wasn’t comfortable with the idea of the HI elections being held so close to the World Cup.

“We need to have a proper body in place to run the sport. It needs to be formed before the World Cup. It is essential if India is to host the event,” Negre had said.

A World Cup organising committee member said: “It will be difficult logistically too. Everything is ready in Delhi and to move it or cancel it so late would be irrational.”

DNA



Money meant for hockey players, not a fund: Chouhan

V Narayan Swamy


BANGALORE: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Chouhan added a new twist to the women’s hockey imbroglio, making it clear to the Union sports ministry on Sunday that his government’s contribution of Rs 1 crore was meant for the players and not for the creation of a fund.

In a breakfast meeting with the hockey team at his residence in Bhopal, Chouhan expressed solidarity with the team by sporting a black armband and said he would check with the sports ministry what it intended to do with the money. "He told us that if the ministry insisted it was for the National Sports Development Fund, he would want the cheque back," goalkeeper Dipika Murty told TOI.

Chouhan, who spontaneously offered Rs 1 crore to sports minister MS Gill on Friday, reportedly clarified that he had meant it to be distributed among the players. "He said he was taken aback when the ministry said the money would go to a fund."

The CM also promised the girls that if the ministry did not hand over the money to them by January 28, he would give cheques of Rs 1 lakh each to the 41 probables as well as the coaches and support staff during a dinner that he is scheduled to host on the day.

Chouhan also revealed to the girls how he was forced to approach the ministry with the money after both Hockey India and Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi did not respond to his offer. "He said he had called both Hockey India and Kalmadi to say that the money was ready and that he was keen on taking care of our needs. Kalmadi, who had rushed to the Pune camp to hand over the cheques to the men’s hockey team recently once Sahara contributed Rs 1 crore, did not bother to reply. Hockey India too apparently did not care," Dipika said.

The seniors in the team thanked the CM for his gesture and said that the money ought to be distributed equally among all the players and team officials. "That would come to Rs 2 lakh each for 50 of us. The seniors did not want graded payments because they realised that the juniors, some of them in dire need of funds, would get a negligible sum in the bargain."

He also backed the team’s black armband protest against Hockey India - that entered the fourth day on Sunday - once the girls told him the reasons behind their decision.

"At one point of time, he urged us to end the protest as his government was ready to extend all financial help. But we told him that we had started it all not because we wanted the incentives but parity with their male counterparts and a deal that would secure women hockey’s future," Dipika said. "This is like rakhi to me," Chouhan remarked.

The Times of India



Madhya Pradesh Pays Out Rs.1 Crore, Offers to Support Hockey Teams

Bhopal – Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan Sunday said it was a ‘national shame’ that the both the Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams had to protest for their money, and offered to provide all necessary facilities to the teams.

Meeting players of national women’s hockey team at his residence here, Chouhan said he met union Sports Minister M.S. Gill in Delhi Friday and presented him a cheque of Rs.one crore for the payment and allowances of women hockey players.

He said that if payments were not made to women hockey players even after this, the state government will give cheques of Rs.one lakh each to all the players who are getting coaching at Bhopal camp.

‘Hockey has been pride of the nation. At a time when we could not win medals in any other game, it was hockey which had brought gold medals from Olympics and international competitions,’ the chief minister said.

Chouhan exhorted the women hockey players to forget everything and concentrate on their game, advising them to ‘move ahead and win’. He said the state government will not only extend facilities of training and sports to the players but will also solve their domestic problems.

Assuring the women hockey players he was with them, he also sported a black band on his arm.

The players presented a hockey stick signed by them to him.

Indian women’s hockey team captain Surinder Kaur, former captain Mamta Kharab and senior player Deepika Murthy were among the players who met Chouhan and the meeting was an initiative of the State Hockey Academy coach and former Olympian Ashok Dhyanchand.

Vamban.com



Olympian blames incompetent officials behind hocky crisis

JAMSHEDPUR: Expressing concern over the prevailing situation in Indian hockey, former Olympian Harbhajan Singh on Sunday blamed few incompetent officials for the present crisis that the national game is finding itself in.

"These officials hardly had anything to do with sports activities but grabbed the top posts to fulfil their own interests," Singh said.

Singh, the first Indian to have represented the country in two sports disciplines (handball and basketball) at international meets including in the 1980 Moscow Olympics (Basketball), also alleged that some of the officials had conspired against former Hockey India (HI) President AK Mattoo to recently oust him.

"Everything is not well in Hockey India." He also wondered as what prompted Suresh Kalmadi, the President of Indian Olympics Association (IOA) to intervene when Mattoo was holding talks with hockey players over the issue of their outstanding dues.

