News for 21 December 2013

All the news for Saturday 21 December 2013

Malaysian women win gold in style

The victorious women's team celebrate after thrashing Thailand 6-1 to win the gold yesterday.

THE national women's hockey team won their eighth Sea Games gold medal with a 6-1 thrashing of Thailand in the final at Theinphyu Stadium yesterday.

Nasihin Nubli's side started brightly and scored their opening goal in the third minute through Nuraini Abdul Rashid before Julian Mohd Din (28th), Nadia Abd Rahman (38th), Raja Norshabuddin (52nd), Nurul Nabila Mansur (53rd) and Fazaillah Sylbester Silin (67th) completed the rout.

Thailand replied through Ritngam Sukanyu's penalty corner set-piece in the 70th minute.

Malaysia previously won the gold in the 1983 (Singapore), 1987 (Jakarta), 1989 (Kuala Lumpur), 1997 (Jakarta), 1999 (Brunei), 2001 (KL) and 2007 (Korat) editions but finished second in the 1993 (Singapore) and 1995 (Chiang Mai) outings.

"I am delighted to have guided my team to the gold medal. It is my first title as a coach," said Nasihin in Yangon yesterday.

"We knew we would win the title easily and the manner in which we won our matches was impressive. We set a world record here for the highest margin of victory by hammering Cambodia 36-0 in the preliminary round," said Nasihin.

On the final, Nasihin said Thailand gave his team some anxious moments in the first half but failed to keep up the pace.

"I knew Thailand would be defensive but they got tired and lost focus. It is, however, a good sign for Southeast Asian hockey as Thailand are making inroads in the game," Nasihin added.

New Straits Times

Hockey girls deliver gold as expected (updated)

The jubilant Malaysian women's hockey team after beating Thailand 6-1 to win the gold at the SEA Games on Dec 20, 2013. - Bernama Photo

YANGON: As expected, the free-scoring Malaysian women’s hockey team defended their SEA Games gold medal with an emphatic 6-1 victory over Thailand at the Thein Phyu Hockey Stadium here.

Since the start of the competition in Myanmar, there was never any doubt of Malaysia bagging both the hockey gold medals on offer, and the women did not disappoint on Friday.

Unlike in their 6-0 preliminary round victory over Thailand on Tuesday when they failed to convert any of their seven first-half penalty corners, the Malaysians made it count at the first time of asking in the final.

Only four minutes of play had gone by when Nuraini Abdul Rashid made solid contact to sweep the ball past Thailand goalkeeper Tongsun Jesdaporn to hand Malaysia the lead.

To their credit, Thailand defended stoutly, with Tongsun playing a vital role to keep the marauding Malaysians at bay. But she could not prevent Juliana Mohd Din from doubling Malaysia’s lead in the 28th minute from another penalty corner.

Mohd Nasihin Nubli Ibrahim’s players managed to find more cracks in the Thai defence in the second period, with captain Nadia Abdul Rahman scoring the third goal three minutes after the break.

Two goals in as many minutes from Raja Norshahabudin (52nd) and Nurul Nabila Mansur (53rd) extinguished whatever faint hopes Thailand had of staging a fightback.

Fazilah Silin rounded off Malaysia’s scoring with the sixth goal three minutes from the end. In their haste to run down the clock, the Malaysian players conceded a soft penalty corner just before the final horn. Rintgam Sukanya scored for Thailand with the final hit of the match, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation goal as the Malaysian players began their celebrations.

“Our game plan was to score an early goal because we knew that Thailand would throw everybody into their defence to frustrate us. Nuraini’s opening goal in the fourth minute shifted the pressure from Malaysia to Thailand and we were able to play comfortably for the remainder of the match,” said Nasihin.

“We worked on our short corner variations prior to the final because Thailand were literally throwing their bodies on the ground to block our attempts when we played them earlier (in the preliminary round). I am happy that our variations worked as we got the first two goals from penalty corners.”

