All the news for Saturday 10 March 2012
The Hockeyroos Shine against Korea
Jordyn Holzberger impressed on her Hockeyroos debut (Photo: Hockey Australia)
The Hockeyroos continued their excellent 2012 form tonight with another 5-0 victory over World Number 8, Korea at Perth Hockey Stadium. The Hockeyroos take a 2-1 series lead going into tomorrow nights final match. It was a great result for the team who produced the same result in their last meeting.
The inclusion of Hockeyroos debutant Jordyn Holzberger brought great excitement amongst the group. Head Coach Adam Commens said pre-game that “Jordyn has been training very well since the beginning of the year and through excellent performances in intra-club matches, we feel that she deserves an opportunity. She is a promising player for the Hockeyroos.” Holzberger’s selection came at the cost, with Casey Eastham suffering a minor injury. Commens said Casey is suffering from a “slight injury which opens up the door for Jordyn”.
The Hockeyroos dominated possession early, forcing 8 penalty Corners in the first half. First half Penalty Corner goals to Madonna Blyth and Jodie Schulz set the tone for the match. The Hockeyroos’ speed and agility was causing real problems for the Koreans who struggled to keep with the pace of the game.
The game opened up in the second half with both teams allowing early shots on goal. It was the Hockeyroos who capatislied on their chances and scored three goals in the space of 12 minutes. Debutant Holzberger set up Jade Close for her first goal of the Series and then only minutes later secured a double with a great field goal. Jodie Schulz also managed to secure her double on the night finishing with a penalty corner shot to the top right hand corner of the net.
Commens was satisfied with the final result and encouraged by the team’s progress since losing game one of the series. - “Korea is a quality side and recently beat (world No.2 ) Argentina, (No.4) Britain and (No.6) New Zealand before coming to Australia.”
Australia A and Korean Telecom fought out a draw in the extreme Perth heat at Perth Hockey Stadium. Due to the extreme weather, a 3 minute break was taken midway through each half to manage the players health. Australia A opened the scoring in the 58 minute through a field goal to Kate Hollywood. The Korea Telecom side hit back quickly in the 64th minute with a field goal of there own. Both teams had numerous opportunities to take the lead late in the game, but neither could convert.
The final match of the series is at Perth Hockey Stadium Saturday 11 March, 2012. Australia A v Korean Telecom play the curtain raiser at 3:30pm and are followed by the Hockeyroos v Korea at 6:00pm.
Australia A 1 draw Korea Telecom 1
Hockeyroos 5 (Madonna Blyth 23m PC, Jodie Schulz 32m/54m PC/PC, Jade Close 42m/46m FG/FG) defeated Korea 0
Hockey Australia media release
Dublin set for Olympic Qualifier
Preview: Electric Ireland FIH Road to London (Men), Dublin
Will Ireland (in green) join Argentina at the London 2012 Olympic Games? (Photo: FIH / Sandra Harik)
One of the biggest and most important hockey tournaments ever to take place on Irish soil begins this weekend as six international men’s teams go into battle with one aim: win the competition and secure a place at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The Electric Ireland FIH Road to London event – which takes place at University College Dublin – is expected to draw near capacity crowds as Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Chile, Ukraine and host nation Ireland give it everything in a bid to reach the greatest sporting show on earth.
Two weeks ago, India became the tenth men’s team to qualify for London 2012 when they won the Hero FIH Road to London tournament in New Delhi, joining Great Britain, Pakistan, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Spain at the competition. Next Sunday, the 11th qualifying team will be known, with the one remaining Olympic berth going to the winner of the final FIH Road to London event, which takes place later this year in Kakamigahara, Japan.
Here is a closer look at all of the teams that will compete for the title in the Electric Ireland FIH Road to London in Dublin.