Singh, who was the vice-captain of Indian handball team at the 2nd Asian handball championship held at Nanking, China in 1979, said that the prestige of the country is at stake with the next month's Hockey World Cup in Delhi.

He suggested that the hockey officials as well as IOA must learn something from IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, who has been organising cricket championships with overwhelming success and within the stipulated timeframe.

The Times of India



‘Hockey players should be getting their dues’


Hockey Olympian Harbinder Singh who has represented India in three consecutive Olympics— winning a gold in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and bronze medals in the Mexico Olympics and Munich Olympics held thereafter, is quite peeved at the recent developments in Indian hockey. The hockey great holds Hockey India responsible for the sorry state of affairs.

Talking to The Indian Express, Harbinder who was in city on Sunday as chief guest for the under-14 ‘Babu’ hockey said, “Episodes like players going on strike or wearing black bands during practice bring disrepute to the nation as the world sees the shabby treatment meted out to the players. I hold Hockey India responsible for the entire thing. Had it been giving the players their proper dues, they would not have been compelled to go on strike. Who knows whether the new body would have carried out the promises made by the present HI officials. When you talk about merger men’s and women’s hockey bodies, then women players should also be getting equal money.”

“From whatever I have come to know about HI through the media, be it giving affiliation to state units before elections or the treatment meted out to the players, I am quite suspicious about the way of its functioning. It does not seem to be much bothered about the welfare of the players and hockey development.”

Regarding India’s preparations for the upcoming World Cup, the 1966 Asian Games gold medallist said in a candid tone, “The preparations have been good. We have a foreign coach also and the team has gone on tours abroad but it would be good enough if India is able to make it among the top six as the top 12 teams of the world will be participating in the event and winning a medal is really tough. It would be just great if we are able to attain a medal.”

He says for hockey revival, it is essential that national hockey championships are organised every year. “Proper nationals should be organised every year as nationals are the right platform to select the players for the Indian team. Teams of different states have to participate in the nationals, therefore, the state associations and district associations also become a lot more active and start organising tournaments and selection camps to chalk out talent.”

The hockey veteran feels that it is quite important for players to be athletes. It instils confidence in you. “I still remember when in 1967 representing the Railways, we defeated the Services team which also featured Milkha Singh in the 4x100 m relay race during the All India Open Athletic Meet at Punjab. Being a good athlete always helped me in making moves on the hockey field,” he explains.

Indian Express



GSF grant for Rani and Savita

BANGALORE: Two members of the National women’s hockey team, Rani Rampal and Savita Poonia, will receive a grant of Rs.4,000 each per month, from the Bangalore based Go Sports Foundation, according to the media release of the GSF.

The 15-year-old Rani Rampal, who hails from Shahbad in Haryana belongs to an economically backward family, with her father making a living as a cart puller and brothers working as carpenters.

Rani plays as a forward and she was the top goal scorer and was also adjudged the most promising young player at the Champion’s Challenge tournament held in Kazan, Russia in June, 2009.

She also played a pivotal role in the team winning the silver at the Asia Cup held in November 2009.

Savita Poonia, also hails from Haryana and is an upcoming goalkeeper.

M.K. Kaushik, the National women’s team coach, praised the support extended to the two players by GSF. “It will boost their morale,” he added.

The Hindu



MS Gill questions HI affiliation process

NEW DELHI: Sports Minister MS Gill, on Sunday, questioned Hockey India's (HI) electoral college and said a clear and transparent poll process is essential for its election.

Gill's statement came a day after HI's February 7 elections were postponed indefinitely following a stay order issued by the Rajasthan High Court on the entire electoral college.

"Everybody knows what is going on in hockey and my ministry is trying hard to fix all the issues. I heard about the cases going on in Delhi, Bombay, Karnataka and Rajasthan and the sports ministry's stance would be very clear before the court that we want free and fair elections," Gill said on the occasion of the inauguration ceremony of Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

"There are associations like Bombay, Delhi and Karnataka, which are existing for the last 70-80 years and it's not that they are not run democratically.

"The world body (FIH) wants one unit in one state but it does not mean you remove the names of those who are democratically running hockey in those states," he added.

The Sports Minister's statement would give a fillip to the state hockey associations of Bombay, Karnataka, Delhi and Rajasthan, who have been embroiled in legal battles with HI on the recognition issue.

Gill also said that sports ministry officials would get in touch with the International Hockey Federation on the recent development, which had raised serious doubts over the conduct of HI polls before the February 28-March 13 World Cup.

"The Rajasthan HC stay order has changed the scenario completely, but my officials will be speaking to Leandro Negre (FIH President) and see what can be done," he said.

The Sports Minister also reiterated that the HI polls must be free and fair and the new office bearers should be acceptable to the countrymen.

