News for 07 August 2013

All the news for Wednesday 7 August 2013


Bain & Forsyth double-up to defeat France in Vienna


Ian Moodie has the attention of the French defence to deal with in Vienna. Credit: Herbert Kratky

Scotland Senior Men bounced back from yesterday's loss to Azerbaijan with a thumping 4-1 victory over France in the EuroHockey Nations Championship II competition in Vienna today.

Strikers Alan Forsyth and Kenny Bain bagged a brace of goals each, while Scotland goalkeeper Jamie Cachia also saved a second half penalty stroke, as the national side put themselves firmly back in contention for a semi-final place and a crack at promotion to the Championship in 2015.

Wales are the next opponents for Derek Forsyth's charges on Thursday as the sides take a rest day tomorrow.


Scotland's Graham Moodie and Alan Forsyth celebrate after the final hooter. Credit: Herbert Kratky

After today's emphatic victory delighted Scotland Senior Men Team Manager Eugene Connolly said, "The team put in a great peformance today in temperatures that reached 36 degrees. The players worked their socks off, displayed excellent teamwork and stuck to a disciplined game plan.

"The game was far more open than in yesterday's game against Azerbaijan so we had plenty space to exploit and create chances for our strikers. Interestingly, we went the whole game without being awarded a penalty corner but when you score four goals from open play, that's what counts.

"We now face Wales on Thursday and will know where we stand in regards to reaching the semi-finals as France and Azerbaijan play first. Obviously a win for Azerbaijan would aid our cause."

The opening stages of the first half mirrored yesterday's game with neither side able to break the deadlock inside the first twenty-five minutes. However, the contest sprung into life with three goals in a seven minute spell just before half time.

In the 27th minute, it was France who took the lead when Simon Brisac Martin found the back of Jamie Cachia's goal to make it 1-0.

However, Scotland hit back back immediately in the 28th minute when Alan Forsyth collected a pass from Gavin Byers and the Surbiton's striker's firmly struck shot had enough power to beat Matthias Dierckens' parry to level the scores at 1-1.

With half-time approaching, Kenny Bain ensured his side would go into the interval with a 2-1 advantage when he converted Byers' pass from the left hand touchline in the 34th minute.

In the 47th minute, Ross Stott found Byers again with a beautiful pass and the Grove Menzieshill midfielder played in Bain one on one with the 'keeper. The THC Hurley marksman rounded Dierckens to slot the ball home for a 3-1 lead.

France thought they had a chance to get back into the game shortly after as they were awarded a dubious penalty stroke for a deliberate block on the goal-line, but Jamie Cachia maintained Scotland's two goal advantage with a great save low to his left.


Scotland goalkeeper Jamie Cachia pulls off a fine penalty save. Credit: Herbert Kratky

Head Coach Derek Forsyth then had to watch his team defend several penalty corners but the Scottish defence stood steadfast under pressure from the French to repel the threats on goal.

With the match almost over, Forsyth rounded off the scoring with Scotland's fourth, and his second goal of the game, in the 70th minute when the ball was scooped forward by the Scottish defence and he beat the French kicking back to easily flick the ball into the empty net.


Wei Adams in action against France. Credit: Herbert Kratky.

Please visit the EuroHockey website for more information about fixtures, results and pool standings.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



TriFinance EuroHockey Championships, 17-25 August


Barry Middleton in acton for England against Japan at the World League

With both English senior teams heading out to Antwerp, Belgium next month, the excitement builds for one of the biggest tournaments of the year. The EuroHockey Championships have always been an exciting and tough competition for England and both teams will be looking for a good result.

With the England Women’s squad going from strength to strength with the addition of some exciting and ever-improving young players, and finished second in the recent Investec World League, qualifying for the World Cup 2014 in the process. Captain Kate Walsh says she’s “fed up with bronze” so will, no doubt, be looking for a high finish.

The England Men’s squad also qualified for the World Cup after their World League performance in Malaysia and performed well with some high-scoring draws in a recent series with the highly-rated Netherlands team. With some very tough competition in teams like the Netherlands and Olympic winners Germany, the men could be harder pushed for a medal finish than the women. However following the matches with the Netherlands, coach Bobby Crutchley commented “once again we’ve plenty to be really pleased about, our general play and control in the game has been good, and we were a threat going forward which is something we’ve worked hard on.”

BBC Sport has secured rights to the EuroHockey Nations Championship, which is an exciting development for the visibility of hockey in the UK. From 17 August, the BBC will air all games on iPlayer, the red button or online, bringing the audience more hockey than ever before.

Eurohockey - what you need to know
DATES: 17-25 August
VENUE: Boom, Antwerp

 

  • Eight teams divided into two pools of four, split according to their world ranking.
  • Each team will play against the other sides in their pool, with points awarded as follows: 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss.
  • Teams on equal points during the pool phase will be ranked according to who won the most matches. If two sides have equal points and won an equal number of matches, teams will be ranked according to their respective goal differences.

Pools:

Women Pool A
Netherlands (Ranking: 1)
Belgium (4)
Ireland (5)
Belarus (8)

Women Pool B
England (2)
Germany (3)
Spain (6)
Scotland (7)

Men Pool A

Germany (Ranking: 1)
Spain (4)
Belgium (5)
Czech Republic (8)

Men Pool B
Netherlands (2)
England (3)
Ireland (6)
Poland (7)

England Schedule*

Saturday 17th August
10:00 Women Pool B England v Spain

Sunday 18th August
10:00 Men Pool B England v Poland

* To find out more scheduling information for the men Click Here and to find out more information for the women's tournament Click Here.

England Hockey Board Media release



England men’s squad named for EuroHockey Championships


England men v the Netherlands day 2 of NOW Pensions Nations Cup

Ahead of the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley has named his squad of 18 athletes who will compete from 18-25 August.

The line-up contains a balanced mix of experience and youth from the centralised training squad Crutchley has been working with since stepping up to be head coach earlier this year.

There are just six athletes who took part in the London Olympics last summer. East Grinstead’s Iain Lewers is included in the side after he made a welcome return to the defensive line recently, after recovering from a knee injury he sustained last year. A noticeable omission from the 18 is double Olympian Ashley Jackson, who underwent surgery on his ankle after the World League in Malaysia and will be out for the rest of the summer.

England will face Ireland, the Netherlands and Poland in Pool B at the championships. One side which Crutchley’s men are no strangers to is the Dutch, who they have played on numerous occasions this year. Last week, the two sides faced each other in the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup and with 17 goals over a three match series, fans at Wakefield HC were treated to some fantastic hockey.

Speaking about the squad’s preparations for the event and their aim for the tournament, Crutchley said, “The Dutch games last week were encouraging for us and it was great to push such a quality side so close. Having said that, matches before major tournaments don’t always indicate what will happen on the day as different sides prepare in different ways. To predict how we will do overall is very difficult, especially given the inexperience of this side and the inconsistent results we’ve had recently.”

He also added his comments on some of the opposition at the tournament, “If Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands all play at the top of their games it will be very difficult for us to medal, but we also know that there is a lot of potential in this side. First and foremost we will look to our group matches where we are not taking anything for granted. The games against Poland and Ireland will be tough; Ireland have shown how strong they are when they pushed us close in Hamburg and it will be a nervous first game against Poland who we know the least about going into the tournament.”

