All the news for Wednesday 28 September 2011
Targeting new heights
MALAYSIA have never finished below 13th in the world hockey rankings for the last eight years. But all that is about to change if the national team can achieve the Malaysian Hockey Confederation's target of a top five finish in the FIH Champions Challenge One in Johannesburg, South Africa on Nov 26-Dec 4.
MHC general manager Maninderjit Singh said Malaysia can break into the 11th or 12th ranking if they achieve the target in South Africa, something which is "within our reach" to take Malaysian hockey to new heights.
"We are currently ranked 15th in the world. Malaysia have always hovered around the 13th, 14th or 15th bracket and we want to get out of that," said Maninderjit, who is in Johor Baru for the official launch of the Sultan of Johor Cup International Junior tournament today.
Maninderjit is confident of Malaysia improving on their world ranking after some impressive results in recent international tournaments.
"Looking at how the world ranking is tabulated, the only way to move into the world top 10 is to make the Olympics or the World Cup.
"But we can improve from our present ranking (15th) if we can get into the top five in the Champions Challenge One," Maninderjit added.
"This is our initial target in Johannesburg. By achieving our target in the Champions Challenge One, it will ensure that Malaysia will remain in the next edition of Champions Challenge One.
"A top five finish here will move us into the 11th or 12th bracket, taking into account the silver we won at the last Asian Games in Guangzhou."
Malaysia also returned with a bronze medal from the last Asian Championships in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, earlier this month.
Malaysia's best ranking in the world was fourth placing in 1975 -- the year Malaysia hosted the World Cup, with India beating Pakistan for the title.
In the Champions Challenge One, Malaysia are drawn in Group B with Canada, Argentina and Japan while Group A is made up of India, Belgium, South Africa and Poland.
All teams will qualify for the quarter-finals based on their group positions. A top two finish in the group will give Malaysia a lower ranked team to meet in Group A.
New Straits Times
Irish Women to play two tournaments in Argentina
South Africa, India and Las Leonas will also compete in the events
Ireland’s National Women’s Team will be spending just over two weeks in Argentina before Christmas with thanks to support from their sponsors ESB Electric Ireland and hosts, the Argentinean Hockey Federation.
This trip will see Ireland compete in two four nations taking place back to back against, South Africa, India and Argentina. While neither event holds world ranking points, it does hold an opportunity for valuable match practice as Ireland continue their preparations for the Olympic Qualifiers which will take place in the first quarter of 2012.
Commenting on the upcoming event Irish Manager Sally Ann Fanagan said “Irish Hockey are most appreciative of the support being provided by ESB Electric Ireland to enable the Women’s team accept the invitation of the Argentina Hockey Federation to compete in these two tournaments. The players are keen to avail of any opportunities they can get to test themselves in international competition, not only in preparation for the forthcoming Olympic Qualifying Tournament, but also at a time when it is difficult to guarantee even quality training with the threat of frozen pitches in Ireland in December”.
Liam Malloy, General Manager from ESB Electric Ireland also commented on the announcement “ESB Electric Ireland recently announced its sponsorship of the Irish Olympic Team. We are fully supportive of the drive to have as many top class Irish athletes as possible at the Olympics in London 2012. As the sponsor of Irish Women’s Hockey we want the team to have the best possible preparation for the upcoming Olympic qualifiers and we wish them the best of luck with their matches in Argentina”
High Performance Director Dave Passmore was also pleased about the upcoming trip “This trip will provide two quality events and some warm weather training after a long stretch of training in the cold damp conditions in Ireland. It is a timely opportunity to assess the development of the team moving forward to the Olympic Qualifiers.”
Gene Muller, National Women’s Coach will not select the Squad until nearer the time.
