News for 31 July 2010

All the news for Saturday 21 July 2010

ABN AMRO Men's Champions Trophy

Saturday 31 July

(All times local GMT + 2)

13:00 GER v ENG
15:00 AUS v NZL
17:00 NED v ESP

Official site

Holland imports - Hands off Lennie and Mickey!


THERE was much controversy regarding KZN Coastals Raiders and Free State fielding Dutch players at the recent South Africa Women's Inter Provincial Hockey Tournament that went down such a storm at Kat Leisure Park and Buffalo Flats, East London last week. Well, I say you snooze you lose.

Free State, with three Dutch players, eventually won the B Section by a country mile, while the Raiders, with two Netherlands girls, came very close to upsetting defending champions Southern Gauteng in the title match, which was won 3-1.

KZN Coastals coach Lennie Botha, who has piloted and engineered the Durban-based province's senior women to the top table of SA provincial hockey in just a few years, and Mickey Gordon, doing so spectacularly well in revamping Free State Hockey into a powerful force, were muttered about throughout the tournament.

The gripes? Just some of them: It is unfair, illegal, immoral, not hockey, against hockey the sport's amateur ethos, a slap in the face of those girls who would have been selected, cheque book hockey, a disgrace, turning inter provincial IPT into a farce. Western Province president Dennis Perkins publicly described WP Peninsula's 5-1 defeat in the B Section final as against "Dutch" Free State.

In quite rightly praising the WP A side for earning bronze and the B side for silver in their respective sections, this is what Dennis said on WP Hockey website: "Pens, having fought for and earned a place in the B section final against the Dutch Free State team for 2010, lost 1-5 therefore 'only' getting silver ...

More from Dennis: "We also did not stoop to the requirement to import players to ensure that we achieved our goals!!!!!  Perhaps we are wrong in our thinking and next year 'find' the money to import the entire, say, Australian team to play as Pens at clearly great expense in terms of player fees as well as local player development, but we will almost certainly regain A section status even at the expense of the possible loss of local players to our provincial teams.

"We salute both teams' real [Dennis's emphasis] achievements!"

Now Dennis and I are friends and see eye to eye on many things, and I also have great respect for many of the critics who spoke to me in East London on this "import" question, but I beg to differ.

No rules were broken, so if you don't like it, speak to your provincial council reps and make representation at SA Hockey Association AGM level.

And please ditch this amateur hockey nonsense! Just because you are an amateur doesn't mean you have to behave like one; otherwise our hockey will never get near the professionalism of the world's best.

Relegated KZN Inland did the import thing in a sense at 2006 IPT in Randburg, when M-L Rigg (now Johnson) was instrumental in her England buddy coming out for a month or so, and that lovely lass was pivotal alongside M-L in an inspired Inland coming fourth. Inland, too, had the excellent England lad Matthew Sutton come out to coach their provincial sides a few years ago. To my knowledge Coastals' amazing captain Jen Wilson flew out from her home in England shortly before IPT, and no doubt this will be the case with many of our men ahead of Men's IPT in PE late August.

I do readily concede there need to be regulations, otherwise in theory you could in fact import the entire Hockeyroos side, but otherwise don't be too killjoy. These imported players cannot necessarily come into South Africa months in advance, so chill on destroying the entire concept, as I saw they have a place in taking our hockey forward.

In my assessment, Lennie and Mickey have a vision that many can't see.

How does Mickey take Free State to the next level? Answer has to be, get into A Section; then the chance of attracting new players for next year is so much greater.

Lennie, too, like Mickey, can see what these Dutch players can do for their province's homegrown players.

Coastals' Dutch central defender Merel de Blaey and goalkeeper Eveline de Haan were magnificent in the effect they had on those around them. Merel's central defender partner, Catherine Morris, was unbelievable; she blossomed to the extent I am amazed she didn't make the SA training squad of 34 or the 10 most promising. Right half Faryn Halstead played out of her boots and made the 10 most promising SA players selection (those not in the 34-player squad, that is).

Free State's youngsters, like flying striker Hettie Oosthuizen, who scored a scarcely believable 20 goals in five matches, had their Dutch trio rub off on them, too. How much better are those Bloem girls now for what they learnt from their Dutch lasses? Better big-time, I say.

And instead of the usual SA whingeing, why oh why did every single coach among the 14 other teams not get their players to go close-up just behind the goals, like I did? And instead of chattering about this and that, really focus and zone in on what the Dutch girls were doing?

