News for 02 June 2010

All the news for Wednesday 2 June 2010


FIH favouring Pakistan and India, says Bajwa

PHF secretary believes new changes in world hockey to benefit Asian teams


By Khalid Hussain


KARACHI: For years, Pakistan’s hockey chiefs have tried to pass the buck over the steady decline of the sport in the country by constantly blaming the International Hockey Federation (FIH) for making ‘anti-Asia’ rules and regulations.

The popular view in Pakistan and in India has been that the FIH is run by the Europeans which is why it continues to conspire against Asian hockey so that teams like Germany, Netherlands and Spain can dominate at the international level. The introduction of synthetics turf and a series of new rules implemented in the sport over the years are seen as the major reasons why the so-called Asian giants — Pakistan and India — have been reduced to the role of also-rans in the hockey world during the last three decades.

But ask Asif Bajwa, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary, and he will tell you a completely different story.

“They say that hockey in the sub-continent has suffered mainly because FIH took decisions that were aimed against Asia. I don’t buy it,” Bajwa told ‘The News’ in an interview on Tuesday. “In fact, I believe that it’s in FIH’s interest that countries like Pakistan and India bounce back and they know it which is why they are favouring us. They are keen to lift the sport in our part of the world because that would give hockey a huge boost at the international level.”

To back his point, Bajwa gives the example of a recently-held meeting in Singapore where the FIH’s influential competitions committee backed the idea of raising the number of teams for the Champions Trophy from six to eight. The committee also called for the scrapping for qualifying events for the World Cup and Olympics and instead voted in favour of launching an all-new ‘World Series’.

“The FIH is planning moves that will benefit teams like Pakistan and India,” said Bajwa, a former OIympian, who attended the Singapore moot. “We have been pushing for them since last year and have complete support from key nations in the FIH,” he added.

According to Bajwa, in future (after this year’s event) the Champions Trophy will have two additional teams that will be included through wild-card entries. Teams like former champions Pakistan and their old rivals India, who have been unable to qualify for the elite event in recent times, are expected to get those wild-cards.

After this year’s edition to be hosted by Germany, the Champions Trophy will be made a biennial event and will be next played in 2012.

The FIH is also set to launch a World Series that will help avoid setbacks like India’s failure to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. India, the most successful hockey nation in Olympic history, failed to win a qualifying event in Chile to crash out of the race for Beijing.

“According to the proposal, a World Series involving 28 teams will be launched that will serve as qualifying platform for the World Cup and Olympics,” said Bajwa.

The plan, Bajwa said, will allow more room to Asians who will be bracketed with teams from Oceania.

The new qualifying process for World Cup and Olympics will see the five continental winners, three top teams from the World Series and three more ‘top-ranked’ teams joining the hosts for the World Cup or Olympic Games.

“The new system will mean that a team like Korea will have three chances to qualify for the major events — by winning the continental round, or by finishing among the top three in the World Series or through its world ranking.”

The recommendations of the competitions committee will be forwarded to the FIH Executive Board which is expected to approve them this November.

The News International



FIH planning to introduce 2 wild card entries in CT: Bajwa

KARACHI: The International Hockey Federation is planning to introduce two wild card entries in the Champions Trophy from next year which will increase the number of competing teams in the prestigious event from six to eight, Pakistan Hockey Federation secretary Asif Bajwa said on Tuesday.

Bajwa, who had attended the FIH's competition committee's meeting in Singapore recently, told reporters that there was a proposal to introduce two wild card entries in the Champions Trophy from 2011 or 2012.

"The matter was discussed at the competition's committee meeting and the committee has now recommended that teams in the Champions Trophy be increased to eight with two wild card entries," he said.

India and Pakistan have been pushing for the wildcard system in the Champions Trophy after failing to qualify for the prestigious FIH event in recent years due to poor rankings.

Bajwa also said the FIH competition committee had recommended a world series of 24 teams from all the four continents.

"The proposal is to have 24 teams from Asia/Oceania, Europe, Panamerica/Africa continents with the tournament continuing between major events like the World Cup or Champions Trophy," he said.

