All the news for Monday 26 October 2016
Ireland qualify for 2016 Olympics hockey after a century
DUBLIN: The Irish men's hockey team has qualified for the Olympic Games after a gap of more than 100 years, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) confirmed on Sunday.
It marks the first time in over 100 years since an Irish hockey team participated in an Olympic Games, with their men picking up the silver medal in the inaugural Olympic hockey event which took place in London in 1908.
Ireland qualified after Australia defeated New Zealand 3-2 in the Oceania Cup final, which took place earlier in the day.
After Australia were declared Oceania continental champions, a further qualification spot opened for the team ranked highest among the non-qualifiers in the Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Finals, which Ireland secured.
Ireland finished fifth at the HWL Semi-Final in Antwerp, Belgium, earlier this summer and became the eleventh team to qualify for Rio 2016 Summer Games.
They join Oceania champions Australia, India who qualified as Asian Games champions, Argentina as Pan Am Games champions, the Netherlands as European champions and Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, Canada and Spain through the HWL Semi-Finals. Former Olympic champions Pakistan have not qualified.
Brazil also confirmed their place after satisfying the host nation participation criteria established by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and FIH.
The remaining Olympic berth will not be finalised until the conclusion of the ongoing African Hockey Championships that started on Friday.
The Times of India
Irish hockey team qualify for first Olympic Games in 108 years
The Irish hockey team have qualified for their first Olympic Games since the London Games in 1908. Pic: PA.
Ireland's men will become the first hockey team to represent the country at the Olympics since 1908.
Craig Fulton's side will compete in Rio next summer after their qualification was secured by Australia's victory against New Zealand in the Oceania Cup.
Ireland finished fifth in their World League semi-final in Antwerp back in July, but only the top three were guaranteed a ticket to Rio.
Their claim on one of the extra spots would have disappeared if New Zealand had won their continental cup ahead of Australia, who had already qualified for Rio, but the Black Sticks fell to a 3-2 defeat in Stratford.
Fulton said: "It probably hasn't sunk in yet but we're over the moon. It's testament to what the guys have achieved this year on and off the field."
Olympic berth will change Irish hockey ‘forever’
By Alan Good
Craig Fulton believes Ireland’s qualification for the 2016 Olympics in Rio “will change the sport forever” here.
The Green Machine’s nervous three-month wait to learn their Olympic fate ended in the early hours of yesterday morning as Australia’s 3-2 Oceania Cup final win over New Zealand in Stratford confirmed their berth in Rio.
It means Ireland will have a hockey team at the Olympics for the first time in 108 years, while the country has not been represented at a Games in any field team sport since 1948.
Under an oft-criticised, convoluted qualification system, Ireland’s fifth place at World League 3 in Antwerp in July left them on a lucky loser list, their Olympic qualification dependent on results of the continental championships. One door shut when Ireland failed to win August’s European championships, although the bronze medal earned there was the country’s first top three finish at that level.
Where continental champions were the same as already qualified sides, the next allocation for Rio came from the World League placings. Victory for Australia, whose Olympic place was already confirmed, got Ireland over the line.
The majority of the Irish squad gathered to watch the game at BBC’s offices in Belfast, with the final whistle at 4.20am Irish time greeted by jubilation and relief.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet, but it’s been in the making for a long time,” said Fulton. “It will change the sport forever, Ireland loves team sports and now one is going to the Olympics. It will put an emphasis on the sport that it hasn’t had in a while.”
Ronan Gormley agreed that Ireland’s Olympic participation represented an opportunity for the sport to grow its profile, in a similar manner cricket managed thanks to 2007’s World Cup giant-killing heroics. “There’s a great grassroots following for hockey and a lot of good people involved,” he told Dublin’s 104FM. “That’s always been there but what’s been missing is the national profile of the sport. This is going to give it a massive boost.”
Eugene Magee said the result was “10 years in the making“, a nod to the qualification near misses of previous Olympic cycles. Ireland were one goal shy of making the final play-off in 2008 before losing to Korea in the last seven seconds of the 2012 qualifying final.
Neither players nor management have been slow to emphasise the need for financial and sponsorship support having got this far on a shoestring budget as the 14th-ranked team in the world.
