News for 26 July 2010

All the news for Monday 26 July 2010

Second win for Black Sticks over France 4 - 0

The Black Sticks Men took a second win against France, in Paris, earlier today (NZT).

They dominated the game with an even balance of goals in the first and second half, going 2-0 into half time and finishing with a final score of 4-0.

Black Sticks Men’s Coach, Shane McLeod, said the team had made progress since its first test against France, but he was looking for further development in the third and final test (July 27 local time).

Three field goals were scored by Phil Burrows, Nick Wilson and Shea McAleese, with Andy Hayward adding to the score with his trademark dragflick from a penalty corner.

With France having 16 shots on goal, Dean Couzins was solid in defence along with goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex to keep the opposition at a nil score.

Today’s’ game was the second in a three test series against France (ranked 17th) against the Black Sticks Men (ranked 7th). The final game is on July 27, 4pm (local time). From Paris, the Black Sticks Men then travel to Monchengladbach, Germany for the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy from July 31 to August 8.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Black Sticks score second win over France

New Zealand continued their build-up for the Champions Trophy hockey tournament with a 4-0 win over France at Paris this morning (NZ time).

It was their second win against France after beating them 4-2 yesterday. The third and final match of the three-test series will be played on Wednesday morning (NZ time).

New Zealand who dominated the game, led 2-0 at halftime.

Phil Burrows, Nick Wilson and Shea McAleese scored field goal, with Andy Haywood adding to the score with his trademark dragflick from a penalty corner.

France had a total of 16 shots on goal but Dean Couzins was solid in defence and along with goalkeeper, Kyle Pontifex, helped keep them scoreless.

Black Sticks coach, Shane McLeod, said the team had made progress since its first test against France, but he was looking for further development in the third match.

The elite six-nation Champions Trophy begins on Sunday (NZt) at Monchengladbach, Germany.


Australia books record win over Belgium

The Australian men’s team appears to be on target to defend its Champions Trophy title, defeating Belgium 7-2 in Belgium as preparation for the ABN AMRO FIH Champions Trophy.

Despite having a young squad the Kookaburras recorded a convincing victory, giving them confidence ahead of the ABN AMRO FIH Champions Trophy which begins in Germany on Saturday 31 July.

It was a slow start for the Kookaburras, not recording their first goal until the 22 minute mark. However they soon gained control and never looked in danger, recording 25 more circle penetrations.

The Kookaburras will play Belgium again on Monday 26 July as their final preparation for the ABN AMRO FIH Champions Trophy.

Belgium-Australia 2-7

Goals Australia: Jamie Dwyer 22m/ 52m, Mark Paterson 26m, Jason Wilson 30m, Trent Mitton 36m, Glenn Turner 41m/ 60m

Hockey Australia media release

Scotland clean sweep

Scotland 3-1 Ireland

Ireland started well creating chances but again it was Scotland who went in front scoring form their only penalty corner of the first half in the 25 minute.

Ireland best chance came on the hooter when from their second corner of the half a sweet strike from Shirley McCay rebounded off the post.

Scotland extended their lead in the 38 minute from their seconf of four penalty corners was touched in on the right post leaving debutant Pamela Smithwick with no chance.

Nicola Evans menancing runs were causing the Scottish defence problems but from a Scottish counter attack Scotland their third from open play.

For the final quarter Ireland went to three at the back and in this period forced 4 penalty corners which were all well defended by Scotland. Ireland's outstanding player of the weekend Emma Clarke drove intot the circle and passed to Evans whose shot was goalboud but took a nick off Alex Speers on the way.

Coach Muller commented "We made too many errors today and did not create enough momentum, It was a scrappy match which demanded a tougher mentality than we showedand this is the main lesson for us. These 3 matches have been very useful for an opportunity to give players a chance at this level."

Ireland will play a three match series against Belgium at the National Hockey Stadium from 6/8 August.

