All the news for Tuesday 14 September 2011
The biggest international hockey event for 2011 is coming to New Zealand
New Zealand has won the rights to host hockey’s premier international annual event – the FIH 2011 Men’s Champions Trophy - which will see the world’s top eight teams compete in Auckland from 3-11 December.
With a cumulative television audience estimated at 38 million, it is the first time that New Zealand has held an international hockey event of this scale.
“Auckland welcomes the FIH 2011 Men’s Champions Trophy in December. I’m determined to make Auckland an events destination, and hosting the world’s top eight men’s hockey teams is another huge boost for our region hot on the heels of RWC 2011. In addition to the sporting and media benefits, this event will inject around $1m of new money into our economy. The teams and officials directly involved in the event will generate over 4,000 visitor nights alone,” says Mayor Len Brown.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Leandro Negre says New Zealand will put on a first-rate Champions Trophy. “Hockey is a growing sport in New Zealand and the Black Sticks are consistently performing on the world stage. I know they will do an excellent job as host, they have been extremely flexible and professional,” says Negre.
Hockey New Zealand’s chief executive Hilary Poole considers this not just a one-off opportunity, but part of an ongoing commitment to attract world class hockey events to New Zealand.
“It is the last major event on the men’s calendar prior to the 2012 London Olympics – so to have the top eight nations competing here in Auckland, including our own Black Sticks, will give New Zealanders the chance to see some world-class hockey,” says Poole.
India was due to host this event, but last week the International Hockey Federation (FIH) confirmed that they had withdrawn the rights because of ongoing problems with the governance of hockey in India.
Poole says it has been incredible the swift response from our key partners to ensure we have the level of support we need and the right structures in place to host a successful event within such a short timeframe.
Critical to hosting the event was the support from successful businessman and philanthropist Owen Glenn. “He immediately stepped up with funds from his Glenn Family Foundation to help Hockey New Zealand secure the tournament, by becoming the naming rights sponsor,” says Poole.
Glenn says it is a real privilege to be involved. “I was fortunate to play hockey for 20 years in five different countries. During this period I met many good people, including three lasting friendships. Hockey is developing into a real community based sport that involves everyone, it’s a true family sport which is so important for our youth,” notes Glenn.
Other major partners include Auckland Council, Ministry of Economic Development (through New Zealand Major Events), SPARC, High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) and New Zealand Entertainment and Events Corporation (NZEEC).
“We congratulate Hockey New Zealand and are very proud to support the Men’s Champion’s Trophy through the Major Events Development Fund. Securing this event shows that New Zealand is developing a strong reputation as an events host, able to work to tight deadlines, and still produce an event that is truly world-class,” says Kylie Archer, manager Major Events for the Ministry of Economic Development.
HPSNZ acting chief executive Martin Toomey said it is an important lead-up event to the London Olympics.
“Hosting the tournament here gives the Black Sticks the opportunity to play against the best in the world on home soil. It’s important they continue to get that international level competition as they aim for London,’’ says Toomey.
“Hockey New Zealand did the groundwork and due diligence before deciding to submit a bid to host the tournament here. They’ve done a great job and this gave us the confidence to invest in the event,’’ he says.
Poole notes that in the last month Hockey New Zealand has undertaken an event and economic impact feasibility study, gained knowledge from previous hockey host nations, and worked with the NZEEC to develop the event plan.
An event taskforce has been established with ex Hockey New Zealand chief executive Ramesh Patel managing the project over the next three months with the support of the NZEEC. Sue Brewster will chair the Hockey New Zealand Board Committee.
In world ranking order, the teams competing include Australia, Netherlands, Germany, England, Spain, Korea, New Zealand and Pakistan. There will be 24 matches, with each team participating in six games.
The event will be hosted at North Harbour Hockey Stadium which can comfortably host 5,000 spectators, the teams, event officials, VIPs, media and volunteers. North Harbour hosted the FIH 2008 Olympic Qualification Tournament.
Key event facts
• 3-11 December, North Harbour Hockey Stadium, Rosedale Park South.
• Competing teams in world ranking order: Australia, Netherlands, Germany, England, Spain, Korea, New Zealand and Pakistan.
• New Zealand earns a place to compete as host nation and will no longer compete at the 2011 Champions Challenge in Johannesburg, South Africa, in December.
• It is the last major event for men on the international hockey calendar before the 2012 London Olympic Games.
• The Black Sticks placed 6th at the 2010 FIH Champions Trophy (Monchengladbach, Germany).
• At the 2009 FIH Champions Trophy in Melbourne, there was a cumulative television audience of 38 million people.
Sue Brewster – Chair, Hockey New Zealand Board Committee
Sue Brewster has been a member of the Hockey New Zealand Board since 2008. Sue is currently chief executive of the not-for-profit organisation Sweet Louise. Brewster’s background includes 12 years at TVNZ as General Manager of Marketing.
Ramesh Patel – Project Manager
Ramesh Patel was Hockey New Zealand chief executive from 1989 to 2009 and was hockey director from 2009 to 2010. Patel is currently one of three patrons of the Hockey Foundation. Patel was in the 1976 Montreal Olympics gold medal winning team. He currently sits on the FIH Rules Committee.
Owen Glenn – Naming Rights Sponsor
Owen Glenn is the founder, owner and executive chairman of OTS Logistics Group - a billion dollar revenue company with offices in 105 countries. Through the Glenn Family Foundation he has supported hundreds of humanitarian causes throughout the world. The Foundation’s philosophy is focused on the importance of education, health, helping oneself and family as the foundation of a community. Glenn has fond memories of his playing days for the Albertians Hockey Club in Auckland and continues to be an avid supporter of the game. Glenn is the Founding Patron of the Hockey Foundation.
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Time challenge for Hockey New Zealand
Hockey New Zealand chief executive Hilary Poole says she almost fell off her chair when she received a telephone call in early August asking if New Zealand was interested in hosting the prestigious Champions Trophy men's tournament.
The call was from her counterpart at the International Hockey Federation (FIH), Kelly Fairweather, and after speaking to colleagues and board members, she confirmed HNZ was interested.
Yesterday its bid, submitted at the end of August, was accepted by the FIH and the sport will host the most important tournament outside the Olympics and World Cup, at Rosedale Park, North Harbour, from December 3 till 11.
Poole has been making it known to the FIH for the last year or more that HNZ was interested in major tournaments, but they will have only three months to organise this one.
New Zealand became a candidate after the FIH took the tournament away from Hockey India after its governing body began talks with a rebel body to form a new joint governing body, which is against FIH statutes.
The 33rd Champions Trophy will bring the top eight field hockey countries to New Zealand. In ranking order they are Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, England, Spain, South Korea, New Zealand and Pakistan.
"Initially our two questions were: operationally is it doable? and can we do this at minimal financial risk?" Poole said.
"When we approached key partners for support we were humbled and delighted at the swift response, but when we submitted our proposal on August 29 it was conditional on funding."