Three of the five higher-ranked sides Ireland beat this year — England, Pakistan and Malaysia — are in full-time, funded training programmes while Belgium, whom Ireland ousted in the Euros at the pool stage, boast a pro league.
By contrast, many of Ireland’s players take unpaid work leave to represent their country, while they’ve also been robbed of the talents of five Ulster players who came through the Irish system but switched to Great Britain to boost their Olympic hopes.
Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey said Ireland’s qualification is “truly a historic one, being the first time in many decades the Irish challenge for Olympic success will feature a full team rather than individuals.
“The players truly deserve this after such disappointment over qualification for London 2012. We look forward to joining the exciting journey of this important all-island sport in Rio.”
Greenfield African Hockey Championship Day 3
Mamdouh’s Egypt make big statement at men’s African Hockey Championships
Winning start for Ghana in S/A
SA Hockey teams make a statement
Great Britain Tops USWNT in Second Test Match
MARLOW, United Kingdom - Great Britain capitalized on scoring opportunities and topped the U.S. Women's National Team in the second test series match with a final score of 3-0.
“Game two was in many ways similar to game one in that it was fast and Great Britain took advantage of the opportunities they created in the first half," said Craig Parnham, U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach. "In the second half we saw more of the ball, had more possession, but we were unable to capitalize on the chances we created.”
In the first quarter, both the U.S. Women's National Team and the Great Britain Women's National Team were unable to convert on scoring chances. The locked score broke in the second quarter when Great Britain capitalized on two open field play goals making the score USA 0, Great Britain 2 going into halftime.
Generating more possession of the ball in the second half, Team USA was unable to capitalize on multiple scoring opportunities and seven earned penalty corners. Great Britain added another goal in the fourth quarter off their one and only penalty corner of the match matching the final score USA 0, Great Britain 3.
The U.S. Women's National Team is back in action for their third game of the test series on Tuesday, October 27 at 11:30 a.m. EST.
USFHA media release
For the love of hockey
Playing hockey against the best in the world is a huge buzz for three cousins from Fiji.
Tevita King, Walter Heritage and Leevan Dutta are part of the Fijian men's team which lost 17-nil to Australia on the opening day of the Oceania Cup in Stratford on Wednesday.
The trio of cousins have been playing hockey since they were big enough to hold a stick, their aunt Davina Foon, who is travelling with the team, said.
Dutta said hockey was a minority sport in Fiji, where there were just four clubs.
The international ranking for the Fijian men's team is 53, so being able to meet world number one Australia on the turf was a great achievement that had the trio smiling even after their loss.
"It was a good game, playing against Australia, although we lost 17-0," said Dutta.
"It was a good loss.
"One of the best parts for us is getting the experience. We all enjoyed the opportunity to play the best in the world."
The last time a Fijian team took part in the Oceania Cup was in 2005, when it was played in Fiji.
The men will faced Samoa on Thursday and played the Black Sticks on Saturday.
Friday was a rest day and they were hopeful of going up the mountain.
Although the competition on the turf was fierce, it had been matched by warm local hospitality. With a local farmer even donating half a beast to feed the Fijian team, Taranaki Hockey executive officer Reachelle Beasley said.
Businesses large and small had donated bread, grocery vouchers and other goods to ensure the Fijian group of 23 was well fed during their stay and Stratford Primary School had donated water bottles to the team.
"The community has really got behind the Pacific teams and helping with the catering," Beasley said.
Yesterday's start to the biennial tournament had been fabulous, she said.
The event was being run with the help of 82 volunteers, plus ball kids.
Around 350 children from Taranaki primary schools and a group of preschoolers from Rainbow Early Childhood Centre helped filled the grandstands with plenty of noise, adding to a carnival atmosphere around the turf.
Liam Jackson, 12, of Stratford Primary School said he was having a great time.
He was hoping the Black Sticks would win, but was puzzled by one question.
"The Black Sticks don't actually have black sticks," he said.
The Fiji Times
Surbiton battle past stubborn Hampstead
Surbiton’s Andy Hayward in action against Hampstead and Westminster. Credit: Tim Reder.
Andy Hayward scored twice as league leaders Surbiton won again, despite being pushed all the way by his former club Hampstead and Westminster in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.
Surbiton emerged as 4-2 victors in Sunday’s clash, but only after goals from Neil Hamilton and Stuart Loughrey had twice pegged the leaders back in a close first half.