Squad Pam Smithwick (GK), Audrey O Flynn, Michelle Harvey, Cliodhna Sargent, Sinead McCarthy, Lizzie Colvin, Emma Clarke, Shirley McCay, Alex Speers, Nicky Evans, Nicola Daly Rolling Subs: Chloe Watkins, Niamh Atcheler, Anna O Flanagan, Stephanie Quinn, Jean McDonnell Not Used: Emma Geay (GK)

Irish Hockey Association media release

Toppo nets winner for ONGC in Murugappa Gold Cup hockey

CHENNAI: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) emerged first time champions in the 86th All-India MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament on Sunday when they overcame fancied Indian Oil Corporation 2-1 in the final.

The match-winner came in the 61st minute when Bikash Toppo found the net with a neat reverse hit to break the deadlock. Earlier, Diwakar Ram put ONGC in the lead with a 11th minute penalty corner conversion and IOCL equalised in the 56th through veteran Prabhjot Singh.

The difference between the two teams, although marginal, was ONGC's superior defence and organisation with full-back and captain Harpal Singh, a former India player, being outstanding.

IOCL, despite possessing a better and more experienced forward-line of Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh and Roshan Minz, fared miserably at the finish where they missed at least six clear scoring opportunities.

ONGC, on their part, had their share of missed chances, but their focus on defence was not misplaced given the firepower of IOCL.

IOCL began the proceedings on an ominous note and came up with a couple of aggressive forays that should have resulted in at least two goals in the opening 11 minutes as Minz and Thakur failed to beat goalkeeper Dinesh Ekka.

The two close shaves only buoyed ONGC who then proceeded to dominate the proceedings and even go ahead on Diwakar Ram's brilliant drag-flick conversion in the 11th minute.

ONGC continued to press hard, but apart from missing a couple of chances, did not really trouble the IOCL defence. At the other end though the trio of Minz, Thakur and Prabhjot put together some pleasing moves only to get it all wrong at the finish.

In the second-half, IOCL showed some urgency and came up with the equaliser when Prabhjot pounced on a rebound from a penalty corner sequence to score. Specialist Ramachandra Raghunath essayed a drag-flick which got deflected off runner Harpal's stick and rolled to Prabhjot who flicked home.

Thereafter, IOCL threatened a great deal with Thakur and Prabhjot in full flow, but their old magic was missing as both were a source of embarrassment inside the striking circle.

ONGC nearly paid the price for their defensive approach, but with Harpal marshalling the deep defence, they just about survived and scored their second goal from a counter-attack. Pramod Kumar fed Dharmender who in turn relayed to Toppo on the left. The nippy forward turned and let fly a reverse hit past Devesh Chauhan to seal the issue in ONGC's favour.

The Times of India

World all-time great back for SA women's hockey team


ONE of the world's greatest women's hockey players of all time, South Africa's Pietie Coetzee, announced her return to the international game at a press conference in East London Saturday afternoon, just hours before turning out for defending champions Southern Gauteng against KZN Coastal in the final of the 2010 SA Interprovincial Tournament.

The 31-year-old Coetzee retired from international hockey five years ago, at the tender age of 27, the striker having re-written the record books with 190 goals in 193 Test matches. That ratio of goals per game is unmatched in women's hockey history.

Having made her SA debut as a 16-year-old Grade 11 Oranje, Bloemfontein schoolgirl, Coetzee took world hockey by storm, and new national head coach Giles Bonnet believes Coetzee has it in her to help propel South Africa, the world's 12th-ranked side, into the world top six by 2012.

"Forget about world top six if you don't have a world-class drag-flicker [from penalty corners] and in Pietie, South Africa has that and more, as her ability to score field goals is also world-class."

Meanwhile, a 30-player SA women's hockey squad will be participating in two week-long training camps from Monday, in Durban and Cape Town respectively, after which the 18-player World Cup team for Argentina next month will be finalised.

