News for 17 March 2010

All the news for Wednesday 17 March 2010


McGurk set to make Hockeyroos return following ACL injury

Hockeyroos defender Kobie McGurk is poised to make her long awaited return to the Australian team when the Hockeyroos take on world number 2 Argentina in a four test series in Townsville, Queensland.

The series will take place from March 24-28, with McGurk selected as part of the Hockeyroos 19 player squad.

McGurk hasn’t played international hockey since doing her ACL over nine months ago while playing club hockey in Western Australia. Her last international match was coincidently also against Argentina and was also her 100th game, played during the Spar Cup in South Africa in June 2009.

While selected in the 19 player squad, Hockeyroos coach Frank Murray said whether McGurk played or not against Argentina would depend on medical advice next week.

“It (McGurk’s inclusion) still depends on medial advice, but she is back into full training at the moment. We will make an assessment next week and if the advice comes back ok we will play her sparingly during the series. But we certainly wont be taking any risks with her,” said Murray.

McGurk said that although she is happy to be included in the squad, she knows this is just the beginning of her return.

“I’m obviously really excited to be back playing, but this is just the start of the process. It has been a very long nine months and I have had some setbacks along the way, it has been a battle at times. It gave me a chance to reflect on my career and overall I’ve had a good run with injuries, but it certainly wasn’t easy.” said McGurk

With the Australian men’s hockey team recently winning the men’s 2010 World Cup, McGurk’s potential return to the squad is timely given that the Hockeyroos are about to commence their path to the 2010 Women’s World Cup.

With this series giving the team a great opportunity to perfect their game plan against a quality team, the team still needs to qualify for the 2010 World Cup which will be played in Argentina from 29 August – 11 September.

After suffering a surprise loss in the final of the Oceania Cup to New Zealand in August last year, the Hockeyroos were denied direct access to the 2010 Women’s World Cup.

They will need to win the BDO World Cup Qualifier to earn a spot at the World Cup. Their opposition will include Chile (ranked 16th), Ireland (ranked 15th), Malaysia (ranked 22nd), Scotland (ranked 23rd) and Trinidad & Tobago (ranked 26th).

However first the Hockeyroos will test themselves against Argentina, the team who defeated Australia in penalty strokes during the final of the 2009 Champions Trophy in Sydney.

Murray noted that the return of McGurk, along with the inclusion of Shelly Liddelow and Teneal Attard who did not play in the 2009 Champions Trophy final, has strengthened the team.

“We have three players in Shelly Liddelow, Kobie McGurk and Teneal Attard who all competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but didn’t play at the 2009 Champions Trophy. Their level of experience will help strengthen the team,” said Murray.

Teneal Attard, originally from Townsville who herself only made her international return late last year after suffering an ACL injury, said that the Hockeyroos would need to be at their best when facing Argentina during this series.

“Argentina is one of the best teams in the world and they deserve the utmost respect. They are a determined team who are skillful, fast and have good set plays. We will need to ensure our defence is solid and looks to avoid giving away any soft penalty corners. Through the midfield there will need to be a high work rate, giving options out of defence and building the play, and upfront it will be imperative that we put away opportunities when they come,” said Attard.

Argentina Series Squad

Name, DOB, Matches, State, Position

Toni Cronk, 27-3-80, 76, NSW, Position
Georgia Nanscawen, 27-5-92, 22, VIC, Striker
Sarah O’Connor, 20-11-84, 34, VIC, Defender
Casey Eastham, 19-3-89, 74, NSW, Midfielder
Alison Bruce, 23-7-87, 27, NSW, Defender
Kim Walker, 14-12-75, 150, WA, Defender
Ashleigh Nelson, 5-3-87, 30, WA, Striker
Kate Hollywood, 28-5-86, 116, NSW, Midfielder
Madonna Blyth, 30-11-85, 149, QLD, Midfielder
Shelly Liddelow, 30-6-84, 9, WA, Striker
Nicole Arrold, 7-11-81, 184, ACT, Defender
Kobie McGurk, 20-8-85, 100, WA, Defender
Fiona Johnson, 12-4-83, 67, NSW, Defender
Emily Hurtz, 2-1-90, 22, NSW, Striker
Stacia Joseph, 7-11-85, 26, VIC, Defender
Fiona Boyce, 11-6-87, 22, WA, Defender
Rachael Lynch, 2-6-86, 29, VIC, Goalkeeper
Hope Munro, 14-6-81, 101, WA, Midfielder
Teneal Attard, 16-3-85, 94, QLD, Defender

Hockeyroos v Argentina series
Game 1 – March 24 – 6.00pm
Game 2 – March 25 – 6.00pm
Game 3 – March 27 – 4.00pm
Game 4 – March 28 – 4.00pm

All matches are at the Townsville Hockey Complex. To purchase tickets please phone 07 4778 4810.

