News for 01 June 2013

All the news for Saturday 1 June 2013


Japan and Russia make it three from three

Top two set to meet in tournament decider on Saturday



(Photo: FIH / Dmitry Ryazhski)

Yesterday's third round of matches at the World League Round 2 in Elektrostal saw Austria defeat Egypt in a shoot-out, Japan sail past the Czech Republic to maintain the top spot in the table, and Russia wrestle down a formidable challenge from Ukraine to remain on Japan's heels. Japan thus top the table at the end of Day 3, followed by Russia on the same number of points, with both set to meet in Saturday's decisive direct encounter. Austria are in third place, followed by Ukraine, Egypt and the Czech Republic.

The first match of the day was between Austria and Egypt, and it started with a flurry of goals, with three scored in the first four minutes. Egypt started the run with a very early penalty corner that Hamada Atef converted into the lead for his team. The Austrians' response was immediate, as they rushed down the field from the re-start and Sebastian Eitenberger had the last touch on the equalizer. However, Egypt came straight back, restoring their lead on the next play with a goal from Ahmed Abd Elmaksoud.

After this intial burst of energy, the game settled into a steadier pace. Egypt had the better opportunities but could not score, and the first half concluded without any forther goals scored. At the re-start however, Austria came back the more focussed side. They were able to hold play in the Egyptian half more and forced several opportunities, getting the great turn-around on the way in the 50th minute as Michael Körper scored his first of the dayfor the equalizer.

A few minutes later, Körper hit the target again for Austria to take the lead for thefirst time in the match, but the joy was shortlived. Hamada Atef sunk a penalty corner four minutes later to pull level again and eventually force the match into a shoot-out. In this decider, Austria were the much more cool and calm side, sinking three in a row while Egypt's second, third and fourth representatives failed to convert. Austria thus snatched victory in this encounter of equal opponents, securing two points for the shoot-out win.

Next up were the Czech and the Japanese, with the Japanese the clear favorites with two wins from their first two matches, while the Czech have been struggling throughout this event. Japan started off quickly as Yasuhiro Nakayama deflected a 6th minute penalty corner shot into the net. It looked like the match might turn out to be a one-sided affair, but the Czech regrouped quickly and warded off the Japanese attacks for the remainder of the first half and deep into the second.

Despite a number of opportunities, including several penalty corners, Japan could not extend their lead, until the strained Czech defense crumbled towards the end of the match and a quick double hit by the Japanese sealed the Czechs' defeat. Kei Kawakami and Yasuhiro Nakayama struck twice within a minute, sinking two field goals for a 3-0 scoreline that stood for the remaining five minutesuntil the final whistle.

Ukraine and Russia wrapped up the day with a close and exciting match. Ukraine had the better started and looked very strong in the first half, while their Russian counterparts were struggling to find their feet. In the 27th minute, Ukraine deservedly took the lead with a goal from Oleh Polishchuk, and the scoreline stayed that way into the break.

The second half was all Russia's however, and the home team turned the game around in a span of ten minutes. Nikolay Yankun got the hosts started ten minutes after the break. His goal was quickly followed by another as Alexander Korolev pushed the ball over the line from a goalmouth scramble, and Pavel Plesetskiy piled on Russia's third little later. Despite desperate attempts by Ukraine to regain control of the match, the 70 minutes ended with this scoreline, confirming the third win in a row for the home team. Russia thus remain a strong contender for the tournament win together with the event's highest ranked team, Japan.

To follow the developments at the World League Round 2 event in Elektrostal for the rest of the week, check our website www.fih.ch, follow us on Twitter @FIH_Hockey and @World_League1, or watch the Russian Hockey Federation's livestream at worldleague.mohockey.ru!

FIH site



One Year to Go!

2014 Hockey World Cup countdown begins


The 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands is officially one year away and it is clear that the athletes are ready for hockey's biggest event. The 12 top men's and women's teams will converge on The Hague on May 31st to begin their quest to win hockey's biggest prize. With the help of some friends around the world, the FIH is wants to get you in the mood to 'Celebrate Hockey' one year from today. Enjoy!

Details:

From 31 May through 15 June 2014 the world’s 12 best countries will compete at the 2014 Hockey World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands. For both the men and the women there are two pools of six teams.In the pool phase there are four matches in the Kyocera Stadium and two matches in the GreenFields Stadium every day. The definite match schedule will be announced on January 1, 2014. That will also be the date when ticket sales for foreign fans will start. The women’s final is on June 14, the men’s final on Sunday June 15.

Teams will begin the qualification process for the World Cup in two week's time when the first of four Hockey World League Semi-Finals begins in Rotterdam. the other hosts of the Semi-Final events are London and Johor, Malaysia.

To view the official 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup website click here

The FIH would like to thank all the athletes that helped with the one-year-to-go celebration.

FIH site



National team pay heavy price for not fielding key players

By AFTAR SINGH



Out of my way: National forward Mohd Azammi Adabi (right) vying for the ball with China’s Liaoning Club’s Sun Long during their third friendly match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday. Malaysia lost 3-4. — S. S. KANESAN / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia paid the price for resting their key players and went down 4-3 to China’s Liaoning Club at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

It was Malaysia’s first defeat against the Chinese side after three friendlies. The Malaysians, who are preparing for the World League semi-final in Johor Baru from June 29-July 7, earlier won 2-1 and 4-2.

Malaysia took the lead in the fifth minute off a penalty stroke converted by Faizal Saari.

Ten minutes later, Mohd Amin Rahim doubled the score off a penalty corner.

Liaoning, however, narrowed the deficit with a Sun Yi goal in the 17th minute.

Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin then scored from close range in the 30th minute for Malaysia to lead again by a two-goal advantage.

But three minutes later, Hung We scored off a penalty corner to make it 3-2 for Liaoning in the first half.

After the breather, Liaoning made it 3-3 through Sun Long in the 39th minute.

And six minutes later, Sun Yi was on target again to give Liaoning the win.

Malaysia and Liaoning will play their fourth and final match today.

The Star of Malaysia



Revington's men taste first defeat

By Jugjet Singh



Faizal Saari argues with Liaoning Club’s Wang Z.P. during their match at the National Stadium yesterday. Pic by Goh Thean Howe

MALAYSIA lost to China's Liaoning Club 4-3 in a rain-interrupted match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

It was the first defeat for coach Paul Revington's charges who had beaten China Club, boosting of 10 national players, 2-1 and 4-2 in the earlier matches.

The fourth and final match will be held today at 6pm at the same venue.

Malaysia are preparing for the World League Semi-finals which Johor Baru will host from June 29-July 7, which is also a World Cup Qualifier.

Malaysia will open their World League accounts against Pakistan on June 29 in Johor Baru, while the other teams in Group B are England and South Africa.

In Group A are World No 1 Germany, South Korea, Argentina and a yet to be named team, who will be confirmed after the end of the Round 2 which is ongoing in Russia.

