News for 24 March 2010

All the news for Wednesday 24 March 2010


San Diego to host first Women’s World Cup Qualifier

The Californian city of San Diego will be the host of the first of a series of three Qualification Tournaments for the BDO FIH World Cup women. From 26 March-3 April, six teams will compete for one World Cup spot.

Having narrowly missed an automatic World Cup qualifying birth with its second place finish to Argentina in penalty strokes in the 2009 Pan American Cup in Bermuda, the USA along with Canada (fifth place) and Mexico (sixth place) received an invitation to the ATAHolding Qualifier. Other participating teams in the ATAHolding World Cup Qualifier are Belgium, France, and Korea. Two more qualifiers will be held in Kazan, Russia (17-25 April) and Santiago, Chile (24 April-2 May).

Host USA boasts the most experienced team, with half of the players having helped USA to an eighth place finish in the 2008 Beijing Olympics; including current ATAHolding World Cup Qualifier Captain, Carrie Lingo and two-time FIH all-star keeper Amy Tran. Right below the USA, Korea finished in ninth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and six of these players come to the ATAHolding Qualifier; including team captain, Jeon Sook Park.

Korea, USA, and France come to San Diego with players fresh off the 2009 BDO Junior World Cup; helping their teams to third, eighth, and fourteenth place finishes (out of sixteen teams), respectively. Thus, France comes to San Diego with a young, but experienced team. Leading France are Captain Juliette Leman and keeper Anabelle Got.

Leading the way for Mexico is Jesús Aide Castillo Marin. Many from this team participated in the 2008 Pan American Junior Championships and the 2009 Pan American Cup. Also, returning world scene, are Canada and Belgium. Canadian veterans Stephanie Jameson, Stephanie NesbittKatie Baker and keeper Azelia Liu come with the experience of having helped Canada to a  fifth at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro; as well as a fifth place finish over Mexico in the 2009 Pan Am Cup. Belgium, who finished first in Pool B at the 2009 EuroNations Championship, is led by Captain Sofie Gierts and Gaëlle Valcke.

Korea and the USA are likely favorites to play in the final of the ATAHolding Qualifier. However, as everyone knows, it is anyone’s game.

Please visit the special website for the ATAHolding World Cup Qualifier by clicking here.

WorldHockey



Women’s World Cup qualifiers to go ahead as scheduled in Chile

KUALA LUMPUR: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) have given confirmation that the women’s World Cup qualifying tournament in Santiago, Chile, will be held as scheduled from April 24-May 2.

Malaysia are in the fray along with former world champions Australia, Scotland, Ireland and Ukraine.

And only the winners of the tournament will make the cut for the Finals in Rosario, Argentina, in August.

The Malaysian Women’s Hockey Association (MWHA) secretary, S. Shamala, said that the team would be leaving for Chile on April 17.

“We are glad that the tournament will be held as schedule. We were informed of the decision on Monday. Our team are back from a tour of New Zealand and will prepare at home in the final phase,” she said.

There are two other qualifying tournament next month offering the remaining two berths in the Finals – in San Diego, the United States, and in Kazan, Russia.

The national team will also get some matches ahead of leaving for Chile in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL), which begins on April 9.

The Star of Malaysia



Muller Announces 18 to Compete in World Cup Qualifier.

Coach Gene Muller has today announced the 18 athletes who have been selected for Irelands World Cup Qualifier team to compete in Santiago, Chile from the 24th April to 2nd May.

Commenting on the impending tournament Coach Muller had this to say Our main aim will be performing to our potential. Our preparation has been thorough and we have no immediate injury scares which bodes well for the team.

There are no easy points given the evenly matched nature of the teams in Santiago, so mental toughness will be paramount to progress in this tournament.  Australia is the obvious stand-out team having recently lost in the Champions trophy final. He continued.

Ireland who are ranked second going into the tournament will have to face world number 5s Australia, Chile (16th), Ukraine (21st), Malaysia (22nd) and Scotland (23rd) the overall winner of which will earn a spot in the Womens World Cup this August in Argentina.

