All the news for Saturday 8 July 2017
South Africa welcomes Hockey World League Semi-Finals
Twenty teams chase World Cup qualification at women’s and men’s mega event in Johannesburg
USA team captain Melissa Gonzalez will be in action for her team at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals in Johannesburg. Copyright: FIH / Getty Images
Following the gripping Semi-Final events in London (men) and Brussels (women), the Hockey World League roadshow moves on to South Africa. Johannesburg welcomes 20 international teams all targeting the prize of qualification for two of the sport's most prestigious competitions – the Hockey World League Finals 2017 and the Hockey World Cups 2018.
Ten women’s and ten men’s teams will be competing in this mega-event at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand, known locally as Wits, where those coveted berths at the global showpiece competitions are on the table. A top four finish in the women’s competition will guarantee a place in the World League Finals in Auckland, New Zealand at the end of the year, where they will join Netherlands, China, New Zealand and Korea, who claimed the top four finishes at the recent FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final in Brussels, Belgium. A top five placement at this event will ensure a place at next summer’s Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 alongside the top five from Brussels and the winners of the upcoming continental championships and hosts England. A top five finish for England at this event will mean that the highest ranked of the two sixth place finishers from Belgium and here in Johannesburg will also secure a place at next year's World Cup.
As on the women’s side, the top five finishers of the men's competition here in Johannesburg will be guaranteed a place at the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, joining Netherlands, Argentina, England, Malaysia and Canada who sealed their respective tickets with top five finishes at the Hero Hockey World League Semi-Final in London. In terms of qualification for the Odisha Hockey World League Final, the top three finishers in Johannesburg will be assured of a place alongside the top three finishers from London - Netherlands, Argentina and England, being joined by host nation India and higher ranked of the two fourth place finishers from the Semi-Final events in London and here in Johannesburg. The team that finished fourth in London was Malaysia, who will secure their place in the World League Final provided that the team that finishes fourth in Johannesburg are placed below them in the FIH Hero World Rankings.
The women’s competition in Johannesburg sees two pools of five teams, all of which will need a top four finish to claim a place in the cross-over quarter-finals. In Pool A, England, Germany, Japan, Ireland and Poland will all be competing in a bid to finish as high up the standings as possible, with a first place finish being rewarded with a quarter-final match against the team that finishes fourth in Pool B.
England (FIH Hero World Ranking: 2) are the highest ranked team in the pool and, with a team containing numerous Great Britain Olympic gold medal winners from Rio 2016 including team captain Alex Danson and ace goalkeeper Maddie Hinch, they could take some stopping. While England do not need to worry about World Cup qualification due to their status as hosts, Head Coach Danny Kerry will be determined that his new look team hits form ahead of their European title defence later this year. Rio 2016 bronze medallists Germany (WR: 7) are widely expected to be England’s biggest threat in Pool B, with Head Coach Jamilon Mülders looking to push his talented young side onto even greater successes. Like England and Germany, Japan (WR: 11) pre-qualified for this competition by virtue of being ranked between 1-11 at the time of seeking entries and are also capable of big performances, while Ireland (WR: 15) and Poland (WR: 18) both booked their tickets to this event thanks to excellent displays in Round 2 of the Hockey World League.
Argentina (WR: 3), the current World League and Champions Trophy title holders, will be seen as the team to beat in Pool B thanks to a squad containing a host of world class players including Delfina Merino, exciting young attacker Maria Granatto and penalty corner expert Noel Barrionnuevo. However, Argentina’s Pan American rivals USA (WR: 6) are expected to run them close in the race to top the pool, as Head Coach Janneke Schopman aims to build on the fifth place finish at Rio 2016 secured by her predecessor Craig Parnham. The pool also contains India (12), the winners of the Round 2 event in Vancouver, home favourites South Africa (13) and Chile (20). The Chilean side – known as ‘Las Diablas’ (The Devils) and coached by Sergio Vigil, the man who guided Argentina to Olympic silver (2000) and World Cup gold (2002) – were also strong performers in Vancouver, reaching the final before being beaten in a shootout.