Hockey Australia media release



Barry Middleton feeling World CUp pain

By Graham Wilson



England's captain Barry Middleton walks dejected off the field as Netherlands celebrate their victor

ENGLAND were left reaching for the pain-killers and nursing their bruises after flying back from Delhi without a World Cup medal to their name.

They were left counting the cost of a poor opening 10 minutes in the semi-final against defending champions Germany and were well beaten 4-1.

England were up for the bronze medal play-off against Holland and led 3-1 until 15 minutes from time but their hopes were blitzed as the Dutch stormed back to win 4-3.

The top four-finish was still England’s best World Cup result on foreign soil but the hurt came from captain Barry Middleton afterwards. “All the hard work we have done in the tournament has come to nothing because we failed to win a medal,” he said. “We just did not do the little things well. It was our worst game of the tournament.”

Australia, who England had pipped in the opening pool game, took the glory by beating Germany 2-1 in the final.

England coach Jason Lee said: “We’re disappointed, but overall the players have had a fantastic tournament.”

England missed the injured Matt Daly (hamstring) and the Mantell brothers Richard (broken ankle) and Simon (metatarsal). All three were flown home early and both Mantells had surgery on the same day in London. Losing Richard’s distribution from the back made a huge difference and he is unlikely to be fit in time for the Commonwealth Games, also in India, in October.

A consolation for the Mantells is that their club, Reading, will finish top of the England League after a 2-1 win at Bowdon and secure European qualification for next year. The title will be decided in a five-club play-off.

Four-goal Kerry Williams helped her England cause for the Champions Trophy in Nottingham in July as unbeaten Leicester Ladies confirmed their spot in Europe by drubbing Olton 8-1.

Daily Express



Doubts cloud as Women leaves for twin tour

s2h Team


A 22-member Indian women team has left for the twin tour of Japan and China today in the night. Dropping of two prominent seniors, captain Surinder Kaur and team's spokesperson Dipika Murthy, has raised doubts as to the intention behind the move.

Unfortuntely, the team's departure has been kept a closely guarded secret, the team list is yet to be officially released by Hockey India.

It is however learnt that India will play four test matches in each country. Kim Sang Ryul is the coach of Chinese women team, who co-ordianted the tour. Kim has moved from China's men's team to women team last year, and under him the women won the Asia Cup, defeating India in the Bangkok final.

It is surprising that Hockey India had no time to relese the team list. May be the adhoc organization wanted to keep sacking of two seniors -- Deepika Murthy and Surinder Kaur --under carpet. Both the players are fit unlike Mamta Kharab, who is injured and had to forgo the tour.

There is no reason for dropping these two players except penalizing for the silent protest they had a month ago -- wearing black arm band during camp days demanding gender parity in terms of payments.

This team cannot be termed experimental or developmental because it has such seniors as Deepika Thakur, Saba Anjum, Subhadra Pradhan and Ritu Rani. Therefore, it is revenge in action, which needs to be explored further.

Meanwhile, the team that has left has 8 supporting staff including chief caoch MK Kaushik, Vasu Tapiliyal, Sandeep Somesh, two videographes, doctor and physio Vikas Dhawan.

The team: Yogita Bali, Rajni, Jagdeep Kaur, Subhadra Pradhan, Priti Kiro, Jaspreet Kaur, Iti Srivastava, Deepika Thakur, Sumita Lakra, DS Ranjita, Ritu Rani, Ralte, Mukhta Barla, Kirandeep Kaur, Saba Anjum, Monika, Chanchal Devi, Rosind Dung Dung, Rani Ramphal, Soundarya.

Stick2Hockey.com



Indian women's hockey team leaves for Japan

Special Correspondent


NEW DELHI: There are lessons to be learnt from the Indian men's hockey team finishing eighth in the World Cup at home.

The national women's hockey team, which watched the men fare miserably in the seventh place contest recently at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium, has vowed to prepare much better for the women's World Cup to be held in Rosario, Argentina, from August 29 to September 11.