IRELAND - WCQ Team
Emma Clarke (Leicester)
Bridget Cleland (Vice Captain) (Ballymoney)
Lizzie Colvin (Loreto)
Eimear Cregan (Captain) (Catholic Institute)
Roisin Flinn (Old Alex)
Megan Frazer (Maryland)
Mary Goode (GK) (Bray)
Michelle Harvey (Pegasus)
Louisa Healy (GK) (Loreto)
Lisa Jacob (UCD)
Shirley McCay (Dragons)
Audrey OFlynn (UCC)
Julia O'Halloran (UCC)
Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins)
Niamh Small (Loreto)
Emma Smyth (Railway)
Alex Speers (Dragons)
Nikki Symmons (Loreto)

Irish Hockey Association media release



Ireland name squad for women's World Cup qualifers

A six-strong Ulster contingent has been named in the Irish squad for the World Cup qualifiers in Chile from 24 April.

Ballymoney's Bridget Cleland and Pegasus player Michelle Harvey are both included in the 18-strong squad.

Belgian-based duo Alex Speers and Shirley McCay are also in the squad alongside ex-Randalstown player Emma Clarke and US-based Megan Frazer.

Speers and McCay both play for the Dragons club in Belgian while Frazer plays in Maryland.

Ireland are ranked second of the teams in action in the tournament.

Hopefuls include world's fifth-ranked team Australia plus Chile (16th), Ukraine (21st), Malaysia (22nd) and Scotland (23rd).

Only the overall winner will earn a spot in the World Cup this August in Argentina.

Ireland coach Gene Muller is in upbeat mood ahead of the qualifiers.

"Our preparation has been thorough and we have no immediate injury scares which bodes well for the team," said Muller.

"There are no easy points given the evenly matched nature of the teams in Santiago, so mental toughness will be paramount to progress in this tournament.

"Australia is the obvious stand-out team having recently lost in the Champions trophy final," added the Ireland coach.

Ireland squad: Emma Clarke (Leicester), Bridget Cleland (Vice Captain) (Ballymoney), Lizzie Colvin (Loreto), Eimear Cregan (Captain) (Catholic Institute), Roisin Flinn (Old Alex), Megan Frazer (Maryland), Mary Goode (GK) (Bray), Michelle Harvey (Pegasus), Louisa Healy (GK) (Loreto), Lisa Jacob (UCD), Shirley McCay (Dragons), Audrey O'Flynn (UCC), Julia O'Halloran (UCC), Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins), Niamh Small (Loreto), Emma Smyth (Railway), Alex Speers (Dragons), Nikki Symmons (Loreto)

BBC Sport



Kookaburras look to youth at Azlan Shah

Fresh off their recent 2010 World Cup victory the Kookaburras have already begun preparations for the 2010 Champions Trophy, today naming an 18 player squad for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

Held in Ipoh, Malaysia from 6-16 May the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will see the Kookaburras take on Korea, Pakistan, China, India, Malaysia, and Egypt.

The Kookaburras, who are the number one ranked team in the world following their thrilling 2-1 victory over Germany in the final of the 2010 World Cup, will debut two new players during this tournament. Tasmanian striker Tim Deavin has been picked to play his first international game, as has West Australian Trent Mitton.

A number of other young players including Matt Gohdes, Jason Wilson, Jonathon Charlesworth, Glenn Simpson and Ian Burcher have also been included in the squad, with Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth looking forward to adding even more depth to his already talented squad.

”We have purposefully chosen a young squad for this tournament. It will go a long way in exposing our squad to a number of quality teams, giving us even more experience and help add to the depth of our squad,” said Charlesworth.

The younger players will be well balanced by veterans such as Grant Schubert and Kiel Brown who have also been selected for this series.

2010 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup squad
George Bazeley (VIC), Ross Meadows (WA), Chris Ciriello (VIC), Brent Dancer (WA), Joel Carroll (NT), Matthew Swann (QLD), Kiel Brown (WA), Ian Burcher (WA), Glenn Simpson (VIC), Mark Paterson (NSW), Jonathon Charlesworth (WA), Tim Deavin (TAS), Kieran Govers (NSW), Grant Schubert (SA), Jason Wilson (QLD), Russell Ford (VIC), Trent Mitton (WA), Matt Gohdes (QLD)

Hockey Australia media release



Beeston & Hampstead & Westminster Through to Hockey's Cup Final

Third consecutive Cup Final appearance for Beeston; first ever Cup Final for H&W


Beeston will play Hampstead & Westminster in hockey’s Men’s Cup Final after recording narrow semi final victories over Brooklands MU and Sevenoaks respectively.

