News for 09 August 2013

All the news for Friday 9 August 2013


Pan Am bound stickmen stuck in T&T

Nigel Simon



T&T’s Mickell Pierre goes past an American opponent during a FIH World League Round Two match in Rio de Janiero, Brazil in February.

With only two days left before they are due to flick off their campaign at the fourth Pan American Cup to be held in Brampton, Toronto, Canada, this country’s senior men’s hockey team was still without visas, confirmed tickets and accommodation for their stay in North America.

Yesterday, the 18-man playing squad skippered by Darren Cowie and the coaching staff headed by former national goalkeeper Glen “Fido” Francis was expected to depart for Canada. However, when contacted officials at the T&T Hockey Board confirmed the team was still stranded in T&T.

Pressed further, the official said despite numerous appeals to corporate T&T, the T&THB had been unable to secure the requisite funding to facilitate the team's participation in the upcoming Pan American Cup, which served as a qualifier to next year’s World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands.

Discussions are still being held regarding support for the undertaking given the penalties and setbacks the team may face if they fail to appear at the tournament. However, up to yesterday afternoon, the managerial staff had yet to secure the visas and tickets for the players and five-member technical staff.

According to the local hockey board official, T&T’s failure to appear at the tournament will stifle the development of the team, and by extension hockey in the country, back a few years as a dip in the team’s ranking at this stage would put the team out of contention for a spot in the Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow, Scotland next year.

T&T is presently ranked 30th in the world and failure to appear at this tournament will also exclude the team from automatic participation at the 2017 Pan American Cup as only teams that finish among the first six in this year’s tournament qualify automatically for the next edition of the tournament.

To qualify for the 2017 Pan American Cup T&T would have to first participate in the 2015 Pan American Challenge to earn a place and failure to appear also has potential to affect the national women’s team who is destined for Argentina in September for the women’s version of this tournament.

Should the team get to Canada, it will open its campaign in Pool B versus Chile on Saturday from 3 pm followed by Brazil on Sunday, then play Canada on Tuesday to end round-robin pool play.

Regional powerhouse Argentina, Mexico, USA and Uruguay are in Pool A.

At the end of the pool round-robin series, the top two teams will advance to the cross-over semifinals while third and fourth go to semifinals for fifth to eighth spot ahead of the final playoffs for bronze and gold.

The Trinidad Guardian



U.S. Men’s Team uses matches against Chile and Trinidad & Tobago as final preparations for 2013 Pan American Cup

The Pan American Cup in Brampton, Ontario commences on Saturday, August 10; The winner will advance to the 2014 World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The U.S. Men’s National Field Hockey team hosted Chile at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Cali. early this week for two, back-to-back friendly test matches in preparation for the 2013 Pan American Cup in Brampton, Ontario, August 10-17. The U.S. drew Chile, 1-1, in the first match and shutout Chile, 3-0, in the second match.

“We have had a good training period leading up to the Pan American Cup and to finish with two good test matches against a quality opponent like Chile was a great last minute test for us,” said U.S. head coach Chris Clements. “We are excited for the tournament to begin.”

USA’s Austin Greonveld (Jenkintown, Pa.) scored in the 13th minute for an early 1-0 lead over their opponent. The U.S. held on to their lead going into halftime and well into the second half. In the 48th minute, Chile’s Nicholas Renz scored to even the match, 1-1. The result ended in a draw.

Ian Scally (Thousand Oaks, Cali.) celebrated his 100th match with the U.S. Men's National Team, while Greonveld, Alex Grassi (Brookeville, Md.) and Ranjot Sangha (Sacramento, Cali.) earned their first cap.

“I thought this first match was an encouraging start," said Clements. "Although plenty of good passing patterns were seen today, we need to take advantage of opportunities that we create."

The U.S. took the pitch again on Tuesday, August 6 for a final preparation match against their Pan American rivals. The U.S. scored three goals for a 3-0 shutout victory.

USA’s Kevin Barber (Camarillo, Cali.) scored a field goal in the 29th minute for a 1-0 advantage at the end of the first half. Aki Kaeppeler (Ventura, Cali.) capitalized on a penalty corner in the 51st and Pat Harris (Moorpark, Cali.) recorded a third goal for Team USA in the 56th minute.

“This series against Chile has been beneficial for us and it definitely is going to help us finalize our preparations for the Pan American Cup,” said U.S. midfielder Michael Barminski. 

The U.S. departed for Brampton, Ontario on August 7 and will match-up against Trinidad and Tobago for a final preparation test match before the World Cup qualifying tournament commence on Saturday, August 10. The U.S. drew Trinidad and Tobago, 1-1, in regulation at the World League Round 2 in Brazil.

“The matches against Chile and Trinidad and Tobago will help the selected squad become more cohesive and confident as a unit before the first match at the Pan American Cup,” said Clements.

The U.S. enters the Pan American Cup as the No. 4 seed and will compete in Pool A alongside No. 1 Argentina, No. 5 Mexico and No. 8 Uruguay. Pool B is made up of defending champion and No. 2 seed Canada, No. 3 Chile No. 6 Brazil and No. 7 Trinidad and Tobago. The U.S. will open pool play on August 10 against Uruguay, followed by Argentina on August 11 and will conclude pool play against Mexico on August 13. Semifinal action will be played on Thursday, August 15 with the final slated for Saturday, August 17.