"A clean, accurate, correct electoral role is the basis of all federations. My formula is that the elections must be clean, clear, transparent, fair and acceptable to India because India is a vibrant democracy," Gill said.

Meanwhile, the Sports Minister lauded the workers for completing the National Stadium in time before the World Cup.

He also rated the newly-built stadium, which would also play host to hockey event during this year's Commonwealth Games, as the best venue for the game in the world.

"It (National Stadium) is the best hockey stadium in the world. I congratulate everyone who is involved in building the stadium. The biggest contribution has been given by the workers. I salute the 2,000 workforce who worked night and day to built it," Gill said.

The Times of India



Gill blasts HI for the entire mess

HT Correspondent


Sports Minister, MS Gill, on Sunday blamed Hockey India (HI) for the deferment of its elections. He said isolation of some state units from the affiliation process had caused the latest debacle.

Speaking at the inauguration of Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, Gill questioned the logic behind denying affiliation to certain state units.

“Units like Bengal, Bombay and Madras have existed for over 60 years. Are all of them running on undemocratic lines?” he asked. Gill said that he had instructed the Sports Ministry officials to update the international hockey federation (FIH) on the recent development.

Elections were postponed on Saturday for the third time after a Rajasthan High Court bench granted a stay on implementation of the minutes of the HI meeting on January 11 in which affiliations was granted to the newly formed Hockey Rajasthan, ignoring the claims of the Rajasthan Hockey Association that has been in existence for nearly 60 years now.

With elections a bleak possibility before the Hockey World Cup starting on February 28 here, Gill said the Sports Ministry would present a clear stand in the court.

“We want to improve the game in the country and we will explain this in court. We want a free, fair and clean HI too,” he said.

“The world body (FIH) wants one unit in one state but it does not mean you remove the names of those who are democratically running hockey in those states,” Gill said.

Gill's comments would be music to officials in Mumbai, Vidarbha, Hyderabad and Bhopal who are fighting against the one-state-one-association rule.

However, it is altogether another matter that during his recent visit to Mumbai, FIH president Leandro Negre said the sport's world body has not forced this rule on Hockey India.

The sports minister’s comments prove that he too is not in favour of denying affiliation to states units already in existence.

Hindustan Times



Gill Blames HI for Election Postponement

New Delhi – Sports Minister M.S. Gill Sunday blamed Hockey India (HI) for the postponement of the elections to the body, saying that some democratically-run state associations were left out of the electoral college leading to the current crisis.

Gill also said that he has asked his officials to talk to the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and discuss the development arising out of a stay by Rajasthan High Court on the issue of affiliations to state units.

‘There are some state units like Bombay, Madras, Bengal etc that have been in existence for 70-80 years. I don’t believe that all of them are not run democratically. The world hockey body has one-state-one-unit rule, but that does not mean that the names of these old associations are removed and new bodies granted affiliation,’ Gill said on the sidelines of the opening of Major Dhyanchand National Stadium.

Asked whether the HI elections could be held before the World Cup as mandated by the FIH, Gill said: ‘FIH chief Leandro Negre had told me that he had two demands, a unified body of men’s and women’s team and HI elections before the World Cup scheduled Feb 28. We also want free, fair and democratic HI.

‘Now, there are some court cases in Rajasthan and Delhi. I have spoken to my officials to talk to FIH and make them aware of these developments.

‘Our stand will be clear in court that we want to see the benefit of the game in the country and the players. Elections should be free, fair and transparent. We will accept whatever the court decides.’

HI elections were postponed for the third time Saturday following a stay order from Rajasthan High Court over the affiliations granted to units Jan 11. Rajasthan Hockey Association (RHA) has challenged the affiliation given to a newly formed ad-hoc body, saying that their association had been in existence for over six decades and it has the recognition of the state government as it has been formed under the state sports act.

Another matter related to HI elections is in Delhi High Court over the appointment of returning officer. Delhi High Court has sought the response of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on the sports ministry’s plea for replacing the returning officer.

HI had appointed Wrestling Federation of India president G.S. Mander as the returning officer, overlooking ministry’s guidelines that a retired judge should be appointed for the post.

‘We have maintained that the returning officer should be an independent person. I have handled elections in India and I know certain things,’ the former chief election commissioner said.

Gill also raised doubts over the election process of the HI.

‘The electoral role is the basis of all elections. The list of voters should be circulated and people should know about it. There should be openness in the entire process. Everybody should know what is going on. India is a democratic country and elections are held in a manner that is clear, transparent, visible and acceptable to the country.’

Vamban.com



Pargat: "I was humilated for ten days"

K. Arumugam


New Delhi: "In the name of affiliation, I was humiliated for ten days" rued Pargat Singh today speaking to journalists here in Punjab Bhawan.