Yesterday, Faizal Saari scored off a penalty stroke in the 10th minute, Amin Rahim off a penalty corner direct attempt in the 15th minute while the other goal by Kazamirul Ahmad in the 30th minute.

China scored off Sun Yi (17th) and Hung We (33rd).

After the breather, China scored two more quick goals off a field attempt by Sun Long (39th) and a Sun Yi penalty corner (45th) to seal the match.

After the China friendlies, the national team will leave for South Africa on Sunday to play a Four-Test series against the South African side.

New Straits Times



MHC boss for Gurdwara Cup opening

By Jugjet Singh


MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah will be the guest of honour at the opening ceremony of the 62nd Gurdwara Cup at Kelab Aman on June 6.

Tengku Abdullah will also officially declare open a mini artificial hockey pitch in Kelab Aman which was laid to boost junior development.

The Gurdwara Cup, incepted in 1952, is the oldest hockey tournament in the country and has been held without a break since it was first played in Ipoh.

This year the tournament will be held from June 5-8, and the other sports featured in the Sikh Carnival of Sports are football (seniors and juniors), netball, badminton and six categories of golf.

"Normally our affiliates (states) are the ones who host the Gurdwara Cup but the Malaysia-Singapore Sikh Sports Council (MSSSC) decided to host the 62nd edition in Kuala Lumpur," said MSSSC president Datuk Sohan Singh Randhawa.

The event has pushed to the fore many former Sikh national skippers like Sarjit Singh and Mohinder Singh, as well as former national players like Updesh Singh. Savinder Singh, Avatar Singh, Maninderjit Singh as well as current national player Baljit Singh.

"The Sikhs used to be well represented a decade ago, but now only Baljit remains with the seniors.

"There are no Sikh players in the Junior World Cup training team right now, but coaches especially in Klang, Kampung Pandan and Kelab Aman as well as many other states are slowly building junior sides to fill this void," said Sohan.

There will be an Under-13 hockey tournament which will showcase some exciting talents, as well as budding stars in football and badminton in the Sikh Carnival of Sports.

New Straits Times



2013 Big Apple Memorial Six-A-Side Tournament

Sixty-one teams competed in the 2013 Big Apple Memorial Six-A-Side Tournament at Aviator Sports & Recreation Complex in New York City during Memorial Day weekend. Competitions were held in four divisions: Women,Under-14, Under-16 and Under-19 Girls on Saturday and Sunday. 

Last weekend’s weather was out of the norm for the event. The tournament has never experienced such hash weather conditions. Saturday consisted of persistent rain, sleet, gusting winds and the temperatures reaching as low as 40 °F if not lower all day.

On Sunday the weather decided to cooperate and those in attendance were able to experience more of what we are accustomed to blue skies, a gentle breeze and a temperature that was very comfortable. Warmer, drier and cooler weather, combined with an atmosphere created with music, good hockey, a carnival and vendors, is what draws athletes, family and friends to the event year after year.

The U-14 Finals were exciting and after a 0 – 0 score at the end of regulation, The Edge FHC claimed victory in a sudden-death penalty stroke competition.

U-14 Division:

1st Place: The Edge FHC
2nd Place: Total Dutch

Both Hudson Valley Teams made it into the U-16 Divisions Semi-Finals but were unable to reach the gold-medal match after being edged out by East Coast Tornadoes 2 – 1 and Jersey Intensity FH 2 – 1 on strokes after a 2 – 2 tie in regulation.

East Coast was able to hold off Jersey Intensity in the remaining minutes of the Finals to claim a 1 – 0 victory.

U-16 Division:

Semi-Finals:


East coast Tornado (2) vsHudson Valley - Green (1)
Jersey Intensity FH  2 (2)*  vs         Hudson valley – White  2 (0)

Finals:

East Coast Tornado (1)       vs         Jersey Intensity FH (0)

Hudson Valley, who after edging out Rapid Fire Elite 1 – 0 and Sharks who had an easy time with Total Dutch with a 5 – 1 victory, made it into the U-19 Finals.

The Finals between these two clubs was one of the best games of the weekend and the winner was decided on sudden death penalty strokes after ending in a 2 – 2 tie.

U-19 Division:

Semi-Finals:


Total Dutch (1)  vs    Sharks (5)
Hudson Valley (1)   vs  Rapid Fire Elite (0)

Finals:

Sharks 2 (1)*        vs     Hudson Valley 2 (0)

HV Extreme the 2012 tournament champions were not in attendance due to a schedule conflict with USA Field Hockey’s Women’s National Championship in Virginia Beach and as a result a new champion was crowned.

X-Calibur FHC, after experiencing a disappointed defeat in last year finals, returned with vengeance and determination and dominated the competition in the women’s division, ending with a victory over Misfits and being crowned Champions.

Women’s Division:

Semi-Finals:


X-Calibur FHC  (4)   vs         NYIFHA  (1)
Misfits  (1)        vs      Spirit Eagles FHC  (0)

Finals:

X-Calibur FHC (9)              vs        Misfits (0)

*Sudden-Death Penalty Strokes

The Big Apple Memorial Six-A-Side Tournament is held every year to honor the memory of those field hockey lovers who are no longer with us. They all contributed to hockey in their own way and are missed by all.

The trophy for the U-16 and U-19 girls divisions was donated by Rosemary and Michael Serrette in the name of their beloved daughter, Michele, who passed away in 1983 at the very young age of nine after getting hit by a ball while standing on the sidelines watching her father play in a tournament in Trinidad. “She always loved to watch her father play,” said her mom, Rosemary. “We want to encourage the kids to play because they are the future of the sport and that is why we have dedicated this trophy in honor of Michele.”

The trophy for the men’s and women’s competition is dedicated to Harold Cox (New York FHC), William Irving (Greenwich FHC), Michael Grannum (Tri-State Falcons), Frank Noodt (North Jersey FHC), Roland Mass (New York FHC), George Moody (West Indies International), John Greer (Greenwich FHC), Steven Haley (Greenwich FHC), Kenrick Bernard (New York FHC) George Griffith (New York Islanders FHA), Aldwin Ferguson (New York FHC), Qamar Uddin (Zindabad FHC), Kenwin Nancoo (The Edge FHC), Aldwin Ferguson (New York Islanders) and Gurcharn Issar “Papa Sing” (North Jersey).

All these individuals were devoted to field hockey and contributed to the growth of the sport not just in the Tri-state area but throughout the USA.

Special thanks to all the umpires, technical staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly to make this event a huge success. We would also like to thank Dita Hockey, Defender Mouth guards, KB Designs, Hampton Inn JFK, Flatbush Volunteer Ambulance and the Aviator Sports and Recreation Complex for their continued support.

For more information on the event, visit www.bigapplehockey.com

USFHA media release



Gebhart named to U.S. Women's National Field Hockey Squad

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Following an intense weekend of evaluation at the 2013 Women's National Championship selection tournament, Penn State field hockey's Laura Gebhart has been named to the U.S. Women's National Field Hockey Squad by head coach Craig Parnham. Gebhart joins a team featuring 12 Olympians, beginning a new chapter with the country's top field hockey athletes after countless hours of training and competition.