The winner of the Pan American Cup earns the continent’s automatic berth to the 2014 World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands. The top six teams qualify for the 2017 Men's Pan American Cup while the teams placed 7th and 8th will play in the 2015 Men's Pan American Challenge.

The U.S. Men’s Team won silver at the 2009 Pan American Cup in Santiago, Chile, their best finish since the tournament originated in 2000. The U.S. finished 7th in 2004 and 5th in 2000.

2013 Pan American Cup Roster: Kevin Barber (San Diego, Cali.), Michael Barminski (Ventura, Cali.), Jed Cunningham (Moorpark, Cali.), Ajai Dhadwal (Agoura Hills, Cali.), Mohan Gandhi (Ventura, Cali.), Jon Ginolfi (Moorpark, Cali.), Alex Grassi  (Brookeville, Md.), Sean Harris (Moorpark, Cali.), Patrick Harris (Moorpark, Cali.), Aki Kaeppeler (Ventura, Cali.), Brandon Karess (Allentown, Pa.), Christian Linney(San Diego, Cali.), Johnny Orozco (Ventura, Cali.), Chris Rea (San Diego, Cali.), Ranjot Sangha (Sacramento, Cali.), Ian Scally (Thousand Oaks, Cali.), Paul Singh (Simi Valley, Cali.), Tyler Sundeen (Simi Valley, Cali.)

USFHA media release



Scots take to the water for teambuilding challenge


Scotland Women at Wilderness SUP

With the EuroHockey Nations Championship in Belgium less than two weeks away, Scotland Senior Women Head Coach Gordon Shepherd took the opportunity to inject a bit of teambuilding into the players’ preparations with a squad day at Wilderness SUP.

Wilderness SUP are specialists in ‘Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) Exploration and Adventure in Scotland’ and the company kindly donated the sessions at Cramond, Edinburgh yesterday free of charge to the national side.

The players were taken out onto the water to learn some new skills on the paddleboards and were also treated to some yoga and Tai Chi lessons. It wasn’t all plain sailing as the players were challenged to perform a number of different movements and stances.

Scotland striker Holly Cram said, “What a great day for some paddling, yoga and body movement skills at Cramond. It's not every day you learn how to walk like a monkey, perform a downward dog on one leg and get two standing on top of a paddle board. Thank you to the Wilderness SUP team for a fantastic day.”

Defender Becky Merchant added, “We had a great afternoon with Wilderness SUP. The instructors were awesome and the Stand Up Paddle Boarding, yoga and Tai Chi all made for a brilliant afternoon’s team building.”


Scotland Women at Wilderness SUP

Wilderness SUP provide a number of packages and services, including corporate packages, adventure trips and retreats. Please visit the Wilderness SUP website for more information.

“An excellent day! Well organised, great instructors and some challenging aspects for us competitive folk!!!!” Cat Ralph.

“Something a bit different, challenging at times, but plenty of fun for everyone involved.” Morag McLellan.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Euros 9 Days Away



It's time to get behind the Green Machine and Green Army with just 9 Days to go before the first strike of the ball in Belgium at the Europeans.

For those of you lucky enough to be travelling be sure to pack your case full of green so the team can feel your presence - don't forget we have supporter t-shirts available for sale here or by popping into the office (just E10).

During the biennial tournament, the 16 best hockey teams (8 women and 8 mens National teams) of Europe enter the field for the title of European Champions. During the 9 match days, 40 top matches will be played in a pool system up to the weekend of the final.

For the Match Schedule and travel information click here

Irish Hockey Association media release



Summer Social Hockey comes to thrilling Finale!



Last week saw the conclusion of the most successful Summer Social Hockey League to date, with 20 teams entered in to keenly contested campaigns held in Railway Union and Three Rock Rovers.

The Leagues were held over seven weeks and were certainly enjoyed by all.

Railway Union

The Cup Finals in Railway were played in a knockout competition involving the top 4 teams in the league. Victorious Secret beat Sacred Hitless and Chix with Sticks beat All-Sorts to meet in the final, with the aptly named Victorious Secret emerging triumphant winners. All-Sorts finished third and Chix with Sticks fourth.

The Plate competition was played in a three-team round robin format. The Pink Ladies finish first, Something Fishy second and Pick'n'Mix third. 

Three Rock Rovers

With 14 teams involved in Three Rock Rovers the competition was split into a Cup, Shield, Plate and Bowl format.

Tuesday Bags emerged as winners of the Cup competition, 3 Unit close behind as runners-up. Pembroke Penguins finished third and River Girls fourth.

In the Plate section Shooters finished first, One Hit Wonders a close second and Return of the Meh in third place.

The Shield finished in a dead heat between Tangoed and Cougars, with Tangoed just edging the title on Goal Difference. 50 Shades of Rock finished third.

Last but not least, Team 1 won the Bowl competition. Pink ladies finished second and Guiness Ladies third.

Congratulations to everyone involved with Summer Social Hockey this year, some great hockey was played with tremendous camaraderie and a unique friendly atmosphere.

Everyone at Irish Hockey wishes all players the best of luck with pre-season imminent; you are off to a good start!

Irish Hockey Association media release



Malaysian Women’s hockey team set a top-four target for Asia Cup

By AFTAR SINGH


KUALA LUMPUR: The national women’s hockey team have been set a top-four target in the Asia Cup, which will be held at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil from Sept 21-27.

Eight teams will feature in the tournament. Malaysia are in Group A with defending champions China, India and Hong Kong.

Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Kazakhstan are in Group B.

