News for 10 January 2012

All the news for Tuesday 10 January 2011

Countdown continues to “The Greatest Show on Earth”

The visually striking hockey pitches within the Olympic Park. (Photo: FIH / Olympic Delivery Authority / Getty Images)

Monday 9th January marked another significant point in the build up to the London 2012 Olympics, being exactly 200 days until the Opening Ceremony of the Games. The event takes place on Friday 27th July 2012, with the Hockey competition at the newly re-named "Riverbank Arena" getting underway just two days later. 

In a little more than seven months time, the global spotlight will be on London and the United Kingdom, where 15,000 athletes, 7,000 technical officials and 20,000 accredited media from more than 200 countries will be present while four billion people across the world tune in to watch the televised coverage of the Games.  384 athletes, 76 appointed officials and countless London 2012 staff and volunteers will be directly involved with the Hockey competition, which has already proven to be something of a success story. 

Despite having the third largest amount of tickets available behind Football and Athletics, all of the 600,000-plus Hockey tickets have been sold, ensuring that the 16,000 capacity venue – which is perfectly located in the heart of Olympic Park itself – will be packed to the rafters with cheering supporters throughout the Games. 

Eighteen of the 24 teams that will compete in the men’s and women’s Hockey tournaments at London 2012 are already known, with the final six places being decided at the forthcoming Olympic Qualifying tournaments. On the men’s side, Great Britain, Pakistan, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Spain have all confirmed their places at the Games. The women’s competition is guaranteed to feature Great Britain, China, Korea, The Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, USA and Argentina. 

Come the end of next month, two more teams will have sealed berths at London 2012 thanks to the completion of the 1st Men’s and Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournaments, which take place between 15-26 February in New Delhi, India.  Between 15-26 February, eight times Gold medalists and tournament hosts India will be aiming to battle past men’s challengers Canada, France, Poland, USA and Italy to seal a return to Olympic competition after failing to qualify for Beijing 2008. India’s women will also be hoping that the passionate home crowd can cheer them to success, with South Africa, Italy, Canada, Ukraine and Poland standing in their way. It promises to be a fascinating competition which will be covered in full by, the official website of the International Hockey Federation.

The final four places for the Games will be decided at tournaments taking place in Dublin, Ireland (Men – 10-18 March 2012), Antwerp, Belgium (Women – 17-25 March 2012), and Kakamigahara, Japan (Men and Women – 25 April – 6 May 2012). Match schedules for the tournaments in Dublin and Belgium can be found by clicking here. The schedule for the men’s and women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament in Kakamigahara will be released at a later date.

For more information about the exciting build-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games, please take a look at the following links.

BBC Images of Olympic Park – Click here
Royal Mint unveils Olympic Hockey coin – Click Here
Official London 2012 Site – Click here

FIH site

Petrotrin, Paragon take Ventures US$1,000 titles

Nigel Simon

Petrotrin (men) and Paragon (women) captured the vacant US$1,000 Open Division titles when the curtain came down on the ninth annual Ventures Invitational Indoor Hockey Tournament at the Woodbrook Youth Facility, O’Connor Street, Woodbrook, on Sunday. In the men’s final, Petrotrin, the national Outdoor league champions got a goal each from five players to whip surprise finalist, Notre Dame 5-1. After a slow start by both teams, the Oilmen took a 15th minute lead through national midfielder Dwain Quan Chan but within two minutes Isaac Marecheau replied for the Dames for a 1-1 score at the half. On the resumption it was all Petrotrin as Arielle Bowen (24th) and the national trio of Solomon Eccles (28th), Holland-based Wayne Legerton (36th) and Atiba Whittington (40th) added one each to secure the winner’s cheque of US$1,000 while the Dames got Dame US$500. Queen’s Park took home the US$200 third prize after beating last year’s winner, Defence Force 2-0 on sudden-death penalty after a 4-4 draw in regulation. Earlier on Sunday in the semifinals, Petrotrin led by two goals from Eccles whipped Defence Force 6-3 while the Dames upstaged round-robin table-toppers Queen’s Park 2–1 on sudden-death penalty-flicks after a 3–3 draw in regulation-time.