They would have learnt, as I did, an enormous amount, for example, on just how the calling and talking of an influential keeper and key defender moulds a side's defence. The Coastals players were magnificent against Western Province semi-final time; it was a command performance in organised defence drawing the sting out of one of the most skilful, ferocious assaults on goal I have ever seen.

And those Free State and Coastals girls who missed out on provincial selection because of the imports? I say, stop sulking (if you are as distraught as I was told you were) and get the likes of Morris and Halstead to teach you everything they learnt from the Dutch experience and next year you might make the team too.

So, hands off Lennie and Mickey, I say.

I applaud them for their forward thinking and condemn those players and coaches, and others, who didn’t recognise what a marvellous opportunity they had to really understand how much a tough, organised group of quality overseas players can teach us during a week's hockey.

I invite your comments on this issue on SA Hockey World

SA Hockey World

Lim takes charge of 1Mas

By Jugjet Singh

FORMER international Lim Chiow Chuan will officially take over the reins of 1Mas from Sept 1, as the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) embarks on a journey to develop quality youth players.

1Mas, with a budget of RM2 million from the Prime Minister's department, is a programme where 14 states will concentrate on 60 players each for four major assignments.

The long-term project will cater for different age-groups to prepare players for the 2013 and 2017 Junior World Cups, the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea.

"The development committee presented its paper to the council which endorsed Lim as the director of development.

"He will be overall in charge of 1Mas and even though his appointment only starts on Sept 1, he will start two weeks earlier," said MHF secretary Hashim Yusoff.

Lim is undergoing an International Hockey Federation (FIH) course which is being held in conjunction with the Champions Trophy which starts today in Monchengladbach, Germany.

"The development programme started in the middle of last month with nine states already in the process of selecting their pool of players.

"The other states are still in the midst of hiring coaches and I believe by early August, the project will be in full swing."

The idea is to train the players for two hours, three times a week in their own states, and then have a tournament to cater for this group.

Before this, Lim was coaching the Singapore national team and his charges qualified for the Asian Games when they finished second in the seven-team qualifier in Dhaka.

However, the Singapore National Olympic Council decided not to send the squad to the Guangzhou Asian Games on Nov 12-27.

This prompted Lim to send in his resignation letter, and after he submitted it, the Singapore Olympic Council reversed its decision but Lim stuck to his decision.

New Straits Times

Kelly Fairweather appointed as CEO of FIH

Kelly Fairweather. Photo: WADA

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) would like to announce that Kelly Fairweather has accepted the appointment with the FIH as Chief Executive Officer. He will officially join FIH on 1 October 2010.

Kelly Fairweather has been with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as its Director of the European Regional Office and IF Relations since 15 January 2009.  FIH looks forward to Kelly joining the federation and to continued collaboration with WADA.

More information about Kelly Fairweather’s appointment will be made available next week.

WADA site adds

Kelly Fairweather

Director, European Regional Office and International Federations Relations

Kelly Fairweather joined WADA in January 2009 as the Agency’s Director of the European Regional Office and International Federations Relations, and is based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Kelly Fairweather was previously the CEO of the Stellenbosch University Sports Performance Institute (SUSPI) in South Africa. He worked with a team of 25 people to set up and implement sports programs for international visiting teams and athletes, support the Sport Bureau in the promotion of the eight High Performance Sports at Stellenbosch, as well as setting up community sports programs and talent identification programs.

Prior to joining SUSPI, Kelly Fairweather worked as the Director of Sport of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for eight years. He was mainly responsible for the IOC's relationships with the International Olympic Sports Federations and Recognised Federations and all major organizations of the sport world.

Kelly Fairweather has a Masters Degree in Human Movement Studies from the University of Stellenbosch and a Diploma in Business Management from the University of Durban Westville Business School.


SC permits Hockey India elections


The Supreme Court on Friday permitted Hockey India to hold elections for its executive body but restrained it from implementing the results.

A Bench comprising Justice Altmas Kabir and Justice A.K. Patnaik stayed the interim orders of the Bombay and the Delhi High Court orders restraining HI from conducting elections scheduled for July 28 and posted the matter for further hearing on August 19.

Appearing for HI, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi submitted that elections were to be held by July 31 and non holding of the elections would have far-reaching consequences. He said the country would not be able to participate in any of the international hockey events for men and women, including the Commonwealth Games.

Senior counsel Indu Malhotra, appearing for the Indian Olympic Association, also submitted that HI — affiliated to the International Hockey Federation — would not be able to send any team for international participation.