"I am extremely excited to be named to the National Squad," said Gebhart. "I will get to train with and be coached by the very best the U.S., and arguably the world, has to offer. The opportunity for my personal growth in the game is enormous, and I hope to take full advantage of that. As with any time I get to play with the U.S. program, I will try to bring whatever I can back to the Penn State program to help us all grow and learn. I've gotten to this point because of my incredible coaches, teammates, family and friends; I hope I can share this amazing opportunity with all of them."

Gebhart has steadily generated a strong history with the U.S. Field Hockey program, playing for the National Development Squad and the U.S. Under-21 Squad over the past two seasons. The Mount Joy-native, heading into her junior year as a Nittany Lion, most recently served as a co-captain of the U-21 team at the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival. An invaluable asset to the Penn State field hockey program, Gebhart was named a NFHCA Second Team All-American for the first time in her collegiate career at the conclusion of the 2012 season. The sophomore was also named to the All-Mideast Region First Team, and previously earned Third Team All-American honors after a stellar rookie season in 2011. The 2011 Big Ten Freshman of the Year earned Big Ten recognition this season, as well, being named All-Big Ten First Team for the second consecutive year and to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team. She ended the year with six goals and 12 assists for 24 points.

"It's just a great achievement for Laura for a number of reasons," said Penn State field hockey head coach Charlene Morett. "She's a player that continues to work hard on her game, to improve her knowledge of the game and her skills of the game. To see how she's come back after having major shin surgery in February, and knowing that she really didn't train much this spring with us because of her limitation with her rehab and healing both shins...This accomplishment for her is such a proud moment for me as a coach, Penn State field hockey and for Penn State University. It's definitely well-deserved and she's earned this honor. We're just so proud of Laura."

Being selected to the 30-player roster was no small feat for Gebhart, competing amongst six regional teams as a member of the Under-21 Squad. U.S. head coach Parnham had a grueling week of evaluating over 100 athletes, assessing and reassessing players to choose his 2013-14 roster, which is the squad that typically boasts the U.S. Olympic Field Hockey Team's top athletes.

"We are pleased to have selected 30 athletes who will make up the Women's National Squad as we move forward," said Parhham. "This is a wonderful opportunity for this group of players to learn, develop, grow - and build on the progress of the team. We are really looking forward to starting this new chapter."

"Talking to Laura throughout the tournament, I could hear the confidence in her voice," said Morett. "And for her to earn a position on the U.S. Team speaks volumes of her play this past weekend when you have the top 100 players in the country competing for 30 spots."

The athletes selected to the U.S. Women's National Squad will report immediately to Rutgers University to begin preparations for the International Hockey Federation's World League Semi-Final in London, June 22-30. Parnham anticipates selecting the 18-player roster for the World Cup qualifying event the week of June 3rd.

"Again, I think it's just a tremendous accomplishment for her knowing where she was in February after surgery," said Morett. "And seeing how hard she's worked to see this dream come true for her, it's outstanding."

Penn State Media release



Meredith announces Irish Men's World League Semi Final Squad

Irish Men's Coach Andrew Meredith has named his squad for the upcoming Rabobank World League Semi-Finals in Rotterdam from the 13th-23rd June 2013. Meredith has selected the 18 from an original training panel of 30 after two recent intensive training camps and a two-match test series against Germany in Mannheim which saw the Green Machine tie the series 1-1 with the reigning Olympic Champions.

Meredith's selection sees the return of experienced duo Timmy Cockram and Peter Caruth who missed the Green Machine's outing at World League 2. The squad also includes a number of players who have excelled in the recent Irish Hockey League with Peter Brown, Kyle Good and Jonathan Bell in particular all rewarded for putting in stellar performances in Irish Hockey's premier domestic tournament this season.

Ireland are placed in Pool B of the tournament and face top class opposition in the form of the Netherlands, New Zealand & India. Pool A will feature Australia, Spain, Belgium and a yet to be determined qualifier from the final World League 3 tournament in Russia taking place at the moment. Quarter Finals, Semi Finals & Final line ups will be determined following Pool completion with games taking place on 19th, 21st, and 23rd of June respectively.

The Green Machine will need to finish in at least the top 6 of the tournament to have a chance of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

13th June 2013    India v Ireland (15:30 Local Time)
15th June 2013    New Zealand v Ireland (09:30 Local Time)
17th June 2013    Netherlands v Ireland (20:00 Local Time)

Speaking to hockey.ie Andrew Meredith said: " The last month of preparation has given us an extremely solid platform as we move forward into the final phase of our preparation. I have been very impressed with not only the level of commitment and discipline that has been brought to each training commitment by the group, but very satisfied with the integration and performance of the young talented athletes that were selected, who have tracked very well in the recent training camps and who will be a very important part of the program moving towards the end of the summer. The performances last week in Mannheim would indicate that we certainly still have a bit of fine tuning to do before our first game of the tournament, but the win against Germany certainly suggests that we are headed in the right direction"

Meredith continued " After their unavailability and injury in February, Timmy Cockram and Peter Caruth return, while Jonathan Bell has been selected coming off very strong performances in the IHL and EHL. Peter Brown continues to progress after a very solid WL2 in India and player of the IHL finals. Al Sothern has shown a great killer instinct up front when he returned to international hockey as the top goal scorer of the tournament in Delhi, and the selection of Kyle Good is reward for not only his recent good form in front of the goals, but in Kyle, we have one of the fastest Penalty Corner push-outs in international hockey."

Meredith also discussed the development of the full training squad and how this squad selection was his most difficult to date in Ireland " We are very comfortable with where we are at in regards to the composition of the current squad. The players that have been selected for the larger decentralised program have performed well and continued to improve in the camp environments, and the general team curve of physical testing results are at highest levels recorded. When the staff sat down and discussed selection for this tournament, it was without question, the most difficult decision process I have been involved with since I entered the program, which is a pretty good indicator that we are an extremely solid and positive place regarding depth. The blend of experience from the senior squad members and injection of enthusiasm and energy of the younger players, has given us a very positive group dynamic in the last weeks, and those who have been selected are hungry and looking forward to the challenge of competing with the world's best in Rotterdam, and meeting our objectives."

World League 3 Semi-Finals, Rotterdam, Squad:

1. Jonathan Bell (Lisnagarvey)
2. Peter Brown (Banbridge)
3. Peter Caruth (Braxgata)
4. Timothy Cockram (Lisnagarvey)
5. David Fitzgerald (Monkstown)
6. Paul Gleghorne (Instonians)
7. Kyle Good (Monkstown)
8. Ronan Gormley (Krefeld)
9. Conor Harte (SCHC)
10. David Harte (Kampong)
11. John Jackson (Braxgata)
12. Stuart Loughrey (Bath Buccaneers)
13. Eugene Magee (Krefeld)
14. Phelie Maguire (Hurley)
15. Andrew McConnell (Hurley)
16. Shane O'Donoghue (UCD)
17. Alan Sothern (Pembroke Wanderers)
18. Michael Watt (SCHC)

Irish Hockey Association media release



Black Sticks have hockey's elite in their sights

BRENDON EGAN


New Zealand women's hockey captain Kayla Sharland admits there has been a major shift in team mentality over the past four years.