In Pool A, Belgium, Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic will battle it out against each other. Having both won their respective World League Semi Final tournaments earlier this summer in Malaysia and Rotterdam, Germany and Belgium come into the tournament leading the way in recent form books.

England captain Barry Middleton is no stranger to the European Champions having competed in five already, and he is looking forward to the challenge ahead, “This is a young squad, but they have delivered everything that’s been asked of them so far and there is a really good level of positivity around the camp. As a player, the EuroHockey Championships is one event that everyone looks forward to and it will be great to test ourselves against Europe’s best.”

The TriFinance EuroHockey Championships are being shown on the BBC Red Button, online and on iplayer. England’s first match is on Sunday 18 August against Poland at 09:00 (UK time).

For more information about the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships please visit the official website www.trifinanceeurohockey2013.be

England Men’s Squad for TriFinance EuroHockey Championships
Name (Position)

Ben Arnold (Forward)
James Bailey (Goalkeeper)
Alastair Brogdon (Forward)
Tom Carson (Forward)
Nick Catlin (Forward/Midfield)
David Condon (Midfield)
Adam Dixon (Midfield/Defender)
Dan Fox (Defender)
Michael Hoare (Defender)
Iain Lewers (Defender)
Simon Mantell (Forward)
Harry Martin (Midfielder)
Barry Middleton (Midfield/Forward)
George Pinner (Goalkeeper)
Dan Shingles (Midfielder)
Richard Smith (Defender)
Henry Weir (Midfield/Defender)
Ollie Willars (Defender)

England Hockey Board Media release



England women’s squad named for EuroHockey Championships

EuroHockey Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, England Head Coach Jason Lee has named his squad of 18 athletes who will compete from 17-24 August.

Named in the squad are nine London 2012 bronze medallists, which includes the welcome return of treble Olympian Helen Richardson who has recovered from a back injury she had surgery on earlier this year.  Joining Richardson is the youngest member of the squad, 18 year old Lily Owsley, who made her debut at the Investec World League in June shortly after completing her A Level exams. Owsley scored her first senior international goal last weekend when England faced Belgium in Antwerp on the pitch they will play on next Saturday.

Another treble Olympian and longstanding England captain Kate Walsh will lead her team out next Saturday for her seventh European Championships. After reaching her 300th combined international cap last weekend she will be one of the most experienced players there. Commenting on the tournament and her recent achievements, she said, “It’s really exciting to be heading out to Belgium with this squad. We have some great talent in the line-up and this tournament will give us a chance to test ourselves against the best sides in Europe. I feel really lucky and honoured to have made my 300th international appearance, but my focus is very much on making sure we have the best possible preparation before next week and that we go into the tournament ready.”

England Head Coach Jason Lee added, “Since April it’s been a steep learning curve for some of the new girls coming into the squad, but they have coped with everything incredibly well and I’m excited to go out to Belgium and see what we can do. As long as we perform to our best ability and play the hockey we have been doing in training then we should be very competitive in the tournament.”

England have been drawn in Pool B alongside Germany, Spain and Scotland. On paper Germany will pose the biggest threat to England, ranked just one place below them in the FIH world rankings at fifth, and they have been in fantastic form beating the Netherlands on home turf in their World League Semi Final back in June. However Spain and Scotland, at world number 14 and 19 respectively, will no doubt pose a considerable threat. Spain showed their form at the Investec World League when they came back to draw 1-1 with England.

In the other Pool, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland and Belarus will battle it out to make the final four and a semi final place on Thursday 22nd August.

The EuroHockey Championships are being shown on the BBC Red Button, online and on iplayer. England’s first match is on Saturday 17 August against Spain at 09:00 (UK time).

For more information about the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships please visit the official website www.trifinanceeurohockey2013.be

England Women’s EuroHockey Championships squad

Name (Position)


Giselle Ansley (Defender)
Ashleigh Ball (Midfielder)
Alex Danson (Forward)
Susie Gilbert (Midfielder)
Sarah Haycroft (Midfielder)
Maddie Hinch (Goalkeeper)
Kirsty Mackay (Goalkeeper)
Hannah Macleod (Forward)
Lily Owsley (Forward)
Sam Quek (Defender)
Helen Richardson (Midfielder)
Susie Townsend (Midfielder)
Georgie Twigg (Midfielder)
Laura Unsworth (Defender)
Kate Walsh (Defender)
Sally Walton (Defender)
Hollie Webb (Defender)
Nicola White (Forward)

England Hockey Board Media release



England and Belgium share the spoils

The second game finished with the same outcome and nothing to separate the sides. This time there were three goals for each side, Sally Walton, Alex Danson and Kate Walsh, making her 300th combined international appearance, all getting on the score sheet for England.

Once against England gave themselves a hill to climb after going two goals down early in the first half. Anne-Sophie De Scheemaekere and Erica Coppey both hitting home chances for their side. Three minutes from the end of the half Sally Walton pulled one back for the visitors with a deflected effort after Kate Walsh had played the ball into the circle.

With the score at 2-1 the second half was poised for a battle. And it was Reading’s Alex Danson who made it 2-2 from a penalty corner. Belgium broke their lines twice so with two players sent back to half way Kate Walsh’s initial rebound came out high to Danson who hit the ball home to even things up. Belgium then pulled away again, another goal for De Scheemaekere, who flicked high to the right of Kirsty Mackay who had come on for Maddie Hinch in England’s goal. It looked like Belgium had stolen the win, but with three minutes to go, England brought on a kicking back and in the final minute they won a penalty corner. On her 300th combined international appearance captain Kate Walsh drove the ball low into the left hand corner past Khouzam in Belgium’s goal to even the score at 3-3.

Speaking after the game head coach Jason Lee said, “It doesn’t help going down 2-0 in both games, but I thought we showed good quality to get back into both matches. I think we will have learnt a lot from these games, and it’s great to play in Antwerp ahead of the Europeans being here in a couple of weeks. Some of our less experienced players are still finding their feet, but these trips away really help. There will be a bit of down time next week now for the girls, before we make the final preparations.”

BELGIUM 3 (2)
Anne-Sophie De Scheemaekere 5, 57 (PC, PC)
Erica Coppey 11 (FG)

ENGLAND 3 (1)
Sally Walton 32 (FG)
Alex Danson 40 (PC)
Kate Walsh 69 (PC)

England Hockey Board Media release



International Round-up: Netherlands slip past England in NOW: Pensions Nations Cup

Belgian men impress with 5-0 win over Germany



In the last NOW: Pensions Nations Cup, the Netherlands and England drew 4-4 in the last clash (Photo: David Kissman / England Hockey)

As the start of the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships on 17 August draws closer, the preparations are heating up, and test matches are being played around Europe.

On the weekend, the men of Germany and Belgium played two practice matches at the stadium in Boom, where the EuroHockey Championships will take place. Saturday's clash ended 5-2 for Germany, with the 2011 European Champions exercising firm control over the proceedings. On Sunday however, the Red Lions stunned their German opponents with a 5-0 win that included a hattrick from Florent van Aubel. German head coach Markus Weise showed himself unhappy with the performance of his team after the match but also indicated that he considers the Belgian men favorites for the European title.

