All the news for Tuesday 13 September 2011
New Zealand named host of 2011 Champions Trophy
Oceania nation takes over hosting after event is moved from India
LAUSANNE – The FIH today announced that the 2011 edition of the men’s Champions Trophy will be held in Auckland, New Zealand from December 3-11.
As part of the move, New Zealand, ranked #7 in the world, will replace #9 India in the Champions Trophy. India was originally allotted a place in the Champions Trophy as the host, but has now been extended an invitation to play as the top-seeded team at the Champions Challenge in November in South Africa.
“It is always tough to move an event out of any country, but I have to say that the silver lining is the bid from New Zealand,” said FIH President Leandro Negre. “New Zealand will put on a first-rate Champions Trophy and has been extremely flexible and professional given the tough circumstances and tight timeline. I know that they will do an excellent job hosting the event.”
New Zealand is excited to get the opportunity to bring the top men’s hockey event of 2011 to Auckland.
“It is a privilege to be hosting this event. We have been overwhelmed how quickly our key partners have come together to offer support to ensure this is a truly fantastic event. We have the structure in place and with work already underway, we are confident that we can deliver a world-class event in a short timeframe,” says Hockey New Zealand chief executive Hilary Poole.
FIH Competitions Committee Chairman Ken Read went to New Zealand for a site visit and came away with a positive impression. "After seeing the facilities and infrastructure first hand I am very confident that Hockey New Zealand is prepared to host a great event for the athletes and supporters," Read concluded.
The schedule of the 2011 Men’s Champions Trophy will be released in the upcoming weeks, but it is certain that the dates of December 3-11 will remain fixed. In addition, a revised schedule for the Champions Challenge in South Africa will also be published. Both events will have eight-team pools in a nine-day tournament.
FIH Media release
NZ set to announce Champions Trophy success
Hockey New Zealand is expected to announce later this afternoon that it has been successful with a bid to stage the Champions Trophy men's tournament in early December.
The tournament was to have been played in New Delhi at the same time, but the FIH, the international hockey body, took the tournament off India last week.
New Zealand was believed to be one of three countries to bid for the tournament - Dubai and Malaysia were the others.
The FIH wanted to keep the tournament at the same time, dates that would have precluded the European nations making bids because it would be the middle of winter.
The tournament is for the top six nations in the world plus two others invited by the FIH.
The FIH took the tournament off India because of concerns over the governance of the sport in the country which once dominated the sport internationally.
Hockey India is recongised by the FIH and the International Olympic Committee as the governing body of the sport, but recently HI had started negotiations to form a joint governing body with the rebel Indian Hockey Federation, prompting the FIH's action.
The New Zealand men's team as host nation will get an automatic place in the tournament.
The top six ranked nations at present, in order, are: Australia, Germany, the Netherlands,England, Spain and Korea.
Hockey India confident of getting back Champions Trophy
NEW DELHI: With FIH chief Leandro Negre all set to meet sports minister Ajay Maken on Tuesday, Hockey India on Monday expressed confidence that it will able to convince the world governing body of the game to restore the Champions Trophy tournament back to the country.
FIH had stripped the high-profile tournament of India as it raised objection to the way the game is being run in the country. FIH had objections to the recent agreement between the HI and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), which was brokered by the sports ministry, to administer the game.
However, it is learnt that the main reason for FIH to deny India the hosting rights was the pending payment of $five lakh with regard to last year's World Cup. The money has been blocked by Reserve Bank of India, according to FIH.
According to sources, FIH was to get Rs one crore and 87 lakh for title sponsorship and the air tickets of the umpires and by the time Negre lands in India, the payment would have been credited to FIH's account.
HI, IHF and the sports ministry officials on Monday met ahead of the meeting.
HI secretary Narinder Batra was hopeful that India will get back the Champions Trophy.
"I see a ray of hope. FIH has not named new hosts yet. We will ask Negre what are the FIH's objections? Sometimes language creates misunderstandings," Batra said.
Apart from Batra, HI's Rajeev Mehta, IHF president RK Shetty, advisor KPS Gill and secretary Ashok Mathur and Rahul Bhatnagar, joint seceratry sports ministry, were present in the meeting on Monday.
Mathur said that Negre will also meet Hero Honda, the title sponsors of the World Cup.
Mathur said FIH cannot on one hand say that the sports ministry should not interfere in the running of the game in India and on the other ask it to intervene in getting the $5 lakh pending payment.
"We contest objections by FIH that two bodies are running the game. It is only HI which is in charge of hockey in the country. HI is an affiliated body to FIH. India will continue to participate in international events under HI banner. We have become party to the agreement with HI to facilitate the management of hockey in the country," he said.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) boycotted the meeting. "We are against government's interference in this matter. We will meet Negre separately tomorrow," IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra said.
The Times of India
Fall in line or face action, FIH tells Hockey India
NEW DELHI: In what has the potential to spark another controversy in Indian hockey, the world body FIH is believed to have -- in a brief four-line letter -- threatened to derecognize Hockey India if it does not disassociate itself from its current arrangement with the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), sources told TOI.