The Black Sticks once hoped to do well against leading international opposition: Sharland said they now genuinely believed they could beat the world's elite.

The Black Sticks women performed strongly at last year's London Olympics, narrowly missing out on a spot in the gold medal game after losing to the Netherlands following extra-time penalties. They will be looking to build on their fourth placing at London, when they depart today for their World League semi-final tournament in Rotterdam.

It is an important tournament for the Black Sticks with places at the World League final in Argentina in November on the line. The top three teams will also book their passage through to next year's World Cup.

Sharland said their consistent performances at recent international tournaments had given her team a huge amount of confidence.

"There's a lot more belief and there's a lot more respect from the other teams around the world [towards the Black Sticks], as well," Sharland said.

"We've built that up as a group over the last four to six years. It's just trying to keep matching that, and keep performing, and not be afraid of the opposition."

The Black Sticks have been grouped with Germany, Belgium and India, with their opening game against India on June 13. Hosts Netherlands, Japan, Chile, and Korea have been placed in the other pool. New Zealand could potentially face a rematch with the Dutch in the crossover stage.

Eight other countries, including Australia, are featuring at a second World League women's semi-final tournament at the same time, in London.

With several experienced players returning to the side and a new coach, Sharland expected Germany to be a much improved outfit from the one that finished seventh in London.

In Sharland, Krystal Forgesson, Charlotte Harrison and Emily Naylor, New Zealand boast four players who have all played 150 games or more. Coach Mark Hager has also named several exciting young prospects, including Canterbury's Bridget Blackwood, Sian Fremaux, Pippa Hayward, and Cassandra Reid.

Sharland, 27, said the competition for places in the Black Sticks women's side was as competitive as it had ever been.

"It's been like that with the build-up to the Olympics as well. There's always someone knocking on the door and it's really hard to make the side. The young ones are stepping up to the level pretty early and really getting that opportunity to have a crack."

Sharland has been living in Christchurch since last September, where she is working as a territory sales representative for DB Breweries. She is set to tie the knot with her partner, Crusaders loose forward George Whitelock, later this year.

Canterbury hockey officials have tried to get the 182-cap veteran to play for the defending national women's league champion Cats side this season, but she said she would be staying with Central. "I've only played for Central and that's how it will stay. It's about giving back to the people, where I was growing up."

Stuff



Being the last line of defence not for the faint hearted

By David Leggat



Keeper Hamish McGregor likes player rotation. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Who'd be a soccer goalkeeper? One booboo and you're up for a hiding, plus the physical bangs that go with the role.

What about the same role in hockey? Sure there's padding on a Michelin Man scale, but even so ...

"I don't know if it was the appeal or stupidity," New Zealand goalkeeper Hamish McGregor mused on why he took the job on at high school.

"I thought it was quite cool, something different, a bit of a challenge I suppose."

And so Christchurch-born, Hobart-educated and raised McGregor is off to Europe tomorrow with the men's national team for their World League 3, or semifinal, tournament in Rotterdam this month.

McGregor and Auckland's Devon Manchester share the last line of defence for New Zealand.

In McGregor's case, his father played hockey. He headed down the soccer route originally but once at high school "they were looking for a hockey goalkeeper, I thought it could be fun, so I whacked the pads on and apparently I was quite good at it".

Even with all the protective padding, McGregor admitted the idea of copping a bad blow occasionally flickers across the mind.

He's been lucky, no bad injuries, but plenty of bruises.

"That's part of goalkeeping. I had a stick broken across my knee. I thought I'd broken it."

When attackers are pinging the ball at upwards of 115km/h from close range the dangers are obvious. So is there an optimum build for a goalkeeper in that small net area? The net is significantly smaller than for soccer, so plenty of bulk perhaps?

"It's a hard one. I'm about 1.87m, and up towards 100kg. The Dutch guy, who people rate the best in the world, is about 1.93m. Devon is slightly smaller, shorter but a lot more agile. With size comes a lack of agility, but it also brings a bigger reach.

"It's about a balance of height and weight versus agility and speed."

Having whip sharp reactions is also crucial.

So who has the edge in a penalty shot situation? In soccer, the penalty taker is expected to score. Ditto in hockey, reckons McGregor, although he likes the keeper's odds better in the new penalty shootout format used to decide knockout games at big tournaments.

The attacker has eight seconds to run, dribble and net the ball.

"One-on-one with the keeper I'd say it's a lot more even. You can vary it, move around, do different things to make it more even.

"Trying not to get eliminated is the key to those situations. Once you put your body on the ground it's very difficult to get back up.

"The key is to stay on your feet and make the attacker try and do something like take the shot quickly, or rush them to do something they don't want to do."

Shootouts are relatively rare, although the New Zealand women's team had one in their Olympic semifinal against the Netherlands in London last year. Locked 2-2, the Dutch won the shootout 3-1.

McGregor or Manchester could face one in Rotterdam and they'll be ready.

The pair have played 14 and 12 internationals respectively _ McGregor, at 25 is two years older _ and are still dicing for top billing. Auckland-based McGregor, studying for his Inshore Launch Masters ticket and most at home on the water, is happy as long as the team benefits. "Personally it's more about the team. It's quite good to have that slight rotation thing.

"It keeps you honest, and makes you strike to want to keep playing, pushing each other, nipping at the heels."

What's happening

• The New Zealand women's squad leaves for the World League 3 tournament in Rotterdam today, with the men flying out tomorrow.

• The women have three warm-up internationals against England next week; the men have two against Spain, most likely in Madrid.

• The top three in each eight-team tournament qualify for the finals _ for the women that's Tucuman, Argentina, in December; for the men it's Delhi in January.

The New Zealand Herald



Fighting hockey player gets nine-week ban

SAM SHERWOOD AND MATT RICHENS


Peter Walker's season is practically over after Canterbury Hockey handed the Avon goalkeeper a nine-week ban following an ugly incident in the men's premier competition last Saturday.

Walker threw a series of punches aimed at both his own team-mates and the opposition after a 4-1 loss to league leaders Carlton- Redcliffs before he was eventually restrained by his brother Kevin, who tackled him.

Canterbury Hockey released a brief statement yesterday confirming the ban.

"The player concerned has been banned from playing in the Canterbury Hockey competition for nine weeks."

Chief executive Rod Templeton said the punishment handed down was "guided by the Hockey New Zealand penalty guidelines and previous precedents".

Templeton was unsure whether Walker would appeal the nine-week ban.

While Canterbury Hockey have sent a strong message with their ban they are clearly desperate to put the incident behind them and Templeton refused to answer a number of The Press' questions.

Questions on the punishment, the process, Walker or anything to do about last weekend's incident were unanswered.

