News for 28 October 2011

All the news for Friday 28 October 2011


Argentina & USA women to fight for Olympic berth

Pan American Games – Guadalajara, Mexico.



USA women defeated Canada to reach the 2011 Pan Am games final. (Photo: FIH / USA Field Hockey)

Six time champions Argentina will face five time silver medallists USA in the final of the Pan American Games women’s hockey tournament, which is taking place in Guadalajara, Mexico. The winner of the Friday's meeting between the two giants of Pan American hockey will seal a place at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The bronze medal and classification matches will also take place on Friday.

Argentina continued their imperious form at the Pan Am Games by dishing out a 4-0 defeat to near neighbours Chile.

Rosario Luchetti fired home after just four minutes to give Las Leonas the lead, although resilient Chilean defending prevented the world champions from extending their advantage until the resistance was finally broken by a Soledad Garcia penalty corner.

Luciana Aymar and Delfina Merino scored impressive goals in the second half to ensure that Argentina remain on course for a seventh Pan American Games title in succession.

“It was a very difficult match,” said Chile coach Diego Amoroso after the game. "I think we reduced their spacing and passing lanes and so I am satisfied with the work we did on defence. At the same time, if you play a lot of the match without the ball, it is difficult to generate scoring opportunities to win the match."

The USA booked their place in the tournament final courtesy of a 4-2 win over Canada. Claire Laubach scored twice in the win, giving putting the USA into their sixth Pan Am Games final in seven tournaments.

“We knew we would get a very genuine contest from Canada today,” said USA head coach Lee Bodimeade. “I am very happy with the way our team played and in getting the result we wanted to put us in the final on Friday.”

USA has been beaten to the Gold medal on every occasion by Argentina, but the North Americans will be aiming to make it sixth time lucky in Guadalajara.

In other results, Mexico overcame Barbados 3-1 to set up a 5th-6th place play-off against Cuba, who defeated Trinidad and Tobago 2-1. Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago will contest the 7th – 8th place.

On Thursday, the men’s Semi Finals will take place, with Canada, Cuba, Argentina and Chile all battling for a place in Saturday’s tournament final.

The results for the tournament thus far can be found below. All official tournament information including detailed reports, results, tables, match sheets, scorers lists and photos can be found on the website of the Pan American Hockey Federation by clicking the following link: http://www.panamhockey.org/en/competitions

Source material - Field Hockey Canada media release

Results
Wednesday 19th October 2011

09:00 Women's Group A Game 1 Argentina v Trinidad & Tobago 11-0 (6-0)
11:00 Women's Group A Game 2 Canada v Barbados 10-0 (6-0)
14:00 Women's Group B Game 3 United States v Mexico 5-0 (3-0)
16:00 Women's Group B Game 4 Chile v Cuba 6-0 (3-0)

Thursday 20th October 2011
09:00 Men’s Group A Game 1 Canada v Trinidad & Tobago 7-2 (4-2)
11:00 Men's Group A Game 2 Chile v Barbados 9-1 (4-0)
14:00 Men's Group B Game 3 Argentina v Mexico 8-0 (3-0)
16:00 Men's Group B Game 4 USA v Cuba 2-4 (1-1)

Friday 21st October 2011
09:00 Women's Group B Game 5 Mexico v Cuba 1-3 (0-2)
11:00 Women's Group B Game 6 Chile v USA 1-2 (2-4)
14:00 Women's Group A Game 7 Trinidan & Tobago v Barbados 2-4 (1-3)
16:00 Women's Group A Game 8 Canada v Argentina 3-7 (3-4)

Saturday 22nd October 2011
09:00 Men's Pool B Game 5 Mexico v Cuba 1-2 (0-0)
11:00 Men's Pool B Game 6 USA v Argentina 0-2 (0-1)
14:00 Men's Pool A Game 7 Trinidad & Tobago v Barbados 11-1 (5-1)
16:00 Men's Pool A Game 8 Chile v Canada 0-4 (0-1)

Sunday 23rd October 2011
09:00 Women's Pool A Game 9 Argentina v Barbados 19-0 (10-0)
11:00 Women's Pool A Game 10 Trinidad & Tobago v Canada 1-2 (1-0)
14:00 Women's Pool B Game 11 USA v Cuba 9-0 (6-0)
16:00 Women's Pool B Game 12 Mexico v Chile 0-1 (0-0)

Monday 24th October 2011
09:00 Men's Pool A Game 9 Canada v Barbados 10-0 (6-0)
11:00 Men's Pool A Game 10 Trinidad & Tobago v Chile 1-3 (0-1)
14:00 Men's Pool B Game 11 Argentina v Cuba 10-1 (4-1)
16:00 Men's Pool B Game 12 Mexico v USA 3-2 (3-2)