SA squad: Cindy Botha, Taryn Bright, Dirkie Chamberlain, Pietie Coetzee, Ilse Davids, Lisa Deetlefs, Liesel Dorothy, Celia Evans, Farah Fredericks, Lesle-Ann George, Hanlie Hattingh, Kim Hubach, Marcelle Keet, Kelly Madsen, Sanani Mangisa, Tsoanelo Pholo, Pippa Rabey, Kathleen Taylor, Roxanne Turner, Jennifer Wilson, Shelley Russell, Nicolene Terblanche, Jade Mayne, Marsha Marescia, Nicole de Vries, Vida Ryan, Mariette Rix, Lenise Marais, Sulette Damons, Michelle Cremer. SA squad members not available for the camps: Louise Coertzen, Vidette Ryan, Cindy Brown, Jules Cass.

SA Hockey World

Underpowered women ready to pounce

THE Malaysian women's team left for Bangkok yesterday to defend their Asian Indoor Hockey title.

Last year, Malaysia beat Uzbekistan in the final in Ipoh, and the women are primed to repeat the feat.

And if they win, the title comes with a ticket to Poland next year to play in the World Indoor tournament.

"We have selected a few young players and ex-internationals for this assignment as the national players are in training for the Commonwealth and Asian Games.

"But still, we should be able to defend our title going by the girls' current form," said Malaysian Women's Hockey Association secretary S. Shamala.

Iran withdrew at the eleventh hour and have been replaced by Thailand B. The other teams in the tournament are Thailand A, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Indonesia.

"The matches against Thailand B will not count for points, as they have been included just to make up the numbers," said Shamala.

On the national team, Shamala said two stalwarts will not be able to play in the Commonwealth and Asian Games as they are carrying injuries.

A. Chitra Devi will undergo a knee operation, while Siti Sara's injury will also take time to heal.

"The team will miss both the players but we have no choice but to rest them."

The national team will go on a tour of China at the end of August to play eight friendlies in preparation for the Commonwealth Games.

In New Delhi, the women are in Group B with England, New Zealand, Canada, and Wales. In Group A are defending champions Australia, South Africa, India, Trinidad & Tobago and Scotland.

New Straits Times

Kudos to Project boys

Jugjet Singh

Firhan Ashaari (left) is one of the players who has shown potential.

THE Project 2013 squad returned from their European Tour on Thursday with not only success on the pitch, but also the respect of their opponents and a major breakthrough in the mind-set of the players.

And offers are now pouring in from European clubs for our young guns to play in their leagues.

The Under-19 outfit played 13 matches in their tours of Switzerland, Poland, Spain and the Netherlands. The count was eight wins, two draws and three defeats.

And all their defeats were against the Under-21 sides of Spain, Belgium and Poland who were in the midst of preparing for the European Under-21 championships.

All three teams also had many players from the 2010 Junior World Cup hosted by Malaysia and Singapore.

But the Project boys still managed to hold the Spain and Poland sides in return matches after the initial defeat.

On mind-set, coach K. Dharmaraj feels the whirlwind Tour has made his players more mature and confident, leaving their opponents more mindful of Malaysia.

"We had little respect when we started the tour as Malaysia are no longer feared by European sides. But after our young side started winning matches with ease against established club sides, the outlook started to change," said Dharmaraj.

At least 10 players have received offers to play in Europe. "Clubs from Switzerland, Spain, Germany and Netherlands want to sign up our players for their leagues but we could not make a commitment.

"I will write a report on the matter, and the Malaysian Hockey Federation and the National Sports Council will have their final say on how many players can be released to play in Europe.

"I believe those who went on the tour gained much because most of them were a timid lot, but after 13 matches and travelling and experiencing different cultures, they are now much more confident on and off the pitch," said Dharmaraj.

Some of the players who shone were Firhan Ashaari, Mohamed Sabri and Izat Hakimi.

"The three showed tremendous potential, and among the 'newcomers' who showed maturity were Joel Samuel, Syamim Yusof and Fitri Saari.

"Overall, it was an excellent tour and now, I believe junior sides in Europe will no longer take Malaysia lightly, and the fact that they want the services of our players is testimony to that," said Dharmaraj.

