News for 20 December 2013

All the news for Friday 20 December 2013

Men, women outclass rivals

THE Malaysian men's and women's hockey teams ended their round-robin campaigns with impressive wins in Yangon yesterday.

While the men thrashed Myanmar 11-0, the women hammered Indonesia 10-0.

Tai Beng Hai's side will face Singapore, who defeated Thailand 7-1 yesterday, in tomorrow's final. In the women's section, Nasihin Nubli's team take on Thailand, who edged Singapore 4-2, for the gold medal today.

Despite overcoming Singapore 6-0 in a round-robin match recently, Beng Hai urged his players not to take them lightly in the final.

"Singapore are a decent team and can play good hockey. Unlike others, Singapore have played against top teams in the world and we must up our game in the final," said Beng Hai.

On yesterday's win, Beng Hai said Myanmar have players with talent and are a physical side.

"Most are army officers who are very fit. I believe they can improve if they continue to develop their game," Beng Hai said.

Defender Mohd Amin Rahim was the toast of Malaysia with five goals off penalty corner set-pieces.

In women's play, Norbaili Hashim scored a brace in Malaysia's hefty win over Indonesia. Nasihin, however, was unhappy with his side's performance inside Indonesia's semi-circle.

"We could have won by a bigger margin but wasted so many opportunities. As we do not have time to work on our weaknesses, I will get my players to watch the videos of our recent matches and explain the areas we need to polish," said Nasihin.

New Straits Times

Full steam ahead for men's, women's hockey teams

Malaysia's captain Nadia Abdul Rahman (right) challenged by two Indonesian players in their SEA Games hockey match. Malaysia won 10-0. – Bernama Photo

NAYPYITAW: The Malaysian men and women’s hockey teams both notched double figure victories in their respective last round robin matches at the Thein Phyu Hockey Stadium in Yangon.

Both the national sides had already secured qualification to the finals earlier, but did not take the foot off the pedal as the men blitzed hosts Myanmar 11-0 while the women thrashed Indonesia 10-0 on Thursday.

Mohd Amin Rahim was the toast of the men’s team, scoring five times from penalty corners in the 33rd, 35th, 40th, 46th and 51st minutes.

Tengku Abdul Jalil Tajuddin (8th, 25th and 53rd) helped himself to a hat-trick, while Muhd Adabi Azzumi (4th), Dangerous Lee (17th) and Amirfardi Fuzi (44th) also got on the score sheet to maintain Malaysia’s domination in the competition.

Coach Tai Beng Hai’s team will now take on Singapore in Saturday’s final.

Singapore secured second place in the standings and a final date with Malaysia after demolishing Thailand 7-1.

“Although we beat Singapore 6-0 in the group match earlier, we cannot take them lightly in the final,” said the Beng Hai.

“The gold medal is ours to lose, but I expect Singapore to give us a tougher challenge by adopting a different tactical approach for the final. Singapore have also done serious preparations before coming to Myanmar by training in Australia for three months.”

The Malaysian women also showed no mercy to Indonesia to make it five wins out of five, with Norbaili Hashim (5th and 23rd) and Nuraini Abdul Rashid (62nd and 64th) both netting a brace.

The other goals were scored by Norhidayah Ahmad Bokhari (12th), Noor Hasliza Ali (19th), Norashikin Halim (29th), Nadia Abdul Rahman (41st), Nurul Nabila Mansur (57th) and Rabiatul Mohamed (66th).

The national women’s side have scored a whopping 66 goals in their five round robin matches, and will be looking for another big scoreline against Thailand in Friday’s final.

Malaysia had beaten the Thais 6-0 in the preliminaries.

“Even after securing our spot in the final, it was important that the players did not ease up against Indonesia today. I wanted them to maintain the same intensity and hunger against all opponents, and expect the same against Thailand tomorrow,” said women’s coach Mohd Nasihin Nubli Ibrahim.

