News for 09 June 2011

All the news for Thursday 9 June 2011


Bennett returns for England following seven year absence


Anna Bennett in action for her club team Reading HC © EHB / Ady Kerry

The England Hockey women’s squad has been announced for the 2011 Rabo Champions Trophy in Amsterdam. The 18 athlete group features Anne Panter and Anna Bennett, two players who return to the fold following lengthy breaks, and Sam Quek and Madeleine Hinch, for whom the tournament will be their first senior international competition.

Beijing Olympian Anne Panter is selected after overcoming a career threatening knee injury that saw her undergo a pioneering double operation never previously conducted. The Kettering-born midfielder underwent a reconstruction of the post cruciate ligament in her left knee, involving a hamstring graft from both legs, and a patella tendon debridement.

Having spent two and a half years on the sidelines, the 27 year old midfielder returned to club hockey earlier this season, helping Leicester to this weekend’s EuroHockey Club Champions Cup semi final against Slough. She began training with the Great Britain squad as part of its centralised training programme at the turn of the year and, having played a series of practice games, is now preparing for her first competitive international match since the Beijing Olympic Games.

Panter said: “It’s quite surreal to be back in the squad and I’m not sure it has really sunk in yet. This time last year I couldn’t walk never mind play hockey. At the end of 2009 I thought I might never play hockey again so to be going to one of the biggest tournaments in the world, playing against the best teams in the world, is incredible. I feel very lucky to get another bite at the cherry. Getting back is only a part of the journey though. The next step is to be part of a team winning medals.

“I want to express my huge gratitude to my surgeon, Andy Williams, for being a genius in the operating theatre and to thank Michelle Pearson of the English Institute for Sport for never doubting I’d get back to where I am now. Since my return to playing, Dave Hamilton, our strength and conditioning coach, has been great and the rest of the squad has created such a fantastically positive environment to return to.”

Amsterdam will also see the return of Anna Bennett, whose last cap came more than seven years ago. The 35 year old Reading forward’s last international appearance came for Great Britain, against Ireland, at the 2004 Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Having spent ten years at the top following her debut as an 18 year old in 1994, Bennett left the sport following Great Britain’s failure to qualify for the Athens Olympics. However, following a successful comeback with hometown club Reading this year, she returns to the squad to add to her 189 international appearances, a tally that makes her the third most capped player in the group.

Speaking about her return, Bennett said: “I never thought I would come back and play international hockey. I’d had my time and had the time of my life doing it, travelling the world and playing hockey. But I thought my time had been. It was last year while doing some coaching at Reading that I decided to start playing again. It was nice to be in that hockey environment and I was inspired by seeing the girls at the club. I’m lucky that I’ve got a body that has allowed me to return. I’m really enjoying it and that’s very much the key.

“I hope that we can go to Amsterdam and realise the potential of this side. I’m playing in a squad of very talented players; not just the 18 of us going to the Champions Trophy but the entire squad who train together every day. I hope we can represent the squad in a positive way and do justice to the effort we are putting into the centralised training programme.”

Sam Quek will receive her first experience of a major international tournament at senior level after receiving the call up for the Champions Trophy. The former Bowdon Hightown defender, now with England Hockey League rivals Reading, was a member of the England U21 side that finished a best ever fourth position at the 2009 Junior World Cup in Boston.

Another player set for their first senior international tournament is Leicester’s young goalkeeper Madeleine Hinch. Just 22, she has been named alongside Reading goalkeeper Beth Storry, the winner of the Goalkeeper of the Tournament Award at last year’s Champions Trophy in Nottingham and World Cup in Rosario.

England Hockey Head Coach Danny Kerry said: “This squad reflects a growing depth across all areas. The inclusion of Anna Bennett follows her return to club hockey this year after a long lay-off following the disappointment of not qualifying for the 2004 Athens Olympics. Anna brings tremendous pace, a huge work ethic and a good goal sense. Anne Panter’s selection marks an incredible journey of rehabilitation following a unique injury to repair simultaneously her PCL and patella tendon. Her selection is testimony to the work of the surgeon, Andy Williams, the strength and conditioning coaches, in particular Michelle Pearson, and to Anne herself who has shown the resolve to overcome the odds. Anne brings us flexible options across the lines, an ability to cover large distances repeatedly and a good game intelligence.

“Sam Quek’s inclusion follows a lengthy period of being in the senior squad after joining the group at a young age. She has a remarkable ball winning quality with incredible agility and dexterity in the tackle. I am delighted for all three athletes and look forward to seeing how they step up to playing in one of the world’s toughest competitions.”

After an historic 2010 in which England won bronze medals for the first time at the Champions Trophy and the World Cup, as well as at the Commonwealth Games, the team goes into the Champions Trophy ranked fifth in the world. Now comprising eight teams as opposed to the six that have previously competed, England face world champions Argentina, China and Korea in Pool A in Amsterdam. Pool B contains Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

For Kerry, the 2011 Champions Trophy could play an important part in the preparation his Great Britain squad has for the 2012 Olympic Games in just over a year’s time.

Speaking about the tournament, he said: “Those selected for England have come out of the centralised Great Britain squad. Our priority is to qualify for the 2012 edition of the Champions Trophy. Although we would play as England in most years, Great Britain will be able to compete in 2012 as the tournament falls in the calendar year of the Olympic Games. This will be an important part of final preparations for London 2012 and thus our first priority is to ensure qualification. The Champions Trophy is a real test of the quality of your group with every team being of the highest level. This will provide further exposure to our squad as we keep building the understanding over the Olympic cycle.

“We start our tournament by playing the World Champions and world number one Argentina against whom we had a tight match in the World Cup last year. We know objectively that we have moved forward since then and it will be great to see where that now places us against the top ranked team.”

Following England’s opening match on Saturday 25 June against Argentina, whose team includes Luciana Aymar, the seven times World Player of the Year, England will face Korea, ranked eighth in the world. China, ranked one place ahead of England at fourth in the world, conclude England’s Pool A fixtures.

England Squad for Rabo Champions Trophy, 25 June – 3 July

Name (Club) Position England Caps/England Goals - Great Britain Caps/Great Britain Goals - Age

Ashleigh Ball (Slough) Midfield 37/1 - 5/0 - 25
Anna Bennett (Reading) Forward 125/29 - 64/11 - 35
Crista Cullen (Leicester) Defender 82/21 - 54/15 - 25
Alex Danson (Reading) Forward 112/26 - 36/9 - 26
Rebecca Herbert (Leicester) Forward 58/5 - 18/2 - 24
Madeleine Hinch (Leicester) Goalkeeper 1/0 - 1/0 - 22
Hannah Macleod (Leicester) Forward 35/4 - 6/1 - 26
Anne Panter (Leicester) Midfield 40/1 - 33/1 - 27
Sam Quek (Reading) Defender 4/0 - 14/0 - 22
Helen Richardson (Reading) Midfield 135/19 - 63/3 - 29
Chloe Rogers (Leicester) Midfield 88/9 - 40/3 - 26
Beth Storry (Reading) Goalkeeper 64/0 - 23/0 - 33
Georgie Twigg (Clifton) Midfield 17/2 - 2/0 - 20
Laura Unsworth (Leicester) Defender 36/0 - 9/0 - 23
Kate Walsh (C) (Reading) Defender 173/29 - 85/7 - 31
Sally Walton (Bowdon Hightown) Defender 75/7 - 13/1 - 29
Nicola White (Slough) Forward 34/3 - 11/0 - 23
Kerry Williams (Leicester) Forward 53/1 - 19/1 - 25

England’s Rabo Champions Trophy Fixtures
Saturday 25 June - 11:30 local time - 10:30 BST - Pool A - Argentina v England
Sunday 26 June - 09:00 local time - 08:00 BST - Pool A - England v Korea
Tuesday 28 June - 11:00 local time - 10:00 BST - Pool A - England v China
Thursday 30 June - Crossover Matches - Pools C & D
Friday 1 July - Crossover Matches - Pool D
Saturday 2 July - Crossover Matches - Pool C
Sunday 3 July - Medal Matches/Classification Playoffs

England Hockey Board Media release



Champions Trophy 2011: Danny Kerry names Anne Panter and Anna Bennett in 18-athlete England squad

By Emily Benammar



Back in the frame: Anne Panter and Anna Bennett have been called up to Danny Kerry's England squad after long-term absences Photo: ENGLAND HOCKEY

England head coach Danny Kerry has named long-term absentees Anne Panter and Anna Bennett in his squad for the forthcoming Women's Champions Trophy in Amsterdam.