The winners of the tournament will gain an automatic berth to the 2014 World Cup in The Hague, Holland, from May 31-June 14.

The national women’s team have never featured in the World Cup, with their best-ever achievement in the Asia Cup being a third placing in Seoul in 1985.

Coach Mohd Nasihin Nubli said that although they planned to play 25 matches prior to the Asia Cup, “we have only played nine so far this year”.

They played four matches in the second round of the World League in New Delhi in February and five against the Western Australian Institute of Sports in Perth last month.

“The good news is that we’ll play six friendlies against the South Korean National Sports University from Aug 14-21 in Bukit Jalil in preparation for the tournament,” said Nasihin, a former national goalkeeper.

“We also expect to play two more matches against the Asian teams just before the Asia Cup begins next month.”

There are 22 players in the training squad and four will be dropped in the second week of September.

Nasihin, who has been coaching the women’s team since 2011, picked China as the strongest team in their group and the favourites to reach the semi-finals.

“We have a fighting chance against India and Hong Kong to reach the last four too,” he said.

The Star of Malaysia



I take the pressure: Oltmans

Principal Correspondent



The Indian mens hockey team at a training camp for the Asia Cup. Photo: S. Subramanium

With a depleted forwardline, a defence known for its vulnerability and a flock of youngsters, High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans is under pressure as the Indian team prepares for the Asia Cup, starting in Ipoh (Malaysia) from August 24.

But the Dutchman is a past master in handling pressure. “I have done it for (Dutch club) Blomendaal. I had to prepare the team for the European championship in six weeks and it won.

“They also wanted a new coach,” a smiling Oltmans told the mediapersons on the sidelines of the National camp at the National Stadium here on Thursday.

Protective

Oltmans was protective of the team loaded with inexperience. “They do not feel any pressure any more. There is one person who takes the pressure. I take the pressure. They should play hockey the best possible way.”

Asked about injury-affected forwardline, Oltmans said, “They are young. That does not mean they are not good.”

He said the team had been focusing on the defence too. “Defence, for me, is 10 defenders and one goalkeeper. We are working hard on the structure of the defence and trying to improve it.”

Ace goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh acknowledged that the emphasis was on improving the defensive skills. “We are practising man-to-man marking, what is everybody’s role, what is my role and penalty corner defence etc.”

New style

Sreejesh said the team was adjusting to the change in the style of play in the post-Michael Nobbs period. “Oltmans’s style is similar to that of the European style Jose Brasa used to profess. The experienced players have some idea about it.

The youngsters have been told about it. Theoretically, they have an idea. They have to execute it on the ground.”

Sreejesh defended his 34-year-old mate under the bar, P.T. Rao. “He has a lot of experience at the domestic level. Like old wine, goalkeepers become better with years.”

Instead of pressurising the team to win the Aisa Cup in order to qualify for the World Cup, Oltmans, with all seriousness, said that he was thinking about India’s first engagement against Oman. “That is the way a tournament should be approached.”

Sreejesh has learnt the lesson well. “We are not thinking about winning or losing. We are thinking about each opponent and how to tackle it.”

While admitting that the team was bound to feel the absence of players like Danish Mujtaba and Gurvinder Singh Chandi, captain Sardar Singh said, “Some of us, who played in 2008 and could not qualify for the Olympics, know how it feels (to miss out on a big event). We have faith in our hard work.”

The Hindu



Despite injuries we have guys who can score for India: Oltmans

NEW DELHI: India might be grappling with injuries in its forwardline but high performance director Roelant Oltmans reposed faith on his young crop of strikers to score goals and help India win the upcoming Asia Cup and qualify for the World Cup hockey next year.

Star forward SV Sunil and strikers Akashdeep Singh, Danish Mujtaba and Gurwinder Singh Chandi -- all were ruled out of the Asia Cup because of injuries but Oltmans said he has players who can score goals for India.

"I don't think there would be too much pressure. We scored one penalty corner and five field goals today (against ONGC). We have guys who can score," said Oltmans, who has been appointed as the interim chief coach of the men's team after Michael Nobbs's ouster.

"Mandeep have scored a lot of goals in Hockey India League. Prabhdeep (Singh) is a goal scorer. Nithin (Thimmaiah) was the top-scorer in the nationals.

"Of course, they are young. But that doesn't mean they are not good. They are good and they have showed that. There will be a lot of young faces," he added.

Oltmans said he will take one match at a time in Asia Cup to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia from August 24 to September 1, a tournament which India need to win to qualify for 2014 World Cup in Hague, The Netherlands.

"Every tournament starts with one opponent and for us that is Oman. That is how a tournament should be approached. For me it is the first game that counts and at the moment we are working on our structures and way of playing. Of course we are making analysis of other teams which we might face in the tournament," he said.

Asked about the defence, which is considered to be India's Achilles' heel, Oltmans said: "I was quite pleased with our defence in the second half today. We tried to regain position quickly. That means the whole team is defending. We always talk about defence. There are 10 defenders and one goalkeeper, so I have 11 defenders. It is the structure of the defence which matters and we are working on that."

Oltmans said he is not concerned about things which are not in his hand and would just look to give his cent per cent.

"I am a realistic person. I have six weeks to prepare a team for a very important tournament and the team is working very hard to get the best. That's all which is there in my hand. I always gave my 100 per cent, and always will," he said.

Asked how he will motivate the team to not take pressure, Oltmans said: "They don't feel pressure any more. There is only one person who takes the pressure and that is me. They have to just play the game of hockey, let the pressure be mine."