The Belgian women welcomed their English counterparts for two test matches, also at the EuroHockey Championships stadium, and both encounters ended tied: Friday's 2-2 was followed by a 3-3 draw on Sunday, with the equalizer for England only forced in the dying minutes of the match as the Olympic bronze medalists pulled the goalkeeper off the field for an advantage in the number of field players.

Meanwhile, the Dutch women travelled to Mönchengladbach to play the German women twice, supplementing the programme of the ERGO Hockey Junior World Cup. Thursday saw a closely contested match which the Olympic Champions claimed with a 3-1 win, while Saturday's clash was a much clearer affair as the ladies from Holland swept up a 7-0 victory.

At the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup in Wakefield, the Netherlands held England to a 4-4 draw with a last minute penalty corner goal from dragflick expert Mink van der Weerden. With the draw, the Dutch men clinched the overall three-match series Nations Cup, after winning the first match 2-1 and drawing the second 3-3.

The event in Wakefield also paired the English and Malaysian junior men's teams in a parallel three-match series. Drawing the first match 3-3, the teams went on to split the subsequent two encounters, as England recorded a clear 5-1 victory in the second match and Malaysia took the third by the narrowest of margins 6-5. A 3-2 shoot-out result declared England the overall series winner.

Prior to the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships, the Pan American region crowns their men's continental champion in the Pan American Cup, starting in Canada on Saturday. Pool A features Argentina, the USA, Mexico and Uruguay, while Pool B is made up of Canada, Chile, Trinidad&Tobago and Brasil. The team at the top of the podium on Sunday, 17 August 2013, qualifies for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup next June - unless the winner is Argentina, who have already qualified for the event through their Hockey World League Semi-Final silver medal last month, in which case Korea would be confirmed as a World Cup participant thanks to their 4th place finish in the same Semi-Final tournament.

FIH site



Rio 2016 Celebrates Three Years to the Olympic Games

5 August 2013 marked three years to go until the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony




Monday 5th August 2013 marked three years to go until the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when over 10,500 athletes from more than 200 countries will descend on the ´Marvellous City´. The Opening Ceremony, which will take place at the newly refurbished Maracana stadium, will create Olympic history as the first time that the Games will be held in South America.

The Rio 2016 Games will take place with venues in clusters across four Olympic zones; Barra, Deodoro, Copacabana and Maracana. Uniquely, the 2016 Games will include two Olympic Parks, with Barra Olympic Park hosting nine Olympic sports and the Deodoro OIympic Park staging eight Olympic sports.

With three years to go, the Rio 2016 project is on track and making strong progress towards delivering unique and memorable Games for the world to enjoy. The organising committee is working in a fully integrated manner with the three levels of government (Federal, State and City) and other stakeholders to deliver on the promises made when Rio was awarded the honour of hosting the Games in Copenhagen in October 2009.

At the heart of the Rio 2016 project is a commitment to bring positive transformation through sport. The Games are acting as a catalyst to accelerate the development and improvement of Rio in the areas of urban infrastructure, transport, security, accommodation and education, as well as sports participation, to leave a lasting legacy for many generations to come.

Due to the legacy of hosting the 2007 Pan American Games, almost half of the Rio 2016 venues are already built. Meanwhile construction projects for the new permanent and temporary venues are on schedule to host the test events programme, which is planned to run from August 2015 to April 2016.

In April work began on the Olympic golf course, which will become the first public course in Rio de Janeiro in legacy mode. Meanwhile the construction of Barra Olympic Park’s three sports hall arenas, which will host basketball, judo, taekwondo and wrestling, is also underway on schedule. The new venues, along with the Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre, the Rio Olympic Velodrome and the Olympic Tennis Centre, will become Brazil and South America’s first Olympic Training Centre following the Games and form the central part of the Rio 2016 Games sports legacy.

The Athletes Village construction is also well under way with the first three condominiums already rising out of the ground. The Organising Committee is working closely with all stakeholders to ensure the interests of the athletes and sport are kept at the heart of Games planning. To date Rio 2016 has welcomed representatives from 36 National Olympic Committees, from all five continents, and received 24 visits from 18 International Federations in order to develop the detailed operational planning for the Games.

During June the organising committee initiated the “Model Venue Exercise” at the Rio Olympic Arena, which will host gymnastics during the 2016 Games. During the exercise, employees from various functional areas of the Committee attend presentations about the Games and perform integration activities. This important exercise is aimed at building an efficient operational plan to form the basis for the planning of resources - space, staff and equipment - required for all venues during Games time.

The ambitious Rio 2016 commercial programme is making strong progress, having already surpassed the initial estimates set in the bid. Rio 2016 is now aiming to raise the largest amount of Games sponsorship to date and 50% of this target has already been achieved.

The Rio 2016 project includes a large proportion of private investment, therefore reducing the amount of public funds required; The Barra Olympic Park, Athletes Village, Bus Rapid Transit Transolimpica, International Broadcast Centre, Main Press Centre, Golf Course and the Porto Maravilha renovation are all private or private-public-partnership (PPP) projects.

In May, the supporters in the packaged food and dairy products categories were announced, while partners in the beer, logistics, operating system software and network infrastructure sectors will be added soon. The licencing programme is also advancing as planned, with nine contracts signed and 17 in negotiation. This month Rio 2016 will also launch the procurement portal – a highly transparent online one-stop-shop for all companies, both domestic and international, interested in becoming suppliers to the Rio 2016 Games.

In March the organising committee moved to headquarters in the Cidade Nova area of Rio de Janeiro. The new headquarters have been built with full commitment to sustainability and accessibility using an innovative construction technique which enables the structure to be dismantled and reused elsewhere following the completion of the Rio 2016 project.

Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman said: “Thanks to the dedicated and experienced team of Rio 2016, we are keeping up with commitments, and working rationally to stage excellent Games in 2016. The partnership with the three levels of government has also been fundamental to successfully delivering these first stages of the great challenge that is organising the Olympic Games. In three years’ time history will be made as the first Games to be hosted on South American soil are officially opened. It will be a proud moment for Rio, Brazil and everyone involved in the project, and we look forward to welcoming the world with open arms.”

IOC President Jacques Rogge said: “In Copenhagen in 2009, the Rio 2016 bid team promised to deliver Games of celebration and transformation. Four years on and using the Games as a catalyst, that transformation is taking shape, with new sporting and transport infrastructure already in use, new hotels under construction, the port area being renovated, and social projects helping to improve security and life for local communities through sport. As we reach the three-years-to-go mark, Rio 2016 is working hard to deliver on its vision and its commitments to the athletes of the world and to the people of Brazil. I am confident that Rio’s transformation will continue apace and that athletes, fans, and citizens will celebrate great Olympic Games together in Rio in 2016.”

Head of Rio 2016 Sports Advisory Committee Ricardo Prado said: “For athletes across the world aspiring to become Olympians and Olympic Champions in 2016, the three years to go milestone represents another exciting landmark in their preparations. Athletes and sport are right at the heart of the Rio 2016 Games planning and the over 10,500 athletes from more than 200 countries can be confident in the knowledge that they will experience technical excellence during their competitions in Rio.”