Bajwa, a former Olympian, said the idea was to increase the popularity of hockey globally.

He said that the recommendations of the competitions committee would be discussed at the next Executive Board meeting of the FIH.

Meanwhile, the PHF secretary also said that Pakistan would be appointing a foreign coach for the national team later this month.

The Times of India



All-Pakistan Governor Gold Cup Hockey in Oct this year: Tariq Hayat

PESHAWAR: All-Pakistan Governor Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Gold Cup Hockey Tournament will be held here at Lala Ayub Hockey Stadium in October this year. this was stated by President Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Hockey Association Captain Tariq Hayat, Secretary Law and Order FATA, while briefing the mediamen soon after having met Governor Owais Ahmad Ghani here at Governor House on Tuesday.

Tariq Hayat, who called on the Governor along with Vice President of PHF Muhammad Saeed Khan, Secretary Syed Zahir Shah, discussed in detail ways and means for the promotion of hockey in the province in particular and in the country in general.  He disclosed that they discussed situation in the province besides he also apprised the Governor that currently Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Inter-District Junior Hockey Championship is continued in which 300 plus players are taking part. He said out of the Championship, 33 probables would be selected for the one-month camp.  After the Championship, he informed the Governor that the Senior Inter-District Hockey Championship will be commencing here at same venue from June 20, and out of that 33 probables would also be short-listed for camp so that nurseries of one junior and one senior would be established in the province.

He said that they have also discussed with the Governor about hockey infrastructure facility in the province. The Governor is very keen to have Astro-Turf facility in FATA besides he promised to take up the issue with the federal government regarding lying of turf at Bannu, Kohat, Mardan and Swat. The work on lying of turf at Swat has already been started while grant for the same has been released to laid down new turf at Lala Ayub Hockey Stadium.  He said now hockey is now turned on scientific line and such facility is very much essential to promote hockey. “We have only two turfs operational – at Abbottabad and Peshawar which are not sufficient,” he added.

He said under the Governor’s directives equal opportunity would be given to the players of FATA for this purpose, the association decided to field their teams in all tournaments, the association will be holding in future so that the tribal youth should come forward to exhibit their skills at national and international levels.

He said FATA is full of all games talent but lack of proper opportunity this talent could not find any platform to show their skills but now as directed by the Governor, teams from all seven agencies and six FRs would be constituted to have their equal participation in hockey.

He said the association also informed the Governor about the poor financial position of the association but despite that the association is organizing hockey activities on regular basis. The Governor, he said, has assured full support to the association. He said the Governor is very keen to have Governor Gold Cup in October this year in which top teams from all across the country will take part. He said during the Senior Inter-District Hockey Championship to be held in June, hockey umpiring and coaching clinics would also be organized for the local umpires and coaches to update them accordingly.

Associated Press of Pakistan



Pakistan Junior hockey camp starts

Staff Report


ISLAMABAD: National junior hockey camp for the upcoming Youth Olympic Games and European tour commenced at Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium, Pakistan Sports Complex, here on Tuesday with 32 players appearing in the first training session. Head coach Khawaja Junaid and assistant coaches Danish Kaleem, Anjum Saeed and Mohammad Ajmal conducted the training of the boys. Video analyst Nadeem Lodhi and Dr Asad also attended the training sessions. Talking to reporters, Junaid expressed his satisfaction over players’ physical condition and said the training camp would enhance their fitness and bring rhythm back. Youth Olympic Games will take place in Singapore while during the European tour, Pakistan will be up against Spain, Holland and Germany.

The Daily Times



Faisalabad, Karachi II, Sialkot and Lahore beat rivals

Staff Report


LAHORE: Faisalabad, Karachi II and Sialkot defeated their opponents on the third day of the PHF Inter Academies Hockey Tournament at the National Hockey Stadium here on Tuesday. While two matches were played in the evening session with Lahore and Karachi I scoring victories.