Asked about the new goalkeeping coach, David Staniforth of South Africa, he said: "He will be coming tomorrow. The good thing is our goalkeepers are very good. We have worked very hard. There are few details which I have discussed with our new goalkeeping coach, which areas he will work.

"In the camp we don't need more goalkeepers. In the end we need just two. It is good when there is talent in the goalkeeping area. So we are scouting new goalkeepers which we believe can take over in a couple of years.

"P T Rao is a fantastic guy and he is very good second goalkeeper in every way. In the group dynamics he is a very important member. He is always pushing. At this moment, I'm very happy with P T Rao."

Asked if he had time to think about the new coach, Oltmans said: "At this moment, my focus is not really on that area. From September, I will focus my energy on the coach issue. I know that is my responsibility."

India goalkeeper P R Sreejesh today said he is hoping that all his experience comes into play and helps him to perform at the Asia Cup.

"The pressure is there but I don't take pressure. If I keep thinking about what would happen if we don't qualify then I will feel pressure and it will affect the game. I think it is time to use my experience and deliver," he said.

Asked about India's young forwardline, Sreejesh said: "The forwards are inexperienced. They are young and we have to work on them a lot.

"P T Rao has a good domestic experience and I think goalkeepers are like wine, so with so much experience he will do well," he said.

Asked about how the team is coping with Oltmans style of coaching after Michael Nobbs's contract was terminated, he said: "Every coach has a different style, Oltmans' style is similar to Jose Brasa and we seniors have played under Brasa so he have no problems. It is the European style of playing."

"We are focusing on making strategies on specific teams. We are working on man-to-man marking and on saving penalty corners and tightening the defence," he added.

The Times of India



7 bronze-winning Indian junior hockey players anaemic: Nobbs

NEW DELHI: Even as the euphoria over Indian junior women hockey team's historic bronze in the World Cup is yet to die down, former senior men's side chief coach Michael Nobbs has claimed that seven of the players were were suffering from anaemia, an iron deficiency disorder.

Nobbs said that the achievement of the young girls was all the more praiseworthy considering that they were anaemic, a medical condition indicating iron deficiency in the body leading to tiredness and lethargy.

"It's very common among girls and in India it is acute. How do you expect the girls to match the healthier and stronger European girls in a world competition? Considering this, the bronze has been a brilliant achievement. It's nice to give cash awards, but there is a lot to do with these kids," said Nobbs.

Nobbs congratulated the junior girls for winning India's first World Cup medal but cautioned against a general "burnout" due to a lack of scientific plans.

"I have two growing daughters and they are part of an Australian system that not only takes care about their skills but their health as well. India have to adopt such an approach or else, these girls from rural India would be lost forever," he said.

"I was surprised to meet a dietitian in SAI, Bangalore who has been working for the last 40 years without having done anything noteworthy," he was quoted as saying.

The 59-year-old Australian, who made an unceremonious exit as chief coach of senior men's team, said India had the potential to make it big in world hockey with a scientific approach and careful talent spotting.

"I surely don't want to work for Hockey India again but India have the potential to match any country in the world. It's oozing with talent and there is no dearth in resources. I have seen this with my own eyes and there is a lot of work to be done," he said.

The Times of India



Government offers praise, no reward for hockey

Shruti Tomar


Despite chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s avowed interest in promoting hockey in MP, the new crop of women hockey players have failed to get any positive response from the state government despite their consistent splendid performance both at the national and international level including the recent junior world cup in Germany.

The Madhya Pradesh junior women’s squad ended the domination of Haryana and Jharkhand in the Indian team with their consistent performance in the national games, which earned the state five gold medals (twice in junior and three times in sub-junior championship) in four years.

Consequently, the national team which went to Germany to participate in the junior world cup had as many as seven players from MP.

Captain of the team Sushila Chanu also belongs to MP. The team won the bronze medal.

Haryana government lost no time in announcing a cash reward of R5 lakh for each of the players in the team from Haryana but players from MP are yet to get any such incentive.

In fact, despite their best efforts to keep MP on top in hockey, these girls received an incentive of R15,000 that too only once in the year 2012 for their performance in national championship -2011.

The winning team player Lily Chanu ( 18) of Madhya Pradesh State Hockey Academy (MPSHA) said, “As a player we are supposed to deliver results and we are trying to make the state proud. I never think of prize money and incentives. If the government feels that we have done a good job, it will definitely announce something for us. It might take time but hopefully, it will happen. I am happy with my performance. I am concentrating on my game because it’s just the start of my career.”

MPSHA coach Parmajeet Singh, “Undoubtedly MP government is putting in effort in grooming champions but it’s also true that Haryana is far ahead of us in giving incentives to players.”

A junior woman player, on condition of anonymity, said, “We became national champions five times and were runner- up four times but barring once, we didn’t get any prize money. On the other hand, when the Haryana team became national champion in 2013, each player of the team received R2 lakh. Our aim is to concentrate on the game alone, so we never say anything about it.”

“We never get money for international tours and there is no assurance of jobs for us in future. Some of our senior players are compelled to do jobs in railways and other states,” she added.

Former Indian women team skipper Sunita Chandra said, “The players have done a great job. They should be felicitated by the government. If they do not get incentives, it will definitely act as a demotivating factor for those kids.”

Supporting the words of Sunita Chandra, Jalaluddin Rizvi said incentives or prize money is necessary to motivate the girls. “The girls should be felicitated in a big function so that upcoming players come forward to join hockey and perform like these players.”