“At the same time, I told the players to avoid injuries because we only have 24 hours to recover before the final.”

Thailand booked their place in the final with a 4-2 win over Singapore in their final preliminary match on Thursday. The Singaporeans, who came into the match two points ahead of their opponents, had only needed a draw to secure second spot but found the Thais too hot to handle.

Both the Malaysian men and women are the defending hockey champions. The sport was last contested at the SEA Games in Thailand six years ago.

The Star of Malaysia

Selangor end 21-year drought

By Ashreena Pillai

Selangor players celebrate after winning the MHC Under-21 hockey title on Dec 19, 2013.

KUALA LUMPUR: Selangor ended their 21-year wait for the MHC Under-21 hockey title in dramatic fashion – edging Perak 5-4 on penalties at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

The two teams were level at 3-3 in regulation time. Selangor opened the scoring in the second minute through Nazirul Mubin Zebini before Umar Hakim Ahmad Robangi made it 2-0 in the 15th minute.

Perak fought back to narrow the deficit through a Mohd Harris Fadila Zulkafli penalty corner goal in four minutes later before Mohd Azrin Anuar equalised in the 25th minute.

Perak then took the lead through Mohd Akmal Mohd Tajuddin in the 53rd minute and it was Selangor’s turn to fight back, with Mohd Haikal Zamri making it 3-3 in the 61st.

In the shootout, Shahru Shahadan Basri's failure to convert for Perak proved costly. Akmal, Syed Mohd Syafiq, Azril Misron and Mohd Najib Abu Hassan scored for Perak.

Selangor took the title after Faridzul Afiq, Faiq Razin Zariq, Nazirul, Harmesh Singh and Mohd Haikal converted.

“Credit to all the boys. I can’t take any credit. This is their win,” said Selangor coach Mohd Harfizi Baharom, who spurred his team on by telling them to win it for their team-mates – Nor Nashriq Farhan Nor Azman (broken arm) and Nor Ikhwan Nor Rahman (suspended).

“I told the team to do it for them (Nashriq and Ikhwan) ... go all out and leave everything out on that pitch ... they did that and they deserve to win for their effort on the pitch today.”

Selangor, who have the second youngest team after Sabah in the tournament with an average age of 17, said that their next mission was to create history at the Sukma Games in Perlis next year.

“We’ve never won the Sukma hockey gold medal, let alone get past the quarter-final stage. But the boys have shown that they are capable winning today and I think we can create history in Perlis,” said Harfizi.

The Star of Malaysia

Tough knocks will help Black Sticks: Mark Hager


TOUGH TIME: Canterbury's Sophie Cocks and the Black Sticks' youngsters faced a baptism of fire at the World League Final tournament in Argentina.

Black Sticks' women's hockey coach Mark Hager hopes the younger members of his squad will benefit from the tough lessons they learned at the World League Final tournament.

With 225-cap defender Emily Naylor unavailable and other frontline players Katie Glynn, Stacey Michelsen, Aniwaka Roberts and Rose Keddell all out through injury, New Zealand took a relatively youthful squad to Argentina.

They battled at the tournament, losing all three pool games, before finishing up fifth out of eight teams.

Hager acknowledged there were always going to be challenges in 2013 after the departure of five experienced players from the team, which finished fourth at last year's London Olympics.

New Zealand's problems were compounded when two of their best players in Glynn and Michelsen suffered serious knee injuries, which will rule them out until early in the new year.

Hager said it was important to build up depth as the Black Sticks' start out in the next Olympic cycle and cast an eye toward next year's jam packed schedule, which includes the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy.

"One team I really admire and watch closely is the All Blacks because they could lose two to three key players, but they've got a lot of talent in the wings," Hager said.

"Our difficulty is we don't have the finances the All Blacks do or the local competitions. That's where it's difficult for us."

The World League Final tournament was the first time several of the Black Sticks' rookies like Sophie Cocks, Brooke Neal and Liz Thompson had gone up against the might of the Netherlands and Argentina, and Hager said it was all about development and gaining exposure.