"Our process needs to be confidential, but at the same time we understand that we have got to make sure our wider community understands that we do take breaches of our code of conduct very seriously", Canterbury Hockey said.

So the sporting body happily informed The Press of Walker's punishment - to discourage others from misbehaving - but not any of the information surrounding it.

It is understood Canterbury Hockey were told of a number of mitigating factors surrounding Walker's behaviour at Thursday night's hearing.

Stuff



Pakistan hockey team’s training camp begins in Abbottabad

Staff Report


ABBOTTABAD: Pakistan hockey team’s 15-day training camp started here on Thursday. The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has organised the training for the upcoming World Hockey League. The World Hockey League will be held in Malaysia from June 29 to July 7 while the camp will conclude on June 15. The probables after the camp will reassemble at Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium in Karachi on June 18. The players called for the camp have reported to Akhtar Rasool Chaudhary, manager and camp commandant. A PHF official said on Friday that the federation would ensure every step to impart best possible training to the probables.

“24 players reported on the first day of training session while three will join on June 2,” Akhtar told media. “Waseem Ahmed has to take care of his mother for medical treatment while Rashid Mahmood and Muhammad Rizwan will be returning after attending the league matches in Europe,” Akhtar added. Akhtar said forthcoming World Hockey League was very important for Pakistan to qualify for the World Cup and at least Pakistan should get third place in the 7-nation competition. Pakistan are placed in Pool B alongside South Africa, England and Malaysia. While declaring Abbottabad weather as an ideal for the team training, he said it would yield better result as the green shirts could avail maximum time on training.

Probables invited to the camp: Imran Shah, Imran Butt, Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Rizwan Senior, Fareed Ahmad, Rashid Mahmood, Mohammad Waqas, Shafqat Rasool, Abdul Haseem Khan, Mohammad Ateeq, Waseem Ahmad, Mohammad Kashif Ali, Shakeel Abbasi, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Salman Hussain, Talal Khalid, Syed Sibtain Raza, Aamir Shahzad, Mohammad Imran Junior, Muzammil Ishaq Bhatti, Kashif Ali, Arslan Qadir, Mohammad Zubair, Zohaib Ashraf, Yasir Shabbir and Ayub Ali.

Officials: Akhtar Rasool Chaudhary (manager and head coach), Abdul Hanif Khan and Ajmal Khan Lodhi (coaches), Arshad Hussain (goal-keepers coach), Adnan Zakir (nutritionist), Faiz-ur-Rahman (physiotherapist), Nadeem Khan Lodhi (video-analyst) and Tahir Zaman (consultant).

The Daily Times



World Hockey League poses big challenge for Pakistan: Akhtar Rasool

Rashid Javed



Pakistan hockey team during a training session. -Photo by Sara Faruqi/Dawn.com

ABBOTTABAD: A 15-day training camp of the national team in preparation for the World Hockey League (WHL) commenced here on Thursday.

The league is scheduled to held in Malaysia from June 29. Pakistan are placed in Pool ‘B’ along with South Africa, England and Malaysia.

Twenty-four players have so far reported for the camp while three more will join on June 2, according to head coach Akhtar Rasool who spoke to to media here.

Rashid Mahmood and Mohammad Rizwan Sr will attend the camp after returning from league matches while Waseem Ahmed has not been able to join due to his mother’s illness.

The Pakistan team is staying at the Army School of Physical Training, Kakul where the boys would be able to take maximum advantage of exercise and training facilities to help improve their fitness levels.

Akhtar, who is being assisted by Tahir Zaman and other technical staff, said that the forthcoming WHL is very important for Pakistan and the national team should at least secure position among top three in the seven-nation competition to qualify for the World Cup.

Talking about his plans regarding the ongoing camp, Akhtar further said that each player would be assessed for his speed, stamina and physical fitness and then a comprehensive training programme would be designed to work on each player’s weakness.

The second phase of the camp will be held in Karachi before the team’s departure. Akhtar was all praise for weather conditions in Abbottabad, saying that maximum time is being spent on training which will yield good results.

Shedding light on specific areas to be covered in the ongoing camp, Akhtar said: “We are concentrating on blocking the ‘power hit’ of the Europeans and the Malaysians besides making our defence more strong.”

The head coach further admitted that in order to become a top-level team, Pakistan needed to have at least four or five top performers in the side who could pose a real threat to rival teams.

He pointed out that young and talented sportsmen were not being given opportunities to join schools and colleges on sports quota due to which all sports in the country were suffering.

“We need good players to come up on merit but it is not happening. I will soon put forward suggestions in this regard to Mian Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif,” he said.

To a question that why the camp was being conducted on green turf when blue turf had become the standard in international hockey, the head coach said that the upcoming event would be played on green turf which would be more advantageous for the national team.

“The next ten days are more important as different drill combinations are going to be employed to help boys gain perfection in quick passing and ball possession,” claimed Akhtar.

Talking about goalkeepers’ training, the head coach said that though Ahmed Alam was requested to help goalkeepers in the ongoing camp, he couldn’t turn up due to other commitments.

He, however, said that goalkeeping coach Arshad is available to train goalkeepers in the camp.

Our Sports Reporter from Lahore adds: Akhtar said hectic efforts would be made in the camp to improve the penalty-corner conversion and for bringing in more accuracy of the attackers in the ‘D’ area.

Talking to Dawn from Abbottabad, Akhtar said as the boys had assembled again after an almost two-and-a-half month lapse, his main focus would be to make improvement in skills and fitness of the boys.

“The penalty-corner conversion rate must improve further and our strikers have to show more perfection in completing the move in the ‘D’ area during attacks on the rival teams,” Akhtar said.

“Hockey is now played at a very fast pace and you have very little time to pull off perfect finishing in the ‘D’ area to score a goal.”

He said a work plan had been prepared by newly inducted nutrition expert Adnan Zakir for players’ diet and fitness. “I am satisfied with Adnan as he is showing lot of passion in improving the fitness level of the players,” he said.

Meanwhile, Akhtar again invited all the former hockey stalwarts like Islahuddin Siddiqui, Shahnaz Sheikh, Samiullah, Manzoor Junior and others to step forward and help him with their valuable suggestions in raising a strong team for the WHL, which will also serve as qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup.

“This is the time that we should work together by setting aside petty disputes and I would like to again invite all my colleagues who have earned good name for the country to come forward and join hands for the betterment of the national hockey,” Akhtar said.

Dawn



Colts depart for tour of Europe

Pakistan play a total of eight matches during the tour before their return on June 16.


KARACHI: Pakistan’s junior hockey team departs for the tour of Europe, hoping for positive results that will increase the side’s confidence ahead of the Junior Hockey World Cup in India in December.

Pakistan play a total of eight matches during the tour before their return on June 16. The colts will first visit Holland for two matches against their Dutch counterparts on June 3 and 4. Following this, the team will contest a four-match series with Germany from June 6 before taking on Belgium in a couple of matches on June 14 and 15.

Junior team coach Anjum Saeed said the players were prepared for the assignment.