...Paragon cruise against Dames

Paragon also got its goals off the stick off three different players in a 3-0 shut-out of Notre Dame in the women’s title encounter. After a 0-0 first-half, Alana Lewis, the “Tournament’s Most Valuable Player” opened the scoring in 28th minute while T&T Hockey Board “Player of the Year, Kristin Thompson (35th) and Nikita Cudjoe (38th), the other scorer. In the women’s third place match, the mother and daughter combination of Cristina Abreu and Kristin Abreu both got hat-tricks as Ventures II outscored Ventures II, 6-4. Paragon led by a hat-trick from Zene Henry and one from Thompson whipped Ventures II, 4–1 in its semifinal while Kayla Brathwaite also banged in all three goals for the Dames in their 3–2 defeat of Ventures I.  In the Veterans Division final, title-holder Defence Force made it two straight titles with a  2-1 triumph over Malvern. National rifle shooter, two-time reigning T&T Olympic Committee and 2011 First Citizens Sports Foundation Sportsman of the Year, Roger Daniel netted the winner for the “Teteron Boys” with a minute left on the clock.

Sunday's Result
Third place:

Women’s Open:
Ventures II 6 (Kristin Abreu 6th, 31st, 38th, Cristina Abreu 10th, 21st, 31st) vs Ventures I 4 (Yesenia Luces 17th, 28th, 29th, Arielle Williams 4th)

Men’s Open:
QPCC 4 (Evan Farrell 18th, 40th, Shawn Lee Quay 12th, Dominic Young 36th) vs Defence Force 4 (Nicholas Wren 14th, 25th, Roger Daniel 8th, Mickel Pierre 30th) - QPCC  won 2-0 on penalty-flicks


Defence Force 2 (Paul Dijlholtz 25th, Roger Daniel 39th) vs Malvern 1 (Anthony Marcano 26th).

Women’s Open:

Paragon 3 (Alana Lewis 23rd, Kristin Thompson 35th, Nikita Cudjoe 38th) vs Notre Dame 0

Men’s Open:
Petrotrin 5 (Dwain Quan Chan 15th, Arielle Bowen 24th, Solomon Eccles 28th, Wayne Legerton 36th, Atiba Whittington 40th) vs Notre Dame 1 (Isaac Marecheau 17th).

Individual awards:
Most Valuable Players:

Men’s Open: Aidan De Gannes (Notre Dame)
Women’s Open: Alana Lewis (Paragon)
Veterans: Roger Daniel (Defence Force)

Best Goalkeepers:
Men’s Open: Ron Alexander (Petrotrin)
Women’s Open: Sarah Thomas (Ventures I)
Veterans: Edgar Grovouius (Defence Force)

Most Goals:
Men’s Open: Marcus James (Defence Force) - 7
Women’s Open: Yesenia Luces (Ventures I) - 10
Veterans: Paul Dijlholtz (Defence Force) - 8

The Trinidad Guardian

Rematch of 2011 final in Maxifuel Super Sixes semis

Maxifuel Super Sixes Championships table toppers Bowdon Hightown will continue the defence of their 2011 crown on Saturday when they face last year's runners-up Reading in the first of the semi finals at Loughborough University.

The East Midlands venue will play host to a night of high tension, breath taking speed and dazzling skills as the top four teams in the Maxifuel Super Sixes Women's Premier Division compete for a place in the Wembley final.

Starting at just £3 for Under 18s and £6 for adults, tickets for Saturday's semi final are now on sale online from the England Hockey Store at 

Nicky O'Donnell of Bowdon Hightown

In a rematch of the spectacular 2011 final, Bowdon Hightown and Reading will get things underway at 6pm on Saturday while the second semi final pits Sutton Coldfield against 2010 Champions Leicester. That match gets underway at 7:30pm.

The two winners will progress to the Wembley Arena showpiece, with tickets flying out the door following the conclusion of the Maxifuel Super Sixes Championships Premier Divisions at the weekend.

