News for 06 December 2013

All the news for Friday 6 December 2013

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 1918 - 2013


jerm.co.za



Netherlands & Australia reach semi-finals in Tucuman

Welten sends Dutch through; Lynch the hero for Hockeyroos



MATCH WINNER: Lidewij Welten. (Photo: FIH / Frank Uijenbroek)

A solitary goal from Dutch star Lidewij Welten and a brilliant shoot-out display from Hockeyroos goalkeeper Rachael Lynch earned semi final berths for the Netherlands and Australia on a baking hot quarter-final day here at the Argentina hockey World League Final in San Miguel de Tucuman.

Welten netted a second half strike to give the Netherlands a hard fought 1-0 triumph over New Zealand, while Germany produced a wonderful performance to take high-flying Australia all the way to a shoot-out that will be remembered courtesy of two wonderful saves from Lynch.

Both teams will have to wait until this evening before finding out their opponents in Saturday's semi-finals, with the Netherlands playing the winner of the Argentina v Korea match, with England or China being the possible opponents for Australia.

More information on the matches can be found below.

Netherlands hold off Black Sticks challenge to reach Semi Finals

Reigning Olympic champions the Netherlands have become the first team to book their place in the semi-finals of the Argentina Hockey World League Final thanks to a hard earned 1-0 win over New Zealand on a baking hot morning here in Tucuman. 

A second half goal from Lidewij Welten proved to be enough for Oranje to edge past a Black Sticks team that gave their opponents a seriously hard time in a brutal, energy-sapping contest. 

The Netherlands's opponents in Saturday’s semi-final will be the winner of the evening match between host nation Argentina or Korea. An Argentina win this evening would set up a re-match of the London 2012 Olympic final, where the Netherlands claimed the Gold medal with a 2-0 victory over Las Leonas.

Searing temperatures in Tucuman brought the FIH warm weather protocol into play, with the competing teams having a short break in the middle of each match in order to get some much needed fluid on board.

Netherlands had the better of the chances in the first half, but could find no way past Black Sticks shot-stopper Sally Rutherford, who produced a fine penalty corner save from Maartje Paumen in the most significant effort of the opening period.

Netherlands shot-stopper Joyce Sombroek was called into action early in the second half with a double save before the opening goal arrived in the 41st minute. In form attacker Lidewij Welten found the target with a fine turn and shot from close range following excellent build up play from pacey forward Rosalin Drost.

Minutes later, Maria Verschoor almost doubled the Dutch advantage when she rattled the crossbar a brilliant reverse stick effort, while Maartje Paumen also went close with a fierce strike from the right of the circle.

Although the Netherlands were creating the better goal-scoring opportunities, New Zealand gave as good as they got in the second half and threw everything at their illustrious opponents in the final stages of the game. However, the Dutch defence held firm to keep alive their dream of becoming the inaugural winners of the Hockey World League.

For Netherlands player Caia van Maasakker, the win was a fine way to mark her 50th international match.

Lynch brilliance gives Australia shoot-out win over Germany

A heroic goalkeeping performance from Rachael Lynch helped Australia seal a shoot-out victory over Germany and claim a place in the semi-finals of the Argentina Hockey World League in San Miguel de Tucuman. With full time finishing with the scores locked together at 1-1, Lynch made crucial saves from Julia Müller and Lea Stöckel to help the Hockeyroos advance into the final four.

Pool B winners Australia came into the contest as clear favourites thanks to their hugely impressive performances earlier in the week. However, despite a fourth place finish in Pool A, Germany produced a performance more akin to the displays that saw them become European champions in the summer. Despite that, the Germans could not repeat the shoot-out form that defeated England in the final of the TriFinance EuroHockey Nations tournament.

Like the first match of the day, the FIH warm weather protocol was brought into action due to searing temperatures here in Tucuman. This allowed the teams to take much needed water-breaks midway through each half. 

Despite the intense heat, both teams battled hard to assert their dominance in the match, with Germany making the first dent on the scoreboard in the 11th minute. Eileen Hoffmann was the scorer, bravely touching home from close range following a slick Germany attacking move.

Australia were denied an equaliser in the last moments of the first half thanks to some outstanding goalkeeping from Barbara Vogel, who made three blocks in quick succession from a penalty corner situation.

A snap-shot Eileen Hoffmann almost doubled Germany’s advantage in the early stages of the second half, but Lynch kicked out a right boot to make a crucial save.

Australia grabbed a deserved equaliser in the 48th minute when Ashley Nelson crashed home a brilliant volley after a superb defence-splitting deflection from Emily Smith.

The remainder of the match was almost entirely dominated by the Hockeyroos, who mounted wave after wave of attacks on the Germany goal in search of a winner that never came.

However, the Australians were not to be denied, with Lynch making two superb blocks in the shoot-out to seal her team’s safe passage through to the semi-finals.

Australia’s opponents in the semi-finals will be the winner of this evening’s England v China match.  

FIH site

 



England & Argentina complete semi-final line-up

England to play Australia, while Argentina face Netherlands in Tucuman



Georgie Twigg's penalty stroke gave England a 1-0 win over China, setting up a semi-final date with Australia. (Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)

A superb evening of hockey has drawn to a close at the Argentina Hockey World League Final in San Miguel de Tucuman, with England and Argentina securing their places in the semi-finals with victories over Korea and China respectively.

England have set up a semi-final meeting with Australia thanks to a 1-0 win over China in the third quarter-final. A second half penalty stroke from Georgie Twigg ended 46 minutes of intense resistance from the well organised and hard-working Asians, but it was a victory that England fully deserved.

In the final match of the day, Carla Rebecchi scored twice to help Argentina fight-back from a goal down to defeat Korea 3-1. Another huge crowd turned out to watch the home favourites seal their place in Saturday’s semi-finals, where they will face reigning Olympic champions the Netherlands in a mouth-watering clash. 

More information about the matches can be found below.

England beat China to set up Australia semi-final meeting

England have set up a semi-final meeting with Australia thanks to a 1-0 win over China in the third quarter-final of the day here at the Argentina Hockey World League Final event in San Miguel de Tucuman.

A second half penalty stroke from Georgie Twigg ended 46 minutes of intense resistance from the well organised and hard-working Asians, but it was a victory that England fully deserved.

Saturday’s meeting between England and Australia – winners against European champions Germany in the morning session – will be the third time that the two sides have met in the inaugural edition of the HWL following two clashes at the Investec Hockey World League Semi Final tournament in London earlier this year. The first match ended in a 1-1 draw, with the Hockeyroos being convincing 3-0 winners of the tournament final.  

England applied almost constant pressure on the China defence throughout the first half, but did not manage to find a breakthrough against their opponents from Asia. Striker Alex Danson – who was playing in her 200th senior international match – saw a couple of efforts blocked, while two penalty corner chances came and went for the European Silver medallists. England youngster Lily Owsley also had a decent chance, but fired over the crossbar following excellent play from Nic White.

The English pressure continued in the early stages of the second half, with team captain Kate Richardson-Walsh encouraging her troops to press high in the hope of forcing an error from the structured China team. A trademark driving run from Danson earned England a 40th minute penalty corner, but Kate Richardson-Walsh’s goal-bound drag-flick was touched around the post by a Chinese stick.

The long-awaited opener arrived when Susie Gilbert – another player celebrating a caps milestone by competing in her 100th international match – earned a penalty stroke when her goal-bound shot hit the body of a China player on the goal-line. Georgie Twigg saw her weak effort saved by China keeper Wang Mengyu, but the umpire spotted an infringement from the shot-stopper and order the stroke to be re-taken. Twigg made no mistake with her second attempt, sending a low effort past Wang’s right foot to give England the advantage.

China’s best chance of the game came with less than three minutes of the match remaining. A rare defensive error gifted possession to China’s Yan Yan, who raced into the circle and slipped a pass to the waiting Liang Meiyu. A goal seemed inevitable, but Liang’s control let her down and the danger passed.

It was the last significant chance of the game, sealing England’s place in Saturday’s semi-finals.

Leonas victory sets up Dutch semi-final date

Carla Rebecchi scored twice to help Argentina fight-back from a goal down to defeat Korea 3-1 in the Argentina Hockey World League Final in San Miguel de Tucuman. Another huge crowd turned out to watch the home favourites seal their place in Saturday’s semi-finals, where they will face reigning Olympic champions the Netherlands in a mouth-watering clash. 

The home favourites made a lively start to the game, with Delfina Merino going close before a dazzling solo effort from Leonas legend Luciana Aymar brushed the side netting.

Korea were certainly not without their chances and could easily have been the team to break the deadlock. Cheon Seul Ki fired high and wide from a penalty corner before Argentina keeper Belen Succi delighted the 6000 strong crowd with a terrific save from Kim Jong Eun’s angled strike.

Argentina went close to opening the scoring early in the second half when Carla Rebecchi scuffed an effort towards goal. However, it was the Koreans who eventually grabbed the opener thanks to a glorious close range deflection from ace striker Park Mi Hyun in the 46th minute.

The goal brought a deafening silence to the stadium, but that all changed in the 51st minute when a brilliant pass from Aymar picked out Rebecchi who made no mistake with a lofted finish.

The goal gave an added spark to the Leonas attacking play, with Aymar continuing to show exactly why she has been named FIH Player of the Year on seven different occasions with a number of breathtaking solo runs. A second goal for Argentina seemed inevitable, and it duly came when Noel Barrionuevo clinically dispatched a penalty stroke in the 58th minute.

Korea rallied hard in the final stages and almost pulled a goal back when Kim Jong Eun rattled the side of the goal, but Argentina put the game to bed when Rebecchi touched into an open goal in the dying seconds to seal a place in the semi-finals.

Before the game, three players were recognised for reaching significant markers in their playing careers. Korea’s Park Ki Ju was honoured on the occasion of her 100th senior international appearance, with Ana Macarena Rodrequez Perez and Mariella Scarone both making their 150th appearenced for Argentina.

FIH site



England set up ‘Ashes’ clash in Semi-Final


England's goal scorer Georgie Twigg in action for England against China in the Quarter-Final

England have set up a Semi-Final clash against Australia on Saturday following a narrow 1-0 victory over Quarter-Final opponents China at the Argentina World League Final. Despite the score line, it was a dominant display from England, with Georgie Twigg converting a penalty stroke in the 46th minute of the game to take them through to the top four.

ENGLAND 1 (0)
Georgie Twigg 46 (PS)

CHINA 0 (0)

Earlier in the day the Netherlands beat New Zealand 1-0 in the first match, and Australia-Germany went all the way to the wire with the Hockeyroos eventually winning 4-2 in a penalty shoot out.

