News for 06 March 2013

All the news for Wednesday 6 March 2013

South Africa and Argentina join the WL Semi-Final party

Two top teams in Rio book their tickets for Round 3

Argentina and South Africa celebrate their place in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals. (Photo: Lu Valiatti / Alexandre Moura)

The entire week, Argentina and South Africa have been the teams to beat at the Hockey World League Round 2 tournament in Brazil, so it is only fitting that on the final day of competition, both teams punched their ticket to the Hockey World League Semi-Finals after finishing atop of the standings.

South Africa – Chile 6-1 (halftime 3-0)

South Africa rebounded from a 4-2 loss against Argentina on Sunday in grand fashion, posting a lopsided 6-1 victory against Chile. The win was enough to lift the South Africans into second place in the final standings and gave Chile a respectable third-place finish.

Miguel De Graca gave South Africa the quick 1-0 lead when he struck on a short corner in the fifth minute of action. After the first South African goal Chile came back strongly and forced a couple of penalty corners. Despite the rest of his teammates showing signs of nerves, South African goalkeeper Erasmus Pieterse was a tower of strength keeping the lively Chileans at bay. Matt Guise-Brown’s penalty corner strike in the 31st minute visibly calmed the South Africans’ nerves.

Three minutes later, that lead increased and gave South Africa some breathing room at the break when Jonathan Robinson scored from the field. From there on, they never looked back.

The teams exchanged goals five minutes apart to open the second half scoring, but Chile could not close the first-half gap in any significant way. In the end, Lloyd Norris Jones ended any thoughts of a Chilean upset with his two field goals late in the half that sealed the 6-1 win.

Argentina – USA 9-0 (7-0 halftime)

Argentina put the finishing touches on a perfect Hockey World League Round 2 performance with a 9-0 drubbing over the United States. Argentina had already secured its spot in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals on Sunday, but the victory was a icing on the cake for the dominant South American nation.

Having got off to a fortunate start when an American defender put through his own goal in the third minute, Argentina added six more field goals from Matias Parades in the 6th minute, Matias Vila in the 10th minute, the imperious Rodrigo Vila in the 16th minute before a brace from Augustin Mazzili in the 18th and 23rd minutes and finally the always dangerous Guillermo Schickendatz concluded the first half’s scores in the 26th minute.

The Americans seemed to find their legs in the second half and put in a better effort, but they still had no luck finding the back of the net as Argentina was able to add another pair of goals later in the second half action to bring the final score to 9-0

Argentina joins South Africa, India and Ireland as the teams that have moved on to the Hockey World League Semi-Finals through Round 2. There are still three spots up for grabs for the June Semi-Finals which will be determined in the Round 2 tournaments in Russia and France later this Spring.

Trinidad & Tobago 6, Brazil 2 (halftime 2-1)

Brazil and Trinidad brought down the curtain of the Hockey World League’s Men’s Round 2 tournament in Rio de Janeiro with an entertaining and energetic match.

After a tentative start with both teams posing questions for the opposing defences, Trinidad and Tobago took the lead in the 10th minute. Following a melee in the Brazilian circle with Trinidad’s Atiba Whittington being the quickest to pounce on a loose ball and to squeeze It over the goal line. Brazil, without their talismanic captain, Ernst Rost Onnes,  responded positively and following some good work down the right wing by Matheus Borges Ferreira, reminiscent of Brazilian soccer right wing icons Garrincha and Jairzinho.  Andre Patrocinio tucked the ball away to level the score.

Trinidad  regained the lead following a well worked penalty corner routine in the 25th minute with Marcus James getting his name on the score sheet.  Brazil had further opportunities to even the game but failed  to make anything out of two successive penalty corners as the halftime hooter sounded.

After the break, Trinidad and Tobago came out much the sharper of the two teams and three goals in the 40th, 41st and 52nd minutes by Dwain Quan Chan, Marcus James and Stefan Mouttet put the game beyond the Brazilians reach However, this Brazilian team never gives up and Eduard de Oliveira got his name on the score sheet after more wizardry down the right wing. Trinidad’s Ishmael Campbell concluded scoring activities in the 66th minute, making a final score of 6 – 2 in Trinidad & Tobago’s favour, meaning that they finished a creditable 4th in the tournament.