Hindustan Times



Need more Shahbads in the country: Rani Rampal

Hindol Basu


CHANDIGARH: A small town, 65 kilometres away from Chandigarh has brought about a revolution in Indian hockey. Shahbad, and to be more precise the Shahbad Hockey Academy, is a nursery for hockey stars right from the men's national team, the women's team and the present cynosure of all eyes - the junior women's hockey team.

Six players of the bronze-medal winning Indian junior team are from Shahbad, including the MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the Junior World Cup - Rani Rampal. Others include Navneet Kaur (girl who scored the winning goal in the bronze medal play-off match against England), Manjeet Kaur, Navjot, Poonam Rani and Monika. All the five train at the Shahbad Hockey Academy under the watchful eyes of coach Baldev Singh, who has helped the young girls hone their skills.

At the senior level, Ritu Rani the Indian national women's team captain and drag-flicker Sandeep Singh hail from Shahbad and have proven credentials at the international arena.

There was a time when centres like Bhopal, Lucknow, Sansarpur, Gwalior were hotbeds for hockey talent in the country. But, now these centres are on the wane. Besides Shahbad, which is regularly producing hockey stars for the country, Rourkela (Sundergarh district in Orissa) is the only other centre in the country that can match upto Shahbad in terms of throwing up talented players for the country.

So what's hampering the growth and spread of the sport in country?

We asked Rani the question and her answer was plain and simple, "Need more hockey academies likes Shahbad".

"We have to promote the game in a big way. More hockey academies like the Shahbad Hockey Academy have to be established across the length and breadth of the country. At Shahbad, we have Baldev sir, who has totally devoted his life to hockey. We need such coaches right at the elementary level when a player learns the tricks of the trade. Hopefully, the hockey scenario in India will change soon," Rani reflects.

After their historic triumph, financial rewards are pouring in for the girls. Haryana government has announced Rs 10 lakh for Rani for her exceptional performance at the World Cup, besides a cash award of Rs 5 lakh for each of the rest five girls.

Rani, appreciates the encomiums that are flowing in but she hopes that her teammates are also offered jobs, which would make their life secure and motivate them further. "It really matters a lot to all of us. But this is not enough. I would really appreciate it if all my teammates are offered jobs by different sectors because that will make their life secure and motivate them to give their hundred per cent to the game," feels the 18-year-old striker.

Another girl Manjeet Kaur, whose father is a farmer in Shahbad, wonders how long will they be basking under the spotlight.

"We are happy with what we have achieved. People want to talk to us, interview us, take photos. All this is fine, but unless the success changes our life for the better, the money doesn't mean much for us," Manjeet laments. "This (the cash award) would be utilized for buying better equipment and gear. I hope I can save some for my father, who has worked so hard to support my brother and me," she adds.

Navneet Kaur, the girl who scored the winning goal in the bronze medal play-off match against England, rues about her family's financial position that is making her think whether she should continue playing hockey or think of securing her future by doing something else.

"I'm still without a job and I badly want to support my family. I know what my father has done for me to get me to this level and I want to return the favour. Hockey has done a lot for me, but if things carry on like this I might have quit and start looking at other avenues," says Navneet.

The Times of India



Hooda announces Rs 10 lakh reward for Rani Rampal


Junior Women's Hockey player Rani Rampal walks past Indian Men's Hockey team captain Sardar Singh during a felicitation function in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: S Subramanium

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Thursday announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for Rani Rampal, who has been adjudged ‘Player of the Tournament’ in the recent junior women hockey World Cup in Germany.

Rani Rampal (18) hails from Shahbad, near Kurukshetra and represented the Indian team which won bronze medal in the tournament.

Mr Hooda also announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh for Baldev Singh, the coach of women hockey players of Haryana who represented India in the tournament.

On August 5, Mr Hooda had announced a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh each to six hockey players from Haryana, who represented India team in the tournament in Germany.

Five of these players hail from Shahabad and another is from Hisar. They are Navjot, Manjeet Kaur, Navneet Kaur, Rani Rampal, Monika and Poonam Rani.

An official spokesman said that Rani Rampal would get a total of Rs 10 lakh that includes the previously announced Rs 5 lakh to her and other players.

The spokesman said that the sports policy of the state government provides for a cash reward of Rs 3 lakh but keeping in view the exceptional performance of the Haryana players at the international level, the state government has announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh each by relaxing the policy.

The Hindu



Soy thrilled at accomplishment, promises to work harder

RANCHI: Promising goalkeeper Bigan Soy said she would work harder to fetch more laurels for the country after helping India create history by winning the nation's first-ever bronze medal in the Junior Women World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany.

"I am very happy. It is the best phase of my life. I will work harder to win more games (for India)," Soy said soon after landing.

"The reception at the airport was warm and thrilling. The welcome I received here will remain etched in my mind forever," the 20-year-old BA student said.

Soy, who hadn't played even for a minute in the tournament prior to bronze medal match against England, was turned out to be star for India in the penalty shoot out.

With the result tied at 1-1 after 70 minutes of action, India replaced their first choice goalkeeper Ningombam with Soy. In the shootout, where only five out of the 14 penalties were converted, Soy saved five attempts from the English women as India eked out a 3-2 win on penalties.

Expressing her delight on meeting the new Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren, Soy said the CM congratulated and inspired her to scale heights in hockey.

"No, not yet," she said, when asked whether the chief minister had assured any cash prize for her.