Title favourites Faisalabad crushed hapless Abbottabad 6-0 in the first match of the day. The winners were leading 2-0 in first half. Mohammad Umer Ihsan, Rizwan Ali and Muddassar Ali scored two goals each. The winners earned eight short corners but managed to convert only two while the losers got one. Karachi II downed Gojra 2-0. The first and second sessions remained goalless. Faizan Khan and Ibrar Azam sounded the board in 49th and 56th minutes respectively.

Sialkot outplayed Bahawalpur 3-1 in the third match of the day. Interestingly, the contest’s three of the four goals – 30th, 39th and 59th minutes – came from short-corners while one field goal was scored by Sialkot’s Hammad Zafar in 19th minute. Ahsan Khaliq converted two goals for Sialkot and from Bahawalpur Abdul Wahab reduced the margin.

Lahore crushed Hyderabad 8-0 after leading the first half 1-0 and second session 6-0. Scorers: Zohaib Hassan (20th, 22nd, 24th, 45th minutes), Owais Ur Rehman (25th, 30th minutes) and Aqeel Ahmad (28th, 46th minutes). In the last contest of the day, Karachi I defeated Peshawar 4-2 after leading the first half 1-0 and second 3-1. Scorers for Karachi: Arslan Haider (12th, 30th minutes), Arif Hussain (38th, 44th minutes. Peshawar: Waleed Hameed (22nd, 55th minutes).

The Daily Times



Terengganu relying on Faisal to deliver goals


KUALA LUMPUR: National hockey player Faisal Saari will shoulder a heavy responsibility for Terengganu in Sukma (Malaysia Games) in Malacca.

The 19-year-old Faisal will not only play in midfield but he also relied on to deliver both the field and penalty corner goals for the team in the Games.

Faisal was the top scorer for Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS)-Thunderbolt in the just concluded Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) with 16 goals. BPSS-Thunderbolt emerged as the league champions and overall runners-up.

Faisal said that it would be a big challenge for him to score goals against strong teams in their group.

“This will be the first time that I will feature in Sukma and expecations are high on me to give my best,” said Faisal, who has 34 international caps to his credit.

Terengganu are in Group A with defending champions Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan, Perak, Pahang, Kelantan and Sabah. Group B comprises Selangor, Penang, Johor, Kedah, Sarawak and Malacca. The top two teams in each group qualify for the crossover semi-finals.

Terengganu open their campaign against Negri Sembilan on June 10.

Faisal, who was in the national team for the World Cup qualifying tournament in Invercargill, New Zealand, last November, conceded that it would be a tough task for Terengganu to win their first-ever Sukma gold medal in men’s hockey.

“We are in the toughest group with strong teams like KL, Perak, Negri and Pahang. KL will be the favourites to reach the semi-finals as they have a number of national players,” he said.

“Therefore, we will be more than happy to finish among top three in our group. It is also going to be tiring for us to play six group matches in eight days. We will take one match at a time.”

Another BPSS-Thunderbolt player, Mohd Firhan Ashaari, who caught the eyes of national coaches Stephen van Huizen and Tai Beng Hai in the MJHL, will also feature for Terengganu in Sukma.

The Star of Malaysia



Asian style hockey is not dead

By Zakir Hussain Syed


I have now known Harendra Singh, the chief coach of Indian hockey team, for nearly five years. Ever since our first meeting, he has given me great respect and we have always been able to discuss issues and situations without any inhibition. In Ipoh, Malaysia, as soon as he spotted me from the ground, he walked up to the media box to greet me. We had plenty of discussions during this event including a formal interview because I did not want to write something which was not meant for public consumption and was restricted to just the two of us. He touched many sensitive issues during this interview. “I do not agree with people who say that Asian style is dead after the introduction of no off side rule. Yes, it has received a crippling blow but it has the inherent strength to regain its glory provided we put scientific research into our game development plans. If you look at the recently concluded World Cup matches in India, you will notice that the teams that performed well including ultimate champions Australia effectively used the Asian pattern of attacking through wingers. They had the added advantage of speed but skill artistry is the hallmark of Asian hockey and it continues to remain a dominant factor in international Hockey. What we have missed out on is strategic planning to strengthen our defense format after this major change. Even when we do concentrate on this vital aspect, it is at the senior level only which is too late. Our new defense strategy should invariably start at the junior most level and that is why we need our best coaches working at junior level which they are not inclined to.”