FIH site

SA hockey men beat Chile

JONATHAN COOK in Rio de Janeiro

SA hockey players (from left) Taine Paton, Miguel da Graca, Julian Hykes, Rhett Halkett and Tim Drummond celebrate Da Graca's first goal against Chile in the World League Round 2 match at the Deodoro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Tuesday. Photo LU VALLIATI

The South Africa men’s hockey team beat Chile 6-1 after leading 3-0 up at half-time in the winner-takes-all final round of the World League Round 2 tournament at the Deodoro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Tuesday.

With Argentina’s 4-2 win over SA ensuring their qualification for the World League semi-finals in June, SA and Chile both needed victory to qualify for the World League semi-finals in Malaysia in June, and the Africans did the business.

Good early build-up saw Taine Paton heavily tackled in the strike zone and SA won the first penalty corner. Paton injected the corner from the baseline, captain Rhett Halkett trapped the ball at the top of the strike zone, Matt Guise-Brown sent a low drag-flick, which goalkeeper Adrian Henriquez saved, but Miguel da Graca slapped in the rebound for SA to go 1-0 up in the fourth minute.

Chile hit back with two PCs, the latter of which keeper Rassie Pieterse made a brilliant save low to his right from a Felipe Eggers rocket. In the 13th Paton and Pierre de Voux combined up the right flank to win SA's second PC, which they fluffed.

In the 21st Tim Drummond fed Lloyd Norris-Jones whose sizzling shot was stopped by Henriquez in goal.

The FIH president Leandro Negre, CEO Kerry Fairweather, and David Luck, director of sport at the FIH, with the Rio 2016 organising committee, were visiting the venue, but it was bad luck for SA in the 25th minute as Julian Hykes missed the goal with the keeper to beat, perhaps having too much time on his hands, while a minute later Clint Panther crossed but there was no one there to deflect in.

Chile gave SA an awkward moment at the other end in the 28th minute but a minute later Jonty Robinson engineered another PC with the help of De Voux. Robinson injected, Drummond trapped and Guise-Brown sent a stunning drag-flick that bulged the net after 30 minutes (2-0).

Soon after, Norris-Jones got in a reverse-stick shot that Henriquez saved but with one minute to half-time Robinson dispossessed a Chilean defender and smashed in SA's third goal for 3-0 after 34 minutes and the half-time score.

SA got in three shots after the -re-start before Da Graca intercepted a back pass and drilled into the backboard for 4-0 after 40 minutes.

Chile won two PCs as they fought to get back into the game and Jonty Robinson was sent to the sin-bin for dissent, and Alexis Berczely deflected in at the far post after 47 minutes (4-1). Two more players were sent to the sin-bin as tempers boil over.

Eggers came close for Chile before Lloyd Norris-Jones went on a solo run from the halfway line and his sheer pace and deadly finish buried the South Americans for good in the 58th minute, with 12 minutes left in the match (5-1).

In the 67th minute Norris-Jones made it 6-1 and SA are through to the World League semi-finals in Malaysia in June.

SA Hockey Association media release

U.S. Men suffer 9-0 loss against No. 10 undefeated Argentina

South Africa and Argentina advance to World League Round 3

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Argentina had another perfect performance over the U.S. Men’s Field Hockey Team today in the final match of the International Hockey Federation’s World League Round 2 tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Without the victory, Argentina had already secured their spot at World League Round 3 alongside South Africa, but the undefeated squad came out firing, racking up seven goals against the U.S. in the first half en route to a 9-0 shutout performance.

Head coach Chris Clements commented on Team USA’s performance after the match saying, “our program is in an entirely different place than Argentina and other top teams in the world. We are in the process of rebuilding and are exposing young players to international hockey for the first time. We have a very talented group of players on the squad, but we need to play like we deserve to be on the field from the very first minute. After halftime, we did that and I think the numbers prove themselves, but it doesn’t count unless we do it from the beginning.”