7000 fans will witness the non-stop action as the country’s best players battle it out for the ultimate prize, the Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals, at London's Wembley Arena on Sunday 29 January.

Katie Long in action for Leicester at the Maxifuel Super Sixes Championships, January 2012

Hockey’s biggest domestic event this side of the 2012 Olympic Games will see British Olympians playing for their club sides as fans enjoy live entertainment, meet international hockey stars and enjoy a great day out with friends and family!

As well as the women's final, Wembley Arena will play host to the men's semi finals and the final giving fans four superb matches in a single day.

England Hockey Board Media release

Ashley Jackson fires in Sweet 16

By Graham Wilson

Ashley Jackson was unstoppable as defending champions East Grinstead beat Reading

ASHLEY JACKSON showed the form that will boost England’s European indoor campaign in Germany by scoring 16 goals to help East Grinstead into the Maxifuel Super Sixes Championships.

Jackson, named yesterday in England’s squad for the tournament in Leipzig which starts on Friday, was unstoppable as defending champions East Grinstead beat Reading 5-4, Sevenoaks 12-2, Old Loughtonians 7-1 and Canterbury 6-3.

Joining them at the finals at Wembley Arena on January 29 will be Bowdon, Beeston and Reading.

Bowdon, Sutton Coldfield, Leicester and Reading contest the women’s semi-finals at Loughborough on Saturday.

Daily Express

Will look to control the controllable: Nobbs

Harpreet Kaur Lamba

The last few months have been turbulent ones for Indian hockey. What with federations fighting to take control, the lure of the inaugural World Series Hockey, a new coach and differences among the players, the focus was anything but on the game.

But as the 45 probables gather in the capital on Saturday evening, each one of them is aware of what lies ahead.

In a month’s time, the squad will face their sternest test in the form of the Olympic qualifiers, and with it, carry the hopes of a nation that still has a deep attachment to the sport.

Chief coach Michael Nobbs believes “if everything goes as planned”, the team could well be on their way to London.

“I would put it this way,” Nobbs said here in a chat with this newspaper. “We do not have a tough pool, and it is not easy either. The onus is on us, on how we translate on to the field what we have learnt in the last five months.

“It is about controlling the controllable. And we have to do exactly that.”

Under Nobbs, India have tried to adopt the attacking style of play -- doing away with the European approach practised by former coach Jose Brasa -- in their last three international tournaments. The team have seen mixed results, but the players are often seen in conflict when it comes to choosing between the two styles.

“I agree there. It often happens that the players suddenly go into a defensive mode, or adopt the style of play (European) that they had so got used to. But Indian players are born to attack and that is what I ask them to do.”

Defence though has been a great cause of worry for Team India. And even though Nobbs asserted that the team had managed to score more goals than those conceded in two of their last three international engagements -- 29 (conceded 17) and 17 (conceded nine) during the Asian Champions Trophy in China and Champions Challenge  in South Africa, respectively -- it cannot be discounted that none of those came against the top nations.

The Men in Blue cut out a sorry figure when facing world beaters Australia, and the numbers are compelling. On their tour Down Under, that also included teams from Pakistan and New Zealand, India let in 37 goals against 16 scored.

“Defence has not been our strong point. It is a deep-rooted issue and we haven’t had enough time to fix it in these five months. We are trying out different combinations,” Nobbs justified.

Despite the frailties, the think-tank’s decision to ignore experienced members like defender Dhananjay Mahadik and goalkeeper Adrian d’Souza is not understandable.

“I am looking at the future. Mahadik, according to me, is too slow and Adrian might make it sometime.

“I have always said I am looking at three specialised players per position, who can do the job at any given time. And it doesn’t matter if that player is young or experienced.”

“Old legs are not always the best, especially in hockey. See what is happening to the Indian cricket team in Australia,” Nobbs added, tongue in cheek.

The Asian Age

Pargat Singh resigns to contest elections

Balbir Singh

CHANDIGARH: Former Indian hockey captain Padam Shree Pargat Singh has resigned as Director of Sports, Punjab Government, on Monday. According to sources, Pargat Singh has resigned on “personal reasons.”