Click here to watch the highlights from the match.

England’s Alex Danson and Susie Gilbert both received flowers before the match to mark milestone appearances for England & GB; Danson earning her 200th and Gilbert her 100th combined caps.

Speaking after the game England Head Coach Jason Lee said, “It was a good game to win tonight, although we would have liked to score more. There is no doubt that we were in charge across the 70 minutes; China did not have a single attempt on goal all night.”

England’s Susie Gilbert secured the penalty stroke on her 100th combined appearance and added her thoughts on the game, “It was a good team performance, we controlled the game from start to finish and defended resolutely all night. It was great for Twiggy [Georgie] to score the penalty stroke in the second half and I think it was just reward for us. I feel so proud to have got to this milestone [100 combined caps] and it makes it even more special to share it with such a fantastic group of girls on a night like this.”

England enjoyed the majority of possession throughout the game creating numerous goal scoring opportunities, however China approached the game in a typically disciplined manner and with a well organised defence they were able to minimise much of England’s attacking prowess.

During the first 35 minutes England created a handful of scoring opportunities through the familiar names of Lily Owsley, Alex Danson and Kate Richardson-Walsh, but they were unable to break through the defence of the world number seven side and as the players went in for half-time there was nothing to separate them at 0-0.

The second half continued in much the same way as the first until the 46th minute when a shot by Gilbert, making her 100th (combined England & GB) appearance, was stopped by a Chinese defender’s body as it went goal bound. Georgie Twigg stepped up to take the resulting penalty stroke, but it was saved by Li in China’s goal. A confab between the umpires ensued and the resulting decision was for the penalty stroke to be re-taken after it was judged that Li had stepped forward before Twigg had taken the stroke. This time Twigg made no mistake, firing the ball low to the right of Li giving her little chance to even react.

At 1-0 up England looked in control. Maddie Hinch in England’s goal was not troubled all night, in no small part thanks to a strong England defence once again. Sam Quek was in fantastic form and looked dangerous everytime she got the ball; in the dying minutes she tracked back to make a match saving tackle to deny Liang and to ensure that England took the victory and booked their place in the Semi-Finals.

Looking ahead to the Australia game on Saturday, Lee added, “In my opinion Australia have been the team on form so far this year and certainly have played the best hockey in this tournament alongside the Netherlands. Last time we played them was at Chiswick in the Investec World League Semi Final; it was a tight affair there and I’m sure it will be the same on Saturday. Both sides will get their chances, but it will come down to who will take them.”

Tomorrow is a rest day for the teams as they prepare for their Semi-Final and placing battles on Saturday. England will play Australia at 21:30 GMT on Saturday. All matches are being streamed live on the FIH YouTube Channel

Argentina Hockey World League Final – final pool standings
Pool A - Team Pts

Netherlands        9
England              6
Korea                 1
Germany            1

Pool B – Team Pts
Australia           7
Argentina          7
China               3
New Zealand     0

Argentina Hockey World League Final - match schedule & results
Date/Match # Info Time (UK) Teams Result

Thursday 5 December

QF1 12:00 NED – NZL 1-0
QF2 14:30 AUS – GER 1-1 (4-2 SO)
QF3 21:30 ENG – CHN 1-0
QF4 00:00 (6 Dec) ARG – CHN 3-1

England Hockey Board Media release



"Ashes" hits World League

Hockeyroos to face England in semi-final on Sunday morning




Australia’s Hockeyroos will face England in the semi-finals of the FIH World League Finals tournament in Tucuman, Argentina, after beating Germany in a shoot-out overnight. Their opponents, England, beat China 1-0 in their quarter-final this morning.

With cricket’s Ashes series underway in Adelaide and the Hockeyroos set to face the European silver medallists in Tucuman, it’s a big weekend of Aussie-Anglo contests.

The Hockeyroos last met England in the final of the World League Semi-Final tournament in London in June when the Hockeyroos ran out 3-0 winners thanks to goals from Ashleigh Nelson, Kellie White and Emily Smith.

The Hockeyroos and England will contest the first of the semi-finals at 8:30am AEDT / 5:30am AWST Sunday morning (6:30pm local time Saturday evening) . The other semi-final features Olympic gold medallists the Netherlands, who beat New Zealand 1-0 in the quarter-finals, and world champions Argentina, who beat Korea 3-1 in their quarter-final.

Updated Tournament schedule (For full schedule click here)

Classification 5th - 8th
New Zealand v Korea – 9am local time Saturday 7th / 11pm AEDT Saturday 7th
China v Germany – 11:30am local time Saturday 7th / 1:30am AEDT Sunday 8th
Semi-Finals
England v Australia – 6:30pm local time Saturday 7th / 8:30am AEDT Sunday 8th
Netherlands v Argentina – 9pm local time Saturday 7th / 11am AEDT Sunday 8th

Time zones: Note that Tucuman is 14 hours behind AEDT and 11 hours behind AWST.

Hockey Australia media release



Hockeyroos surge into semis

Aussie women hold their nerve to beat Euro champs Germany in shoot-out




The Hockeyroos are through to the semi-final of the World League after a dramatic shoot-out victory over European Champions Germany in searing heat in Tucuman, Argentina.

The nail-biting finish saw Madonna Blyth, Kellie White, Georgie Parker and Claire Messent all hold their nerve to score the Hockeyroos’ first four shoot-out attempts with goalkeeper Rachael Lynch proving her expertise between the posts with two fine saves. The match went down to the wire after a 1-1 draw in regulation time.

Victory assures the Hockeyroos of a shot at the medals with a semi-final against either England or China on the cards.

Immediately after the match, Head Coach Adam Commens called the shoot-out “exciting”, adding “We prepared well for the shoot-out. We spend quite a bit of time practising them and each of the girls has their own plan that they work on.”

Speaking about the game, Commens said, “It was an interesting match. Germany defended doggedly. They had a strategy to close down our counter attack and we weren’t as clinical today as we have been in our previous matches but we’ll take it as a learning experience.

“We had enough opportunities to win the game but we weren’t clinical in our set-pieces. We’ve scored penalty corners in our last two games and were confident they would work today but they didn’t quite come off.”

Securing a place in the final four continues the team’s streak of contesting the medals in every competition since the London Olympic Games and Commens is pleased with the upward trajectory of the team.

“We’ve got a good young group of players coming through from the junior ranks and we’re confident of building the group well towards Rio in 2016,”  he added.

The Hockeyroos enjoyed the best of action but were denied on a number of occasions by German goalkeeper Barbara Vogel, including a double save in the final five minutes of the match.

Eileen Hoffmann gave the European Champions the lead in the 11th minute when she stole in at the back post to touch home Lea Stockel’s pass from the top of the circle but Ashleigh Nelson rifled home a deserved equaliser midway through the second half.

Goalkeeper Rachael Lynch kept the Hockeyroos in contention with a number of blocks early in the second half with Australia trailing 1-0 and they were to prove important as Western Australia Nelson lashed home from around the penalty spot after good built-up play from Claire Messent and Emily Smith. It was Nelson's 60th goal in the gold of the Hockeyroos and perfectly timed.

The goal sparked a surge of Australian pressure but with the German defence holding firm the match went to the lottery of the shoot-out. Hockeyroos captain Madonna Blyth was coolness personified with her opening effort and after Lynch saved Germany’s first, from Julie Muller, Australia always held the upper hand. Kellie White’s low tomahawk under the goalkeeper, Georgie Parker’s uncompromising effort and Claire Messent’s bobbling teaser kept the Hockeyroos ahead until Lynch raced off her line to intercept Lea Stockel before the German could shape to shoot. The save sparked celebratory scenes reminiscent of the Hockeyroos’ shoot-out victory over New Zealand in last month’s Oceania Cup final.

The Hockeyroos will now face the winner of the quarter-final between England and China on Saturday evening (Sunday morning Australian time). The match is currently scheduled for 9:00pm local time in Tucuman, 11:00am AEDT / 8:00am AWST Sunday morning, but may be moved forward to 6:30pm local time (8:30am AEDT Sunday / 5:30am AWST Sunday) following the conclusion of the quarter-finals.

In the first match of the day, the Olympic Champions the Netherlands ran out narrow 1-0 winners over New Zealand Black Sticks.

WORLD LEAGUE FINALS
Tucuman, Argentina

Quarter-final
HOCKEYROOS 1 (1)*

Ashleigh Nelson 48 (F)

GERMANY 1 (1)
Eileen Hoffmann 11 (F)

*Hockeyroos win 4-2 on shoot-out

SHOOT-OUT
AUS: Madonna Blyth – goal
GER: Julia Muller – no goal (saved Lynch)
AUS: Kellie White – goal
GER: Marie Mavers – goal
AUS: Georgie Parker – goal
GER: Jana Teschke – goal
AUS: Claire Messent – goal
GER: Lea Stockel – no goal (saved Lynch)

Hockey Australia media release



Black Sticks Women narrowly miss semi finals


Photo credit: Matias Noé Correa Arce

The Black Sticks Women played their best game of the tournament but were edged 1-0 by the Netherlands in this morning’s quarter final at the World League Final in Tucuman, Argentina.

In temperatures approaching 40 degrees Celsius, it was Lidewij Welten’s lone second half goal which sealed the result for the Dutch.

The Black Sticks played strongly on both sides of the ball and created several opportunities in the second half from penalty corners, while Sally Rutherford was again outstanding at the other end in goal for the Kiwis.

Despite a frenetic final 10 minutes the Black Sticks couldn’t find an equalising goal. Pippa Hayward’s cracking strike from the top of the circle was the best of the chances, with the Dutch goalkeeper just getting down to her right post to deflect the shot.

New Zealand now drop into the classification side of the draw to determine placings 5th-8th and will play Korea at 1.00am on Sunday (NZ time).

Head coach Mark Hager said the game was played at a high level and at the end of the day they couldn’t respond against a good side.

“Today was another learning curve for us. We were very competitive and it’s the most disciplined we have been in the tournament, especially defensively,” Hager said.

“The highlight for me was our defensive structure, we only conceded one goal and kept them out of the circle for much of the game which was pleasing.

All World League Final games, including Sunday’s Black Sticks classification playoff are LIVE on SKY Sport.

Black Sticks: 0
Netherlands: 1 (Lidewij Welten 40’)
Halftime: 0-0

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Gallant Black Sticks lose to Olympic Champions

BRENDON EGAN



DREAM OVER: The Black Sticks' women will contest the minor places at the World League finals hockey tournament after losing to a Lidewij Welten (pictured) goal.

The Black Sticks' women will contest the minor places at the World League finals hockey tournament after a gallant 1-0 loss to the Netherlands this morning (NZ Time).