Beeston will once again have ‘home advantage’ in the Men’s Cup Final for the third year in succession when they take on Hampstead & Westminster at Highfields Sports Club on Saturday 15 May with the venue having been agreed before Beeston progressed to the final.

The Nottingham based club booked their place in the final thanks to Carl Smith whose goal three minutes before half time was enough to secure a 1-0 victory over Brooklands MU in Sunday’s semi final.  Beeston will now look to put the disappointment of losing last year’s final behind them as they attempt to win the Cup for the second time in three years.

Standing in their way will be London based Hampstead & Westminster who reached the final for the first time in their history with a 2-1 victory which ended Sevenoaks’ cup run.  Dave Eakins scored a goal in each half for the hosts with Ben Allberry’s goal for Sevenoaks four minutes from time ultimately little more than a consolation.

In their head-to-head meetings in the England Hockey League Premier Division this season each side has claimed a victory with Beeston winning their home match 5-2 before the London side gained revenge with a 3-0 win at Paddington Recreation Ground last month.

Full details of the Men’s Cup Final (to be played on Saturday 15 May) will be announced shortly.

England Hockey Board Media release



Smith goal sends Beeston to the final

By Graham Wilson


CARL SMITH’S goal in the 32nd minute for Beeston against Brooklands MU saw the Nottingham club to a third successive English Cup final.

They meet Premier Division rivals Hampstead & Westminster, who overcame Conference outfit Sevenoaks 2-1 with Dave Eakins converting a penalty corner in the fifth minute and a penalty stroke in the 59th.

“Hampstead are our bogey side,” said Beeston striker David Griffiths, “but we are in the final on May 15 and we are on home ground.”

Daily Express



Hampstead and Westminster to face Beeston in Men's Cup final

By Emily Benammar


Dave Eakins struck twice in a 2-1 win over Sevenoaks on Sunday to secure Hampstead and Westminster a place in this season’s Men's Cup final for the first time in the club's history.

They will come face-to-face with Premier Division rivals Beeston, in the fixture scheduled for Saturday May 15, after they beat Brooklands MU 1-0.

Carl Smith’s lone goal was enough to see Beeston through and once again the Nottingham-based club have secured home advantage for the tie.

It will no doubt be a closely fought out affair with the sides both recording a victory against the other in the domestic league this season though Beeston, who have made the final for the last three years, may have the edge as the look to avenge their loss to Reading in the 2009 final.

The Telegraph



Simon Mantell looks to Commonwealth Games selection after World Cup heartache

By Emily Benammar


Looking forward: Simon Mantell was at the launch of the new adiZone in Colchester


Having been left devastated by an injury that forced him to withdraw from the England squad two days before the World Cup, Simon Mantell has turned his attentions to being fit to be selected for the Commonwealth Games in October.

The 25-year-old Reading forward sustained a recurrence of the foot injury that kept him out of action over Christmas during a warm up match before the 12-nation tournament. But having undergone surgery to pin his metatarsal a fortnight ago, he is confident of resuming training in six weeks time.

“Getting injured is always difficult but when it’s 48 hours before the World Cup it’s devastating,” Mantell said. “But these things happen and you can only try and get fit again and look forward. For me the important thing is to get back for the Games.

“There’s always competition for places which is good for the squad but I am gradually getting off crutches and I’m aiming to be fit to get into the team.”

While it is good news for Simon it seems his brother and Reading team mate Richard will miss the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

The 28-year-old defender flew home midway through the World Cup having fractured his fibula and dislocated his ankle. He too has undergone surgery but is unlikely to be a part of Jason Lee’s plans for India.

“Richard’s doing alright,” Mantell continued. “It was tough injury for him to get. He’s positive about everything but I think it’s probably unrealistic to say he will be back for the Commonwealths at the moment.”

As is stands England have no further long-term injury concerns.

Looking ahead to the Commonwealths, Mantell said he is confident of England’s chances despite a disappointing end to their World Cup campaign which saw them miss out on a bronze medal to Holland in the third and fourth place classification match.