Just like the women’s competition, the men’s pools have thrown together some of the sport’s biggest hitters. Australia (WR: 2), the reigning World Cup, Champions Trophy, Oceania Cup, Hockey World League and Champions Trophy title holders, will want to stamp their authority on Pool A. The Kookaburras team coached by Colin Batch and captained by legendary defender Mark Knowles will be rated as favourites to top the pool, but they are sure to face a stern challenge from Oceania rivals New Zealand (WR: 8) as well as Spain (WR: 10), Japan (WR: 16) and France (WR: 17). The Black Sticks and the Red Sticks are always a threat in every competition that they enter, while Japan and France were impressive qualifiers from Round 2. 'The Samurais' were victorious at the Round 2 event in Tacarigua, Trinidad & Tobago, with France finishing second in Belfast.
Men’s Pool B is arguably even more competitive, with two Olympic medallists from Rio 2016 the likely frontrunners. Bronze medallists Germany (WR: 3) and silver medallists Belgium (WR: 5) are expected to be leading the charge and arrive in Johannesburg with some truly world class players amongst their ranks. Two such players are Arthur Van Doren of Belgium and Germany’s Christopher Rühr, the former being the FIH Hockey Stars Rising Star of 2016 while the latter claimed the same title both in 2013 and 2015. Like Van Doren and Rühr, David Harte of Ireland (WR: 9) is also an FIH Hockey Star, having been named Goalkeeper of the Year both in 2015 and 2016. He will represent Ireland’s Green Machine having qualified for this event by winning the Round 2 competition in Belfast. African rivals South Africa (WR: 15) and Egypt (WR: 19) complete the pool line-up, with both sides looking forward to impressing on the world stage at an event which takes place on their home continent.
The Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg begins on Saturday 8 July with a packed day of women’s action. At 12:00 South Africa Standard Time (UTC / GMT +2), the first of two successive Pool A matches kicks off proceedings when Japan take on Ireland before Germany and Poland meet at 14:00. The attention then switches to Pool B, with USA playing Chile at 1600 before home favourites South Africa go toe-to-toe with India at 1800. The men’s competition starts on Sunday (9th July) with New Zealand versus France, Spain versus Japan (both Pool A), Belgium versus Egypt and South Africa versus Ireland (both Pool B) being the matches of the day.
For information about the broadcasters covering this event, click here.
World Cup qualification up for grabs at Hockey World League Semi-Finals in South Africa
By Daniel Etchells
England's women's team includes a number of players from the Great Britain side that won Olympic gold at Rio 2016, including Alex Danson ©Getty Images
Qualification for the 2018 Hockey World Cups will be on the line at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in South African city Johannesburg, where action is due to begin tomorrow.
Ten men’s and 10 women’s teams will be competing at the University of the Witwatersrand with places in the 2017 Hockey World League Finals also up for grabs.
The top five finishers in the men's competition will be guaranteed a place at the 2018 Hockey World Cup in Indian city Bhubaneswar.
They will join Argentina, Canada, England, Malaysia and The Netherlands, all of whom sealed their respective tickets with top-five finishes at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in London last month.
In terms of qualification for the Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar, the top-three finishers will be assured of a place alongside the top-three finishers from London - Argentina, England and The Netherlands - as well as host nation India and the higher ranked of the two fourth-place finishers from the Semi-Final events in London and Johannesburg.
The team that finished fourth in London was Malaysia, who will secure their place in the World League Final providing the team that finishes fourth in Johannesburg are placed below them in the International Hockey Federation world rankings.
A top-four finish in the women’s competition will guarantee a place in the World League Finals in Auckland in New Zealand at the end of the year.
They will join China, The Netherlands, New Zealand and South Korea, who occupied the top-four places at the recent Hockey World League Semi-Final in Brussels in Belgium.
A top-five placement at this event will ensure a place at next year’s Hockey World Cup in London alongside the top five from Brussels, the winners of the upcoming continental championships and hosts England.