The budget is $850,000 and HNZ has financial support from the Auckland Council, the Ministry of Economic Development, Sparc, High Performance Sport New Zealand, and the New Zealand Entertainment and Events Corporation. There will also be a key contribution from the Owen Glenn Family Foundation which will be a naming rights sponsor.
"We have funding secured at $550,000. The remainder will come from ticket sales and sponsorship and services for spectators,"Poole said.
NZ wins hosting rights for Champions Trophy
By Terry Maddaford
Hilary Poole, chief executive of New Zealand Hockey. Photo / Dean Purcell
Hockey New Zealand has been handed hosting rights to the year's biggest tournament with yesterday's confirmation that the men's Champions Trophy will be played here from December 3-11.
The eight best teams in the world will be at the North Harbour Hockey Stadium for the 24-match tournament which will give the teams their last international hit-out before next year's London Olympics.
Once India's hosting rights came under scrutiny after they failed to bring the game there under one umbrella, New Zealand were at the forefront of FIH discussions.
As the world's seventh-ranked country, New Zealand were the only team in the world's top eight not to be involved in this year's tournament.
The Black Sticks were, instead, scheduled to play at the Champions Challenge in South Africa in their bid to bag a place in the next Champions Trophy.
India will now take New Zealand's place at that tournament as the top-ranked nation.
Hockey New Zealand chief executive Hilary Poole has welcomed the faith shown in her association by the international federation.
"We had to be happy with our ability to handle the financial risk. We did a scoping exercise, had [former Hockey NZ chief executive] Ramesh Patel in to look into it and went from there," said Poole.
"We spoke to our funding partners and their reaction was to go for it.
"We put a proposal to FIH on August 29 with the proviso any acceptance would still be conditional on funding.
"We were able to make the bid unconditional on September 9."
There has been solid support from Auckland City, the Ministry of Economic Development (through New Zealand Major Events), Sparc, High Performance Sport NZ and New Zealand Entertainment and Events Corporation.
There has also been vital support from Hockey NZ benefactor Owen Glenn through the Glenn Family Foundation, which helped HNZ secure the tournament and will lead to its becoming the naming rights sponsor.
North Harbour was the favoured venue after its success in hosting the 2008 Olympic qualifying tournament in which New Zealand claimed the last place at the Beijing Olympics with a dramatic extra-time win over Argentina.
The ground, with the addition of temporary seating, can accommodate 5000 spectators and is seen as an ideal venue from which to beam television coverage to an estimated multimillion viewership worldwide.
The New Zealand team are expected to play warm-up matches against teams as they arrive to prepare for the tournament.
The New Zealand Herald
New Zealand replaces India as Champions Trophy host
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: FIH president Leandro Negre. File photo
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) said on Tuesday that the 2011 Champions Trophy would be held in New Zealand.
The FIH had earlier taken away the right to host the tournament from India over internal problems surrounding the organization of hockey in India.
In a statement released in Lausanne on Tuesday the FIH said that they were pleased that New Zealand had offered to host the tournament.
“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,” FIH president Leandro Negre said.
“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 currently hosting the rugby World Cup and hockey officials in that country said they regarded it as a privilege to host the tournament.
“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,” the chief executive of Hockey New Zealand Hilary Poole said.
The Champions Trophy is the most prestigious annual competition organized by the FIH, with the top hockey—playing countries participating. It will now be held in New Zealand December 3 — 11.
New Zealand will also replace India as a participant in the tournament, with India being given a place in the Champions Challenge in South Africa.
New Zealand replace India as hosts of 2011 Champions Trophy
LAUSANNE: Shifted out of India due to the dispute related to hockey's governance in the country, the high-profile Champions Trophy will now be held in Auckland, New Zealand from December 3 to 11.
"New Zealand, ranked number seven in the world, will replace 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," the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said in a statement.
The Champions Trophy was initially alloted to India but the tussle between Hockey India and the Indian Hockey Federation over who would govern the sport cost the country the hosting rights of the event.
Even though the two bodies had agreed for merger after intervention by the sports ministry, the FIH was simply not convinced by the compromise worked out.
The FIH's announcement ironically comes on a day when its President Leandro Negre had landed in Delhi to meet Indian Sports Minister Ajay Maken amid speculation that the event could return to the country after some talks.
"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," Negre said in the FIH statement.
"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."
The Times of India
FIH awards Champions Trophy to New Zealand
NEW DELHI: A week after taking away the Champions Trophy from India, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Tuesday announced the allotment of the event to New Zealand and gave enough indication that India may be barred from holding or participating in future events if they don't put their house in order.
New Zealand, ranked No. 7, also replaced world No. 9 India in the event, which features the top eight countries of the world. India, however, have instead been invited to play as the top-seeded team at the Champions Challenge in South Africa in November.
The development came just hours before a meeting between top officials of the FIH and the sports ministry, where the ministry was expected to raise the issue of shifting of the event with the world body. FIH is upset with the sports ministry-brokered truce between Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation which made them both eligible to run the game in the country through a joint executive committee.
Sports minister Ajay Maken made it clear that he was not happy with the announcement. "The meeting went as usual and the announcement did not make us change our strategy. But it certainly affected the mindset before the meeting," Maken said after the meeting.
"It was FIH which had come up with the offer of holding the Champions Trophy in India. Any decision on the event should have been taken after a discussion. It's not proper and we have conveyed our displeasure to Negre."
But the FIH president said it was just a coincidence.
"It was decided at the executive board meeting in August to take it away from India and give it to New Zealand. It's just a coincidence," Negre told TOI on Tuesday.
On the face of it, the development doesn't look like a co-incidence and is surely going to create a deadlock in Indian hockey as the FIH seems to be in no mood to recognise the tie-up.
While for FIH, the IHF "does not exist", for the ministry it's a key part of any solution since IHF has been reinstated by the apex court. It can't simply wish it away.
The FIH, strangely, is not prepared to look into the legal angle in the imbroglio. If the deadlock persists, the world body hinted it might spell trouble for Indian hockey.
"It must not continue as it's not in anyone's interest. Joint settlement is not acceptable. We are not thinking of giving them a deadline, but we need a solution in the next few months. With the Olympic qualifiers and the Olympics coming up, we need a solution," FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather said.
Asked whether the Olympic qualifiers, to be held in Delhi in February, could suffer the same fate as the Champions Trophy if the situation continues, Negre simply said: "I am sure there will be a solution (by then)."
Maken was also confident that the issue would be sorted out by February. "We have some time till the qualifiers," he said.
Negre, meanwhile, dismissed talks that FIH was interested in hosting events in India since it would guarantee them a good profit. "People say that FIH came to India to make profit. But that's not correct. We are committed to developing hockey in India," he said.
The Times of India
FIH allots Champions Trophy to New Zealand
New Delhi: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced today that the 2011 edition of the Champions Trophy would be held in New Zealand. Even as FIH president Leandro Negre was having parleys with Sports Minister Ajay Maken and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra in Delhi today, supposedly to find a solution to the FIH threat of pulling out the event from Delhi and the disaffiliation of Hockey India, the FIH announcement came from Lausanne that the event would be held in Auckland, the capital of New Zealand, from December 3 to 11.