“I’ve spoken to the guys and they are disappointed but we’ve got to learn from the World Cup and use the experience to improve for the Commonwealths.

“There is always room to improve; although we won the Euros last summer we always know there is progress to be made. You can’t stand still.”

* Simon Mantell was launching the new adiZone in Colchester. A multi-sport giant gym that is free to use, designed and developed by adidas.

The Telegraph



National women’s team get to take part in MJHL

By AFTAR SINGH


KUALA LUMPUR: For the first time in the history of the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL), a women’s team will feature in the boys’ Under-19 competition.

The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary, Hashim Mohamed Yusoff, said that the national women’s team would play in the league as part of their preparation for the New Delhi Commonwealth Games (October) and the Guangzhou Asian Games (November).

“The team lack tournaments and we have granted the MWHF’s (Malaysian Women’s Hockey Fede­ration) request for them to the MJHL beginning on April 9,” he said.

The team will play in Division One, which has eight other sides – double champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), BJSS Juniors, Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS), BPSS Juniors, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), Anderson, Kijang Mas Kelantan and UniKL.

The MWHF secretary, S. Shamala, said that they had plans to feature in MJHL about two years ago but were unable to do so because the team were involved in other tournaments.

“But the timing is right this time for us to make our debut in the league to prepare for the two major Games,” said Shamala.

“The team need to play tough matches and we believe that playing in the MJHL against the boys will benefit them.

“For the Commonwealth Games, the team will be up against physically bigger opponents and they have to be prepared to play robust matches.

She added that they were grateful to the MHF for allowing the team to play in the MJHL.

“However, we are not setting any target for the team. But we hope to see some good results,” said Shamala.

The team are under the charge of Yahya Atan and he is assisted by former national goalkeeper Mohd Nasihin.

Division Two of the MJHL will feature 10 teams – Datuk Taha School, Tunku Besar School, Kuantan Sports Council, Johor Sports Council, Matri of Perlis, SMK Pengkalan Permatang, Ipoh City Council, Sabah Hockey Association, SM Teknik Klang and Penang Free School.

The Star of Malaysia



Six national players to lead KL’s charge for Razak Cup

PETALING JAYA: Kuala Lumpur, powered by six national players, are the favourites to bag the Razak Cup hockey tournament title for a record 19th time.

In the tournament beginning today at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium in Kuantan, the country’s top penalty corner flicker and defender Mohd Amin Rahim will lead the KL charge in Division One. The other teams in the division are defending champions Malacca, Perak, Johor, Penang, Armed Forces and Negri Sembilan.

The other national players in the KL team are defender Baljit Singh Charun, midfielders Mohd Shahrun Nabil and Mohd Nabil Fitri and forwards Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim and Harwinder Singh.

KL, however, will not have the services of national midfielder Kelvinder Singh, who is due to undergo a knee surgery.

KL also have a number of former internationals, among them Tajol Rosli, Mohd Fairus Ramli, M. Kaliswaran and Mahinder Singh.

Last year, national players were not allowed to play in the tournament as the team were preparing for a World Cup qualifying event in Invercargill, New Zealand, in November.

KL coach Nor Saiful Zaini said that they certainly had a side with the ability to win the tournament.

“However, I have warned my players not to take any team lightly. I want full commitment from the players in every match,” said the former national skipper.

He added that they would bank on Amin to deliver penalty corner goals.

“Amin was the top scorer in the MHL (Malaysia Hockey League) for Tenaga Nasional with 13 goals last month. I am also banking on forwards like Razie, Harvinder, Tajol and Fairus to deliver goals,” said Nor Saiful.

KL will open their campaign against Malacca.

“Malacca have only one or two national players in their ranks but we can expect a tough match against them. We need an opening match win to boost our confidence,” said Nor Saiful.

The top two teams will play in the final schedule for April 4.

The 10-team Division Two competition will have preliminary rounds played in two groups.

In Group A are Kelantan, Kedah, Police, Sabah and Singapore while Group B comprises Selangor, Brunei, Terengganu, Perlis and host Pahang.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Hockey Federation secretary, Hashim Mohamed Yusoff, said that they would not shortened the tournament from 12 to 10 days.