1st Four Nations, Buenos Aires, Argentina
South Africa v India
Argentina v Ireland
South Africa v Ireland
Argentina v India
India v Ireland
Argentina v South Africa
2nd Four Nations, Parana, Argentina
South Africa v India
Argentina v Ireland
India v Ireland
Argentina v South Africa
South Africa v Ireland
Argentina v India
Irish Hockey Association media release
Hawke’s Bay backs the Black Sticks journey to the London Olympics
In a world first, a community has joined together to sponsor a national sports team in its quest for Olympic glory. Hawke’s Bay have partnered with New Zealand's national hockey teams – the Black Sticks Men and Women - to give them all the support they need to take on the world’s best teams next year in London.
This truly unique sponsorship agreement is the brainchild of Vector Arena co-owner and the man behind the phenomenally successful 'Walking with the Dinosaurs', Bruce Mactaggart. A hockey fan, he was looking for a way to get the Black Sticks the financial support they needed, while at the same time, galvanising a community and all its resources behind them.
Bruce and Robyn Mactaggart along with Hasting’s businesswoman, Jenni Giblin and Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule assembled a group of some of the region's most influential and forward thinking residents.
They assembled at a local winery where Mactaggart outlined his vision for Hawke's Bay becoming the Principal Partner of the Black Sticks, "While I personally believed this was a great notion, I obviously wasn’t sure if others would agree with me! But in my view, the potential for global exposure for Hawke's Bay and the opportunity to drive this community forward was too good to miss," says Mactaggart.
Right then and there this group of 23 'leaders' committed to writing out the cheques necessary to initiate the sponsorship "this is not just about hockey – it’s about what is possible when a community comes together, how we can unite and use all our resources, financial and intellectual to support our national team while also galvanising and supporting our own community," Mactaggart says.
For the team, it offers them the financial support needed for them to focus on being the best they can be in the lead up to the London Olympics, but also much more. “The way in which this community has unanimously got behind the Black Sticks is extraordinary. It is not just a cheque, the Black Sticks are getting the support and energy of an entire community and over the next year as they build to the Olympics, that will be incredibly powerful," says Poole.
Hawke’s Bay will play host to an induction weekend from 25-27 November as well as team training camps next year. The Black Sticks will also visit schools, businesses and community organisations in the region.
Mayor of Hastings Lawrence Yule sees it as a fantastic opportunity to take the Hawke’s Bay ‘brand’ to the world.
“While we couldn’t have commenced this initiative without the fantastic financial support of the initial Hawke’s Bay ‘leaders’; we are going to look for ways to engage the entire Hawke’s Bay community to support the Black Sticks as they prepare in their ‘quest to be the best’ at the London Olympics in 2012”, says Mayor Yule.
“We see this partnership as a unique and innovative way to promote Hawke’s Bay – and the opportunities to live, work, invest and play here - to the world! This region truly is an amazing place with amazing people!’ says Mayor Yule.
Black Stick’s vice captain Shea McAleese grew up in Hawke’s Bay and knows how supportive the community is.
“The Hawke’s Bay is a pretty special place to come from – the community has been really supportive of me over the years. To have 23 leaders back us and to have the support from the wider community over the upcoming months is huge for the Black Sticks, it will make a big difference,” says McAleese.
Both Black Sticks teams leave for Hobart this Saturday where they will compete in the Oceania Olympic Qualifier against Australia. The Oceania region has two Olympic allocations courtesy of world rankings for both men and women and with Fiji having pulled out; it gives Australia and New Zealand automatic qualification to the London Olympics.
The Black Sticks Men then take on the best in the world at the Champions Trophy from the 3-11 December. The event which is screened to more than 38 million around the world, recently relocated to Auckland after India lost the rights to host it.