Beijing Olympian Panter returns after a two-and-a-half year spell on the sidelines during which she underwent surgery on a career-threatening injury to reconstruct the post cruciate ligament in her left knee which involved a hamstring graft from both legs, and a patella tendon debridement.

The 27-year-old midfielder, who plays her club hockey alongside Crista Cullen at Leicester, returned to England and Great Britain's centralised training programme at the start of the year and is poised to make her first appearance in an international shirt since the Beijing Olympics.

Delighted with her inclusion in Kerry's squad, Panter said: “It’s quite surreal to be back in the squad and I’m not sure it has really sunk in yet. This time last year I couldn’t walk never mind play hockey. At the end of 2009 I thought I might never play hockey again so to be going to one of the biggest tournaments in the world, playing against the best teams in the world, is incredible."

Bennett's inclusion meanwhile ends a seven year international absence.

The 35-year-old called time on her career following Great Britain's failure to qualify for the Athens Olympics, but after a successful comeback with Reading this season, she returns to the international scene as the third most capped player in Kerry's squad and eager to add to her 189 appearances.

“I never thought I would come back and play international hockey," she said. "I thought my time had been.

“I hope that we can go to Amsterdam and realise the potential of this side. I’m playing in a squad of very talented players; not just the 18 of us going to the Champions Trophy but the entire squad who train together every day. I hope we can represent the squad in a positive way and do justice to the effort we are putting into the centralised training programme.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Kerry has handed Bennett's Reading team-mate Sam Quek and Panter's Leicester colleague Madeleine Hinch their maiden senior competition call ups.

Following a historic 2010 during which Kerry's squad won bronze for the first time in the Champions Trophy in Nottingham and the World Cup in Argentina, England go into the new-look eight-nation competition in Amsterdam ranked fifth in the world.

Drawn in Pool A England will come up against defending champions and world champions Argentina, China and Korea.

Looking ahead to the competition, which gets under way on June 25, Kerry said: "We start our tournament by playing the world champions and world No 1 Argentina against whom we had a tight match in the World Cup last year.

"We know objectively that we have moved forward since then and it will be great to see where that now places us against the top ranked team.”

Moreover, Kerry is also aware of how England's performance in this year's Champions Trophy could have a significant impact on Great Britain's preparations for next year's London 2012 Olympic Games.

He added: "Our priority is to qualify for the 2012 edition of the Champions Trophy. Although we would play as England in most years, Great Britain will be able to compete in 2012 as the tournament falls in the calendar year of the Olympic Games. This will be an important part of final preparations for London 2012 and thus our first priority is to ensure qualification."

England Squad:

Ashleigh Ball (Slough)
Anna Bennett (Reading)
Crista Cullen (Leicester)
Alex Danson (Reading)
Rebecca Herbert (Leicester)
Madeleine Hinch (Leicester)
Hannah Macleod (Leicester)
Anne Panter (Leicester)
Sam Quek (Reading)
Helen Richardson (Reading)
Chloe Rogers (Leicester)
Beth Storry (Reading)
Georgie Twigg (Clifton)
Laura Unsworth (Leicester)
Kate Walsh (C) (Reading)
Sally Walton (Bowdon Hightown)
Nicola White (Slough)
Kerry Williams (Leicester)

For those hoping to catch some live international hockey this summer, England men will be in action at The London Cup in July. See the England Hockey website for details.

The Telegraph



Black Sticks women have a defensive focus

ROBERT LOWE


The New Zealand women's hockey team are working to tighten up their defence and cut down on turnovers as they prepare to mix it with the world's best.

The bulk of the Black Sticks flew out today for Europe, where they will be joined by their teammates for a series of lead-up matches before the start of their Champions Trophy campaign on June 26 (NZ time).

The tournament in Amsterdam comprises the top eight hockey nations, with New Zealand ranked seventh in the world.

Forward Katie Glynn said looking at ways to close down the opposition had been a key part of the squad's build-up for their biggest challenge of the year.

"We've been working hard on our pressing strategies, how we can shut down teams and not be opened up and exposed at the back," she said.

"It's something we've been working on for a while and we've improved in those areas a lot. But every team is different and we spend a lot of time watching footage and putting in the strategies."

In an 18-strong squad with four centurions - co-captains Emily Naylor (151) and Kayla Sharland (127) top the test count - Glynn, 22, is one of a group with mid-level international experience.

Since her debut in 2009, the Auckland striker has amassed 45 caps and she was part of the side that won Commonwealth Games silver in New Delhi last October.

Despite the quality of the field that will assemble in the Dutch capital, Glynn echoed coach Mark Hager's belief that a podium finish was within the bounds of possibility for New Zealand.

"We're looking at top six, but I definitely think it's within our limits to 'medal' there," she said.

"We're looking to build on our performances and progress as a group, and that's what's important in the end."

The bigger picture for the squad is next year's Olympic Games.

New Zealand still need to book their berth for London, but they and Australia are strong favourites to take the two spots on offer at the Oceania qualifying event in Hobart in October.

New Zealand's pool opponents at the Champions Trophy are hosts the Netherlands, Germany and Australia, who are ranked second, third and sixth respectively in the world.

Hager said reducing turnovers would be major goal for his players during the nine-day tournament.

"Our history shows us that as soon as we get above 70 turnovers in a game, we're gone, we don't tend to win," he said.

"We have to be 60 or below. That's something we need to aim for."

He also highlighted defence as an area for improvement, although he had seen progress during his 2-1/2 years in the job.

"This year, apart from one big blowout against Argentina where we lost 6-1, all the games have been pretty tight or we've been able to get away from teams," he said.

"I think that's a real focus for us."

Despite that heavy defeat, the series against Argentina in March did end up boosting confidence, with the Black Sticks bouncing back to beat the world champions 2-1 in the final test to square the ledger.

Stuff



Black Sticks start Olympic preparations

KEVIN TUTTY


GRAND PLAN: Black Sticks coach Mark Hager is overseeing an extended preparation time for the Olympics. SAM BAKER/Manawatu Standard


An intense 14-month preparation for the London Olympics starts today for the Black Sticks women's team.

Apart from a break of a few weeks in December-January, the national squad will be training or playing until the Olympic tournament ends in August next year.

The ultimate goal is for the team to be on the podium next year, but coach Mark Hager says there is work to do to achieve that aim.

How the team might perform in London will be known later this month after the team plays in the Champions Trophy tournament, involving the top eight teams in the world, at Amstelveen in the Netherlands.

Since he took over two years ago Hager has introduced a host of young players – the team's average age is 23 – and they are now becoming experienced international players.

"All of a sudden we have a whole group playing their 50th international. We have given a lot of players exposure to international play and increased the depth in the squad."