"As part of the move, New Zealand, ranked seven in the world, will replace 9th ranked 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," the FIH said.
“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 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.” The FIH said New Zealand was "excited" to get the opportunity to bring the top men’s hockey event of 2011 to Auckland.
However, the news was received with disbelief in hockey circles in Delhi, where the Indian team had returned from Ordos last night after winning the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy and were being feted and felicitated by the Sports Ministry and Hockey India at different functions here today.
“It is a privilege to be hosting this event,” Hockey New Zealand Chief Executive Hilary Poole was quoted as saying by the FIH. “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.”
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 said.
FIH said the schedule of the 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.
Interestingly, the main reason for FIH pulling out the Champions Trophy from India was the non-clearance of $500,000 owed to it for holding the World Cup in Delhi last year, by the Reserve Bank of India.
The FIH, which was part of a private body which organised the World Cup in Delhi, is reported to have earned around Rs 40 crore from the World Cup and it was hoping to make such overkill from the Champions Trophy as well. But with IOA president Suresh Kalmadi in jail - he was the moving force behind the hosting of the World Cup — and the sports scene having changed following the Commonwealth Games (CWG) scam, the FIH has perhaps realised that it would not be possible for it take home big bucks from the Champions Trophy.
Now, India will be trying to convince Negre of at least retaining the Olympic qualifiers allotted to Delhi, to be held in February next year as scheduled, as India would be fighting for a berth in the 2012 London Olympics.
But Malhotra stays hopeful
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra, after a meeting with International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Leandro Negre at his residence here this evening, said that he had not completely lost hope regarding Delhi hosting the Champions Trophy in December, despite the FIH announcement that its executive board has allotted the championship to New Zealand.
Negre, however, insisted that it was “impossible” to reverse the decision of shifting the Champions Trophy to New Zealand. “We are committed to Indian hockey no doubt, but it’s impossible to change the decision of allotting the Champions Trophy to New Zealand,” Negre told The Tribune as he came out of the meeting. He admitted that the viewership for the game in New Zealand would not be as big as in India, but now very little time was left for the FIH executive board to reverse the decision.
But Malhotra said he had not lost all hope, and he would write to FIH strongly to reconsider its decision. He impressed upon Negre that FIH should have talked the matter over with the IOA before taking the decision, as “we also don’t accept the decision to merge the two hockey bodies”.
Form a single body or lose Olympic qualifiers too: FIH to India
NEW DELHI: Still reeling from the Champions Trophy shock, India could also lose next year's Olympic qualifiers if a single national federation was not put in place before the event, the International Hockey Federation warned on Tuesday.
India lost the hosting rights of the Champions Trophy, which was initially allotted to the country, to New Zealand on Tuesday after failing to resolve the prolong power struggle between Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation.
"It's impossible for India to get back the hosting rights of Champions Trophy. New Zealand will host it and it is our final decision," FIH president Leandro Negre said.
"India is important to us but FIH is committed towards having only one national federation in our member nations as per our constitution and IOC charter," he said.
But FIH chief executive officer Kelly Fairweather seemed optimistic about India hosting the London Olympic qualifiers next February but warned that it could also face Champions Trophy's fate if the two warring factions - HI and IHF - fail to break their impasse.
"Today we had a series of meeting with sports minister (Ajay Maken), ministry officials, Hockey India among others. All the meetings were positive but we made it clear that what FIH wants is a single body for hockey in the country," Fairweather said.
Asked about the Olympic qualifiers, he said, "It has still some time and we hope to find out a resolution before that."
Fairweather said discussions about allotting the Champions Trophy back to India was never on the agenda of Tuesday's meetings.
"For us it was a surprise to see that people were still hopeful of getting backing the Champions Trophy because we have already made it clear earlier this month that the tournament has been shifted out of India and we will name a replacement venue in a week's time," he said.
"A few days back New Zealand was selected as the alternate venue but we did not announce it because of the Rugby World Cup, which was to start there," the FIH CEO added.
Sports minister Ajay Maken also said that once the Champions Trophy was allotted to New Zealand it was difficult for India to get it back.
He, however, said that he was miffed with the FIH for announcing the alternate venue just hours before Tuesday's meeting.
"The Champions Trophy has already been allotted to New Zealand and it is now a closed chapter. But I asked FIH president Leandro Negre why only four hours before the meeting they announced the name of the alternate venue. We never expected the Champions Trophy to come back but at least we expected them to take a decision after consultation with us.
"I expressed my displeasure and said it was not the right way. I told him it was the FIH who gave the tournament to India and we gladly accepted it. Atleast we were expecting FIH to come and discuss their reservations with us and hopefully we could have found a solution," Maken said.
Maken said the government has no intention to run any sport federation and it was just acting as a facilitator to help HI and IHF bury their differences and unite for the betterment of the national game.
"Our intention is clear, we want all warring factions to come together and unite and ensure that hockey regain its past glory in India. So, whatever we are doing is in the interest of India hockey", he said.
"The initiative has to come from the four parties - HI, IHF, FIH and Indian Olympic Association," he said.
The sports minister was also hopeful of a solution to the problem before the Olympic qualifiers.
"I told all my officials to talk to IOA and all other parties involved and find out a solution which is acceptable to all," Maken said.
"We still have some time before the qualifiers, we hope to reach a settlement much before that."
He also said that from now on the ministry will keep IOA in the loop about any decision on the merger of HI and IHF.
The sports minister also said during the meeting he apprised Negre about hockey's potential in the Indian market.
Maken also said that he informed Negre about the government's plan of setting up a National Institute of Hockey at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here, the cost of which will be Rs 10 crore.
The Times of India
FIH wrong to withdraw Champions Trophy from India: Malhotra
NEW DELHI: IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra on Tuesday said that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) was "wrong" on its part to withdraw the Champions Trophy from India on the pretext that there should be only one federation running the sport in the country.
Malhotra said that as both IOA and FIH recognise only one federation - Hockey India - as the sole body looking after the game in the country, the contention on which FIH moved the event out of the country stands baseless.
"During my meeting with FIH president Leandro Negre, I told him that when both IOA and FIH recognise only Hockey India as the only body running the game in the country, then what's the need of moving the Champions Trophy out of India," said Malhotra.
"When we both are on the same path, you shouldn't have withdrawn the event. It was not right on their part to give the hosting rights to New Zealand. The reason given by FIH was totally wrong. I told them why are you engaging in talks with the government when the National Olympics Committee does not deal with the government directly as it has its own separate charter," added Malhotra.
India on Tuesday lost the hosting rights of the Champions Trophy, which was initially allotted to the country, to New Zealand after failing to resolve the power struggle between HI and IHF.
Malhotra said he has asked Negre to reconsider his decision but added that the FIH president remained "non-committal".