"I wanted to contribute, my State Punjab wanted to contribute. We want affiliation to Hockey India, but what I got was utter humiliation", the veteran of 300 caps said.

"I was asked to come down to Delhi daily for almost ten days, and was dragged to floor after floor, forced to deal with small small chamches' of Kalmadi".

"I was not asked anything about hockey, but only some comma is not here, not there like that."

"I was asked to openly support Suresh Kalmadi as the president of Hockey India if my State is to be given affiliation. I told I am interested in hockey, not in others. If there is a bargain, I will not take it, instead I will take on Kalmadi on this", the Olympic captain asserted.

This is first time a player and also a member of the electoral college of Hockey India, has openly came against Suresh Kalmadi, though in the know-how always dounted the the dubious role of Suresh Kalmadi.

Asked to name the people who acutally humiliated, he refused to take names, but hastned to add:, "Will reveal their name in appropriate time". Kalmadi has put chamches every where, they are only faces, the actual man who holds the string is Kalmadi only.

"Am against anybody who is against hockey. In the last two years, what we have seen on hockey is making mockery of the sport", agitated Pargat explained further.

He also called upon former players to play a positive role. "They should not just keep complaining. Whatever there are today, it was because of hockey. Am whatever today, all because of the sport. We all have a duty to support hockey also". Pargat Singh is Secretary of Hockey Punjab, has a vote in the election. His bold outbursts and timing, conclude many, points to the fact that he commands respect of electoral college and stands a good chance of projecting himself for a strong post.

Stick2Hockey.com



Pargat Singh lashes out at Kalmadi

Sports Reporter


NEW DELHI: In a scathing attack on Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi, former India captain and Hockey Punjab Secretary Pargat Singh on Sunday alleged that the IOA chief was indulging in “horse-trading” to gain power in Hockey India.

Pargat questioned the postponement of the HI elections on the plea that the Jaipur High Court had stayed the minutes of a meeting in which affiliations were finalised.

“If the problem is regarding the affiliation of the Rajasthan unit, then (HI) should file an application in the court for restricting the stay to that State and conduct the elections,” he told mediapersons here.

(Even before Pargat made the suggestion, HI had initiated moves to approach the Rajasthan High Court for relief, sources said on Sunday. There were two meetings held on January 11, one that finalised the list of affiliated units and another that drew up the election schedule, according to sources. Details of the court decision would now be sought to ascertain which of the minutes were being stayed. Further moves in Jaipur is likely on Wednesday or Thursday.)

Pargat said: “They were afraid of the election. So it was deferred. After seeing the electoral college, they were not confident,” Pargat said.

“A lot of drama has been going on. Before giving us affiliation, I was told by Kalmadi’s followers in HI that we would get affiliation if we accept him. This is (horse-trading) and I will fight against it till it gets right,” he said.

Referring to the instability in HI before the World Cup, the former India captain said the country’s prestige was at stake.

“World Cup or no World Cup, they want power,” he said.

Pargat listed a few inconsistencies in the HI election process and demanded the stepping down of the Wrestling Federation of India President and IOA Vice-President G.S. Mander as the Returning Officer for the polls.

He praised Sports Minister M.S. Gill’s sincerity to conduct transparent elections.

Pargat invited Kalmadi for an open debate to seek public opinion. “My fight is not personal, it is on principles,” the former India captain said.

Later, Kalmadi issued a statement denying Pargat’s allegations. He said that being the IOA President and Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee he was fully occupied and had no time or interest in taking over hockey.

“I have a national duty to perform to ensure that the Commonwealth Games are conducted successfully,” he said.

Kalmadi also said that according to his understanding Hockey Punjab was given affiliation by HI within one day “after submission of all their documents.”

He said as Joint Chairperson of the Governing Board he was also responsible for the smooth conduct of the coming World Cup Hockey.

He said he was also keen to see that Indian hockey players were given their incentives from time to time.

The Hindu



Kalmadi runs a Sports Mafia, says Pargat

K. Arumugam


It is a different battle for veteran hockey players Pargat Singh. He is not fighting for the place in the team -- which he had enormous -- but sees no vicious circle scores a wrong goal.

The defender of yore, came out today with scathing attack on those who spoil Indian sport

He squarely blames Suresh Kalmadi of running a Sports Mafia, which is holding the Hockey India election to ransom.

"Kalmadi was president of Athletic Federation of India, has not done anything worthwhile to improve it. Why is he intereted in hockey, what does he want to acheive here. It's because of his greediness to usurb hockey, it has become a mockery today", he said.