If England finish in the top five at this event, it will mean that the highest ranked of the two sixth-place finishers from Brussels and Johannesburg will also secure a place at the World Cup.
The women’s competition in Johannesburg features two pools of five teams, all of which will need a top-four finish to claim a place in the cross-over quarter-finals.
England, Germany, Ireland, Japan and Poland will all be competing in Pool A in a bid to finish as high up the standings as possible, with a first-place finish being rewarded with a quarter-final match against the team that finishes fourth in Pool B.
England are the highest-ranked team in the pool and have a team containing numerous players from Great Britain’s Rio 2016 Olympic gold medal-winning side, including team captain Alex Danson and goalkeeper Maddie Hinch.
Rio 2016 bronze medallists Germany are widely expected to be England’s biggest threat.
Argentina, the current World League and Champions Trophy title holders, are seen as the team to beat in Pool B thanks to a squad containing a host of world-class players including Delfina Merino, Maria Granatto and Noel Barrionnuevo.
The United States are likely to run them close in the race to top the pool as head coach Janneke Schopman aims to build on the fifth-place finish at Rio 2016 secured by her predecessor Craig Parnham.
Pool B also contains India, hosts South Africa and Chile.
In the men’s event, Australia will look to stamp their authority on Pool A.
As the reigning World Cup, Champions Trophy, Oceania Cup, Hockey World League and Champions Trophy title holders, they are rated as favourites for top spot.
France, Japan, New Zealand and Spain provide the opposition for Australia.
Pool B is arguably more competitive with Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallists Belgium and bronze medallists Germany expected to be the frontrunners.
Egypt, Ireland and South Africa complete the line-up.
Focus is on the women’s competition tomorrow as Japan face Ireland and Germany meet Poland in Pool A.
Pool B sees the US go up against Chile and South Africa do battle with India.
The men’s competition is due to start on Sunday (July 9).
Inside the Games
Danson excited for Hockey World League Semi-Final test
Danson in action against the Netherlands
England captain Alex Danson is relishing the squad’s first major tournament of a new four year cycle and to climb the first rung of the ladder on their journey towards next summer’s Hockey World Cup in London.
The team are in South Africa for the Hockey World League semi-finals where a top three finish would see them qualify for November’s showpiece World League final in New Zealand.
Danson, who has been named England captain for this summer’s major tournaments, will lead the side as they face Germany, Poland, Ireland and Japan in Pool A in Johannesburg, the skipper is excited by the new squad and challenges ahead.
Danson said: “Obviously it’s a new cycle, a new team, with new memories to make and South Africa is our first opportunity in a tournament situation and it’s a great platform.
“We are lucky we have already qualified for the World Cup next year, obviously the EuroHockey Championships come in August and you want to qualify for the World League finals so there are lots of challenges ahead of us but I’m very excited.”
Danson believes the squad has a lot of powerful qualities, she added: “Our strengths are our youth and speed that brings real energy to our game, I spend a lot of time in training trying to chase after them!
“I think we have a fantastically solid defence but a lot of pace in our midfield and forwards so we are consolidated, but my goodness we’ll be quick and out on the break when we get the ball so I think that is there to look forward to in Johannesburg.”
With a blend of youth and experience in the squad of 18, including 10 Gold medallists from Great Britain’s Rio 2016 triumph, Danson believes the chance is there for all players to learn and develop.
“I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for players who have played tournaments before to learn to be in a new team and obviously players who haven’t played before will get such a wealth of knowledge playing against these teams. Needing a top three finish to qualify is a good pressure for us to play under.
“This is definitely the first rung of our ladder, we’ve got lots of work to do and lessons to learn there will be good ones and tough ones but they will put us in a good place for the World Cup next year.”
England Hockey Board Media release
Women’s hockey world league: India takes on SA
The Indian women’s team will take on South Africa in its first pool B match of the Women’s Hockey World League Semifinal here on Saturday.
The team, led by Rani, arrived here a week prior to the tournament, which has helped in its preparation.