When I pointed out that we had lost our edge and success in international hockey after the introduction of no off side rule, he agreed but added: “Hockey has become a world sport because of Asian hockey and it will continue to be so because no other continent or nation has contributed to the attraction and appeal of the game as Asian artistry has. We need to keep this magic alive. That is why I keep on advocating revival of regular Indo-Pak series as soon as possible. I would also advocate that such series should be held in India and Pakistan and if this is not possible at this stage then at a neutral venue. The sooner the better. There can be no better training ground for our players than such a series. But most importantly, such a series will revive and generate massive public interest in the game. It will generate finances which can be used for the development of hockey in the sub continent together with cash for money starved national players.”

He was quite blunt in admitting that there is always a group of joy-riders in federations whose interest is restricted to foreign trips which invariably harms development. Commenting about the future prospects of hockey development in India, he said that there were nearly 1700 hockey academies in India under the IHF with a pool of about seven to eight thousand players who are being trained on scientific lines. “It will take time but these academies will ultimately throw up world class players capable of competing with the very best in the world.”

Though Spaniard Brasa is the main coach of the Indian team, Herendra Singh has made handsome contribution towards the improvement of Indian hockey team. He is a hardworking student of strategy and the Indian team has definitely learnt from his education of modern tactics. He continues to be very humble but very dedicated. When I asked him about Asian Games prospects, his answer was diplomatic: “It is going to be a tough competition with Pakistan, India, South Korea and Malaysia in serious contention. But don’t forget China. As a team they are now playing good hockey and they will be tough in home conditions.”

(Zakir Hussain Syed is Pakistan’s internationally renowned sports administrator, sports broadcaster and sports analyst)

The Daily Times



Hockey star to appear in film


Dilip has agreed to make his acting debut in an Oriya film, which is likely to be released this year

After shining as a star on the turf, India's hockey sensation Dilip Tirkey is all set to appear on the silver screen in a new innings.

The suave, soft-spoken and quiet former Indian hockey captain has agreed to make his acting debut in an Oriya film - 'Toro Moro Katha Heba Chup Chap' (You and me will talk silently), likely to be released during Dusshera this year.

The 33-year-old tribal talent from Orissa's Sundargarh district represnted the country in three Olympics, but is not very confident of acting.

"Acting is totally new for me. This is altogehter a different experience. However, the director of the film has given me enough confidence," Dilip, who recently announced his retirement from international hockey, said.

Film director R N Mohanty, who had been watching Dilip since a long time said: "The hockey player had elements of acting. Those talents need to be explored."

Dilip would perform the role of an elder brother, a symbol of sacrifice in the film where a tea shop owner could become chief minister of the state.

"Dilip will sacrifice everything to make this stranger boy the chief minister," Susant Das, the script writer, said.

In the two-and-half hour film, Dilip would appear seven times.

Though the tribal icon had the experience of facing camera for advertisements, this would be for the first time that Dilip had to be seen on big screen, he said.

Born on November 24, 1977, Dilip had been in news for some time. After the sudden announcement of retirement from international hockey, Dilip again hit headlines for a wrong reason.

Padmasree Dilip Tirkey was allegedly misbehaved by in-charge officer of Kalinga Sadium here who has been suspended.

Dilip, who has been staying in the state capital, had another Oriya film in pipeline. 'Kotia Swapna' (One crore dream), another film based on hockey, is also ready to witness Dilip in a lead role.

Indian Express



Final note from Cecilia Carter-Smith

It’s a wrap...

Thanks to everyone from coast to coast who have provided the delicious filling for my submissions over the past few months. Athletes, coaches, and support staff have been nothing short of fantastic.

I’ve learned that Field Hockey Canada is special. I feel privileged to have been welcomed into the Canadian Field Hockey family circle albeit for a brief period of time.

In wrapping up my gig let me share with you some thoughts from two senior women national players: Katie Baker and Jessalyn Walkey.