A goal from Dave Beckett and a late finish from Matt Daly were enough to see Surbiton over the line and maintain their four-point lead at the top of the table.
Holcombe kept-up the pressure at the top by claiming a convincing 5-2 win away at Brooklands Manchester University thanks to goals from Barry Middleton, Nick Catlin, James Steadman, Stefan Vehrle-Smith and Sam Ward, with Aiden Khares and Stefan Ray-Hills grabbing consolation goals for Brooklands.
East Grinstead are one place off the bottom after they were beaten 4-3 away at Cannock despite two goals from Simon Faulkner. Adam Seccull also scored for East Grinstead but strikes from Mark Daniel, Louie Morris, Peter Jackson and Marc Edwards wrapped-up the points for Cannock.
Canterbury remain without a point at the bottom after they went down 4-0 at home to Wimbledon, whilst Reading staged a dramatic second-half fight-back against Beeston with Tom Carson scoring a hat-trick in a 3-2 win.
Cardiff and Met dropped points for the first time this season but remain on top of the Men’s West Conference after a 2-2 draw at home to the University of Exeter.
Goals from Ed Matts and Tom Whitworth had looked to have the students on their way to a win before the league leaders fought back through Luke Hawker and Rhys Gowman to claim a point.
Cheltenham closed the gap in second with a 2-0 win away at Isca, whilst Team Bath Buccaneers came from behind to beat India Gymkhana 2-1 and leave both sides locked on 13 points alongside Cheltenham.
Elsewhere the University of Birmingham were 8-0 winners away at Guildford and in another high-scoring match Fareham beat Chichester Priory Park 5-4.
Loughborough Students registered a 7-2 win at home against Bowdon to maintain their four-point lead at the top of the Men’s North Conference.
Ed Horler scored a hat-trick to go with two goals from Luke Taylor as the visitors missed the chance to close the gap on the leaders.
Preston were 5-2 winners at home to Olton and West Warwicks in what was their second win of the season, whilst Sheffield Hallam were also amongst the goals with a 4-2 victory against Deeside Ramblers who stay third.
Elsewhere the University of Durham beat Doncaster 3-1 and winless Lichfield stay bottom after they went down 4-2 away at Wakefield.
Richmond fought back from a goal down at home to Brighton and Hove to claim a 3-2 win and keep-up their strong start to the Men’s Hockey League East Conference season.
The league leaders needed a hat-trick from Charlie Ellison to overcome a resilient Brighton and Hove side who had led at the break through Sam Rose and Mike Burney.
Teddington registered their first win of the season with an emphatic 6-0 win at home to Harleston Magpies who stay bottom, Andrew Platt with a hat-trick for the hosts.
Sevenoaks are still in touch with the leaders after they won 4-1 against West Herts, whilst Cambridge City were 3-0 winners at Bromley and Beckenham and Southgate drew 2-2 with Oxted.
Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, October 24 2015):
Men's Premier Division: Cannock 4, East Grinstead 3.
Men's Conference West: Fareham 5, Chichester Priory Park 4; Isca 0, Cheltenham 2.
Men's Conference North: Loughborough Students 7, Bowdon 2; Wakefield 4, Lichfield 2.
Men's Conference East: Bromley and Beckenham 0, Cambridge City 3; Sevenoaks 4, West Herts 1; Southgate 2, Oxted 2; Teddington 6, Harleston Magpies 0.
Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, October 25 2015):
Men's Premier Division: Brooklands MU 2, Holcombe 5; Canterbury 0, Wimbledon 4; Reading 3, Beeston 2; Surbiton 4, Hampstead and Westminster 2.
Men's Conference West: Cardiff & Met 2, University of Exeter 2; Guildford 0, University of Birmingham 8; Team Bath Buccaneers 2, Indian Gymkhana 1.
Men's Conference North: Preston 5, Olton & West Warwicks 2; Sheffield Hallam 4, Deeside Ramblers 2; University of Durham 3, Doncaster 1.
Men's Conference East: Richmond 3, Brighton and Hove 2.
England Hockey Board Media release
Field Hockey's Upset Bid Comes Up Short Against Princeton
By Manav Khandelwal
“We competed for 70 minutes, and at the end, the fact that it was just not enough was painful,” Harvard women’s field hockey coach Tjerk van Herwaarden said.