Korea (World Ranking: 6th) are the highest ranked men’s team yet to achieve qualification, and on their day are more than capable of beating the very best sides in the world. However, following their failure to secure Olympic qualification at the 2010 Asian Games – where Pakistan emerged triumphant – they have struggled to reach the high standards which so many expect of them. An impressive triumph ahead of Great Britain, New Zealand and Belgium in the London Cup last July suggested that the side were returning to form, but a disappointing eighth place finish at the Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy at the end of 2011 was a blow to Korean confidence. Despite this, Korea rightly go into the tournament as favourites to claim the place at the London 2012 Olympics, which is hardly surprising when you consider the world class talent that the team has at its disposal. Nine of the players in the squad have over 150 caps to their name, with star striker and captain Seo Jong Ho having played 265 times for his country.
If Seo is on form, Korea will take some stopping here in Dublin. To see the Korea team in full, click here.
Following their second place finish to Pakistan at the Asian Games in 2010, Malaysia (World Ranking: 13th) have a second bite at the Olympic Qualification cherry at the Dublin Road to London event. The team – captained by Mohd Madzli Ikmar Mohd Nor, a player who has made well over 300 international appearances for his country – come into this tournament determined to reach their first Olympic Games since Sydney 2000, where they finished in 11th place. Like Korea, their recent form has been mixed, a point marked by their fifth place finish at the FIH Champions Challenge 1 which took place in December in Johannesburg, South Africa. A recent 1-0 defeat against 27th ranked Wales suggests that they are still struggling for form, but this team possesses more than enough quality to mount a serious challenge for that elusive place at the London 2012 Games. One player to watch is Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil, a striker who has a habit of scoring spectacular and often crucial goals for his team. To see the Malaysia team in full, click here.
The men of Ireland (World Ranking: 16th) have made huge strides forward in recent years. South African coach Paul Revington has forged a talented group of young players into a formidable team that is both defensively strong and extremely dangerous on the attack. Revington’s charges achieved a creditable 5th place finish at last year’s EuroHockey Nations Championship, notching up an impressive 8-2 victory over fellow Olympic qualification hopefuls Russia before inflicting a 3-2 defeat on Spain, the Silver medalists at Beijing 2008. The team is captained by Ronan Gormley, an accomplished defender who plays his club hockey for Spanish giants Club de Campo of Madrid, a team that reached the final of the Euro Hockey League in 2011. Gormley is one of 12 Irish internationals playing club hockey overseas, with others including Conor and David Harte (SCHC – The Netherlands), Chris Cargo (Reading HC – England), and dangerous forward Eugene Magee, who represents Belgian champions KHC Dragons. A recent 3-0 series whitewash against Czech Republic included a dazzling 9-0 triumph, proving that the tournament hosts are in fine form coming into this event. To see the Ireland team in full, click here.
20th ranked Russia arrive in Dublin with a good blend of youth and experience. The youngest player is talented 19-year-old Semen Matkovskiy, who is almost half the age of talismanic striker and captain Aleksandr Platonov. Despite being 37, Platonov is still an incredibly powerful, dangerous forward who is capable of creating goals out of nothing. Alexander Zhirkov is Russia’s stand-out player both indoors and outdoors. His skill and creativity could be key to Russian dreams of reaching a first Olympic Games since being part of the Unified Team which took part in Barcelona 1992. To see the Russia team in full, click here.
Chile (World Ranking: 26th) may not be considered amongst the favourites taking part in the Electric Ireland FIH Champions Trophy, but they have proven over the last 12 months that they are a team that is rapidly developing. The South Americans grabbed a third place finish at the Pan American Games, cruising to victories over Barbados (9-1), Trinidad & Tobago (3-1) and Cuba (4-3) to claim their second successive bronze medal at the competition. Penalty corner expert Jan Richter netted six times during the competition, and will be a dangerous weapon for Chile here in Dublin. Another player to watch is Alexis Berczely, a skillful forward who regularly finds the back of the net for his team. To see the Chile team in full, click here.