Fixtures
Wednesday 26th October 2011
09:00 Women's 5-8 Match 13 Barbados v Mexico 1-3 (1-0)
11:00 Women's Semi Final Match 14 Argentina v Chile 4-0 (2-0)
15:00 Women's Semi Final Match 15 USA v Canada 4-2 (2-1)
17:30 Women's 5-8 Match 15 Cuba v Trinidad & Tobago 2-1 (1-1)

Thursday 27th October 2011
09:00 Men's 5-8 Match 13 Trinidad & Tobago v USA
11:00 Men's Semi Final Match 14 Canada v Cuba
15:00 Men's Semi Final Match 15 Argentina v Chile
17:30 Men's 5-8 Match 15 Mexico v Barbados

Friday 28th October 2011
09:00 Women's 7-8 Match 17 Barbados v Trinidad & Tobago
11:30 Women's 5-6 Match 18 Mexico v Cuba
15:00 Women's 3-4 Match 19 Chile v Canada
17:30 Women's Final Match 20 Argentina v USA

Saturday 29th October 2011

09:00 Men's 7-8 Match 17
11:30 Men's 5-6 Match 18
15:00 Men's 3-4 Match 19
17:30 Men's Final Match 20

All times are local (GMT -5)

Hockey at Guadalajara 2011
Who: The Men and women of Argentina, USA, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Cuba, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago.
Where: The Pan American Hockey Stadium, Revolución Sports Complex, 3232 Pablo Neruda Avenue, Providencia Zone, Guadalajara, Jalisco, México. (Capacity: 1870)
When: 19th - 29th October 2011
The Prize: The men’s and women’s Gold medalists will secure a place at the London 2012 Olympics.

FIH site



Team USA face No. 1 Argentina in gold medal match

Ashley Meunier


GUADALAJARA, Mexico - The two teams reasserting themselves in the Pan American Games gold medal matchup should come as no surprise. Six-time champions Argentina will look to defend their title against Team USA tomorrow evening and secure a place in the 2012 London Olympics.

Team USA has been collecting silver for the last four consecutive Pan Am Games, falling a heartbreaking second place to Argentina every time. Team USA is looking for a vengeance and hoping that 2011 is the year to break the ancient Argentinian winning streak.

A combination of rookies and veterans has proven to be a successful mixture for Team USA. The Americans rolled through pool play and the semi-finals undefeated, with only three goals conceded.

Five Olympians and four returning Pan American players have been the backbone of Team USA. Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa), Caroline Nichols (Virginia Beach, VA), Rachel Dawson (Berlin, NJ), Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg, Pa) and Claire Laubach (Centreville, VA) all have competed in over 100 international competitions. Their presence on the field is recognized by their skillful defense and authority through the midfield while their experience and leadership is instrumental in bringing the best out of the younger players.

Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa) and Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, NC) look to hit the 100 cap milestone in the very near future. The dynamic duo have unrivaled speed, a feisty, aggressive style and the ability to put the ball in the net.

The bulk of the team can be defined as the “rookies” of the Team. Michelle Vittese (Woodbury, NJ), Julie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa) and sister Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa), Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa), Michelle Cesan (New Vernon, NJ), Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, NY), Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, VA) and Jackie Kintzer (Robesonia, Pa) are the up and coming stars and the future of Team USA. This group has shown poise and vigor throughout their first Pan American tournament.

Selenski, Gonzalez, Vittese and Kintzer are fiery and fierce. They press hard and play smart. Keeper of the cage, Kintzer, has an immaculate reaction time and coupled with total commitment to block, dive and save almost any ball coming her way.

The Reinprecht sisters and Cesan are the Princeton Tigers trio who chose to take the year off of school and collegiate field hockey to pursue the Olympic dream. Their patience and stingy defense combined with their tenacity and practiced stick handling skills is intimidating and terrifying for any opponent they face.

Let it be known that the average age of Team USA is a youthful 24 years. The sixteen athletes of Team USA have devoted the last year to preparing for this very moment; the opportunity to play for a Pan Am gold medal and an Olympic berth. They are the team eager to break the winning streak Argentina started in 1987. They are the athletes looking to make history by bringing home the first ever Pan American gold medal and standing atop the podium proudly representing their country.

The honor of doing so will not come easy. Argentina, as expected, boasts a star studded cast, including six players who have competed in over 100 international competitions. They are reigning World Cup Champions and the No. 1 ranked team in the world. They also possess arguably the best field hockey player in the world, Luciana Aymar. Aymar is a three time Olympic medalist and a remarkable seven time winner of the International Hockey Federation’s World Player of the Year award.

The two teams will meet on the field in Guadalajara, Mexico at 5:30pm local time tomorrow evening in what will surely be an exciting and historical match. Team USA is one game away from being “Britain Bound.”

USFHA media release



Men win semi-final match, will compete for GOLD and an automatic Olympic berth on Saturday

Team Canada defeats Cuba 3 - 2



2011 Pan American Games : Oct 27. Photo: Yan Huckendubler

The Canadian men’s team won a hard fought battle against Cuba (3-2) to reach the final of the Pan American Games for the tenth time in a row. Only one more win and the men will qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games!