New Zealand, ranked seventh in the world, has habitually struggled against the best teams – the Netherlands, Argentina, Germany and Australia – but in the last year there have been indications the team is narrowing the gap. At the Commonwealth Games New Zealand was tied 2-2 with Australian after extra time and lost on penalties.

In March against world No1 Argentina in a three-test series the Blacks Sticks drew 1-1, lost 1-6 and remarkably the next day put that flogging behind them and beat the South Americans 2-1 in Auckland.

Hager said working on the team's defence to avoid blowouts like that against Argentina is a priority for the next 14 months.

"We have tended to concede two goals a game particularly against the top teams. Our focus has been on trying to improve that and in two other series this year, against Japan and Korea, we improved.

"We need to improve our defensive patterns and reduce the opposition to minimal scoring chances," Hager said .

The team has to improve its consistency to be able to compete with the top teams.

"This tournament will be a good challenge for us. It will give us an indicator of what we need to work on and hopefully tell us if we are on the right track."

The Black Sticks have not had the time together the top teams have and that has impacted on their set plays, in particular penalty corners.

"We have worked hard on our drag flicks and other corner variations and will get two weeks to work on them before the Champions Trophy. Hopefully, we will be able to put them in place in that time."

After the Champions Trophy the team will return home to play in the national league next month and August, and soon after the finals on August 14 the women's squad of 25 for London will be named.

That will be followed by a tour to the US and then the Oceania Cup in Hobart, an Olympic qualifying tournament.

The Blacks Sticks virtually have their place at London booked. Oceania is entitled to two teams in London and all New Zealand has to do is beat Fiji in Hobart. The last time the two teams met, in Australia four years ago in a qualifying tournament for Beijing, the Black Sticks won 14-1.

"Although we have to beat Fiji we can plan our budget and matches for next year without having to wait to go to a qualifying tournament," Hager said.

New Zealand starts its Champions Trophy campaign against Germany on June 25.

Stuff



Ireland squad announced for Champion Challenge I


Gene Muller has announced a squad of 18 players who will take part in the upcoming ESB Electric Ireland FIH Women’s Champions Challenge I from the 18th – 26th June. Ireland will play hosts to some of the world’s top teams as they descend on the National Hockey Stadium in UCD for over a week. This nine day world ranking event sees Ireland compete against Azerbaijan, India, Spain, Japan, Scotland, South Africa and the USA.

Muller’s squad, which has an average age of 23.8 years, has just returned from the Celtic Cup and will no doubt be keen to impress especially knowing that the EuroHockey Nations Championship is only two months away.

Commenting on the tournament ahead, National Coach Gene Muller says “Our team is very excited to be playing in a FIH tournament at home. We are honoured to be hosting so many high quality teams and we want to perform well. We are very lucky that our team are all fit and playing well. These players will be eager to do well at this tournament as there are EuroHockey Nations tournament positions at stake.”

ESB Electric Ireland Champions Challenge I Squad

18th – 26th June


Emma Gray (GK) Hermes 22
Pamela Smithwick Old Alex 3
Michelle Harvey Pegasus 49
Cliodhna Sargent Cork Harlequins 77
Emma Smyth Railway Union 35
Emma Clarke (VC) Leicester 103
Alexandra Speers (C) Railway Union 87
Shirley McCay Old Alex 103
Jean McDonnell Railway Union 8
Lisa Jacob Hermes 77
Julia O’Halloran Railway Union 57
Sinead McCarthy Hermes 15
Aine Connery Hermes 18
Nicola Symmons Loreto 145
Audrey O’Flynn Hermes 26
Chloe Watkins UCD 11
Elizabeth Colvin HGC 45
Nicola Davy Loreto 13

Manager: Sally Ann Fanagan
Coach: Gene Muller
Stand In Manager: Sarah Canning
Assistant Coach: Denis Pritchard
Physiotherapist: Dave Minnion

To see the match schedule, please click here.

Tickets to the ESB Electric Ireland FIH Women’s Champions Challenge I start at just €5 and are available by Clicking Here

Irish Hockey Association media release



Indian girls appear still rusty

K Arumugam


Indian women’s team, getting ready for the first major international tournament of the year – Champions Challenge Cup in Dublin, Ireland – appears rusty if one goes by the poor game they had against Delhi boys on Tuesday night at the Dhyan Chand national stadium.

Delhi boys, on trail for team selection for the forthcoming National Championship, played a full match in the evening under floodlights. Despite being equally rusty, they could score half a dozen goals, though in the last quarter of the match the girls came up with a couple of replies.

More than the goals the manner in which the girls organized do not inspire confidence, but nothing can be said conclusively based on a single practice match though.

Having said this, it has to be admitted that the forwardline looked ordinary. Saba Anjum and Deepika being the most experienced of the frontal attack, much was expected of them to make the attack sharper. It was not there. Though Deepika lapped on to a rebound and scored a Penalty Corner goal, what she missed in scoring or setting up others overwhelmed. It was after Soundarya was brought in the second half, they could give some jitters to the run of the mill defence.

In the first half, Delhi scored at will, a goal coming from close range from the cage by a single forward who held on for long time solely despite the girls intend to over-crowd. This goal even prompted CR Kumar, the chief coach, who was also whistling, to call Mukta Prava Barla and advise.

It is surprising to see the lack of form of, of all the stars, Rani Ramphal. She was anything but sharp, even missing a clear and easy chance in the circle about 10 minutes before the hooter. She hit the rebound on the body of the already fallen flat goalie!

In the first session Yogita guarded the cage; even as Savita and other under-study were seen kicking the ball between them on the sidelines. Former great Tingonleima Chanu, now a deputy coach, spent nearly the entire lemon time to counsel the young goalie.

One aspect that stood out glaringly was penalty corner drills. Both defence and offence was not upto the mark. Delhi is just a raw team, still could score off penalty corners. A ball hit the left leg of Kirandeep, and went into the goal; couple of times rebound was played for a while before put in the cage. Lot of leeway was given to the attackers. It gives an impression the defenders are either lethargic or lack commonsense even to the extent of likened to novices.

With so much experience at their disposal the girls could have easily overcome the boys with precision passing and defence spliting long hits and scoops. The girls game rose to some level only the latter part of the game, in which they got lot many chances to score.

May be strong hitters in the mould of Subhadra or Suman Bala is what the team lacks. Asunta is flat on form for long; immediate task of coach CR Kumar need to find a strong pivot.

CR Kumar has shed some deadweights, he needs to be more merciless in future team selection. This is my first thought after watching girls in action after long time, the last one being the Commonwealth Games on the same venue.

Note: Yesterday the girls played against boys on the same turf on which the story changing, emotion-evoking Chak de India sequence of boys-girls trail sequence was held.

Stick2Hockey.com



EHL & EHCCC Broadcast information


EHL has announced the TV and live-streaming schedule for the upcoming Final Four of the Euro Hockey League and EuroHockey Club Champions Cup, Women this coming weekend in HGC, The Netherlands.

For the first time ever the Final of the women's EHCCC will be live-streamed via the EHL website. NOS will broadcast a highlights programme from the women's final during the EHL Final.

Eurosport 2 and EuroSport Asia Pacific and Africa have committed to both EHL Semi-finals and the Final. NOS will broadcast highlights of all the action.

In addition to TV, EHL will be streamed on www.ehlhockey.tv, on sportklub, www.sport.nl, the Sportsman Group and Omroep Brabant (radio).

For full details on the Broadcast Scheduling and ticketing can be found at www.ehlhockey.tv .

European Hockey Federation media release



Ireland to play Wales in a triple header


Ireland's men will play Wales in three matches this Thursday, Saturday and Sunday as part of their continuing preparation for the major tournaments this summer, including the UCD 4 Nations Cup taking place from the 20th - 25th June at the national hockey stadium.