The Bench, after hearing the counsels for both parties, directed the matter to be listed for final hearing on August 19 and asked them to complete the pleadings by then.

The Delhi High Court had, on July 28, stayed the election process in HI following the failure of the Central Government to clarify the legal position regarding HI and the Indian Hockey Federation. The Bombay High Court had also stayed the HI elections for three weeks on a petition filed by Mumbai Hockey Association. The special leave petitions by HI are directed against these interim orders.

The Hindu

SC to HI: Hold polls, but don’t implement result

R Sedhuraman/Legal Correspondent

The Supreme Court today allowed Hockey India, the country’s only association affiliated to the Federation of International Hockey (FIH), to hold elections for having a new executive body, but restrained it from implementing the results until the disposal of the cases pending with it and in Delhi and Bombay High Courts.

“We grant liberty to the petitioner to conduct its own elections, but the result of the same is not be implemented till the petitions are considered and decided by this court” and the HCs, a Bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and AK Patnaik ruled.

Hockey India had scheduled the elections for July 28 to meet the July 31 deadline set by the FIH, but these were stayed by the Bombay HC on a petition filed by a Maharashtra hockey unit and by the Delhi HC on a plea by the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).

Acknowledging the need for deciding the disputes early in view of the coming Commonwealth Games and other international events, the SC directed the two HCs to hear and dispose of the cases “expeditiously”. The SC Bench would take up Hockey India’s petition for final disposal on August 19.

“Having regard to the participation of the Indian hockey teams, both men and women, in the international sports arena as well as in the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, this SLP and the other petitions in Bombay and Delhi High Courts may be heard and disposed of expeditiously,” the Bench said in its order, passed after senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for HI, mentioned the matter seeking early hearing. The Bench also issued notice to IHF, the Centre and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

The IOA informed the court that it was taking a neutral stand in the matter. Nevertheless, its counsel Indu Malhotra said HI was the only body recognised by the FIH and unless the HI elections were held, India would be out of all international hockey tournaments.

The IHF said it had not sought a stay on the HI elections. However, HI had obtained affiliation from the FIH through misrepresentation of facts. HI had come into being on May 20, 2009 while the affiliation had been granted in 2008. Also, HI was not recognised by the Central government.

Rohtagi contended that there was an attempt to “jeopardise” HI’s affiliation with FIH and thereby its status as a national hockey body. Earlier, IHF had been de-affiliated by the FIH, he said.

Setting aside the operation of the HCs’ stay orders, the apex court clarified that it was also not ignoring the “wider ramifications of the entire matter”.

The Tribune

SC nod to Hockey India elections

The Supreme Court on Friday allowed Hockey India to hold elections but restrained it from acting in accordance with the results. A Bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir stayed the judgments passed by the Bombay and Delhi High Court that had stopped the body from holding the elections scheduled for July 28.

The Apex Court allowed the holding of elections after Hockey India (HI) and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) contended that if elections were not held by July 31, the country would not be able to participate in international hockey events.

The Delhi High Court had on July 28 stayed the election process after the Central Government failed to clarify the legal position regarding HI and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).

The Bombay High Court had also stayed the election for three weeks on a petition filed by the Mumbai Hockey Association.

Taking strong exception to the Joint Secretary's (Sports) submission that both HI and IHF were government recognised bodies, the court said that elections would not be allowed so long as confusion persisted.

Earlier, the Delhi HC had directed the government to dissociate itself from the elections, as HI is a private body and held that the IHF is the only recognised body for the sport in the country. The court had also directed the Centre to withdraw its observer for the HI elections.

HI, which has the recognition of the international hockey federation (FIH), has to complete elections by July 31, failing which India would be barred from international tournaments. HI said the Apex Court green signal “is a slap in the face of those who are constantly creating problems in the conduct of its polls”.

“We knew it was just a matter of time to get the stay orders vacated. It was bound to happen. It is a fitting reply to those people who don't want the elections to take place,” a HI official said. He said HI would now conduct elections as soon as possible to avoid further glitches.

Hindustan Times

Notice of motion to Hockey India

Hockey India’s action of granting affiliation to Hockey Haryana is under the Punjab and Haryana High Court scanner. Taking up the petition filed by Haryana State Women’s Hockey Association (HSWHA) against the Union of India, Indian Olympic Association through president Suresh Kalmadi, Hockey India and other respondents, Justice Surya Kant today issued notice of motion. The petition will now come up for further hearing on August 24.