A rocky start enabled Argentina to accumulate four goals in the first fifteen minutes and seven goals by the end of the first half. The U.S. improved their performance in the second half, matching Argentina’s opportunities in the circle, however, Team USA was unlucky in finding the back of the net. Jon Ginolfi (Moorpark, Cali.) tested Argentina’s keeper with several shots on goal and team captain Pat Harris (Moorpark, Cali.) executed two penalty corners flawlessly, but Argentina’s keeper was cool and collected in net, playing a large role in Argentina’s shutout victory. The U.S. held Argentina to a mere two goals in the final thirty-five minutes of action.

Johnny Orozco, a 19-year-old rookie from Ventura, Cali. and a last minute addition to the World League Round 2 squad earned his first cap with the national team on day one in Rio de Janeiro against Chile. His sound performance throughout the tournament earned him a starting spot against the No. 10 world ranked team today.

“Johnny was a late addition, replacing one of our players due to a back injury. To earn a spot on the starting lineup and to perform the way he did throughout the week was well above our expectations,” said Clements.

Side-by-side, Team USA’s roster is vastly different from Argentina’s. The U.S. traveled with a talented young squad that has competed in very few international competitions against the world’s best. Thirteen of the eighteen players are under the age of 25 and more than half the squad has competed in less than ten international competitions in their career with the national team. The majority of Argentina’s team is in their late twenties or early thirties and has represented their country in over 100 international competitions. Not to mention, they just competed in the London Olympic Games. 

While the U.S. will not advance to World League Round 3, there is still an opportunity for Team USA to qualify for the 2014 World Cup through the Pan American Cup to be held this August in Toronto, Canada.

“We have a comprehensive plan in place building up to the Pan American Cup which is going to be our next text,” Clements said. “We evaluated our abilities here and now we can make our plans accordingly so that we can improve on our performances.”

The Road to Rio is just beginning for Team USA and by no means does a fifth place finish in Rio de Janeiro for World League Round 2 mean you can count them out in 2016. A lot can happen in three years, but Clements says it is important to keep expectations for the program realistic and performances against top world ranked opponents in perspective.

“We have three and a half years to go until the Olympic Games in Rio and we need that time to improve on our performance against powerful opponents. While we are not ready right now, our goal is to work towards being back here in 2016 with proper programming, support networks and competitive opportunities our players need to get to that next level. Rio is a long way away and we need to keep things in perspective on how we build the program forward and into the future,”  said Clements.

Team USA is on their way back to the United States this evening and will have some time off before reconvening and beginning their preparations for the Pan American Cup.

USFHA media release

Brazil next up for Shepherd's Scotland side

(Scotland Women Head Coach Gordon Shepherd, left, is targeting another good performance against Brazil tomorrow, credit: Pedro Monteiro)

Scotland Women Head Coach Gordon Shepherd expressed mild satisfaction at his side`s convincing seven goal victory over fourth seed Trinidad & Tobago in the opening fixture of the FIH World League Round 2 yesterday.

"I was delighted to win in such testing conditions. To score seven goals and keep a clean sheet was a perfect start. It was also significant that the entire squad was used in the game and we have come away with no injuries," said Shepherd.

Scotland take on hosts Brazil tomorrow in the second pool match and the Scots will be eager to continue where they left off yesterday, particularly against the tournament underdogs , who are placed 51 according to the FIH world rankings.

Although the Brazilians lost their opening fixture 6-0 to the United States, it was goalless at the interval as the hosts packed their defence and Shepherd is wary of this strategy, "They are a very hard side to break down with so many players behind the ball. We will have to be patient, but if we play in the correct manner I`m confident we`ll win comfortably."

The management team were out watching the main opposition USA and Chile in their opening matches, and it is likely to be a dogfight between the three teams for the coveted top two spots and qualification for round three.

"The USA look a fit and well organised side while Chile are a little unorthodox in their play, but if we play the way we know we can I certainly believe we can beat both Chile and USA," remarked Shepherd.