En route to the gold medal, the Malaysian women had scored 72 goals and conceded just two in six matches. The run included the now famous world hockey record 36-0 defeat inflicted on a hapless Cambodia.

On Friday’s win was Malaysia’s first hockey gold since the Korat Games in 2007. Hockey was not contested in Laos 2009 and Palembang 2011.

Added the former international: “Our next major assignments are the Commonwealth and Asian Games next year. We also have the Germany, South Korea and Japan senior teams coming to Kuala Lumpur to play a four nation tournament. It is going to be busy next year and this SEA Games victory will put us in the right frame of mind to face 2014.”

Hosts Myanmar secured the bronze medal with a 1-0 upset victory over Singapore in the third-place playoff.

The Malaysian men will be in action on Saturday to keep their half of the promise to deliver a hockey double for Malaysia when they take on Singapore in the men’s final.

The Star of Malaysia

Fiji women learn a lot despite losing second match

Rashneel Kumar

Fiji's June in action against Australian Country's Katie Jane Kelly at the National Hockey Centre in Laucala Bay, Suva. Picture: IVAMERE ROKOVESA

DESPITE going down twice to the visiting Australian Country side, the Fiji High Performance Unit women's team remains adamant of it chances in the three Test match series.

Fiji lost 0-1 in the previous two matches at the National Hockey Centre in Laucala and hopes to turn the tables in the final match today at 11am.

The Fiji HPU and Australian Country men's clash was called off yesterday following heavy rain and lightning.

Fiji men's team won the opening Test match 2-1 on Thursday.

Women's team manager Maxine Brown said the series was a good learning experience for the side which had young and upcoming players.

She said these players had potential to become better with time.

"Our objective was to play together as a team," Brown said.

"I think the girls did that very well. They connected their passes and attacked more in Australians defence

"But unfortunately Australia scored in the first four minutes of the game when the girls were trying to settle down."

Brown said they would work on their weak links to ensure the side finished high in the final match today.

She thanked International Master coach Doctor Burt Bunnik and former national skipper Allison Southey for their support.

"We know what we have to work on. We have to keep working together as a team and obviously put away goals," Brown said.

"There are a lot of new girls in this team compared to previous team and I think they are picking up really well.

"They are gaining experience and learning everything from this touring team which has been really helpful."

The Fiji Times

Fremaux happy to be back with the Black Sticks


STRIKE FORCE: Canterbury’s Sian Fremaux has been recalled to the Black Sticks’ women’s side for February’s four nations tournament in the United States. MURRAY WILSON/Fairfax NZ

Recalled Black Sticks' striker Sian Fremaux realises February's four nations tournament in the United States is a make or break one for her.

The Cantabrian missed selection for New Zealand's recent Oceania Cup and World League final tournaments, but has earned a call-up from national coach Mark Hager.

Fremaux and the fringe players in the Black Sticks' setup have it all to play for at the tournament as they look to make a favourable impression and boost their selection claims.

After the series in the United States, New Zealand will host a six nations tournament in Hawke's Bay in April, which will be the last chance to shine before June's World Cup. The Black Sticks won't have long to catch their breath after that with the Commonwealth Games a month later.

Fremaux acknowledged the US tournament was a pivotal one as she looked to try and establish herself.

"We only have a few tournaments [before] the World Cup and Commonwealth Games so all of these [games] will be crucial preparation for selection as well," she said.

"It's one of those years. There's so many prestigious tournaments, which is exciting. It definitely gives you a bit of motivation."

Fremaux is one of four Canterbury players in the New Zealand side for the US tour, with the others being young striker Sophie Cocks, goalkeeper Amelia Gibson and Olivia Merry.

The 21-year-old said it was frustrating not to feature at the Oceania Cup and World League final, but the time away from international hockey had allowed her to rest a niggly shoulder injury and get her tonsils removed.

She also sustained a broken nose during national hockey league finals week in August after being struck in the face by the ball.

"It's always disappointing not being selected for tours. Looking at the positives, I had time to get better and work on things, which was a good thing for me. It put me in a good mindset getting ready for next year."