Coach Paul Revington who has not yet selected his squad for each of the matches commented on the impending games Wales join us in Dublin in the middle of a two week training phase and provide our Ireland squad with valuable international game time. We have a large training squad at present and will look to use the games versus Wales to narrow down our Celtic Cup and 4 Nations Team selections."

Match Schedule:

Match 1:           Thursday 9th       Ireland v Wales 8pm      UCD
Match 2:           Saturday 10th     Ireland v Wales  4pm      UCD
Match 3:           Sunday 12th       Ireland v Wales 2pm       UCD

Irish Hockey Association media release



4-Nations Classic 2011



Field Hockey Canada is pleased to celebrate their 20th Anniversary in conjunction with the 4-Nations Classic being held this July in Vancouver, British Columbia. The 4-Nations Classic will be comprised of a variety of teams including the Senior Canadian Men and Women's teams, a Women's Developmental "Canada A" side, as well as Chile, Trinidad & Tobago and Japan. In addition, the Japanese Women's National team will remain in Canada for an additional three matches following the 4-Nations.

The games will begin on July 15th at 2:00pm at UBC's Wright Field in Vancouver, British Columbia and continue throughout until the Women's final at 4:00pm on July 24th, 2011.

This series of competition will not only provide home fans a chance to see their National teams in action but will also serve as the last major series of competition leading up to the Pan American games in October. The Pan American Games will be the first, for both Men and Women, opporunity to Qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games. It was in these very games in 2007 that the Canadian Men captured gold following strokes against Argentina to qualify for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Gate Entry at UBC is as follows:

$50 : All Game Pass (24 Games)

$10 : 3 Game Day Pass

$5 : 1 Game Day Pass

To reserve your "ALL GAME PASS for $50" please email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by July 13, 2011. Pick-up at Will Call at Wright Field Gate Entry. Cash and Cheque payment will be accepted.

For full game schedule, please CLICK HERE .

Field Hockey Canada media release



Junaid optimistic about hockey team’s performance

Staff Report


ISLAMABAD: Manager of the national hockey team Khawaja Muhammad Junaid on Wednesday expressed optimism about the performance of the Grenshirts during their European tour.

Junaid said he was satisfied with the team’s combination. “We are working on the players for the last six to eight months. We have selected the final team for European tour keeping in view the past performance of players,” he added.

Replying to a question, Junaid said that senior players would remain part of the team till they performed well and also showed fitness. He said that in the Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament Shakeel Abbasi was the best player of the tournament while Sohail Abbas was the high scorer.

To another question about junior players, he said that they wanted to carry some junior players with the team like Muhammad Rizwan who was the part of team in the Azlan Shah tournament. “But the junior team is going to play Asia Cup in Singapore and they need players for better results.”

The Daily Times



Dutch embassy official visits Pakistan hockey training camp

Staff Report


ISLAMABAD: The Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Netherlands, Mr David Kuijper, visited the ongoing training camp of the Pakistan’s hockey team at Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium here on Wednesday.

The team is currently preparing for a European tour including matches in the Netherlands and Ireland under the Dutch coach Michel van den Heuvel.

Manager of the hockey team Khawaja Muhammad Junaid and other officials welcomed Mr Kuijper when he arrived at the training camp. He wished the team well and praised the Dutch coach for his expertise and professionalism.

After winning the Asian Games gold medal after a lapse of 20 years in China in November last year and ending runners-up at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia last month, the Pakistan’s hockey team is well on its way for the preparations for the 2012 London Olympics.

The Daily Times



Tanvir Dar Hockey Academy's Onslaught Reaches Germany

By Ijaz Chaudhry


Having retained the MOP international youth tournament title in Holland, Pakistan's Tanvir Dar Hockey Academy arrived in Germany for the second leg of their European tour.

Their first match was against the under 16 side of SW Neuss. Dar Academy started from where they had left in Holland. In the third minute, skipper Rizwan made his way into the circle through a fine solo run. His full-blooded shot was well saved by the goal keeper but Rana Sohail capatalised on the rebound to put his side ahead. Five minutes later, Bilal Mahmood added the second goal through an immaculate indirect penalty corner drill. Bilal also netted the third in the 10th minute - result of a lovely sweeping move involving four players. In the 15th minute, a long ball found the prolific goal scorer Aamer Ali in the circle who put it in the net in a flash.

Fifth goal came via Hammad Mansoor's stick after a foray from left . Sohail who didn't play in the Holland tournament showed no signs of rustiness and was a constant threat on the left wing. After a pacy run along the flank, he slid the ball to unmarked Waqas who had his attempt blocked by the short stopper but Sohail was there to put the rebound into the cage to make it 6-0 just before the first hooter.

SW Neuss appeared more organized in the second half and made things difficult for the Dar HA forwards and no goal came in the first 10 minutes. Finally irresistible Bilal Mahmood managed to add to the tally in the 48th minute. The eighth goal by Hammad Mansoor was the result of a move which had goal written all over it, initiated by centre half Skander. The tally was completed by Sohail who was the second Pakistani of the evening to get a hat trick along with Bilal Mahmood.

Tanvir Dar HA, Lahore 9 (Sohail 3, Bilal Mahmood 3, Hammad Mansoor 2, Aamer Ali 1) SW Neuss 0

Ijaz Chaudhry writes on hockey and other sports. For more about him and his work, visit: www.sportscorrespondent.info


Fieldhockey.com exclusive



Scottish youngsters fly out to Germany for Four Nations


Scotland U16 Girls travel to Mannheim in Germany this week for a challenging Four Nations tournament against three of Europe's top international teams and talented youth internationals.

Head Coach Elaine Brierley has named eighteen players in the squad for the tournament running from 11-13 June, when the Scots will face hosts Germany, Belgium and Holland over three competition days.

Speaking to the Scotsman's Gary Heatly earlier this week, Brierley said, "I have been pleased with the way the squad has grown in the last few months. It is always difficult to come out of your school and club teams to learn new systems on the international stage, but they have responded to it well.

"The warm-up matches have been crucial to us as it has allowed us to try a number of things and combinations and I feel the squad picked is one that can go to Germany and give a good account of themselves.

"We are under no illusions though. These will be three very tough tests and, with them coming in a three-day spell, the girls will have to work extremely hard to compete against the calibre of players they will likely be facing."

Scotland will need to hit the ground running with Holland their first match on Saturday morning, before they face the Germans on Sunday, and Belgium on Monday.

Scotland U16 Girls: Jenny Eadie (Clydesdale HC and Hutchesons' Grammar), Alison Hendry (Clydesdale HC and St Aloysius), Kirsty Johnston (GHK and High School of Glasgow), Maisie Morris (GHK and Kelvinside Academy), Eliza Stubing (Hillhead and High School of Glasgow), Kerry-Anne Hastings (CALA Edinburgh and Mary Erskine School), Catriona McLellan (Watsonians and George Watson's College), Waverley Miller (Watsonians and George Watson's College), Kirsten Peters (Watsonians and George Watson's College), Rebecca Trimble (CALA Edinburgh and Mary Erskine School), Laurie Kirkland (Kelburne and St Columba's), Evie Travers (Ayr and Wellington School), Georgina Black (Dundee Wanderers and Dundee High School), Susan Graham (Grove Menzieshill and Dundee High School), Jessica Ross (Dundee Wanderers and Morgan Academy), Emily Newlands (Borders Fjordhus and Selkirk High School), Lucy Ramsay (Borders Fjordhus and Kelso High School).