"I have requested him (Negre) to reconsider the decision. He said it was impossible with only nine weeks left for organising the event. I said that nowadays communication has become very fast and if you can't call the meeting of the executive board then by circulation of mails you can discuss the matter with them.
"You can tell your executive board members that the very basis on which action was taken stands wrong and we should again discuss the matter," said Malhotra.
"We will write to them again, we will write to the government also that IOA recognises only one federation. There should be only one body and that body will not be an artificial one," he added.
Malhotra also said that the two warring factions - HI and IHF - also have to be blamed somewhere because they did not keep the IOA in the loop before deciding on their own.
"FIH came to know about the merger between HI and IHF in July. During our meeting, Negre said given the complex nature of developments, FIH has decided to shift the Champions Trophy to New Zealand from India. The decision by FIH was taken purely on the basis of merger statement sent by the sports ministry in July to them."
The veteran administrator said Negre has promised him that Tuesday's decision will not result in India losing the rights to host Olympic qualifiers next year in February.
"I am convinced that Olympics qualifiers will remain in India."
The Times of India
FIH googly leaves sports minister stumped
By DNA Correspondent
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) had played its card to perfection. A couple of hours before its president Leandro Negre’s meeting with sports minister Ajay Maken, they announced Auckland as the replacement venue for the Champions Trophy, which the sport’s world governing body had taken away from India last week.
That announcement meant that Maken, and Hockey India (HI), had no chance of ‘persuading’ Negre to restore India as hosts — something that the minister and the hockey body were intending to. Negre’s message was clear though: bring the house in order, else lose the Olympic qualifiers as well.
“Our position has not changed. India is important to us, but FIH is committed towards having only one national federation in our member nations as per our constitution and IOC charter,” Negre said after the meeting with Maken, sports ministry joint secretary Rahul Bhatnagar and HI secretary general Narendra Batra in New Delhi.
“We had decided to hand over the Champions Trophy to New Zealand much in advance. I hope we do not have to take away the (Olympic) qualifiers from you and a solution will be reached upon,” added Negre.
The FIH’s decision to announce Auckland as the host just hours before their meeting irked Maken. “I asked Negre why they announced the name of the alternate venue only four hours before the meeting. I expressed my displeasure and said it was not the right way. We never expected the Champions Trophy to come back but at least we expected them to take a decision after consultation with us,” Maken said.
While the FIH hasn’t given a specific deadline, the ministry effectively has four months to sort out the issues as the Olympic qualifiers are scheduled to be conducted in New Delhi coming February.
“We’ll get the IOA on board now,” Bhatnagar told DNA. “It is important to keep them in the loop as they are one of the important stakeholders.”
The IOA has till now not attended a single meeting held by the government to deal with the merger of HI and the Indian Hockey Federation. With the IOA not involved, the FIH had expressed its displeasure, accusing the government of violating the Olympic charter by influencing the functioning of a national federation. With IOA on board, the ministry hopes FIH does not see government’s actions as ‘interference’.
“FIH’s basic concern is to have a single body that will govern the game. We have Hockey India doing that. Now we have to ensure that the officials from IHF are included in the committee. We will sit with all four stakeholders (HI, IHF, IOA and FIH) and hopefully, find a solution soon,” Bhatnagar said.
Nobbs, Rajpal rue India losing Champions Trophy hosting rights
NEW DELHI: India hockey team coach Michael Nobbs and captain Rajpal Singh on Tuesday said that moving the Champions Trophy out of India may prove to be a hindrance to the team's preparations for the London Olympic qualifiers.
"It would hinder our preparations for the Olympics," said Nobbs.
Rajpal also agreed that India would face problems as they would be left with only one tournament to qualify for London.
"It will be a problem for us to qualify for the London Olympics after India losing hosting rights for Champions Trophy," the captain said.
The Champions Trophy is meant for the top eight ranked hockey nations and India's current position is ninth. If the tournament was organised in India, they would have been able to participate on account of being the host. It would have also given them a chance to qualify for the Olympics as well.
But now, with the tournament's hosting rights given to New Zealand, India's only chance of qualifying for the Olympics would be by playing in the qualifiers, to be held in February next year.
Nobbs, however, said that India's victory at the recently-concluded Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China would surely give them the confidence of making it to London.
"There are some realistic chances for us to qualify for the Olympics but it is going to be extremely tough," said the coach at the sidelines of a function organised by the Sports Ministry to felicitate the team for its outstanding show in the tournament.
India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 4-2 via tie-breaker in the final of the Asian Champions Trophy to clinch the title, which also assumes great significance for Nobbs as it was his first assignment with the team.
Stating that the team is on the right track, the Australian said, "We have just started. We don't know yet how we are going to perform when we face stronger teams like Australia, Germany and others but we are on the right track. Though we still have a long way to go."
He added that fitness is a major concern for the team at the moment.
"Stamina is a concern. Though fitness levels are better now but the players would still need 8-9 months more to achieve real fitness," revealed Nobbs.
Rajpal also admitted that the stamina of the players need to be improved a lot.
"At the moment, we are just 50 per cent fit. Stamina needs to be worked upon rigorously," he said.
Nobbs felt that the bench strength of the team is very good and the youngsters did very well in China.
"All the players are extremely talented and there is no dearth of bench strength. All the youngsters have done extremely well. They have great enthusiasm and they gave everything they had during the tournament."
Speaking about the tie-breaker in the final, the coach said that the team had practiced for it.
"We had been practicing for it for quite some time now. We knew we would get 4-5 goals and that is what exactly happened. We trusted our instincts," he explained.
While saying that all youngsters were good, he reserved special praise for Yuvraj Walmiki and Gurbaj Singh.
"Six players were without experience but they all did very well. Yuvraj Walmiki is an outstanding player and Gurbaj is an international class player," said the coach.
Rajpal, however, begged to differ, choosing Manjit Kullu as the most promising player of the tournament.
"Yuvraj is a good talent but I think Manjit Kullu is the most promising player," said Rajpal.
The Times of India
Nobbs' quiet approach has the team impressed
NEW DELHI: India's top-place finish in the Asian Champions Trophy in China could be attributed, among other factors, to some hot coffee!
Michael Nobbs and his support staff ensured that the Indians got on to the pitch in the event after drinking a cup of coffee to stay alert. But it was not the only thing that they did before the match.
"In fact our physio David John introduced some new measures like reducing the carbohydrate intake while putting us on a protein diet," goalkeeper Sreejesh told TOI. "And they helped us stay in a good frame of mind during the tournament."
The goalkeeper from Kerala who plays domestic hockey in Tamil Nadu was all praise for the new coach saying that the coach believed in playing an all-out game. "He would tell us that if the opposition scores five goals, you score six. He always believe in outscoring the rivals," he said.
Former hockey player Sukhbir Grewal, who went with the team to China, endorsed Sreejesh's view. "After playing in the European style we are back to our own style, which is attacking hockey. Nobbs' country Australia plays a lot similar to the way we play. So you can very well see the number of goals we scored in the tournament."