"A lot of our young kids, their baptism of fire is a major tournament against the top eight teams in the world. There's no development programme for them apart from our training. It's a hard step."

The Black Sticks sorely missed the firepower of Glynn up front in Argentina and the playmaking and distribution skills of Michelsen. They were only able to score six goals from their six games at the World League Final and were also poor with their penalty corner conversion rate.

Hager said it was one of their major work-on areas leading into their four-nation tournament in the United States in early February.

"If you don't score enough goals you're not going to win games. If you're not scoring goals, it puts more pressure on you defensively.

"Our basis skills under pressure weren't probably where we needed to be at that tournament. We made a lot of unforced errors and a lot of that has to do with perceived pressure on and off the ball."

The Black Sticks women's 2013 campaign was marked by inconsistency. They won the four nations tournament in April against Argentina, Korea and the United States, but failed to fire at the World League semifinal tournament in the Netherlands in June, finishing fourth.

Their year was probably best summed up by the Oceania Cup final against Australia in Stratford, where they had their chances to beat their rivals, but eventually lost in a shootout after a 2-2 draw at fulltime.

"It's probably not the year we wanted," Hager conceded.

"We always knew it was going to be a hard year and we really had to start again and provide opportunities for a lot of the young ones."


ActivePost Small Sticks a hit in Mid Canterbury

Photo courtesy of Ashburton Guardian

Mid-Canterbury school children put their hockey skills to the test this week at an ActivePost Small Sticks Festival Day, held at Mid-Canterbury Hockey’s turf in Ashburton.

The festival event celebrated the children completing their basic hockey training, offered by Hockey New Zealand, through their initiative with ActivePost.

The Festival Day hosted students from six primary schools from around Mid-Canterbury, as they competed in a round robin styled tournament.

Black Stick Bridget Blackwood was on hand to cheer on the teams before signing autographs for the young players.

“I really enjoyed seeing our future Black Sticks out on the turf.

“I had heard all about how dedicated these kids are to hockey, and I wanted to give them a few tips, but they didn’t need them! The quality of their skills is impressive, especially for the age group,” Blackwood said. 

Mid-Canterbury Hockey Association administrator, Sharon Robinson, said she was thrilled to be hosting the first Festival Day in Mid-Canterbury, after a surge in popularity for the sport this year.

“Mid-Canterbury Hockey has really benefited from the ActivePost Small Sticks programme. This is the first year we’ve run the programme, and it’s been a true success story with nearly 2,000 kids participating.

“That’s a great number to kick off the Small Sticks programme and a fantastic sign of things to come for hockey in the region, and in New Zealand.”

ActivePost spokesperson, Nicola Airey, said that the programme’s hands-on focus was a proven winner with kids. 

“As any parent or teacher will tell you, the best way to encourage kids to take up a sport is to just let them have a go. It means offering a wide range of opportunities for kids of all ages to try out any type of sport. That’s what ActivePost is setting out to do and we’re looking forward to helping even more kids find their passion for sport through initiatives like ActivePost Small Sticks.”

ActivePost Small Sticks is game-based and structured into four distinct activities – Fun Sticks, Mini Sticks, Kiwi Sticks and Kwik Sticks.  Fun Sticks teaches children aged 4-6 the fundamental skills needed for any sport - ball skills, co-ordination, body position, player and space awareness.  Children then progress through the remaining activity stages which finish with Kwik Sticks - where 12 and 13 year olds participate in full 11-a-side hockey matches.

The Mid-Canterbury Hockey Association has delivered the ActivePost Small Sticks programme into the following primary schools in 2013: Ashburton Borough School, St Joseph's School (Ashburton) Methven Primary, Hampstead School, Longbeach School and Tinwald School.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

The future's bright...