Coach M.K. Kaushik said the team was ready to fight it out in the Test series against Japan and China, in the absence of a few key players like Surender Kaur, Deepika Murthy and Mamta Kharab, not available for various reasons, including injury.

“It is a good chance for the youngsters to see whether they are ready to replace the main players,” said Kaushik, a few hours before the team left for Japan, on Tuesday.

“We will reach tomorrow evening, and have a match in Gifu next day,” said the coach.

The team will play five matches against Japan and four Tests against China, on the second leg of the tour starting on March 25.

India was scheduled to have two other exposure tours of South Africa and England, but both the plans fell through despite having been approved as part of the Long Term Development Programme (LTDP).

The Hindu



Pakistan sports minister asks hockey players to withdraw resignation


ISLAMABAD: Sports Minister Ejaz Jakhrani on Tuesday asked the members of the national hockey team to withdraw their resignation, saying some of them are still good enough to serve Pakistan hockey.

Jakhrani met the players, who had resigned en masse after finishing last in the recent World Cup in New Delhi, and later told the media that he has also asked Pakistan Hockey Federation President Qasim Zia not to accept the players' resignation.

The minister felt the decision to resign en masse was an emotional decision and many of the players could still serve Pakistan hockey.

"I have told the PHF President not to accept their retirement decisions. What happened in the World Cup was very disappointing but we need to learn from our mistakes," he said.

Qasim Zia also attended the meeting which lasted for an hour and in which the minister heard the players' version of the debacle.

He also made it clear that no decision had been taken on removing Asif Bajwa as secretary of the federation.

Jakhrani, however, made it clear that since the PHF came under the control of the Sports Ministry, he would decide if Bajwa will stay or go.

"I will consult with the higher authorities and if we feel that by sacking Bajwa Pakistan hockey can improve, we will remove him," he said.

He also dispelled the impression that Qasim Zia was trying to protect Bajwa.

"I don't think so. Else he would not have sacked him immediately as manager of the team," he said.

Jakhrani said the players had told him reports of match-fixing in the tournament or infighting among the players were not true.

"Reports that players had a fight with Bajwa and coach Shahid Ali Khan are also not true. The players admitted they took the decision to retire since they were ashamed at letting the nation down badly," he said.

The Sports Minister also announced that all former Olympians, who wanted the PHF set-up changed, would be included on a management committee and on the new selection committee so that they could be involved in running hockey affairs.

Pakistan's senior player Rehan Butt later told the media that there was not infighting in the team and blamed the team's poor performance in New Delhi to its hectic calendar.

The Times of India



National hockey players take back resignations

Staff Report


ISLAMABAD: The resignations of the national hockey team turned out to be temporary and five days after the announcing the retirement the players took back their resignations on Tuesday after a meeting with Federal Minister for Sports Ijaz Jakhrani. All members of Pakistan hockey team had tendered their resignations soon after losing to the Canada and finishing 12th in the recently-concluded Hockey World Cup in New Delhi.

Jakhrani asked the members of the national hockey team to withdraw their resignations, saying some of them are still good enough to serve Pakistan hockey. Jakhrani, later, told the media that he has also asked Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Qasim Zia not to accept the players’ resignation. The minister felt the decision to resign en masse was an emotional decision and many of the players could still serve Pakistan hockey. “I have told the PHF president not to accept their retirement decisions. What happened in the World Cup was very disappointing but we need to learn from our mistakes,” he said.

Qasim also attended the meeting which lasted for an hour and in which the minister heard the players’ version of the debacle. He also made it clear that no decision had been taken on removing Asif Bajwa as secretary of the federation. Jakhrani, however, made it clear that since the PHF came under the control of the Sports Ministry, he would decide if Bajwa will stay or go.

“I will consult with the higher authorities and if we feel that by sacking Bajwa Pakistan hockey can improve, we will remove him,” he said. He also dispelled the impression that Qasim was trying to protect Bajwa. “I don’t think so. Else he would not have sacked him immediately as manager of the team,” he said. Jakhrani said the players had told him reports of match-fixing in the tournament or infighting among the players were not true. “Reports that players had a fight with Bajwa and coach Shahid Ali Khan are also not true. The players admitted they took the decision to retire since they were ashamed at letting the nation down badly,” he said. The Sports Minister also announced that all former Olympians, who wanted the PHF set-up changed, would be included on a management committee and on the new selection committee so that they could be involved in running hockey affairs.