THE TOUR SQUAD -- Shahrul Azaddin, Hafizuddin Othman, Mohamed Sabri, Mohamed Noor Faeez, Joel Samuel van Huizen, Faiz Helmi, Zulhairi Hashim, Harmeet Singh, Fathi Kamel, T. Ganeisha, Amir Farid, Syamim Yusof, Fariq Saadon, Eldon Lemery, Izad Hakimi, N. Ugentheren, Norhizzat Sumantri, R. Ramesh, Rashid Baharom, Fitri Saari, Firhan Ashaari.

New Straits Times

Pak hockey team to train in Holland before CWG

KARACHI: With just a little over two months left for the Commonwealth Games in India, the Pakistan Hockey Federation has decided to send the team on a six-week training camp to the Netherlands.

Sources said the decision was taken on the advice of the national team's new coach Michel Van Den, who belongs to the Netherlands and coached the Dutch team in the World Cup held earlier this year in India.

"The reason for holding the camp in Holland is that they are more training facilities and easy access to specialized coaching staff. Plus our players will regularly play practice games against selected teams," one source in the PHF said.

The appointment of Van Den has drawn criticism from some Olympians who believe the PHF is wasting funds on a experiment that has been tried before and not produced long lasting results.

Pakistan in the past has employed Dutch coaches, Hans Jorritsma and Rolent Oltmans.

They won the Champions Trophy and World Cup in 1994 when Jorritsma was coach but he left after developing differences with the federation during the year.

The Pakistan team has just finished a long training tour of Europe where they played tests against France, Spain and Netherlands and the source said this was all being done to ensure that Pakistan went to India well-prepared.

"The 12th position we finished in the World Cup on Indian soil still haunts all of us and we want to ensure this time we return from India with good results," he said.

The PHF is also trying to launch its own super league in Dubai in collaboration with the Dubai sports city in a bid to raise the profile of the sport.

PHF secretary Asif Bajwa has visited Dubai and held talks with the concerned officials for the organization of the league sometime in December.

"The concept is to invite players from other teams including India, South Korea, Malaysia, Australia and European countries to take part in the super league. There is a belief that hockey can be a successful financial venture in the emirates with a global television audience," one source said.

"The PHF and Dubai sports city believe there is lot of interest for hockey in the UAE specially if Pakistani and Indian players feature in the super league with foreigners," the source added.

The Times of India

Top teams to compete in Gold Cup hockey

Sports Reporter

KARACHI: The Quaid-i-Azam Gold Cup Hockey Tournament will be played at the Hockey Club of Pakistan (HCP) ground from July 28 to Aug 3.

Featuring seven departmental teams, namely, Pakistan Customs, Wapda, PQA, Army, Pakistan Steel, NBP, HBL, four provincial association teams as well as a foreign team representing Ghana Customs, two matches will be played everyday with the first starting at 3.00pm and the second at 5.00pm.

“Besides the Man of the Match award of Rs 5000 for each match, there will be an additional award of Rs 10,000 cash and a return ticket to Islamabad for the spectators in daily draws. Entry is free,” said the event manager Habib Ahmed.


A different test of Pargat's resilience

NEW DELHI: Pargat Singh won a significant battle in Punjab recently before gearing up for a duel for power in Hockey India. He has travelled thus far unscathed and if everything goes well on July 28, he should be within sniffing distance of the pedestal that will signal his growth from a venturesome India captain to an equally powerful administrator.

Pargat knows that this is easier said than done. "In the first place, I need to win. If that is done, then I can begin implementing my plans for the betterment of the game."

Pargat’s challenge in Punjab was the unification of hockey factions among men and women which swore allegiance either to the state or Patiala and East Punjab States Union (Pepsu). The journey was riddled with pitfalls but the solution that came about, thanks to conciliation and hard bargaining, saw Punjab emerge as one strong unit.

The unification process is Pargat’s USPs as he takes on 83-year-old Vidya Stokes for the post of the president. Punjab was the microcosm and a victory on Wednesday would be the first step for Pargat to bring all factions of the game together and start the exercise all over again, this time across India.

The reasons: For one, Pargat does not want to sway voters opinion with just days to go for the election. The other is that the suspense over the electoral college is not over yet what with lawsuits in many states coming up for hearing in the next two days. Court verdicts will be critical, not merely in terms of overhauling the voters’ list but also tell him clearly where each state’s priority lies.