The match started with a bang for Canada, Matt GUEST deflecting the ball in goal in the first minute of play. Scott TUPPER scored a penalty-corner soon after and Canada was suddenly with a two goal lead when the match had hardly started. Cuba was nevertheless far from down and came back in the match with a penalty-corner in the 14th minute.

Canada scored again in the 21st minute by Gabbar SINGH, penetrating the circle after a long run amongst the Cuban defenders before unleashing a shot that left no chance to the Cuban goal-keeper. Cuba increased again their pressure, trying to take advantage of a yellow card to a Canadian player, but Canada stood their ground firmly and maintained their two goal advantage going into the break.

The second half was incredibly intense, probably the best half of hockey played so far in this competition. The two teams battled fiercely for possession and play was going back and forth at high speed. Cuba managed to score in the 49th minute to reduce their deficit, setting the stage for torrid end of game. The Cubans, individually skilled and playing, true to their style, a very athletic and fast game.

Canada had to rely on all their experience to weather the Cuban storm, staying calm and managing to maintain their defensive structure under pressure, with Rob Short, Ken Pereira and Scott Tupper working in overdrive to keep the door shut.

Canada had a chance to increase their lead on a penalty-corner but could not convert it, while Cuba nearly tied the score in the 68th minute with a hard shot that went in, but was taken from outside the circle. The clock seemed to run slower and slower and the final minutes were very long for the Canadian fans in the stand (and no doubt for the players!), but the horn finally sounded, sending Canada in the final of the Pan American Games for the traditional face-off with Argentina: the two rivals have already met nine times at this stage of the competition.

The winner of the final match on Saturday at 5:30pm will automatically qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London!

ROBIN D’ABREO

“It was a tight game, and there was tension in the game throughout,” says Head Coach Robin D’Abreo. “I think we did well to get by a team that moves very fast - they gave us trouble for much of the game. I’m happy we made it through though I think our performance was a little lacking today, and we’re going to need to build on that to face whoever we’re going to face in the finals.

“We are here to win this tournament and we are here to qualify for the Olympic Games. With this performance we have given ourselves an opportunity to allow that to happen.”

MATTHEW GUEST

“It was really nice to score the first goal in the first few minutes. I think emotions were running high early in the game. It was a really high pressure game we got to 3 – 1 and they came back at us really hard and they put us under the pump a lot late in the game. For us to hold on and get through this game is great. And now – I guess one more game to the Olympics! I’m super excited and I’m really confident – I think we’re going to do it.”

GABBAR SINGH

“I am proud that we won the semi-finals and are going to play in the finals. We want to win the finals.”

SCOTT TUPPER

“The game was a pretty exciting one – maybe a little closer than we would have liked it, but we got out for the early lead. Most importantly we got ourselves into the finals and it was nice to play with pressure. We are definitely ready for the finals and looking forward to it – can’t wait.”

Field Hockey Canada media release



Defense carries Team USA to victory

Ashley Meunier


GUADALAJARA, Mexico – After a disappointing start to the tournament, the USA Men’s National Team clinched their first victory in a shutout performance over Trinidad and Tobago. Team USA took a 1-0 lead going into halftime and added an insurance goal late in the second half to remain in contention for a fifth place finish and the opportunity to attend a second Olympic qualifier in early 2012. USA will face host nation Mexico once again on Saturday, October 29 for the final match of the XVI Pan American Games.

“Trinidad raised the tempo as we knew they would do,” said Head Coach Nick Conway. “We weren’t as solid as I would have liked us to be, but we were solid enough. Tom made some outstanding saves in goal and I thought Sean was the anchor for our defense as he always is.”

Tyler Sundeen (Simi Valley, CA) scored the lone goal in the first half by collecting a pass near the stroke line and delivering the ball into the net.

Much of the second half was spent on defense for Team USA. Fortunately, they were exceptional. Excellent patience and tackles and a solid performance by Tom Sheridan (Ridgewood, NJ) in goal enabled USA to hold off the barrage of shots made by Trinidad and Tobago.

USA’s insurance goal was set up by Sean Harris (Moorpark, CA) who sent a perfect ball to Sundeen. Sundeen was waiting in the right spot in front of the cage to tally his second goal of the match and second goal of the tournament.

“The change in the game was Sean going through the lines to set up the second goal,” said Conway. “That was a pretty big moment for us today.”

Following the 2-3 loss over Mexico on Monday, Harris commented “If we stick to our game plan, we will be able to beat Mexico… if we are lucky enough to see them in the 5th place match.”

Harris and Team USA got what they had hoped for. Team USA will face Mexico at 11:30am local time on Saturday, October 29. A fifth place finish will send Team USA to an Olympic qualifying tournament in 2012 for a final chance to secure a spot in the London Games. A sixth place finish on Saturday will leave Team USA out of any cotention for a bid to the Olympics next summer.