Soy, who played in the silver-medal winning Indian U-18 and U-21 girls Asia Cup in 2012, thanked all those who helped her accomplish "this moment of glory".

"There have been several people, including coaches and friends, who have inspired me. I thank them all," she added.

Soy's journey, however, was not smooth. She learned hockey by playing with sticks made of bamboo, just like other tribal children, who play Khashi tournaments (goat for the winner of the tournament) in Jharkhand's tribal dominated villages.

"I started playing with sticks made of bamboo at my village Bandgaon in West Singhbhum district, as I did not have a proper hockey stick (then)," said Soy.

Olympian Sylvester Dungdung, a member of the 1980 Moscow Olympics gold medal-winning Indian team, said Soy had joined Bariatu School in 2006 and had been under his training following her selection in the National Sports Talent Competition, a programme by the SAI to tap young talent.

"Now (from 2012) she is at the Sports Authority of India, Ranchi and I am very happy. She too started her career with bamboo sticks just like me and other hockey players," Dungdung said, recalling 'Khashi' tournaments in the villages near forests.

Congratulating Soy, SAI's Jharkhand coordinator Sushil Kumar Verma said, three other girls -- Rashmi Kumari, Sumitra Marandi and Pushpa Tirkey -- of the centre have played in school World Cup and reached the quarterfinals in April this year.

Sports minister Geetashree Oraon congratulated Soy and lauded her crucial saves during the shootout against England.

The Times of India



HI lifts BHA's suspension, gives associate membership

NEW DELHI: Hockey India on Thursday gave associate membership to Bengal Hockey Association, which was under suspension, after the state body promised to get its house in order in six months time.

According to Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra, BHA now can hold and participate in national tournaments conducted by HI.

"We had a fruitful meeting with BHA officials today where they asked for six months time to sort our their issues. Accordingly, we acceded to their request and gave them associate membership status," Batra said.

In today's meeting with HI, BHA was represented by its newly-elected president Gautam Mohan Chakraborty, secretary Salil Basu and vice-president Noomi Mehta.

BHA, one of the oldest state sports bodies in the country, was temporarily suspended by HI after the state unit failed to merge its men and women wings and did not inform the national federation about its elections held in December last year.

The Times of India



Bhopal needs more hockey grounds

Nitisha Kashyap

It was a proud moment for India when the Indian Junior Women's Hockey team won the first-ever bronze at the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Junior World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany. They were felicitated in the national capital on Wednesday and will join the camp on August 14 for the Asian Cup. The four hockey players, including captain Sushila Chanu, who were part of the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Bhopal and Gwalior, will meet CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, on August 11 in Bhopal.

WE HAVE MANY GIRLS FROM MP IN THE TEAM

Captain Sushila Chanu, who lived in Gwalior for four years, says, "Main Gwalior academy mein thi and I have lived there for four years. We have many girls from Madhya Pradesh in the team." Originally from Manipur, Sushila continues in her broken Hindi, "Main Gwalior mein reh kar mushkil se Hindi seekhi hoon. I can't speak fluent Hindi, and during these interviews I don't know how and what to speak." When the hockey team won the match against England, the nation rejoiced the Chak De moment. But the captain adds, "Uss film mein toh kaafi kam dikhaya gaya tha. They would take many breaks. We did not take any break. We put in a lot more hard work than what was shown in the movie. Lekin ek baat hai... main uss movie ko dekh ke bahut roti hoon." She will be joining the camp on August 14, but till then she is not going to touch her hockey stick. "Camp toh hum log August 14 ko join kar rahe hain. Bahut kam din ka break hai. And I'm not going to touch my stick during this break," explains Sushila, who has also got a job in the Bombay Central Railway.

More artificial-grass grounds needed in Bhopal

Another player, Ritusha Kumari Arya, who is originally from Uttar Pradesh and has lived in Bhopal, says, "Getting into the SAI, Bhopal, was my life's biggest achievement till the World Cup happened. I came to Bhopal a few years ago." Determined to bring the cup home, Arya, adds, "It was a do-or-die situation for us. We gave our 110%. It is great to be the part of history. My parents are happier than me and they have planned a lot of things for me." But she is not happy with the limited number of hockey grounds in Madhya Pradesh. Arya says, "Itne bade Bhopal mein sirf teen-char hi grounds hain. Ab grass hockey kam hoti jaa rahi hai and we need more AstroTurf (artificial grass) grounds." Arya also listens to Chak De... India songs for inspiration. She says, "While going in the bus for practice sessions, we would listen to the songs of Chak De...India. It's very inspiring and everyone's playlist would have the same song."

MP supports hockey players

Lily Chanu, who is originally from Manipur, but has been playing from Madhya Pradesh from the last three years, adds, "The first time I came to Madhya Pradesh was during the junior nationals. Paramjeet sir (one of the coaches) saw my performance and asked me to give the trial. I gave and I got selected in the Gwalior academy. MP has supported a lot. Bahut saare achhe players aaye hain MP se."

The Times of India



Revs - Chua was our gladiator

Retiring or "resting" the Number 3 jersey: It would be a very good gesture. I think this is up to the MHC to decide. He is the most capped Malaysian player so he certainly would have earned this honor.