Fremaux made her debut for the Black Sticks last December against India and she has made 21 appearances for the national team this year, scoring eight goals.

The biggest highlight for Fremaux came in June, when she competed at the World League semifinal tournament in Rotterdam.

She had the chance to play against the reigning Olympic gold medallists, the Netherlands, for the first time, which was a wonderful experience.

Fremaux was also a member of the New Zealand under-21 side, which finished ninth at the Junior World Cup earlier this year.

"It's been pretty crazy. This time last year, I was debuting, which was exciting. Looking back at the year, it's been go, go, go.

"Starting out, I didn't know the ins and outs and was so nervous. A year on, it's been pretty awesome."

Fremaux and the Black Sticks will join up together as a squad late in January in preparation for the four nations tournament.

They will carry out individual running and gym work requirements during the festive period.


USA Indoor Hockey Announces International Tour

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Field Hockey Indoor Manager Nigel Traverso has announced that the U.S. Indoor Men and Women will compete in the 27th Leipzig Messestadt Cup in Leipzig, Germany from January 3-5, 2014. The tournament will feature top club teams and, on the men’s side, Sweden and a German All-Star team. Leipzig is an important city for indoor hockey because it will serve as the host city of the 2015 FIH Indoor World Cup scheduled for February 3-8, 2015.

“This is the start of our final four months of preparation leading up to the Pan Am Indoor Cup, and it is my goal to see both our men’s and women’s teams qualify for the 4th FIH Indoor World Cup,” said Traverso.

The selection for the women’s travel squad concluded at the August 2013 CanAm Series held at Feasterville, Pa., while the men’s selections were made after open tryouts held on the East and West Coasts earlier this year.  

“To have the opportunity to compete against some of the top German club teams prior to the Pan Am Cup is immeasurable,” said U.S. Women’s Indoor head coach Denise Zelenak. “Our travel squad features a strong group of veteran players including Ali McEvoy, Rachael Milne, Kim Tunell and Susan Ciufo. The timing of this tour is perfect as we progress into our final preparations and selections for April’s event.”

At the conclusion of the tour, both coaches will be one step closer to selecting the teams that will compete in the Pan American Indoor Cup (Montevideo, Uruguay April 2014), which is the qualifier for the next Indoor World Cup. Both squads will also compete in the Big Apple International Indoor Championship (Feasterville, Pa. Feb 15-16) and travel to Canada in March to prepare for the PanAm event.

The men’s team will first compete in the Grove Menzieshill Invitation on December 27-29, in Dundee, Scotland. This will give Coach Andrew Thornton an opportunity to see most of the foreign-based athletes and evaluate them for selection.

“The Scotland and Germany tours will be a good test for our squad,” said Thornton. “We have limited opportunities to train and play against such a high caliber of opponent as we will face over there. Our travel squad has a good blend of outdoor and indoor players and I am excited to see them perform on this stage. Germany is the home of indoor hockey and we are excited to test ourselves against the best.”

U.S. Men’s Indoor Leipzig Tour Squad

Kevin Barber (Camarillo, Cali.), Michael Barminski (Ventura, Cali.), Ajai Dhadwal (Agoura Hills, Cali.), Mohan Ghandi, Alexander Grassi (Brookeville, Md.), Austin Groenveld (Jenkintown, Pa.), JaJa Kentwell (Spring City, Pa.), Jesse Larson (College Park, Md.), Thomas Krauss (New York, N.Y.), Thomas McCarthy (Hartford, Conn.), Spencer Reed (Ventura, Cali.) Jason Wellings (San Diego, Cali.)

U.S. Women’s Indoor Leipzig Tour Squad

Susan Ciufo (Bangor, Pa.), Ashley Dalisera (Millersville, Md.), Amy Daniel (Mountain Top, Pa.), Lauren Hibshman (Allentown, Pa.) Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.), Lindsay McArdle (Upper Darby, Pa.), Ali McEvoy (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Rachael Milne (Hatfield, Pa.), Margaux Paolino (Villanova, Pa.), Maddy Sposito (Ridgefield, Conn.)  Kimberly Tunell (Wilmington, De.)