USFHA media release



Hockeyroos hold on to extent series lead

The Hockeyroos have backed up last nights impressive 3-1 win over China with another solid performance, holding on for a 1-0 win in Busselton tonight to take a two game lead in the six test series.

Both teams were evenly matched and with China already a game down in the series, they entered the match determined to find a win. The Hockeyroos were equally looking to prove their previous result was no fluke.

After an even 20 minutes it was China who were given the first chance to score, taking a penalty corner which fortunately for the Hockeyroos smacked into the cross bar on the second attempt.

The Hockeyroos were then given their first penalty corner with two minutes remaining in the first half, however China’s defence proved too good with the scores remaining 0-0 at half time.

Only minutes into the second half the Hockeyroos gained the lead they desperately wanted, with Jodie Schulz, coming off two goals in the first game of the series, stepping up to convert yet another penalty corner to make it 1-0.

The Hockeyroos continued to look dangerous while moving forward, but their inability to convert left a gap open for China to get back in the game. However the Hockeyroos were able to hang on, taking the win and continuing to build their confidence as the London Olympics approaches.

Hockeyroos 1 China 0 (0-0 half time)

Goal – Jodie Schulz 40m PC

Hockey Australia media release



Australia decimate India in Tri-Nation hockey

BUSSELTON: Australia ripped apart the Indian defence to hand the visitors a 8-3 bashing in the opening match of the double leg Tri-Nation hockey tournament.

In what turned out to be a nightmare of an outing for the Indian team on Diwali night, Australia blew away the Indian team with some great field manoeuvres and penalty corner drills.

Australians scored freely against a clueless Indian defence with Kieran Goers, Desmond Abbot and Chris Ciriello netting a brace each while Eddie Ockenden and Glenn Turner added a goal each to the total.

Indians though tried to make a comeback with goals from Danish Mujtaba (12th and 66th minute) and SV Sunil (32nd minute), but it turned out to be too little and too late.

It was a troublesome night for the visitors, whose defence is a huge let down, especially when it comes to defending the penalty corners.

Australian penalty corner specialist Chris Ciriello, who is facing a stiff competition in the squad with the return of Luke Doerner, led the victory march much to the chagrin of the Indians.

Danish Mujtaba and SV Sunil narrowed the Australian score with a goal apiece in the first half, but Ciriello cancelled them out in 25th and 35th minute.

The match went into the lemon break with Australia leading 5-2.

Young Danish punched another goal five minutes before the hooter but by then the visitors' fate was already sealed.

Pakistan is the third team in the tri-nation tournament, which will be played here and Bunbury - Perth's South Side tourist resorts.

India will be up against Pakistan on Friday. The ranking matches will be played at Perth on November 3.

The Times of India



Lanco Super Series makes assured start

Hockey 9s format looks to have great promise



Australia Men, winners of the 2011 Lanco International Super Series (Photo: FIH / Hockey Australia / Getty Images)

Few would argue that the recent Lanco International Super Series (LISS) – which took place in Perth, Australia – was a bold and fascinating hockey experiment. The LISS went to extremes by creating a completely new format in a bid to increase excitement and broadcasting potential. Significantly, it featured international teams, with Australia, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, and Malaysia competing in this unique men’s and women’s competition.

As has been widely reported, the dramatic format changes included reducing the number of players on field to nine per team, increasing the width of the goals by one metre and introducing a more relaxed approach to foot and stick violations outside the circle. Matches were reduced in length, with two fifteen minute halves being played instead of the normal 35 minute periods. There were also big changes to long and penalty corner situations. All of these adjustments came together to create a sparkling blend of attacking hockey that was thoroughly enjoyed by stadium spectators and television viewers alike.

“We decided to go for a new format because we wanted to change the paradigm a little bit,” said Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth in an interview ahead of the tournament. “I think what we have in hockey is that the game has developed significantly in the last ten years. It’s become much faster and more fluent, and we thought that with more space, more opportunities for people to attack and perhaps more goals being scored we could perhaps push the envelope even further.”

As Charlesworth accurately predicted, the extra space created by the reduced number of players on the field resulted in a lot of exciting counter-attacking play and plenty of goal-scoring opportunities. The men’s final in particular showed just how quickly things can happen in this format, with five goals being scored in fifteen frantic first half minutes. This kind of scoring rate may be a common occurrence in the indoor game, but is rarely seen outdoors. The larger goals were certainly a factor behind the scoring statistics as they encouraged players to shoot on sight, but the number of missed chances suggests that the goals were not so big that a score could be virtually guaranteed.

The tournament umpiring also came in for great praise, with the match officials adapting very well to the rule changes. They allowed play to flow following an infringement but also showed good judgement when to award a foul. The players themselves did not take long to adjust, playing to the whistle rather than looking for a free hit to be awarded in their favour.