Carrying his young son on his shoulders, Van Herwaarden held his head high. His embattled Crimson (7-6, 2-3 Ivy) came within minutes of upsetting No. 20 Princeton (8-5, 5-0) at Jordan Field, falling 2-1 in the end.
“I’m really proud of the team—we played our hearts out, and it just wasn’t quite there today,” co-captain and midfielder Caroline Code said.
With its Ivy League position on the line, Harvard rebounded from two losses last weekend with an inspired start to Saturday afternoon’s game. After taking the lead late in the first half, the Crimson defense held on until late into the second half before conceding the equalizer and game-winner in succession.
Just over seven minutes into the game, freshman forward Kathleen Young had the first opportunity of the game. A pass from outside the circle squirted onto her stick, and Young had the presence of mind to fake a shot and round Princeton’s senior goalkeeper Anya Gersoff. With the open net in front of her, however, Young was unable to wrap her stick around the ball, allowing the Tigers defense to recover.
With 12 minutes remaining in the first half, however, the Crimson’s pressure paid dividends. After Young won Harvard’s third penalty corner of the half, senior forward Elizabeth Jacobson took the ensuing pass and put a nifty backhand on goal. The rebound fell right to Young, who scored her fourth goal of the season by ramming the ball past Gersoff.
“Kathleen is doing fantastic,” Van Herwaarden said. “She’s having the right impact, and it’s clear that she’s part of the United States U-19 national team for a good reason. I cannot wait to keep her developing.”
After the goal, Princeton looked determined to retake control of the game. Led by freshman forward Sophia Tornetta and sophomore Ryan McCarthy, the Tigers began to dominate possession and dictate the pace of the game. They were able to win a few penalty corners in the last seven minutes of the first half, forcing Crimson senior goalkeeper Issy Davies to make a few saves.
First, Davies sticked away a rifling shot from junior Tigers defender Hailey Reeves after a penalty. Then, with just three minutes remaining in the half, McCarthy picked a Crimson defender’s pocket deep in Harvard territory, slaloming into the penalty area before getting off a shot headed for the bottom corner. The experienced Davies stuck out a pad to deflect the effort, preserving Harvard’s lead.
“[Izzy]’s been amazing,” Code said. “She’s pulled up the team as a senior and a goalie. She’s the backbone of the defense. She’s held up her end of the deal really well.”
Princeton came out of the halftime locker room a different team, creating chances inside Harvard’s area and winning a number of penalty corners. After a string of Davies saves, the Tigers finally broke through with 12:20 remaining in the game. Senior striker Maddie Copeland converted a penalty corner from the left side of the area to the bottom right corner, evading the defense and then placing the ball past Davies.
The game deadlocked from their, with neither side able to take full control of the final 10 minutes. With six minutes left in the game, Young made a run through the Princeton defense, weaving in between defenders and using her speed to get in behind the last defender. With the crowd ready to celebrate and only the goalie in front of her, the ball just slipped from her stick, allowing Gersoff to stick it away and clear the danger.
Young’s run was the closest the Crimson would get to a potential score for the rest of the game, and eventually Princeton’s high volume of penalty corners bore fruit, with Copeland converting her second of the game and giving the Tigers the winning goal.
“This whole entire season, we’ve been rebounding well,” Van Herwaarden said. “Last week was a tough weekend, and we knew Princeton was going to be a tough opponent, and we came out and gave it everything we got, which is the one thing you can ask for.”
The Harvard Crimson
Women receive blind look from MHC
By Jugjet Singh
Kirendeep Kaur Gurdip Singh (with trophy) at the USM Sixes 2014
A TWELVE-YEAR-OLD scored two goals in the women's Malaysia Hockey League, and a 17-year-old was named as the Best Goalkeeper.
But for both these players who competed in an Open tournament, the future looks gloomy as the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have no plans, or blueprints, or even a clue, on what to do with the women's section of the sport.
Meet 12-year-old Kirendeep Kaur Gurdip Singh, who scored two out of the nine total The Cops scored to finish third among five teams in Group A.
Take a bow Priyangga Jayarajah, 17, for being voted as the Best Goalkeeper playing for silver medallists SSTMI Thunderbolts.