Hawke’s Bay Leader’s Circle
John O’Sullivan – Tumu Timbers
Darren Diack and John Sarten – Gemco Construction Limited
John and Rose Roil – Cottages New Zealand
David and Pam Smith – Hastings Pak’n Save
Jenny Yule – Porse
Ray McKimm – Big Save
Andy Lowe – Lowe Corp
Bruce and Robyn Mactaggart – NZ Entertainment and Events Corporation
Garth Cowie – Port of Napier
Ken Sutherland – Unison
David Mackersey – Mackersey Developments
Peter Ellis – Farmlands
Iain Taylor Family
Rebecca Turner and Lyn Williams
Hamish Whyte – Furnware
Graeme Avery – Sileni
Ngahiwi Tomoana – Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated
Gavin Earle – Baywide Credit Union
Simon Tremain – Tremains – Colliers
Paddy Twigg – Hastings Health Centre
Claire Vogtherr and Neil Pulford
Damon Harvey and Anna Lorck – Attn Marketing
Rod Drury - Xero
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Black Sticks teams' new sponsor - Hawke's Bay
BIG EVENT: The Black Sticks men's hockey team will compete at the Champions Trophy hosted at New Zealand's North Harbour Hockey Stadium. Photosport
In what is being trumpeted as a world first, a community has joined together to sponsor two national sports team in its quest for Olympic glory.
Hawke's Bay has partnered with New Zealand's national hockey teams - the Black Sticks men and women - to provide the with support ahead of next year's Olympics in London.
The unique sponsorship agreement is the brainchild of Vector Arena co-owner Bruce Mactaggart, a hockey fan who was looking for a way to get the Black Sticks the financial support they needed while at the same time galvanising a community behind them.
A group of 23 community leaders committed to the idea, with Hawke's Bay becoming the principal partner of the Black Sticks.
HARD FOUGHT: Anita Punt has been one of the Black Sticks in-form players. RODRIGO JARAMILLO
''While I personally believed this was a great notion, I obviously wasn't sure if others would agree with me,'' Mactaggart said.
''But in my view, the potential for global exposure for Hawke's Bay and the opportunity to drive this community forward was too good to miss.
''This is not just about hockey, it's about what is possible when a community comes together, how we can unite and use all our resources, financial and intellectual to support our national team while also galvanising and supporting our own community.''
Hawke's Bay will play host to an induction weekend from November 25-27 as well as team training camps next year. The Black Sticks will also visit schools, businesses and community organisations in the region.
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said it was a fantastic opportunity to take the Hawke's Bay 'brand' to the world and engage the community in their support of the Black Sticks.
PHF rubbishes reports about Rehan Butt
Rehan Butt. -File photo
The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on Tuesday rubbished reports about an apparent fallout between seasoned player Rehan Butt and coach Michel van den Heuvel and manager Khawaja Junaid.
The reports suggested that the coach and manager criticized Butt for his below par performance and questioned the player’s “character.”
“PHF did not receive any such reports in which Rehan Butt has been criticized. These are only gossips, which lack the element of reality,” PHF secretary Asif Bajwa said.
It has been reported in certain sections of media that there were some incidents of misconduct during Pakistan’s European Tour, which the federation was trying to cover up.
“We condemn the dissemination of such baseless news,” Bajwa said.
The PHF chief selector Hanif Khan recently said that while announcing probables for the upcoming tour of Australia, his committee received the input of the coach and the manager but they themselves assessed the performance of players.
Therefore, the players missing out from the tour were dropped over a lack of performance alone, according to Khan.
He said Butt had been overlooked because he had not been performing up to the mark and younger players were coming up and filling his boots in the forward line.
Five boys of Tanvir Dar Hockey Academy in the national junior camp
By Ijaz Chaudhry
Tanvir Dar Hockey Academy. Cutting Rough Diamonds into Real Gems
The probables called by the PHF for the Pakistan juniors camp for the inaugural Sultan Johar Junior Hockey Tournament to be held in Johar Baru, Malaysia from November 5 to 12 include as many as five boys from Tanvir Dar hockey academy. The Lahore based academy, within four years of its existence, has become the finest colts production factory in the country.
Interestingly, the Dar HA quintet among the junior probables includes a pair of brothers from D.G.Khan in Arsalan and Faisal Qadir.