Match Schedule:

11th June: 11.00, Scotland v Netherlands, Mannheimer HC
12th June:11.00, Scotland v Germany, Mannheimer HC
13th June: 09.00, Scotland v Belgium, Mannheimer HC

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Punjab takes the honours

Special Correspondent



Punjab hockey team players celebrate after their win against Mumbai in the Junior National Hockey Championship in Mumbai on Wednesday. PTI

Goals from Davinder Kumar and Ramandeep Singh ensured Punjab a 2-1 win over Mumbai in the final of the junior National hockey championships for under-17 boys here at the MHA Mahindra stadium on Wednesday.

Ganendrajit Ranjit had opened the account for the Mumbai early in the first half.

Karnataka finished third, beating Rajasthan 10-1 in the Hardlines Cup.

Punjab skipper Gurjant Singh, who was named the ‘best player of the tournament' and goalkeeper Harmanpreet Singh, named ‘best player of the final', played decisive roles in the title clash. Gurjant kept the forwards busy with sweeping passes and also set up his team's first goal. Harmanpreet, on the other hand, came up with timely saves in the second half to deny Mumbai the equaliser. Mumbai's ability to keep the ball in possession made the Punjab defenders to work hard in the first half. Ganendrajit sounded the boards with a low placement to the right corner off a pass from Rajat Sharma in the sixth minute. Punjab equalised in style when Davinder found the target after some fluent passing involving Gurjant and Gurpreet Singh Sr.

Mumbai custodian Karan Thakur's misjudgement helped Punjab take the lead. He allowed the ball to roll past him thinking that his defender had made the last contact lwhen in fact it was Ramandeep who had done so in an attempt to latch on to a pass. Later, Rajat and Nikhil Poojary got a close look at the Punjab goal but were off target. Former Punjab Police DGP, K.P.S. Gill and Indian Hockey Federation president, R.K. Shetty gave away the prizes.

Individual awards: Best player of the tournament: Gurjant Singh (Punjab); Best player in the final: Harmanpreet Singh (Punjab); Highest goal-scorer: Basavaraj (Karnataka); Promising goalkeeper: Karan Thakur (Mumbai); Promising defender: Anand Rai (Mumbai); Promising midfielder: J. Rakesh (Karnataka); Promising forward: Nikhil Pujary (Mumbai).

The Hindu



Punjab wins the Under-17 Nationals in Mumbai

Punjab wins the Under - 17 Nationals, with a narrow defeat of Mumbai (2-1)

A seemingly innocuous error in judgement by Mumbai goalkeeper Karan Thakur paved the way for Punjab to annex the title in the Junior National Hockey Championships for boys under-17 with a 2-1 victory over the hosts. Ramandeep Singh of Punjab failed to trap cleanly a through pass from his colleague Harsahib Singh in the circle and Karan thinking that the ball was last played by one of his defenders allowed the ball to enter the goal much to the surprise of his team mates and the sizable crowd which had gathered at the MHA Mahindra Stadium expecting a good match.

Barring that incident, the hockey lovers had their monies worth as both the teams displayed a fast and exciting brand of hockey with end-to-end action. Punjab were expected to sail smoothly but Mumbai made them fight till the very end. Mumbai should blame themselves and not the goalkeeper failing to convert as many as ten penalty corners and a host of field opportunities. The tendency of central link man Anup Walmiki to hang on to the ball; especially in the second half hit Mumbai badly. The hosts started well taking the lead in the 6th minute as Ganendrajit Ranjit controlled the a raise ball in the circle and slammed it past a bewildered Punjab defence and the keeper Harmanpreet Singh. Mumbai got five penalty corners in the first fifteen minute and failure to convert any afforded Punjab the opportunity to level terms. It was a fine move which originated from the stick of captain Gurjant Singh who laid a long through for Gurpreet Singh (Sr) on the right. The latter beat a defender drew the goalkeeper out and laid a perfect square for Davinder to connect on the run.

Buoyed by the success Punjab attacked forcing Mumbai to defend in numbers. They we lucky when Davinder capitalizing on a defensive lapse reverse - hit the ball inches wide off the far post . Punjab too had their moments of anxiety as Ashutosh Lingesh who had broken through was foiled in the nick of time by Karan Kumar and keeper Harmanpreet Singh. Mumbai had the ball in the net off their in the 33rd minute but to their relief the umpire disallowed the goal for dangerous play. Mumbai had another opportunity immediately after resumption but Rajat Sharma after going through the rival defence was unable to beat Harmanpreet. A melee ensued but Punjab wriggle out of the situation.

The accidental goal did not dampen Mumbai’s spirits and they came close scoring on a quite of number of occasions. Nikhir Pujari , Ganendrajit missed the goal narrowly a couple of times while Rajat ballooned the ball over trying the reverse hit. There was a bit of drama when umpire Shridharan Thamba awarded the goal to Mumbai from their 8th penalty corner but rectified the error after consulting co-umpire A.S.Negi. Mumbai kept on trying but the title finally slipped away.

In the hardlines match Karnataka expectedly mauled Rajasthan 10-1 with Basawaraj top scoring with four goals

The captain of Punjab Gurjant Singh was adjudged the man of the match as well as man of the tournament and was awarded a cash prize of rupees fifteen thousand. A similar prize was given to Basawaraj of Karnataka being the highest scorer in the tournament. S

Hardlines:

Karnataka 10 (Basavaraj.S.A 4, Shreyas K.R 2, Somanna P.A, Seshe Gowda B.M, Nirmal Chinnappa A.D, Milan K.G) beat Rajasthan 1 (Sanjay Khan)

Finals:

Punjab 2 (Davinder Kumar, Ramandeep Singh) beat Mumbai 1 (Ganendrajit Ranjit )

Stick2Hockey.com



Punjab win junior national hockey championship

MUMBAI: A seemingly innocuous error in judgement by Mumbai goalkeeper Karan Thakur in the 41st minute of play paved the way for Punjab to annex the title in the Junior National Hockey Championships for boys under-17 with a 2-1 victory over the hosts.

Punjab skipper Gurjant Singh was adjudged the man of the match as well as man of the tournament and was awarded a cash prize of rupees fifteen thousand.

Ramandeep Singh of Punjab failed to trap cleanly a through pass from his colleague Harsahib Singh in the circle and Karan thinking that the ball was last played by one of his defenders allowed the ball to enter the goal much to the surprise of his team mates and the sizable crowd which had gathered at the MHA Mahindra Stadium expecting a good match.

Barring that incident, the hockey lovers had their monies worth as both the teams displayed a fast and exciting brand of hockey with end-to-end action. Punjab were expected to sail smoothly but Mumbai made them fight till the very end. Mumbai should blame themselves and not the goalkeeper failing to convert as many as ten penalty corners and a host of field opportunities.

The tendency of central link man Anup Walmiki to hang on to the ball; especially in the second half hit Mumbai badly. The hosts started well taking the lead in the 6th minute as Ganendrajit Ranjit controlled the a raise ball in the circle and slammed it past a bewildered Punjab defence and the keeper Harmanpreet Singh. Mumbai got five penalty corners in the first fifteen minute and failure to convert any afforded Punjab the opportunity to level terms in the 18th minute.

It was a fine move which originated from the stick of captain Gurjant Singh who laid a long through for Gurpreet Singh (Sr) on the right. The latter beat a defender drew the goalkeeper out and laid a perfect square for Davinder to connect on the run.

Buoyed by the success Punjab attacked forcing Mumbai to defend in numbers. They we lucky when Davinder capitalizing on a defensive lapse reverse - hit the ball inches wide off the far post. Punjab too had their moments of anxiety as Ashutosh Lingesh who had broken through was foiled in the nick of time by Karan Kumar and keeper Harmanpreet Singh. Mumbai had the ball in the net off their in the 33rd minute but to their relief the umpire disallowed the goal for dangerous play. Mumbai had another opportunity immediately after resumption but Rajat Sharma after going through the rival defence was unable to beat Harmanpreet. A melee ensued but Punjab wriggle out of the situation.