Ukraine (World Ranking: 29th) are another fast improving team, and are certainly not attending this tournament purely to make up the numbers. They have their sights set firmly on the task of achieving Olympic Qualification, and will not be taken lightly by any of their opponents. The team is coached by Pavlo Mazur and captained by 36-year-old defender Ruslan Pashovskyy, who will be hoping to lead his national hockey team to a first ever appearance at an Olympic Games. At 40 years of age, defender Sergii Suprun is the oldest player in the competition. To see the Ukraine team in full, click here.
To see a full list of tournament officials for the event, please click here.
The Electric Ireland FIH Road to London Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament gets underway on Saturday 10th March, which will feature the first set of Round-Robin matches. Malaysia and Chile take to the field at 12:00pm (UTC / GMT), before host nation Ireland taking on Russia at 2.30pm. The final match of the day begins at 5.00pm when tournament favourites Korea face a Ukraine team that sits 23 places below them in the current FIH World Rankings.
You can keep up to speed on all the developments from the tournament on the FIH website, which will be regularly updated with the latest news, results league tables and images. The FIH will also be posting occasional updates from the tournament to twitter via @FIH_Hockey, or by searching the hashtag #roadtolondon .
Young Faizal, veteran Kumar vow to shine
DUBLIN: A young lad oozing with confidence and a veteran goalkeeper feeling on top of the world might just be the tonic that Malaysia need to squash the jitters in their opening match against Chile in the Olympic Qualifier today.
Without blinking an eye, twenty-one-year-old Faizal Saari, who has 78 caps, said his personal target is to score two goals against Chile, who play the Argentinian style of robust hockey.
And S. Kumar, armed with a string of "best goalkeeper" awards at international events, said he has never felt better, going into a tournament.
At 32 and with 177 caps, Kumar's steady hand at the back has seen Malaysia beat the best in the world but on his off days, they have even lost to minnows.
"Normally, we arrive just before a tournament and acclimatisation is the biggest problem but this time, we have been in the cold and damp for more than nine days, and I feel nothing is going to go wrong in the opening match," said Kumar.
Faizal, who scored eight goals in the 2009 Junior World Cup and has been a regular in the senior side since, said: "I have set personal targets against every team, and it is two goals against Chile. We have seen videos of their matches, and I believe I will be able to contribute towards a win in the opening match."
Chile are ranked 26th in the world, while Malaysia are 13th.
However, Malaysia have shown a tendency to play erratically against lower ranked teams like they did in the 4-4 draw against Italy in the 2008 Olympic Qualifier in Kakamigahara in Japan.
That was a nightmare of a Qualifier as Malaysia started by edging Poland 2-1, then the 4-4 draw and also a 4-3 struggle against Switzerland.
The national team finished third behind Japan while Germany went on to the Olympics where they won the gold medal.
New Straits Times
Time to end the wait
Malaysia must not slip up against 'lowly' opposition
By Jugjet Singh, DUBLIN
MHC president Tengku Abdullah
MALAYSIA are bent on shedding their 'almost-there' tag in hockey, and the stakes are so high that the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) will be arriving with 23-member force to cheer their men in the last two Olympic Qualifier matches against South Korea and Ireland.
However, the first three ties against Chile, Russia and Ukraine could prove to be tougher than expected, but the hours of training and the training cum playing tours leading to the Qualifier should be enough to give Malaysia nine points before the crunch matches.
Never in the history of hockey have so many office bearers left the shores of Malaysia to cheer a side, be it the Sydney Olympics in 2000, or the 1998 World Cup in Utretch.
Leading the cheering squad will be Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) president Sultan Azlan Shah and MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
Tengku Abdullah has seen several close shaves after he took control of the MHC hot-seat in 2008 as Malaysia won the silver in the 2009 Invercargill World Cup Qualifier and then silver again in the 2010 Asian Games, which meant having to go through the tougher Dublin Qualifier route to reach the London Olympics.
It is now or never, and even Sultan Azlan Shah could be seen as feeling the jitters when meeting the players at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil when the team were named.