The Daily Times



Pakistan may pull out of international events

By Khalid Hussain

KARACHI: Pakistan’s hockey chiefs are mulling over the option of pulling out of a couple of international tournaments because of growing uncertainty hovering over the sport in the country following the Greenshirts’ last-place finish in the World Cup last week.

Asif Bajwa, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary, told ‘The News’ that there is a possibility that the PHF might withdraw the national team from any upcoming international tournaments because of the prevailing situation in Pakistan hockey.

“Currently, we don’t have any team management, national selectors while our players have decided to retire because of what happened in the World Cup,” said Bajwa, who was sacked as the team manager and is now under pressure from various quarters to resign as PHF secretary as well because of his team’s catastrophic World Cup campaign.

“That is why it is a possibility that we might pull out of any international event in the near future,” he added.

However, Bajwa said that the final decision on it will be taken by the PHF think-tank that will be meeting within the next few days.

“I will be meeting with the PHF president (Qasim Zia) tomorrow (Wednesday) to discuss the situation,” he said. “Our think-tank will also be meeting soon after which we would decide about our future plans,” said Bajwa, a former Olympian.

Pakistan were almost certain to pull their team out of the inaugural Asian Champions Challenge which was supposed to take place in the Malaysian city of Ipoh next month. However, the tournament has been postponed because some of the competing teams including Asian champions Korea were reluctant to feature in it just weeks after the World Cup.

Pakistan’s next international assignment is the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup — also to be held in Ipoh — in May but there is a possibility that the PHF might opt to pull its team out of the event.

Bajwa said that the PHF’s executive board will be meeting soon to chalk out steps to help the national team bounce back after the World Cup debacle.

Pakistan, record four-time champions, stumbled to a disastrous 12th position in the World Cup following defeats against old rivals India, England, Australia and minnows South Africa and Canada.

The national team’s embarrassingly poor showing in Delhi has thrown Pakistan hockey into a major turmoil during a year when they are to launch a campaign to regain the Asian Games crown in China this November.

Pakistan are also supposed to feature in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October.

“We are passing through a tough phase but hopefully Pakistan hockey will bounce back,” said Bajwa.

The News International



Pakistan may pull out of Champions Trophy, Azlan Shah Cup

NEW DELHI: Left with little option after the mass retirement of players and the sacking of selection panel following it's dismal showing in the hockey World Cup, Pakistan might skip the inaugural AHF Champions Trophy and Azlan Shah Cup to be held in Malaysia later this year.

Four-time champions Pakistan registered its worst-ever performance in the World Cup, finishing last in the 12-team competition which concluded on Saturday.

Subsequently, the entire 18-member squad led by Zeeshan Ashraf retired from international hockey taking moral responsibility of the performance, while the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has sacked the team management and the selection committee chaired by Olympian Hassan Sardar.

Struggling to deal with these issues, sources within PHF said chances were high that Pakistan might pull out of these two events.

"Officials are contemplating the idea of pulling out as they don't have any other option. The decision over players' resignation is still pending and the new selection committee has not yet been constituted. In these circumstances, it is impossible to field a squad for the tournaments," a top PHF official said.

The Asian Hockey Federation's (AHF) Champions Trophy is slated to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia from April 13-18 while the Azlan Shah Cup will be held at the same venue from May 6-16.

PHF secretary and the team manager during the World Cup Asif Bajwa has confirmed that the national federation was thinking of giving these two tournaments a miss but a decision on this matter would be taken later in the week.

"Nothing is finalised as of now but we might stay out of the AHF Champions Trophy and Azlan Shah Cup. We will discuss a whole range of issues in an important meeting this weekend and a decision regarding our participation in these tournaments will be taken in that," Bajwa said from Lahore.

Bajwa was of the view that Pakistan does not have adequate replacements for these retired players.

"We have to take any decision very carefully. These players have played well throughout the year and one cannot ignore the fact. There is no doubt that we could not live upto the expectations in the World Cup but there were some fitness related issues behind that. I am going to elaborate all in my report." he said

PHF president Qasim Zia, meanwhile, said that they have asked the players to reconsider their "emotional" decision.

"Players decision to resign was an emotional one and we have asked them to reconsider that. There are many talented players in the team who will play for Pakistan in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games for sure," he said.

"We are going to constitute a new selection panel but it will take at least three weeks time. We are waiting for manager's report on the World Cup," he said.

He also said that a decision on non-performing seniors during the World Cup would be taken by the new selection committee.