Getting acclimatised to the conditions in the host city which is at an altitude of 1,753 metres was easier, thanks to the high-altitude training held at SAI Centre Shillaroo before arriving for the event, which is also a World Cup Qualifier.
“We had some good short training sessions here over the past week and the girls did well. They did not tire easily, which was one of the main reasons to have the high-altitude camp. We have one session planned today (Friday) on the game pitch which will count as our final preparation before the start of the tournament,” said chief coach Sjoerd Marijne on the eve of the match.
The women’s team also played two practice matches against England and Ireland.
India has Chile, USA, Argentina apart from South Africa in its pool.
The Times of India
FIH confirms additional continental places for Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games
The International Hockey Federation has announced that two more places for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games hockey events have been allocated to (FIH) Continental Associations.
This follows confirmation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that Argentina are allowed to take part in the men's and women's hockey events as hosts. To accommodate this change, the IOC agreed that the hockey competition will now comprise 12 teams. The FIH Executive Board subsequently agreed that these 12 teams should be as follows
The host (Argentina)
The 1st and 2nd placed teams in each Continental Qualifying Event
An additional place to the 3rd placed team from the relevant Continental Qualifying Event allocated by draw.
The draw for the final quota places for both the men's and women's competitions was made on 6 July 2017 at the FIH Headquarters in Lausanne by FIH CEO Jason McCracken, FIH People, Governance & Operations Director Melanie Willmore and FIH Competitions Committee Secretary Martyn Gallivan. The results were as follows:
First Offer – Oceania
If the relevant NOC (National Olympic Committee) turns down this additional quota, the place will be offered to second drawn CF (Continental Federation) representative.
Second Offer – Asia
If the relevant NOC turns down this additional quota, the place will be offered to third drawn CF representative.
Third offer – Europe
If the relevant NOC turns down this additional quota, the place will be offered to fourth drawn CF representative.
Fourth offer – Africa
If the relevant NOC turns down this additional quota, the place will be offered to Pan America (note if Argentina finishes in the top 3 places in the Pan American Qualifying Event, the offer will be made to the 4th placed team in that competition).
If the relevant National Olympic Committee from Pan America turns down this additional quota, the place will be offered to the fourth placed first drawn CF and the whole process repeated.
System of allocation as detailed in men's above.
First Offer – Africa
Second Offer – Asia
Third offer – Europe
Fourth offer – Oceania
Held every four years, the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) is the younger sibling of the Olympics. For youth players around the world, this tournament provides the opportunity to test their skills against the best emerging players in world hockey.
Open to players born between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2003, the Hockey5s tournaments will be played at the National Athletics High Performance Centre in the Núñez district of Buenos Aires between 6-18 October 2018 in what is set to be a spectacular experience for hockey's stars of the future.
Women’s Pan Am team ready for game action in inter-squad Super Series next week
Canada’s women’s field hockey team will soon be in game action when it hits the field next week for an inter-squad series to prepare for the 2017 Pan American Cup in August.
The three-game series will be played on July 11th, 13th, and 19th at UBC’s Wright Field in Vancouver, British Columbia with all start times set for 7pm. Friends, family, and fans are welcome to come watch the high level of hockey.
“The Super Series serves multiple purposes,” says Women’s National Team Head Coach Ian Rutledge. “First and foremost it gives our Pan Am Cup team some much needed game action. And it gives us an opportunity to put into practice what we have been working on in training.”
The series serves two other purposes, Rutledge adds, giving the remaining athletes in the larger Women’s squad a last chance to crack the Pan Am Cup roster, which has one spot still vacant. Lastly, it offers an opportunity to showcase and evaluate a group of Next Generation athletes in game in action.
The matches will be contested in three-different formats and will feature a host of players – past and present – including all the athletes recently named to the women’s Pan Am Cup team, other athletes currently within the senior and junior squads who, and three Women’s National Team alumni who return to action in the National environment: Katie Baker, Thea Culley, and Sarah Keglowitsch.