31 aspiring Hockeyroos enjoy National Futures Camp in Canberra

Last week some of the potential future stars of Australian hockey took part in the Hockey Australia National Futures Camp at the Australian Institute of Sport, ACT Academy of Sport and Hockey ACT in Canberra.

The camp, run by National Junior Coach Craig Victory with the assistance of state and territory National Training Centre coaches, provided a first opportunity for the 31 young athletes aged 16-18 to get to grips with what it takes to become a Hockeyroo and marked the start of what for some could be a four year journey to the 2017 Junior World Cup.

“It was a really successful week,” said Victory at the end of the camp. “We had a couple of tough training sessions and four games against the Japanese Under 18 team. It was great to play against their style of falling back and quick counter-attacking hockey and pleasing that we won three out of four of the matches.

“All in all we’ve got some really talented girls coming through,” he added.

The majority of the 31 athletes were selected from the U18 National Championships held in Canberra earlier in the year with the camp offering Victory and his coaches the chance to see them playing together in the Australian structure for the first time.  

As well as training, matches, seminars and meetings, the aspiring Hockeyroos were also treated to the insight of two of the current generation of Hockeyroos; Anna Flanagan and Eddie Bone. The pair had stepped off the flight back from the World League in Argentina just 24 hours earlier and were able to share their experiences of the tournament, as well as what life as a Hockeyroo is really like. Their differing experiences of breaking into the senior squad provided plenty of incentive to the Futures Camp participants.

Flanagan and Bone’s session proved to be one of the highlights of the week for the girls with Victory adding, “The feedback from the [participating] girls was that it was great to find out more from Anna and Eddie about the Hockeyroos’ culture.”

As the youngsters’ attention turns to the 2014 National Championships in Melbourne in April, Victory hopes to hold at least one Futures Camp next year with plans to visit the athletes’ home states more often to see them performing in their home environment.

Hockey Australia media release

WAPDA thrash Police in thrilling encounter

The 60th NBP National Hockey Championship opened on Thursday with Wapda flaying Police 8-1 in a one-sided match.

According to the Pakistan Hockey Federation, Aleem Bilal and M Adnan fired a brace each for the winning side. Another match saw Navy drawing their match 3-3 against PTV.

Mohsin Sabir and Asad Aziz scored a goal each for Navy in the first half while Akbar Ali contributed in the 38th minute.

For PTV, all goals came in the second half courtesy Waqas Ahmed, Nabeel Akram and Waqas Butt. Meanwhile, NBP overcame Army 4-2 in the last match of the day.

The Express Tribune

Old Olympians demand new elections

Akhtar Rasool Was elected unopposed as president for a term of four years on November 24, 2012. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Scores of Olympians on Thursday held a protest demonstration outside Parliament House against what they called the ‘bogus’ elections of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF).

Akhtar Rasool and Rana Mujahid were elected unopposed as president and secretary respectively for a term of four years on November 24, 2012.

“We are here to record our peaceful protest. If our demands are not fulfilled then we have no option to besiege parliament” said former hockey great Shahnaz Sheikh.

The other Olympians who participated in the protest included Qamar Ibrahim, Samiullah Khan, Salim Sherwani, Islahuddin Siddiqui, Shahnaz Sheikh, Ayaz Mahmood, and Muhammad Saqlain.

They alleged that during that last five years, hockey was badly damaged by the governing body of the game; therefore, free and fair elections should be conducted in order to better the game.

The Express Tribune

Pakistan hockey greats stage protest over slump

ISLAMABAD: A group of Pakistani Olympic hockey greats protested in front of parliament in a desperate bid to revive the former world-beating country's struggling fortunes.

About a dozen former players demonstrated in Islamabad Thursday in the hope that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will step in and help reverse the team's decline.

Pakistan are three-time Olympic champions and four-time winners of the World Cup, an event they introduced in 1971. They failed even to qualify for next year's edition.

"We thought of staging a protest at the parliament because this is the place where our voices can reach the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif," said Shahnaz Shaikh, a member of Pakistan's 1978 World Cup winning team.