Please visit the FIH World League Round 2 website for more information on the match schedule, results and pool standings.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Malaysia strike back against Black Sticks

Jacob Smith, copyright

The Black Sticks Men are disappointed to have lost 3-2 to Malaysia last night in the second of two tests being played ahead of the Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament starting this Saturday.

After trailing 3-nil at halftime, the Black Sticks fought back in the second half, with goals from Andy Hayward and new player Cory Bennett, but it was not enough to give them the win they were after.

“It was disappointing that we did not show the same intensity that got us through the previous night [a 3-2 New Zealand win]. In saying that, the second half was more encouraging and 3-nil is not insurmountable for this team. We will learn valuable lessons from this game, ahead of the Sultan Azlan Shah,” said head coach Colin Batch.
There were a few promising moments for the Kiwis in the first half, but a number of errors gifted the home side opportunities to score in the 10th and 20th minute. A field goal just prior to half time confirmed that it was going to be an uphill battle for the Black Sticks in the second spell.

The Black Sticks stepped up their intensity in the second half, resulting in another Andy Hayward trade mark flick which went high into the net in the 47th minute. Cory Bennett, playing in his second international  test, scored the second goal for New Zealand from a well worked penalty corner variation. With ten minutes left on the clock, the Black Sticks worked hard but were unable to find the equaliser.

There were strong performances from Shay Neal, Nick Ross, Jacob Smith and Devon Manchester.

The Black Sticks play their first game of the Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia, at 9.05pm (NZ Time) on Saturday against Pakistan. They will also face Malaysia, Korea, India and Australia.

Malaysia 3 (Jalifaiz Helmi , Abdul Jalil Tengku Ahmad Tajudin, Mohd Noor Nabil Fiqri)
New Zealand 2 (Andy Hayward, Cory Bennett).
HT: 3-0 Malaysia

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Black Sticks men go down 3-2 to Malaysians

The New Zealand men's hockey team have taken a backward step ahead of the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia, losing their second warmup match against the host nation 3-2 overnight (NZT).

It was a reverse of the scoreline in yesterday's first match, and not the final hit-out coach Colin Batch was hoping for as he lamented a lack of intensity.

New Zealand trailed 3-0 at halftime, though they fought back in the second stanza through goals to Andy Hayward and rookie Cory Bennett.

"It was disappointing that we did not show the same intensity that got us through the previous night," Batch said.

"In saying that, the second half was more encouraging and 3-0 is not insurmountable for this team. We will learn valuable lessons from this game ahead of the Sultan Azlan Shah."

There were a few promising moments for the Kiwis in the first half, but a number of errors gifted the home side opportunities to score in the 10th and 20th minute.

A field goal just prior to halftime confirmed that it was going to be an uphill battle for the Black Sticks in the second spell.

New Zealand raised the tempo in the second half, resulting in another trademark Hayward flick which went high into the net in the 47th minute.

Bennett, playing in his second senior international, scored the second goal from a well worked penalty corner variation but the Black Sticks were unable to find an equaliser.

There were strong performances from Shay Neal, Nick Ross, Jacob Smith and Devon Manchester.

The Black Sticks play their first game of the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Ipoh at 9.05pm (NZT) on Saturday against Pakistan.

They will also face Malaysia, Korea, India and Australia at the tournament.

They are the defending champions, having last year won the 30-year-old tournament for the first time.

Malaysia 3 (Jalifaiz Helmi, Abdul Jalil Tengku Ahmad Tajudin, Mohd Noor Nabil Fiqri) New Zealand 2 (Andy Hayward, Cory Bennett). Halftime: 3-0.

Two-match series shared 1-1.


Malaysia edge New Zealand with three-goal blitz in first half


MALACCA: Malaysia bounced back from Monday’s defeat to edge New Zealand 3-2 in their second hockey Test match at the Bukit Serendit Hockey Stadium last night.

Malaysia had lost by a similar scoreline on Monday.

The two teams are preparing for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup competition, which begins on Saturday. New Zealand are the defending champions.

In yesterday’s match, Malaysia opened accounts in the 12th minute when the diminutive Faiz Helmi Jali latched onto a cross from the right flank and flick it past onrushing Kiwi goalkeeper Devon Manchester.