"We assured the world that the Hockey India election will be held before the World Cup. Now it is stopped, which I feel it is due their wantom mismanagment. Kalmadi does not want to be ashamed of it, that India cannot even hold an election."

"Kalmadi wanted to become Hockey India president. But could not get nomination from any State. Having known that he cannot now contest, he and his cronies are indulging in delaying tactics", said Pargat in a belligerent mood.

"Kalmadi is president of IOA, taking care of all sports in India. However, I have to take him head on because sometimes we have to fight against our paresnts. I am helpless except exposing this gentleman, who obviously put all his chamchas everywhere".

"Am involved with hockey for about 30 years now, I have emotional attachment with it. I cannot leave dying, I will fight to finish to save hockey", Pargat Singh, who also heads Punjab Sports Department", said.

"I bore lot of humiliation of Kalmadi's mafia, I bore because of hockey. Now that am cornered, helpless, I will take on him".

He also challenged Kalmadi. "Let him openly come and fight me. Let us have a public debate, let us see whether he gets at least 10 percent of public support. The Indian public world know about him, about me", Pargat thundered.

The present crisis in Indian hcokey is going on almost two years from now, after KPS Gill has been sacked. If hockey is a mockery today, only Kalmadi is solely responsible for this", he went on.

"I am even forced to think even KPS Gill's regime was better than Kalmadi's".

"Kalmadi failed to provide parental touch, instead made hockey a mockery".

When asked hockey is bankrupt today, as they don't seem to have money with them, why then Kalmadi will be interested in hockey, Pargat shot back: He is greedy, has a disruptive mind".

Kalmadi also played double game in the name of affiliation. Maharashtra Olympic Association did not give letter of approval for Maharashtra hockey, still they got approval, but not Chandigarh. They picked and chose, their criteria is will you vote for me. This cannot happen, as we are geninely democratic country.

Pargat Singh is a big name amidst the large sporting pantheon of India. He is highly decorated Indian hockey player. His outbursts comes at a time the Hockey India is in the thick of all wrong news, players payment issue etc.

Pargat, by coming out openly, has put the ball in the court of Kalmadi. He has to do lot of exlanation, and of course stay clear of hockey.

Suresh Kalmadi, IOA President's official reply to Pargat Singh's Allegations

Mr. Pargat Singh has made some personal attacks on me which I totally deny.

I am the President of the Indian Olympic Association and Chairman Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games, which keeps me fully occupied.

I have no time or interest in taking over Hockey. I have a National duty to perform to ensure that the Commonwealth Games are conducted successfully.

I understand that Hockey Punjab was given affiliation within one day after submission of all their documents.

I am also responsible for the smooth conduct of the coming World Cup Hockey being staged by IOA and FIH of which I am the Joint Chairperson of the Governing Board.

I would also like to see that the Indian Hockey Players are given their monetary incentives from time to time.

Suresh Kalmadi, MP.


Stick2Hockey.com



'Sinister' Kalmadi out to control hockey: Pargat

NEW DELHI: Former India skipper Pargat Singh blasted Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president and 2010 Commonwealth Games organizing committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi on Sunday for the mess Indian hockey finds itself in, calling him a ‘‘sports mafia who is trying to take control of Indian hockey by any means’’. Kalmadi reacted by saying it was a ‘‘figment of Pargat’s imagination’’.

Pargat, who is now the secretary of the newly-formed Hockey Punjab, said Kalmadi was behind the deferring of Hockey India’s February 7 elections, which has put a question mark over India hosting the World Cup in New Delhi.

‘‘He is up to something sinister and got the elections postponed on purpose. He is playing dirty games. People like him don’t bother about the country’s image. They will not care even if the World Cup is shifted out of the country,’’ Pargat said. ‘‘Things were better in the KPS Gill era.’’

The erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation led by KPS Gill was dissolved by IOA and an ad hoc body of Hockey India (HI) constituted last year.

Former India skipper has hit out at Suresh Kalmadi for the postponement of Hockey India’s (HI) elections and accused him of "trying to control hockey by any means". Hockey’s world body (FIH) president Leanardo Negre had insisted that India could get to host the World Cup only if an elected body was in place in time. Hockey’s premier tournament is scheduled to begin on February 28.

On the elections, Pargat alleged, ‘‘Kalmadi and his men got scared after he failed to get nomination from Maharashtra despite putting so much pressure on the Maharashtra Hockey Association, and that’s why they deferred the election. He wanted to be the president at any cost. They cited the Rajasthan High Court order as the reason but all they should have done was to submit an application to vacate the stay and gone ahead with the elections,’’ Pargat said.