The HI and IHF had in July decided to join hands to end a three-year impasse in the sport, a move which was resented by the international body.
After voicing its reservation over the sports ministry-brokered truce, FIH earlier snatched away the 2011 Champions Trophy from India.
The development has come in the wake of a visit by FIH president Leandro Negre, who is slated to meet sports minister Ajay Maken as well as both HI and IHF officials on Tuesday over the fate of international events to be staged in India, including an Olympic qualifying tournament in the Capital.
Sources said HI secretary Narinder Batra flashed a letter from the FIH at a meeting with the sports ministry as well as IHF officials on Monday, in which the international body has warned HI to set its house in order or risk sanction.
"The letter was somewhat on these lines that the FIH would watch the developments for a few weeks. If HI does not take any action, they will be issued a notice which could result in derecognition," sources said.
Interestingly, the IOA, which had taken steps to form HI after disbanding IHF in 2008, was not represented in the meeting. "Absence of IOA officials has created apprehensions that it might be playing a wait and watch game," sources said. No official was available for comment.
The Times of India
Mark Hager impressed with team performance
Black Sticks women's coach Mark Hager is giving the team's emphatic series victory over the United States his seal of approval as they eye trans-Tasman hockey supremacy in next month's Oceania Cup.
New Zealand overcame an emotionally charged US team to win the fifth test 5-1 and secure a 4-1 series victory in San Diego yesterday.
Both teams wore black armbands and observed a minute's silence to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks in New York, and the fired-up hosts came out blazing to take a 1-0 lead before halftime.
But the sixth-ranked Black Sticks regained some composure during the halftime break and set about breaking down the 13th-ranked Americans in the second stanza.
They did just that, Krystal Forgesson scoring a brace with Sam Harrison, Katie Glynn and Kayla Sharland also netting.
"It was quite a tough contest and an emotional day, they [US] played with a lot of passion and really took it to us, so it was good to be able to fight back in the second half," Hager said.
The series ticked all the right boxes as far as the coach was concerned as he eyes the Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament in Hobart.
With Fiji having pulled out of that tournament, New Zealand and Australia will play a three-test series. Both teams will qualify for London as the region has two spots available, but there are valuable world ranking points on offer.
New Zealand must win the series against the seventh-ranked Hockeyroos to retain their No 6 ranking.
CANgaroo Clash: Match #2 Recap
Game #2 of the CANgaroo Clash started in front of a crowd of over 1000 at West Vancouver's new Rutledge Field. After a brief official ceremony with local dignitaries, the crowd watched as Nick and Connor Rutledge led the two teams onto the field for national anthems. After the anthems, the boys were presented with honourary National Team jerseys for both Australia and Canada by the captains of each team. It was a fitting tribute to their father Ross (Roscoe) Rutledge, who was a hugely popular, influential coach and mentor to so many juniors within the West Vancouver Field Hockey Club (WVFHC).
With the sun shining and the partisan crowd anxious to see Canada get back into the series, the game began with a bang. Both sides traded excellent attacking sequences, with forwards running onto open-field passes on both sides... the pace of the game was almost frantic. Both sides were anxious to establish an early advantage by spreading the field, and taking the ball into the wide channels of the field. Scott Tupper in the Canadian defence was instrumental in moving the attack from side-to-side with authority. Up front, Canada's forwards, working on a short-shift rotation, did well to maintain sustained pressure on the Australian defence. The first half ended with a 3-2 advantage for Australia, with Canadian goals by Mark Pearson and Keegan Pereira. Antoni Kindler in the Canadian net made a number of crucial saves that kept Canada firmly in the match for the second half.
As the sprinklers turned-on for half-time, 200 juniors from WVFHC jumped onto the field and played games, while both teams regrouped for the second half.
Australia started the second half with full intention to take the game to the young Canadian Team, pressing their forwards high and making channel movement an increasingly difficult task for Tupper and Watson. The Aussies were rewarded for their efforts, forcing a couple of crucial defensive lapses and pushing the flow of the game in their favour. Australia was able to get a fourth marker of the game through a sizzling shot low into the Canadian goal, bringing the score line to 4-2. Despite a late Canadian surge, the Australians were able to maintain control over the midfield and keep Canada from mounting any dangerous attacks late in the game. With time winding down, Canada pushed forward, leaving holes in deep-defence that Australia took full advantage of. It was run-and-gun for the final 10 minutes. With Canada left exposed at the back, Australia was able to put in a 5th goal.
The match ended with a 5-2 Australia win.
After the match, 190 West Vancouver juniors jumped onto the field to participate in the Jr. CANgaroo clinics. Both the Australian and Canadian Men's teams coached the youngsters, giving the kids an incredible hockey experience they will not soon forget. Also in attendance were members of the Women’s National Teams: Katie Baker, Kate Gillis, Hannah Haughn and Marian Dickinson. It was a fantastic way for the WVFHC to wrap-up a special day at their new Rutledge Field.