The Times of India



Pakistan may pull out of events

Pakistan might skip the inaugural AHF Champions Trophy and Azlan Shah Cup to be held in Malaysia later this year.

Four-time champions Pakistan registered their worst-ever performance in the World Cup, finishing last in the 12-team competition which concluded here on Saturday.

Subsequently, the entire 18-member squad led by Zeeshan Ashraf retired from international hockey taking moral responsibility of the performance, while the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has sacked the team management and the selection committee chaired by Olympian Hassan Sardar.

Struggling to deal with these issues, sources within PHF said chances were high that Pakistan might pull out of these two events.

"Officials are contemplating the idea of pulling out as they don't have any other option. The decision over players resignation is still pending and the new selection committee has not yet been constituted. In these circumstances, it is impossible to field a squad for the tournaments," a top PHF official said.

The Asian Hockey Federation's (AHF) Champions Trophy is slated to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia from April 13-18 while the Azlan Shah Cup will be held at the same venue from May 6-16.

PHF secretary and the team manager during the World Cup Asif Bajwa has confirmed that the national federation was thinking of giving these two tournaments a miss but a decision on this matter would be taken later in the week.

"Nothing is finalised as of now but we might stay out of the AHF Champions Trophy and Azlan Shah Cup. We will discuss a whole range of issues in an important meeting this weekend and a decision regarding our participation in these tournaments will be taken in that," Bajwa told PTI from Lahore.

Bajwa was of the view that Pakistan does not have adequate replacements for these retired players.

"We have to take any decision very carefully. These players have played well throughout the year and one cannot ignore the fact. There is no doubt that we could not live upto the expectations in the World Cup but there were some fitness related issues behind that. I am going to elaborate all in my report." he said

PHF president Qasim Zia, meanwhile, said that they have asked the players to reconsider their "emotional" decision.

"Players decision to resign was an emotional one and we have asked them to reconsider that. There are many talented players in the team who will play for Pakistan in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games for sure," he said.

"We are going to constitute a new selection panel but it will take at least three weeks time. We are waiting for manager's report on the World Cup," he said.

He also said that a decision on non-performing seniors during the World Cup would be taken by the new selection committee.

ESPNStar.com



Indian hockey alive, not kicking

By Pargat Singh



The big crowds at the National Stadium during the World Cup proved we are still fanatical about hockey.

India’s cricket fans must be glued to the Indian Premier League now, but hockey proved that it is not far behind in terms of popularity. The World Cup in Delhi was indeed an eye-opener both in terms of mass appeal and therefore, its ability to attract sponsors.

India’s eighth finish may have been disappointing but there is always a silverline. For me, the silverline was the show of nationalism from our fans that turned up in huge numbers even after India kept losing their matches. It proved one thing: there is a huge demand for quality hockey, there is a passion for the game and the sponsors are happy to fund a properly managed event.

I understand the international hockey federation is looking at India as a hotspot. It is obviously a commercial move but if India indeed get to host quality international competitions, it would help fans come back to the national game. This is all the more reason why we should clean up our house and present a proper face in front of the international community. It is a shame that we have missed four deadlines to hold democratic elections.

During the World Cup, I had an opportunity to interact with the FIH bosses. President Leandro Negre seems concerned but I am not sure about the motive of the federation. Haven’t they been soft on India already? FIH plans to blacklist India if we don’t have an elected body by May 31. Hopefully, we will not face such a humiliation.

One post-World Cup news report in an reputed English daily said one of the selectors admitted there were “unfit” players in the Indian squad. I had pointed this out after India lost their second group match against Australia. I think the selectors have done a great disservice to the country by including ailing players just because “they had great reputation.”

Herein lies coach Jose Brasa’s frailties. I think he is a poor administrator and his coaching system is debatable. Brasa’s plan to implement a Spanish system in India has failed. India’s defenders were neither doing man marking nor zonal marking. Effectively, India conceded 21 goals in the group stage alone. My question is whether the right man was doing the right job? Dhananjay Mahadik is definitely not full-back material and Sandeep Singh is extremely vulnerable with his parallel-footed defensive methods.

Brasa needs to get his act together. I suspect he is doing a balancing job at the moment. With Hockey India like a rudderless ship, the Spaniard must be caught in no-man’s land. He was selected by Kalmadi and his men, so he can’t afford to antagonise them. But Brasa’s handling of the captaincy issue was extremely immature. He had no business to announce a skipper (Prabhjot Singh) without consulting the management and more specifically, the selectors.