After having a pep-talk with the players, he turned to the journalists and said: "We need all the help we can get in Dublin to cheer the team. And you, journalists, who are going, must also be on the stands to motivate the players."
The Qualifier is being held at the University College Dublin grounds where many Malaysians are studying, so the national players can expect a big cheer from the stands, but they must not freeze in the cold and windy conditions here.
The temperatures are expected to hover around 9-12 degrees Celsius during mid-day for the duration of the tournament and Malaysia play their first match at noon today against Chile.
A check of the weather forecast in Chile yielded the same results, and that means the Chileans would be more at home than Malaysia in the first crucial match which could make or break their quest.
The winds here, which come in sudden strong gusts, could also pose a big problem to all the teams hoping to play in the Olympics. Overhead throws, which Malaysia rely on for counter-attacks, could turn out to be more difficult to execute.
Dublin has a bleak and wintry landscape, but if Malaysia make the grade at the University College Dublin grounds, it could well turn out to be the summer which our hockey has been pining for in the last 12 years.
Today: Malaysia v Chile (8pm), Ireland v Russia (10.30pm), South Korea v Ukraine (1am) -- Malaysian time.
New Straits Times
Crunch time for Beng Hai and Co to take Malaysian hockey out of the doldrums
MALAYSIAN hockey will be in the spotlight over the next 10 days as the national team look to regain their place in the Olympics after 11 years in the wilderness.
This time, a group of local coaches lead their attempt to win the qualifier in Dublin for a spot in the London Olympics in July.
Tai Beng Hai and Nor Saiful Zaini, who were also in charge when the team flopped at the 2010 World Cup qualifier in Invercargill, New Zealand, have been given a second chance to come good.
But there is more at stake than just the qualification for the Olympics.
The local coaches will be under scrutiny as the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) are considering the possibility of hiring foreign coaches.
There was talk in 2009 about bringing in a top foreign coach but, after some heated debate and the unavailability of the nominated coaches, the MHC stuck with the locals.
Beng Hai took over after the likes of Sarjit Singh and Wallace Tan failed to take the team back into the elite, top 12, grouping.
Beng Hai has done a commendable job, including taking them to the final in Invercargill and winning the silver medal at the Guangzhou Asian Games, with Stephen van Huizen. The team also won a bronze in the Asian Champions Trophy last year.
But all these achievements will mean nothing if he fails in Dublin. There is no doubt that the coaching staff will be changed if the team fail to qualify for a third Olympics in a row.
To be fair, Sarjit and Wallace had done well when they were in charge as well. In fact, quite a number of the National Juniors from Sarjit’s 2005 team are now key players in Beng Hai’s squad.
But Malaysia are well-known for coming up short in big events and there is fear that it might happen again.
Malaysia stand a good chance of winning the Dublin qualifier as only South Korea and Ireland are the main threats.
All they have to do is play to their full potential and not become complacent.
But this is Malaysia we are talking about. Mistakes at crucial moments of the game, poor finishing and the inability to stay focused for the whole 70 minutes are just some of the weaknesses of Malaysian players.
The national team have lost many matches in the last five minutes and also tend to make a mess of ties against weaker opponents, thus heaping additional pressure on themselves.
Let’s hope this bunch have learned their lessons and will rise to the occasion in Dublin.
There are five players in the team above 28 years of age and the London Games will be their last chance to play in the Olympics.
The five – skipper Mohd Madzli Ikmar, 32, Roslan Jamaluddin, 33, S. Kumar, 32, Mohd Amin Rahim, 32 and Azlan Misron, 28 – are likely to step down from international duty if the team fail to make the Olympics.
There are another five players who are 26 years old while the rest are below 24. It is these guys who will form the core of the next team together with some of the Under-21 players waiting in the wings.
There is no shortage of talent but what is lacking is big match temperament and expertise in specific areas.
More importantly, as Beng Hai stressed, there is a need to cultivate a winning mentality.