"We will protest again early next month at the parliament and continue until the prime minister addresses the situation," he added.

Pakistan, winners in 1960, 1968 and 1984, finished seventh at last year's London Olympics, and they were 12th and last at the 2010 World Cup in New Delhi.

The future also looks bleak as Pakistan finished ninth in the Junior World Cup in India last week.

"The federation officials are politicised... hockey should be free from politics," said Sami.

"It is high time that we save our national game and we request the prime minister to take stringent measures to restore the pride in the game," said Sami.

The Times of India

Ex-Olympians demand ad-hoc on PHF to conduct fresh elections

ISLAMABAD - Olympians held a protest demo in front of Parliament House against the incumbent Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) demanding an ad-hoc on the federation and conducting its fresh and fair elections.

Around 70 protesters gathered in front of Parliament House on Thursday. Shahnaz Shaikh, Samiullah, Salim Nazim, M Saqlain, Shafqat Baghdadi, Maqsoodur Rehman, Iftikhar Elahi along with hockey players from Rawalpindi/Islamaabd staged a protest which started at 10:30am and finished at 12:30pm.

The protesters demanded the removal of the entire PHF management from the offices and termed the elections as bogus. The same persons, who were responsible for hockey debacle, had taken over the affairs of the PHF once again so there was no hope of hockey revival as long as they were at the helm of affairs.

Talking to The Nation, Olympian Shahnaz said: “The election process was dubious while genuine persons were not allowed to contest the elections. Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Syed Riaz Hussain Pirzada met with the delegation and assured them the issue would be resolved soon. The PHF elections were conducted against the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) sports policy while it was the right of interim committee to conduct the elections.”

Shahnaz appealed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to play his constitutional role and immediately appoint an ad-hoc on PHF and establish an interim committee to conduct PHF elections in transparent way. “If our demands are not met with in next two weeks, we will gather again here in next 20 to 25 days and continue our protest for indefinite period.”

Sharing his views, Samiullah said: “We are quite confident that the prime minister will address our genuine concerns and appoint an interim committee to conduct the fresh PHF elections. The PM will give us positive response, as he is fully aware about the downslide of Pakistan hockey.”

“Any further delay in taking action can further aggravate the things as already too much damage has been done to Pakistan hockey. The PM should appoint an ad-hoc on PHF without wasting any time so that genuine persons may take over the PHF,” he concluded.

The Nation

Big wins for BSF, ITBP and CRPF

Patiala - The fourth day of the 38th Liberals All India Hockey Tournament turned out to be a good day for the paramilitary teams as CRPF, BSF and ITBP registered easy wins at the PPS hockey grounds in Nabha on Thursday.

While CRPF trounced Punjab State Power Corporation 3-1, BSF crushed Northern Railways 4-0.

ITBP overpowered Sports Training Centre, Patiala, 4-1 and in the fourth match, EME, Jalandhar, beat Indian Navy 3-0.

The Tribune

Leah Ewart Team Ireland's Young Ambassador

Leah Ewart has been chosen by the Olympic Council of Ireland as Team Ireland’s Young Ambassador for the Nanjing 2014 World Youth Olympic Games (YOG).

The primary role of the Youth Ambassador (YA) is to encourage young athletes to actively participate in a number of learning experiences that take place in parallel to the competition programme. Building upon the lessons from Singapore and Innsbruck, the IOC is convinced that the role of each YA is central to the success of the YOG and to offer a unique, life-changing experience to all participating athletes. In the true spirit of our YOG mission, they want to engage with young athletes and other young participants and inspire them to play an active role in their communities.

The 2014 YA Programme has now been extended to 120 NOCs from the five continents.

Leah captained the Irish hockey team in the first YOG in Singapore finishing 5th overall. The Games experience was hugely inspirational and she has since gone on to represent Ireland at senior international level.

She is currently studying Biomedical, Health and Life Sciences University College Dublin (UCD) and plays hockey with top Irish club team UCD.