Unlike on Monday, when the home side’s attacks fizzled out once in the semi circle, this time Faizal Saari, skipper Shahrun Nabil Abdullah and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin showed much more enterprise and flair.

Malaysia then went 2-0 in the 24th minute. A neat one-two on the right between Shahrun and Faizal sent the nippy Tengku Ahmad away to nick a sweet deflection past Devon.

Then, just a minute before the break, Malaysia made it 3-0 through Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor.

New Zealand, however, came alive in the second half to reduce the deficit – no thanks to some sloppy defending by coach Paul Revington’s men.

Andy Hayward (47th minute) and Cory Bennet (59th) made it an uncomfortable evening for the hosts.

The Star of Malaysia

Injured Baljit racing against time to be fit for Sultan Azlan Shah tourney


KUALA LUMPUR: Defender Baljit Singh Charun had to have nine stitches on his lips after being hit during a friendly against New Zealand at the Bukit Serendit Hockey Stadium in Malacca on Monday.

This makes the Ipoh-born player a doubtful starter in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, which begins in his hometown on Saturday.

The 27-year-old Baljit was hit on the upper lips by the ball in the first-half and was taken to hospital.

Baljit, who has 148 international caps, is a key defender in the national team.

And he didn’t feature in the second friendly against the Kiwis in Malacca last night.

In the first friendly, Malaysia lost 3-2 to the Kiwis, who are the defending champions of the tournament.

National assistant coach S. Arulselvaraj said that it was unfortunate that Baljit injured his lips as he played well in the match.

Baljit, who married lawyer Jasvin Kaur last month, is still eager to play in the tournament despite the injury.

“I should recover in the time for the tournament and feature in the tournament, which will be held in my hometown,” said Baljit, who made his international debut in the same tournament in 2007.

Baljit last featured for the national team in the Champions Challenge I tournament in Argentina last November.

There are 20 players in the national team and two will be dropped when the final 18 is named today.

Besides Malaysia and New Zealand, the other teams taking part are Australia, India, Pakistan and South Korea.

The Star of Malaysia

Pakistan team off to take part in Azlan Shah Cup

By Fawad Hussain

The national team will face world class teams without their key veteran players in the Azlan Shah Cup. PHOTO: MEHMOOD QURESHI\ EXPRESS

KARACHI: The Pakistan hockey team left for Malaysia yesterday to take part in the Azlan Shah Cup with a target of scouting out potential youngsters for the next year’s World Cup.

The six-nation tournament will be played from March 9 to 17 in Ipoh where the greenshirts will be up against defending champions New Zealand besides Australia, India, South Korea and the hosts.

The team will return to international action after lifting the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha last December, and according to captain Mohammad Imran, the Ipoh title was not its prime target.

“Our main aim in the event is to discover new talent,” the seasoned campaigner told The Express Tribune yesterday on the eve of the team’s departure. “If we manage to find two to four potential youngsters for our pool for the World Cup, it will be a successful tournament for us, irrespective of the results.”

The team management rested four senior players including Shakeel Abbasi, Mohammad Waseem, Rizwan Senior and Rashid Mehmood in order to test new players.

“Our team mainly consists of new players and we cannot put undue pressure on them by asking them for the title,” said the captain. “Our plan is to give our best in every match without taking pressure of winning the title.”

Pakistan will open their campaign against the defending champions on March 9 before facing favourites Australia the following day.

The greenshirts will meet arch-rivals India on March 12 and will play their last league matches against Malaysia and South Korea on March 14 and March 16 respectively.

The captain believes there will be no let up for his team in the tournament.

“All the teams are tough, particularly Australia and Korea. We also always have a pressure game against India. We have a young outfit and will have to work hard in every fixture.”

The captain said that although the players were ready, more practice matches were needed for the team.

“The training camp was productive; the practice matches were notably beneficial. But a few practice matches against the competing teams before the tournament will be crucial for our new players.”

‘Australia, Korea and India will be tough’

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s chief coach Akhtar Rasool predicted tough battles for his team in the tournament.