Let bygones be bygones. Let’s give hockey another chance. KPS Gill and party have already done a lot of damage. We have not had a senior nationals in last two years. In the last 14 years, we have had may be three or four nationals. Is this the way forward?

It is important to completely overhaul the system. It is easier said than done. We have fence-sitters as experts. We have “yes-men” in the administrative set-up. Professionalism and vision are keys for a rehab and hopefully, a properly elected body will be able to do justice. Experts and professionals must unite for a cause. Perform or perish should be the mantra.

In terms of goals, we should be targeting the 2016 Olympics in Rio and prepare accordingly. People’s affection for hockey can’t be compromised and I think we are capable of getting into the Olympics again. We must put a system in place, a method that will produce a stream of quality players. And that should start with the developmental team.

I will end by narrating a small story. Diana Edulji, the former Test bowler of the Indian and Railways women’s cricket team, called me up recently to say the Indian Railways could not offer jobs to hockey players because they could not find a single quality youngster who could justify a sports-quota position! Unbelievable, but true!

ESPNStar.com



The message is loud and clear

FIH is in a mood to say enough is enough: May 31 deadline for HI elections

S. Thyagarajan

Chennai: Leandro Negre did not mince any words. He was categorical, his message clear. It was an ultimatum to set Hockey India house in order by May 31, or face the consequences. If FIH sticks to it, India will be out of international competitions.

Exasperated by the inordinate delay in holding elections citing legal problems, the FIH is in a mood to say enough is enough. Some influential members in the Executive Board believe India has been given too long a rope since May 2009. They were presumably silenced by the necessity to conduct the World Cup in Delhi.

Now that the event is over, the FIH will flex its muscles. In more than one forum, Negre emphasised that the patience was wearing thin.

At the last media interaction on Saturday, the FIH boss did some plain speaking. He asserted that further postponement would dent FIH's image. He categorised India's problem as unique.

Ego problems

Negre's pronouncement of “ego problems” precluding free, fair and democratically held elections triggered a debate. He was, understandably, reluctant to name anyone. He knew the media was aware of the actors.

Negre had earlier appealed to the warring segments to come together and sort out the differences.

He urged players, umpires, coaches and the media to boldly express themselves about the impending danger to their roles in promotion of the game.

Negre, probably, had been briefed or misguided, into believing that the units seeking remedy were holding up the electoral process. He even stated that one or two associations had stalled the elections.

The FIH boss needs to be reminded that the matters had become complicated because of the methodology adopted by the IOA-powered HI in determining the norms for voting rights. Sacking State associations that had been functioning for decades, and creating new ones had caused a lot of heartburn.

Considerable opposition

There had been considerable opposition to the proposals. Players of the stature of Pargat Singh openly accused powerful elements in the IOA of attempting to hijack the administration.

The recognition granted to Punjab after heated polemical exchanges is a case in point.

So was the Maharashtra Olympic Association's move to deflect the membership for the State's hockey administration, which was in the approved list.

The reaction to Negre's ultimatum is not known. The FIH can no longer be pressured. The goal of holding a financially successful event has been achieved.

The FIH now wants to be seen that it means business, since a majority opinion is for firm handling of the issues involving the Indian administration.

Officials keen to take charge of the hockey affairs must understand that time is not on their side. If India is suspended, these men and women will be held guilty of destroying everything gained through a history of great achievements.

The huge fraternity is looking forward to the country going up the ladder.

The spectator response during the World Cup was a clear mandate for a quick shift to the progress mode.

The Hindu



Pargat meets Rahul Gandhi on HI election issue

K. Arumugam


Hockey India President prospect Padamshree Pargat Singh, along with some of his Hockey India electoral college members, met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and submitted a memorandum.

Today early in the morning, Pargat Singh, Secretary of Hockey Punjab, Olympian Gurbux Singh, Amrit Bose, Dr. Rajgopal of Rajasthan and Kukoowalia, met Rahul Gandhi, General Secretary of the ruling Congress party, and handed over a memorandum. The memo asks for speedying up the electoral process, and accuses of Suresh Kalmadi, the IOA president, of coming in the way of proper election process.

It is learnt that Rahul Gandhi spent good time with the delegation, and patiently heard their grievances. He instructed his official to write to sports minister MS Gill on this matter, requsting him to consider the issues raised.