Australia A (5) vs. Canada (2)
Field Hockey Canada media release
CANgaroo Clash: Match #3 Recap
The weather was perfect. The hockey was exciting. The crowd at Rutledge Field was pleased.
Team Canada was determined to grind-out a positive result, having lost the opening two games of the series. Superb support from the local field hockey community continued, as more than 500 people made the trip to Rutledge Field.
From the opening whistle, Canada pushed Australia's defence in search of an early goal, through some excellent pressure from Phil Wright, Mark Pearson and Keegan Pereira. Despite being pushed back, the Australians started a more pointed attack following Canada's early pressure, controlling the flow of play through intelligent play in deep defence and midfield areas. Canada struck first in the 6th minute, off a fantastic deflection option that sent the ball under the Australian crossbar off of Wright's stick. Canada was carrying the momentum and was deserving of the early 1-0 lead.
Not to be outdone, Australia quickly rebounded. Crisp passing through the backs, the midfield opened up the wide channels of the Canadian defence, through which sustained pressure could be applied. The young Australian side was rewarded in the 21st minute through a well taken drag flick into the Canadian goal. Canada immediately regained composure, but were unable to capitalize against an Australian Team that tackled and thwarted several creative circle-entry attempts. The capacity crowd cheered as both teams opened-up their play late in the second half, with several long runs by forwards on both sides. Australia was awarded a late penalty corner in the 35th minute and capitalized using their trademark "double-battery" formation. The score line at halftime was 2-1 in favour of Australia, who were deserving of the advantage going into the break.
The second half was the most entertaining hockey of the CANgaroo Clash. The crowd cheered both teams on, as both teams lay caution to the wind, and attacked with flair, passion, and purpose. Wright added his second tally of the day within the first minute, levelling the score to 2-2. For the next 30 minutes, both teams traded barbs, with the goalies on both ends being stretched to keep their teams in the game. Both the Australian and Canadian midfield put on a stellar performance, with a standout showing for veteran Kenny Pereira, who managed to create dangerous passing lanes deep into the Australian defence. In the 65th minute, the Australians made their final intentions known, and slammed home a corner-option from the left battery that fooled the Canadian defence.
The game ended in a 3-2 win for Australia, and was a very hard-fought and end-to-end affair for everyone who was there to enjoy it. Australia wins the CANgaroo Clash, taking a 3-0 series lead into the final 2 games.
An exciting penalty shootout following the match was highly entertaining for the partisan West Vancouver crowd, who watched a wide variety of different tactics used against the Canadian and Australian goalies. Australia's last shooter took a full baseball-swing shot from the top of the D, sending the ball like a missile high into the Canadian goal, right under the crossbar. The delighted crowd left Rutledge Field extremely satisfied!
Team Canada is looking to come out strong in match #4 on Tuesday at 7:00pm.
DNP: R. Hildreth, A. Kindler, R. Short
Australia A (3) vs. Canada (2)
Field Hockey Canada media release
Women out to take all the credit
By Graham Wilson
THE women’s game has an added incentive when the national league season gets under way on Saturday – prize-money is on offer.
The cash comes courtesy of sponsorship from asset manager and specialist bank Investec and although it may not be in the Tottenham league – they are also Spurs’ shirt sponsors – the five-year deal comes as a much welcome boost with the Olympic Games challenge gathering momentum.
The money will be spread wide, taking in the Premier Division play-off finalists, with top scorer and most valuable player awards to boot, the three conference leagues, and the cup, trophy and vase competitions.
The top clash on Saturday sees champions Reading travel to Canterbury for an 11.45am fixture.
The Kent club have signed Beijing Olympian Charlotte Craddock, above, and Clifton midfielder Dilly Newton to stand alongside double Olympian Mel Clewlow.
In the men’s game, league winners East Grinstead have pulled off an inevitable coup, with GB captain Barry Middleton coming back from Germany for the Olympics to team up with attacking partner Ashley Jackson.
Their international team-mate Nick Catlin moves back to Reading from Loughborough Students.
Beeston, who stole the championship title in the play-offs and host Surbiton on Sunday, are taking no chances with international commitments.
They have imported Belgium’s Jonathan Beckers, Germany Under-21 international Patrick Schmidt and Scotland midfielder Gordon McIntyre.
Indian hockey team returns home to warm welcome
NEW DELHI: The victorious Indian hockey team received a rousing welcome when it returned home in the wee hours on Tuesday after claiming the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China.
Even though the crowd gathered at the Indira Gandhi International Airport was not huge but it did enough to give a warm welcome to the players. The fans who gathered at the airport were seen dancing to the beats of drums.
Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra along with some other officials personally received the team at the airport as it reached here by China Airlines flight CA 947 at 1.40 a.m. (IST).
To the delight of the players, the media, especially electronic, was in full strength.
Hockey India will host a dinner at a city hotel today in honour of the young team and felicitate the players for their outstanding performance in the Asian Champions Trophy, where they defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 4-2 in the tie-breaker to clinch the title.