USFHA media release

BSF Jalandhar, SRC Ramgarh in semis

Patiala - BSF Jalandhar, SRC Ramgarh Cantt., EME Jalandhar and Sports Academy Jarkhad marched into the semifinals of the 38th Liberals All India Hockey Tournament in progress at the PPS hockey grounds here today.

In the quarterfinals, BSF subdued CISF New Delhi 4-2 while SRC won 2-1 via the tie-breaker against CRPF New Delhi. EME Jalandhar scraped past Sports Hostel Lucknow 3-2 and Sports Academy Jarkhad swamped ITBP 3-0 to win their quarterfinal matches.

Helped by three goals from the stick of inside right Ranjit Singh, BSF edged past CISF 4-2 in a closely fought match. BSF started on a fast note and Ranjit Singh sounded the board in the 24th minute. Hatinder Singh added another goal with a stinging shot to make it 2-0 in the 27th minute. It looked like a one-sided affair when BSF scored their third goal in the 53rd minute through Ranjit Singh but CISF hit back in the 56th minute (3-1) when Major Singh deflected a free hit into his own goal. Two minutes later Varinder Guria dribbled his way into the circle and scored the second goal for CISF to make it 3-2. However, BSF did not allow CISF any more goals and scored their fourth goal through Ranjit Singh to earn a deserved 4-2 victory.

CRPF New Delhi and SRC settled for a draw in regulation time and the game was decided through a tie-breaker, which was clinched by SRC with the scoreboard reading 2-1 in their favour.

Strong contenders EME Jalandhar edged out Sports Hostel Lucknow 3-2 in a titanic battle of nerves.

The Tribune

Air India, ONGC make it to last four

Ludhiana - Air India, Mumbai overwhelmed Bangladesh XI 10-0 while ONGC XI outplayed Namdhari XI, Bhaini Sahib 3-0 to join Punjab Police, Jalandhar and Punjab and Sind Bank, Delhi in the semi final of the All India Sahibzada Ajit Singh Hockey Tournament here today.

Bangladesh players appeared minnows against Air India as the latter established a five-goal lead by the half time. Air India drew the first blood in the 14th minute when Shivander Singh scored a field goal. He struck again in the next minute to increase the lead. Shivander sounded the board again in the 47th minute to complete his hat-trick. Joga Singh too scored thrice, in 32nd, 42nd and 61st minute, to enhance the lead. Vinod Pillay, Birander Lakra, Arjun Hallap and Aggan Usag sounded the board once to complete the tally.

In the second match, ONGC XI, after wasting a couple of chances, surged ahead in the 30th minute through Mandeep Singh. They scored two goals in the second session (Divakar, 55th minute, Harsahib Singh, 58th minute) to seal the deal.

In women's section, Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala drew 2-2 with MP Academy, Gwalior while Sonepat XI survived some anxious moments before beating Chandigarh XI 2-1.

The semi finals in men's section between ONGC XI and Punjab Police, Air India and Punjab and Sind Bank will be played on December 22.

The Tribune

Ranchi to host Women's Hockey World League

Saurav Mukherjee

RANCHI: There is more good news for this city's hockey lovers. After hosting the first season of the Hockey India League (HIL) successfully, Jharkhand's capital has been chosen as the venue for Round II of women's Hockey World League (HWL).

The international hockey federation (FIH), in consultation with Hockey India (HI), has named Ranchi as one of the three hosts across the world. The matches will be played in March 2015. FIH was unhappy with the arrangements for the junior Hockey World Cup recently held in New Delhi, sources said, and hence decided to pick Ranchi.

Savitri Purti, secretary of Hockey Jharkhand, was elated on Friday after getting the news. "This is the best sporting event that our state could expect to host," she said.