Striker Arsalan Qadir has been a prolific scorer on the junior international hockey scene for quite some time. He was the top scorer at the inaugural youth Olympics last year with 10 goals where Pakistan were the silver medalists. At the junior Asia Cup in June this year, his scoring skills were again very much in evidence as the sharp shooter netted 10 goals. His last appearance for Pakistan juniors was the series in Egypt against the hosts’ senior side a couple of months back.
While Arsalan lurks in the opponent’s area for scoring opportunities, brother Faisal is a deep defender. He was a member of Pakistan’s victorious side of the under 18 side Asia Cup in Myanmar in late 2009.
The tall Aleem Bilal, a full back, hails from Peer Mahal in district Toba Tek Singh. He too was a proud member of the Pakistan side which won the under 18 Asia Cup in November 2009. Aleem also played for the national juniors who defeated Egypt’s national senior team in a 4 match series recently.
The Lahore boy Khalid Bhatti, like Aleem Bilal, is also a six foot plus strongly built youngster. He already has a notable achievement: having figured in the gold medal winning Pakistan junior side at the 2010 SAF games in Dacca. His younger brother, Abid Bhatti was a star of the colts team of Tanvir Dar hockey academy on its tour of Holland and Germany this June.
The fifth Dar HA boy invited for the national junior camp is Bilal Qadir who, for many, is presently the brightest young star in Pakistan hockey. He even attended the national senior camp for the Europe tour early this summer and only missed the camp for the first Asian Champions trophy due to a knee injury.
The mercurial forward from Peer Mahal has already won a number of distinctions at all the levels. Last year, he had led the Tanvir Dar Hockey Academy’s colts side on its highly successful tour of Holland, Germany and Belgium. The highlight of the tour was the international MOP tournament in Holland competed by eight teams from four countries. Bilal not only captained the victorious Tanvir Dar HA side but was also named the player of the tournament. Then he was declared the Player of the Tournament in Pakistan’s junior super league 2011 in May. At the junior Asia Cup this June, he was the top scorer of the tournament.
Apart from Khalid Bhatti, all the other four players come from outside Lahore. The out station boys’ are provided boarding and lodging by the Dar HA. They are enrolled in the Model high school, Model Town; again the educational expenses taken care of by the Tanvir Dar HA.
Legendary Munir Dar, Olympic gold medallist (1960) and Pakistan’s captain in mid 60s, must be smiling in the heavens. Munir, who passed away early June this year, was the patron in chief of the Tanvir Dar hockey academy named after his late younger brother, himself an Olympic gold medallist (1968).
Ijaz Chaudhry writes on hockey and other sports. For more about him and his work, visit: www.sportscorrespondent.info
Dwyer coaches YMCC to first grade hockey double
Double winners YMCC Hockey Club. Image is courtesy of David Cosgrove.
Four-time World Player of the Year, Jamie Dwyer can add Premiership Coach to his credentials after he lead the Perry Lakes based, YMCC hockey club to a minor premiership and then grand final victory over the Victoria Park Panthers on Saturday at Perth Hockey Stadium. Sidelined by injury for much of the season, Dwyer had to be content watching and coaching from the sidelines however the team showed its depth and determination to finish on top of the table at the end of the regular season.
The final weeks of the season and the finals saw the return of both Dwyer and World Young Player of the Year, Eddie Ockenden to the YMCC ranks however the grand final was not without its challenges with fellow Australian representative Graeme Begbie ruled out early in the week with an injury and 250 game defensive linchpin Stuart Bond unable to take his place in the lineup. Their absence provided the opportunity for brothers Chris and Matt Lim to come into the team, a chance Matt Lim seized with both hands playing an outstanding game leading to him being awarded the Merv Adams medal for his best on ground performance.