For all the attention it has garnered, Hockey India election will cater in the main to non-hockey administrators. There are no known candidates from any of the southern states. Court battles are on in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra in the south even as Maharashtra, Bombay, Vidarbha, MP, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, Tripura, Delhi and Chandigarh are seeking legal remedy, with either factions or individuals moving courts.

The Times of India

Negi's self-promotion to coach Indian eves irks ministry

NEW DELHI: Former India goalkeeper Mir Ranjan Negi's keen interest in the vacant coach's post of the women's hockey team has not gone down well with the Sports Ministry, which has warned candidates to refrain from self-promoting their names for the job in future.

"In future arrangements, no coach should self-promote himself or herself for the job," a Sports Ministry source said.

After M K Kaushik's resignation from the post in the wake of a sex scandal earlier this week, Negi has expressed his desire to become the new coach of the national women's hockey team and had sent his application to Hockey India.

No sooner had Negi thrown his hat in the ring for the job, some players have thwarted his candidature by doubting the former goalkeeping coach's ability, which also irked the Ministry.

"The team members also cannot start talking about who should take what job. The government will take a very considered decision after going through all the facts," the source said.

The Indian women's team coach's job is lying vacant after the resignation of Kaushik, against whom a fringe player Ranjitha Devi has complained of sexual harassment.

The Times of India

Hockey India not to use MK Kaushik's services again

NEW DELHI: The sexual harassment case in women's hockey took a new turn on Saturday with Hockey India referring the complaint of player Ranjita Devi against coach M K Kaushik to Delhi Police as it involves allegations of outraging the modesty of a woman.

Announcing this decision, HI secretary general Narinder Batra said that the services of Kaushik and video analyst Basavraj, who courted controversy by being in the company of sex workers during the tour of China, will not be utilised in future.

Referring to the report of the five-member inquiry committee that went into Ranjita's complaint, Batra said HI felt that the written version of the player commanded "high credibility" with specific charges being levelled.

"We feel that the committee does not have coercive powers to go into the issue. In view of the Supreme Court judgment in the Visakha case regarding sexual harassment at work place and the committee's recommendation that the issue related to IPC section 354 (relating to outraging the modesty of a woman), we are marking a copy to the Delhi Police Commissioner for taking suo moto notice so that this can be taken to its logical conclusion." he said.

He said HI felt that certain things that have come to light should be looked into and the case be made an example of.

The committee report and HI's opinion has also been sent to Sports Secretary in the Government of India.

Batra said that the committee's recommendation for more time for inquiry was turned down since they did not want to waste any more time.

"Let the Government of India or police file an FIR for investigating the matter", he said in reply to questions at a press conference.

"The Inquiry Committee report fell short of giving any recommendations. So HI is going a step ahead and we are making recommendation to SAI to take action and the copies have been marked to IOA, Ministry, Railways, Delhi Police besides Ranjita, Kaushik and Basavraj", Batra said.

Batra said HI was taking Ranjita's complaint seriously and had recommended Delhi Police to start the investigation immediately.

"We are taking seriously the complaint by Ranjita. Her written replies had specific charges and they are credible. We have asked the Delhi Police to start investigation immediately by filing an FIR. The govt can also take suo moto action", he said.

"HI is taking the incident seriously. We want the matter to be taken to logical conclusion and we want to ensure that such incident does not happen in future. If additional charges or matters come up in future we will forward them to SAI" Batra said.

Batra said HI was not in a position to file a case and that is why it was recommending action to be taken.

"The assistant coaches have made written replies. One of the two has admitted that the pictures showing prostitutes were taken by Basavraj. I have spoken to the captain and she said the players support Ranjita" Batra said.

The sex scandal came to light on Tuesday with Ranjita sending a written complaint alleging sexual harassment against Kaushik.

The woman player alleged that Kaushik had asked for sexual favours and used vulgar language during a recent Canada and China tour.