The title also assumes great significance for coach Michael Nobbs as for the Australian, the Asian Champions Trophy was his first assignment with the Indian team.
The Times of India
All credit to young team: Nobbs
A little over two months ago when Australian Michael Nobbs took over as the Indian hockey team coach, he was welcomed with controversies.
Whether it was senior players’ walking out of the camp or Sandeep Singh and Sardara Singh pulling out of the Asian Champions Trophy at the last minute, quarrels were been a constant in the country’s hockey scenario.
Having taken along a raw combination for the inaugural Asian event, Nobbs will return to India with a winning squad on Tuesday morning.
While the triumph may not be entirely game changing for Indian hockey, it surely is a head start for the Olympic qualifiers.
Speaking about the team’s performance in the final, Nobbs said, “We had a very poor first half. I think the boys were a little over awed playing in the final.
“In the second half, we settled down to our game plan and played much better. From six weeks training and a basically new team we really did perform above my expectations. That's a credit to the youth of the team.“
The fact that the team signed off from the tournament without a loss was a huge plus for Nobbs. “I would say it was outstanding to come through without losing a match. Full credit to the boys' enthusiasm, and skills.“
While Nobbs stressed on the overall team effort, when asked to pick the performers of the tournament, he said, “Gurbaj Singh, Sreejesh, Bharat Chetri (the two goalkeep ers), Manjit Kullu and Ignace Tirkey were very good. But it would be really hard to really single any player out as they all played very well.” Nobbs, who added that he was excited to begin his Indian hockey innings with a victory, believed the pressure was now going to be on the team.
“Of course there will be pressure, but the pressure is a good thing as we need to perform under pressure .
” The team will attend a Hockey India felicitation in New Delhi on Tuesday before heading to their respective homes.
They are expected to regroup at the SAI, South Centre for the national camp on September 22.
The Asian Age
Sticks to the plan
While the eyes of most Indian sports fans followed the travails and tribulations of our cricketers at Lord's, England, a rousing victory was recorded by another Indian team in a smaller stadium in Ordos, China. India beat Pakistan 4-2 in a thrilling final of the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy that may have ended in penalties but could be the start of what can be a resurrection of Indian hockey. When you find a sport hitting the headlines more because of what happens off the ground than on it, you can be sure that something is awry with the whole business. This time, thankfully, the news comes from an astroturf in northern China and is great news about Indians playing great hockey.
The Asian Champions Trophy wasn't a tournament filled with pushovers. The top six teams from the 2010 Asian Games -- India, South Korea, Pakistan, China, Malaysia and Japan - played rapid, wicked hockey that was a roster of one good team playing another. But if the nation didn't go all out in celebrating India's great run that started in September 3 and ended in the final against its arch-rival on September 11, this serves our players well. The pure joy and pride of becoming a champion team in a big-time tournament remains unalloyed by the relatively tepid reaction by the media and general sports fan alike. At the same time, however, this means keeping one's feet on the ground and not playing under impractical expectations in the future.
This Indian hockey team is a young bunch and they have just beaten Pakistan, the 2010 Asian Games hockey gold medal team, to lift a trophy. Credit for winning this match should largely go to goalkeeper S Sreejesh who stopped two penalty shoot-out flicks from Pakistani sticks. Credit for winning the tournament should largely go to new Indian coach Michael Nobbs. There's now a wider world of adversaries out there to face. After the much deserved celebrations, that's where our players who have now tasted blood, should train their sticks.
ACT triumph is an indication of better things ahead: Balbir Sr
NEW DELHI: Hockey Olympian Balbir Singh Sr feels that India's triumph in the Asian Champions Trophy is an indication of better things to come in near future.
"I want to congratulate the players and team management for this victory. This victory has come after a long time. Even the Indians based in Canada are delirious at this achievement. Let's hope that this is the beginning of a bright future for Indian hockey," the 87-year-old legendary centre forward told from Vancouver, where he is now based.
Balbir Sr, who was member of three Olympic gold-medal winning squads (London' 48, Helsinki '52 and Melbourne '56), who has now been away from India for decades feels that any victory on foregn soil makes NRI Olympians proud.
"I feel elated as all such victories of our team enhance the prestige of former Olympians living abroad. It reminds me the golden past of Indian Hockey," the veteran stated.
A prolific scorer in his time, Balbir Sr scored a double hat-trick in his debut Olympic match against Argentina and struck twice in the final against hosts Great Britain. In the next edition in Helsinki, he scored nine goals.
He feels disciple is the key to success. "Maintaining discipline during training camp played an important role in this victory. It has been proved once again that nobody is indispensible," with obvious reference to Sandeep and Sardara Singh episode.
Referring to his autobiography "The Golden Hat-trick" published back in 1977, he stated, "The recent episode (Sardara and Sandeep) reminds me what I had written in my autobiography. Balbirs come and Balbirs go but India goes for ever."
However, the veteran doesn't want Rajpal Singh and his mates to get complacent after this success.
"Let us not be too complacent as more important tournaments including Olympic qualifiers are ahead," the Padmashri awardee concluded.