“The players have gone through a rigorous training programme,” Saeed told The Express Tribune. “There were two phases in the training camp and players have remained in good shape. We’re hoping for good results.”

Captain Umar Bhutta said the upcoming test will give much-needed exposure to the players.

The Express Tribune



Munir Dar — an iconic sports personality of Pakistan

By Ijaz Chaudhary




LAHORE: June 1st marks the second death anniversary of Pakistan hockey’s legend full-back and Olympian Munir Dar. Two years back that day I was in Holland with Dar Hockey Academy, a brainchild of Munir Dar himself. The Dar HA was about to play the opening match of its 2011 European tour. As the sad news arrived, the academy officials wanted to cancel the match but Munir’s son Taqueer, the Dar HA president, advised from Pakistan to fulfil the commitment. The academy played the match wearing black armbands and before the start of the match a one-minute silence was observed in the memory of the departed legend. Munir Dar lived a remarkable life – an envy of everyone.

Born in 1936 in Amritsar, the young Munir moved to Lahore in 1947. At his new home, he found a hockey stick and the life-long love affair started. Blessed with a very athletic and strong physique, Munir displayed all the attributes of a solid defender at the right full-back position. Moreover, he was a wonderful striker of the penalty corners. All this meant, he was soon on the radar of the national selectors and the 19-year-old Munir earned a spot for the 1956 Olympics.

At those Melbourne Games, Pakistan won their first-ever Olympic medal in any discipline – silver. Young Munir’s display in the final was memorable. There was no looking back. Munir created sensation at the 1958 Asian Games. Against South Korea, who had made headlines by restricting India, the undisputed kings of hockey at that time to a 2-1 victory, Munir successfully converted as many as five successive penalty corners – a feat never done in international hockey before and only equalled twice since then. In fact, Munir’s goals against Korea made all the difference. The hockey tournament of the 1958 Asiad was played only on a single league. The Pakistan-India match ended scoreless and the two sides finished with equal points. Pakistan won gold medal on goal difference mainly due to their big victory against the Koreans.

Two years later, Munir again figured in Pakistan’s first, ever gold medal victory at the 1960 Olympics ending India’s 32-year hegemony. He remained Pakistan’s first choice until his retirement after the 1966 Asian Games when he had the honour of captaining the national side. In three Olympic appearances, he garnered one gold and two silvers. In as many appearances at the Asian Games, Munir’s medal cabinet had two golds and one silver.

Before his exit from the international scene, Munir had already groomed his younger brother Tanvir Dar to be his successor. Tanvir, also a right fullback, was a member of the 1968 Olympic gold medal winning team. He also reigned supreme at the inaugural World Cup in 1971 where he was tournament’s top scorer with eight goals for the victorious Pakistan side.

The Dar success story continued and Munir’s eldest son Taqueer completed the unique family treble when he figured in the Pakistan team that won the country’s third Olympic gold medal in 1984. His second son Taseer was a stand by for those Olympics. It was only dirty politics that Taseer couldn’t don the senior national shirt. The experts rated his penalty corner strike more powerful and accurate than any of the other Dars. All this disheartened the youngest son Tafseer, who had been showing great promise, to the extent that he decided to say goodbye to hockey and turned to cricket. Tafseer played first-class cricket for quite some time. Munir also coached Pakistan’s senior and junior national sides in 70s and 80s. Hockey was just one part of Munir’s multi-faceted personality. An avid horse racer with an eye for horses, his stable won a number of races at the Lahore race club.

His interest in sports was not confined to hockey. Munir was the founder president of the Pakistan Karate Federation and also served at the executive committee of the Pakistan Rugby Federation. A police officer by profession, he was the chairman of the police sports board from 1985 to 1995. His tenure is remembered as the golden decade of the police sports. The policemen won laurels not only at the national level but also made Pakistan proud at the Asian and world level. At the 1990 Asian Games, Ghulam Abbas won an athletics gold for Pakistan after 16 years – no one has won since. Yahya Butt and Mansoor Butt won the Mr Asia title. The Pakistan volleyball team had a great run from late 80s to mid-90s when they were a potent force at the Asian level. A number of policemen featured regularly in the national line-ups during that period. Dar was instrumental in raising the Asian Style Kabaddi team of police. Again quite a few members of the police squad represented Pakistan’s national squads that won medals at the Asiads.

Coming to his own discipline of hockey, under Munir’s direct supervision the Police team won the national championships in 1993 for only the second time; the first was way back in 1960 when Munir himself was a member of the team. The year of 1994 saw Pakistan hockey’s last hurrah at the global stage. The green shirts won the World Cup after 12 years and the Champions Trophy after 14 years. The police team provided five players in the national outfits for the two tournaments, more than any other department.

A very bold and vocal personality, he never hesitated in calling spade a spade and was much feared by the incompetent and failed sport administrators of the country who often received Munir’s wrath. Munir was an institution in him. Blessed with an excellent memory, Munir was a reservoir of sports’ knowledge and the sports lovers like me would spend hours in his company. One never felt bored as he came out with interesting and informative stories from almost all the sports disciplines. We all miss you.

The Daily Times



Govinda is HI selection panel chief


Govinda.

More than a year since he was unceremoniously dumped from the Indian squad for the hockey Olympic qualifiers, Arjun Halappa has returned to Hockey India fold — as a national selector.

In a release on Friday, Hockey India named the new national selection committee that will take charge from July 1 for one-year tenure, with an emphasis on youth. The team includes two other new faces — former captain Gagan Ajit Singh and R.P. Singh.

While Olympian B.P. Govinda has been named chairman of the nine-member committee, those who have been dropped are Col. Balbir Singh and Thoiba Singh.

“Hockey India had discussed this with me. It is a pleasant surprise as I will now be able to work from within the system,” Halappa said.

Being an active player means Halappa will have to juggle duties. “I can still play for Air India for some time, but that will not affect my duties. It comes down to sincerity.

“As a player I have seen both good and bad decisions in selection; that makes it easier for me to know what not to do,” he added.

Four women selectors have also been included — Savitri Purty, Mamta Kharab, Surinder Kaur, Saba Anjum — to expand the committee.

The selection committee will work with the High Performance and Development Committee to develop future players.

Surinder, Saba and R.P. Singh are also members of the HPD Committee, as are the outgoing selectors.

Interestingly, both Halappa and Gagan Ajit were part of the rebel World Series Hockey organised by the Indian Hockey Federation.

Col. Balbir welcomed the appointment of younger faces.

The Hindu



Arjun Halappa in the Selection Commitee

Hockey India Announce its new Selection Committee for the season 2013-14

s2h team


Junior World Cup goldies Arjun Halappa and Gagan Ajit Singh are among the nine member selection committee announced by Hockey India.

Their inclusion, being the WSH player, is a step ahead in the process of amalgamation of Indian hockey community which has been in disarray since last five years.