The first game of the series on July 11th will be played in an “East vs West” format, with Pan Am Cup athletes divided equally between the two teams.
The West roster features Pan Am Cup team members Kaitlyn Williams in goal, defenders Sara McManus and Karli Johansen, midfielders Danielle Hennig and Hannah Haughn, and strikers Rachel Donohoe and Steph Norlander.
Among others, it also includes alumnus Keglowitsch, and Junior Development Squad athletes Izzy Fraser and Anna Mollenhauer, who is the daughter of Women’s National Team alumni and Olympian Nancy Mollenhauer.
The East roster features – among others – Pan Am Cup captain Kate Wright, goalkeeper Rowan Harris, striker Brienne Stairs, the Woodcroft sisters, and young defenders Alison Lee and Hannah Eborall.
Alumni Culley and Baker are also representing the East, as well as juniors Abby McLennan and Jordyn Faiczac, who recently made her senior debut at the 2017 World League Round 2 in West Vancouver.
The second game of the series on July 13th focuses on the Pan Am Cup attackers and defenders, splitting them up and pitting them against each other.
The third and final game of the series on July 19th will feature the entire 18-player Pan American Cup team (with the 18th athlete expected to be named after the first two games) taking on the remaining athletes in the series, who makeup a roster of All-Stars that includes the likes of the three alumni, senior midfielder Kathleen Leahy, and standout juniors Thora Rae, and Margaret Pham.
The Pan American Cup kicks off on August 5th for Canada’s women when they face the Dominican Republic at 5:00pm local time in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Canada’s Women’s National Team is hosting a fundraiser on July 15th at Mahony and Sons at the University of British Columbia. Details and tickets are available here.
Field Hockey Canada media release
It’s no child’s play
It isn’t fair to throw juniors into the deep end of the cut-throat international circuit and expect them to come out winners from the word go. What would be better, though, is to keep them on the radar, follow their progress and give them space and time to mature into hardened sports professionals. By that benchmark, coach Harendra Singh (centre) did an outstanding job with his wards. - Rajeev Bhatt
There’s often a huge gap between the junior and senior levels in international sports. At the moment, 11 of the 18 players from India’s junior World Cup-winning squad are part of the senior core group. Five of them have represented India already and one is an Olympian. The rest are in uncertain zone, trying to balance their realistic efforts at landing a secure job with their dream of playing for the country.
A little over six months back, the city of Lucknow was witness to hockey history. A bunch of 21-year-old players lifted the Junior World Cup on home soil in front of maddening thousands and became heroes overnight.
On June 25, one of those hobbled out of the turf with a twisted knee, fearing the worst in terms of injury and an uncertain future. There were no crowds. With the help of a makeshift stretcher his team-mates carried him out, as a few curious eyes seemed more interested in his hairdo. The player was Parvinder Singh, turning out for his employer Punjab & Sind Bank, and the occasion was the final of the National Championships.
If ever there was any doubt about the huge gap between the junior and senior levels in international sports, Parvinder would be a perfect example. At the time when he was struggling to come to terms with his injury and unsure of his future, five of his team-mates from the junior World Cup were struggling to live up to their reputations in London as India went down to lowly but dangerous Canada 3-2 to finish sixth in the 10-team Hockey World League Semifinals.
It isn’t fair to throw juniors into the deep end of the cut-throat international circuit and expect them to come out winners from the word go. What would be better, though, is to keep them on the radar, follow their progress and give them space and time to mature into thorough professionals.
By that benchmark, coach Harendra Singh did an outstanding job with his wards. Results not withstanding, it is the level of calmness and the never-say-die attitude that this bunch brings to any game it plays that is refreshing. If it was Sumit who impressed with his diving to tackle and repossess the ball in London, Nilakanta Sharma managed to weave past opponents and find gaps to help Railways retain the National title in Lucknow for the third year in a row.