The match was a close affair, with Vic Park starting brightly and putting pressure on the new YMCC defensive lineup. As the game settled both teams had opportunities from set pieces, however it was Panthers who opened the scoring with Travis Taylor sliding in to deflect the ball home after 14 minutes. It took until the 31st minute for YMCC to get on the board, with defender Mark Boyne knocking in a penalty corner. Another goal came from a set play not long into the second half with Jamie Dwyer firing the ball to Kookaburras team-mate Eddie Ockenden for a deflection high into the net giving YMCC a 2-1 advantage. Panthers pressed looking an equalizer however the deep defence of Mark Boyne and Matt Lim held firm making a number of crucial tackles meaning YMCC’s custodian and 2009 grand final hero Tyler Lovell was only required on a few occasions to keep YMCC’s scoreboard advantage.
The match winner came about 10 minutes before full-time with Ockenden choosing to run the ball out of the backline then finding Craig Boyne who then made a 45m defense splitting pass to Daniel Sampey who took on Panther’s Australian goalkeeper George Bazeley at the top of the attacking circle and finished off with a reverse stick shot that left the keeper and the retreating Vic Park defenders with no chance. The large crowd counted down the minutes and then seconds to the final whistle and YMCC’s 11th grand final victory.
The Premiership cup was eagerly received by YMCC captain, Andrew Jacobs where he paid tribute to those who were unable to play however the final word went to Dwyer later in the evening when he addressed the large crowd back at the YMCC clubrooms and declared that not only was he proud that both he and his wife are playing for the club, but that he hoped his children would also pull on the red and green in the future!
YMCC Hockey Club media release
Rajinder criticises Nobbs for discouraging players
Indian hockey coach Michael Nobbs has received crtiticism from former coach Rajinder Singh for making 'discouraging' remarks about India's chances of qualifying for the London Olympics. Hindu
JALANDHAR: Former national coach Rajinder Singh strongly criticised Indian hockey team's Australian coach Michael Nobbs for his assessment that it will be a Herculean task for the erstwhile champions' to qualify for next year's London Olympics.
"The statement by Nobbs that qualifying for the London Olympics will be a difficult job is highly discouraging. It will only hamper India's Olympic preparations. The coach is criticising his own team and that is unacceptable," Singh said.
"He should avoid making such kind of statements. Sports ministry should also take serious note of his comment. I know that it's difficult to qualify for the London Olympics given the tough qualification round but a coach should refrain from making irresponsible statements," he added.
Nobbs, who in his first assignment coached India to gold medal in the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in China, had said that India has a long way to go and their chances of qualifying for the London Games are very remote.
India, who boasts of eight Olympic gold medals, missed the 2008 Beijing Games cut for the first time in 80 years.
"I know it's very tough to qualify for the London Games but one should never lose hope. He should encourage players and not discourage them. What kind of message is he sending to the players that coach does not believe in their abilities?" he asked.
Remaining World Series Hockey venues to be fixed in Oct first week
MUMBAI: The remaining two venues of the upcoming $2 million World Series Hockey tournament would be finalised in the first week of October, once the event's technical director submits his report.
"(Technical Director) Dennis (Meredith) is arriving in India on October 3 for another inspection. He has already made one inspection and would submit his report after his second inspection. We would then finalise the remaining two venues," said a spokesperson for WSH, which is a joint initiative of Nimbus Sports and the Indian Hockey Federation.
The organisers have already finalised six venues - Delhi, Punjab, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. The remaining two, from among Pune, Bhopal, Ranchi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Rourkela and Manipur, would be finalised in the first week of October.
The spokesperson said that while Pune and Bhopal have emerged front runners along with Ranchi, interest has also come in from potential franchises in Kolkata and Lucknow.
The tournament, to be run from December 15 to January 22, 2012, would be an eight-team event and would see 176 leading players from Australia, Argentina, Spain, Pakistan, New Zealand, South Korea, Canada, Malaysia and India taking part.
The eight city-based franchise outfits would be led by Sardara Singh, Adrian D'Souza, Arjun Halappa, Prabhjot Singh, Brent Livermore of Australia, Rehan Butt from Pakistan, Rodrigo Garza from Spain and Lucas Vila from Argentina.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Hockey Association has been given time till October 10 to import a new artificial turf and then till November 15 to complete the laying of the new turf.