Source: Press Release Rio 2016™ Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games


FIH site



Sargent Announced as replacement for injured Colvin



Electric Ireland's Irish Hockey Coach Darren Smith has today announced that Cliodhna Sargent will join the team as defender Lizzie Colvin recovers from an ACL knee injury that has ruled her out of the upcoming TriFinance EuroHockey Championships (Belgium 17th - 25th August).

Sargent, who returned to training with the squad over the past month, comes into the team with a wealth of experience wearing the green jersey, having accumulated over 125 caps. Smith who has had to content with a number of defenders being ruled out due to injury and unavailability including Brenda Flannery, Michelle Harvey and Kate Dillon, commented on his recent squad change "It is very disappointing to lose Lizzie. We have been working hard to develop her into a defender and she has been adapting well into that position. We are fortunate that in Cliodhna we have an experienced and skilful defender who is well positioned to step into the squad for the Euros."

Ireland are in Pool A at the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships where they will face The Netherlands, Belarus & hosts Belgium.

Electric Ireland Irish Senior Women's team 1. Niamh Atcheler (UCD) 2. Naomi Carroll (Catholic Institute) 3. Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins) 4. Nicci Daly (Loreto) 5. Megan Frazer (Ballymoney) 6. Emma Gray (Hermes) 7. Nicola Gray (UCD) 8. Lisa Jacob (Hermes) 9. Shirley McCay (Old Alex) 10. Anna O'Flanagan (UCD) 11. Grace O'Flanagan (Railway Union) 12. Audrey O'Flynn (Hermes) 13. Gillian Pinder (Hermes) 14. Niamh Small (Loreto) 15. Emma Smyth (Railway Union) - Vice Captain 16. Alex Speers (Railway Union) - Captain 17. Nikki Symmons (Loreto) 18. Chloe Watkins (UCD)

Pool A IRELAND Fixtures

17th August 2013 Ireland v Holland (18:00 local time)
18th August 2013 Ireland v Belarus (16:00 local time)
20th August 2013 Ireland v Belgium (18:00 local time)

Full Schedule click here

Irish Hockey Association media release



Ford NHL marks special moment for Christchurch



This weekend marks the first time a Ford National Hockey League game has been played in Christchurch since the earthquakes.

The Canterbury Cats (Women) and Canterbury Cavaliers (Men) host Central at Marist Park on Sunday afternoon in Round 2 of the tournament. Both teams open their NHL campaigns against Southern in Timaru on Saturday.

It will be a special moment for the Canterbury hockey community, and one that Cats defender/midfielder Pippa Hayward is looking forward to being part of.

“It’s the first game since the earthquakes so we’re hoping to get a huge crowd. It will be a really awesome and special moment and it’s really exciting for Canterbury,” Hayward said.

The Canterbury Women are defending Ford NHL champions after storming undefeated through the 2012 tournament on their way to the title.

From that dream run seven players were selected into the National Squad and two into the Development Squad, a feat the Cats are hoping will continue in 2013.

“I’m really looking forward to this year’s NHL. Hopefully we can do what the Chiefs did and win back-to-back titles.

“It was a dream run last year, we didn’t drop a game. We’ve really been focussing on working hard as a team to try and bring back the title again.

“We’re not quite the same team as last year, we’re missing a few players since then we should be pretty solid. It’s going to be very tough, all the teams look pretty strong this year.”

With all players vying for National Squad selections, this year’s NHL will be hugely competitive.

Hayward is hoping her hard work will see her selected again, and is looking forward to what will be a huge year in 2014 for the Black Sticks with the Hockey World Cup and Commonwealth Games.

“It’s really busy next year. That 2013/14 squad is the one everyone wants to make which puts pressure on everyone to perform which is always good and will make this year’s NHL even more important.”

CLICK HERE for the full Ford NHL draw, team lists and earlybird ticket info

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Ian Scally competes in 100th match with U.S. Men’s National Team

Scally joined the National Team in 2003 and will compete in his third Pan American Cup in Brampton, Ontario, August 10-17




COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – It has been a long time since Ian Scally (Thousand Oaks, Cali.) earned his first cap with the U.S. Men’s National Field Hockey Team; 10 years to be exact.

And even though Scally, in his own words, makes mention of field hockey being a young man’s sport, at the age of 34, he clearly hasn’t lost any of his youthful energy, immaculate fitness or finesse on the field as U.S. Men’s National Team head coach, Chris Clements, named Scally to his third Pan American Cup Team on Monday.

Scally debuted for Team USA in August 2003 at the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Yesterday, almost 10 years to the day, Scally earned his 100th cap on home soil against the same opponent he faced while receiving his very first cap, Chile.

Scally is one of only a handful of U.S. Men's National Team athletes to achieve this milestone and currently the only member of the U.S. Men's National Team with 100+ caps. Teammate Jon Ginolfi (Moorpark, Cali.) is poised to reach the milestone at the 2013 Pan American Cup.

USA Field Hockey spoke with Scally following the milestone match yesterday to hear his thoughts on a being a part of the Men’s National Team for nearly a decade and earning his 100th cap with Team USA.

USA Field Hockey: What is it like to represent your country in 100 international competitions?
IS:
It is a true honor to play alongside my teammates, to represent my country and to be around this program for so many years. It is a true commitment to be a part of the National Team. You have to sacrifice a lot of things but the reward is there. The friendships that you make and the experiences that you go through are unbelievable and it is all worth it.

USA Field Hockey: Do you remember your first cap with Team USA?
IS:
It was a long time ago! My first cap was in 2003 at the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It was the first match of the tournament against Chile and I remember it being a good time.

USA Field Hockey: Joining the National Team in 2003 – What has kept you playing and competing on the international stage over the last decade?
IS:
It is just a true honor and a sport that I have enjoyed playing since I was a little kid. My entire family is a field hockey family and if you add those two things together it is what keeps me around. In addition, the support that I get from work, family and the coaching staff has allowed me to stay for as long as I have.

USA Field Hockey: Do you have a favorite memory with Team USA?
IS:
There are a lot of good memories. Even though during some competitions we didn’t get great results – I still have good memories. I think the one that stands out the most was taking second place at the Pan American Cup in Santiago, Chile in 2009. Even though we came in second and it was bitter loss in the final, it was a good experience. I look forward to doing it again next week at the Pan Am Cup in Brampton.

USA Field Hockey: As a veteran on the squad, do you see yourself competing for another 50+ caps?
IS:
Even though I want to, my body may tell me no. This is a young man’s sport and I think we have a lot of great young players with a lot of skill that will take the torch and do a very good job.

USFHA media release



Canada vs. USA Indoor Series

Testing out the new 5v5 format


Canada and the USA took the initiative to test the new International Hockey Federation rules of Indoor Hockey Fives with a series of 3 exhibition matches on Aug 3 and 4 at the Sportsplex in Feasterville, Pennsylvania.

Canada tied the first match 4-4. Kri Shier scored a pair of goals while Anna Easty and Stephanie Snyder added singles. With a 5-hour break, Game 2 saw Canada fall 7-1. Shier scored Canada's lone goal at the final buzzer on a penalty corner. Sunday, the Canadians were down by 4 but clawed back to reduce the gap to 4-2. Shannon Pereira and Kyesia O'Neale found the back of the net for Canada. Easty, Pereira, O'Neale and Snyder recorded their first ever international goals.