Stick2Hockey.com



Hockey delegation meets Rahul

Special Correspondent


NEW DELHI: A four-member delegation, including hockey Olympians Gurbux Singh and Pargat Singh, met Congress General-Secretary and Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi to seek his intervention in resolving the election issue of Hockey India.

The Hockey India elections had been delayed due to litigation even as the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has set May 31 as the deadline for having an elected body. The FIH has said Hockey India would be suspended if elections were not held before the deadline.

“We are seeking fair elections,” said Pargat, Secretary of the Punjab Hockey Association. “We apprised him of the situation and he has promised the best possible help,” he added.

The meeting took place at 10, Janpath. The Olympians were accompanied by hockey officials Mrs. Amrit Bose of Delhi and Dr. Raj Kumar of Rajasthan.

The Hindu



Pargat asks Rahul to bail out hockey

V Narayan Swamy


BANGALORE: Former India captain and Olympian Pargat Singh has urged Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to find a lasting solution to the mess Indian hockey finds itself in now.

Pargat, who led a five-member delegation, met Gandhi at his residence in New Delhi on Tuesday and submitted a memorandum which sought the formation of a committee by the Union sports ministry to solve the electoral wrangles in several states and pave the way for a fair and democratic Hockey India election.

The delegation comprised of 1968 Mexico Olympics skipper Gurbux Singh, former Indian Women's Hockey Federation secretary Amrit Bose, Rajasthan association president Raj Kumar and veteran umpire Kukoo Walia. "Mr. Gandhi gave us a patient hearing and said he would look into the matter. His response to our plea was encouraging," sources told TOI.

The delegation wanted the ministry-appointed panel of experts to resolve the standoff in states which have been racked by warring factions, multiple associations or litigations. "Some of these states have ad hoc bodies which have forcibly shunted out people from the hockey fraternity and installed state Olympic association officials as heads. Why should there be ad hoc committees at all when duly elected bodies can be put in place?" the sources asked.

The delegation wanted the ad hoc bodies to be dissolved and a fresh merger process initiated in the states. "We are confident the committee can do it in a few weeks' time. This would lead to a new electoral college but one which is recognised by the hockey fraternity. But quick action needs to be taken as the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has set a deadline of May 31," the sources said.

The Times of India



Pargat seeks Rahul Gandhi's intervention in Hockey India polls

NEW DELHI: A four-member delegation led by Hockey Punjab secretary Pargat Singh met with Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and sought his intervention in having a free, fair and transparent Hockey India election at the earliest.

Pargat met Rahul along with Bengal Hockey Association secretary Gurbax Singh, former Indian Women's Hockey Federation chief Amrit Bose and Rajasthan Hockey Association president Dr Raj Kumar, on whose petition the High Court has stayed the operations of Hockey Rajasthan, the single unit representing both men and women's hockey of the state.

"We met Rahul Gandhi today and asked for his intervention in the much-awaited Hockey India elections. We told him that we want is a free, fair, genuine and transparent election involving all state units as soon as possible," Pargat said.

"He (Rahul) assured us that he will talk to the Sports Ministry and do the needful in this regard," the former Indian captain said.

Pargat felt that after the successful hosting of the World Cup, now it is imperative to form the national body at the earliest to run the game in the country in a democratic manner.

"All these days we did not raise the issue as the World Cup was there. The World Cup was a prestige issue for us and it went off well. Now the focus should be on the elections," he said.

The Times of India



Former Hockey Olympian opposes BMC decision to attach house

BHOPAL: Former Hockey Olympian Aslam Sher Khan on Tuesday strongly criticised the decision of the Bhopal Municipal Corporation to attach his house, given to him in 1975 when he was part of the Indian team that won the World Cup in Malaysia.

"On one hand Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was giving money to players of the Indian hockey team and on the other he was being treated very shabbily," Aslam said.

This only showed that the state government is following a double policy when it came to those involved with hockey, he said.

The former Olympian said people who had brought the country honours were being treated in a bad way while those who had yet to prove themselves were being showered with money.

Aslam's house in Shivaji Nagar locality was attached on Monday for non-payment of property dues amounting to over Rs four lakhs.

The house of former Rajya Sabha member Prafful Maheshwari was attached for non-payment of Rs 16 lakh property tax, while the property of Sangam Talkies was attached for non-payment of property tax to the tune of Rs 4,26,896.