The accidental goal did not dampen Mumbai's spirits and they came close scoring on a quite of number of occasions. Nikhir Pujari , Ganendrajit missed the goal narrowly a couple of times while Rajat ballooned the ball over trying the reverse hit. There was a bit of drama when umpire Shridharan Thamba awarded the goal to Mumbai from their 8th penalty corner but rectified the error after consulting co-umpire A.S.Negi. Mumbai kept on trying but the title finally slipped away. In hardlines match Karnataka mauled Rajasthan 10-1 with Basawaraj top scoring with four goals Basawaraj of Karnataka got the prize for being the highest scorer.

Final: Punjab 2 ( Davinder Kumar, Ramandeep Singh ) beat Mumbai 1 (Ganendrajit Ranjit ); Hardlines: Karnataka 10 ( Basavaraj.S.A 4, Shreyas K.R 2, Somanna P.A, Seshe Gowda B.M, Nirmal Chinnappa A.D, Milan KG, ) beat Rajasthan 1 (Sanjay Khan).

The Times of India



Punjab win junior nationals hockey title

By DNA Correspondent


A faint touch from Ramandeep Singh’s stick was all that separated the two sides as the hosts Mumbai went down 2-1 to Punjab in the final of the under-17 national hockey championship at the MHA stadium here on Wednesday.

The final was a cagey affair resulting from well matched opponents, who cancelled each other out and shared almost equal ball-possession. Mumbai got off the blocks quicker and held the upper hand in the opening exchanges. They won a series of penalty corners resulting from their excursions in the Punjab circle. Ganendrajit Ranjit pushed the ball out accurately but the players on the circle failed to utilise those passes into anything productive.

The home team’s nippy right winger Rajat Sharma harassed the Punjab defence by cutting in and beating the defenders on the left on several occasions. The pressure applied by Sharma paid dividend when his pass found Ranjit with enough space to hit a powerful shot to beat the Punjab goalie Harmanpreet Singh.

The goal proved to be a wake up call for the Punjab side, who upped the ante after finding themselves trailing. Mumbai were able to foil their attempts earlier on as their attacks generally came through the centre, but with a goal down they started channelling their flanks to get closer to the opponents’ goal.

Punjab levelled parity in the game when the Mumbai goalkeeper Karan Thakur charged off his line to stop Davinder Singh, who broke free on the right side of the goal. Davinder took a weak but accurate shot at the far post which got past Thakur and ended up in the back of the net. Mumbai tried to regain their lead immediately and thought they were ahead when Ranjit found the goal again but the referee ruled that he had raised the stick dangerously high in the volley.

The second half started the same way as the first with the hosts keeping the ball in Punjab’s half. However, the visitors gained the upper hand for the first time in the game when defender Karan Kumar beat two Mumbai defenders on the half line and delivered a long slap-shot pass to Ramandeep Singh, who was standing free.

Thakur once again rushed out to block a potential shot but Ramandeep, instead of trapping and then taking a shot tried a direct hit and managed to get a faint deflection, which left the goalie wrong footed and the ball rolled into the empty goal.

Mumbai held a very high defensive line for the rest of the half at the risk of counter attacks. They got close on a couple of occasions but the Punjab ’keeper Haramanpreet proved to be impregnable in the period. Punjab held on to their lead to win the championship.

“To score a winning goal in the final and win a championship is a great feeling. I have scored fifteen goals in the tournament, but obviously this goal is the most pleasing of them all,” said Ramandeep.

DNA



‘FIH was paid Rs. 7.5 crore'

Special Correspondent


K.P.S. Gill, advisor to the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), said here on Wednesday that a sum of Rs. 7.5 crore (Rs.75 million/US$1.68m) was spent on title sponsorship money to host the men's World Cup hockey championship in New Delhi from February 28 to March 13, 2010.

The money was Rs. 5 crore more than the agreement between the IHF (then headed by Gill) and the FIH. He also said that the championship was run by ‘Organising Committee Hero Honda FIH World Cup Hockey 2010', a body registered under the society's act.

At a press conference here before the final of the under-17 National championship, Gill said: “My sources told me that it was a private registered society called the Organising Committee Hero Honda FIH World Cup Hockey 2010 which conducted the World Cup. When I tried to get more details I was told that the society is not covered by the Right to Information Act (India).

“Then on March 1, 2010 there was a meeting attended by Injeti Srinivas (Jt. Secretary, Sports), Sindhushree Khullar Director General, Sports Authority of India, Deepika Kachhal Director (Sports), Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Narinder Batra, R.K. Shetty (President, IHF) and I.

Filing FIR

“Batra said at the meeting that Rs.7.5 crore was paid as title sponsorship fee to the FIH. You have to ask the society, Organising Committee Hero Honda FIH World Cup Hockey 2010, as to whether the money was paid to the FIH. But where is the society now? I am filing an FIR,” Gill said.

Gill said that the IHF was willing to go beyond half-way to thrash out the issues facing the hockey fraternity in India. “The IOA suspended the IHF after alleging that Jyoti Kumaran (former IHF Secretary) took Rs.2 lakh bribe for allotting a tournament. Now I think the IOA should suspend itself.

“We all know where the former IOA President is now. Recently an FIH official requested the IHF to withdraw the case against IOA; I replied that I would do so only after the FIH lifts the suspension on IHF.''

In May 2010 the Delhi High Court termed the suspension and de-recognition of the IHF as illegal and restored it to the position it held in 2008. Three days ago a Delhi High Court opinion went in favour of the IHF when it dismissed a petition filed by Premier Hockey Development Pvt. Ltd., an ESPN Star Sports company, after the IHF decided to sign an agreement with Nimbus Sports for a World Series Hockey league.

“Just before this press conference I received a call from a sports ministry official for a meeting. Maybe we can thrash out all issues. As K.P.S. Gill said we are ready to go beyond half-way, but there's no question of surrender. The IHF has been headed by eminent persons like Naval Tata, Ashwani Kumar, Sam Manekshaw and K.P.S. Gill. It was under it that India won eight gold medals at the Olympics,” said Shetty.

The Hindu



HI paid Rs 5 crore extra to FIH, claims Gill

Satya Rath


MUMBAI: While the continuing tussle between the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and Hockey India (HI) has become a way of life for hockey lovers, the surprising part in this whole episode has been the stand taken by the game's Lausanne-based world body (FIH).

The FIH has been steadfastly backing Hockey India, despite a Delhi High Court ruling and a government notification to the contrary. After the court ruled that IHF is the sole governing body of the game in the country, the sports ministry too withdrew its conditional recognition to HI. Yet, the FIH continues to recognize HI as the 'official' body in India, despite its current 'private' status.

On Wednesday, when former IHF chief KPS Gill was asked the reason behind the FIH's pro-HI stance, he made an interesting revelation.

"When the IHF signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the FIH for hosting the 2010 World Cup in Delhi, the fee that was agreed upon to get the hosting rights (to be paid to the FIH) was Rs 2.5 crore. But the amount that was paid to FIH by Hockey India was Rs 7.5 crore! This was revealed by (current HI secretary general) Narender Batra himself at a meeting three months ago. How and when this extra Rs 5 crore changed hands is something to be investigated. It's now up to you to guess why FIH likes Hockey India so much," Gill, who is now an IHF advisor, said.

"I now plan to file an FIR to find out by which route Rs 7.5 crore went out of the country. I do not know whether it was through the RBI or the hawala route," added Gill.