Sreejesh, who had a great outing in the tournament where he was the hero in the final coming up with two saves in the tie-breaker, attributed some of his success to fellow goalkeeper Bharat Chhetri.
"The tie-breakers are one-on-ones with the goalkeeper. Bharat had asked me not to make the first move. I waited for Pakistan player to make the first move and I reacted well to foil two of their attempts," he said.
Impressive stadium: Chhetri, on his part, said while he enjoyed being part of the team, he was also impressed with the stadium in Ordos.
"It took us an hour to reach there by flight. It was a city where you see construction work everywhere. They were removing an old building and rebuilding - with new huge structures. The stadium was really nice."
"Crazy" coach?: The Indian camp was unhappy with the antics of the Pakistani coach Michel Henricus Maria, from the Netherlands.
"For a moment, I thought he was crazy. He was hurling abuses on us. I was surprised since I have never seen such behaviour from a coach in my life," an official said.
A player added: "The adrenaline goes up whenever India plays Pakistan. But I could not understand how could a Dutchman get so excited so as to abuse us during a match?"
Brasa vs Nobbs: They are like chalk and cheese. If Brasa was known as somebody playing to the gallery, Nobbs is the quiet type. "Brasa was a nice man with a damn-care attitude. But Nobbs is somebody with loads of patience," said a player.
Discipline first: Stung by indiscipline shown by some players, Grewal made it clear that the players have no choice but to follow the strict disciplinary regime.
"There is a bar which you cannot cross. You have to follow that no matter what. You are playing for the National team and you can't get away with indisciplined behaviour," he said.
The Times of India
Goalie Sree is at his best against Pakistan
Krishna Kanta Chakraborty
CHENNAI: For Sreejesh the graduation from being a junior to the senior grade was just a matter of time. There is only one thing that the hero of India's Asian Champions Trophy victory against Pakistan, cannot digest, that is a loss to our arch-rivals in hockey.
The Indian goalkeeper was in the thick of action against Pakistan in the semifinal of the Junior Asia Cup three years ago in Hyderabad and on Sunday he did the star turn for India in their maiden Asian Champions Trophy final, saving two goals in the penalty shootout. He also had blocked five penalty-corners in the regulation time. Sreejesh is at his best when he plays against Pakistan.
"I don't care what political differences we have, I only consider them as my enemies (not rivals), whenever I take the field against Pakistan," Sreejesh told TOI on Tuesday. "Of course, I give my best every time I go out to play a match but a game against Pakistan gives me a different motivation," Sreejith sounded excited.
Sreejesh had come up the hard way in hockey. His father had to sell off his cows to buy him sports gears and Sreejesh did not let his father's sacrifice go waste. The Chennai-based Indian Overseas Bank custodian, whose roots are in Kerala, earned Indian coach Michael Nobbs' faith and the Aussie preferred him to seasoned Bharat Chetri in the playing eleven.
"I'm glad that Nobbs sir showed great trust in me. It was a tough tournament and most of the teams came prepared. I'm happy that my effort in the final helped my team win the title. We have many junior players this time and everyone was desperate to prove a point and the players like Manjeet (Kullu) and Rupinder (Singh) did very well in the championship. I'm quite happy with my performance. I'll keep doing the hard work and do my best to bring laurels for my country," a confident Sreejesh said.
Sreejesh said the final was the toughest match in the tournament but teams like Malaysia and Japan had also tested them. "They (Malaysia and Japan) are playing exceptional hockey now. They have improved a lot and are capable to beating any team. But I think beating Pakistan in the final was the most difficult job," he said.
According to Sreejesh the current Indian side has benefited a lot from coach Nobbs. The Australian is different from other foreign coaches, felt Sreejesh. "He is a man of principles. Nobbs has never asked anyone to change his game or tried to remould a player. He tells us to follow the Indian style of hockey, which no other foreign coach has done before. This has helped us a lot. Moreover, his relation with the players is unique and everyone in the squad loves him. I'm pretty sure we'll do much better if we get his service for a long time," the Kerala boy said.
The Times of India
`Delighted to have grabbed my chances'
P.R. Sreejesh was a jack of many trades in his younger days. He threw the discus and smashed the ball on a volleyball court before taking up hockey.
It took time for him to zero in on his true calling because hockey lacked the appeal of athletics, football and volleyball in Kerala, his native state.
Despite not having grown up with a hockey stick, Sreejesh bloomed into a redoubtable custodian in quick time.
The 23-year-old was the toast of the nation at the Asian Champions Trophy final in Ordos, China, on Sunday, making two brilliant saves in the penalty shootout against Pakistan to help India nail gold.
No wonder, Sreejesh is the man of the moment because he was the catalyst for his team’s ascent to the top.
After all, reading some good news about hockey in the game’s spiritual home in recent years is as tough as spotting a polar bear on the streets of New Delhi. Sreejesh was full of energy and enthusiasm when this paper called him up on Tuesday morning.
Even though the team had returned only a few hours earlier after an arduous trip from Ordos, which is located near China’s border with Mongolia, the chirpy goalie spoke with the excitement of a child on the roller coaster.
Sreejesh, working as an officer with Indian Overseas Bank in Chennai, nearly missed the flight to Ordos. He had just made a comeback to the national camp after nursing an injury.
Seniors Adrian D’Souza and Bharat Chhetri were above him in the pecking order. Sreejesh sealed a place on the squad after the last-minute exclusion of Adrian.
Luck and pluck invariably go hand in hand. And so it proved in Ordos where chief coach Michael Nobbs decided to deploy his goalkeepers, Chhetri and Sreejesh, alternately through the tournament.
Minutes after India’s place in the final was confirmed, Nobbs broke the news to Sreejesh that he would pad up for the big clash. It was the Chennai player’s turn, too.
Even though Chhetri had done well at Ordos, Nobbs chose the younger goalie because he might, probably, have been told about the exploits of Sreejesh against Pakistan in the 2010 World Cup.
The Australian’s judgement didn’t come back to haunt him as Sreejesh rose to the occasion with a sterling show.
“I’m delighted that I grabbed my chances.
Beating Pakistan in the final was memorable. It is one of the highlights of my career.
“You can never take out passion out of the equation from a match against Pakistan.
“During the camp at Bengaluru, Nobbs would always tell me that I had scope for improvement. I felt great when he congratulated me at Ordos on a good show,” Sreejesh said.
In the thankless world of goalkeeping, a shootout is the only sure-shot route to stardom.
“I was aware that I could enhance my reputation through the shootout.
“But winning the gold for the country was the main goal.
“Having thwarted seven Pakistan penalty corners in regulation time, I was full of confidence before the tiebreaker.
“I was in my zone, but I still had to be wary. In the end, everything fell in place,” he said, adding that Nobbs’ training on the new eight-second penalty routine at the camp helped him calm his nerves. Sreejesh added Nobbs had given the team the freedom to express themselves.
“He has asked the outfield players to stick to their natural Indian style.
‘Don’t hesitate to dodge but never lose the ball’ is his mantra.
“We have an exciting crop of young players. If we continue in the same vein, qualifying for the Olympics will not be a major hurdle,” he added.