"It's a big responsibility and will take a lot of preparation. We need two stadiums with artificial turf to organize these type of events but we have only one (Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium at Morhabadi). This was discussed in our AGM and we talked to the sports minister. We're trying to sort it out soon."

Suresh Kumar, treasurer of Hockey Jharkhand, said: "For the international events, they want two artificial turf grounds so that one can host matches and a smaller one can serve as a practice ground. We are asking the state government to provide land for a second turf."

The men's Hockey World League is being held in New Delhi.

The Times of India

Bollywood star John Abraham co-owner Delhi Waveriders

A couple of days back, the Wave Group that owns the Delhi Waveriders franchise in the Hockey India League announced in a function that Bollywood star John Abraham will not be its brand ambassador but also co-owner of the Delhi team.

“Our founder late Ponty Chhadha had a talk with John even before our franchise in the HIL was made public. We are happy it has come true now”, said elated Amar Sinha, CEO of the Wave Infratech, the branch of Wave group that actually manages the franchise on day today basis.

This announcement was made in the presence of the actor, who acted as player in a couple of movies.

“I am a lover of sports, fitness and cycling. It completely fits into my persona that am associated with a HIL franchise. Owner is a simple term, but the fact is I will use this opportunity to follow my sport and the sportsman I admire, Sardar Singh”.

“While I had the discussion with the DWR authorities including Sinhahi, I enquired whether I will be able to meet Sardar, and am happy today to share the dais with the great star I admire and follow”, the star said.

The function was organized on 16th Dec at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium, New Delhi.

Six Players Added To Irish U21 Panel

Following on from last Sundays Under 18 boys trials in Sutton Park, Jonny Caren, has added a further six players to his U21 training panel in preparation for the European B Division in July 2014.

Jamie Carr (St Andrews / Monkstown)

Luke Madeley (Wesley / Three Rock Rovers)

Peter McKibben (Regent House / Annadale)

Simon Wolfe (Ashton / Cork C of I)

Sean Murray (Wallace / Lisnagarvey)

Johnny McKee (Banbridge Academy / Banbridge)


Caren stated “We (Irish Hockey) are in a very good place at the moment, with some great players coming through the youth development programs in all provinces.

The fact that I am able to add to the strength of the current squad with six very talented younger athletes who have the potential of another three to four years at this age group, bodes well in our development plan looking towards competing in European A division again and towards Junior World Cup and Youth Olympics qualification.”

In addition to the six Under18 representatives, Caren has replaced Shane Madeley, who is unavailable this year due to study commitments abroad, with Jamie Wright from Portadown Hockey Club.

Joining the Under 21 staff will be Christopher McCandless as Under 21 Manager. Chris has already had years of experience managing an international program with the Under 18 Irish boys from 2008 – 2010 including European B gold in Vienna in 2009. He has also coached at provincial level taking the interpros title with Ulster U18 as head coach in 2010 /11. He is currently the assistant coach at Annadale Hockey Club.

Caren commented on this appointment, “I am delighted to have Chris on board with the program. He and I have had a successful working relationship in the past with an Ulster representative team and I hope to have the same this time round with the Irish Under 21 program. He will add a lot of value in this role with his experience as a manager and his ability to motivate and get the best out of players both on and off the pitch.”

With the upcoming Interpros in February Jonny Caren has stated, “This current training squad for the Irish Under 21’s is by no means the final product. As previously stated, my selections have been based on last years Under 21 Interpros, this years Under 18 Interpros and Irish schools competition, along with watching many club games in the North and South.

The upcoming Under 21 Interpros in Leinster is every athletes opportunity to impress and play their way into the squad, especially a week out from our Four Nations Tournament in Belfast, I will be looking for players who are in form to represent their country against the current Junior World Cup champions.”