MHA officials are confident that the turf would be with them by the first week of October and are confident of completing the process in time, the spokesperson informed.
The Times of India
Hooda announces Rs 30 lakh for Indian hockey team
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said that since 2005, the government has presented Rs 32.42 crore to the state’s 6,976 medal winning players at different levels. File photo
CHANDIGARH: Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Tuesday announced a sum of Rs 30 lakh (Rs 3 million/US$ 61 470/£39 310) for the national hockey team, which clinched the Asian Champions Trophy title in China recently after beating archrivals Pakistan in the final.
He also announced an additional sum of Rs 10 lakh for those players who hail from Haryana.
The announcement has come after the approval of election commission as the model code of conduct is enforced in the state due to the by-election in Hisar.
The CM also informed that since 2005, the government has presented Rs 32.42 crore to state's 6,976 medal winning players at different levels.
In 2008, Beijing Olympians of the region were given Rs 2.61 crore, while the Commonwealth Games participants from the state were awarded Rs 4.83 crore along with cars at Haryana Day function in November last year.
Asian Games participants were honoured with Rs 6.65 crore earlier this year, an official release quoted Hooda as saying.
Hooda also added that besides rewarding excellent performances, the government's aim is to raise the level of physical activity in the state that will help in increasing health standards, reducing school dropouts and keeping instances of drug and delinquency under control.
Haryana incentive for hockey team
Tribune News Service
New Delhi - The Haryana Government has announced an award of Rs 30 lakh for the hockey team which won the Asian Champions Trophy in China recently. According to an official release, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has also announced Rs 10 lakh members of the team who hail from the State.
Haryana, since 2005, has given away Rs 32.42 crore to the State's 6976 medal-winning players at different level, the release added.
In 2008, athletes from the State who had participated in the Beijing Olympics were given Rs 2.61 crore while the Commonwealth Games athletes were awarded Rs 4.83 crore along with cars during the Haryana Day function in November last year. Members of the Asian Games contingent were honoured with Rs 6.65 crore earlier this year, the release said.
Hockey hero lives in penury
Faridkot - After a thrilling performance in Asian Champions Trophy and stealing the limelight with his six-goal effort in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, all coming through penalty corners, young Rupinder Pal Singh has become the new sensation in the country in the last two months.
But this 20-year-old, 6’4”, drag-flicker from Faridkot is almost forgotten in his home State. Despite his fine performance in nine international tournaments in the last one year, Rupinder’s family is still fighting poverty here.
Rupinder’s mother Sukhmander Kaur, still sews clothes to earn Rs 100-150 to keep the family going and to ensure that the money is not an impediment to her son’s performance. One year ago, she was eking out a livelihood for the family, by supplying food to students and office-goers in the town. “But once Rupinder started playing in National hockey teams, he asked me to stop this job,” she. But she continued sewing as Rupinder’s earning was almost nil.
With a younger brother, ailing father and mother, Rupinder lives in a one-room rented house in Dogar Basti in Faridkot. Days before he hit the limelight and emerged as another promising talent after his performance in the Azlan Shah Cup, Rupinder was not a recognised face in Faridkot. But even now, there is no uplift in his economic status.
This month, when Rupinder’s family got and electricity bill of Rs 8,000, it was really difficult for them to pay it so they decided to shift to some other locality.
While his performance has failed to attract the Punjab Government or offer him any job opportunity, the Overseas Bank gave him a posting as an assistant manager in Orissa. Though it can give him an earning, this posting in Orissa was a big hindrance in his practice. “Moreover, my son doesn’t want to be so far away from his family,” said his mother.
After completing his +2 qualification in Faridkot, Rupinder joined a Chandigarh-based academy. His seven-year training period in Chandigarh was a big financial burden on his family but his mother never allowed this to hamper her son’s career.