Gagan and Arjun, incidentally were WSH team captains last year. Final

New Delhi, 31 May 2013: Hockey India announces its new Selection Committee for the season 2013-14. The new Selection Committee was decided in the Hockey India Executive Board meeting held in New Delhi on 4th April 2013.

Hockey India recently announced its High Performance and Development Committee which is a step forward in bringing uniformity in the development of the sport across the country. The Selection Committee will work jointly with the High Performance and Development Committee to identify fresh talent in the country.

Olympian B P Govinda who represented the country twice in Olympics (1972 & 1976), two World Cups (1973 & 1975) and three Asian Games (1970, 1974 & 1978) will be the Chairman, Selection Committee.

The other members in the Selection Committee are Olympian Mr. Syed Ali (1964 Olympics), former international player Dr. R P Singh (World Cup in1986 & 1990), former Captain Mr. Gagan Ajit Singh (Olympics in 2000 & 2004), former Captain Mr. Arjun Halappa (Olympics in 2004 & Commonwealth Games in 2010), former Captain Ms. Savitri Purty (Asian Games in 1986), former Captain Ms. Mamta Kharab (Commonwealth Games in 2002 & 2006, Asia Cup in 2004), former Captain Ms. Surinder Kaur (Asia Cup in 2004) and former Captain Ms. Saba Anjum (Commonwealth Games 2002 & 2006, Asia Cup 2004 and Asian Games in 2002)

The newly appointed Selection Committee will come into effect from 1st July 2013.

Hockey India Selection Committee includes-
1. Mr. B P Govinda (Chairman)
2. Mr. Syed Ali
3. Dr. R P Singh
4. Mr. Gagan Ajit Singh
5. Mr. Arjun Halappa
6. Ms. Savitri Purty
7. Ms. Mamta Kharab
8. Ms. Surinder Kaur
9. Ms. Saba Anjum

Stick2Hockey.com



Arjun Halappa named Hockey India (HI) selector

Joe Williams



Arjun Halappa

Former India skipper Arjun Halappa is all set to don a new hat. The midfielder, who represented the country for over a decade, has been appointed a Hockey India (HI) selector. In fact, the 32-year-old is the youngest to have got the prestigious job.

Halappa, who ended his international career in the recent past but continues to play for Air India, will be part of the nine-member committee headed by Olympian BP Govinda. The panel will take charge on July 1. The other selectors are Syed Ali, Dr RP Singh, Gagan Ajit Singh, Savitri Purty, Mamta Kharab, Surinder Kaur, Saba Anjum.

“This is a new beginning, and it will be more of a learning process. There are many stalwarts in the committee and it will be a great opportunity for me to learn from them,” said Halappa.

DNA



Chak de moment: Haryana girl to lead national hockey team

Hindol Basu


CHANDIGARH: Just as Bhiwani is synonymous with boxing, Shahbad is a cradle for hockey players. And, Ritu Rani - who hails from this small Haryana town - has added to its glory. Ritu will captain an 18-member Indian women's team in the upcoming FIH Hockey World League, to be played at Rotterdam, the Netherlands, from June 13-23.

It hasn't been a cakewalk for Ritu. Fighting all odds, she has come a long way from a rural hamlet to the position she holds today.

An untiring inside forward in the current team, Ritu is much in the mould of her male counterpart Sardara Singh. Currently at the NIS, Patiala -- where a national team camp is undergoing, Ritu told TOI that she felt "it was important for the team to play as a unit".

"It is going to be very challenging but we will try to perform to the best of our abilities. Our recent form has been good. We won the second round of the world league in Delhi and it's important to carry on the winning momentum. The tournament at Rotterdam will provide us that opportunity. I am looking forward to the challenge," she said.

Religious and down-to-earth, Ritu thanked the Almighty and promised better showing from the young squad that has been picked. "I owe everything to God's grace and thank Him for that. To lead a national team is an honour for me," she said. "Our team is quite young with many junior players in the squad. Though they might be inexperienced, I feel they will give their best when out on the field," added the midfielder.

"Ritu is very balanced. Success and failure doesn't matter as long as one puts in one's best. I know she will give her best every time she walks onto the field. She is hard-working and grounded. Ritu doesn't let success get to her head," said government observer Harbinder Singh, when asked what prompted the Hockey India (HI) to appoint Ritu as the captain.

The Indian team qualified for the competition in February this year by winning the world league round 2 tournament in Delhi. The FIH World League is also a qualifying tournament for the 2014 Women's World Cup. The task for Ritu's team will be cut out as India is placed in pool B along with New Zealand, Germany and Belgium while hosts the Netherlands, Korea, Japan and Chile are placed in pool A. The Indian team will play their opening match against New Zealand on June 13, followed by Belgium (June 14) and Germany (June 16).

The Times of India



Punjab open campaign in style, beat Gujarat 30-0

PUNE: Defending champions Punjab got off to a rollicking start in the third Hockey India Senior Men National Championship, thrashing Gujarat 30-0 in their opening league match of Pool A at Shiv Chhatrapati Shivaji Sports Complex on Friday.

Punjab started their game on attacking note and successfully built pressure on their opponents. Forward Vikramjit Singh scored maximum seven goals for Punjab followed by Simranjit Singh (6), Inderjeet Singh (5), Sarvanjit Singh (4), Ravi Pal (3), Jarnail Singh (3), Vikas Sharma (1) and Sandeep Singh (1).

In a Pool B game, Air India overwhelmed Tripura 13-0 to maintain their unbeaten run. For Air India, skipper Arjun Halappa and Swamy Vinaya scored three goals each followed by Vikram Pillay (2), Affan Yousuf (2), Pradhan Somanna (2) and Subbaiah Darshan (1).

In the other Pool B match, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy defeated Puducherry 6-1. Vikas Chaudhary and Mohammad Nizamuddin scored twice each for MPHA followed by a goal each from Rinku Yadav and Raju Singh.

Sashastra Seema Bal registered their first win in Pool F, defeating Jammu & Kashmir 2-0. Vinay Bishwakarma and Gunamai Singh) scored a goal each for SSB.

In Pool D, Uttar Pradesh drew 2-2 with Andaman & Nicobar while Mumbai Hockey Association routed hosts Hockey Maharashtra 2-1.

In Pool H, Tamil Nadu spanked Rajasthan 20-0.

The Times of India



Sixth edition of Vadodara Hockey League from June 9

VADODARA: The popularity of Vadodara Hockey League (VHL) organized by Baroda District Hockey Association (BDHA) has been increasing with every passing year. The sixth edition of night hockey league will begin on June 9 in the city with special focus on junior hockey players. BDHA has for the first time introduced an Under-14 category for night hockey tournament this year.

The idea to introduce the U-14 category came from BDHA president Nilesh Patel. "We want to build a young team of hockey players, who have the ability to play at higher level. If we catch them young we will be able to spot the talent and train the players," Patel told TOI. Also, hockey players from all over the state will participate in the open category of the tournament.

Hockey players from Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Surat, Mehsana, Rajkot and many other districts will represent different teams during the tournament. There will be 26 teams, including four women's team, in different categories. The six-a-side night hockey tourney was organized for the first time in 2008 and the idea was to popularize the national game among spectators and players.