He also alleged that Kalmadi’s men tried to deny Hockey Punjab affiliation and that people close to Kalmadi had tried to negotiate a deal with him. ‘‘I would call them Kalmadi’s cronies. They came to me and said in no unclear terms that Hockey Punjab would get affiliation if we agreed to support Kalmadi for the president’s post. I said we are just not interested. They made me make rounds of their office for 10 days before eventually recognizing us,’’ Pargat alleged. Pargat charged that Kalmadi was not bothered about the government’s letters and repeated reminders on the election process.

A rattled Kalmadi said he was ‘‘not interested in hockey’’. ‘‘I’m the president of IOA and I’m also the chairman of the (Commonwealth) Games organizing committee. My hands are full. I have a national responsibility. I’m also part of the organizing committee of Hockey World Cup and am doing my bit. I have no time or interest in running any other federation. Pargat is just imagining things.’’ Saying he only had the best interests of hockey in his heart, Kalmadi told TOI, ‘‘I intervened during the men’s team’s strike as it was in the interest of the nation.’’

Kalmadi reacted to Pargat’s allegations on Hockey Punjab by saying: ‘‘They were not giving all the documents. Once the documents were submitted, HI gave them affiliation. And as far as the Rajasthan HC order is concerned, I did not go to the court. That man, Rajkumar, who went to the court is Pargat and JB Roy’s (president of Hockey West Bengal) man.’’

‘‘It has not been easy merging the men’s and women’s hockey bodies in all states. HI has done its bit,’’ he added.

The Times of India



Pargat Singh calls Kalmadi a sports mafia

NEW DELHI: Former captain Pargat Singh on Sunday launched a scathing attack on Suresh Kalmadi, calling him a "sports mafia" who is trying to become the Hockey India chief by hook or crook even though the IOA president rubbished the allegation.

Pargat, the Hockey Punjab secretary, also blasted Hockey India for deferring its February 7 election in the wake of a Rajasthan High Court order and alleged Kalmadi was "up to something sinister".

He went to the extent of saying that the situation was better in the era of KPS Gill, who headed the erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation.

Kalmadi, on his part, rubbished the allegations, saying it was Pargat's "figment of imagination".

"I'm not connected with Hockey India, I have the Commonwealth Games to look after and so I'm not getting into all those things," Kalmadi said.

"It's all his figment of imagination, I have nothing to say about that," the IOA chief said.

Earlier, Pargat made a stinging attack on Kalmadi, blaming him for postponing Hockey India election on purpose.

"Kalmadi and his men got scared after he failed to get nomination from Maharashtra despite putting so much of pressure on the Maharashtra Hockey Association and that's why they deferred the election," Pargat alleged.

"They cited the Rajasthan High Court order as the reasons but all they should have done was to submit an application to vacate the stay and go ahead with the election," Pargat, also Punjab's Sports Director, said.

"It's because of such sports mafia that players go to the extent of revolting against the federation," he said.

Referring to Hockey Punjab's tussle with HI to get affiliation, Pargat said people close to Kalmadi tried to negotiate a deal with him.

"I would call them Kalmadi's lackeys who came to me and said in no unclear terms that Hockey Punjab would get affiliation as soon as we agree to support Kalmadi for the president's post. I said we are just not interested in any sort of trade-off and they made me make round of their office for 10 days before eventually recognising us," Pargat alleged.

Blaming Kalmadi for the recent hockey players' revolt, Pargat said, "No players fancies a situation like a revolt but when you don't get the parental touch from the federation, you probably have no other way. Kalmadi has messed up Indian hockey and is playing dirty games."

"People like him don't even bother about the country's image. Even if the World Cup is shifted out of the country, they would not bat an eyelid," Pargat said.

"I would say things were better even in the KPS Gill era," he said.

The former India captain said Kalmadi was in fact using some of the former players as his 'pawns' and was playing games.

"Under Kalmadi's leadership, a huge mess has been created and even the government letters had no effects on him," Pargat said.

Kalmadi, however, dismissed all allegations hurled at him and blamed the dissident groups of throwing in legal spanners to impede Hockey India's election.

"It's them who have moved the court and not us (which led to postponement of the election). And if I wanted, I could have been the president of the Maharashtra Hockey Association," Kalmadi said.

The Times of India



‘Kalmadi & Co sports mafia’


Peeved at the repeated postponement of Hockey India (HI) elections and the affiliation process, former captain and Hockey Punjab secretary Pargat Singh criticised IOA president Suresh Kalmadi, calling him a “sports mafia” responsible for stalling the process.

“Kalmadi and his men got scared after he failed to get nomination from Maharashtra despite putting pressure on the Maharashtra Hockey Association and that’s why they deferred the elections,” said Pargat, claiming that HI used the recent court order as an excuse.