Ewart said “After having had the privilege of participating in the first ever Youth Olympic Games myself, I’m delighted to have been chosen as an ambassador to encourage other young athletes to enjoy and be motivated by this unique and unforgettable experience. To be part of an event like this is every young athlete’s dream and I want to share with others how taking part in these games can inspire you to train harder and aim for your own sporting goals, as it did for me. I want to make sure the athletes involved in the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing realize not only the sporting opportunities of competing against other top athletes but also the educational and cultural experiences that will be available to them. I hope that as an ambassador with previous experience of the games that I can be a source of advice, encouragement and support to Team Ireland athletes so that they too can appreciate and get involved in every aspect of the Youth Olympic Games whether it be sporting or non-sporting, and having experiences that they will keep with them for the rest of their lives”

In addition here’s some footage of Leah during the Singapore Youth Olympic Games on our YouTube channel

Article with thanks to the Olympic Council of Ireland

Irish Hockey Association media release

Audrey Hewes

It is with sadness that we have to report that Audrey Hewes, a stalwart and great character of the women's game, died suddenly on Tuesday.

Audrey was one of the England women's team number one fans. She travelled extensively to support the team both at home and abroad and was immensely popular with players, officials and umpires alike.

As well as supporting the national team Audrey was also a regular supporter at events in this country and would also travel to Europe to cheer on England's teams in European club competitions.

Audrey was a well known face on the hockey circuit. She was a match official in the women's national league from its inception. She officiated in the Investec Women's Hockey League during the first half of the season with her last game the Trojans - Oxford Hawks match at the end of November.  Audrey also officiated at tournaments both indoors and outdoors and her friendly and encouraging support was appreciated by all.

In recent years Audrey volunteered to help with the Hockey Museum and was part of the team  who put together the museum's fantastic display at the Investec World League semi finals earlier this year.

On learning of the news the England captain Kate Richardson-Walsh tweeted "Terribly sad news that England Hockey supporter and friend Audrey Hewes has passed away. Aud epitomised all that is great about hockey. Audrey's passion and love for hockey was infectious and her tireless energy helped our sport live and breath. She will be missed by many." A number of other current and former international players have also expressed their sadness.

Audrey will be remembered with great fondness by all those in the hockey family who knew her. We send out heartfelt condolences to her husband Robin and her family.        

England Hockey Board Media release

England Hockey runs tender process for the supply of its Performance and Community Clothing

Haycroft, Townsend, Ball and Quek signing autographs at the Investec World League 2013

England Hockey is seeking Sports Clothing companies to tender to supply sportswear for its performance and community programmes. The successful brand would become a partner of England Hockey through a period which sees the national teams compete on home soil in the EuroHockey Championships and Great Britain looking to build on its most successful Olympics in two decades.

England Hockey aspires to work with a brand that can provide quality products, high calibre service and share our ambition to implement a strategy that uses sports apparel to extend the England Hockey brand. We anticipate England Hockey will derive financial and marketing benefits from the relationship and the chosen supplier will have the platform to grow its brand and generate new business directly through the partnership, but also through the England Hockey Store and England Hockey’s major international events programme.

Jon Cockcroft, England Hockey Commercial and Membership Director, said “In recent years England Hockey has taken positive strides forward on and off the pitch and we feel this is the right time to explore the marketplace to secure a Clothing Partner or potentially two Partners (Performance and Community) who shares our ambition for the sport.

“With the national teams regularly medalling on the international stage, the visibility of our sport continuing to increase and a significant market of hockey players, this is a fantastic opportunity for a sportswear brand to grow its market share.”

England Hockey welcomes tenders by 5pm Monday 20 January 2014 and a shortlist will be invited to present to a panel including the Performance Director and Commercial and Membership Director.

For any queries related to the tender documentation, please email Jonathan Cockcroft at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with the subject "England Hockey Clothing Tenders 2014".


England Hockey Board Media release