New Zealand began the quarterfinal clash as huge underdogs against the reigning Olympic champions after some patchy performances during pool play.

The Black Sticks kept the potent Dutch side at bay for 40 minutes until they capitalised off a defensive mistake. Rosalin Drost sent the ball into Lidewij Welten, who spun around and beat goalkeeper Sally Rutherford.

Maria Verschoor nearly doubled the Netherlands'advantage but her reverse stick attempt smacked against the crossbar.

It was a gusty defensive effort from the New Zealand side in the sweltering 37 degree Tucuman heat with the Netherlands side creating the greater scoring opportunities. Rutherford had another outstanding game in goal for New Zealand, keeping out several promising Dutch chances.

New Zealand went close to levelling the scores midway through the second half when Pippa Hayward gained a deflection on a Sam Charlton follow up shot off the penalty corner.

Hayward probably had New Zealand's best scoring chance of the game late in the contest, but her powerfully hit shot was kept out by Dutch keeper Joyce Sombroek. It was a frenetic final 10 minutes from the Black Sticks, who threw everything at the Netherlands.

New Zealand will now fight it out for places five to eight over the final three days of the tournament.

Netherlands 1 (Lidewij Welten)

New Zealand 0

Halftime 0-0

Stuff



Men’s Hero Hockey Junior World Cup 2013 opens on Friday in Delhi

All sixteen teams in action on Day 1



Junior World Cup trophy on display in Delhi (Photo: Yan Huckendubler)

The Men’s Hero Hockey Junior World Cup 2013, featuring the world finest young players, opens on Friday in the grandiose Major Dhyan Chan National Hockey Stadium in New Delhi. For the sixteen teams, it is the culmination of a long journey, started two years ago with continental qualifications.

Six teams qualified through the Junior European Cup, won by Belgium ahead of the Netherlands, Germany, France, England and Spain. Malaysia won the Junior Asian Cup, ahead of Pakistan, India and Korea. Two teams qualified from the other junior continental competitions in Africa (South Africa and Egypt), Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) and America (Argentina and Canada).

Germany are the defending Junior World Cup champions, after winning the 2009 event held in Johor Baharu (Malaysia) & Singapore. They are the most successful team at the junior level, having won 5 times in 9 appearances, only finishing once off the podium. Germany enter the competition ranked #1 and will face European Champion Belgium, Egypt and Pakistan in Pool A.

To date, Belgium has had very modest results in Junior World Cup appearances, unable to place higher than 11th. Belgium hockey has however made huge strides forward in the last few years, both at senior and junior levels. The team will be led by Arthur van Doren, who already has over 30 international caps with the Belgium senior team.

Pakistan has traditionally had good results at the junior level, having won the event once and collecting 5 more podium finishes. Even though their last medal was twenty years ago (1933), they have been regular medal contenders and will count on a talented core of skilled players to bring back a good result from Delhi. Pakistan will be led by Umar Bhutta, who, at 20 years old, has already more than 80 senior caps to his name and represented his country at the Olympic Games in London. 

Oceania Champions Australia and American Champions Argentina will face each other in Pool B, with France and Spain. Australia, bronze medalists 4 years ago and runner-ups 8 years ago, hope that 2013 will be their year to step on top of the podium. They are coached by former Kookaburra Paul Gaudoin and will count on prowess of penalty-corner specialist Cameron Joyce.

Argentina has a superb group of talented players, eager to emulate the generation of 2005 that conquered the junior title. They can certainly score goals, from the field or penalty corners. Defender Gonzalo Peillat represented his country at the London Olympic Games; he netted 15 times at the Junior Pan American Cup, and scored all 4 of Argentina’s goals in the final of the 2013 senior Pan American Cup against Canada.

France have only participated 3 times in the Junior World Cup, with their last appearance in 2001. Their young generation had an excellent competition at the Junior European Cup, only suffering an agonizing Golden Goal semi-final defeat at the hands of eventual tournament winners Belgium. About half the team are regulars on the senior French team. They will count on Hugo Genestet (the youngest of three brothers who all represent France), a supremely gifted player who is capable of creating goal-scoring opportunities out of nothing.

The Netherlands are the highest-ranked team in Pool C and will face home team India, Korea and Canada. Despite 9 participations, The Netherlands have only steppd on the podium 3 times, never on the highest step. They are however arriving in Delhi with a squad crammed full of wonderfully gifted individuals who have honed their skills by competing in one of the strongest national leagues in the world, the Hoofdklasse. The team features Glenn Schuurman, a member of the HC Bloemendaal team that claimed the Euro Hockey League title in 2013.

Home team India will of course be one of tournament favorites. The current group has an abundance of experience, with midfielders Kothajit Singh and team captain Manpreet Singh both being central figures on the India senior side. The team is now coached by former South African star Gregg Clark. They have fixed their sights firmly on the title and will be cheered by their adoring fans every step of the way.

Korea finished just behind Malaysia, Pakistan and India at the Junior Asia Cup, but can expected to be back at their usual best in Delhi.

Pool C is rounded up by Canada, returning on the junior world stage for the first time since 2001 thanks to an excellent performance at the junior Pan American Cup, where they challenged Argentina and only lost by a narrow, one-goal margin. The current squad has trained hard domestically, but might miss some crucial international exposure.

Asian Champions Malaysia are in Pool D with England, New Zealand and South Africa. The Malaysians will hope that this will be the year when they finally step on the podium, after 8 participations in the junior World Cup and a few narrow missed. They have an exceptionally gifted group and could be the good surprise of the competition.

New Zealand finished just outside of the medals in 2009 and are determined to climb on the podium this time around. The squad contains a good mix of international experience as well as some exciting newcomers, with senior national players Kane Russell, George Muir and Jared Panchia rounding out the core players within the group.

England is another team without a medal to show in their many appearances at the Junior World Cup. They had a relatively low-key performance at the Junior European Cup, but they have assembled a strong group, with some senior internationals. They are very fit and could surprise at the end of the competition.

Competition starts on Friday December 6, with all 16 teams in action on the two pitches of Major Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium in Delhi.

Matches played on pitch 1 will be streamed live on the FIH YouTube Channel.

FIH site



Glittering Hero Hockey Junior World Cup Trophy unveiled

World’s future hockey stars assemble in Delhi as the prestigious FIH Hero Hockey Junior World Cup opens tomorrow Hero Player of the Tournament to get INR 1,00,000 and a trophy

New Delhi, December 5, 2013: The festive hockey atmosphere in New Delhi, the host city for the Hero Hockey Junior World Cup, reached a peak today with the unveiling of the glittering Hero Hockey Junior World Cup Trophy. The glamorous unveiling took place alongside the announcement of various special awards during a unique function at the Lalit Hotel.

Mr. Kelly Fairweather, CEO, FIH, Dr. Narinder Batra, Secretary General, Hockey India and competing Captains unveiled the traditional Roger Danet Trophy, the symbol of supremacy in the Hero Hockey Junior World Cup competition, amidst the global hockey fraternity.

The 11th Hero Hockey Junior World Cup sees the world’s 16 best Men’s junior national hockey teams, including five-time title holders Germany, fight for glory at the historic Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi, from 6th to 15th December 2013.

Title sponsor Hero MotoCorp Ltd. also announced a series of awards to further enhance the competitiveness and highlight the feat of the young guns including Hero Man of the Match, Hero Top Scorer and a Hero Player of the Tournament.

The Hero Player of the tournament will receive a cash award of INR 100, 000 and the Hero Top Scorer will receive a cash award of INR 50,000. A Hero Man of the Match trophy will be awarded after each match and from the quarter finals onwards the player will also receive a cash award of Rs.12,000

The Hero Hockey Junior Men’s World Cup is one the most anticipated events of the packed FIH calendar. It’s a platform where future stars showcase their skills, and fight to secure their progress to the senior national teams. Every National Federation considers this event as a true indicator of their developmental programmes and holds nothing back to see their efforts bear fruit. Truly exciting matches can be expected in the days to follow.

Mr.Pawan Munjal, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Hero MotoCorp Ltd., said, “I am delighted to see India hosting the Hockey Junior World Cup for the first time. We are happy to be the Title Sponsors of the tournament, which is the perfect platform for aspiring players to showcase their talent in order to be able to move into to their respective national teams. The fact that 16 teams are participating here is a testimony to FIH’s successful global programme to promote hockey and the ever-increasing universal appeal of the game. I wish all the participants at the Hero Hockey Junior World Cup a memorable stay in India and greater outings on the turf.”

“I hope to see the Indian team doing its best, and come out with a medal. The players have worked hard and certainly deserve a podium finish. We at Hero MotoCorp are committed to the development of hockey globally and in India. I wish to reiterate that commitment once again on this occasion of the unveiling of the Hero Hockey Junior World Cup trophy,” he added.

Mr. Kelley Fairweather, Chief Executive Officer, FIH, Said, “the Hero Hockey Junior World Cup is an ideal platform for aspiring youngsters to display their skills – a result of hours of hard work and dedication. We are happy to have this event on such a grand scale with the world’s best 16 teams on board. Like all of you, I also eagerly await to see who will win the title on 15th Dec”.

He further added, “India is an important destination for FIH in its global efforts of growing the game. Whilst hockey already has a large and passionate following in India, we see huge potential to grow this further. The FIH is committed to staging events in India providing live action to the meet the demands and capture the imaginations of this hockey-loving nation. We are working really hard to make the Hero Hockey Junior World Cup as entertaining and inspiring as possible to fans across India. We are excited to see the Junior World Cup live on Ten Sports. Fans can also follow the action on our Twitter account where videos of goals will be tweeted as soon as they happen. Competitions to win tickets and Hero Hockey Junior World Cup goodies will be posted on Facebook and behind the scenes action will be available on our YouTube Channel youtube.com/fihockey. We really take the Hero Hockey Junior World Cup seriously.”

Dr.NarinderBatra, Secretary General, Hockey India, said, “We started the year with hosting Round 2 of Hockey World League, and cap this exciting year with the staging of Hero Hockey Junior World Cup. We have lined up a series of events starting from the Hero Hockey World League Finals in a month from now running up to the Hockey World Cup in 2018”.

He further added: “India should now get behind their team and support them in a big way. Fan support can really make a big difference to the team’s success in a highly competitive event such as this”.

First Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup was held in 1979 in France. Since then ten editions have been held. After Pakistan won the inaugural gold, Germany won it continuously on four occasions before Australia, India, Argentina won once respectively. Germany returned to the podium in the last occasion when Malaysia and Singapore jointly hosted the 10th Junior World Cup.