Canada's Indoor program is not only committed to the development of its athletes but its umpires as well. As a result, they invited Candice Hawksworth to join the Can-Am test series for her first international opportunity to officiate.

The Indoor program accomplished its objective of getting some competition and experimenting with new systems in the fives format in the early stages of its preparation for the upcoming Pan American Indoor Cup in April 2014 in Montevideo, Uruguay which serves as a qualifier for the Indoor World Cup.

This new format will have its challenges but will be exciting for spectators to watch.

We’d like to thank the USA Indoor Program for hosting Canada to make this event possible.

Lastly, congratulations to Alison Chute, Anna Easty, Alison Lee, Shannon Pereira, Stephanie Snyder, Madison Thompson and Frankie Vondrejs for earning their first international (indoor) caps.

Field Hockey Canada media release



Australia Women's Indoor Squad Announced

Group to tour Europe in January 2015


The Australian women’s indoor squad has been selected ahead of a tour to Europe in early 2014. In all, 13 athletes have been named for the tour in January as part of Australia’s preparation for the 2015 Indoor World Cup. Two more athletes will be selected following a proposed tour to Singapore in October 2013.

Indoor hockey is set to go through a transformation with the International Hockey Federation’s ratification of a move from six-a-side to five-a-side effective immediately, something that will give coach Stewart Fenton and his team plenty to think about over the coming months.

Announcing the squad, Fenton said, “I am delighted to announce a squad of players to tour Europe in January 2014. With the recent FIH decision to reduce the number of players on the indoor field to five from six it will give our coaching staff and players the opportunity to work on structure and strategy against many of the top European nations in the lead up to their European championships.

“It will also be a great opportunity for many of the younger players selected in the squad to experience international competition against many of the world’s best indoor players as we start our preparation towards the World Cup to be held in January 2015 in Germany. On behalf of the coaches I congratulate all of the players on their selection and look forward to a successful tour”.

The itinerary for the European tour will be announced in the coming weeks with a number of new opportunities and tournament invitations anticipated to arise as a result of the rule changes, which will be experienced by European nations preparing for the indoor European championships in Prague in January 2014. The Australian indoor team’s management and coaching team will consider such opportunities prior to confirming the itinerary.

At this stage a prospective tour to Singapore in October is being finalised and a squad for the tour will be announced in the coming weeks.

Australia women’s indoor squad
1. Lauren AUSTIN (WA)
2. Tegan BOUCHER (VIC)
3. Emily CARROLL (WA)
4. Clare COMMERFORD (QLD)
5. Holly EVANS (SA)
6. Kyah GRAY (NSW)
7. Emma McLEISH (NSW)
8. Emily RIORDAN (VIC)
9. Stephanie RIORDAN (VIC)
10. Rebecca SNESKOV (VIC)
11. Aleisha SMITH (NSW)
12. Shellie WATSON (ACT)
13. Pam WILLIAMS (QLD)

Coaching team
Stewart Fenton – Coach
Karen Seaman – Team Manager and Assistant Coach
John Trueman – Assistant Coach
Alex Lupton – Assistant Coach

Hockey Australia media release



George believes Malaysia can emerge victorious in Ipoh

By AFTAR SINGH


KUALA LUMPUR: National hockey team manager George Koshy is confident that Malaysia can win the Asia Cup.

He has even picked the four possible semi-finalists, saying he expects India, Pakistan, South Korea and Malaysia to be in the last four of the tournament, which will be held in Ipoh from Aug 24-Sept 1.

“Nothing is impossible. I believe that Malaysia will play in the final on Sept 1,” said George, who believes that Malaysia can turn the tables on the other teams to lift the Cup.

World No. 6 South Korea are the highest ranked team in the tournament, followed by world No. 8 Pakistan and India (No. 11). Malaysia are ranked 13th in the world.

George said that the seniors could achieve the impossible if they show the same drive and passion as the national juniors did en route to winning the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca last year.

“I am sure five of the players who featured in the Junior Asia Cup will have the same desire to give their best in Ipoh to win the Asia Cup,” said George.

The five are defenders Faiz Helmi Jali and Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, midfielder Mohd Fitri Saari and forwards Faizal Saari and Mohd Firhan Ashaari.

George also took the opportunity to thank the media for its coverage on the death of national hockey player Chua Boon Huat.

“The media played a significant role in giving superb coverage,” said George, who declined to answer who would now don the No. 3 jersey worn by the late Boon Huat.

“Our focus should be the Asia Cup,” he said.

The Star of Malaysia



First phase of Pakistan hockey camp ends


LAHORE - The first phase of national hockey camp to prepare the team for the Asia Cup will conclude here today (Wednesday) with all the 26 players re-joining their families for Eid holidays.

“The second phase will start from August 12 ending on Aug 19 when the team will leave for Malaysia for taking part in the Asia Cup being played in Ipoh,” said team's coach Tahir Zaman here on Tuesday.

He said efforts were being made to overcome the gray areas identified in the back drop of Pakistan's dismal seventh finish out of eight in the Hockey League semi-finals held in Malaysia last month.

“What I observe is a significant rise in the overall fitness and performance of players as emphasis is being laid on improving fitness to higher level so that players can show their best form even in extra times of the play,” he said.

“We are working on beefing up defence to minimize burden from the goalkeeper besides adding fire in our forward line to maintain a higher display of quality hockey against fancied opponents,” said the former Olympian.

“Another important aspect is the penalty corner drills to better our goal scoring as penalty corners are a vital part of the game and some times their better conversion help in gaining favourable results. It is the dire need of the time that we should pay maximum attention to this important aspect and have some reliance on winning a match by exhibiting accuracy in penalty corner drills,” he added.

To a query, the coach said the team management was developing a culture among the players to end the old tendency of missing in action in the striking circle. “What we have seen that this trend has ruined our chances in important matches in the hockey league and despite being in possession of ball and having ideal scoring sitters in the striking circle we fumbled all such chances which diminished our victory chances.”

He pointed out that every team member knew the importance of the Asia Cup as it was the last ditch effort to qualify for next year's World Cup in Holland. “It is going to be do-or-die tournament for us and we expect a par excellence performance from our players who will be under heavy load of responsibility to play their due role in helping the side to win a berth for the Cup,” he said.

Tahir said to gain victory was the only decent way out for the team as well as the players as we cannot afford to lose the Asia Cup. “I do not want to make tall claims but as a coach I am confident that we have the potential to win the Asia Cup and we will be doing better against teams like South Korea and Malaysia which beat us in the Hockey League,” he said.

Replying to another query, the coach said Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Qasim Zia also visited the ongoing camp and imparted useful tips to the players. “His visit was a great source of inspiration and he urged the players to demonstrate skilful game to produce productive results and to give the nation good news by securing a place in the World Cup,” he concluded.

The Nation



Indian girls return home after scripting history in FIH Junior World Cup

NEW DELHI: The bronze-medal winning Indian junior women's hockey team on Tuesday returned home amid fanfare and celebrations after scripting history at the seventh FIH Junior World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany.