Pargat Singh will be contesting for Punjab Vidhan Sabha from Jalandhar Cantonment on the Shrimoni Akali Dal (Badal) ticket.

Pargat Singh was the 12th Sports Director. He joined the Punjab Sports Department on September 22, 2005 and resigned after streamlining the functioning of the Depatment which was without sufficient funds for various schemes, limited number of coaches and supporting staff.

He always believes that there is a scope of improvement always. “No body should think that nobody will surpass him or her. If I have made some improvement, somebody definitely can improve upon his or her work.”

Pargat Singh was on deputation from the Punjab Police. It was only late last year, he was absorbed in the Punjab Sports Department as Director.

Earlier, international wrestler Kartar Singh, IPS, was the Director of Sports from February 2, 2002 to September 22, 2005.

Besides, Pargat Singh, Kartar Singh and Lt Col Raminder Singh, the fourth prominent sportsperson to hold this coveted post was Senior Balbir Singh. Triple Olympic hockey gold medalist Senior Balbir Singh was Sports Director from September 3, 1975 to December 31, 1982. December 31 is the birthday of Senior Balbir Singh.

Article Courtesy: Balbir Singh of formerly Indian Express

Pargat gives in, finally

Jasdeep Singh Malhotra

Sports department director Olympian Pargat Singh (46) will tender his resignation from the post on Monday to contest the assembly election as an SAD candidate from Jalandhar Cantonment. Sources said that SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal held a meeting with Pargat, who was earlier reluctant to enter the poll arena, at Chandigarh on Sunday afternoon to deliberate on the issue of fielding the latter from Jalandhar Cantt as an Akali candidate.

Pargat, an Arjuna awardee, finally agreed to the offer and decided to resign from the government job on Monday.

Sukhbir played a pivotal role in making the former Indian hockey team captain accept the “challenge”. Earlier, Sukhbir and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had held a meeting with Pargat, a native of Mithapur village in Jalandhar Cantonment segment, last week. The veteran player was, however, reluctant to enter politics then.

Pargat’s name was doing the rounds in SAD circles following the refusal of Punjab Markfed chairman and Kapurthala SAD unit president Jarnail Singh Wahid to contest from Jalandhar Cantt.

Pargat had captained the Indian hockey team in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Though Jalandhar Improvement Trust chairman Baljeet Singh Neelamahal, district planning committee chairman Charanjeet Singh Channi and SGPC member Paramjit Singh Raipur were aspiring for the party ticket, Sukhbir zeroed in on Pargat because of his clean image, calibre in sports and managerial skills.

Pargat came closer to Sukhbir during the successful conduct of the second edition of kabaddi world cup recently.

Pargat accomplished the task of distributing gymnasium kits among rural and urban youth clubs and popularising sports in Punjab in an effort to curb drug addiction among youth.

The Jalandhar Cantt constituency, with an estimated 1.59 lakh voters, had been transformed into an “urban” seat following delimitation with only 29,000 Jat Sikhs registered as voters.

The SAD was earlier planning to interchange Jalandhar Cantt seat with the BJP, which reportedly declined the offer.

The seat, traditionally a Congress bastion, was won by Jagbir Brar of the SAD, who defeated former Congress minister Gurkanwal Kaur by a margin of 17,000 votes in the 2007 elections. Later, Brar quit as MLA to join his cousin Manpreet Badal to form the People’s Party of Punjab (PPP). Brar later resigned from the PPP and is now contesting the seat on Congress ticket.

Hindustan Times

Former hockey capt to contest as SAD nominee

Chandigarh: Former Indian hockey captain Pargat Singh has taken the plunge into active politics, with ruling Shiromani Akali Dal fielding him from the Jalandhar Cantt seat for the January 30 Punjab Assembly polls. Pargat, initially reluctant to contest, candidly admitted that the man who prompted him to join politics was SAD chief and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who also holds the Sports portfolio.