Stick2Hockey.com



Hockey Junior World Cup trophy unveiled

NEW DELHI: The Hockey Junior World Cup trophy was unveiled on Thursday on the launch-eve of the 10-day tournament.

International hockey federation ( FIH) chief executive Kelly Fairweather, Hockey India (HI) secretary general Narinder Batra and competing captains unveiled the traditional Roger Danet Trophy.

It was also announced that the Player of the Tournament will receive a cash award of Rs.1,00,000 while the Top Scorer of the Tournament will get Rs.50,000. A Man of the Match trophy will be awarded after each match and from the quarterfinals onwards with a cash award of Rs.12,000.

The tournament will be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium December 6-15.

The Times of India



Junior Hockey World Cup to unveil huge talent pool

NEW DELHI: The Junior Hockey World Cup which opens on Friday at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here will unveil the finest young players from 16 teams.

The qualification process which started two years ago has finally culminated. Six teams -- Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, England and Spain -- qualified through the European Cup. Malaysia, Pakistan, India and South Korea progressed through the Asian Cup while two teams qualified from the other continental competitions in Africa (South Africa and Egypt), Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) and America (Argentina and Canada).

Defending champions Germany are the most successful team at the junior level, having won the tournament five times in nine appearances, only finishing once off the podium. They enter the competition ranked No.1 and will face Belgium, Egypt and Pakistan in Pool A.

Belgium so far has had very modest results in World Cup appearances, unable to finish higher than 11th while Pakistan will be a force to reckon with.

The Asian country have traditionally had good results having won the event once and collecting four more podium finishes. Even though their last medal was 20 years ago, they have been regular medal contenders. Pakistan will be led by Umar Bhutta, who at 20-years-old, has more than 80 senior caps to his name and represented his country at the 2012 London Olympics.

Oceania and American champions Australia and Argentina, respectively, will face each other in Pool B, with France and Spain. Last edition's bronze winners Australia are coached by Olympic medallist Paul Gaudoin and will count on prowess of penalty-corner specialist Cameron Joyce.

Argentina are eager to emulate the 2005 generation that conquered the title while France, having only participated thrice earlier, will look to make a mark this time around.

The Netherlands are the highest-ranked team in Pool C and will face home team India, Korea and Canada. Despite nine participation, the Netherlands have never won the competition, having only managed to finish runners-up twice, including last time in 2009.

India will be one of the favourites playing on home ground. The current group has an abundance of experience with midfielders Kothajit Singh and captain Manpreet Singh, both being central figures on the senior side.

The 2001 champions is coached by former South African star Gregg Clark and have fixed their sights firmly on the title and will be cheered by the fans every step of the way.

Asian Champions Malaysia are in Pool D with England, New Zealand and South Africa. Malaysia will hope that this will be the year when they finally step on the podium after participating eight times previously.

New Zealand finished just outside the medals in 2009 and are determined to climb on to the podium while England are another team without a medal to show in their many appearances at the World Cup.

England have assembled a strong group with some senior internationals and could surprise everyone in the tournament.

The Times of India



SA hockey men kick off Junior World Cup quest

JONATHAN COOK


The South Africa U21 men’s hockey team begin their 2013 Junior World Cup finals campaign when they meet England in Delhi, India at 4 pm SA time Friday.

The match will not be televised on SuperSport 7, which is showing 34 JWC matches live, as it is on Pitch B and not on the 20 000-seater stadium pitch.

SA’s other opponents in Pool D in this 16-country competition are Asian champions Malaysia and Oceania Group qualifiers New Zealand. SA tackle Malaysia on Sunday (2.25 pm SA time, live on SS7, delayed showing on SS6 at 8.30 pm).

South Africa’s final Pool match, against New Zealand, is on Monday (4.25 pm SA time, live on SS7 and repeated at 7.30 pm).

The top two teams in each Pool go into next Thursday’s quarter-finals with the bottom two in each Pool playing for positions nine to 16.

SA U21 head coach Darryn Gallagher breathed a sigh of relief Thursday when Marc Fourie passed a fitness test after picking up what appeared to be a serious ankle injury in a 2-1 practice match defeat to one of the tournament favourites, India, earlier this week.

However, the unavailable James Drummond has been replaced by Ross Hetem.

Beijing 2008 Olympian Gallagher’s side, who also drew 1-1 with Pakistan in a warm-up outing, is captained by Dylan Swanepoel with Mohamed Mea his deputy.

Both the SA U21 skipper and his deputy were two of the South African senior team’s outstanding players in the Africa Cup of Nations triumph in Nairobi, Kenya last month, where the national team qualified for the 2014 Hockey World Cup in The Netherlands.

Other SA Juniors to have represented South Africa at senior level are Ignatius Malgraff, Grant Glutz and Taylor Dart.

“The SA U21 team are determined make our fans back home watching on SuperSport 7 proud,” said Gallagher. “While we do have senior national caps, this group prides itself on hard work and the desire to play an exciting, attacking brand of hockey. To play in India is every young player's dream and the lads are going to take this opportunity with both hands.”

The enormity of the task that awaits SA can best be illustrated by the fact that Gallagher said the last time they had played together as a team was as special invites to the SA Interprovincial Hockey Tournament in Cape Town in August, whereas India - under former SA senior head coach Gregg Clark - have been training together for eight months.

“India U21 have trained or toured for five weeks and then rested for one, to then begin the process again.”

For the 16 JWC finals teams, the road to Delhi started two years ago with continental qualifications. Six teams qualified through the Junior European Cup, won by Belgium ahead of the Netherlands, Germany, France, England and Spain.

Malaysia won the Junior Asian Cup, ahead of Pakistan, India and South Korea. Two teams qualified from the other junior continental competitions in Africa (South Africa and Egypt, who SA beat in a gripping penalty shootout in Randburg last year) and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) as well as America (Argentina and Canada).

Germany are the defending Junior World Cup champions, after winning the 2009 event held in Malaysia and Singapore. SA finished 16th out of 20 teams in 2009 and 13th out of 16 in 2005 and 11th out of 16 in 2001.

SOUTH AFRICA U21

Adrian Abrahams (Western Province), Daniel Bell (WP), Matt Brown (Southern Gauteng), Chad Cairncross (Eastern Province), Richard Curtis (KZN Coastal), Taylor Dart (SG), René de la Peyre (Northern Blues), Ross Hetem (KC), Marc Fourie (WP), Grant Glutz (NB), Ross Gonsalves (NB), Keenan Horne (WP), Damian Kimfley (KZN Inland), Ignatius Malgraff (North West), Andrew Manson (KC), Mohamed Mea (vice-capt, KC), Daniel Sibbald (KC), Dylan Swanepoel (capt, WP).

SA Hockey Association media release



Junior World Cup preview



On Friday, the Burras – Australia’s under 21 men’s team – will commence their Junior World Cup campaign in the hockey heartland that is Delhi.

The team arrived in Delhi on Sunday and has spent its final days acclimatising and putting in some last minute practice against Belgium and Germany.

Speaking on the eve of his team’s JWC opener against Argentina, Head Coach Paul Gaudoin was pleased with how the week has gone so far.

“We’ve settled in well, the hotel’s fantastic and the players are in good spirits,” he said. “They’re eager to play and very excited about the next ten days after what has been a long preparation leading up to the tournament.”

In recent years, the imposing 16,000-capacity Major Dhyan Chand Stadium has witnessed some memorable Australian occasions with the Kookaburras lifting the World Cup trophy and Commonwealth Games titles in the in 2010.

Anyone following the #burrashockey hashtag on Twitter and Instagram earlier in the week could not have missed the enthusiasm with which the young Australian team spoke about the venue. Aligned with the country’s iconic India Gate and the Parliament building, its position in the city is representative of hockey’s position in the country.

Talking about the Burras’ opening clash against Argentina, Gaudoin said, “We haven’t played their Under 21s before but Argentina are always very good at this level. They’ve got a very good team and a strong penalty corner attack. [Gonzalo] Peillat plays in their senior team and has just been picked up in the Hockey India League.”

While Daniel Beale is the only Burras player to have won senior international caps with the Kookaburras, every member of Argentina’s squad has played for their senior men’s team, which is now ranked 11th in the world. Peillat has 42 caps.

“We’ll try to play fast and attacking hockey,” admitted Gaudoin. “But we’ll also look to mix it up a bit. We’ve got strategies which we hope will nullify Argentina and we’ll be looking to build them on a solid defensive performance. There’ll be a bit of variation from what people are used to seeing the Kookaburras play but there are also many similarities.”

Hockey Australia media release



India have better chance to win World Cup: Clark

NEW DELHI: Home conditions and a strong team make India one of the favourites to win the Junior Hockey World Cup which starts on Friday, feels India chief coach Greg Clark.

India play last edition's runners-up Netherlands in a Pool C match tomorrow and Clark very well understands the importance of the lung-opener.

"We feel we have prepared well. First game of every tournament is really important. It gives you good momentum going forward. It gives you good confidence," he told reporters on the sidelines of the unveiling of Junior World Cup trophy at a city hotel on Thursday.

"I think we have a very good team at the moment. I think we have a very strong team. There are quite a few players who will go on to represent India in senior international hockey. We are playing at home so I think we have as good a chance than anybody," Clark insisted.

"It's a well-balanced side. I think we have good defensive structure, being as organized as possible in all facets of defence. Obviously attack is the tradition of Indian hockey. There is lots of flair in the team. Indian hockey is renowned for its attacking flair. If we can balance our organized defence with our natural ability, I think we will be in good stead in the tournament."

Clark conceded that his wards would feel the pressure to perform before the home crowd but refused to look too far ahead in the tournament.

"We have sufficient time in the pool if we don't get a positive result tomorrow. So we are not putting too much pressure on ourselves. We just gonna go out there and hopefully can do the business tomorrow," he said.

"We have reasonably high aspirations. We want to go as far as possible. But there won't be any easy games, it is the World Cup. Everybody will fight hard. Our priority is one game at a time. So all our focus is on Netherlands right now.

"Consistency is not a huge concern for me because I think it will be the same for everybody. It's all about being accurate on the night."

Clark said he was a satisfied man so far in his stint as the coach of Indian junior side.

"Personally, it was extremely satisfying to be offered this position, to be offered to nurture the future talent of such a great hockey nation. I have taken it very seriously. I had wonderful time working the players," he said.

Meanwhile, Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra brushed aside concerns about security surrounding the Junior World Cup after Delhi Police have failed to provide safety cover to the event so far.

"We didn't get security yet and I don't know the reason behind it. We have written to all the concerned authorities, including the Delhi Police about it but we are yet to get any response," Batra said.

"We are managing with our private security agency. Till now nobody has shown any concern. Everything is fine in the stadium, the only problem arises during the movements of the teams," he said.