The effervescent Kerala player’s only regret during an, otherwise, unforgettable tournament was missing Onam, which was celebrated on September 9.
“I certainly missed the lavish Onam spread my mother whips up at home. I had to make do with noodles,” he laughed.
“But I have no complaints now because I have the gold.”
The Asian Age
Sad our fans couldn’t watch Ind beat Pak, says Sreejesh
By Tushar Dutt
Whatever be the sport, an India-Pakistan clash is bound to produce a hero. When India defeated their arch-rivals in the final of the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos (China) on Sunday, goalkeeper Sreejesh PR had done enough to walk into the history books.
Sreejesh saved four strokes in regular time and two more in the penalty shootout which India won 4-2. “It was my first final against Pakistan. But there was no pressure as we had already played them in the league stage (two days prior to the final),” he says.
Talking about his saves, Sreejesh believes it was a collective effort. “We were confident of putting up a good show. We saved as many as eight penalty strokes in regular time, and I think I saved four of them. During the shootout in the final I was able to save two strokes. Even the other boys did a good job,” he adds.
Interestingly, the umpires employed the new format during the penalty shootout. In the new set-up, the striker needs to run in from the 25-yard-line and beat the goalkeeper within eight seconds. Sreejesh says he has taken a liking to the new rule.
“I can’t talk for others, but I enjoyed it because it gives me more time to prepare. This wasn’t the case earlier. So it’s a good start, I guess,” he said. In fact, Sreejesh believes he outsmarted Pakistan’s Haseem Abdul Khan and Shafqat Rasool during the shootout as he had time to gauge their movements.
Sad as it may sound, fans in India couldn’t watch their team win. “It is sad that our countrymen couldn’t watch the matches at all. I feel some channel should have at least shown the semis and the final. If there are no takers for the national sport, then how will people in Indian watch their team play?” he wonders. This way, the sport won’t grow,” he adds.
Sreejesh said the team’s next aim is to qualify for the London Olympics. “We are working hard,” he says. All the best!
Hockey skipper Rajpal to marry shooter Avneet
NAGPUR: The angry young man of Indian hockey has finally found something to be happy about. And no, it's not just the Asian Champions trophy triumph that's the sole reason behind Rajpal Singh's delight.
The Indian hockey captain is all set to get married to shooter Avneet Kaur Sidhu by the year-end.
The date of the marriage has not yet been decided. "My parents and other family members will be planning the date of marriage once I return home. They will take the final call," Rajpal told TOI on Tuesday, shortly after the team's arrival from China.
The love story of the two high-profile sportspersons began in 2009 during the Commonwealth Games preparatory camp in Pune. Rajpal got attracted towards the shooter from Bhatinda and it wasn't long before Cupid struck. The two will join an elite group of Arjuna awardee couples. While Rajpal got the award this year, Avneet had received the coveted title a couple of years back.
Back to the game, Rajpal is undeterred by India being stripped of hosting the Champions Trophy. "Off-the-field issues have done least harm to our focus on the upcoming Olympic qualifiers. Though it would have been better had India hosted the Champions Trophy, we know, as players, certain things are beyond our control. We can't do much about it. We are fully focused on doing well in the qualifiers," said Rajpal.
"Our morale was high all through the Asian Championship and the title has done wonders to our confidence. We will be looking to carry forward the good work in the qualifiers as well. I am sure the much talked about home advantage will be beneficial to us as well," he added.
Rajpal was also enthralled after his side beat arch-rivals Pakistan in the final. "A game against Pakistan, that too a final, is much more than just a match. Though we being on a neutral venue helped a bit, we knew we had to beat Pakistan. The fact that we didn't lose any of the games in the tournament helped us going into the final. I'm glad the boys lived up to the expectations in the title match as well," said the jubilant skipper.
The 28-year old was also all praise for new coach Michael Nobbs, for whom this was the first assignment.
The Times of India
Conway announces stacked Pan Am Team
The Pan American Games is without a doubt the most important tournament of the year. It is the reason why the USA Men’s National Team has competed in over thirty international matches and have spent innumerable number of hours on and off the pitch preparing.
The 16-man Pan American Team that will journey to Guadalajara, Mexico next month has been named and includes a combination of veterans and rookies that will aim to challenge seven other continental competitors for a chance at Olympic history.
"We are really pleased with the group that has been selected as there is a nice combination between youth and experienced players,” said Head Coach Nick Conway. “This is the fittest and fastest collective group that we have ever competed with and we are all really looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that the Pan American Games has for us, especially as we expect to do well."
Included on the stacked roster are old-timers Pat Cota, Shawn Nakamura and Jarred Martin. Both Cota and Nakamura have achieved over 100 caps with the Men’s Team, an extremely commendable accomplishment. Nakamura recently celebrated his hundredth milestone in a series against Barbados.
“Shawn's greatest attribute is his ability to provide a consistently high level of performance,” said Conway. “Shawn was first capped at the 1999 Pan American Games, he has since captained the team for an extended period and now continues to provide leadership and consistency from within the program on a daily basis.”
Soon to join Cota and Nakamura will be Martin, who is set to earn his 100th cap in the first match against Cuba next month.
Joining the experienced players on the pitch in Mexico will be Moritz Runzi, Tyler Sundeen and Michiel Dijxhoorn who are relatively new to the team but are hungry for success and looking to be instrumental in disrupting a tradition that has transpired since 1975. Canada and Argentina have for the most part alternated taking home the gold for the last nine Pan Am Games.
While the Men’s Team is in a challenging pool and will have to face tough opponents like Cuba, Argentina and the host nation Mexico in the opening matches, Conway is confident in the teams ability to fair well against their opposition.
"We are very aware of the challenge that each pool match presents. However, we are exclusively focused on our first match against Cuba. This is a defining game and one that we are very confident that we can win given our collective tactical awareness and technical abilities."
Success at the XVI Pan American Games means one thing: a ticket to the 2012 London Olympic Games. Eight teams will enter the tournament on October 20 with their eye on winning gold. Shall the USA fail to do so, there will be another opportunity to qualify in early 2012.
However, as Conway stated above, the team will take one step at a time and focus on the first task at hand, which is a victory over Cuba in the opening match of the tournament.
Pan American Team: Jarred Martin (Albany, NY), Michiel Dijxhoorn (Tampa, FL), Jon Ginolfi (Moorpark, CA), Will Holt (Camarillo, CA), Steven Mann (New York, NY), Pat Cota (Camarillo, CA), Rob Schilling (Moorpark, CA), Tom Sheridan (Ridgewood, NJ), Shawn Nakamura (Thousand Oaks, CA), Ajai Dhadwal (Agoura, CA), Kevin Barber (Camarillo, CA), Sean Harris (Moorpark, CA) Tyler Sundeen (Simi Valley, CA), Moritz Runzi (Boston, MA), Ian Scally (Thousand Oaks, CA), Andy Sheridan (Ridgewood, NJ)
USFHA media release
US Women's Pan American Team announced
It’s a moment they’ve been waiting for.