The former top cop said he tried to use the RTI Act to get details on the amount spent on hosting last year's World Cup, but couldn't get any as he was told that the event was hosted by a separate body which didn't come under the RTI's ambit. "Batra revealed in the same meeting (held on March 1 in Delhi) that neither Hockey India nor the Indian Olympic Association conducted the World Cup. He said it was conducted by the 'Organizing Committee of Hero Honda-FIH World Cup', headed by Suresh Kalmadi (former IOA chief)," Gill said.

Gill, however, said IHF was willing to go the extra mile to sort out the differences with HI and function as one united body. "We are willing to go more than half way to sort out the differences. But thanks to the FIH's support, Batra is unwilling to come to the negotiation table. We can't do much about it. We can only compromise, we can't surrender," Gill claimed.

IHF president RK Shetty, who was also present at the media conference, said decks have been cleared for the proposed World Series Hockey (WSH) following the Delhi High Court's favourable verdict earlier this week. "We would be giving the details about the dates, venues and players taking part in WSH in four to six weeks' time. I don't think FIH will prevent players from playing in it as it's for the promotion of hockey," he said.

Shetty also said that IHF will not prevent players from taking part in any tournament even if it was held under the aegis of Hockey India. "I have been a player myself and don't want the players to suffer for no fault of theirs," he added.

The Times of India



Higher amount paid for hosting 2010 Hockey World Cup: Gill

MUMBAI: The fees charged by FIH from India for hosting the last year's Hockey World Cup at New Delhi was Rs 5 crore more than the original deal signed by the world body with the erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation, former IHF chief KPS Gill said on Wednesday.

"When the IHF (of which Gill was the president) signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) for hosting the 2010 World Cup in Delhi the capitation fees that was agreed on was Rs 2.5 crore. But Mr (Narinder) Batra (Hockey India's secretary general) revealed at a meeting three months ago that the amount was Rs 7.5 crore," Gill said at a media conference.

Gill, now an IHF advisor, said that Batra also revealed at the meeting (held on March 1 in Delhi) in the presence of sports ministry officials that neither Hockey India nor the Indian Olympic Association had conducted the World Cup.

"He said it was conducted by the organising committee of the Hero Honda FIH World Cup, registered with the Registrar of Societies in Delhi and headed by Suresh Kalmadi (former IOA chief)," he said in the presence of IHF president R K Shetty.

"I would file an FIR now to find out by which route Rs 7.5 crore went out of the country. I do not know whether it was through the RBI route or the hawala route," added Gill.

The former top cop said he could not get any information about the World Cup under the RTI Act and, only when asked at the joint meeting of the IHF, HI and sports ministry in March, Batra revealed the amount paid to FIH.

Gill said when originally planned the World Cup was budgeted to cost Rs 4.5 crore, including what he said was capitation fees, which Shetty clarified as title sponsorship charges levied by the FIH for India getting the hosting rights for the tournament.

Gill, who charged that HI was a hoax perpetrated on the hockey lovers of the country, said the differences between the rival bodies - IHF and HI - can be sorted out in a day's time.

"The IHF president is sitting by my side and I can say the IHF is willing to go more than half way to sort out the differences with HI. But Mr Batra is unwilling and he has a strong supporter in an important politician, Mr Arun Jaitley," he charged.

Shetty said that just before holding the press briefing he got a call from the sports ministry for a meeting to sort out the problems between IHF and HI.

Shetty said now that the decks have been cleared following the Delhi high court's verdict in favour of the proposed World Series Hockey (WSH) to be organised by IHF in conjunction with Nimbus Sport, things were falling in place and details about the tournament will be out by next month.

"We would be giving all the details about the dates, venues and players taking part in WSH in four to six weeks' time. I don't think FIH will prevent players from playing in it as it's for the promotion of hockey," he said.

Shetty said that IHF will not prevent players from taking part in any tournament even if it was held under the aegis of its rival body, Hockey India.

"I have been a player myself and don't want the players to suffer for no fault of theirs," he said.

The Times of India



KPS Gill to file FIR against hockey bodies

By DNA Correspondent


Former president of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), KPS Gill, launched a scathing attack on Hockey India, International Hockey Federation (FIH), Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the sports ministry on Wednesday, accusing them of misusing the funds during the hockey World Cup in New Delhi last year.

Gill, who is now an advisor to IHF, said there is no account for the Rs7.5 crore, the capitation fees, for the quadrennial event. “When the IHF signed the Memorandum of Understanding with FIH for hosting the 2010 World Cup, the capitation fees that was agreed on was Rs2.5 crore. But Mr (Narendra) Batra (HI secretary general) revealed at a meeting three months ago that the amount was Rs7.5 crore,” Gill said.

Gill said that Batra also revealed at the meeting (held on March 1 in Delhi), in the presence of sports ministry officials, that neither HI nor the IOA had conducted the World Cup.

“He said it was conducted by the Organising Committee of the Hero Honda FIH World Cup, registered with the Registrar of Societies in Delhi and headed by Suresh Kalmadi (former IOA chief),” he said. “I would file an FIR now to find out by which route Rs7.5 crore went out of the country. I do not know whether it was through the RBI route or the hawala route,” added Gill. “I think this is the reason why the FIH is being so lenient to Hockey India.”

The former top cop said he could not get any information about the World Cup under the RTI Act and, only when asked at the joint meeting of the IHF, HI and sports ministry in March, did Batra reveal the amount paid to FIH. Batra was not available for comment. Gill also went on to say that former sports minister MS Gill, joint secretary (sports) Injetti Srinivas and Kalmadi for ‘ruining the sport in the last three years’.

Meanwhile, IHF president RK Shetty said the decks have been cleared following the Delhi high court’s verdict in favour of the proposed World Series Hockey (WSH) to be organised by IHF.

DNA



We do not have infrastructure to improve performance: Topno

JAMSHEDPUR: Hockey Olympian Manohar Topno on Wednesday blamed lack of infrastructure and rivalry between the Indian Hockey Federation and Hockey India as major causes for the game's declining standard in the country.

Topno is the coach of the 18-member Jharkhand hockey team that left for Bhopal to take part in the first senior national men's hockey championship being hosted by Hockey India from Friday.

Topno, also a selection committee member of Hockey India, said meritorious players were being left out of the Indian team due to rivalry between the two organisations, even though Hockey India has been recognised by the world body.

Calling the two bodies to resolve their differences in the larger interest of the game, former right back Topno, who was a member of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics Indian team, said that Hockey India did not have adequate modern technology to monitor the games of leading countries, particularly the Europeans.

Citing an example, he said the coach of the Holland team called out a player, who was repeatedly missing opportunities to convert a penalty in the last World Cup held in New Delhi, during a brief break and pointed out his flaw with suggestions to correct it.

"We do not have any such facility to improve our performance," he lamented.

He also regretted the lack of adequate infrastructure for the game and said the players of Hockey Jharkhand had to practice on a turf ground even though a world-standard astro-turf stadium was existing in the state capital, Ranchi.

"The astro-turf stadium has become only a show-piece," he said.

The charges fixed by the authorities to avail the astro-turf facility was beyond Hockey Jharkhand's reach, he admitted while accusing that the stadium was being rented out for all purposes included wedding ceremony but not for hockey.

Asked if India lacked talented coaches as it continued to rely on foreign coaches, Topno said, "We do not have a dearth of talented coaches, but we required foreign coaches because of fast changing techniques as well as rules of the game."

The Times of India



HI still searching for foreign coach

M.S. Unnikrishnan


The top guns of Hockey India, the national selectors, Government observers and coaches will assemble in Bhopal during the National Championship there from June 10 to 19, to select 48 probables for a coaching camp, to be held in Bangalore from July 1.