According to reports submitted to the FIH, the modifications to long corner plays were greatly appreciated by both players and coaches. Under Hockey 9s rules, long corners saw five attackers taking on five defenders (including the goalkeeper), with all other players starting at the half-way line until the ball becomes “live”. The 5 v 5 format reduced circle congestion and resulted in more goal-scoring opportunities.

Penalty corners were also subjected to a Hockey 9s makeover which made them almost unrecognisable to the standard game. These plays saw four attackers facing just two defenders and a goalkeeper, with the ball having to travel outside of the 23 metre line before a goal. The 23 metre rule eliminated the option of a drag-flick from the top of the circle, which reduced the danger of the play and meant that players did not spend a lot of time putting on face-masks. Another interesting experiment regarding penalty corners was the introduction of a timer which demanded that the play must start within 25 seconds of the corner being awarded.

Despite all of its accomplishments, it is clear that Hockey 9s is not yet the finished product. It was reported that many of the coaches would have liked the matches to be longer than 30 minutes, a point made by iconic Kookaburras striker Jamie Dwyer on Twitter shortly after his first game. Dwyer wrote that he was a big fan of the new format, but wished it was “a little longer” and put forward the suggestion of 20 minute halves.

It was also a hectic tournament for technical officials, who had just ten minutes between the end of one match and the start of the next. However, the quick turnaround was great news for the spectators who got great value for money by being able to watch intense and electrifying international matches in quick succession.

Although there are clearly some issues that still need to be ironed out, it is apparent from early feedback that this format has the potential to develop into something very special. There have already been a number of reports in the media that the Lanco International Super Series is likely to become an annual event, something which would certainly please the majority of fans who watched a wonderful weekend of hockey in Perth.

LISS Viewpoints
Players, coaches and fans give their thoughts about the tournament.

"I often said that Hockey 9s is a fun variety. This modified version helps to sharpen reflexes and scoring prowess. We also tested our players' readiness to adapt to different formats." India women’s coach CR Kumar speaking to The Times of India.

"Just finished first game of LISS and it was fun. Just wish it was a little longer, 20 minute halves maybe." Legendary Kookaburras striker Jamie Dwyer via Twitter.

“Wooo! Victories for both Hockeyroos and Kookaburras at LISS. Great weekend enjoyed by all! Huge success.” Hockeyroos star Marnie Hudson via Twitter.

“I think it has been a success and enjoyable to play. The players have enjoyed it. The goalkeepers have been brought more into the play which is a good thing. If you look at the stats, we are generating the same amount of chances in this form of the game than what we would usually get in a full 70 minutes in a regular game so there is a lot of action.” Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth.

“Congrats to Hurricane fan Eddie Ockenden who captained the Kookaburras to a series win in the LISS. Exciting & fast format just like T20!” Hobart Hurricanes Cricket Team via Twitter.

“Can't believe the LISS is over. Watching hockey in Australia has been an ABSOLUTE treat!” Hockey fan Sukhmanani Singh on Twitter following the completion of the tournament finals.

“Just finished watching the LISS. Great to see the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras, great wins and good to see on TV just not sold on format.” Jim Maloney via Twitter.

“Saw Kookaburras v India yesterday. It was pretty good. Fast paced. The long and short corners are interesting.” Blogger Matthew Kelly via Twitter.

“I think it’s an exciting form of the game and we need to embrace it. I think that in the future we will see it become very popular with the crowds and that’s what we need to promote our sport.” Adam Commens, coach of Australia’s Hockeyroos.

FIH site



FIH lift for local coaches

By JJ SHAH


MALAYSIAN hockey coaches have been given a golden opportunity by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to take their coaching to a higher level when it conducts a high performance coaching course in Johor Baru on Nov 7-12.

And for the first time in the history of FIH, it will be an "all-Malaysian affair" with 15 places available for the course which will be conducted by well known hockey personalities led by FIH master coach Datuk Tayyab Ikram.

The other two are Dutchman Seigfried Aikam, who is a FIH Grade One coach, and Tahir Zaman of Pakistan, who is now coaching Egypt.

Of late, Malaysian hockey under the leadership of Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, has earned praise from FIH.

The six-day course will be held at the Puteri Pan Pacific hotel during the inaugural six-nation Sultan of Johor Cup Under-21 tournament which will be contested by Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, South Korea and Malaysia on Nov 5-12.

The tournament will be an annual affair and has been recognised by the FIH and will feature on the FIH calendar.

It will be the world's first invitational Under-21 tournament apart from the Junior World Cup.

Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) coaching committee chairman Majid Manjit Abdullah said past high performance coaching courses have been "regional affairs" with only a handful of coaches from the host country.

"This is a rare opportunity FIH has given us. There are 15 slots available for the course. We will submit 20 names and FIH will pick 15 most suitable candidates while the remaining five will be observers," said Manjit, who is also an MHF vice-president.

"We are proud that FIH has made some leeway for Malaysia. It is certainly a shot in the arm for Malaysian hockey. Malaysians aspiring to take their coaching to a higher level should not miss this opportunity.