At the same time, Mandeep Singh struggled with his shots in London against opponents like Malaysia while Parvinder, along with others like Armaan Qureshi, was unable to do much to lift his side even in the domestic tournament. It’s a huge gap and not everyone can make the cut. At the moment, 11 of the 18 from that bunch are part of the senior core group. Five of them have represented India already and one is an Olympian. The rest are in uncertain zone, trying to balance their realistic efforts at landing a secure job with their dream of playing for the country. It’s a tough act.
More than anything else, though, it was the Hockey India League that helped some of these players further their causes. The HIL also threw up some players not part of the JWC, but impressive nonetheless and caught the eye of coach Roelant Oltmans. The likes of Suraj Kerkera, Satbir Singh, Lalit Upadhyay and Affan Yousuf made the grade via the HIL.
“The selection process for the core probables was based on the players’ performances in the year 2016 as well as the 2017 HIL. This is an important year for Indian hockey and its performances will be vital in bringing us fresh perspective towards building our game further as we move into the year of the World Cup in 2018. I believe the players will be mentally and physically ready for a new challenge,” Oltmans had said while short-listing the players.
Half of 2017 is over, including two important tournaments — the Azlan Shah Cup and the Hockey World League Semifinals/Round 3 — with contrasting and mixed results.
Those currently not in Oltmans scheme of things have the chance to break into the ranks through the Development side, a group of 33 players that acts as a feeder to the senior team and provides an opportunity to the discards.
But it wouldn’t be easy. The last time India won the hockey junior World Cup, half the side graduated to the senior team and, for a while, continued with its golden run at that level as well. For various reasons, however, most from that batch remained under-achievers on the global stage.
The Indian hockey system has changed since then and one would hope that the current lot would not be allowed to fall off the grid, again.
The 18: Where are they now?
Vikas Dahiya: Part of Indian team in London, brought off some impressive saves but let in some soft ones too. Still Inconsistent and needs to learn more.
Harmanpreet Singh: Part of Indian team in London, was unable to live up to his reputation as one of the best drag-flickers in the world with more misses than hits. He was good in defence, though.
Harjeet Singh: Part of Indian team in London. Playing his maiden world level tournament at the senior level, out of his usual position of centre-half, he struggled to cope with the change early on.
Sumit: Part of Indian team in London, came in as replacement for S. K. Uthappa after the latter had to leave due to family reasons. He impressed with his game sense, hard work and positioning.
Mandeep Singh: Part of Indian team in London, struggled to score or beat defenders, and was guilty of often fumbling with the ball. Needs to be guided carefully.
Manpreet Jr: Won the National Championships with the Railways team, part of the senior core group.
Ajit Kumar Pandey: Won the National Championships with the Railways team, good with his runs and passing, but out of senior core group. He is hoping to break in through the development side.
Nilakanta Sharma: Won the National Championships with the Railways team, part of the senior core group.
Vikramjit Singh: Finished runner-up at the National Championships with PSB team, but is out of senior core group and will be hoping to break in through the development side.
Simranjit Singh: Won the National Championships with the Railways team, part of the senior core group.
Parvinder Singh: Finished runner-up at the National Championships with PSB team, out of senior core group. He will be hoping to break in through the development side, but his injury in the final has now made his future uncertain.
Gurinder Singh: Finished runner-up at the National Championships with PSB team, part of the senior core group.
Santa Singh: Finished runner-up at the National Championships with PSB team, out of senior core group, hoping to break in through the development side.
Gurjant Singh: Finished third at the National Championships with the Punjab team, part of the senior core group.
Arman Qureshi: Part of the Air India team at the National Championships, but had a poor run in the tournament and still not completely match fit after his injury in the HIL. He is also out of the senior core group, and is hoping to break in through the development side.
Dipsan Tirkey: Won the B Division of the National Championships with Petroleum Sports Promotion Board, part of the senior core group.
Varun Kumar: Won the B Division of the National Championships with Petroleum Sports Promotion Board, but is out of the senior core group, and is hoping to break in through the development side.
Krishan Pathak: Played in the B Division of the National Championships with Punjab National Bank, out of the senior core group.