“We have also decided that the fixtures remain unchanged,” he said.

The Star of Malaysia



Kelly Hudson appointed as umpire to World Cup

Kelly Hudson of Tauranga has been appointed by the FIH (International Hockey Federation) as an Umpire at the Women’s World Cup to be played in Rosario (Argentina) from 29 August to 11 September 2010.

Hudson joins an elite shortlist of New Zealand’s best women’s umpires; only three of whom have reached this level of international officiating. Corinne Pritchard, Lyn Farrell and Sarah Garnett (who umpired the final of the World Cup in 2006) have come before her.

“To be appointed to the World Cup is the realisation of a goal I have held since I began umpiring. It is the culmination of hard work, quality coaching and guidance throughout my career. I am excited to be part of the pinnacle event in our sport, and grateful for the opportunity to continue quality representation that New Zealand Umpires have displayed at major events to date,” says Hudson.

Hudson has had a rapid rise to success. It was due to excellent performances at the Junior World Cup and Champions Challenge during 2009 that saw her break into the world’s elite group.

You can see Hudson in action at the up-coming Black Stick Women’s test series against Argentina in Hamilton and Tauranga - dates and times below.

31 March at 7.30pm, Gallagher Hockey Centre, Hamilton
2 April at 2.00pm, Tauranga Hockey Centre, Mt Maunganui
3 April at 1.00pm, Tauranga Hockey Centre, Mt Maunganui

Hockey New Zealand Media release



My last word: Part II. Patience and persistence are needed

K. Arumugam


Home teams always do well, more so in World Cups. India is stand alone exception to this global phenomenon.

Like in Bombay 28 years ago, India did nothing worth here in Delhi.

With a mere win and a draw in six matches, India improved three positions in the final ranking. This has more to do with the forms of other teams than its own; the failure of China and Belgium not making it to the World Cup should not be lost sight of.

Before the start of the Hero Honda World Cup, experts hoped India to do well if it starts well. India hardly started any major tournament with a win. Secondly, most of us hoped the crowd will propel India to give some thing extra.

Both the theories flopped.

Despite 3-goal margin victory over Pakistan, India flattered to deceive thereafter. In fact, India played only first two and half matches well before plunging back into its old traditional fashion of self-destruction.

In one way it can be said the last six months of Brasa’ training percolated to only to two and half matches, where we saw full use of width, team game, steady defence etc. It is therefore long way to go for India.

If India does not take its good game beyond first two and half matches, it was because of two factors. Firstly, the forwards, most of them are stars and experienced, could not change to new hockey for long, they perforce fell back to age old individual game when came under pressure. Since they are experienced, aged and already stars, it is expected they will have problem to adjust. It proved to be so. After all, they have to unlearn before learning new things. Therefore, Brasa’s belief in experienced forwards is yet to pay dividends.

Secondly, in modern hockey, most of the team members score. India lacked scorers in most of the team members, and scoring plan is stale. India still looks for spectacular and laborious goals rather than clinical and geometrical ones.

After Monchengladbach World Cup, I wrote how free hit defection has become the main source of goal scoring. India is yet to catch up with it, as England, Australia and Germany proved again in Delhi.

Penalty corners no longer decide the match outcomes, two teams who believed otherwise fared badly – India and Pakistan.

Brasa’s over-dependence on Sandeep Singh – he took 90 percent of Indian penalty corners – did not give results. This site has consistently maintained how he is not good beyond Asian teams.

Here we have to ask a pertinent question to Brasa, why he did not give adequate opportunities to Diwakar or Dhananjay Mahadik?

Brasa’s logic, at least for the Spain match – incidentally the worst match India played in Delhi – was that Sandeep scored three goals when they played a Test Series during the Europe Tour. It seems now the Spaniards understood Sandeep rather than India! Unless Brasa makes course correction on the choice of penalty corners, unless he believes in others, this continues to be the danger area, as has been the case in the last six years.

Indian coach Jose Brasa is good at communication. With a bit of humour and lot of conviction in his thought and action, he won many a hearts. We all stood by him. However, everybody has to face enormous embarrassment when India conceded three goals in four minutes, in going down to Argentina 4-2. It is one team against which India had enough experience in the run up to the World Cup, and the way we lost it, makes a hole in the coaching credentials of Brasa. We hope this is an exception.