"It could not have come at a better time for Malaysian coaches to move up and become full-fledged FIH high performance coaches. This course is the stepping stone for the coaches to move up into the higher bracket."

At present there are only five FIH high performance coaches in Malaysia - Stephen van Huizen, Tai Beng Hai, Wallace Tan, Lim Chow Chuan and Colin Sta Maria - all ex-internationals. Beng Hai is currently Malaysia's national coach.

"Only those who hold at least a Level 3 coaching certificate and must be actively involved in the game are eligible for the high performance coaching course.

"We will submit 20 names for the course but the FIH will pick the 15 most suitable candidates while the remaining five will attend as observers," said Manjit, who thanked the National Sports Council and its director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong for extending their help to make the course possible.

New Straits Times



England Hockey Futures Cup Day One

Day one of the Futures Cup in Cannock finished with the Saxon Tigers and Wessex Leopards sitting on top of the pile in the Under 18 tournaments, with the Under 16s set to start their competition tomorrow.

In the U18 boys tournament, the Saxon Tigers and Wessex Leopards are inseparable at the top of the pool thanks to 3-1 wins. The The Leopards beat the Pennine Pumas thanks to goals from Daniel Faulkner, Chris Way and Bertie Watt. The Leopards had come from behind after Alex Boardman put the Pennine Pumas ahead after just three minutes.

In the second match in the boys tournament, Saxon Tigers ran out 3-1 winners through strikes from James Gall, Luke Taylor and Harrison Sellers. Tom Morris had equalised for the Mercia Lynx boys just after half time to make it 1-1 but Taylor's goal set the Tigers on their way to the top of the table at the end of day one.

WESSEX LEOPARDS     3     (2)     -     1     (1)     PENNINE PUMAS
Daniel Faulkner 27 (PC)                         Alex Boardman 3 (F)
Chris Way 32 (PC)                               
Bertie Wyatt 59 (PC)                               

MERCIA LYNX     1     (0)     -     3     (1)     SAXON TIGERS
Tom Morris 37 (F)                         James Gall 5 (F)
Luke Taylor 41 (PC)
Harrison Sellers 61 (PC)

P     W     D     L     F     A     GD     Pts
1     Saxon Tigers     1     1     0     0     3     1     2     3
2     Wessex Leopards     1     1     0     0     3     1     2     3
3     Mercia Lynx     1     0     0     1     1     3     -2     0
4     Pennine Pumas     1     0     0     1     1     3     -2     0

In the U18 girls tournament, there were also wins for the Saxon Tigers and Wessex Leopards on day one. Early in the afternoon, Hannah Martin and Lucy Hyams put the Tigers 2-0 up at the break against Mercia Lynx and it finished that way. But the result wasn't enough for the Tigers to go top after the Wessex Leopards ran out 5-1 winners over Pennine Pumas. Lily Owsley got them off to the perfect start with a goal in the third minute but Pumas equalised through Jane Bazley Harrison. Jenny Pebbles, Olivia Chilton, Elizabeth Gittens and Laura Bevan made sure for the Tigers, the latter in the second half.

MERCIA LYNX     0     (0)     -     2     (2)     SAXON TIGERS
-                              Hannah Martin 28 (F)
Lucy Hymas 35 (PC)

WESSEX LEOPARDS     5     (4)     -     1     (1)     PENNINE PUMAS
Lily Owsley 3 (F)                              Jane Bazley Harrison 8 (F)
Jenny Pebbles 18 (F)                               
Olivia Chilton 31 (F)                               
Elizabeth Gittens 35 (PC)                               
Laura Bevan 58 (F)                               

P     W     D     L     F     A     GD     Pts
1     Wessex Leopards     1     1     0     0     5     1     4     3
2     Saxon Tigers         1     1     0     0     2     0     2     3
3     Mercia Lynx         1     0     0     1     0     2     -2     0
4     Pennine Pumas         1     0     0     1     1     5     -4     0

England Hockey Board Media release



NZ: Youth plus experience


(Alex Shaw)

New Zealand will be sending a team of experience and youth for the inaugural Sultan Johor cup Six Nation Tournament that gets underway on the 5th of November at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru.

In sharing his thoughts about the team with this website, Darren Smith, the assistant coach of the New Zealand senior side, who was the coach of the UniKL side in the 2010 MHL, paid tribute to the Malaysian Hockey Confederation for their foresight in hosting such an event.


(Shay Neal)

"It is an excellent innovation by Malaysian Hockey to have six of the best teams in the world playing together 18 months out from the Junior World Cup. It will give the Junior Blacksticks the opportunity to test their game against Asia and Oceania's leading teams. From a senior perspective the teams participating are 5 of the top 10 in the world rankings so the hockey should be of a high quality," said Darren.

The Kiwis have been preparing for the tournament with some matches against Malaysia in Dunedin in June followed by a four day camp in September. And they are expected to play a friendly match against the Malaysians on November 3.