“They cited the Rajasthan High Court order as the reason but all they had to do was to submit an application to vacate the stay and go ahead with the elections,” Pargat, who is also Punjab’s sports director, said.

“It’s because of such sports mafia that players go to the extent of revolting against the federation,” he added.

Addressing the media, Pargat said that Hockey Punjab’s affiliation was deliberately stalled in a bid to ensure Kalmadi’s election as HI president. “I would call them Kalmadi’s lackeys, who came to me and said in no unclear terms that Hockey Punjab would get affiliation if we agreed to support Kalmadi for the president’s post. I said we’re not interested in any trade-off and they made me run round for 10 days before giving us affiliation.

“Kalmadi has messed up Indian hockey and is playing dirty games. People like him don’t even bother about the country’s image. Even if the World Cup is shifted out of the country, they would not care,” he added.

‘No time for hockey job’

Kalmadi refuted the allegations, saying that he was not interested in running Hockey India. “I’m not connected with Hockey India, I have the Commonwealth Games to look after and I’m not getting into all those things. It’s all a figment of his imagination,” the IOA chief said.

“It’s them (the rebels) who have moved the court and not us (which led to the postponement of the election). If I wanted, I could have been the president of the Maharashtra Hockey Association,” said Kalmadi.

In a statement later, Kalmadi said: “I have no time or interest in taking over hockey. I have a national duty to perform to ensure that the Commonwealth Games are conducted successfully. I am also responsible for the smooth conduct of the coming hockey World Cup being staged by the IOA and FIH being the joint chairperson of the governing board,” he said.

Indian Express

 



I have no time for Hockey India job: Kalmadi

NEW DELHI: Rubbishing former captain Pargat Singh's allegation that he is hell bent on becoming the Hockey India president, IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi said he is so pre-occupied with this year's Commonwealth Games that he simply doesn't have the time or interest for the HI job.

"I am the President of the Indian Olympic Association and Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games, which keeps me fully occupied. I have no time or interest in taking over hockey," Kalmadi said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Pargat lashed out at Kalmadi, calling him a "Sports Mafia" and claiming his men had tried to negotiate an under-table deal with Hockey Punjab, of which Pargat is the secretary, to grant them affiliation provided they supported Kalmadi for the HI top job.

Kalmadi dismissed the claim and said, "I have a national duty to perform -- to ensure that the Commonwealth Games are conducted successfully.

"I'm also responsible for the smooth conduct of the coming World Cup hockey being staged by IOA and FIH of which I'm the joint chairperson of the Governing Board," Kalmadi added.

Rubbishing allegations of dilly-dallying with Punjab's affiliation, Kalmadi said, "I understand that Hockey Punjab was given affiliation within one day after submission of all their documents."

The Times of India



Kannur Lifts Junior State Hockey Title

Thrissur: Kannur District defeated Malapuram District to lift 39th Junior State Hockey championship held at Thrissur under the auspices of Kerala Hockey Association.Earlier Kannur defeated Wayanad (3-0) and Malapuram defeated Trivandrum (5-4) in the Semi finals. In the evenly fought final match both teams were locked to goal less draw in the regular time. Kannur overcame Malapuram via tie breaker. The final score was 4-3.

Promising players award was given to following players

1.Vishnu Raj (Goal Keeper)
2. Jobish (Defender)
3.Naushad (Midfielder)
4.Nikhil (Trivandrum)

Trophies amd Medals was distributed by Paul Aluvithingal, Standing Committee Member, Kerala State Sports Council. Bimaljith, Secretary, Kerala Hockey Association welcomed the gathering. Gafoor President, TDHA presided over the meeting, Prof E U Rajan Secretary, TDHA, rendered vote of thanks in the closing ceremony.

KERALA HOCKEY ASSOCIATION MEDIA RELEASE



Dream come true

Chandigarh lad Harjit Singh makes it to the senior hockey team for the SAF Cup

Vaibhav Sharma


Harjit Singh. Tribune photo: Vinay Malik

Chandigarh - Dream if you have the will to fight, work hard and realise them. For Chandigarh lad Harjit Singh, it has been a classic case of dedication and skill combining to form a success story. Harjit, who is a product of the Chandigarh Hockey Academy, has made it to the Dhaka-bound senior hockey team for the SAF Cup.

His coach Jasbir Singh Bajwa said, “Harjit is a very talented boy, with a very flexible body, which helps him in making acrobatic saves. He has never wavered off his aim and it is ultimately that single-minded focus, which has led to his selection. I am extremely proud of him and have very high hopes from him. This is just the beginning, and with more hard work, he will reach greater glory soon.”