Over all, Indian defence’s weakness came to the fore and was glaring because we failed at the scoring department. In modern hockey, conceding goals should not be worry beyond certain extent.

Winning for India is not going to be easy, especially after Shivender like episodes. A section in the FIH undermines what the top brass of FIH believes. A tournament director chased the Indian team in the midnight before the final at Chile, now after one match Shivendra was suspended for two matches. It seems only India has ‘rogue’ players, and the Indian team is guinea pig so that a message can be sent to other teams!

Unless Indian management will have its own intelligence bank to take a proactive posture, to fight back, ready to prove how other team members too do indulge in various acts of omission and commission, an influential section in FIH is not going to stop from its sadistic tendencies.

Punishing Indian team, it seems, improves the profile of certain second rated technical officials. Certainly, a big task is on the hands of Brasa.

It’s sickening to see Tournament Director tutoring Indian players after every match, a strong manager would have never allowed this psyching tactics to take place.

If the best team in pool, England, lost out to Germany 1-4 in the semis, and then failed to hold on to its 3-0 lead in the bronze match, one of the reasons was absence of Richard Mantell. One player’s absence can create havoc, it happened in India’s case. After India’s success over Pakistan, the team was on its best form. This was undone with Shivender’s suspension. Brasa may not have upped the ante in this case, that is due to diplomatic nicety, but the fact of the matter is this sudden development has undone India, upset its applecart.

So, Brasa survives, we are glad at it.

But he has to look at the talent pool afresh, use the full team, believe in all 18 players, devise workable scoring modules, prevail on seniors on their mindset.

The dangers of home team not doing well are all too well known. Hockey will lose its appeal if it continues to fail on home events. The FIH wants at least one major tournament each year in India. If that has to work and bring intended results, Indian team needs to perform well. This adds to the pressure on India.

The nation has to now stand by Brasa and help him implement his well-articulated Project India concept in letter and spirit.

Stick2Hockey.com



Coach Approach

Upar Dekho’ were the two heavily accented words bellowed by Spanish – born national hockey coach Jose Brasa in his first week of training with the Indian Hockey Team at the Balewadi sports complex. After taking regular Hindi lessons once a week, he is now, almost, able to conduct a full conversation with his players. Usaia Biumaiwai, Fiji-born national rugby coach, has adopted India as his home and speaks the national language fluently. Russian born national gymnastics coach, Vladimir Chertkov developed an instant rapport with the Indian gymnasts and has seen good results from them thus far.

Brasa’s stint as the national coach was riddled with difficulties, be it the shortage of water at the Polygrass stadium, the unavailability of facilities or a mini war with the federation, he has braved it all. He even witnessed one of his support staff quitting in disgust due to the neglect of the Sports Authority of India. However, it is the attitude of the players that has kept him going. “The players are always willing to work hard and have had no objections to the new techniques that I have brought into Indian hockey. They enjoy the change and always want to learn more new techniques,” he says.

Usaia Biumaiwai, on the other hand, received a lot of support from the federation but not from the Sports Authority of India. After having a lot of problems with the ground, he was forced to conduct the coaching sessions indoors. He too has stuck on ever since his inception in September 2007 and has ambitions to take Indian rugby to new heights. “The boys are determined and have a lot of desire to do well. This gives me motivation to do my job,” says the robust Fijian.

Chertkov took up the task of coaching the Indian Gymnastics team after doing a study of all athletes who are a part of the Commonwealth Games core probables. “After observing them carefully, I came to a conclusion that Indian Gymnasts have great potential. There is some great talent in the ranks and with a little guidance, they can do wonders at the big stage,” he says.

Chertkov is another foreign coach who has received full support from the SAI and the government but the lack of it from the Gymnastics Federation of India. According to him, the federation has been throwing a spanner in the works by sending the tournament fees late. “This disrupted our schedule that I had set for optimum performance of the gymnasts and caused many problems not only to us but also to the organisers,” he says. He feels that with a little help from the federation the talent that the gymnasts possess will take them to the top in no less than five years.