And New Zealand will not be short of players with exposure at the senior level as two players who are in the 2012 Olympic training squad Kane Russell and Shay Neal are named into the squad which will play in Johor Baru. The duo were also part of the NZ senior side on the recent tour to Australia. In addition Alex Shaw played in the Super 9 series in Australia.

However Nick Wilson, Blair Tarrant, Stephen Jenness and Hugo Inglis will not be traveling to Malaysia as they are with the national team preparing for Champions Trophy which will be hosted by New Zealand later this month.

Three players, namely Nick Ross, Alex Shaw and Shay Neal were members of the NZ Junior World cup side that played in the 2009 edition that was hosted jointly by Malaysia and Singapore.

"The key players in the Kiwi side will be Dwayne Rowsell who is apt in both the playmaking and defensive role. He is skillful, mobile and an excellent passer of the ball.  Nick Ross as a distributing midfield player is another player that will prove to be a handful for the opponents and he will likely captain the team and play center midfield," added Darren.

"While Kane Russell is a quick and aggressive defender with xxcellent playmaking ability and penalty corner threat, Shay Neal who is a quick and skillful striker is expected to lead the search for goals. "

Official Sultan of Johor Cup site



Pakistan team for the Sultan Johor tournament has four boys from Tanvir Dar hockey academy

By Ijaz Chaudhry

The Sultan Johor junior hockey tournament to be held in Johor Bahru, Malaysia from November 5 to 12 has a very strong line up. In fact, it would not be wrong to term it as an unofficial Asia-Oceania or Australasia junior championship. The top four Asian nations: South Korea, Pakistan, India and Malaysia as well as Australia and New Zealand will all be present.

The tourney will be staged in the stadium built for the 2009 Junior World Cup’s final round. Like the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament for the national teams, the Sultan Johor junior tournament will also become an annual event. It has already been sanctioned by the FIH and will be a part of its calendar.

The Pakistani junior squad has been announced. The side includes four players from Tanvir Dar hockey academy. The Lahore based academy running without any help from government or PHF (Pakistan hockey federation) has become an unabated source of exciting young talent for the Pakistan hockey.

The Dar HA quartet in the national junior squad consists of two defenders and an equal number of forwards.  Both the full backs, Aleem Bilal and Khalid Bhatti are tall and rangy. They already have figured in major international victories. Aleem, who hails from Peer Mahal in district Toba Tek Singh, figured in the Pakistan’s victorious team of the under 18 Asia Cup in November 2009. The Lahore boy Khalid Bhatti,  also has a notable achievement: having figured in the gold medal winning Pakistan junior side at the 2010 SAF games in Dacca.

The two strikers from the Dar HA, Arsalan Qadir and Bilal Qadir have not only been part of international triumphs of Pakistan junior squads but have also achieved individual distinctions. If the D.G.Khan boy Arsalan, with 10 goals, was the joint top scorer at the inaugural youth Olympics last year where Pakistan won the silver medal, the mercurial Bilal Qadir of Peer Mahal was the top scorer at this year’s junior Asia Cup in Singapore. They first wore the Pakistan junior colours for the victorious squad of the under 18 Asia Cup in late 2009.                                            Now, the duo is knocking on doors of the Pakistan team. Both have been called among the probables for the senior national side this year. Arsalan attended  the camp for the European tour this July while Bilal was called for  the first Asian Champions Trophy in September.

www.darhockeyacademy.com

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


Fieldhockey.com exclusive



Olympic hockey pitch unveiled


Kerry Williams, Ashleigh Ball, Laura Bartlett and Georgie Twigg at the launch of the Olympic hockey pitch

The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) today unveiled the Olympic Hockey Centre’s first blue and pink pitch and revealed that a yellow ball will be used during the Hockey competition for the first ever time at an Olympic Games.

The Hockey Centre in the Olympic Park will host over 780,000 spectators during London 2012 staging both Olympic Hockey and Paralympic 5 and 7-a-side football competitions.  The Great Britain women’s hockey squad got the chance to train on the water-based pitch, allowing them a taste of what to expect next year.  The main competition pitch is now complete and will be used for Olympic Hockey and 7 a-side Paralymic Football.  The Hockey warm-up pitch which doubles up as the 5 a-side Paralympic Football competition pitch is due to be completed in early November. The erection of the stands and infrastructure will follow in early 2012.

David Luckes, Head of Sport Competition at LOCOG, said: “We are delighted with how the main pitch at the Hockey Centre looks. The blue and pink pitch combined with the yellow ball will not only make following the ball easier, it also has a fantastic London 2012 feel. The player feedback has been excellent and we will continue to work together to ensure the pitches are perfect for the Games next year.”

Leandro Negre, President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), commented: “It is very exciting to see the Hockey Centre now taking shape and seeing the blue pitch for the first time. We feel confident that the spectators both in the stands and on television will get a fantastic visual experience.”