There is no hint so far of any financial assistance or job offer from the government. Faridkot Deputy Commissioner Ravi Bhagat said he has already brought the matter into the notice of State Government and was hopeful of a good job for Rupinder in the coming days.
But the family said they even made requests to the Chief Minister and Deputy CM but the much-needed financial assistance is still awaited.
Super Six teams identified for CHA’s Super League.
After 56 matches running over two months, the top six teams have been identified for the Super League, which will start about a month later.
With the last matches played on Tuesday, the prestigious Chennai Hockey Association’s Super Division part has come to an end. Tamil Nadu police, traditional team Southern Railway and new power Indian bank have moved to the Super League from Pool A. Whereas Indian Overseas Bank, Central Exercise and another tradition powerhouse Integral Coach Factory joined the other three from B for the ultimate honours.
On the last day on Tuesday, Central Exercise defeated Sports Authority of India ‘A’ 2-1, with Laxman Karan scoring the all important clinching goal in the 62nd match.
USA Women's Pan American Team visits Steele Elementary School
Imagine 300 elementary school children chanting U-S-A. The sound almost deafening, but the enthusiasm unquestionably addicting.
Less than twenty four hours ago, the USA Women’s National Team touched down in Colorado for altitude training as part of their final preparations before departing for the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
But before the strenuoious activity begins, the Team will stop by Steele Elementary School to educate and inspire youngsters on the Olympic Games and Olympic ideals.
“USA Field Hockey is committed to sharing the Olympic values with the next generation of Olympians. By taking the entire Pan American Team to Steele Elementary, we intend to share with the children the incredible athletes that represent USA Field Hockey and inspire every one of us daily,” said Steve Locke.
The assembly will commence tomorrow, September 28 at 10am and will open with remarks from Principal Georgeanne Barnes. The Team will be welcomed on stage by Executive Director Steve Locke who will lead the students in an ear-piercing U-S-A chant. Olympic athletes in attendance will speak on the importance of living healthy, active lifestyles and the meaning of sportsmanship, respect, friendship and fair play.
“Visiting the Steele Elementary School is a great opportunity for the team to connect with the Colorado Springs youth community, and expose them to our relatively unknown sport of field hockey,” said Rachel Dawson, 2008 Olympian. “We hope to inspire the students with the passion and courage to pursue the best within themselves, to enjoy sport, and lead a healthy lifestyle.”
Olympic athletes and Olympic hopefuls are the epitome of a true champion. They compete with integrity and inspire every one of us daily to reach for our dreams. They are clean competitors and respectful opponents. They embody and embrace Olympic values that are just as important on the field as they are off the field.
“We are excited to participate with, and support USA Field Hockey and the U.S. Women’s National Team for this presentation which includes messages consistent with the values of fair play, respect, teamwork and clean competition,” said Erin Hannan, Director of Communications and Outreach for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. “Our research has shown that the actions and values of elite athletes have a significant influence on youth in this country, so the opportunity to hear these messages from high-profile competitors provides an invaluable educational opportunity that will leave lasting impressions.”
In the gymnasium filled with electrified faces and unwavering energy, not only will the children, parents and teachers be inspired, but the athletes will find a new motivation to bring home gold next month in Mexico.
“Interestedly, I often find that these events, specifically the interaction with young dreamers reminds me to continually strive for the best within myself,” said Dawson. “As I thought about what to say on the idea of sportsmanship, I found reinforcement for why I play the game and why I love sport. Sometimes in highly competitive situations, we get consumed by the results, the wins and loses - this event gave me a refreshing reminder of what matters most - the ideals of sportsmanship in how you approach what you do: respect, integrity, and excellence.”
Eight teams will fight for the chance to fulfill an Olympic dream, but only one will walk away with gold from the Pan Am Games. Of the 144 field hockey teams in the world, an exclusive twelve with have the honor of competing in the 2012 London Olympic Games next summer. USA is looking to secure one of those twelve spots next month and an early send-off from the students at Steele Elementary is just the motivation the team can use as they set off to make history.
USFHA media release