Hockey India had earlier received an anonymous mail with photographs of team videographer Basavraj with sex workers during the foreign tour.

Following the complaint, Hockey India set up a five-member committee to probe the allegation. The committee comprised Rajiv Mehta, as its chairman, Zafar Iqbal, Ajit Pal Singh, Sudharshan Pathak and Anupam Gulati.

Meanwhile, former manager of the women's team, Anurita Saini, who was alleged to have had an affair with Kaushik, has threatened to take legal action against the players and the media who had dragged her name into the controversy.

Saini said she and her family were devastated by such allegations and would initiate action against those who were made such irresponsible statements.

The Times of India

Delhi Police yet to receive complaint against hockey coach

NEW DELHI: Delhi Police is yet to receive any complaint from Hockey India (HI) asking it to investigate the allegations of sexual harassment levelled by woman players against former coach MK Kaushik.

"We have not received any letter yet. I am not aware of it," Police Commissioner YS Dadwal said.

Kaushik was in the eye of a storm after player Ranjita Devi complained to Hockey India that he harassed her sexually.

Taking serious note of the complaint, Hockey India on Saturday referred the matter to Delhi Police asking it to immediately investigate into the matter as it involves the allegations of outraging the modesty of a woman.

A senior police official said after receiving the letter from the Hockey India, they will look into it and decide on the course of action.

Stung by the allegations, Kaushik resigned from the post of coach on July 21 as the hockey establishment launched a thorough probe into the sex scandal which has rocked the national game.

Hockey India also sacked videographer Basavraj, who was purportedly clicked with "prostitutes" during the recent Canada and China tour, after photographs were sent to it through an anonymous e-mail.

The hockey governing body had also set up a five-member panel to probe the allegations.

"We feel that the committee does not have coercive powers to go into the issue. In view of the Supreme Court judgement in the Visakha case regarding sexual harassment at workplace, we are marking a copy to Delhi Police commissioner for taking suo motu notice so that this can be taken to its logical conclusion," HI secretary general Narinder Batra said.

Batra said that the committee's demand for more time to inquire into the matter was turned down by HI since it did not want to waste any more time.

"Let the Government of India or police file an FIR for investigating the matter," he said on Saturday.

Earlier, Delhi Commission of Women (DCW) expressed its unhappiness at Hockey India setting up an "all-male" panel to look into sexual harassment allegations against Kaushik, which was in violation of Supreme Court guidelines.

"Ideally, the committee enquiring sexual harassment ought to have a woman as a chairperson and 50 per cent of its members as female and a NGO representative to ensure fairness and complete objectivity of the enquiry. It should therefore be constituted on these lines," DCW chairperson Barkha Singh had said in a letter to Union Sports Minister M S Gill.

The Times of India

Hockey Manipur lodges complaint with NCW

IMPHAL: Three days after Manipur chief minister sought action against former women’s hockey coach MK Kaushik for allegedly harassing India player Th Ranjita Devi, Hockey Manipur has lodged a complaint with the National Commission for Women (NCW) against him.

Ranjita, who hails from Manipur and is one of the probables for the Commonwealth Games, had lodged a complaint against Kaushik with Hockey India and Union sports minister MS Gill. In its complaint lodged with NCW on Saturday, Hockey Manipur said Ranjita had been losing many opportunities in international matches "due to her refusal to the indecent proposals by Kaushik".

The complaint signed by Hockey Manipur secretary general Th Manihar said this time, too, Ranjita was missing from the Indian women’s squad scheduled to participate at the 1st Asian Champion’s Trophy at Busan, Korea, from Tuesday.

The Times of India

Hockey coach questions Basavaraj's role

CHENNAI: Ramesh Parameswaran, former assistant coach of the Indian men's hockey team, has hinted that politics played a major role in Basavaraj, who was involved in a sex scandal, being "promoted" from a still photographer to a videographer to a video analyst of the national women's squad.

Parameswaran, who was assistant to national coaches Vasudevan Baskaran and then Joaquim Carvalho for over a decade, said: "Basavaraj was basically a photographer assigned by the Sports Authority of India to take pictures of players for visa purposes. He had no other role to play."