The team arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport this morning via Dubai by an Emirates Airlines flight.

Indian women outplayed England 3-2 in a penalty shootout in the bronze medal play-off match on Sunday to finish on the podium -- their best-ever showing in the marquee event.

Interestingly, the Indian girls had never made it to the quarterfinals of the World Cup before this. India captain Sushila Chanu said the entire team was delighted to have made the country proud.

"We're very happy with what we have achieved. There was pressure on us in the bronze medal match but we were confident of winning a medal," she said soon after landing here.

Rani Rampal, who was one of the star performers for India, scoring six goals, include one in regulation time in the bronze medal play-off tie as well as two later in the penalty shootout, said this victory has proved that "hockey is still alive in India".

"It is the biggest win of my career because for us it is equivalent to World Cup. We have never qualified for the Olympics so this win has huge significance for Indian women's hockey," said Rani, who was also adjudged the player of the tournament.

"It is a historic win. We are now confident of beating top teams of the world. This win has also reinstated confidence among hockey lovers, fans and players that hockey is still alive in India," added the striker.

As many as 12 players of India's junior World Cup team were part of the senior side that finished a poor seventh in the FIH Hockey World League Round 3 in Rotterdam in June.

"Undoubtedly, our experience of playing in the senior side has helped us immensely in the Junior World Cup," Rani said.

Contrary to the final result, the Indian women did not start their World Cup campaign on a perfect note as they were thrashed 1-6 by Australia, who eventually finished sixth, in their opening encounter.

But the Sushila Chanu-led side showed great fighting spirit to forge a comeback into the tournament by beating New Zealand 2-0 in their second game before demolishing minnows Russia 10-1 in a must-win final group game.

India then defeated Spain 4-2 in the quarterfinals before losing 0-3 to eventual champions, The Netherlands in their semifinal duel.

The Times of India



‘We kept getting better and better’

Y. B. Sarangi



REASON TO SMILE: The Indian team, which won bronze at the women's under-21 World Cup in Monchengladbach (Germany), was accorded a warm welcome on its arrival in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: S. Subramanium

The smile on captain Sushila Chanu’s face reflected the unexpected and unprecedented success the women’s hockey team had achieved by bagging the bronze medal in the under-21 junior World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany.

What it was not indicative of was the toil and the hard work that went into the success. Sushila’s smile, representative of the collective joy of her teammates, did not speak of how hard-earned the consistency — which chief coach Neil Hawgood had been striving for — was that was rewarded with the medal.

It did not speak about the gruelling scientific training the players were put through by scientific advisor Matthew Tredrea in the last four months either.

“In the end, we were consistent in all the six games,” said Hawgood.

“Even though we lost 6-1 to Australia, we equalled them on (number of) chances. We were quite happy with that.

“In fact, it was better than some of the games we won. In the whole tournament, we got better and better.”

After the team was accorded a warm welcome on its arrival here on Tuesday, assistant coach N.S. Saini elaborated on the opening engagement against Australia.

“It was a 50-50 match. In terms of ball possession and circle penetration, we matched the Australians,” he said. “The only advantage they had was that they had a penalty corner expert.”

Hawgood admitted that a majority of the players had benefitted from the experience of playing for the senior side.

“It helped that they could play at a faster tempo and at a faster pace when they came to the junior team,” the coach said.

Scientific training

Tredrea, who had looked after fitness training and recovery, threw light on how the team had gained through scientific training.

“In the last two-and-a-half weeks (before the event), we focused on active recovery, and tried to gain full energy. In order to play faster, the fitness needed to be a lot better,” he said.

Tredrea said the players had gained from their previous experience of playing on the faster pitches in Europe.

“They understood that the pitches were different, and adjusted quickly,” he said.

Vandana Katariya, who scored five goals to share third place on the goal-scorers’ list, acknowledged the role of scientific training in the team’s success.

“As a midfielder, I had to go up to help the forwards and fall back to support the defenders.

“Because of the training, I felt a lot relaxed and energised,” she said.

Sushila concurred. “We have improved a lot in running and on fitness,” she said.

Striker Rani Rampal, who was chosen Player-of-the-tournament, said her experience of playing on the biggest of stages had paid off.

“Some of us were quite experienced, and it gave us a lot of confidence,” she said.

The 17-year-old Navneet Kaur, who scored the winning goal for India in the shootouts, spoke of her determination.

“I did not feel nervous. My sole aim was to beat the goalkeeper,” she said.

Amidst all the fanfare, Hawgood had a word for the future.

“The lesson learnt from this tournament is the need for patience.

“The (senior) Dutch team’s average age is 25, and we have an average age of 19 or 20.

“You have to play for three or four years before you get consistent.”

The Hindu



We know what we have achieved, say members of U-21 Hockey side



Indian women's hockey coach Neil Hawgood has always been straightforward in assessing his wards. “Pathetic“, “just not there“, “learning, but lacking in mental strength...“ are some of the terms he had used to describe their performances in the recent past.

Inevitably though, he would always add, “One medal will change it... change the way they approach the game“.

Last week, when the India Under-21 team finished on the podium, having picked up a bronze in the Junior World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany, Hawgood knew that moment had arrived.

“It showed,“ said Hawgood. “It showed in their body language. Belief can do a lot of things, and these girls have got it now.“

This was India's first-ever medal at the World Cup in women's hockey, and the team, who returned from the quadrennial event on Tuesday morning, understood “what they had achieved“.

“Uptil now, we almost always returned with heads bowed and disappointment in our minds,“ said young Sushila Chanu, who led the squad brilliantly . “Today, it is very different. And each one of us will remember it for a long, long time.“

India's path to the World Cup bronze wasn't easy. They stunned Spain 4-2 in the last-8 clash before losing to Holland 0-3 in the semifinal. The girls showed nerves of steel beating England 3-2 on penalties in the third-place playoff.

Hawgood's decision to field goalkeeper Bigan Soy -in what was her first game of the tournament -during the penalty shootout worked.

Said Hawgood, “We regrouped after the loss to Australia, and put in place what needed to be done. The girls responded positively and it showed in the results.“

Star striker Rani Rampal stood out, and was also named the player of the tournament. “We took it step by step, and played according to our strengths. It was important to focus on ourselves rather than worrying about our opponents' strategies.“

What worked in Rampal's favour was her many years of international exposure and experience. She made her international debut at the age of 14, the youngest Indian till date to do so. “My father never wanted me to play hockey, he wanted that I should study. But today my parents are very, very proud.

“Reaching the top is easy, but sustaining it takes a lot of effort. I believe hard work and passion can take you far, and this is what we will strive to do,“ said Rampal, who was also named young player of the tournament at the senior women's World Cup in 2010.

The Asian Age



Hawgood hopes junior women WC feat will inspire senior men's team

NEW DELHI: "Inspiration comes from different places and different persons", according to Indian women hockey's chief coach Neil Hawgood who hoped that the junior women's historic feat in the World Cup will inspire the senior men's team to win the Asia Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia.

The Indian girls created history on Sunday by winning the country's first-ever bronze medal in the Junior Women Hockey World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany after pipping England 3-2 on penalties in the third-fourth place play-off match.