Alex Danson from the Great Britain women’s hockey squad also commented: "It is great to be able to train on the pitch that we will be playing on during London 2012. Coming in to the Olympic Park makes everything very real and the excitement is really building within the squad. Having the blue and pink pitch for London 2012 is fantastic for hockey.  The pitch is great to play on too; it's really quick and true and enables us to play with confidence. I can't wait!”

Jeff Davis, the FA’s National Development Manager for Disability Football, commented: “We’re hoping that Paralympic Football will be a big draw at London 2012 and I’m sure the brand new pitch and Hockey Centre will help create an exciting atmosphere for fans and players alike.”

This will be the first time Olympic Hockey and Paralympic Football are played on a different colour pitch to the traditional green. The move to blue pitches will provide high levels of contrast with the yellow ball and white lines for players, officials, spectators, photographers and broadcasters.

The Hockey Centre is a temporary stadium based at the northern end of the Olympic Park.  The centre will be the only full outdoor venue with seating for 16,000 spectators who will enjoy stunning views south across the Olympic Park.

The complex includes two pitches, one for competition and one for warm up. The main pitch will stage all of the 76 hockey matches which will be spread over 14 days of competition from 29 July to 11 August. There will be over 380 competitors from 24 teams competing in the men’s and women’s competitions.

The Hockey Centre will also be used to host both the 5 and 7-a-side Paralympic Football Competitions. The warm up pitch at the Hockey Centre will host the 5-a-side competition. The main pitch will host the 7-a-side competition. Competition runs from 31 August – 9 September 2012.

After the Games, the temporary arena will be dismantled and elements will be moved to Eton Manor in the north of the Olympic Park which will offer multi-purpose sport and leisure facilities including two hockey competition pitches.

England Hockey Board Media release



Smurfturf goes global

The launch of the blue and pink Olympic hockey pitch – already dubbed ‘smurfturf’ – and the announcement that the ball used in the Olympic Games will be yellow, have captured the interest of the media and the Twittersphere alike.

With all of the mainstream media covering it, plenty of people have been having their say about hockey just nine months out from the start of London 2012.

Sky Sports News – Olympic hockey goes blue (with video)
BBC Sport – London 2012 Olympics hockey pitch unveiled
Push Hockey  - London 2012 hockey will be played with yellow balls (and the picture they didn’t want you to see)
Evening Standard – The outlook for hockey at 2012 is bright
More than the Games – Blue is the colour for GB hockey coach Lee

And from further afield...
Times of India – Players try out blue Olympic hockey pitch
ESPN - Players try out blue Olympic field hockey pitch

And on Twitter...
Max Rushden of Soccer AM (@maxrushden) - watching @SkySportsNews getting excited about the Olympics. BIG BLUE HOCKEY PITCH.

Crista Cullen (@cristacullen5), GB defender - Great to see the official launch of the 2012 pitch... Getting so exciting!

Anne Panter (@AnniePanter) GB midfielder - An extra hard session this morning in front of the media for LOCOG's official launch of the Olympic Park #smurfturf

@Aqua_Rach – Love it! RT @EnglandHockey: Olympic hockey pitch unveiled: Great Britain women show off the Olympic 'smurfturf'...

@jordantorilla @EnglandHockey the new blue pitch looks amazing! Can't wait until we get one @eghockeyclub

@HDurston Good exposure for @EnglandHockey on Sky Sports News... not sure about the tenuous link to tennis via ball colour tho! #2012

England Hockey Board Media release



Pat Rowley at the opening of Smurfturf


And now "Smurfturf"?

The first time veteran Hockey writer Pat Rowley covered the Olympic Hockey competition was in London in 1948. Then it was a Men's only competition played on grass with a leather ball and wooden sticks. The game started with a bully, the ball was rolled in from the sideline and the ball could be stopped inside the circle by hand at a penalty corner with the shot being able to be lifted to any height (the keeper didn't wear a mask in those days). An arial ball could be stopped with your hand, there was offsides from the halfway line and Umpires wore blazers!



Sue Neill named Honourary Secretary General for life by Pan American Hockey Federation

Congratulations, Sue!



Sue Neill at the 2011 PAHF Congress. Photo: Yan Huckendubler

During the Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF) Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, Dr. Sue Neill was named the Honourary Secretary General for life by the PAHF. This recognition acknowledges Neill’s contribution to the development of field hockey in the Americas over the past 25 years.

Sue Neill was elected to the PAHF Board of Directors in 1983. She served as Chair of the Competition and Development Committees and was elected as the Secretary General in 1995. During her time in this role, she worked with PAHF President, Tony von Ondarza, who describes Sue as “both his right and left hand.” Dr. Neill will continue to support the PAHF as they transition to the newly appointed Secretary General. In addition, Sue remains a member of the International Hockey Federation Executive Board.

Sue has not only contributed significantly at the international level, she has provided outstanding leadership in Canadian sport over the years. On behalf of the entire field hockey community in Canada – Congratulations, Sue!

Field Hockey Canada media release