A Hockey India source said here today that the selectors will cast the net wide during the Nationals to pick the best available talent for the camp as a prelude to picking the Indian teams for various engagements in the coming months, including the Champions Trophy, slated to be held at the National Stadium in Delhi in December, and the Olympic qualifiers, also to be held in Delhi in February, 2012.

Though the name of the foreign coach has not yet been finalised, five Indian coaches, who will be associated with the National team, will be present in Bhopal to assess the talent on view. Though the Sports Ministry has accorded recognition to the rival Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), it has also allowed Hockey India to conduct the Nationals with a view that “hockey should not suffer”. The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has stated that it will deal only with Hockey India, which has put the Government in a dilemma.

As a consequence, institutional teams like Services, Railways and the Combined Universities would be among the 32 teams participating in the Nationals.

The source said the name of the foreign coach/consultant would be finalized in the “next ten days”. He said it was “too early, too premature” to name the possible candidate/candidates for the top job as various names were under consideration.

Former Indian captain, Olympian Pargat Singh, who is chairman of Hockey India’s Development Committee, which will decide on the foreign coach, said the committee will finalise a suitable name “as early as possible, may be in the next 10 to 15 days”.

“I am aware of the urgency of the situation, but we have to zero-in on the right candidates who would be able to work to uplift Indian hockey”, Pargat told The Tribune. He had lamented in Delhi last week that the laggard attitude of Hockey India was stalling the selection of a foreign coach.

Hockey India has requested the Ministry and Sports Authority of India to hold the National camp in Bangalore, taking into account the pleasant weather conditions in the southern metropolis, though the two major home assignments of the Indian team will be played at the National Stadium in Delhi.

The Tribune



Is Oltmans in the fray to become hockey coach?

V Narayan Swamy


BANGALORE: Hockey India is on the lookout for a chief coach with qualities that have moved nations to stirring deeds. This was made clear to the Union sports ministry in a meeting on Monday.

One of the names doing the rounds is Roelant Oltmans, the super guru who fetched Netherlands fame at the Olympics, World Cup and Champions Trophies since the 90s, besides coaching Pakistan in 2003-04. As things stand, Oltmans' name will figure prominently in the shortlist to be forwarded to the ministry in the coming days.

Not part of the menu is former chief coach Spaniard Jose Brasa, who was keen on returning to India.

In all likelihood, former India captain Jude Sebastian Felix may get an opportunity to showcase his capabilities, but on a rung below the chief coach.

In a brainstorming session on Monday where the emphasis was more common sense and pragmatism than the rhetoric that only a foreign coach can rid India of its ills, the ministry laid bare the truth that India needed a coach who could read the pulse of the sport and put in place the system that it demanded.

Ministry officials reiterated that India ought to now think of the long-term goal of establishing a system that rivalled the best in the world. "We have to understand we no longer have a system which can generate the best of players and coaches. Any coach with the capability of setting things in motion ought to be considered," ministry sources told TOI.

HI was firm that it needed a man with glowing credentials, particularly one who had achieved significant results for the national team he has worked for. The federation, however, said it was also looking for strong candidates for positions of coaches who would be working under the chief coach. If everything goes well, Felix, a candidate backed by Indian Hockey Federation, may be called for a presentation along with other aspirants.

The ministry also wants the new chief coach to be given enough freedom and space to work on his ideas. The Brasa experience has seemingly led to this rethink __ the Spaniard had often complained of a stifling work atmosphere where he was even kept out of press conferences and barred from airing his views.

In future, the chief coach would be part of the selection committee, with a major say in selection matters. He would also be allowed to get a few professional hands from abroad if the situation warranted. The contract, initially, will run until the London Olympics next year.

The Times of India



Namma Metro to sponsor Karnataka hockey team

BANGALORE: Karnataka hockey team will sport the Namma Metro logo at the Hockey India Senior men's National Championship, beginning in Bhopal on June 10.

The sponsorship deal, struck by Hockey Karnataka last month, saw Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited fund the 25-day preparatory camp as well as kit the team ahead of the Nationals.

"The players left for Bhopal on Rajdhani express today," a beaming Hockey Karnataka secretary AB Subbaiah told TOI. "It will be a comfortable journey to Bhopal where we will ensure they get the best of facilities. Besides, they will get a daily allowance of Rs 450."

Around 50 players, who attended the camp, were provided with special diet and proper training module by physical conditioning expert Jeeth Devaiah. Seventeen were picked at the end of the camp. They will be joined by Deepak Thakur and Prabhjot Singh of Indian Oil in Bhopal.

Irshad Ali is the third non-Karnataka player in the team. He hails from Bhopal.

Karnataka, who will be led by Bharat Petroleum forward Amar Aiyamma, are in Pool B along with Chandigarh, Rajasthan and Assam, will face Assam in the opener on June 11.

Team:

Goalkeepers: Bharat Chetri & Tharun Thammanna.

Defenders: VR Raghunath, Irshad Ali, SK Uthappa.

Midfielders: Vikramkanth, MB Aiyappa, Rafeeq, Bipin Bopaiah, MK Muddappa.

Forwards: Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh, Amar Aiyamma (captain), Hari Prasad, Pradhan Somanna, KP Dinesh, KM Somanna, KS Appanna, Nithin Thimmaiah.

Coach: BJ Kariappa. Coach / manager: BS Venkatesh.

Physical expert: Jeeth Devaiah.

Umpires: Raghu Prasad, Arun Babu and Cariappa.

Technical official: AB Palangappa.

The Times of India



Prabhjot, Deepak to turn out for Karnataka in National hockey

Aby Jose


BANGALORE: Forward Prabhjot Singh will represent a new team in the upcoming Hockey India Senior men's Nationals but the veteran international is keen on being his usual self in the tournament starting at Bhopal this week.

The Chandigarh-based player was named in the Karnataka squad for the first edition of the Nationals organized by Hockey Karnataka, thanks to his Bangalore-based employer Indian Oil Corporation Limited.

Prabhjot will have his long-time companion at IOCL and fellow frontliner Deepak Thakur for company in the Karnataka side, captained by Amar Aiyamma.

Explaining the rationale behind his decision to choose the South Indian state, Prabhjot said: "There are around four-five players in IOCL who are from Karnataka. So I thought it would be better to team up with my regular mates on the field. It is a well-balanced side and that should work as an advantage for the team and make us competitive enough to beat any other side in the event."

Prabhjot has represented his home state Punjab in the Nationals during his school days before moving to IOCL and was the domestic giant's lynchpin for years together. This is the first time the forward has picked Karnataka or say another state as his team in the Nationals.

With the Nationals doubling up as a selection tournament ahead of the national team's upcoming Champions Trophy and Olympic qualifiers assignments, Prabhjot is optimistic of returning to the elite circuit. "The selectors should pick the national team on the basis of performance in the Nationals and the current form augurs well for me. I was named the best forward in the last month's All-India Obaidullah Gold Cup tournament in Bhopal," stated the 30-year-old, who made his international debut a decade ago and last played for India in the 2010 World Cup on home turf.

Prabhjot in all likelihood will take up his customary position on the left flank for Karnataka and the 2008 Arjuna awardee has a point to prove, particularly on the fitness front.

"I was invited to play league in Malaysia and top-scored there. It is a competitive league and one cannot emerge top-scorer without maintaining high level of fitness. I am ready to return to the national team now. As a senior player who has fought for the players off the field and fought for the country on it, someone should tell me my grey areas if I am continued to be excluded from the national side," said Prabhjot, who will be joining the team directly at the venue.

The Times of India