The Times of India



India Vs Netherlands: its 4-2 advantage for India

K. Arumugam


India has a 4-2 advantage over the Netherlands whom they meet in their Junior World Cup opener today.

India and The Netherlands have so far played six times in the realms of Junior World Cup, and India have won four times, while the rest went in favour of the famed rivals.

India and The Netherlands did not meet in the first Junior World Cup held in France, but when they met three years later in 1982 at Kualalumpur, its 3-2 in favour of for India.

The Dutch avenged three years later at Vancouver -- where India was led by Gundeep Kumar -- when they did not allow India to strike a goal. India did not qualify for the next two junior world cup, losing out to Malaysia and Korea apiece from Asian quaota

When they returned, thanks to the then IHF which spent a fortune to improve the juniors lot, India returned to the elite fold in 1997, present coach Baljit Saini leading the side, and also resurrection.

India defeated Netherland 3-2 at Milton Keyness where Rajiv Mishra put out the last winner.

There after in 2001, where we won the ultimate honours, Netherlands was doused with a score of 4-3, that in fact paved India to the semifinal path.

In 2005, India tamed the lions in their own dungeon, at Amsterdam. India posted by far the big margin victory 4-1.

However, scoring a goal through a penalty corner in the last minute, The Dutch again avenged their long running losess, when they defeat Diwakar Ram led India in Singapore 3-2.

Its recent history in its totally points to Indian supremacy, but only we will come to know what is in store -- we go with the winning streak or break.

Stick2Hockey.com



India takes on the Netherlands in opener

Y. B. Sarangi



The captains - Mats Grambusch (Germany), Roel Bovendeert (Netherlands), Andrew Bull, Manpreet Singh (India), Robert Creffier (New Zealand), Guillaume Deront (France) and Mathew Cobbaert (Belgium) - at the unveiling ceremony of Junior World Cup trophy on Thursday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

India, which chases the goal of regaining super power status on the hockey pitch, has invested a lot in its under-21 side. It’s now ready to display the first signs of progress in the 10th edition of the Hero Junior World Cup, starting at the National Stadium here on Friday.

Given its talent, long-term approach and systematic coaching, India is rightly rated among the strong sides in this 16-team event.

The team, with several accomplished performers such as captain Manpreet Singh (85 caps), Kothajit Singh (59), Akashdeep Singh (35) and Mandeep Singh (28), is capable of absorbing the pressure of playing in front of the home crowd.

“We are excited for sure. But we should not have any problem in handling the pressure,” said Manpreet. India takes on the Netherlands in its opening match in Pool C.

Coached by South African Gregg Clark, who delivered the title for Ranchi Rhinos in the inaugural Hockey India League (HIL), India hopes to keep its opponent at bay.

Manpreet will lead the charge in the midfield along with the experienced Kothajit. They have built good rapport with defenders Amit Rohidas and Pradeep Mor.

A fitter Gurjinder Singh not only adds strength to the backline but also provides muscle to the goal-scoring department with his accurate drag-flicks.

“If we can organise the defence well and balance the attack with it, that will stand us in good stead,” said Clark.

Impressive forward-line

The Indian forward line looks impressive. Ramandeep Singh, Mandeep Singh and Akashdeep Singh will be in focus along with Malak Singh and Talwinder Singh.

Even though Harjot Singh has played a leading role as the first choice goalkeeper, it will be a toss-up between him and Sushant Tirkey.

“Hitting the middle of the kickers is like hitting the middle of the bat. Our ’keepers are hitting the middle of the kickers,” said goalkeeping coach Dave Staniforth. “We have covered our basics well, prepared well,” asserted Clark.

The Netherlands, yet to win the crown, has solid support from manager and twice Olympic silver medallist Floris Evers. “My role is to see the bus is on time,” joked Evers, who has the experience of playing in India.

“The names may not be spectacular, but our team is,” he added.

The Hindu



India take on Dutch in their first battle for Junior Hockey World Cup

Biswajyoti Brahma


NEW DELHI: "A great bunch, super talented and wonderful human beings." India's coach Gregg Clark picked these superlatives to describe his wards on the eve of the Hero Junior Hockey World Cup.

Come Friday, after the match against the Netherlands, the South African would be in a better position to know whether he can add another word to his description of the youngsters - character.

For that's what the Indians have to show in plenty against a side that has come to the tournament desperately seeking to end a jinx - of having never won the coveted title.

A loss against the relatively inexperienced yet strong favourites may not prove that costly for India as they are placed in the "easiest" pool of the tournament. They need to win two matches to move into the quarterfinals - the other two teams in their group, besides the Dutch, are South Korea and Canada. But a slip in their opening match could affect team morale.

Clark himself admitted that the Netherlands game is very important as the result in the opener has the potential to decide in which direction the team's fortunes will turn. "There are no easy games in the World Cup, but the first game of every tournament is very important. (A win) gives you good momentum, helps you to go forward and gives you confidence," Clark said on the sidelines of a function to unveil the World Cup trophy in the Capital.

Though he's aware of the challenge on hand, Clark can take heart from the fact that all the members of the squad have international exposure, having played in senior tournaments in the run-up to the tournament. The Netherlands, on the other hand, do not have that advantage. "The Indian side is well balanced. We have worked hard on a good defensive structure... the team is organised in all facets of defence. India is known for its attacking flair and its counter-attack ability. If we can balance those two facets - of structural defence and the natural ability to attack - it will really stand us in good stead in the tournament," Clark added.

The Dutch have come here very well-prepared - something all sides do before any major tournament. But to ensure that they don't lose the plot, they have sent former Olympian Floris Evers as the manager.

Interestingly, Evers' job is not only to manage the team. He's passing on valuable information to the young players on what to should expect in India - the crowd, conditions, the weather etc. Evers was part of the Dutch side in the 2010 World Cup that was held in Delhi and was a member of the Ranchi Rhinos side which won the Hockey India League earlier this year.

The Times of India



History of Jr. World Cup: Can Germany continue to succeed?

K. Arumugam


Federation Internationale de Hockey (FIH) introduced Junior World Cup in 1979 after holding senior version successfully four times in the previous eight years.

The then undisputed kings of hockey, Pakistan, faced no serious challenge in winning the inaugural Junior World Cup at Versalles (France), without losing a single encounter.

Having won the senior World Cup only 18 months ago, Pakistan hockey was at its best with the annexation of junior title too.

Australia upset the apple cart of Pakistan two years later in the semifinals of the Kuala Lumpur edition when it thrashed the defending champions 4-1. However, (West) Germany triumphed in the final, repeating the same scoreline against Australia.

Pakistan thereafter entered the semis four times, winning only once, though the ultimate title remained eluded till the date.

Germany is the undoubtedly the champions of Junior World Cup domain in absolute sync with its world’s super power.

Germany won the Cup continuously four times, a record from 1982 to 1993.

In 1997 at Milton Keyness in England, it was left to India, which did not even qualify for for the two previous numbers, to end the German reign.

Led by present Junior India Coach Baljit Singh Saini, India won Germany, which was on its fifth straight title, in the semis 3-2, thus paving way for its first final. However, the Australians had other ideas, and won the title with a single goal margin victory.

Four years later, as India intensified its preparations with participation in many number of age group tournaments, started rather shakily at Hobart, but came out with excellent victories before winning the title 6-1 against Argentina.

Gagan Ajit led the side, last-minute coach duo Rajinder Singh and Surinder Sodhi returned happy. Deepak Thakur was the top score with 10 goals, four coming in the final alone.

It was then its time for Argentina to rule the roost.

Defending champions India was done in in the semis, and then even bronze eluded at Amsterdam, a controversial late decision of umpires to annul a goal.

Argentina, in the finals second time in succession, posted a golden goal to annex their first title.

Singapore and Malaysia jointly hosted the 2009 number.

The format now was dangerous as medal round and preliminary round.

India could not move to medal round, as it lost crucial match to New Zealand, which went on to play the final subsequently. Diwakar Ram, who led the side, could not convert penalty corners in crucial moments.

Germany went on to regain the Junior World Cup in Johor Bahru.

The field for Delhi is now reduced to traditional 16, and it remains to be seen whether Germany continues to hold its sway over the Roger Danet Trophy.

Stick2Hockey.com



Don't take us lightly: Germany coach Henning

NEW DELHI: Germany's coach Andre Henning said on Thursday that the European champions should not be taken lightly at the Junior Hockey World Cup to be played at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium from December 6-15.

"We are the European champions, hence should not be taken lightly. Our strength is the combination of our senior and junior players along with the attacking style of play which helps us have an edge over the opponents. Before coming here, this team did not have a chance of practicing together as most players were busy with their domestic home teams," said Henning, after his team's practice session.

"However, post coming here, the team had two thorough practice sessions and the coordination among them is looking good and strong. The team has an excellent tactical discipline and the ability to read the opponent which they will use to their advantage during the tournament."

Defending champions Germany will play their first match against Belgium at 2.30 p.m. on Friday on Pitch 2.

The Times of India



We are eager to play Germany: Belgium coach

NEW DELHI: Belgium coach Philippe Goldberg Thursday said his boys are eager to take on defending champions Germany when the Hockey Junior World Cup kicks off at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

"The team is eager to play their first match on Friday after the regular training sessions. They are all geared up to put up an excellent team performance. To beat the opponent team, we will be playing with an offensive style that we have been following during the practices as well," Goldberg said .

"There is not much pressure on the boys which is an essential factor to play well constantly throughout the game. Playing with good momentum and understanding the opponent team's strategies would be our focus. The boys are looking forward with zeal and excitement to display their skills as they have been practising for a long time."

The Belgian team were seen working on their last minute strategies at the practice sessions.

The Times of India



Daring to dream

Coach believes his team can emerge champions

By JUGJET SINGH



The Malaysian juniors are out to make their mark on the World Cup.

COACH K. Dharmaraj is confident his charges fear no team in the Junior World Cup, as they have been turned into a hardened outfit after clocking many hour sof playing under different conditions all over the world to prepare for the showdown in New Delhi today.

New Zealand are the first hurdle, and a winning start against the Kiwis will chart the coach and his charges’ future in the tournament.

“I have told my boys many times that they must believe in themselves and dream every night of becoming Junior World Cup champions.

“And I believe, if any Malaysian team can achieve this feat, it is these boys that I have with me,” said Dharmaraj.

His players are fearless, and don’t look at the country of origin of their opponents when trooping onto the pitch.

“There is absolutely no fear in the hearts of my players for European, Oceania, Asian, or South America teams.