The Times of India
Indian hockey triumph shows promise
By Mihir Vasavda
Entering the tournament in a state of almost zero preparedness and without a few of their key players, a wooden spoon is what many expected India to fetch from coach Michael Nobbs’s first assignment at the Asian Champions Trophy.
But to return triumphant by beating Pakistan in an intense final under such circumstances is praiseworthy. Nobbs will take home plenty of positives from the tournament, especially the fact that his side managed to remain unbeaten throughout. However, experts feel the Australian will have to ensure the side doesn’t get carried away with this success, which is the beginning of an arduous road towards achieving their ultimate goal - qualifying for next year’s Olympics.
“It is a morale-boosting win but we should be cautious while celebrating,” said Olympian Balbir Singh, also a member of the selection committee. “The boys did show a lot of courage and came up with some really brave performances. The challenge would be to emulate such performances in the tournaments that matter.”
Despite the overall slide, India have remained a force to reckon with in Asia, where only Pakistan and South Korea have managed to pose a threat on consistent basis. In the last decade, India have won the Asia Cup twice and have claimed a bronze (2010) and a silver (2002) at the Asian Games. Hence, the win at Ordos hasn’t come out of the blue.
Balbir, though, is satisfied that the current lot played as a well-knit unit, helping each other during the crisis situation. “With two or three rogue elements out (read: Sandeep Singh and Sardara Singh) the boys are now gelling well as a team. It was always going to be risky to suspend a player like Sardara but this tournament gives us confidence that talent is available in abundance,” said Balbir.
Nobbs has also won plaudits for bringing back the aggressive style of play, rather than aping the European sides. That obviously yielded desired results as India ended the tournament as the highest goal-scorers (15).
IOA skips meeting
The IOA, on Monday, skipped the meeting called by the sports ministry to discuss the merger of IHF and HI. Sports minister Ajay Maken is slated to meet FIH president Leandro Negre in New Delhi on Tuesday and persuade him to reconsider the decision of taking away the Champions Trophy from India.
Shot in the arm for the sport
The Asian Champions Trophy win may well re-open the gates of relative success in terms of getting the right kind of media for the hockey team, as well as paving the way for Hockey India to try and keep the Champions Trophy tournament here.
India’s triumph in the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy at Ordos (China) has lifted the sagging reputation of the game, and Hockey India can now breathe easy, as the team was selected and sent by it, in a controversial manner. On the eve of the team’s departure to Ordos, the HI disciplinary committee had taken severe action against two players -- mid-fielder Sardar Singh and drag-flicker Sandeep Singh -- by banning them for two years for walking out of the national camp at Bangalore without permission.
The HI top brass had felt that it was time to act tough as these players were vitiating team discipline, which was vouchsafed by the team management, including new foreign coach Michael Nobbs. Though HI has given the duo a month’s time to appeal, it’s unlikely that the ban will be lifted, now that captain Rajpal Singh and Co. have shown that they can play with spirit and win if they are given the right kind of backing and support and a disciplined team.
This win was also sweeter as India remained unbeaten at the league phase -- the only unbeaten team -- before downing arch-rivals Pakistan in the title contest. That India won this important trophy in a Chinese city after finishing outside the medal bracket in the last Asian Games at Guangzhou last year, necessitating their qualification for the 2012 London Olympics, was poetic justice indeed.
New coach Nobbs of Australia has begun his job on a winning note to instill confidence in the players and the hockey administrators that his choice was not wrong, after all.
This win will also help force the FIH to re-think its threat of pulling out the Champions Trophy from Delhi, as now HI, in conjunction with the IHF and the Government, will be able to rope in sponsors for the Champions Trophy as the game has once again come into focus for the right reasons.
The tough stand taken by the FIH that it will not accept the forging of a working relationship between Hockey India and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and the threat to pull out the Champions Trophy, arguing that the prestigious event was awarded to HI to organise and Sports Minister Ajay Maken’s efforts to bring in a truce between HI and IHF and the Indian Olympic Association’s stand that it too would not accept the merger, had all got the game mired in a controversy. But the title win will have a soothing effect, giving more bargaining power to HI.
The Ministry can now persuade the RBI to release the money owed to the FIH for hosting the World Cup, to pave the way for hosting of the Champions Trophy, since that the team has yet again to qualify for the Olympic Games. (India did not qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, for the first-time ever in the history of the championship after finishing outside the medal bracket in the 2006 Doha Asiad, and then flunking the Olympic qualifiers in Chile).
Chinese hockey team to visit Pakistan for 5-macth series in December
LAHORE: A Chinese hockey team will visit Pakistan in December this year a five-match series against Pakistan. The series will commence from December 12. “The visit of the Chinese team is very significant as it will help in resuming international hockey ties on Pakistani soil and we eagerly look forward to it,” said Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary general Mohammad Asif Bajwa here on Monday. “The Chinese team will be visiting Pakistan on bilateral basis as the Pakistan team will pay a return visit to China next year on a similar assignment,” he added.