Malaysian hockey cannot afford to lag further behind the top teams, thus qualifying for the Olympics is a must.
Beng Hai and the team have to stand up and deliver in Dublin. They need to show the MHC that local coaches are just as good, if not better than, their foreign counterparts.
The Star of Malaysia
To the battlefront
The Malaysian national team begins their quest to make it to the 2012 London Olympics via the Qualifiers that commence in Dublin on Saturday.
And they will be up against Chile in the first match which will set the tone for the rest of the matches. A good win will give them the morale booster while any other result could lead to all kind of speculations.
What is important is three points on the board, no matter if it is achieved via a deflection by a defender, akin to an own goal. For a month from now no one will even ask what was the score of our matches as long as the team makes it to London.
To be honest not even how the play in the match matters as all that is important is getting to a winning start. But if the match ends in a draw, nothing is lost either, for even defeated we can still make it to the Olympics.
The FIH on their website have highlighted the fact that Malaysia lost their last friendly to lowly Wales. But what these FIH people who sit behind their desks do not know is that Malaysia has a problem playing with low ranked teams.
How is it that FIH failed to highlight that Malaysia had defeated both Australia and Holland within days early last month?
Coming back to the team, it has to be wary of the weather, as this is our biggest opponent, other then our inconsistency.
So the team will begin its battle on a wing and prayer and the hopes and aspirations of the country lie on the shoulders of Koshy's boys.
Lets hope for the best.
Malaysian Hockey blogspot
Olympic medals in Black Sticks' five-year plan
Hockey New Zealand has unveiled a five-year plan declaring Olympic medals are not just a hope, but an "expectation" heading into Rio 2016.
While the men's and women's Black Sticks are both targeting medals at this year's London Games, Hockey NZ high performance manager Toni Cumpston admits both squads will have to "punch above their weight" if they are to step on to the podium in this Olympic cycle.
The men's team are ranked sixth in the world and the women, who impressively won bronze at the 2011 Champions Trophy, are seventh – though their London hopes have been rocked by a recent dip in form.
Cumpston, with men's coach Shane McLeod, women's coach Mark Hager and Hockey NZ chief executive Hilary Poole, yesterday released the new high performance plan to media in Auckland, detailing a need to develop the elite system and the pathways feeding it.
"Both teams will go to London targeting medals," Cumpston said. "But as opposed to needing to punch above our weight this time, we want medals to be an expectation in five years.
"The first step is to establish ourselves as a consistent top six nation; anything less than sixth in London will be disappointing.
"The idea behind this is not just a pre-London strategy, but post-London too."
Hager's side, which he's dragged from 12th in the world, are back in action on Monday beginning a four-test series against 2008 Olympic bronze medallists and reigning Champions Trophy holders Argentina. Ringing seven changes to the squad, Hager said he was keen to see the women's Black Sticks "up our defence considerably".
The men's 2012 Olympic preparation ramps up in May at the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia before a three-test series against fierce rivals and hot Olympic favourites Australia.
Pak. hockey coach boycotts Olympics training camp
Pakistan hockey appears to be caught in a web of problems as their foreign coach Michel Van Den Huevel has refused to attend a training camp for the London Olympic probables in protest over some issues.
This after some senior players, including Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi, Imran Warsi and Waseem Ahmed, decided to join the unsanctioned World Series Hockey in India.
Reliable sources told PTI that the executive council of Pakistan Hockey Federation will meet shortly to discuss these issues, including announcement of a policy decision on the fate of players who have opted to play in the lucrative WSH which is not recognised by International Hockey Federation.
Apart from this issue, the PHF is facing an open revolt from their Dutch coach who has stayed away from the camp in Islamabad.
According to sources, he was upset that the PHF and its selectors announced the probables for the London Olympics without taking him into confidence.
“Huevel is unhappy because the PHF didn’t take his input while naming the probables. As a result some players he wanted are out while those he didn’t want in the team for different reasons have been recalled,” one source said.