Since selection to the National Squad in May, twenty-seven women have been working towards one common goal: a spot on the Pan American Team and the opportunity to send their team to the Olympic Games.
The countless hours of training and unwavering persistence and commitment has afforded sixteen talented women the chance to represent their country at the most important tournament of the year.
Head Coach Lee Bodimeade has named the athletes that will travel to the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico and attempt to earn a ticket to the 2012 London Olympic Games.
“The selection process was extremely difficult with the depth we have on this Squad, but this is a very good position for us to be in” says Bodimeade. “We are happy with the team selected and our preparations and are looking to achieve success at the Pan Ams."
Olympians Kayla Bashore-Smedley, Lauren Crandall, Rachel Dawson, Katelyn Falgowski, Caroline Nichols and Amy Tran-Swensen highlight a talent-filled roster. Joining the six Olympians will be rookie Michelle Cesan, 2010 Sportswoman of the Year Katie O’Donnell, the Reinprecht sisters, and six additional women that have proved their skills can match the top teams in the world.
The Pan American Games are held every four years and represent the first opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games. From October 19-28, eight teams will fight for the chance to fulfill an Olympic dream. Only the gold medalist will earn the ticket to the Olympic Games.
However, in the event that USA does not claim gold, there is still hope at fulfilling an Olympic dream. From early January to May of 2012, there are three tournaments held in Belgium, India and Japan. The USA will be permitted to attend one of these events for their second and final attempt to become a part of the Olympics.
There is a fierce group of contenders that USA will have to face. Canada, Chile and of course the world’s number one ranked team Argentina will be key opponents for USA. These sixteen athletes have the potential to make history and break a lingering Argentinian winning streak that dates back as far as 1987. For the past five out of six Pan American tournaments, the red, white and blue has finished second to Argentina. This is the year they’re hoping for a change.
When Bodimeade was asked about his thoughts on facing the world's number one ranked team at the tournament, he stated, "We've known that from the start. We play better when we have the underdog status."
Of the 144 field hockey teams in the world, an exclusive twelve with have the honor of standing on the world’s biggest stage and competing at the Olympic Games. USA is looking to secure one of those twelve spots next month.
Final preparations will resume on Wednesday in Chula Vista, CA. The team will travel to Colorado Springs, CO the end of September for altitude training before making their final stop in Guadalajara.
Pan American roster: Kayla Bashore-Smedley (Shoemakersville, Pa), Michelle Cesan (Harding, NJ), Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa), Rachel Dawson (Berlin, NJ), Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg, Pa), Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, NC), Claire Laubach (Centerville, VA), Caroline Nichols (Virginia Beach, VA) Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa), Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa), Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa), Julia Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa), Amy Tran-Swensen (Grantville, Pa), Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, VA), Michelle Vittese (Woodbury, NJ), Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, NY)
USFHA media release
Youngsters justify Beng Hai’s faith in them
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: The emergence of a younger set of players in the Malaysian national hockey team is exciting news to the team management who, however, are not ready to do away with the seniors just yet.
National coach Tai Beng Hai’s decision to include more youngsters for the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy, which ended in Ordos, China, on Sunday, drew criticism from certain quarters.
But the youngsters repaid their coach’s faith in them and helped him prove his detractors wrong by guiding the team to a bronze medal finish.
Eighteen-year-old Fitri Saari and 20-year-old Amir Farid were making their debut with the senior team while another six players were aged 22 and below.
The six are Faisal Saari, 20; Azreen Rizal Nasir, 22; Mohd Marhan Jalil, 21; Mohd Azammi Adabi, 21; Izwan Firdaus, 22; and Mohd Firhan Ashaari, 18.
Beng Hai said he decided to expose the young players “to ensure there are capable reserves to take over from the seniors in the event of injuries and retirements”.
“To be honest, our strength in reserves leaves much to be desired. We lack players with international experience. That’s why I feel the time was right to see if any of the Project players could fit into our set-up and if they were ready to assume the role of the seniors,” he said yesterday.
“I must say that the players did well in Ordos and I am sure they will only get better with time and more matches under their belt.”
He said there was also a misconception among many that the senior players left behind were dropped.
“We left them for a reason ... and we have 25 players in the training squad. We are only allowed to take 18 to the Champions Trophy. So, naturally some will get left behind. Our objective is to ensure that the younger players have enough experience when called upon,” he said.
Malaysia played six matches in Ordos, losing the first two games to Pakistan (2-3) and South Korea (3-4) before beating China 4-2 and drawing 2-2 with India to set up a showdown with Japan for a place in the playoff.
Beng Hai’s men came back from two goals down to edge Japan 3-2.
In the broze medal playoff, Malaysia again met Japan, this time winning 1-0.
“The tournament was of a high quality and all the teams took it seriously. It was good for us as we had quality match practice. The introduction of younger players also showed that we are heading in the right direction,” he said.
“But we still have a long way to go. We are by no means the finished product.”
Malaysia, who are preparing for the Olympic qualifiers next year, will play in the Champions Challenge I in South Africa in November.
Beng Hai is hoping to play some matches either in India or East Asia before the qualifiers.
The players returned home last night.
The Star of Malaysia
National coaches barred from coaching clubs in the MHL
KUALA LUMPUR: Coaches under the payroll of the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) and the National Sports Council (NSC) have been barred from coaching clubs in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL), which starts on Saturday.
There are six coaches under the national programme.
They are Stephen van Huizen, Tai Beng Hai, Nor Saiful Zaini, K. Dharmaraj, Nor Azlan Bakar and K. Gobinathan.
MHF secretary Maninderjit Singh said yesterday that the executive council had decided that these coaches could not be involved with the clubs in any capacity.
“Anyway, these coaches will be on duty as the senior and Project 2013 teams will continue with their training during the MHL.
“We do not want any conflicts of interest and we have told them to stay neutral,” he said.
The senior players will train from Monday to Thursday before being allowed to play for their respective clubs in the MHL. The project team will train from Monday to Wednesday.
The MHF have also decided that any player injured during the MHL matches “will have to undergo a check-up with the National Sports Institute (ISN) first thing on Monday”.
“Only the ISN can decide if a player is injured or not and whether he is fit to train. The senior players have to check in by 9am while the juniors will come in at 1pm,” he said.
Maninderjit also confirmed that there would be 17 foreign players in action this year – 10 from Pakistan, two from India and five from Qatar.
Each team will be allowed six foreign players.
All six foreigners in Yayasan Negri Sembilan’s (YNS) team are Pakistanis while the five Qataris will turn out for UiTM.
The other six foreign players – four Pakistanis and two Indians – will feature for Nur Insafi.
There were 26 foreign players in the MHL last year.
Meanwhile, Universiti Perlis’ (Unimap) late entry to play in Division One has been accepted by the MHF, bringing the total number of teams in the division to five.
The others are Bukit Jalil Sports School, BPSS-Thunderball, Ipoh City Council and Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten).