The Pioneer

National Under-21 Hockey Championship begins today

Staff Report

LAHORE: The National Under-21 Hockey Championship is starting at National Hockey Stadium here on Tuesday (today) with defending champions Pakistan Customs and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) missing the event. “We did not receive any information regarding their absence from the event. And in my opinion both departments are without their junior teams and that is why they have stayed away from the competition,” organising secretary, Rana Mujahid Ahmad, who is the also the secretary general of the Punjab Hockey Association, told a news conference here on Monday. Also present on the occasion were tournament director Mohammad Sagheer and member of the scrutiny committee Anjum Saeed.

Rana said it was unfortunate that two top teams of the country were not taking part in the national event. “Next year we will make sure that all teams confirm their participation in the event well before the start of the event.” In the absence of Customs and PIA the field is wide open for fifteen participating teams drawn in four pools. Pool A has National Bank of Pakistan, FATA, Pakistan Army and Islamabad. Pool B comprises PHF Academy, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and Sindh while Pool C has Pakistan WAPDA, Punjab White, Higher Education Commission and Balochistan. Pakistan Railways, Pakistan Boards and Punjab Colour are in Pool D.

The organising secretary said the national selection committee would be watching the event to shortlist outstanding players to consider them for attending national junior training camp.

He said the scrutiny committee headed by Khawaja Mohammad Junaid would make sure that only players of right age take part in the event. “The committee has been empowered to disqualify players from the event in case they are over age,” he said. The PHA on behalf of Pakistan Hockey Federation is organising the event which is not being sponsored by any business house.

The Daily Times

Women's Junior National Squad returns from California training camp

Mary Nielsen shares her San Francisco experience

Women's Junior National Squad Training Camp

The Canadian Women's Junior National Squad recently returned from a week-long training camp in Northern California.  Squad-member Mary Nielsen shares her experience at the camp - including an epic run over the Golden Gate Bridge.

After an early flight out of Vancouver, the Squad arrived in San Francisco determined and excited for the week ahead. There was no time to waste. We ate lunch and immediately took off to “the farm” where we’d be training for the following seven days.

In contrast to the dismal dark days up north, the Bay Area provided the staff and athletes with an excellent supplement of vitamin D. The days of sunshine were not only a pleasant change to the grey winter but moreover a revitalizing beacon-like brightness to an upcoming new year.

Expectations from Peter (Head Coach) and his coaching staff were clear from the get-go – this was preparation for our ultimate goal – the Junior World Cup. With that in mind we began practice just after three hours of landing in San Francisco. After our first practice a daily schedule was set up. Wake up call; team run; breakfast; practice; nap; lunch; meeting; scrimmage; dinner; treatment; sleep. The schedule kept to its core for the most part, and we were lost in the routine with casual trips to Jane’s room for extra snacks which were (of course) always at the ready.

On New Year’s Eve day, instead of a journey to the Stanford facilities we were given instructions to wear our work out gear and bring a change of clothes. The uncertainty worried not only myself but my fellow roommates…Peter had mentioned a 20 mile run…actually he had mentioned a lot of things and most of the time we had no idea whether they were true or not. It was best to prepare for the unlikely.

About forty minutes of driving around San Francisco we stood, jaws dropped, in front of this godforsaken hill. The task was to run up it. A run with 30 or so highly competitive field hockey players quickly turned into an apocalyptic sprint. The killer-hill was completed, and although it felt like I was dead, casualties were few. After the hill, we were taken to one of the seven wonders of the modern world: The Golden Gate Bridge, designed by chief engineer, Joseph Strauss (my second favourite civil engineer). The two-mile run over the bridge was a highlight for many, but that didn’t stop the glory of what lay beyond the morning workout. We were given half the day to see whatever we liked in the city.

After a wonderful trip to the city we went straight back into focus mode – more training, treatment, and inter-squad games. The coaches kept up the work rate, and with the week over, a new year in full swing and a goal set for the squad, we left San Francisco excited for the upcoming tours and itching to work hard in our separate field hockey endeavours before being reunited again.

Field Hockey Canada media release