In the petition, the association has sought the quashing of the minutes of meeting dated November 30, 2009, whereby Hockey India has “illegally and arbitrarily” granted affiliation to Hockey Haryana. Describing it as “illegal and arbitrarily formed body”, the petitioner alleged its formation was “in utter violation of the instructions issued by the Union of India.

The Tribune

Conduct is a joint responsibility: Former hockey captain

Integrity and credibility are paramount in a trainee-coach relationship. The coach's character must be above reproach. The interaction between coach and athlete happens at various levels, so if there's even an element of doubt in the athlete's mind, communication breaks down.

Everything from conduct to functioning and decision-making prowess comes under the scanner. A coach is supposed to be an inspirational figure. It's not uncommon for an athlete to play for the coach, but when there is doubt in the mind, the equation changes. It affects the morale of the athlete.

I think conduct is a joint responsibility, as long as both parties involved are adults. There are certain lines that cannot be crossed by both coach and athlete. At the end of the day, you are both professionals, that's primarily how a coach and an athlete are viewed, irrespective of gender.

I don't think male coaches will have a problem coaching women's teams in the future because of what has happened in the last week with the women's hockey team simply because there are job hazards everywhere and when you take up a job these are not the thoughts that dominate your mind. We are all professionals. Everyone knows what's right and wrong, you don't need the world to point that out to you. As long as you are capable of working in an ethical framework, you have nothing to worry about.

I want to make this absolutely clear, I'm not taking a call on the present situation between the Indian women's hockey team and coach MK Kaushik. That issue is being handled by the concerned people.

(Viren Rasquinha is a former Indian hockey captain and currently COO of the Olympic Gold Quest).

The Times of India

A hamlet faced with a dilemma

It is a hockey-mad town. Hardly surprising, considering that this small pocket of less than half a lakh people in Haryana's Kurukshetra district has produced over 30 international hockey players for India, especially women hockey players. For every poor and not-so-poor household in Shahbad, hockey is the way out of privation and anonymity.

With almost every household having a daughter or two in hockey, the sexual harassment scandal at the national level has become a gnawing, unspoken worry plaguing the families. Yet, there's reluctance to talk about it. "When my daughter wanted to play hockey, I was the first to resist, fearing what people in our community would say to a jawaan ladki going out to play hockey. And indeed there was resistance in the community. But once she started doing well, everyone enthusiastically supported her. Such scandals can make it difficult for the girls. It will impact the game," says Roshni Saini, mother of the former vice-captain of the Indian women's hockey team, Suman Bala, who is currently in Ireland training to be a coach.

Suman and Surinder Kaur, the current captain of the team, were among the first batch of girls to take to hockey in Shahbad. Surinder's brother, Harilal, also admits that he was initially reluctant to let Surinder play. Today, his 15-year-old daughter, Balwinder, is training at the same institute that Suman trained in and he is extremely proud that she is following in her aunt's footsteps.

"Sikh girls were so conservative that they would not even take off their chunni, let alone wear skirts to play hockey. I had to persuade and convince their parents to let them play. It was not easy. But today, the result is there for everyone to see and all families here now want their daughters to play hockey," says proud coach Baldev Singh, who runs the Shahbad Hockey Institute, famous for producing a string of international level players.

Shahbad's hockey success hinges on one person - Baldev Singh. Community leaders of Shahbad, who have played an active role in encouraging hockey, are split over whether it is a good thing, this one-person dominance. Some praise the coach for his "strict ways which alone have made so many international level athletes possible" . The detractors make dire predictions about it being a recipe for disaster if one person holds sway over the future of so many young girls. "We want a woman coach at the institute and more transparency in its running to prevent any similar scandal," says one of them. Singh himself endorses the need for more women coaches.

"Suman is training abroad to be a coach. It would be wonderful if she would take over from me. I am retiring in a couple of months when my two-year extension comes to an end," says Baldev Singh.

For the coaches at the institute, including Singh, there are bigger worries like ensuring employment for senior national-level players. "These are girls from very poor families. Their families send them to play hockey in the hope that they will get government jobs. That's the least the government can do. But the Railways alone give them jobs. Male hockey players get jobs in the Railways, ONGC, Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, Customs and Excise, paramilitary forces and various state police organisations. Why can't these organisations employ our women hockey players? Why the discrimination?" asks Gurvinder Singh, one of the coaches at the Shahbad institute.

With little help from the hockey federation, the institute struggles to give the best possible hockey training to girls for whom it is the only ticket out of lives of drudgery. But it could do with a little more help from the government.

The Tribune