While the MHC recently unveiled a five-year blueprint for the men to qualify for the Olympics and World Cup, there is only Sound of Silence when asked what plans they have for the women.
There was promise, solid basics, and good fitness in the three teams who ended up with medals in the MHL, but gold medallists Sports Excellence Centre (PKS-KPM), silver medallists SSTMI Thunderbolts and bronze medallists ATM Pernama have nothing to look forward to other than to savour their brief moment under the spotlight.
Even though all three teams shared the entire national women's players among them, they were given a good fight by the other also rans -- like The Cops coached by former international Kelvinder Singh.
The men have played in the Champions Trophy, World Cups and Olympics, while the women have only seen action in the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Sea Games.
Even the Junior World Cup has eluded them, and their glory is etched in bronze.
In the history book is their bronze achieved at the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi, followed by an encore in the 1985 Asia Cup in Seoul.
In recent memory, the women were invited to play in their first Asian Champions Trophy in 2013, in Kakamigahara, Japan, when South Korea withdrew.
The wild card went on to win a bronze by beating women's powerhouse and then world no 7 China 1-0 in the pool, and 3-1 in the third-fourth placing.
Malaysia were ranked 22, and China 7.
But there was not concerted effort to elevate their standard, no foreign coach hired, and even current coach Nasihin Nubli is always unsure of where he stands, or when his contract is going to be terminated abruptly.
And there was no mention of the ladies in the MHC blueprint, and even the Raja Noora Ashikin Cup was not held.
There are plenty of good players, from 12 to 17, who just competed in the women's MHL Group A and Group B fixtures -- and it would be a waste if the MHC casts a blind look towards their direction, while giving their full love and attention to the men.
Jugjet's World of Field Hockey
Movie on hockey legend Prithipal Singh to hit silver screen soon
A biopic on the hockey legend will be in Mumbai cinemas from November 6
Can you name a hockey legend who won three Olympic medals — silver in Rome (1960), gold in Tokyo (1964), bronze in Mexico (1968) — and was shot dead in 1983? Chances are that you will struggle to find the correct answer, which is Prithipal Singh.
Hailed as the world's most feared penalty corner specialist of his generation, Singh stunned the hockey world in the three Olympics that he participated in, scoring as many as 11 out of the 22 goals in the triumphant Tokyo Games, defeating arch-rivals Pakistan in the final. And yet, in 1983, he was gunned down by students on the campus of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), where he worked as the sports director.
He was shot in broad daylight, in front of the vice-chancellor's office with more than 50 eye witnesses. However, none of them came forward to identify the shooters in the court. The genius — who won many a battle on the hockey field — lost his life in the battle of petty student politics.
It is this tale of the forgotten legend that Sundeep Misra wanted to tell the world. Researching about Singh since the 2012 London Olympics, Misra is now coming out with a movie titled 'Prithipal Singh… A Story' that will hit theaters in Mumbai on November 6.
"On my numerous visits to Ludhiana for research, I met about 65-70 people. And to my astonishment, people there didn't even know about Prithipal. They would think hard and then tell me 'wohi hai na jisko goli lagi thi'? That's the sad part. People remembered him because he was shot, not because he won three Olympic medals for his country," Misra, who is the executive producer and joint screenplay writer of the movie, said.
Misra, who is also planning to publish a book on Singh early next year, said he refused to compromise on factuality. "Look, the film stands simply on the story and Vikas Kumar's (who plays Singh in the movie) acting. I insisted on a tight budget, and the movie was made under Rs 1 crore. I just wanted to tell this story," Misra said. Biopics on sportspersons have been a trend for quite some time now, with Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Mary Kom being well-received by the audience. Is Misra confident of reaching the masses? After all, there are no Farhan Akhtars or Priyanka Chopras to tell this story.
"Honestly, I don't think it will go to the masses. But wherever it goes, I want it to make an impact. And I'm sure it will. I did not make this movie with a sentiment of popularisim," he said.
The movie won accolades at various film festivals across the world, and director Babita Puri said people who watched the film asked her why nobody could stop an Olympic champion from being killed. "I always believed in this story. Prithipal Singh is the story of Punjab, of an Olympic champion. It's a story that can resonate across the nation. We might not have the reach of the big production houses, but that didn't deter us from telling a story," Puri said.