And the team's coach said the junior eves' success could not have come at a better time as it could inspire their senior male counterparts, who are busy preparing for the all-important Asia Cup scheduled to be held from August 24 to September 1.

"It (the junior team's success) might inspire them (senior men's team) but at the end of the day we did our job. Inspiration comes from different places and different people. If we can play a little part in inspiring them we will be more than happy," the Australian said.

After having failed to secure a direct berth in the FIH Men's World Cup in Hague, The Netherlands from the FIH World League Round 3 in Rotterdam, India will now have to win the Asia Cup in Malaysia to qualify for next year's mega-event.

But Hawgood sees no reason why the eight-time Olympic champions can't win the upcoming eight-nation tournament.

"But in the end they (men's team) know what they have to do. They are good enough to play and win the Asia Cup," Hawgood said.

The bronze-medal winning Indian junior women team returned home on Tuesday amid fanfare and celebrations after scripting history at the seventh FIH Junior World Cup in Germany.

But for Hawgood it is back to business as he had already set his eyes on his next target -- the Asia Cup in Malaysia -- which is also a qualifying tournament for the Women's World Cup.

"The feeling has sunk in. It has sunk in over there. It is past now as we have to get on quickly in the next couple of days. You can't linger on to it for too long because in four weeks time we have to play a senior World Cup qualifier -- the Asia Cup in Malaysia," the coach insisted.

"My next target is to try and make the senior team qualify for the World Cup," he added.

The eighth Women's Asia Cup too will be held in Ipoh, Malaysia from September 21-29.

Contrary to the final result in the World Cup, the Indian eves did not start their campaign on a perfect note as they were thrashed 1-6 by Australia, who eventually finished sixth, in their opening encounter.

But Hawgood said irrespective of the start, the girls were confident of a positive result from the marque event.

"Everyone has written about the score and margin of defeat against Australia but we have our own ways of analysing whether we have played well or not," he said.

"We went back and watched the game and we were quite happy with the way we played (against Australia). We created enough chances. It was actually a close game than what the scoreline suggest. From there on we were happy with the way we were played."

The coach observed that Indian women's team is at par with the rest of the world in the Under-21 level.

"I believe our girls in 3-4 years time will start playing really well. We are actually quite level with the rest of the teams in the Under-21 category. I think the average age of players in the senior teams is about 24-25 and ours is 20-21 so there lies the big difference," Hawgood said.

Reacting to criticism by some former players that India hockey doesn't need foreign coaches, Hawgood said no coach is blessed with a magic wand to produce result in no time.

He insisted that patience is the need of the hour for Indian hockey.

"We (foreign coaches) are not here to say we know everything. I may not be here when India is a successful team but I would be happy to contribute one per cent in helping Indian hockey. My job is to help India. It's about value addition," he said.

"The foreign coaches issue is blown out of water. Foreign coaches doesn't have a magic wand to turn the fortunes of a team, no coach can claim that. Success can't come immediately it will need 2-3 years.

"What we need to have is patience. We need to be patient and realistic about our expectations," Hawgood concluded.

The Times of India



Junior hockey World Cup bronze may mean nothing for girls

Biswajyoti Brahma


NEW DELHI: Winning the historic bronze medal in the junior hockey World Cup might have brought the Indian girls in the limelight, but the players know these celebrations won't last long.

They are aware that in a few days many of them will be back in a world where they face hurdles at every step.

Success in sports does help players get a better life, but there's little luck coming the way of these gutsy girls whose families find it hard to make both ends meet while providing support to these players. TOI spoke of some of these champions:

Rani Ramphal

Eighteen years old Rani first hit the headlines when she was named the 'young player' of the 2010 World Cup. The daughter of a cart-puller from Haryana was chased by the media and celebrated by officials and politicians. You wouldn't blame her for thinking that her life would change for the better. Sadly, it did not.

Three years later, the Shahabad (Haryana) girl, who was declared 'player of the tournament' in the junior World Cup, is still trying to come to terms with her financial problems. "I don't have a sponsor," said Rani. "I have a job that earns me Rs 10,000 a month. I have to buy my shoes and other stuff from that money. The situation at home has not changed despite playing at the highest level for the last few years."

Probably the only thing that has changed is that Rani has graduated from a bicycle to a scooty. "I used to go for training on a bicycle. But a back problem meant I could not ride it anymore. That's when I was forced to buy a scooty," she told TOI.

Left to fend for herself despite her glowing achievements, Rani is now looking up to the Haryana government for assistance. "I am thinking of changing my job. A job in the Haryana government will make life easier," she said.

Rani's father Ramphal too rued that there was not much support coming the way of her daughter who's considered one of the best strikers in the country. "I think more should be done for her as she has a bright future," said her father who still pulls a cart for a living.

Rani has two brothers. One of them is a carpenter while the other is employed in a workshop.

Navneet Kaur

Remember Navneet Kaur, the girl who scored the winning goal in India's bronze medal match against England in the junior World Cup? Her story is not much different from that of Rani.

The 17-year-old, one of the youngest in the squad, has had to rely on her family so far for her requirements. Like so many other athletes, Navneet's family too is struggling to support her. "I am small-time AC mechanic.

It's very difficult to fulfill all her requirements. I remember when she first expressed her interest in playing hockey I asked her several times whether she was serious about it. Buying sticks and shoes is an expensive affair," her father Buta Singh told TOI. "It's difficult. She has no job and no sponsors. Even today she has to cover a distance of about two kilometers on foot to attend training in Shahabad."

Vandana Kataria

Vandana Kataria might be slightly luckier than some of her teammates as her father is working as a master technician with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd in Haridwar.

But supporting his talented daughter has not been easy, admits her father Nahar Singh. "Three of my daughters play hockey. So you can understand that with my income it's difficult to support them.

At times I had to take loans to take care of their needs. My biggest worry is that I will be retiring from my job next year and it will be even more difficult to help them," said Singh.

Medal winners return home

The bronze-medal winning Indian junior women's hockey team on Tuesday returned home amid fanfare and celebrations after scripting history at the seventh FIH Junior World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany.

The team arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in the morning via Dubai. The Indian girls beat England 3-2 in the bronze medal play-off to finish on the podium - their best-ever showing in the marquee event.

Captain Sushila Chanu said the entire team was delighted to have made the country proud. "There was pressure on us in the bronze medal match but we were confident of winning a medal," she said.

The Times of India



Jubilant juniors ready for fresh challenge

Most of the members of the junior women’s hockey team, which won bronze at the World Cup, won’t get time to soak in the joy of scripting a new chapter in the history of Indian hockey.

The squad, which arrived here on Monday morning, has players who will be joining the senior camp for the Asia Cup, starting in Kuala Lumpur from in September 21. “The youngsters have shown the way, now it is the job of the seniors to move a step forward,” said coach, Narinder Saini.

The Asia Cup is the last qualifying event for the 2014 World Cup and it will also be the last chance for the senior team to win a ticket to the global meet as they had failed to win a berth during the preliminary qualification round in Rotterdam.

India’s star performer, Rani Rampal, is also a key member of the senior team. The bronze-medal performance, according to her, will act as a catalyst. “We should move up the ladder and cement our place in global events,” said Rani with an air of confidence.