A student of B.A. Part-I at SGGS College, Chandigarh, Harjit is not resting on laurels and realises that he will have to work extremely hard to keep his place in the side. “I know that this is a big step for me, but I also know that I need to stay focused. I want to train harder than before to ensure that my dream of doing well at the international stage is fulfilled. As of now, I am just thinking about playing my part in winning Gold for India at the SAF Cup.”

The Tribune



Nur Insafi's demand unlikely to be met

Jugjet Singh


THERE is only a slim chance that Nur Insafi will be allowed to play one leg of their Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division quarter-final match in Penang.

Nur Insafi coach, S. Thaitchana, who is also the club president, had said on Saturday that if the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) did not allow them to play one match in Penang, he will withdraw the team from the MHL.

Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary Hashim Yusoff said yesterday that Nur Insafi complicated matters because they did not protest during the three team managers meetings, and also did not submit an official request to play one leg of the quarter-final in Penang.

"First of all, I would like to say that the MHF held not one, as is the norm, but three team managers meeting before the MHL and it was pointed out clearly in the slide presentation that all the quarter-final matches will be held in Kuala Lumpur.

"None of the team managers protested then, and the MHF took it in good faith and made it part of the tournament regulations," said Hashim.

Hashim is also baffled why Thaitchana is harping on the issue this late in the competition.

"If they had any problems or suggestions, it should have been brought up during the managers meetings, and not this late.

"Also, I have not received any written request from Nur Insafi regarding their wish to play one match at home," said Hashim.

However, on goodwill, MHF will approach Nur Insafi's opponents Sapura and seek their views before making an official stand on the matter.

"We are here to promote hockey and so, purely on goodwill, we will ask Sapura if they are agreeable to play one match in Penang.

"But if Sapura refuse, and say that we should follow tournament regulations, we can't force them," added Hashim.

Nur Insafi, despite fielding 16 foreign players from India and Pakistan, still finished second from bottom in the League.

Thaitchana had also claimed that the club spent about RM500,000 for the league and had also hit out at biased umpiring. The club president had also said that he will only field a team for next year if MHF bring in foreign umpires, and now, Nur Insafi are willing to suffer the consequences of being banned if their request is not met.

An MHF official said MHF had bent backwards to accommodate many of Nur Insafi requests, but it looks like the club have hit a dead end this time.

"The MHF has spent close to RM40,000 on transport and accommodation on Nur Insafi alone. Then we also stepped in to help the club secure visas for their players when the Immigration Department refused.

"We also have records of providing Nur Insafi with additional hotel stay when they played in Johor Baru and Malacca.

"But I don't think Sapura are going to agree to play in Penang, and if Nur Insafi withdraw, they will have to suffer the consequences."

Fixtures -- Friday -- Quarter-finals (first leg): Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club v Airod; Tenaga Nasional v UiTM; Maybank v UniKL-Ibil; Nur Insafi v Sapura.

New Straits Times



KLHC now wants to win the MHL overall title

By S. RAMAGURU


KUALA LUMPUR: With the Premier Division title safely under their belt the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) will now turn their attention to winning the overall title to complete the double in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

In their march to the league title, KLHC registered only one loss in 10 matches. They lost their last tie to Tenaga Nasional on Saturday.

KLHC coach R. Vivekanandan said yesterday attributed the loss to a lack of concentration from his players.

“This drop in concentration happened in earlier matches and it was evident against Tenaga on Saturday. It is very bad to lose concentration and concede goals. The players are professionals and should not have a casual attitude during matches.

“We play Division One’s Armed Forces but it would be a folly to take them lightly. We have two matches to play and I expect the players to stay focused during both games.

“Our target is to win the overall title as well and each match from now will be different,” said Vivekanandan.

Armed Forces were the runners-up in Division One which competed their matches in October.

The first leg of the quarter-finals will be played on Friday while the second leg is slated for Sunday.

The semi-finals are set for Feb 5 and 6 while the final will be played on Feb 12.

KLHC also have their top penalty corner specialist Baljit Singh on the crock list but they are hoping that the one-week rest will be enough for him to recover. He did not play against Tenaga Nasional.

“We need him for the set piece moves. We are monitoring his knee injury and hopefully we can use him as a substitute in the knockout stage. Our penalty corner conversion rates are not good but the good things is that our forwards are striking it right with the field attempts.

“We will maintain our training schedule and do a late fitness test on Baljit before the match on Friday.”

Vivekanandan said fitness will be crucial as teams have to play five matches in 15 days.

Division One champions UiTM will play Tenaga Nasional in another quarter-final match.

Maybank will square off with Universiti KL while Sapura may enjoy a bye as their opponents Nur Insafi are threatening to withdraw if they do not get to play one of their quarter-final match at their home venue.

The Star of Malaysia