BDHA had received impressive response in the first year itself. Eight men's team will fight it out in the open category and four women's team will also participate in the tourney. Six teams of Under-17 category will also be playing in the tournament. "The VHL has now become our most popular annual event with players keenly awaiting the tournament every year. We provide best of facilities to the players and good platform to perform," Patel said.

The Times of India



FIH despatches modules on preventing sports' latest scourge

BANGALORE: Hockey could not have timed it better. In a commendable attempt at combating corruption in sport and educating players on its dangers, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) dispatched to its member units around the world videos that intensely depicted the spectre of match-fixing.

The online modules, developed by SportAccord, a global umbrella organisation for international sports federations, were shown to the national campers at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) here recently along with another session on anti-doping.

With the country reeling under the IPL spot-fixing saga, the FIH couldn't have timed it better. In a letter to all national federations, FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather said: "We need to ensure that the fundamental character of hockey is protected as an honest test of skill, endeavour and ability. There is a need for education to understand the tactics and approaches of the fixers..."

The modules reveal the dark world of match-fixing through its central characters - an athlete, a mobster, a compulsive gambler and drug addict and an undercover cop - and use quotes from popular athletes who have fallen prey to corruption to lay bare the ruin that follows.

Cliff Mardulier of Belgium - a football goalkeeper - tells his tale in the first module. Having played in the national U-23 side and the Dutch and Belgian Premier Leagues, Mardulier was looking forward to rosier days when his club Lierse fell upon hard times.

"We were not paid salary for three months. At that time, a Chinese guy approached us saying he was going to buy the club. He said the club was expensive because at that moment we were in sixth place. He said if we could lose some matches we would go down the league table and so the club would be less expensive."

The Chinese asked to them lose more matches, even threatened them with a gun at times. The sham continued until Mardulier was arrested in 2006 even as the Chinese businessman left the country without spending a day in jail. Life was never the same again for the goalkeeper.

The Times of India



Hockey India faces Competition Commission of India heat

Sidhartha & Pankaj Doval


NEW DELHI: Hockey India, the national body for the national sport, is set earn the wrath of the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

CCI has found Hockey India guilty of anti-competitive practices and abusing its dominant position. It would be asked to split its regulatory and commercial functions.

But unlike the Board of Control for Cricket In India (BCCI), on whom CCI slapped Rs 52 crore penalty for abusing its dominant position in IPL, Hockey India will be spared the financial burden. BCCI has challenged the order in the appellate tribunal.

The decision against Hockey India has already been taken and the order is to be made public.

Sources said that the CCI has found Hockey India (HI) guilty of abusing its dominant position after it allegedly threatened sanctions against players who took part in World Series Hockey (WSH), promoted by Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), a rival body.

The case pertains to 2011 when a complaint was filed with CCI by a group. The CCI order concurs with the findings of its investigating arm, headed by the director-general.

HI's stance was seen as anti-competitive.

Sources also said that the CCI may take similar action against the All India Chess Federation (AICF), which has been accused of withholding players registered with it from participating in events organised by other associations.

The Times of India



Umpires benefit from China experience

Barstow & Grochal look back on a wonderful two weeks in Beijing

Dan Barstow and Marcin Grochal



Dan Barstow & Marcin Grochal at the Olympic Sports Centre in Beijing. (Photo: SUBMITTED)

FEATURE: Every four years, the China Hockey Association asks the International Hockey Federation to appoint neutral male and female FIH umpires to China‘s flagship events: the China National Games and the China National Games Preliminaries. The qualifiers for these events were played in Beijing (men) and Jiangsu (women), with the main event taking place in Liaoning Province in September. The FIH neutral umpires for the men’s qualifier in Beijing were England’s Dan Barstow and Marcin Grochal of Poland. The umpiring duo have put together a short story recapping their experiences in China.

Before we arrived in China, we were lucky enough to find out that the men’s qualifier was taking place in Beijing. Beijing is not only China‘s biggest city, but also one of the most vibrant and lively places in the world. We were accommodated in the Olympic Sports Centre, which had the hockey pitch right next to it. During the Beijing 2008 Olympics the Sports Centre was used as a training venue and throughout the year it enjoys regular use as training ground for all China hockey national teams.

The format of the qualifier consisted of ten teams playing in two pools of five. The top two teams in each pool would play in the Semi Finals, while the remaining teams would play off for the fifth to tenth positions. Seven of the ten teams would qualify for the National China Games, which take place in  September. The China Hockey Association appointed twelve umpires for the event, which included two female officials. The officials were overseen by FIH umpire Chen Dekang, who on this occasion also took charge of umpire management.

The standard of the hockey on show at the event was quite high. With the majority of the teams training full-time, the technical skills on show were impressive and the fitness levels were extraordinary, something which was definitely needed when you consider that each team played a total of seven matches during the ten day competition.

With the top seven teams guaranteeing a place in the National China Games, it comes as no surprise that the final round matches deciding the 5-8th ranked teams were very competitive. There were a number of unexpected results and close matches, some of which were decided in the dying minutes of the matches. The tournament final was thrilling, going all the way to the Shoot-Out both normal and extra time finished with the scores locked at 2-2. The Inner Mongolia team were the eventual winners, winning the Shoot-Out 3-1.

For a national event, we were impressed by the sophisticated video umpiring system that was used in the tournament. They used a system involving three manned and two fixed cameras to help the Video Umpire with their decisions during the most important moments of the game. Obviously, as two non-Chinese speaking umpires, there was a language barrier when trying to communicate with the video umpire, but the hosts had a plan for everything! During our games there was a translator waiting on the side-lines who would step on the pitch if either of the teams decided to use a video referral. We are pleased to report that it worked incredibly well.

Our visit to China was not just about hockey. Thanks to the wonderful hospitality that we experienced during our stay, we had the chance to see the tourist side of Beijing including the Olympic Park, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall. We also tasted the local cuisine such as the world-famous Beijing Roasted Duck, and visit many other remarkable areas that all make the Chinese capital one of the most incredible cities in Asia.

During the trip we encountered a number of different cultural differences. We found that a knife and fork is a rare commodity in Beijing, so we learned to eat with chopsticks. We both are masters of the art now, even if we still haven’t quite figured out how to spread butter on our toast! During the official dinner we had the chance to sample rice wine, and we also began to practice some Chinese words which may be useful with our umpiring. These include Woo Mee (5 metres), Zo (Play), and Mayo (nothing).

Our two weeks in Beijing was an amazing experience. We were given a chance to umpire hockey in a completely different environment to the one that we are used to, forcing us to step out of our comfort zone. It was an experience that will definitely benefit for our future performances, something which will hopefully be on show at the upcoming TriFinance EuroHockey Championship this summer.

We hope that we managed to present a high level of decision making that enriched the tournament and helped organisers to raise the level of the event. We would like to thank the Chinese Hockey Association for inviting us, and looking after us so well.

FIH site