“We have not yet finalised the venues but as soon we receive the arrival schedule of the visiting team we will finalise the playing centres but hopefully the matches will be played in Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad and Sialkot,” he said. “If the Chinese team lands in Karachi then the opening match will be played there or in Lahore in case if they arrive here,” he added.
Bajwa said the tour of the Chinese team would help in inspiring other foreign hockey nations to visit Pakistan in near future. “Our major focus is to bring international hockey back to Pakistan and we are thankful to the Chinese Hockey Federation for supporting our cause,” he maintained. The PHF secretary said to strengthen the base of hockey and to make it wider, the PHF had decided to launch Under-16 National Championship from October first in Lahore in which three teams from Punjab, two teams from Sindh, two teams from Khyber Pakhtunkhwah, one team each from Balochistan, Islamabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, FATA and Gilgit & Baltistan will participate.
“The PHF is giving importance to grassroots level hockey and through this event we will be able to get a fresh pool of players for future.” He said 1st Munir Ahmad Dar Memorial Hockey Tournament would be played in Bahawalpur from September 23-30. Giving details of more hockey tournaments, the PHF official said the NBP Gold Cup would be organised by the Punjab Hockey Association in Faisalabad from November 15-25.
“Inter Academy Tournament will be played from November 26 to December 18 at Sialkot Hockey Stadium, 27th National Women’s Hockey Championship will be organised in the month of December in Lahore, 4th Tray championship will be organised by KPK Hockey Association in Peshawar from January 3, 2012, 59th National Senior Hockey Championship will be organised at HCP Stadium in Karachi from January 18 and 4th Junior Super Hockey League will roll into action from March in Karachi.” He said that discussions were underway with India to start women’s hockey ties between the two countries. “It is hoped that Pakistan women’s team will visit India later this year or early next year to help promote women’s hockey in the subcontinent.
Dec 18: arrival of the visiting team
Dec 19: training and practice of Chinese team
Dec 20: first match
Dec 21: first match
Dec 22: training-rest
Dec 23: third match
Dec 24: fourth match
Dec 25: training/rest
Dec 26: fifth match
Dec 27: departure of the visiting team
The Daily Times
China agree to play hockey series in Pakistan
LAHORE: In a major breakthrough for Pakistan hockey, the Chinese men's national team has agreed to tour the strife-torn nation for a five match series in December this year.
"We had invited the China Hockey Federation to send their team to play a friendship series and they have agreed to tour Pakistan in December for five matches which is a major boost for our hockey," Bajwa said.
Foreign teams, including cricket and hockey, have avoided playing in Pakistan since the last few years due to the existing security situation in the country.
Pakistan had also lost the hosting rights of the Champions Trophy for security reasons that it was to organise in Lahore.
"It is a good news that China is supporting us by undertaking this tour and they also want to use the series to prepare for the London Olympic Games," Bajwa added.
He noted that the PHF had been trying to organise a four-nation event in Pakistan for sometime now and the tour by China would pave the way for this.
"The interior minister, Rehman Malik has assured us foolproof security arrangements for the series. We will be taking every step and coordinating with the government and law enforcement agencies to ensure a smooth series," he said.
Commenting on the defeat to India in the final of the Asian Champions Trophy in China on Sunday, Bajwa said while the result was disappointing, the tournament had given good exposure to the young players in the side.
"The young team put up a brilliant display. We lost on penalty shootout but overall performance was satisfactory. This is a big step towards our efforts to prepare a strong outfit for the London Olympics," Bajwa said.
The Times of India
He does his bit for hockey
B. Azhagarasan’s abiding passion for hockey has inspired him to dig deep into his pocket and set up a club. ABM Infotech, the brainchild of Azhagarasan, have reached the top division in the Chennai Hockey Association league within five years of their formation.
The going has been good, if not extraordinary, for the private club in the ongoing super division. “We have won two out of three matches so far. My youthful team dispatched City Police and TNEB 5-1 and 10-0 respectively. We lost to Southern Railway 0-2. Our dream of qualifying for the super six is still alive. If we beat Indian Bank and Tamil Nadu Police, we can reach the elite league,” Azhagarasan, 41, said.
Hockey has been an inseparable part of Azhagarasan ever since he grabbed the curved stick as a school boy. “I played for Spic and the state junior team before taking up a job owing to my family circumstances. But the hockey fire in me still remains as fierce as ever. I’m thrilled to see my club play at the top tier of the Chennai league,” he said.
When big teams in Chennai such as Southern Railway and Indian Bank are struggling to fill their sports quota vacancies, Azhagarasan has cast his net wide to strengthen his squad. This season he signed as many as 12 players from Karnataka. Four players have been given jobs at ABM Infotech, a laptop servicing company Azhagarasan owns.
Azhagarasan always keeps his eyes open to bring talented youngsters from all parts of the country to ABM. He is not bogged down by narrow regional concerns. “With Chennai SAI fielding two teams in the super division, there is a paucity of talent in our state. That is why I had to go to Karnataka to find the core of my team. What is wrong in doing so? ABM’s doors are open to all Indians. Merit is the sole criterion to get into my team,” he said with conviction.