They have been drilled to not fear teams which have a rich history in hockey, but only fear silly mistakes which will make their quest of making a big impact on the tournament that much harder,” said Dharmaraj.

Dharmaraj went on to say junior as well as senior coaches around the globe have started to look up to Malaysia, as the players have the heart and desire to win, and keep on winning.

“I have been approached by coaches from South Korea, Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand and Egypt in the past year and all of them said that my boys are among the teams to beat in New Delhi.

“And I have also told my players, that our tour to Australia recently was an invitation, and not a request from Malaysia. Not only did the Australians invite us, but they also sponsored our board and lodging.

“Pakistan had also invited Malaysia to play two friendlies, with full board and lodging provided. It was the same with England, when we went there to play.

“Hosts India also invited us to New Delhi this year. I am not bragging, but I told the players to think for themselves why all this sudden interest to play against Malaysia?

“I told them they are now a respected outfit, and the sky is the limit, if they choose to dream big,” said Dharmaraj.

A fiery player in his heyday, Dharmaraj is also a fiery ‘preacher’ who has taken the Malaysian Juniors to new heights many times.

Under Dharmaraj, the Project 2013 players have beaten Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Argentina, South Korea, India and Spain.

“My players have only failed to beat Netherlands, and we lost twice to the Dutch under cold conditions in 2010,” said Dharmaraj.

Project 2013 were also champions of the 2009 Sea Games, runners-up in the Under-18 Asia Cup in 2009 and 2011. They were champions in the inaugural Sultan of Johor Cup 2011, and SOJC runners-up this year.

“The biggest achievement was winning the Junior Asia Cup in 2012 and qualifying on merit for the World Cup.

“My boys have performed ‘magic’ when least expected, and I have told them, dreaming of gold in New Delhi can be turned into reality if they put their heart and mind to it,” said Dharmaraj.

TheMalaysianHockeyConfederation (MHC) has set a top-six target for the juniors, but Dharmaraj believes in his players, and in tandem, they believe they are champion material.

The squad: Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri, Hafizuddin Othman, Firhan Ashaari, Fitri Saari (captain), Rashid Baharom, G. Kavin Kartik, Syamim Yusof, Shazril Irwan Nazli, Meor Azuan, Haziq Samsul, Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, Azri Hassan, Zulhairi Hashim, Faiz Helmi Jali, Shahril Saabah, Joel Samuel van Huizen, Nor Aqmal Abdul Ghaffar, Hafiz Zainol.

New Straits Times



Skipper with a lion’s heart


CAPTAIN Fitri Saari was spotted way back in 2007 when he scored a brace to help Kelantan beat Singapore 2-1 in the National Under-14 tournament at the Pandamaran Stadium in Klang.

Fitri scored off a penalty corner and then a marvellous field goal which brought the fans to their feet.

He was only 14, and the scouts had already placed a tick next to his name on the team list.

Fast forward to 2011 and the 18-year-old made his senior team debut by playing in the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy, the same year he handed Malaysia the Sultan of Johor Cup title by scoring a goal in the 3-2 win against Australia.

As a 20-year-old with 56 senior caps, he will lead Malaysia’s assault against New Zealand, South Africa and England.

“I grew up in the shadow of my more established brother Faizal (the best senior team striker in Malaysia today) and after he played in the 2009 Junior World Cup, I told myself that I can also make the grade.

“It was not easy, but I put in many extra hours outside of normal training and now the coach has placed his trust in me to wear the arm band.

“I am ready, the team are ready, and we can’t wait for the tournament to get underway,” said the pint-sized skipper.

Size does not matter for this skipper, as he has rubbed shoulders with the giants from Europe when playing in the World League Semi-finals in Johor Baru where Malaysia finished fifth and qualified for next year’s senior World Cup in the Netherlands.

“I have been pushed, elbowed, and sent flying in tackles against bigger European players but I always keep my eyes on the ball, and never give up a fair fight for possession,” said Fitri.

And his determination, and a strong heart, makes up for his size.

“My mission is to lead the team into the quarter-finals, and then plan for the next stage. I have 17 other players who are just as determined as me, and that makes my work on the pitch that much easier.”

Malaysia need to beat New Zealand at all cost today, for Fitri and his teammates to keep their sights on the quarter-finals.

New Straits Times

 



Kane is the Kiwi dangerman in Malaysia’s opener

By S. Ramaguru



Malaysia have identified Kane Russell (in white) as the dangerman in their opening Junior World Cup match against New Zealand in New Delhi on Friday, - Filepic

MALAYSIA begin their Junior World Cup hockey campaign with a Group D match against New Zealand on Friday and skipper Fitri Saari reckons this will be their biggest hurdle.

The other teams in the group are England and South Africa.

He said that although Malaysia are capable of a top-four finish in the tournament, “we need to play as a unit and also avoid making mistakes”.

“New Zealand are not going to be easy ... but we can beat them. We have to keep it (our game) simple. Playing to instruction is also crucial but, more importantly, we have to keep the mistakes to a minimum,” he said at the Lalit Hotel, where the team are staying.

The national players have been watching video recordings of New Zealand’s matches and Fitri reckons that the Kiwis are most dangerous from penalty corner situations.

And the man they need to fear is Kane Russell, the Kiwis’ penalty corner specialist.

“They are a strong side with all-around abilities. We cannot give them too much space or penalty corners,” said Fitri.

The Kiwis also see Malaysia as a threat to their chances.

Coach Grant Edwards said there was no way they would relax against the Malaysians although “we have beaten them in friendlies in 2012” when they last played each other.

“This is the real thing ... the match will be crucial to both our chances. Opening matches are always tough and the ones who can settle down quickly will have the edge,” said Edwards.

Malaysian goalkeeper Mohd Hafizuddin Othman admitted that stopping the New Zealand penalty corner battery will be the key to victory.

“Of course our defenders can make it easier if they avoid mistakes and not concede penalty corners. But, if they do, then I will have to be at my best to stop their attempts,” said Hafizuddin.

“I have seen the Kiwis on video and I see they have a very strong drag flicker in Russell. I have seen his style ... I’ll be ready for him.”

After New Zealand, Malaysia face South Africa on Sunday and England on Monday.

“We need to it take one game at a time. There is no need to put ourselves under pressure. My message to my team-mates is to keep everything simple and to stay focused. I’m confident we can live up to expectations,” said Fitri.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have set the team a top-six target. Can they do better than that?

Let’s see what happens on Friday, first.

The Star of Malaysia



Don’t underestimate South Africa at Junior World Cup

By S. Ramaguru



No pushovers. The South African team training hard ahead of their opening round match against England in Group D of the Junior World Cup in New Delhi starting this Friday. Both teams are in the same group with Malaysia and New Zealand.

THE South African hockey team are an unknown quantity and it would be wise for Malaysia to take them seriously in Group D.

South Africa are determined to make a big impression at the Junior World Cup, which starts here on Friday at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

They will play England in the opening tie and face Malaysia on Sunday. The other team in the group are favourites New Zealand.

South Africa coach Darryn Galagher admitted that they are under no pressure to survive the tough group.

“We have come here with no added pressure on us and are looking ahead to the challenge that will come our way.

“The boys are confident and want to take their learning curve up another level. England and Malaysia are tough opponents but we are looking forward to playing against them,” he said.

South Africa qualified as the continental champions and will make their fourth consecutive appearance in the Junior World Cup.

Their best outing was in the 2001 campaign in Hobart, Australia, where they defeated Malaysia in the playoff match to finish 11th.

They then finished 13th and 15th respectively in 2005 and 2009.

Two players – skipper Dylan Swanpoel and Mohamed Mea – are members of South Africa’s senior team who won the Africa Cup of Nations continental championship in Nairobi last month.

He picked Mohamed Mea as the player to watch out for.

“He is a talented defender who is likely to be part of the South African senior set-up for years to come.

“Generally, we have a very determined team and we hope that we can, for the first time, make it into the top eight,” he said, adding that the team needed to raise their game a notch higher in the group phase.

The coach added that he was also satisfied with the fitness of the players and believe they can give all their opponents a run for their money.

The Star of Malaysia



Top four is team target



Though the Malaysian Hockey Confederation has set finishing top six as a target for the national juniors for the Junior world Cup, skipper Mohd Fotri Saari feels that they can finish amongst the top four.

While saying that he respected the target set by MHC, Fitri feels that the team has the ability to make the semis.

Thus he and his fellow teammates have set a personal target of making it all the way to the semis.

“We have assesed the situation and looking at the teams, we believe that we can finish amongst the top four teams here in Delhi,” said Firhan at the tournament hotel when met atogether with Faiz Helmi Jali, Mohd Forhan Ashaari and Hafiz Zainol.

“We are under no pressure although many at home feel that we have been set a target that we will find tough to meet.

“Frankly all this talk has not affected us at all for we have faith in our own ability collctively and trust us that when we say we can finish in the top four, we can do it.

“The players are jiust raring to go and I am optimistic that we can do well in the opening match against New Zealand.

“We have seen videos of New Zealand in action against Australia and from what we have seen, they are a good side ith a potent penalty corner battery.

“Thus we must be tight in defence and not give away penalty corners if we want to collect all three points.”

Faiz Helmi Jali who is the general in defence believes that working together in defence will be vital towards defeating New Zealand.

“From what I have seen, they are better then the team that played and defeated us twice at the SOJC last year,” said the pint sized defender who is also a member of the senior side.

“We have to be wary of the physical strength of our opponents as they can make it difficult for us.

MalaysianHockey.com.my



Firhan hopes to strike



Having not scored a goal for the past one year for the national juniors, Mohd Firhan Ashaari hopes to end his barren run in Malaysia’s opening match of the Junior World Cup against New Zealand at the Dyan Chand Hockey Stadium in New Delhi.

Firhan’s last goal for the juniors dates back to the 2012 Sultan of Johor Cup against Australia in November but the Terengganu born is confident he has found his scoring touch at the recent Asian Champions Trophy in Japan.

He scored three goals, two against Oman and another against Japan and believes that the Junior world Cup will be the perfect platform to signal his return to form.

“I cannot explain why I could not score but one must understand that who scores never matters, as long as the team does well in the tournament,” said Firhan.

“I have been working hard in training and while I did not score, I have created openings for other players, taking away the focus of defences thus creating chances for others to score.”

While Firhan is hoping that there is a change of fortunes for him, Hafiz Zainol wants to do well in the Junior World Cup so as to impress national coach Paul Revington.

For Hafiz believes that a spirited performance could sway Revington to name him into the national training squad for next year’s World Cup whicjh is expected to comprise of 35 trainees.

“The tournament will be tough and I will have to play at my best to impress Revington,” said Hafiz.