PHF Secretary Asif Bajwa has tried to play down the issue but it is now becoming apparent that unless the federation takes some drastic steps, Pakistan face an uncertain time in their preparations for the Olympic Games.
Interestingly, no one in the PHF is aware when Huevel will arrive for the camp with the official statement being that he is attending to a personal issue and has taken leave.
But, the team manager Khawaja Junaid gave a contradictory statement.
“Heuvel is undergoing tooth treatment,” said Junaid. “He may miss the first phase but I’m sure he will supervise the second that starts after March 25. The camp is going smoothly and is not affected by his absence,” he said.
Pakistan to play Argentina Azlan Shah opener
LAHORE: Pakistan will play Argentina in their opening match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Hockey Tournament on May 24 in Ipoh, Malaysia. Pakistan will take on New Zealand in their second match on May 27, South Korea on May 28, Malaysia on May 30, India on May 31 and England on June 2. On June 3 classification matches for 5th-6th, 3rd-4th places and the final will be played.
The Daily Times
Men’s Junior Team steps onto the international stage
The 2012 Chile Tour begins this Saturday
This weekend the Canadian Men’s Junior National Team is off to Santiago, Chile for two-weeks of competition against Chile and Argentina.
“The tour to Chile will be a great opportunity to test ourselves in the international arena in 2012 and we are all looking forward to the competition,” says Men’s Junior Head Coach Mathias Ahrens. “The squad has been in a heavy training phase and we have been making significant progress since returning from our pre-Christmas camp in San Diego. In Chile we will be looking to assess our standards under the rigorous pressure of International competition.”
There will be two distinct phases of the Chile Tour. During the first week, the Junior Men will continue focusing on training and the team will be looking to make significant steps forward, particularly in the some technical areas. The second week will present the challenge of playing in a three-nation tournament against Chile and Argentina (the 2005 Junior World Cup Champions).
“This will enable us to gage where we are and what needs to be done in the coming months leading up to the Pan American Junior Championships in September and qualifications for the 2013 Junior World Cup,” says Ahrens. “Qualifying for 2013 is our main goal this year.”
“This is a very important time in the development of our Men’s Junior National Program as they prepare for the Junior World Cup Qualifier,” says Alan Brahmst, Director of National Teams and High Performance. “Mathias will be able to shape our system of play, set some very important standards for the team and evaluate player performance throughout the tour.”
Taylor Curran of North Vancouver is among the 20 athletes that will represent Canada in Chile.
“I’m definitely looking forward to this tour” says Curran. “It will be a great chance to see how we measure up against international teams, especially against Argentina - the reigning champions. We’ll see if we are close to where we need to be – or if we have a lot of work to do before the Junior World Cup Qualifier.”
After a grueling, but effective training camp, Curran says the team is looking good. Since Head Coach Ahrens arrived in Vancouver last month, many of the guys have “stepped it up.”
“Mathias brings tons of experience and expertise to the table," says Curran. "What he has to say is definitely worth listening to. He also brings a lot of enthusiasm, which is important as we gear up to compete on the international stage.”
Click here to visit the 2012 Chile Tour competition page. The first match is against Chile on March 13 at 8:30pm.
Field Hockey Canada media release
Q&A with Bodimeade on recent Spain Tour and gearing up for Olympic Games
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - Head Coach Lee Bodimeade and the U.S. Women's National Team recently returned from Barcelona, Spain after winning the Three Nations Tournament. This year also marks twenty years since Bodimeade won a silver medal in the Olympic Games with the Australian Team. He took a moment to speak to usafieldhockey.com to talk about returning to Barcelona, how his life has changed in the last 20 years, the Teams results, and what he looks forward to heading to his third Olympic Games this summer.
Q: What was it like being back in Barcelona, Spain, 20 years after winning an Olympic silver medal with the Australian Team?