One common difference in the sporting cultures in India and abroad is the co-operation of the parent bodies of the sport. The experienced foreign coaches agree that the lack of this co-operation in India is what is holding them back from becoming dominant in that respective sport.

Indian Express



Fight between SAI and Brasa SAI must pay for my friends visit to World Cup

After days of uncertainty and several rounds of meetings with Sports Authority of India officials, the chief coach of the Indian men’s hockey team Jose Brasa is finally set to leave for Spain for a 15-day holiday on Wednesday.

Brasa was initially supposed to go on a month-long leave on March 18, soon after the World Cup. But several issues regarding payment of dues and Brasa’s claims of expenditure meant the Spaniard continued to stay put in the Capital. On Monday, he met SAI director-general Sayan Chatterjee for a final solution to the issues.

According to SAI officials, Brasa had claimed a lot of unpaid dues which, according to his contract, were invalid. “There were four main issues. First, he wanted to go on paid leave even though he had exhausted 23 of the 24 days leave he had been allowed in a year. Second, he wanted us to pay for his friends’ visit for the World Cup even though he was allowed only to bring his family. Third, he wanted us to reimburse several of his personal expenses. He also was hesitant to conduct a workshop for Indian coaches despite being contractually bound to do so,” said a senior SAI official.

Sources added that even though Brasa had tried to meet the sports minister, he had been advised to sort out the problems with SAI instead. “The minister can take policy decisions and anyone who has a concrete plan to develop sports in the country can seek an audience. But even he can’t decide on administrative matters. Since this problem is solely between Brasa and the SAI, the ministry cannot interfere,” a ministry official said.

While Brasa admitted earlier in the day that he would be meeting Chatterjee later on, he refused to say anything after the meeting.

However, sources say Brasa continued to persist in his demands in several meetings with senior SAI officials. On Monday, it was finally decided to pay him, as a special case for a 15-day leave, though his other demands have been rejected by SAI. “There are 42 other foreign coaches in the country with similar contracts, how can we treat Brasa any different,” officials asked.

Brasa is now expected to return on April 7 for a short camp for the core group of players beginning April 15.

Indian Express



Congress to bail out former Hockey Olympian Sher Khan

The opposition Congress in Madhya Pradesh has decided to come to the rescue of former Hockey Olympian Aslam Sher Khan, who has been slapped with non-payment of property tax notice and his house attached by the civic authorities.

The District Congress Committee here has decided to raise Rs.4.04 lakh for Khan after the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) attached his house which was given to him in 1975 after India won the World Cup in Malaysia.

"We will raise money to pay the overdue property tax on Khan's house," M.M. Salman of the District Congress Committee said Monday.

Criticising the Madhya Pradesh government, Khan said: "On the one hand, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is giving money to players of the Indian hockey team, and on the other, he is treating them shabbily."

He said the BMC could have informed him and the matter could have been settled amicably.

However, the civic body officials said the property was attached when the tax was not deposited despite several notices.

"The law is equal for everybody and everyone is required to pay government taxes as per the law," said Bhopal Mayor Krishna Gaur.

South Asia Mail



Hockey official Baptist De Souza passes away

MUMBAI: Baptist D'Souza, president of the Bombay Hockey Association during its golden era, passed away on Tuesday.

D'Souza, 81, a deputy managing director with Mahindra & Mahindra, got the auto firm to donate Rs 40 lakh towards laying Mumbai's first and only astroturf pitch.

In came up in 1990 during Baptist's term as president from 1980-98.

The feather in Baptist's cap was staging the World Cup in Bombay in 1982 and this he did even though he was not well suffering from jaundice. A qualified automobile engineer Baptist was instrumental in Mahindras tie-up with Peugeot, the Italian auto firm.

Baptist established Mahindras as a super power in hockey and football. He and stalwarts like golfer Rajkumar Pitamber, Balu Sule and Arun Nanda encouraged sports, generating jobs for the likes of triple Olympian MM Somaya, Joaquim Carvalho, Marcellus Gomes, Mark Patterson, Dhanraj Pillay, Darryl D'Souza, Gavin Ferreira, World Cuppers Francis D'Mello, Edgar Mascarenhas and Asian Games star John Fernandes.

The Times of India