“It is every players dream to play for the senior side and I have been working hard in training and hope to repay the confidence my coach K. Dharmaraj had in me.”

While Hafiz is in India, he mind is also with his patrents whose farm in Jengka 22 has been affected by the floods that has affected most of the east coast.

“Though the house is not affected, the road leading up to the housing area is submerged in water, as is the case of the farm,” said Hafiz.

“My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the floods and I hope things will return back to normal soon.”

MalaysianHockey.com.my



Pakistan to start campaign in New Delhi on Friday

KARACHI: Spurred by back-to-back wins in practice games, Pakistan are eyeing a flying start at the Junior Hockey World Cup which will push off today in New Delhi with 16 teams battling for the title.

Pakistan’s rising stars are scheduled to meet Egypt on Friday evening in their opening Pool A fixture.

The team reached New Delhi on December 3 where they held extensive training sessions besides playing two practice games, beating South Africa 2-1 and Malaysia 2-0.

Coach Anjum Saeed said his team was ready to face Egypt.

“We are targeting a winning start,” Saeed told The Express Tribune from New Delhi. “The players have adjusted well here and are up for the the challenge.”

However, the coach added Egypt will not be an easy side and his team will have to play good hockey   against them.

‘Adequate security in New Delhi’

The coach added that his team has been provided a comfortable environment and accommodation in New Delhi.

“The security provided to all teams in the ground and the hotel is fine and we are comfortable here.”

Meanwhile in other matches on the opening day, Korea will play Canada (Pool C), Australia will face Argentina (Pool B), defending champions Germany will take on Belgium (Pool A), New Zealand will compete against Malaysia (Pool D), Spain will square up against France (Pool B) while England will take on South Africa (Pool D).

The Express Tribune



Junior Hockey World Cup teams awaiting security cover

Uthra Ganesan / Shubhomoy Sikdar


The Junior Hockey World Cup will kick-start on Friday at the National Stadium here, but the event is still awaiting security cover from the Delhi Police.

Hockey India secretary Narinder Batra admitted the organisers were clueless about the issue. “We have arranged for a big contingent of private security personnel at the stadium but there has been no communication from the Delhi Police so far. We have already had meetings with everyone concerned – from police officers to officials in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The MHA has said it is still waiting for some clearance from the Intelligence Bureau but has not got back to us so far,” Mr. Batra said on the sidelines of the unveiling of the championship trophy.

It may be remembered that protests from the Shiv Sena earlier this year had forced Hockey India to send back nine Pakistani players participating in the inaugural Hockey India League (HIL). Pakistan is one of the teams in the Junior World Cup and Mr. Batra said the threat perception this time too was very real given the scale of the tournament.

‘International event’

“This is an international event and you don’t need a confirmed threat to get security. Even a small issue will explode internationally. But the police say they are busy with elections and I don’t think they care about the teams,” he added.

He also said that this was not the first time authorities had created hurdles for Hockey India.

During the HIL, the federation had a run-in with the Sports Authority of India regarding movement of equipment. “The government doesn’t support us here and the police always harass us. We pay Rs.14 lakh as rent for this stadium and still face obstacles. If the rest of my Board supports me, I would not like to bring any hockey event to Delhi after the World League Round Four in January,” Mr. Batra added.

The New Delhi District Police, under whose jurisdiction the stadium falls, said they would perform crowd management at the venue on match days. However, the organisers have maintained that their real worry is the safety of players during their stay in the hotels and during the travel to and from the stadium. The Hindu tried to contact senior Delhi Police officers, including those from the security wing, but they were either unavailable or refused to speak on the subject.

The Hindu



No police security for players so far: Batra

NEW DELHI: The absence of policemen to provide security at the junior World Cup seems to have left Hockey India (HI) a bit worried. According to HI secretary general Narinder Batra, in the absence of Delhi police personnel, HI has been forced to make private arrangements.

"We don't have police security till now. We have spoken at all levels but nothing has happened so far. We have made private arrangements," he said on Thursday.

When asked whether any of the participating teams including Pakistan has expressed any concern, Batra replied in the negative.

Pakistan players had faced protest in Delhi as well as Mumbai when they visited India for participation in this year's Hockey India League. The protest had subsequently forced the organizers to send the players back to Pakistan.

The Times of India



All’s not lost for Junior World Cup discards

By S. Ramaguru


KUALA LUMPUR: Three of the players dropped from the Malaysian Junior World Cup squad have been named in the 18-man team for the Myanmar SEA Games.

They are forward Dangerous Lee, midfielder Mohd Azwar Abdul Rahman and defender Mohd Aminuddin Mat Zain.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have named a mixed team of seniors and juniors for the Games.

The other juniors in the team are Mohd Ramadan Rosli, Norhizzat Sumantri, Amir Farid Ahmad Fuzi and Dedi Ariyadi Junaidi.

The team will be led by skipper and midfielder Mohd Shahrun Nabil. The other seniors in the team are goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin, defenders Mohd Amin Rahim, Baljit Singh Charun and Azlan Misron, midfielders Jivan Mohan and Azreen Rizal Nasir and forward Tengku Ahmad Tajudin.

They are coached by former international Tai Beng Hai.

MHC senior president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad said they have name a strong team as “we want nothing less than the gold medal”.

“The senior players should be able to combine well with the juniors and the team should not have any problem beating the other four men’s teams in the Games,” said Nur Azmi.

The other teams in the men’s competition, to be held inYangon, are Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Myanmar

Malaysia will open their campaign against Vietnam on Dec 15. Their other matches are against Thailand (Dec 16), Singapore (Dec 18) and Myanmar (Dec 19).

The final is on Dec 21.

Except for the 1973 SEA Games in Singapore, the Malaysian men’s team have won the gold medal at all the other Games where hockey was played.

The last time hockey was included in the SEA Games was in 2005 in Manila.

The SEA Games squad

Roslan Jamaluddin, Mohd Azwar Abdul Rahman, Mohd Hairi Abdul Rahman, Mohd Amin Rahim, Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin, Baljit Singh Charun, Azlan Misron, Tengku Ahmad Tajudin Abdul Jalil, Mohd Shahrun Nabil (captain), Jivan Mohan, Azreen Rizal Nasir, Mohd Azammi Adabi, Mohd Ramadhan Rosli, Norhizzat Sumantri, Amir Farid Ahmad Fuzi, Dedi Ariyadi Junaidi, Dangerous Lee Mathew, Mohd Aminuddin Mat Zain.

The Star of Malaysia



English Umpire Hamish Jamson appointed to 2014 World Cup


Simon Mason presents Performance Umpire of the year award to Hamish Jamson during the Maxifuel Super Sixes

Having started umpiring back when he was a student, Hamish Jamson has been an FIH umpire since 1996. Now he's on track for his fourth World Cup as he heads for the Hague in May next year.

Earlier this year Hamish was awarded the Performance Official of the Year award by Sports Official UK, and now Hamish is headed for his fourth World Cup and is excited about the prospect of more international umpiring. "Of course, I'm thrilled and honoured to have been appointed to the World Cup. It'll be a real festival of top quality hockey and this one, being a joint men’s and women’s tournament, will be really exciting."

From his final year at Sheffield University in 1991 when umpiring took over from playing, Hamish has steadily risen in the umpiring ranks after becoming an FIH umpire in 1996 and his first tournament experience at the 1997 Junior World Cup in Milton Keynes. Since then, his appointments have included one Olympics (London 2012), three World Cups, five Champions Trophies and four European Cups. In all, he's umpired 148 official international matches, and recieved his 'Golden Whistle' for 100 senior matches at the Euros in 2009.

When asked about what he feels about his career so far, he said "umpiring is a passion and I'm lucky to be involved at such a level with the game I love. I think an umpire's role is to bring out the best possible game from what's out there in front of them."

And advice for aspiring umpires? "Try read the game as the players are. Put yourself in their position and umpire the game as you would want it umpired if you were playing. As soon as you’ve justified a decision, even though a player may not agree, that’s the end of the on-pitch discussion. Most certainly be open and honest enough to engage in a longer discussion in the bar after the game, but not on the pitch."

Next year's World Cup will be Hamish's last, as umpires have to retire at 47, but he has the same hope we all do that both English teams will come away with some medals!

England Hockey Board Media release



Is Hockey India League the saviour?

Viren Rasquinha


People often ask me "Can we ever win an Olympic Gold medal again? It's a question I find very hard to answer.

Even legendary Australian coach Dr. Ric Charlesworth once told me, 'The problem with Indians is that they expect the National team to win a gold at the Olympics or World Cup without realising that our realistic position in the world rankings lies somewhere between eight and twelve. You can only climb the ladder one rung at a time.

Reaching the top takes patience, planning and seamless execution." None of these attributes can be listed as virtues of the Indian sporting psyche. India's haul of 8 Olympic Hockey Gold medals stands testimony to an amazing legacy in hockey. However, the reality is that since the 1980 Moscow Olympics gold medal, India hasn't even made the semi final of a World Cup or Olympics.

So the question arises; Is the Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) good for Indian hockey? Absolutely. The inaugural edition of the HHIL showed that the passion of the Indian hockey fan is very much alive. The smalls towns are where hockey is truly alive and kicking.

Ranchi provided the magical sight of a 1 kilometre long queue of fans outside the stadium to watch their Ranchi Rhinos team take on the Delhi Waveriders in the final. The stadium was packed to the rafters, fans lined the rooftops of adjoining buildings and some courageous ones even perched themselves on trees. German Midfielder Moritz Furste, the reigning FIH World Player of the Year and captain of Ranchi Rhinos exclaimed, "I have never experienced so much attention for hockey anywhere in the world

Today, for any league to be commercially viable, it is crucial to deliver sustainable value to the sponsors and the franchise owners. TV is the key here. In the first season of HHIL, the telecast went to 146 countries across the world. TV Viewership in India was 41.109 m and world viewership was 20.84m. There were 4,20,000 video views on Youtube of which 2/3rd of the views came from outside India. It is by far the best paid Hockey league in the world; 5 franchises splashed out $3.1 million for 120 players - 70 top Indian players and 50 of the top international players.

So, will the HHIL improve the standard of Indian Hockey? Surely, the positives far outweigh the negatives. For a young Indian player to get to share a dressing room with the likes of Jamie Dwyer and Teun de Nooijer is an invaluable opportunity to learn new skills.

Not just that, the Indian players get exposure to tactics, strategy and video analysis from the top world coaches. India's highest paid player Sardara Singh getting paid $78000 a season is certainly a motivating tool for many youngsters. The inaugural edition threw up talents like Mandeep Singh and Amit Rohidas who are now regular members of the Indian national squad. There is plenty of scope for improvement.