ABM’s Karnataka contingent is mainly drawn from Ashish Ballal Academy, SAI and Department of Youth, all three based in Bengaluru. Leo, a coach at the Ballal Academy, and Shanmugam, a veteran coach in Karnataka, helped Azhagarasan in finding players for his club.
Azhagarasan is the player-coach of his team, even though his position at the helm of ABM Infotech keeps him busy every day. “I never miss a practice session whatever company-related work I have for the day. I talk about professionalism all the time, so I can’t afford to be lax. Anyway, I never thought about leaving hockey at any stage of my life,” he said.
Though there is all-round praise for the work of Azhagarasan in Chennai’s hockey circle, the businessman keeps his feet on the ground.
“I haven’t done anything extraordinary. I would say running the club is just a small step. There is a long way to go. There is a sense of fulfillment when ABM players secure government jobs and make grade to the next level. ABM will always stick with India’s national game,” he added.
Eric made major contribution to Indian athletics
E.R. (Eric) Prabhakar, who died on Saturday at Bangalore at the age of 86, was a sportsman of extraordinary competence. Athletics was his bailiwick, but he excelled in hockey and cricket too at the collegiate level.
The highpoint of Prabhabar's athletics career was the Olympic Games in London. In the first for independent India, Prabhakar represented the country in the 100 metres sprint with distinction. He reached the the quarterfinals in a time of 10.3 seconds, a mere 0.3 seconds away from the medal.
Not many of this generation might be aware of the achievements in athletics, or his academic excellence. He returned a time of 10.8s even in 1944, and was the national sprint champion (100 and 200) from 1942-48.
Born on February 23, 1925, in a family renowned for its achievements in sports and in the sphere of education — his brother E. C. P. Prabhakar played for the State in cricket, hockey and tennis and was a top rated bureaucrat — Eric etched a brilliant career in sport and in academics at the Madras Christian College. He was the icon of MCC and the toast of the college in numerous competitions. His time of 10.7s remained on the record books for years.
Prabhakar's famous contemporary in the Forties was the triple jumper, Henry Rebello of Loyola. Interestingly, both figured in the 1948 London Olympics.
Eric had no peers in the state, or in the country, in sprints from 1942 in the then undivided India. In fact, his first triumph came at Lahore.
A graduate in Economics Prabhakar spurned a chance to enter the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). He however accomplished a rare distinction of earning the prestigious the Rhode's Scholarship at Oxford as the first ever Indian.
At Oxford, Eric pursued athletics with unalloyed passion that brought him into contact with several top stars. One such was Dr. Roger Bannister, the first man to break the four minute barrier for the mile and a darling of British athletics.
Eric, who captained MCC in hockey, played for Oxford without losing his focus in athletics.
Selected for an UN assignment, Eric served as Director of UNESCO in Paris for nearly two decades enunciating educational programmes for school children that won acclaim all over.
After return to India, Eric worked for a leading corporate firm in Chennai. He continued to evince keen interest in athletics and authored quite a few schemes for promotion. His scholarly work, “The Way to Athletics Gold,” with an introduction by Dr. Bannister is an excellent manual for coaches of any era.
Eric, who is survived by wife and three sons, lived the life of an exemplary sportsman. Competitive athletics in India owes a great deal to this trend-setter in sprint running.
“He was a remarkable sportsman,” observed Walter Dawaram, President, Tamil Nadu Athletics Association in a tribute. “He was the best known name in Madras Christian College when I was a student long after Eric had left the institution. His contribution to athletics was significant,” Dawaram added.
The life and times of Eric Prabhakar may be behind us. But his indelible imprint on Indian athletics can never be obliterated.
Obituary: Negri mourns the demise of two internationals
TWO double internationals from Negri Sembilan, M. Joseph, 77, and Peter van Huizen, 75, have died.
Peter died on Sunday, while Joseph died yesterday morning.
Both were a rare breed who played hockey and football for the country, something present day sportsmen can't even dream of doing.
Peter only started playing hockey when he was 20, and that too by chance as he happened to be at the Negri Sembilan Padang and was invited to play for the Negri Sembilan Ceylonese Association (NSCA).
He went on to become a pillar between the posts in hockey and was among the 18 young men who represented Malaysia at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and the 1958 Asian Games in Tokyo. Peter was voted world's Best Goalkeeper in 1956.
He also played football for Negri Sembilan Indians Association (NSIA) and Seremban Rangers, the Negri state team in 1952 and represented Malaysia at the 1959 SEAP Games in Bangkok.
Peter then started coaching Seremban Municipal Council in 1985 and among the goalkeepers he spotted and trained were Hamdan Hamzah, who played for the National Juniors in 1989, Osbert Pinto (a winger turned goalkeeper) and recent former international and goalkeepers' coach Nasihin Nubli.
And Joseph was also made of the same stuff, as he too represented the country in hockey and football.
He represented then Malaya in football from 1947 to 1953, while in hockey, he played in the 1958 Tokyo Asian Games and in the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games.