The Irish Under 21 training panel will have their first training camp from 3rd to 5th January at UCD, Dublin.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Hockey great Jane Sixsmith says playing for Sutton Coldfield, aged 50, ‘isn’t impossible’

By Rod Gilmour

In it for the love: Sixsmith celebrates with Laura Unsworth during the Maxifuel Super Sixes Women's Final in January Photo: ADY KERRY

The four-time Olympian is still plying her trade in late forties, but Jane Sixsmith believes she can still play at the top when she reaches her half century

Jane Sixsmith has always played “up front on the right”. She started in attack when she made her debut aged 15 for Sutton Coldfield, played countless internationals there, including four Olympics, and continues to do so at her beloved club in Birmingham.

Sixsmith is, remarkably, still playing into her 47th year. There are no signs of slowing down – Sutton Coldfield coach Don Vinson says “she’s quicker over five metres than most” – and the player nicknamed Jasper for her carrot-topped features hasn’t ruled out playing top-level hockey aged 50.

“It isn’t impossible,” she says. “I haven’t really thought about playing at 50. I have been lucky with injuries and never missed a major tournament, so if you can maintain that and keep playing there is no reason why I can’t.”

Along with fellow 40-something Tina Cullen (43), the pair are, unsurprisingly, the only two to still be playing since the inception of the National League some 25 years ago. “I’m lucky that I still enjoy what I do,” says Sixsmith.

At the midway point of the outdoor season, Sutton Coldfield are languishing second bottom and will be looking to maintain their Investec Premier Division status when the league reconvenes in February.

Plagued by a hamstring injury for the last month and lacking her usual pace, Sixsmith has wisely decided to miss the indoor season – the event goes from six to five-a-side under new international rulings this year – which started at the weekend.

“They say speed is one of the first things that go,” admits Sixsmith, who led Great Britain to bronze at the Barcelona Olympics.

“I have managed to sustain it, perhaps it is chasing after an eight and five year-old, sprinting to them before they get to the road.

“The fitness I do now is a lot less now. I can’t train every day and it’s all about getting the most of what I can still to do. Adapting is what will get me through matches.”

Sixsmith has adapted outside of the international arena too. Ever since retiring from the England and GB scene after the Sydney Olympics, Sixsmith has carved out a career as a sports development officer at Birmingham Council, where she still works three days per week.

Meanwhile, on the hockey front, a typical week will go as thus: a Monday run; a two-hour training session on Tuesday; day-off on Wednesday and on Thursday, a shorter, harder run. She then takes Friday off before playing on Saturday.

Occasionally, she will coach the under-10’s on Sunday mornings, entwined with an inevitable swell of text requests to play in Vets and Cup over-35 and 45 matches.

Sixsmith is simply revered at Sutton Coldfield. “Jasper is the best player this country has ever produced,” claims Vinson.

Sixsmith with her hockey player of the year award in 2000

“She manages her body incredibly well and is a great athlete. She was beating most of the team up hill sprints a couple of months after giving birth to her second child.”

Vinson does admit that the club has asked the extra mile of Sixsmith this season. Sutton Coldfield are currently missing their inspirational captain, Vicky Woolford, who recently gave birth to her first child. Sixsmith and Woolford were two of the top five league scorers last season.

“We've demanded a great deal from Jasper so far – she's been playing at 70 per cent pace most games – and we really should have rested her.”

Those who think that the national league is suffering in quality when a player is still making the first XI in her late forties, should perhaps make the trip to the Midlands to witness Sixsmith’s visionary skills.

“She has an incredible ability to evade her marker, create personal space and bring others into play,” Vinson says.

“We have defenders who have marked her in training for 10 years who regularly say 'you think you've got her marked and the next thing you know she's receiving the ball behind you in five metres of space and you have no idea how'.”

Sixsmith’s unerring ability to stave off injury also means she is likely to see out yet another season in the top flight. As the retirement clock ticks, she then waits until the summer to make a decision on her future.

“If you see me pre-season it is a good sign I will carry on,” Sixsmith admits. “I still enjoy the training, which is the key, and I would never not go for a run.”

As she says of her locked-on position up front: “I haven’t made that steady progress to the back yet which is what usually happens when you reach my age, doesn’t it?”

The Telegraph