“It’s not going to be an easy challenge,” said Rasool before the team’s departure. “All the teams will be tough; we’ll especially have to keep an eye out for Australia, India and Korea.”

However, the coach said his team was ready to take up the task.

“The team is well prepared as the players underwent vigorous training in the last three weeks. We will give our best to yield good results in the tournament.”

The Express Tribune

Shrivastava manager of hockey team for Azlan Shah tourney

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh sports department director Dr. Shailendra Shrivastava has been appointed as the manager of the Indian hockey team for Azlan Shah tournament to be played in Malaysia from March 9 to 17, sources said.

Shrivastava had applied to the government for permission to travel abroad which he received yesterday.

He will be leaving for Ipoh shortly and in case India reaches the final, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan may go to Ipoh to see it, sources said.

Indian team:

Forwards: Danish Mujtama (captain), Nitin Timaiya, Satbir Singh, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Chinglensana Singh, Dharamvir Singh and Gurvinder Singh Chandi.

Fullbacks: Rupinderpal Singh, Harbir Singh, Gurjinder Singh.

Halfbacks: Amit Rohidas, Gurmel Singh, M B Ayyapa.

Goalkeepers: P R Shrijesh and Sushant Tirki.

Coach: Michael Nobbs.

Manager: Dr. Shailendra Shrivastava.

The Times of India

Sardar, Ritu to get Rs 1 lakh from HI for winning AHF awards

NEW DELHI: Hockey India congratulated national team captains Sardar Singh and Ritu Rani for winning the Asian Hockey Federation's Player of the Year (Men) and Youth Player of the Year (Women) awards.

Sardar and Ritu won the awards during the mid-term Congress of the AHF held in Kuala Lumpur on last Saturday.

While congratulating both Sardar and Ritu, HI secretary general Narinder Batra said, "Its an honour that two of our players have been selected for the most prestigious awards of Asian Hockey and I hope more and more Indian players will win such awards in future."

HI also announced that it will be honouring Sardar and Ritu in the coming weeks in a special function, where each player will handed over the trophy, given by the AHF, along with a cheque of Rs 1 lakh each from the national federation in recognition of this feat.

The Times of India

Hockey India congratulates Sardar, Ritu

Hockey India (HI) on Tuesday congratulated Indian midfielder Sardar Singh for winning the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) Player of the Year (Men) award for 2011 and Ritu Rani, captain of the India women’s team, for winning the Player of the Year (Junior women) award for the same year.

The awards were announced during the mid-term Congress of the AHF held in Kuala Lumpur on March 2.

In the recently-concluded Hockey World League Round 2, the Indian men’s and women’s teams qualified for Round 3 under the captaincy of Sardar and Ritu.

While congratulating both, HI secretary-general Narinder Batra said it’s an honour that two India players have been selected for the most prestigious awards in Asian hockey, and hoped that more India players will win such awards in future.

HI will honour both the players in the coming weeks where each player will be presented the AHF trophy along with a cheque of Rs.1 lakh each.

The Hindu

Calling the shots in the women's hockey field

At 17, Kazakhstan’s Amina Dyussembekova has already played and umpired international hockey matches

Uthra Ganesan

Dual-tasking: Amina Dyussembekova.

She is just 17 but already wears many hats. Amina Dyussembekova was accompanying the Kazakhstan women’s hockey team in Delhi for the Hockey World League Round 2 competition as an umpire. Till last year, she was a member of the Kazakh junior national team, representing the country in various international tournaments. Back home, she is also a coach for youngsters.

This was her first international tournament as an umpire. On field, Amina is all business — handling the tense situations with ease. Off field, however, she comes across as a typical teenager who giggles a lot, loves to party and is unsure of her career plans.

“I played the junior Asia Cup last year in Bangkok against teams like India, Malaysia, Japan and China. A lot of players from those countries are playing here in this tournament. But my coach back home suggested I try my hand at umpiring as well, and I am enjoying it here,” she said.

Her young age and her familiarity with the game ensure she is friendlier with the players than most officials. However, she insisted her age is not a drawback against older players and neither age nor friendliness affects her decisions as umpire.