The past week: Has been horrific to say the least. It has been so pleasing over the past several months watching a guy of 33 being "reborn" again as a player and leader, seeing how this has had led to a positive impact on his life off the pitch as much as on the pitch - and then to see all that happiness taken away so quickly and abruptly - is just very difficult to accept. I saw it as an honor to coach Chua. I had always secretly hoped to coach guys like Chua, Kuhan, Azlan Bakar, etc (internationally recognized stars of Malaysian Hockey) - so every day in the presence with Chua was just a privilege. It was a credit to how popular and influential Chua was to everyone by the number of people who showed up at his funeral yesterday - I really hope he knew just how much (and many) people loved him, valued him and believed in him. When I arrived in Malaysia I got the impression that Chua was not as well respected locally as he was internationally - yesterday and the past few days in the media certainly proved that wrong.

How has this affected me: Chua was a real strength to me throughout my brief time in Malaysia. I came to realize very quickly how emotionally and mentally strong he was under pressure. Whenever the Team and I required a "go-to-guy" - Chua was there to deliver. He loved international hockey. He loved being back in the arena and his motivation to succeed for Malaysia was so strong again. He provided such simple, direct and affective advice and feedback to me throughout my time as Coach. He bought in fully to what we were wanting to do as Coaches and promoted this through to the other players with passion and belief. To lose this type of character, this type of strength and this type of message and support from the most capped Malaysian player is a big loss. Chua was a unique talent and person who can never be replaced in the Malaysian Team. As with any retiring player it will be time for another player to carry his torch and create another wonderful chapter in Malaysian Hockey. There is certainly the quality of player in our Squad and in the Junior Squad who can do this. Chua has set an outstanding example for them to follow.

How have I coped: Not easily. Chua played a massive role in convincing me to stay during the challenging period. I really appreciated his support and his effort to communicate this to me. My only way to honor him was to get onto the pitch as quickly as possible and lead the squad through this very sad period with the same passion and drive that motivated Chua so much on my arrival in Malaysia. I have coped knowing that this is what he would want me to do. I missed him terribly every session we have had together as a Squad.

Chua was just such a great guy - which you already know. He was our Gladiator. His hair and ponytail was iconic around the world. His smile was infectious and he loved being with people. I will miss him.

Malaysian Hockey blogspot



I lost a son - Lissek



"I lost a great friend and a special player!

"When I became the Malaysian National Hockey Coach for Commenwealth Games 1998, I met Chua first time as a 'boy'. He was 18 years old and with limited skills,  but had a great heart for his sport. His small Chinese eyes became big when I talked with him about hockey and his chances to become a great player in future.

"His mother told me once: 'Mr Paul, what have you done with my son, he is crazy for hockey and he sleeps with his stick'.

"Yes, that was Chua and because he learned hockey late and was not ready with his skill and tactical understanding. By 1998 his enthusiasm and passion for his sport was extraordinary.

"I was lucky those days with him in the 'Silver Medal Commenwealth-Team' one of the best Malaysian hockey team ever.

"After the fantastic performance during the Commenwealt Games in KL 1998 Chua became a strong player and established member of Malaysian Hockey National Team and he was one of our strongest players during World Cup 2002 in KL and Asian Games 2002 in Busan.

"Chua also became a big name in International Hockey. World class defenders from Germany, Holland, Spain and Australia were discussing about the tall Malaysian striker with the pony-tail because he was the man who could score goals.

"The German Bundesliga Club Red & White Munich and their manager Hans Baumgartner requested Chua to play for their club in the German Bundesliga! After a few matches Chua was already known amongst the German top-class teams as one of the most dangerous strikers.

"Red-White Munich asked for Chua every year but Chua was already busy in other countries and played in many leagues all over the world to garner experience.

"Wherever he played and lived, he became a great friend to all of his foreign teammates because of his friendly attitude and his appearance.

"They all referred to him as the boy with a pleasant smile.

"Chua was more than a player for me. You can be lucky as a Coach having him and as a father I would be very proud having him as a son.

I lost a player, a friend and a beloved 'son',

Paul Lissek
Former National Hockey Coach



"I was shocked after receiving the message and can´t believe that such a great athlete has passsed away so early and tragically.

"I met him for the first time prior to the 2002 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur and me and my team members where fascinated by his skills, fitness and friendly behaviour, always friendly and ready to chat after the match but a 100 % proud athlete and fighter during the matches.

"I know that he enjoyed his stay in Germany and developed as a person and player at the same time. His name and story will always be linked to our memories of Malaysia. The WC 2002 and the tragedy life always shows us not to live life.

"My thoughts are with his family, the whole team and staff members of Malaysia and i wish them all the best preparing for the Asia Cup.

"Go and play with his heart and always take him with you in your thoughts and show your unbounded ambition to make him proud.

Accept my sympathies and my deepest condolence

Malaysia Boleh

Jamilon Mulders
Chief Coach
German National Womens Hockey Team



"I first saw Chua Boon Huat  at the Bukit Jalil Stadium during the 2002 Men's World Cup as as a commentator for the FIH world feed.

"He had an arresting athletic onfield personality which reflected with his majestic maneuvers past most opposition midfields and defences. His trademark ponytail waltzed complimenting his stick skills and ball control.

"Over the years he became better and more impressive and was looked up as the senior pro. He was the thinking player....an asset for any team. I am sure all his mates will play their hearts out to win the Asia Cup. This will be the greatest tribute to him.

Anupam Gulati
Former Hockey India CEO
and former Indian Journalist



"For me when as his first coach when Chua played for YNS. he was a raw diamond and  such a pleasant character always polite and smile on his face.