The Times of India



PAU opens road named after former Olympians

Anshu Seth


Ludhiana: Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana today accredited university alumni and Olympians, late Pirthi Pal Singh, Ramandeep Singh and Charanjeet Singh by naming the road between the university Library and the Gymnasium as ‘Olympian Marg’. Charanjit Singh was the captain of the Indian hockey team during the 1964 Olympics (Tokyo, Japan), Pirthi Pal Singh was part of the 1968 Olympics (Mexico) squad, while Ramandeep did the nation proud during the Sydney Olympics.

Charanjit, Ramandeep and Jaspreet Kaur, daughter of Late Pirthi Pal Singh were presented a citation and a shawl each by Dr. MS Kang, vice chancellor of PAU. Ramandeep, who is presently working as deputy director sports at PAU, said, “This honour is as prestigious as an Olympic medal and it is more than a personal achievement as the road named after sportspersons has immortalised sports at large. Also, this is a motivation for future generations, especially the aspiring and deserving players,” he added.

Charanjit while recollecting the time spent with Dr. PN Thapar and Dr. Mohinder Singh Randhawa said that they were great administrators who brought eminent scientists and sports persons to the University.

He said the PAU management appointed him and Pirthi Pal as director students welfare on account of their contribution in sports at the international level. He said although he served as deputy superintendent of police but he drew a unique delight while serving PAU.

The Tribune



Sacked employee threatens suicide over PHF loan

By Shazad Ali


KARACHI: While a group “loyal” to Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) was busy in defending top hockey officials at a press conference at Hockey Club of Pakistan on Monday, a sacked employee threatened to commit suicide if the money he loaned to PHF was not returned.

The group, which also included sacked Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan, was in a fix after Imtiaz Baig, a former Karachi-based PHF accountant, reached the venue along with his family and took off his shirt to set it on fire.

“I have taken my shirt off to set it on fire in front of this building where I used to work today. I will set myself on fire next time if PHF secretary Asif Bajwa keeps refusing to give the money that the PHF had borrowed from me,” said Imtiaz at the venue after he was prevented by journalists from setting his shirt on fire.

The former PHF employee said Asif had been involved in what he called “economic murder” of his family and it was particularly disturbing since the secretary had been receiving hefty grants in the name of hockey.

“I have kids and I have to raise these kids just the way Asif and people who work at Hockey Club of Pakistan have to raise their kids. It has been several months but I haven't received the amount which PHF had borrowed from me,” Imtiaz told Dawn.com.

The former PHF official raised a hue and cry and protested at a time when a group of local PHF officials and some former players was having a press conference in reply to incendiary rhetoric against Asif by another group of Olympians and former players on Sunday following the World Cup debacle.

Imtiaz has given an ultimatum to Asif that if his amount was not returned till Friday, he would commit suicide by self immolation.

Although PHF chief Qasim Zia boasts of bringing millions of rupees into federation's coffers, PHF is liable to pay Rs174,500 to Imtiaz who also had appealed to the prime minister to help him recover the amount.

Before being sacked, Imtiaz had given Rs 94,500 to PHF Karachi Camp Office at Hockey Club of Pakistan as it was short of cash to meet the PHF expenditures. The amount was for paying gas bill, air tickets, construction of posts for TV cameras, cell phone bills of Asif Bajwa and selector Rana Mujahid, surety bonds of national team players, insurance and catering bills for the officials during series between Pakistan senior and junior teams.

Apart from the said amount which is yet to be paid back Imtiaz had also provided Rs 80,000 to help PHF meet the expenses during 2006-07, but the federation is yet to pay the money back, although it had been recorded in the audit book.

The amount was spent by Imtiaz on PHF expenditures after the assurance by the Karachi Camp Office that the money would be paid back once the details of the expenses would be received by Lahore-based PHF headquarters.

Imtiaz also alleges that although PHF treasurer Gulfaraz Ahmad Khan had been thrice requested in writing to pay back the amount, he didn’t pay heed.

Imtiaz's wife Shaifa had also sent a letter to prime minister and chairman of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Sports, Jamshaid Dasti on Sept 5, 2009, apprising them about the situation.

The former PHF employee, however, never received a single penny, even after being assured by PHF director administration Iftikhar Syed that the money would be released as soon as the cheque was issued from PHF headquarters.

Imtiaz, who was removed on Feb 10, 2009, had already sued Asif, seeking Rs 34.68million in damages for what he claims was illegal sacking. The case is pending against Asif in Sindh High Court.

Dawn