I love coaching my "Back to Hockey" ladies
Angie Cottee B2H
Angie Cottee has been running back to hockey sessions at Fleet & Ewshot and Aldershot & Farnham hockey clubs for a few seasons now. By day she normally coaches children but welcomes the chance to coach adults who are getting back to the sport she loves.
“I love seeing how quickly the ladies can progress over the 6 weeks! I follow this by organising games against other local clubs. It's just great to see so many of them take up hockey again, seeing the enjoyment they get from becoming part of a team and making so many new friends.”
“We had 17 new faces at the first session at Fleet alone and lots of these were parents of junior players or friends of previous back to hockey players or school teachers that I told to come! I knew sessions needed to be fun and social so made a music playlist that was played throughout the session from Kool and The Gang to Sia!”
Angie did a wide range of activities to keep the players interested and importantly enjoyable. From using a netball for the warm up to ice breaking hockey activities with passing, making sure everyone spoke to everyone. This was followed by small games so many participants got plenty of time on the ball and got stuck in.
“I ended the evening by telling them about our club Facebook page and I wrote up a quick report up for the website. I told them to make sure they told their friends and bring them along to the next session, of course this was in the pub after the session!”
Angie gets many of her session ideas from the Hockey Hub but ultimately her sessions are fun, social and very engaging! Keep up the good work Angie!
England Hockey Board Media release
VHA astro-turf plan caught in red tape
NAGPUR: Vidarbha Hockey Association's (VHA) dream of having an astro-turf in the city has hit a dead end. The district association's proposal for the same was stalled by the state government's sports department. It has been learnt that the department has sought a clearance from the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) before considering the viability of the project.
VHA, after consultation with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and the board members of Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, has sent the proposal for the astro-turf to the state government. The state government was to sanction the funds for Vidarbha's first astro-turf in its 2017 budget. But, Nand Kumar, state principal secretary of sport department, has red-flagged the project, sources revealed.
It has been learnt that Nand Kumar has stalled the project for the need of clearance from NMC. Sources said that the clearance is must before the government considers the proposal for grant.
"NMC needs to pass the proposal in their general body meeting before it goes to the government for sanction. It was brought to the notice of the then mayor Pravin Datke but things got delayed due to the elections," informed Rani Nighot Dwivedi, member, Board of Governors, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
Radheshyam Sarda, president, VHA, told TOI that they had obtained no objection certificate from NOC before sending the proposal to the concerned authorities.
With the project being caught in the bureaucratic red-tape, the one to suffer the most are the players. The Vidarbha players, who practice on existing grassy field, find the going tough when they take on other state teams, which practice regularly on astro-turf.
The best example of the same is Vidarbha's senior men's team. It was one of the most talented bunch in the recent history. They were expected to make it to the knock-outs of the Hockey India's 7th Senior National Hockey Championship held at Lucknow in June.
But the team, despite abundance of talent, struggled to cope up with the pace of the turf and were sent packing after the league phase. Over the years, it has been the same story for Vidarbha players who find it difficult to adjust to the astro-turf.
Now, their fate is in the hands of NMC, which needs to clear the proposal in general body meeting. The chairman of NMC's sports committee, Nagesh Sahare, said that he will take necessary steps to get the project cleared by the NMC.
"I am unaware of any such development about VHA astro-turf. But, I will try my best to help the association. Whenever the proposal comes up, I will discuss it with the house members," said Sahare.
Rani, who has worked closely with land allotment for various SAI projects in Vidarbha, said that the chief minister is positive about the proposal. "I am working on the project and hopeful that it will be cleared soon. We have even prepared the expected cost of the project at 3.5 crore. If the funds are not available with the state, we are planning to get it cleared from centre," said Rani, who is also a former VHA player.
The Times of India
Congratulations to K Arumugam
K Arumugam with some of his OTHL boys.. Photo Arumugam Hockey Facebook pages
K Arumugam, founder of One thousand Hockey Legs, has received recognition by Sports Illustrated India by being awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Sports award. This is just recognition for his contribution to Hockey in India.