All the news for Sunday 17 January 2021
India eager to test itself in Argentina - Rani Rampal
India’s tour of Argentina will help the side understand where it stands after having not played for a year.
India women's team captain, Rani Rampal. - K. MURALI KUMAR
India’s tour of Argentina will help the side understand where it stands nearly a year after the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly halted all competitions around the world, according to captain Rani Rampal.
The women’s side will become the first of India’s hockey teams to resume international matches as it plays the first of the eight games during the tour of Argentina, which starts on Sunday.
“It has been a strange period for sports people around the world, but to be resuming doing what we love the most, it is the best feeling. We are looking forward to testing ourselves against some strong teams, and also understanding where we stand at the moment,” Rani said.
Rani reiterated that a good show in the series will boost her side’s confidence heading into this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
“I think this tour is really important for us in terms of resuming competitive hockey. We have a crucial year to look forward to, and with such matches against strong sides, we will be able to keep working hard towards our goal of preparing well for the Tokyo Olympics,” she said.
The 26-year-old forward knows the importance of starting the all-important Olympic year well, but she also understands that it will take time to get into the groove after staying away from competitions for nearly a year. “We know what our aim is this year, and we want to make sure that we start the year in the perfect manner, put in some excellent performances, and build some momentum again,” Rani said.
“However, we also understand and take into consideration that we haven’t played an international match with the maximum intensity in these past 9-10 months, and that we might take time to get back into our groove, and that is what this tour is all about,” she added.
Women’s hockey team in action today after break
The Indian women’s outfit will become the first of the country’s hockey teams to resume international action on Sunday when it plays the first of eight matches on the tour of Argentina.
India will take on Argentina’s junior team, their B team and then the senior team in eight matches over the next couple of weeks.
Captain Rani Rampal said the tour will help her side “understand where we stand” as they return to competitive action nearly a year after the Covid-19 pandemic put a stop to all competitions.
“It has been a strange period for sports people around the world, but to be resuming doing what we love the most, it is the best feeling,” Rani said.
Indian women’s hockey tour of Argentina: Full schedule, fixtures, and where to watch live streaming
The Indian eves return to competitive action for the first time in almost a year as they prepare for the Tokyo Olympics. Watch India vs Argentina live!
By Rahul Venkat
After a forced year-long break from international action due to COVID-19, the women’s Indian women’s hockey team will finally play in a competitive environment in the small hours of Monday.
The Indian women’s hockey team is currently in Argentina – where they will play a total of eight matches against the junior team, the B team and the Argentina national women’s team.
This will be the first time that the women’s team has embarked on a practice tour since their sojourn to New Zealand last January – where they won three matches and lost two.
The tour to Argentina will serve as the first step in India’s preparation for a second-consecutive Olympics later this year in Tokyo.
“I think this tour is really important for us in terms of resuming competitive hockey. We have a crucial year to look forward to, and with such matches against strong sides, we will be able to keep working hard towards our goal of preparing well for the Tokyo Olympics,” said captain Rani Rampal.
The women’s Indian hockey team train in Argentina. Photo: Hockey India.
The 25-woman Indian hockey squad had spent most of 2020 at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) campus in Bengaluru.
They were initially restricted to practicing only in their respective rooms during the national lockdown in India in the early part of the year before going home on a break when travel restrictions were lifted.
The team then reconvened at SAI in August for a five-month-long national camp, where it underwent rigorous physical and tactical training to get back to peak fitness levels.
Indian women’s hockey tour of Argentina: Full schedule, fixtures and live India match times
All times are in Indian Standard Time (IST - GMT+5:30)
Monday, January 18: India vs Argentina Junior Women - 2:30 AM IST
Wednesday, January 20: India vs Argentina Junior Women - 2:30 AM IST
Saturday, January 23: India vs Argentina B - 2:30 AM IST
Monday, January 25: India vs Argentina B - 2:30 AM IST
Wednesday, January 27: India vs Argentina - 2:30 AM IST
Friday, January 29: India vs Argentina - 2:30 AM IST
Sunday, January 31: India vs Argentina - 2:30 AM IST
Monday, February 1: India vs Argentina - 2:30 AM IST
Where to watch India vs Argentina women’s hockey live?
The Indian women’s hockey team’s matches against the senior Argentina team, starting January 27, will be live-streamed on ArgFieldHockey - the official YouTube channel of the Argentina hockey team.
Harmanpreet Singh looking forward to working with new analytical coach Gregg Clark
The India international is currently training at the national camp in Bengaluru
By Samrat Chakraborty
The Indian men's national hockey team are back in training after a pandemic-hit 2020, at the SAI (Sports Authority of India) facilities in Bengaluru. The core group of 33 players have reported for the national camp.
After a week of mandatory quarantine, they have hit the turf as they seek to get in top shape before the Tokyo Olympics.