"A versatile player who could play anywhere the team required him. He worked hard to build up his body from the thin teenager to one of the players who had physical attributes for international hockey.

"He could adjust and reinvent his game to suit the change in the game due to rule changes and also from being a defender and midfielder to a goal proaching forward.

"His understanding of the game positioning and timing in the attacking 23  and D was really good. When I coached him between 1998 to 2000 he was an exemplary player and one who I could depend on. The group between 1997 - 2002 was a good batch of players who were a close knit batch with Kuhan,Mirnawan, Keevan, Logan, Mike, Calvin, Roslan, Kalis, lum Saiful etc.

I was only back in 2010 by which time he was already drop from the team for reasons you are aware of in 2009. I would like to remember the good times early in his career when I was there up to 2002. Let's remember him for the great service to the nation and the sports of hockey.May his soul rest in peace.  When he came back after given a chance by Paul you could see a new Chua who was very focused and he was playing well and scored some good goals esp in the SAS. He was the leader on a mission n  passing on his experience n knowledge to the younger teammates.

Fate has taken him away at such a young age and while the team and the nation mourn his passing we take this

The team should take this period of grieve to bring them together and drive them to Focus all their energy effort t o play for him and win the Asia cup in his memory

That would be the best gift to honour him.

Malaysian Hockey blogspot



Pick up the spirit by picking up a stick on National Field Hockey Day

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – For an entire day, the contagious love of field hockey is leaping over county lines and hurdling from state to state in celebration of USA Field Hockey’s second annual National Field Hockey Day. The event will be held Saturday, September 14th to connect coaches, clubs, athletes, umpires and those who simply enjoy the sport for a day dedicated to proudly displaying our passion for the game. We encourage our members and fans to participate all week long with their friends and families for a chance to win some great prizes.

“National Field Hockey Day is USA Field Hockey’s chance to encourage our members to share the game with friends and promote our sport on a national level,” said Steve Locke, Executive Director of USA Field Hockey. “We are excited to enter our second year of this initiative and look forward to even more participation from our amazing field hockey community.”

Last year, universities hosted free clinics, clubs held special training for brothers and dads, former players organized pick-ups in the park, even a field hockey themed cake was made. However you choose to celebrate, let us know via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram by using @USAFieldHockey and #NFHDay. We will post the submissions throughout the week.

We will be giving awards for:

-          Most Spirit

-          Biggest Celebration

-          Most Unique/Creative

-          Growing the Game

Ways to Celebrate:

-          Invite neighbors, family, and friends to watch you play

-          Host a youth clinic with your team

-          Umpire or coach a game

-          Host an equipment drive for a community or team in need

-          Submit “old school” photos for Throwback Thursday

-          Get creative with signs, t-shirts and headbands

Submitting  Throwback Thursday Photos

Please e-mail your favorite “old school” field hockey photos to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it before Thursday, September 12 at 8:00 a.m. EDT. You can also participate on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using @USAFieldHockey #NFHDayTBT. Click here to see some of last year’s submissions.

In addition, clubs and communities can download the Official National Field Hockey Day Logo and inscribe their town or team in the banner. USA Field Hockey encourages Member Clubs and Teams to download and use the logo to help promote National Field Hockey Day in your community.

USFHA media release



WC Eagles ranked No. 1 in club rankings

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The WC Eagles not only swept the National Club Championship by taking home gold in the Under-14, Under-16 and Under-19 division, they also broke out the broom and swept the National Club Rankings sitting atop the leader board as the No. 1 ranked club in the country.

Following the conclusion of the Regional Club Championships (RCC) and National Club Championship (NCC), USA Field Hockey’s national club rankings were recalculated. WC Eagles (Spring City, Pa.) retains their No. 1 ranking in the U-19 division and regained their No. 1 position in the U-16 division after Spirit of USA (Berlin, NJ) held the No. 1 spot for the course of one year.

In the U-19 grouping, the WC Eagles began raking in major points for their club after a second place finish at the 2012 National Field Hockey Festival in A Pool and won gold at the highest division, Mickey, at the 2013 Disney Showcase.

Nook Hockey (Lancaster, Pa.) trailed closely behind the WC Eagles in club ranking by securing a first place medal in Pool C at the 2012 Festival. After a 2012 fifth place finish at NCC, the team was able to battle their way up to second place this year to win the silver medal. Jersey Intensity Field Hockey (Monmouth Beach , NJ) holds onto third in the 2013 club rankings after bringing home the gold from the Pluto Flight at the 2013 Disney Showcase. The club was also able to beat out the competition in Pool E to win their division at the 2013 Festival. The top trio of the U-19 club rankings were also 2013 NCC medal winners.

Represented in both divisions, WC Eagles and Jersey Intensity Field Hockey again make an appearance as the elite top-tier clubs at the U-16 level. The WC Eagles brought the house by stacking up first place medals in their pools at all 2012 events except at NCC where they finished fifth.  Sliding in at second, Spirit of USA (Berlin, NJ) retrieved big points by dominating competition at the 2012 NCC with a first place finish and winning their 2012 Festival pool. Jersey Intensity Field Hockey is rocking the bronze this year in club rankings. They earned a third place finish at the 2012 NCC and in the Nemo pool at the 2012 Disney Showcase.

The ranking system was introduced in May 2012 as a way of comparing clubs performance across all USA Field Hockey events. The rankings enable clubs to be seeded more accurately in national and sanctioned events. Points are only obtained from outdoor tournaments.

To view the current club standings and the points structure, click here.

USFHA media release