"My question is very simple: How does an ordinary photographer become a videographer and a video analyst attached to the Indian team with absolutely no hockey background? Obviously, there is more to it than meets the eye," Parameswaran said.

Basavaraj was suspended last week after publication of pictures that allegedly showed him in a "compromising position" with an unnamed female.

He was associated with the women's team whose coach MK Kaushik, too, is named in a sexual harassment scandal following complaints by a player. Kaushik has since resigned his post, while claiming innocence.

"It is imperative that the authorities appoint qualified persons for such critical positions like a video analyst so that the person can provide inputs to enhance the performance of the players and the team. The antecedents and credentials of candidates should be thoroughly checked before sending the person with the national team," Parameswaran added.

The Times of India

All time low, but Indian hockey was already in a mess

Just when one thought that the mess surrounding Indian hockey couldn’t become any worse, came the news of the women’s national coach being accused of soliciting sexual favours from players and passing lewd remarks during training. It has been all downhill for the national sport that seemed to be enjoying a rare high after the men’s World Cup in New Delhi earlier this year.

Only four months ago, it seemed all rosy: India was rediscovering its passion for hockey and the team was finally making an impact internationally. The current scenario presents a total contrast. As television put those hazy sleazy frames of the team’s videographer on loop a day after the scandalous going-ons during foreign tours of women’s hockey team were made public, the feel good pictures of a jam-packed National Stadium seemed a forgotten past.

The men’s game, too, is playing out its own farce. The mess started with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) forming and recognising an unelected, ad-hoc body called Hockey India (HI) in 2009 to run the sport in the country. The organisation has failed to hold its elections ever since. This came after the suspension of the then ruling body, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), and its subsequent derecognition. Last month, a Delhi High Court order restored the authority of the IHF. The order forced the IOA and the Union Sports Ministry to accept the IHF. With the hockey fraternity split wide open, both IHF and HI have claimed majority support. The first enjoys government recognition because of the recent Delhi High Court order, the second is recognised by the international hockey body, FIH. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic for the game.

Indian Express

London 2012 Olympics: hockey guide

By Emily Benammar

Rapid: Crista Cullen (l) is certain to be a key figure in the GB women's hockey team Photo: REUTERS

Read Telegraph Sport's guide to the hockey event at the London 2012 Olympics.

How many medals being targeted by Team GB?

One each for the both the men's and women's teams.

What are the chances?

The women's team's chances are significantly improved by the new centralised training programme which has seen the entire squad re-locate to train together at least three times a week. While recent victories over three of the world’s top-four sides together with a bronze medal at the Champions Trophy also stands them in good stead.

Reaching the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup and the final of the 2010 Four Nations has seen Great Britain's men establish themselves as one of the biggest threats for 2012. Three-day training camps two-to-three times a months since April also marks their earliest start to Olympic preparations.

Key issue internationally?

Travelling teams often use test series to experiment with up and coming players making it difficult to gauge how much of a threat a side will present at full strength.

Biggest challenge domestically?

The England Hockey Board is working to increase the engagement between club and country in a bid to balance the demands put on players to honour their duties to both.

Three names to watch?

Women: Crista Cullen, Helen Richardson and Alex Danson.
Men: Ashley Jackson, James Tindall and Barry Middleton.

Biggest international rivals?

Women: Holland, Argentina and China.
Men: Australia, Germany and Holland

The Telegraph

Former IHF President IM Mahajan passes away

Former President of Indian Hockey Federation, IM Mahajan has passed away following a brief illness. Mahajan, 86, who had also served as the President of the Delhi and District Hockey Association (DDHA) and Hockey Delhi, breathed his last on Saturday. The veteran sports administrator has served the game for more than six decades. He was also the Manager of the Indian team on several occasions, including the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, a DDHA release said on Sunday. Mahajan had played for the undivided Punjab and later on for Delhi state and the Delhi Police. He became the President of DDHA in 1961-62, it added.

IHF President KPS Gill was among the officials and players who attended the cremation ceremony.

Hindustan Times