Winning mantra

At least seven players who were members of the under-18 team in 2011 have graduated to the under-21 team. “Since 2011, the girls have been training together and their understanding reflected in the overall performance in Germany,” said Saini.

India skipper Sushila Chanu said that though the team lost the first match, they bounced back. “It added to the players’ confidence.”

The biggest hurdle, according to her, was Spain. “It was a tough match but we overcame the challenge,” she said.

During the bronze-medal playoff with England, the team was focussed. “We gave our best in the match and didn’t wilt under pressure during the shoot-out,” said Sushila.

Prayers answered

Navneet Kaur, who scored the winning goal during the shootout that sealed England’s fate, said she had never felt so nervous.

“I prayed to God to give me strength because the fear of losing had started to grip my mind,” she said. The Haryana player then took a deep breath and steeled herself. “With a positive frame of mind, I went ahead and conquered the field,” she said.

Apart from the shoot-out, Navneet was also instrumental in scoring team’s second goal against Spain (2 all).

It proved a turning point in the game which India won eventually.

Navneet took to hockey because of popularity of the discipline in her school in Shahbad, Haryana. She started playing competitive hockey in 2005 and soon made a mark in the school level competitions.

Recently, her overall performance also earned her a berth in the national team.

Hindustan Times



It’s a proud moment for us: Rani

Rani Rampal has been a key member of the national women’s squad for long. The teenager from Haryana proved that yet again during the Junior World Cup in Germany by walking away with the player of the tournament award. “It’s a proud moment for all of us,” said Rani.

Rani, who honed her skills at the Shahbad Academy under Baldev Singh, has been instrumental in winning laurels for the country on several occasions, including the silver at the 2009 Asia Cup. The same year, she won the young player of the tournament award at the Champions Challenge.

A year later, the national team was unimpressive at the World Cup but Rani went on to win the player of the tournament award. She also represented the country at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

Given her skills on the astro-turf, Rani will be a marked player when India play the Asia Cup in September.

Hindustan Times



Rani is a rare talent, says her coach Baldev Singh

CHANDIGARH: Dronacharya award-winning coach Baldev Singh is a proud man after his girls created history by winning a bronze medal at the Junior Women's Hockey World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany.

One of his favourite student, Rani Rampal, emerged as the player of the tournament and the coach says the 19-year-old is a rare talent and would serve the country long.

"She (Rani) has the killer instinct. She was different from other girls and picked up the game really fast. She is definitely a rare talent," said Singh.

Out of the six hockey players -- Navjot, Manjeet Kaur, Navneet Kaur, Rani Rampal, Monika and Poonam Rani - in the team who hail from Haryana, five hail from Shahbad while one belongs to Hisar.

Braving odds in life, the girls from Haryana's small town of Shahbad were instrumental in bringing glory to their native place besides the country.

"It's a proud moment for us. The win will definitely boost the morale of the girls and encourage them to do even better," said Singh, coach of the Shahbad Hockey Academy, over 60km from here.

While most of the girls come from humble backgrounds, Rani in particular came from an ordinary family and even the hockey stick and her kit was once given to her by Singh as she could not afford it.

Rani lives in a small house in Shahbad town, near Kurukshetra.

While Rani's father is a cart-puller, her elder brother is a carpenter. She used to travel 2km distance from her house to the Academy on foot and later on purchased a bicycle and today her success story has made everyone proud.

The Times of India



‘Cameo girl’ eyes the senior ranks

Principal Correspondent



Bigan Soy. Photo: S. Subramanium

Bigan Soy is still in a state of disbelief. Her 15 minutes under the bar during penalties in India’s bronze medal match against England in the women’s junior World Cup still feels like a dream to her.

Soy, who did not take the turf during the whole tournament, was fielded for the one-on-one shoot-out, and she saved six of the eight she faced helping India claim the bronze medal in Monchengladbach, Germany.

“The last save (in the sudden death) was the best one for me. I used my feet and my hands to save it,” said Soy, describing it as the most joyful moment of her life.

“Even though I had not played for even a minute in the tournament, I did not have any fear (in facing the shoot-outs).

“I knew I was capable of stopping a few shots,” said the 20-year-old from Jharkhand. Asked about the strategy of fielding Soy at such a crucial juncture, coach Neil Hawgood said: “She was the best for the job. Sanarik (Chanu) was our best goalkeeper, and we needed our best goalkeeper on the field all the time.

“(But) When it came to one-on-ones — whether it was quarterfinals, semifinals or the third place match — it had to be Bigan Soy.”

Goalkeeping coach Helen Mary, who was part of the 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning Indian side, also praised Soy.

“Bigan is good at shoot-outs. Her confidence was high,” said Helen.

A few years ago, when she moved from her remote hometown in Singhbhum to Ranchi to train at the Sports Authority of India centre as a footballer, little did Soy know that she would earn fame in a different sport.

“I used to play football. Once, there was no hockey goalkeeper at the SAI centre, and our coach told me that I should play as a goalkeeper, since my movement was good. So, I switched to hockey.

“My strong points are my movement and my reflexes,” said Soy, who has represented the country in the under-18 and the under-21 Asia Cups.

“I hope to graduate to the senior level and perform even better.”

The Hindu



Will the bronze help women's hockey?

Santhosh S R




Long awaited? Maybe not. Was it on the cards? Certainly not. But, when the news broke out that the Indian girls team had won its first ever medal in the Junior Women Hockey World Cup, it was greeted not with surprise but with jubilation. The sense of euphoria that engulfed the hockey fraternity across the country was almost palpable and for a change, popular media in the country, which is obsessed with even the most insignificant occurrences in cricket, decided not to relegate this piece of news to a mere footnote and gave the team its due.

In a nation where the mere mention of cricket will galvanise the majority of the populace and success in other sports has remained nothing more than a distant dream, this was a seminal moment. For close to two decades now, the fact that hockey is in fact India's national sport has been all but forgotten. Thanks to the textbooks and the schoolteachers, it has not slipped quietly into oblivion. For close to four decades, India ruled the roost in men's hockey and for those who watched the Indian hockey team practically toy around with its opposition in its heyday, the decadent state of the game in India today is a major source of disappointment for sure.

The accomplishment by the Indian eaves is path-breaking in more ways than one. First and foremost, the nation, albeit a very small part of it, has woken up to the reality that, apart from cricket, there is another team sport in which India can prove to be a tour de force. Of course, it would be premature to read too much into what was an achievement, after all, at the junior level. But, the fact that India has a competent side at the junior level augurs well for the future. Administrators of the sport in the country now have an available pool of players who, if guided properly, can achieve many a remarkable feat in the foreseeable future.

To merely bask in the glory of the hour and forget the long-term implications of the accomplishment would not be wise. Hockey India needs to acknowledge the fact that talent in the country needs to be developed at the grass roots

Whether this extraordinary achievement by some truly remarkable young girls will help to increase interest in the game remains to be seen. Seeing as how even the Hockey India League failed to generate interest across the country, one might opine that until and unless the Indian hockey teams start tasting success at the global stage on a more regular basis, the following for hockey is not really going to increase. With these dreams in mind, the administrators of the game in the country need to make plans for the future.

Deccan Chronicle