I would love to see the franchises developing junior local talent. To make the HHIL commercially sustainable, there is an urgent need to build stars, role models and household names.

Economic Times



Oltmans to SAI: Get Bhopal Centre ready by March

NEW DELHI: To prepare the senior men's national team for next year's World Cup, Hockey India's high performance director Roelant Oltmans and chief coach Terry Walsh have requested SAI to replace both the synthetic turfs at its Bhopal centre by March next year.

Both Oltmans and Walsh have expressed their desire to hold the senior team's final preparatory camp at the SAI's Central Regional Centre (CRC), Bhopal immediately after the second edition of the Hockey India League (HIL) in February before leaving for the World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands from May 31 to June 15, 2014.

The coaching staff comprising Oltmans, Walsh and coach Maharaj Krishan Kaushik have also informed the Sports Authority of India that the final selection of the Indian team for the 12-nation event could happen after the conclusion of the preparatory camp.

The national coaching camp for the men's team is currently underway at the Bhopal centre till December 16. The coaching camp, which started from November 15, was being organised at the centre after a gap of five years by Roque Dias, regional director, SAI Bhopal.

The coaches have suggested that GREENFIELDFS TX synthetic surface, which will be used for the World Cup, and the Astroturf System 5 Synthetic surface should be laid in place of the existing two fields to get the team acclimatised with the new surface, which the top hockey playing nations have been using for years.

The coaches have stressed on the need to replace the synthetic turfs with the suggested ones most preferably before March. They want the turf ready by the time HIL will come to an end.

In case of only one turf could be replaced within the stipulated time frame, Oltmans has suggested the SAI to lay the GREENFIELDFS surface first so that the Indian contingent can practice on it.

The coaching staff also expressed their need to have a latest portable tower for videography and electronic technology installed for both the fields. The product will be HI-POD (an extreme camera monopod) from the USA.

They also want the SAI to get the base work completed through professional contractors such as the JAYPEE Group, which is a specialist in laying turfs and recognised the world over through a government agency apart from entering into a cleaning contract with the manufacturing company so that the life of turf shall be enhanced by two-three years.

Their other demand includes retaining the sprinklers system laid at the Bhopal centre.

At present, 34 national players including V R Raghunath, S V Sunil, Sardar Singh and P R Sreejesh, are participating in the national camp under the watchful eyes of Oltmans, Walsh, Kaushik, FIH Grade-I coach Dave Thamm and goalkeeping coach from South Africa Matt.

The Times of India



SC: ‘Politics’ has wrecked sports

J. Venkatesan


The Supreme Court on Thursday lamented that it was because of businessmen heading sports bodies for hockey that India could not even qualify for the next Olympics.

A bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and J. Chelameswar observed: “You have brought the game to this abysmal low. One gold medal we used to get in the Olympics. Now, we don’t even enter the arena. Who are these people who are heading these organisations? Businessmen? Sports officials are only interested in visiting foreign countries and not in promoting the game. This showed the sad state of affairs.”

It was hearing a petition filed by the Indian Hockey Federation on a dispute with Hockey India.

The Hindu



Sports bodies should be headed by sportspersons, not businessmen: SC

Politicians and businessmen heading sports bodies are causing harm to the games and should leave their running to sportpersons, the Supreme Court said on Thursday while expressing concern over the standard of hockey falling to an “abysmal low” in the country.

In stinging remarks on the state of affairs in sporting bodies, the apex court said it is a “sad commentary” that people who are the administrators of the game have nothing to do with sports and they run the bodies at the cost of the game.

“Sports are run by private individual persons. Private individuals are controlling the games in India. Can the game be held hostage by private interest? This is why hockey has come down and the team is struggling to qualify for Olympics where we used to win gold medals,” a bench comprising justices T.S. Thakur and J Chelameshwar said.

“These officers run the federations at the cost of the game. They do not have anything to do with the game. It is a sad commentary on sports in the country,” it further said.

The Court was hearing a plea filed by Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), which is at loggerheads with its rival Hockey India (HI), seeking stay on the proceeding initiated by Federation of International Hockey to find out which of them is to be recognised to represent the country at international events.

The bench said it is unfortunate that the government has not been able to control the games leading to numerous litigations filed by private individual persons for controlling the games in the country and the “rot” in the federations has led to the present stage of affairs.

“Government is unable to control the sport societies and you (bodies) keep fighting. Is there any federation which is not fighting legal battles in courts,” the bench said, adding, “In no other country such litigations are witnessed for controlling the games.”

After briefly hearing the contention of IHF, the bench questioned who is heading the Federation and whether there is any Olympian in it.

“Who are heading the sports federations. They are the businessmen. Is there Olympian in the society,” the bench asked senior advocate U.U. Lalit, appearing for IHF.

“You brought this game to abysmal low that you do not qualify to send your team to international events,” the bench said.

The Hindu



National game victim of private interest: SC

Dhananjay Mahapatra


NEW DELHI: Constant litigation between Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and Hockey India (HI) and the government's inability to end the impasse has tested the patience of the Supreme Court, which on Thursday said the country's national game had fallen victim to private interest as businessmen ruled the roost in these bodies.

The trigger was provided by IHF which moved an application seeking to restrain HI from participating in the proceedings of the three-member committee appointed by International Hockey Federation (FIH) to find out which body controlled hockey in India.

A bench of Justices TS Thakur and J Chelameswar said, "These are all private bodies holding the game hostage for private interest. Who are these private individuals trying to control hockey in India? This is what hockey has come to in India. We are not even qualifying for Olympics... Which country will permit its national games to degenerate into such a state? You all have brought the game to such a state. Who are the persons trying to control the game? Businessmen? They are all businessmen who rule the roost in these sports bodies."

Answering the self-posed question "why hockey has come to its present state of affairs", the bench said, "This is because the government is unable to streamline the administration of the game."

Appearing for IHF, senior advocate UU Lalit said it was similar to Board of Control for Cricket in India ( BCCI), a registered society which administers the game of cricket. He clarified that erstwhile Olympians were also part of the IHF administration.

But the bench said, "Whether it is hockey or wrestling, all these bodies controlling the games are always into litigations and there is a continuous fight for control among rivals. These officials are interested in visiting foreign countries in connection with the sport. That is the only attraction for them. It is a sad commentary."

IHF's plea to restrain HI from attending proceedings before the FIH's three-member committee was based on the fact that the Delhi high court had ruled in its favour by quashing its de-affiliation, thus making it the sole body to represent Indian hockey in the international arena. HI had appealed against this order in the apex court, which had permitted HI to select the national team for the Commonwealth Games.

The Times of India



SC has a dig at politicians for taking hockey to 'abysmal low'

NEW DELHI: Taking a dig at the politicians and businessmen for bringing the hockey to an "abysmal low", the Supreme Court Thursday said the sporting bodies should only be manned by sportspersons.

Wondering if the game of hockey be held hostage by the private individual, a bench of Justice TS Thakur and Justice J Chelameswar said that in the game in which India used to win gold medals, it was now struggling to even qualify for Olympics.

Describing it as a "sad commentary", the court said that game was being administered by those who had nothing to with the hockey and it was the sport that was becoming a casualty.

The strong observation by the court over the manner in which sporting bodies were being managed by the people not remotely connected with the game came during the hearing of a plea by the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) seeking a halt to the proceedings by the Federation of International Hockey to ascertain whether it was Indian Hockey Federation or Hockey India that was representing Indian hockey in the international sports arena.

As the court gave vent to its disappointment over the way the sport was being managed in the country, it had a dig at the government for its failure to control sports bodies even as private individuals keep locking horns over controlling them and engage in long legal battles.

Holding that in no other country one gets to witness legal battles for controlling sports bodies, the court said: "Government is unable to control the sport societies and you (IHF and HI) keep fighting. Is there any federation which is not fighting legal battles in courts?"

Mentioning the matter, senior counsel UU Lalit appearing for the Indian Hockey Federation told the court that the matter relating to the recognition of the sporting body was pending before it and any proceedings by the Federation of International Hockey amounted to bypassing the top court.

Challenging the jurisdiction of Federation of Intonation Hockey to decide whether Indian Hockey Federation or Hockey India represented Indian hockey internationally, Lalit urged the court to decide the issue as it was pending before it for some time now.

Asking both the feuding IHF and Hockey India to place their case before the panel of the Federation of International Hockey, the court said that it could not interfere with the proceedings of the international sporting body.

As the court asked Hockey India to file its response to IHF's plea within four weeks, Hockey India's senior counsel Ashok Desai told the court that it was the IHF that had taken the issue before the Federation of International Hockey and now it was opposing its proceedings.

The court directed the listing of the matter in second week of January, observing that such issues could not be allowed to be kept pending for years.

The Times of India



Brian Oram

England Hockey is sad to report that Brian Oram, a longstanding coach, umpire, player and volunteer, passed away on Monday 2 December following a long and brave battle with illness.

His long and varied hockey life can be traced back to his Navy days where he joined Fareham HC, and in 1971-72 he coached Dorset County. It's in the North East though where his contribution to hockey will be most remembered. He was a goalkeeper in the mid-1970s firstly with Sunderland and then with Norton, and managed and coached with great success at both full and U21 levels, as well as coach to the North U21s. In 1991-92 Brian became the Durham County manager and led the team into the first non-regionalised County Championships, where a very young Durham team won all three games at Bournemouth before losing 2-1 to Yorkshire in the Quarter Finals at St. Albans.

Brian’s personality was ideally suited to working with young players, and in 1996 he became coach to Durham University Men’s 1st X1, leading the team to an HA Trophy semi-final and promotion to Division One (now Premier) of the North Hockey League, laying the foundations for continued success. As one former player put it on Tuesday:

"I loved playing under Brian. He brought a sense of professionalism to coaching the team and definitely started the process which has ended up with the position hockey at Durham is in today”.

Brian had a long-standing interest in indoor hockey both locally and regionally. He coached the North U21s and was very proactive in establishing Peterlee Leisure Centre as an indoor centre. He was a highly competent umpire both indoors and outdoors and was a Vice President of Northumberland & Durham HUA, and a former President of Durham County HA. In recent years, Brian became an England Hockey match official, both at tournaments and within the Men’s and Women’s Leagues, gaining great respect from umpires, managers and players alike. He was also a volunteer, as Pitch Manager, at the EuroHockey Nations Championships in Manchester in 2007.

Away from hockey Brian had a wide range of interests, including rambling & walking. He also worked as a volunteer driver for social services in Peterlee.

His contribution to the sport, locally, regionally and nationally was immense, and the thoughts of everyone in hockey will be with Vanessa and the family.

England Hockey Board Media release