Hockey India have already appointed South African Gregg Clark as the new analytical coach and drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh can't wait to start working with him.
"We were informed of Gregg's appointment and coach (Graham Reid) also took us through his plans for the next few weeks. Our goal is obviously to increase our potential in all aspects and we are all keenly looking forward to working with Gregg. Most of us are quite familiar with him and the transition will be smooth as we understand his working style," stated Harmanpreet.
Clark coached the Indian Junior Men's Hockey Team in 2013-2014 where the Colts won the coveted Sultan of Johor Cup and also participated at the 2013 FIH Junior World Cup in New Delhi.
The Indian hockey team has resumed training in their camp at SAI Bengaluru. Photo: Hockey India.
The Indian hockey team have not played a competitive match in over 10 months. However, during the lockdown, they have been following a strict fitness routine.
"Back home, during the break too we were given a schedule to follow that would ensure we maintain our endurance. When we reported back and underwent mandatory quarantine, we had to ensure we keep up our fitness level and one of the best ways to do that was to go through high-intensity body-weight training in our rooms," said Harmanpreet.
With FIH Hockey Pro League also scheduled to return this year, India will be hosting New Zealand for two matches on 29th and 30th May 2021, which will mark the resumption of competitive action in India. However, the Indian team will be travelling to Argentina in April as part of the FIH Pro League schedule.
ACT's postponement a good opportunity to slot in MHL
By Jugjet Singh
The Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) is in danger of being postponed yet again, and many feel this window will be ideal to slot in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL). - NSTP file pic
THE Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) is in danger of being postponed yet again, and many feel this window will be ideal to slot in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).
The ACT was postponed from November last year to March 11-19 with Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Japan, South Korea and hosts, Bangladesh making up the numbers.
Terengganu Hockey Team coach K. Rajan said if Covid-19 derails the ACT again, MHL should be slotted in.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) had said that they might hold the MHL in July or August, or any opening that pops up in an international calendar.
"With the Covid-19 situation worsening in many countries, Bangladesh needs to bring it under control soon to host the ACT. Even then, will the other five countries allow their teams to play in the tournament?
"If the ACT is postponed, the window should be used to start the MHL in March so that it can be completed before the fasting month," said Rajan.
South Korea is hosting the women's ACT on March 31-April 7.
The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) are expected to decide soon on both tournaments.
"If the MHL is held in March, it can be played without fans like how it was in the Razak Cup last year," he added.
The MHC will wait for an announcement from the AHF before making a stand.
New Straits Times
Hockey Australia high-performance director resigns amid investigation into "toxic" culture
By Liam Morgan
Hockey Australia high-performance director Toni Cumpston has resigned ©Hockey Australia
Hockey Australia high-performance director Toni Cumpston has resigned just over six months before the start of the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games amid an investigation into a the "toxic" culture in the women's set-up.
Cumpston, who took on the role in 2016, had faced widespread criticism from players and said in a statement that she felt she had lost the support of the Hockey Australia Board.
An independent inquiry into allegations of a toxic culture within women's hockey in Australia was launched in November by the governing body.
There were also individual complaints of bullying, body-shaming, the development of serious eating disorders and unfair team selections in the women's programme, throwing the sport in the country into crisis with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics fast approaching.
Cumpston claimed she had been "left with no choice but to resign from my position as it is untenable to continue in the present circumstances".
"I was brought into Hockey Australia to address many of the problems that have existed within the organisation for a long period, including serious allegations of bullying and behavioural issues," she said in a statement issued through her lawyer.
Australian women's hockey is in crisis just six months out from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©Getty Images
"I have worked assiduously to improve the culture of Hockey Australia and our national sides, and in doing so I have always received strong support and encouragement from management and the Board.
"However, in a very short space of time it has become evident that I no longer have the support of the Board of Hockey Australia to continue this work."
In a statement confirming Cumpston's departure, Hockey Australia said she had "been instrumental in making a raft of positive and significant changes to the delivery of the high performance programme".
"Under Toni’s tenure, and with support from the coaching and support staff within the high performance unit, both the men’s and women’s programmes have made significant improvements across the Tokyo cycle," said Hockey Australia chief executive Matt Favier.
"Toni has been a consummate professional throughout and worked tirelessly in creating an elite high performance environment in the pursuit of on field excellence and success.
"At the start of 2020 prior to COVID, the Kookaburras were ranked number one in the world while the Hockeyroos were ranked second, and Toni’s expertise and contribution was a major part of this.
"On behalf of everyone at Hockey Australia, I wish Toni all of the best in her future endeavours in whatever she chooses to do next."
Australia has won three Olympic gold medals in women's hockey, the last coming on home soil at Sydney 2000.
The Hockeyroos also finished second in the inaugural edition of the Hockey Pro League in 2019.
Australia booked a place at Tokyo 2020, postponed to this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, through the Olympic qualifiers.
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