After he retired, Joseph or fondly called 'One-eyed Jo', started coaching in the early 1980s and under his coaching were G. Torairaju, Tony Chia and Zainuddin Hussein.
Joseph kept himself active by playing in the NS League for NSCA as well as the state veterans' squad.
Negri Sembilan HA secretary P. Tamilselvan said both Peter and Joseph were prides of the state.
"Both of them were pillars of society as well as sports and it is a great loss to the state," said Tamilselvan.
New Straits Times
Malaysia loses two of its most illustrious athletes
By S. RAMAGURU
Sorely missed: Peter van Huizen (left) and M. Joseph.
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia, and in particular Negri Sembilan, have lost two of its most illustrious sportsmen – Peter van Huizen, 79, and M. Joseph, 77.
Van Huizen died of lung infection at 8am yesterday while Joseph passed away after suffering a heart attack at 7.40pm on Sunday. They both died at a hospital in Seremban.
Both were former Olympians and double internationals – having represented the national team in hockey and football in the late 50s and early 60s.
In fact, they were team-mates in the national hockey team that played in the Tokyo Asian Games in 1958.
Peter’s family members are the who’s who of Malaysian hockey and are well known in Seremban for their untiring work in helping develop children in the sport.
Among them are his brother Lawrence and nephew Stephen, who are both former internationals and coaches of the national team.
Joseph, meanwhile, was also a member of the football team that played in the first Merdeka tournament, which Malaysia (then Malaya) won in 1958. His family said they still have the Rolex watch given to the winning players by the country’s first Prime Minster Tunku Abdul Rahman.
Joseph was also an accomplished football coach at state and club levels and had also been involved in children’s development programmes. He was also a stringer with The Star newspaper in the late 70s.
The passing away of the two sports veterans came as a shock to the sporting fraternity. And many were full of praise for the duo’s selfless attitude and sacrifices to the nation.
Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) secretary Tan Sri P. Alagendra, who was a team-mate of the duo, said the two former players “come from an era of great sporting heroes”.
“They were exemplary sportsmen and loved the game so much that they did not retire from it fully. I know them well enough to say that they had brought nothing but glory to their family, club, state and country. It is a great loss to sports and Negri, which has over the years produced many dedicated sportsmen of distinction,” he said.
Their funerals will be held tomorrow at the Church of Visitation in Jalan Yam Tuan, Seremban. Joseph’s will be at 10am and Peter’s at 2.30pm.
The Star of Malaysia
Goodbye Seremban heroes
Nation mourns former hockey and football internationals
PETER: Voted world's best goalkeeper in 1956
JOSEPH: First Malaysian to obtain a German coaching certificate
PETALING JAYA: A sense of sadness envelops the town of Seremban as the country mourns the loss of two sporting legends, Peter Van Huizen and M. Joseph.
Peter, or fondly known as Uncle Peter, passed away yesterday while Joseph passed away on Sunday. Peter was 79 while Joseph was 77.
Both Peter and Joseph were former hockey and football internationals.
Former hockey international Raymond Tio remembers Peter as a "caring uncle".
"He was very concerned when it came to family matters," said Raymond.
"Uncle Peter was always around to help us. He was like a father to us."
Raymond added the family members would often refer to Peter for guidance and was a source of inspiration to many in the family to take up hockey. Among those in the family who went on to represent the country include brother Lawrence, nephew Stephen and Raymond himself. His son Adrian, meanwhile, played for the State team.
"Although he was a goalkeeper, his passion in the sport rubbed off on us. I remember playing with him for local club Rangers when I was still a school boy. We've got a huge age gap but it didn't stop us from playing together. The whole family is really sad to lose him. He's been a role model to us all."
Born in Seremban in 1932, Peter took up the sport at the age of 20. He went on to represent Malaysia at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and 1958 Asian Games in Tokyo. He was voted the world's best goalkeeper in 1956. He also played football for the country at the 1959 Seap Games in Bangkok.
Peter, however, could not join his teammates for the 1960 Olympics in Rome as he was cash strapped. Athletes then had to pay for their own air fare when travelling abroad — a sacrifice which is alien to today's breed of sportsmen.
Peter leaves behind wife Angeline and sons Adrian and Terrence.
Joseph, or better known as One-Eyed M. Joe, played football for Malaya from 1947 to 1953. In hockey, he also played at the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games.
Upon retirement, he started coaching in the early 1980s. Joseph was the first Malaysian to obtain a coaching certificate from the German FA. Among those coached under Joseph were former national coach B. Satianathan and Selangor coach K. Devan.
"It's a shame that Negri Sembilan lost two of its favourite boys. I remember clearly how Joseph and Peter were always on the field, looking out for new talent and always guiding the youngsters," said Satianathan.
"These two gentlemen were gems. It is difficult to find such characters these days."
Family and friends are expected to throng the Church of Visitation along Jalan Yum Tuan to pay their respects to Joseph (10am) and Peter (2pm) during the service tomorrow before the national heroes are laid to rest.