Amina officiated in two matches in the Hockey World League — both played by India against Fiji and Malaysia respectively. Coming from a country which does not boast of a strong hockey tradition, Amina picked up the stick only four years back at the age of 13. “I play for my club Besarys back home, in the city of Taldykorgan. When I am not playing, I coach the younger players in my club. There are not too many people who play hockey, so most players do a bit of both playing and coaching,” she said in halting English.

In fact, her playing for the Kazakh junior team is a big reason for Amina learning English, she said, since it used to be very difficult earlier to communicate on tours. Even here, there is hardly any player or team official from Russia or Kazakhstan who speaks English. Amina has to labour but manages to get her point across.

It was difficult for Amina to convince her parents to let her play hockey. “I have a younger sister but no one in my family plays. Not even distant relatives. I started playing by seeing some other girls in my city and neighbourhood but it was not easy to get permission. That was one of the reasons to start umpiring because it helps develop a proper career,” she signed off.

The Hindu

Trent Mitton awarded WA Trainee of the Year

National hockey player Trent Mitton has taken out this year’s AFL SportsReady WA HostPLUS Trainee of the Year award at a special graduation ceremony at Paterson’s Stadium ahead of this afternoon’s NAB Cup triple-header.

AFL SportsReady CEO James Montgomery said Perth’s NAB Cup opener signaled the celebration of a new career for 35 AFL SportsReady trainee graduates, including the hockey champ.

“Trent’s hard work during his traineeship at Chisholm Catholic College has reaped him the reward of Trainee of the Year and he really is a great example of how elite sport can be balanced with work and study,” Mr Montgomery said.

“Once Trent completed his traineeship he accepted an ongoing part-time PE Assistant role with Chisholm Catholic College, which is fantastic for Trent, and recognition of his hard work and the professional nature of AFL SportsReady traineeships.

“We all know how hard Australia’s top athletes work to be the best in their chosen field, but it’s also important to ensure they have career options when they retire.

“At AFL SportsReady, we are proud to work in partnership with sporting organisations and clubs across the country to help ensure young athletes like Trent have the best chance at success beyond the sporting field.

“Of course, you don’t need to be an elite athlete, or an athlete at all, to reap the benefits of AFL SportsReady’s education and jobs opportunities and it is a huge honour for me to present certificates to this year’s WA graduates who come from all walks of life."

“AFL SportsReady is passionate about helping young people create a rewarding career in sport, recreation, business and other industries."

“This weekend is the start of pre-season competition for the AFL, while for our new graduates, it will be a celebration of the completion of their careers’ pre-season and the beginning of ongoing success.”

Mr Montgomery said the WA graduates, including nine young Indigenous trainees, had completed studies in areas across business, sport and recreation, while undergoing traineeships at banks, schools, state sports associations and AFL and WAFL clubs.

“The completion of their studies, whether it be at Certificate III or Certificate IV level, along with the invaluable experience of a traineeship, will provide these students with a strong foundation for their future careers,” he said.

“It is also fantastic to see so many WA graduates benefit from our national partnerships with the ANZ, NAB, the Commonwealth Bank and Australia Post.”

Mr Montgomery said 2012 was a big year for AFL SportsReady in WA, with a new team in place led by former General Manager of Development and Education for the WAFC, Colin West.

“With Colin as the State Manager, we have already had a 60% increase in our employment business, which means more and better job opportunities for young people in WA,” he said.

“We have also invested in setting up an Education team to deliver high quality education across the sport, recreation and business sectors, delivered by former AFL and WAFL player Jarrod Kayler Thomson.”

WA State Manger Colin West said this year’s graduates had worked hard to deliver impressive results.

“As a national not-for-profit company we are driven to give all our trainees and students the best kickstart to their career possible, which is why at AFL SportsReady you can expect real education, real jobs and real careers,” Mr West said.

“The graduation ceremony will be a fantastic way to recognise the achievements of these graduates, who have all worked hard to achieve success in their chosen areas, and we wish them all the best for their future endeavours.”

Hockey Australia media release