On coach Louis Mendonca:

PEI native, Katie Baker, a 2009 selectee to the Pan American elite dream team credits “Louis for helping me love playing again. He is an amazing coach. He truly wants what is best for all of us.”

Continued the national team co-captain and CIS (St. Mary’s University) First Team All Canadian, “Louis is creative, but, he also brings in other coaches when he feels they can help us in some way.

“He is passionate, and his passion passes on to the entire team. He inspires us not only to be a national team, but a winning national team.

Added Jessalyn Walkey, “Louis has given me SO much in the last year that I cannot begin to put it in writing. He has filled my game with tactical knowledge, individual skills, game experience, and life experiences.

“He has ignited passion and determination within me, and ultimately the desire to be an Olympian.”

The decorated University of Guelph alum remembers meeting coach Mendonca for the first time. “Louis was quite persistent when I first met him in the fall of 2008 and I am very grateful for his belief in me. He has given me countless individual hours on and off the pitch to enrich my game.

“He is a phenomenal coach. He will be a huge part of helping me reach my own goals of being a world-class player! My learning from him has just begun, and I look forward to reaching our Olympic dream together.”

Praising the national senior women’s team:

Said Katie Baker: “In the past two years we have had a lot of youth and inexperience (join the team), but I like it. It brings a lot of fresh air and creativity.”

And Jess chipped in, “Initially I was VERY nervous (when I joined the team for the 2009 Dublin tour). After coming off an impressive university season everyone (on the team) was very supportive and encouraging. The team has always been composed of a great group of women. They truly are the best!”

Overcoming 'a devastating injury':

Jess Walkey’s road to fulfilling her Olympic dream was derailed earlier this year with what she described as “a devastating injury.” The resolute young athlete indicated that she had “two options: Let it be extremely upsetting and possibly end my career, or be positive and get through it no matter how hard.”

Continued the 19 year old, “Right from the moment I tore my ACL I promised myself to not ‘let it win.’ I had to make this injury simply an obstacle to overcome.

“I believe many challenges will seem quite simple compared to this one once I return to the pitch. This is not to underestimate the size of this obstacle however, and what I still have to go through.

“It has been a rollercoaster: physically, mentally, and emotionally. The two weeks after surgery were the worst. Now I know it’s all up from here. I look forward to the little successes along the way.”

And Jess attributes ‘the little successes’ to a special team. Her ‘incredible support team’ which includes her “incredible parents who have been so supportive, patient, and positive through this whole process.”

As well, Jess feels “blessed to have a fantastic surgeon, and wonderful rehab team. The athletic therapist, osteopath, and performance specialist that I am rehabbing with have known and worked with me for years. They are fantastic and have done an excellent job in getting me healthy and ahead of schedule.”

Said the Rockwood Ontario native, “This has been the most challenging experience I have had with sports.”

But, the optimistic young national senior team member truly believes that this setback “is simply a chapter in my journey towards the Olympic dream.”

Traditon:

Some months ago I met the dynamic Louis Mendonca for lunch. Lunch was good, but field hockey 101 was better. The dialogue was exhilarating. I got goosebumps when Louis shared with me the tradition and the power of the signing of the Canadian flag once a player has earned her first cap. National team member, Jessalyn Walkey talked about the significance of ‘the signing.’

“I was awestruck when I got to sign the flag and then to stand there and sing our National Anthem. For the first time I had found my very own personal connection to our country. I knew what it meant to be Canadian, and how proud I was to be representing my country. The flag is filled with signatures of those who have played, coached, and managed for Canada over the years.”

Continued Jess, “It was one of the greatest honours I have experienced. I was joining a community of athletes who strive for an Olympic dream in field hockey, a desire to represent Canada, all stemming from a love for field hockey.

Concluded the young national, “Signing the flag for me was a visual passing on of the legacy and responsibility to our sport and our country. In that moment passion and determination was ignited in me that I will hold with me for the rest of my life, but especially when I march with my team into an Olympic ceremony one day.”

Thanks Field Hockey Canada for letting me march with our national teams over the past few months. It’s been a great gig.

Field Hockey Canada media release