The Star of Malaysia
Dharmaraj welcomes idea of manual for coaching keepers
By K. RAJAN
PETALING JAYA: Project 2013 coach K. Dharmaraj has welcomed former international Mohd Nasihin Nubli’s proposal for the introduction of a goalkeeping coaching manual.
Nasihin had suggested the introduction of such a manual as a step to producing more goalkeepers of high calibre.
At present, the national goalkeeping duty is being shared by current No. 1 S. Kumar and his deputy Roslan Jamaluddin, who has been recalled after calling it quits almost eight years ago.
Back-up goalkeepers Mohd Khairul Affendy Kamarulzaman, Mohd Hairi Abdul Rahman and Saifuddin Sahrom are still far from being the finished product.
“I welcome the idea of having a specific and a standard training module for goalkeepers at the development stage,” said Dharmaraj.
“We have neglected this vital department for some time and we need to address it soon as the number of good goalkeepers is dwindling.
“A top class goalkeeper can make a huge difference to a team ... sometimes they can be the difference between victory and defeat.”
Dharmaraj admitted that the Project 2013 squad’s goalkeepers – Mohd Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri, Mohd Hafizuddin Othman and Shahrul Azzaddin – were still not up to the mark.
And that’s why Dharmaraj has brought in former international M. Nadarajah as goalkeeping coach for the squad.
“We learnt from our playing tour of Europe that our keepers are not in the same class of their European counterparts,” said Dharmaraj.
The Star of Malaysia
Ross Rutledge Remembered
Hundreds of field hockey fans gathered in West Vancouver on Saturday to celebrate the official opening of Rutledge Field. The field is named in honour of Ross Rutledge, a former member of the Men’s National Field Hockey Team. Rutledge was dedicated to the field hockey community as an athlete, coach and inspiration. He passed away in April 2004 at the age of 41 following a bout with cancer, leaving a wife and two sons.
Ross’ sons, Nick and Connor, had the honour of leading the Australian and Canadian National Teams onto the field for their match. After the national anthems, Nick and Connor were presented with national team jerseys by Canadian Captain Ken Pereira and the Captain for Australia.
"Ross was always about winning, expecting to win and inspiring his mates to be confident that anything could be done,” said former National Coach and Teammate Alan Brahmst. “He did this in a unique way, his way, and it worked on a lot of the younger guys - the next generation. Part of Ross' influence on younger players, like myself, was such that you expected to win, no matter who the opposition."
Steve Davis was one of those younger guys inspired by Ross: “Ross had this unmistakable magnetic energy that made everyone around him smile, and want to be around him. With his trademark baby-blue Mustang 5.0 and Oakley blades (and Starbucks coffee), to me he was the first person to add "cool" to a sport totally lacking in "cool." He was the guy that all of the juniors in the club looked-up to, and he always had time for the kids, whether it was showing them a new trick or playing with them.”
Ian Baggott and Ross were involved with their club’s junior boys program, and both had a vision for a premier field hockey facility.
“Over the many years that Ross and I worked together, Ross’ opening remarks were always prefaced by, “Well, Ian mate, how’s that new field coming along?” Well, I can now confidently reply, “Ross, mate, it’s finally finished and ready.”
Not only is it ready, Rutledge Field is now one of the best (and most beautiful) turfs in Canada. It is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, just one block from the beach.
Field Hockey Canada media release
West Vancouver celebreates completion of Rutledge artificial turf field
West Vancouver, BC: The Government of Canada, Province of British Columbia and District of West Vancouver, in partnership with two local sports teams clubs – West Vancouver Field Hockey Club and West Vancouver Soccer Club – have successfully completed the construction on the North Shore’s first-ever artificial turf field for field hockey.
Construction of the Rutledge Artificial Turf Field was made possible by a $3 million contribution by the Government of Canada and the Province of BC through the Building Canada Fund – Communities Component. The District of West Vancouver contributed $760,000, and the West Vancouver Field Hockey Club and West Vancouver Soccer Club raised close to $1 million for this $4.5 million project and future amenity improvements.
"The North Shore soccer and field hockey programs are exemplary in the way they promote health, fitness, and team play, on the strength of a renowned volunteer force," said John Weston, MP for West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast- Sea to Sky Country, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. "I am delighted that our Government acknowledged these strengths in investing in Rutledge Field, while creating jobs and economic opportunities in our community."
“This community investment in fitness is every bit as valuable as a direct investment in health care, and with close to 30 jobs created, this project is also a good investment in our local economy,” said Ralph Sultan, MLA for West Vancouver-Capilano.
In 2009, the gravel field near the corner of 13th Street and Marine Drive was selected as the location to build an artificial turf playing surface designed for field hockey and useable by soccer and other field sports. Construction on the field – formerly known as Ambleside “A” and now known as Rutledge Field in honour the late Ross Rutledge’s contribution to field hockey on the North Shore – began in June 2010 and will be completed in September 2011. More than just a playing field however, Rutledge Field is also an incredible example of the power of community partnerships.
Mayor Pamela Goldsmith-Jones says: "Rutledge Field is an outstanding achievement, led by West Van Field Hockey and West Van Soccer. All ages are either playing on these fields, or passing by daily. Congratulations on the vision of all of those who have contributed so much, for so long, to make this happen."
In addition to a new artificial turf field, this project included a complete renovation to the fieldhouse, including a new roof, improved public washrooms and change rooms, as well as upgraded ventilation, plumbing and electrical systems, two new warm-up areas for field hockey and soccer, and increased parking. These improvements play an important role in supporting a healthy lifestyle and making sport accessible to athletes of all ages.
President of the West Vancouver Field Hockey Facilities Society, Patricia Macleod says, "This is the realization of a 20-year dream for the club. It's the first field hockey pitch on the North Shore, home to North America'slargest field hockey community. Thanks to all of our donors and volunteers, players of all ages and abilities will be playing on Rutledge Field for many years to come.”
About West Vancouver Field Hockey Club
Since the early 1970s, WVFHC has been the home club for field hockey players across the North Shore. The WVFHC consists of four independent but related divisions: Junior, Womens, Mens and Adanacs player development, with an overallmembership of approximately 2,500 from West Vancouver and North Vancouver. For more information on the West Vancouver Field Hockey Club, please visit wvfhc.com
Press Release from West Vancouver
Nazir Ahmed Saifi
In a press statement Mr. Qasim Zia, President PHF, Mr. Muhammad Asif Bajwa, Secretary General, Pakistan Hockey Federation, Rana Mujahid Ali, Associate Secretary PHF & Khawaja Muhammad Junaid, Manager Pakistan Senior Hockey Team on their personal behalf and on behalf of PHF said that they were shocked to learn of the sad demise of late Nazir Ahmed Saifi, Ex PHF Selector, Ex hockey international umpire and ex Secretary District Hockey Association Lahore, who passed away on Monday.
They prayed that Allah Almighty may rest the departed soul in His Infinite Mercy and also prayed fortitude for the members of the bereaved family to bear the irreparable loss. Aamin.
PHF media release