A: It was great to be back and to see how much the city has changed and the benefits that were brought to the city as a result of the Games being hosted by Barcelona in 1992.
Q: What is your favorite memory from the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games?
A: Obviously standing on the podium to receive the silver medal is a highlight that I will never forget. Going back to the site of the village stirred a number of funny memories. Probably the most infamous one being when my teammate Stephen Davies and I were riding skateboards to get around inside the village. Looking back, I would say it was not smartest idea.
Q: Did you get the chance to visit any Olympic sites while in Spain for the tournament?
A: The staff and I went on a three hour bike tour through Barcelona and that took us to a lot of the sites that I visited during the Games. The cafes in and around Las Ramblas is a must if you are ever in Barcelona. And, we played our matches on the same field that my team played our first game on in the 1992 Olympics.
Q: How has the city changed over the last 20 years?
A: I didn't get to see a lot of the city during the Games, but did get to see the area in and around the Olympic Village. It is right on the Mediterranean Sea and that whole area has taken off. The cafes, restaurants and scenery along the boardwalk in front of the village and where the dock was for the Olympic Sailing events is now somewhere you could get lost for a couple of hours. It used to be a rough part of town but is now the place to be.
Q: How has your life changed in the last 20 years?
A: It has been turned on its head. I married my wife Samantha and have two beautiful boys, Mitchell and Oscar (that I can now play golf with) and I have moved half way around the world to live in San Diego and coach the U.S. Women's National Team. We still have a house in Virginia Beach, VA and love getting to spend time on the East Coast.
Q: London will be your third Olympic Games. What are you most looking forward to?
A: I am looking forward to the competition and knowing that we will be a part of the biggest sporting event in the world and will be competing against the best teams in the world. Outside of that, I look forward to touring the city.
Q: You know first-hand what it takes to medal at the Olympic Games. What will it take for the U.S. Team to medal in London?
A: Success in the hockey tournament at the Olympics is all about the ability to play well at the critical moments. The tough part is that there are a lot of critical moments at an Olympic Games. We have identified the areas that we need to be excelling in that will give us the best chance to be successful and our ability to execute this will determine our level of this success this summer.
Q: Were you pleased with the Team’s performance in the recent Three Nations Tournament?
A: Winning is a habit. Even though we are still in the middle of our preparation and are not close to our peak, to be able to win the tournament is very pleasing. I would have liked to have played better in some of the areas that we are working on but being able to win against the No. 4 world ranked team Great Britain was a good result for where we are.
Q: Next month you head back to your old stomping grounds in Australia. What will it be like to be back there?
A: It will definitely be different being the 'enemy' on Australian soil. Coaching at the international level is a professional position and being in Australia is really no different than being in Spain or Holland. The real advantage is at least I will be able to understand what they are saying. I might add that this may not apply to the other members of our touring team!
USFHA media release
Pune strikes back for 3-3 draw with Cheetahs
In an action-packed match that produced high quality hockey, Chennai Cheetahs began with a bang as local star, Adam Sinclair, struck in the very first minute to bring the crowd to its feet as they gave a standing applause to the home team, but Pune Strykers silenced the vociferous crowd immediately with Roshan Minz scoring the 100th goal of the Bridgestone World Series Hockey in the 6th minute here on Friday.
Fortunes fluctuated later on as Chennai led twice again but with a resilient Pune Strykers striking back, the thrilling and exciting match ended in a 3-3 draw.
The crowd enjoyed the match which produced high-speed vintage hockey. Cheetahs frontline combined well and worked like a well-oiled machine and with the half-line creating enough through balls, their Pakistani star and penalty corner specialist, Syed Imran Warsi, made up his first-quarter miss to score from the team's second short corner as he sent home a powerful flick to put Cheetahs in the lead once again in the 30th minute.
However, Pune Strykers, switched up gears to dish out thrilling and fast hockey that gave some anxious moments to the home team. They sustained the pressure to produce an equaliser once again and on the stroke of half time. It was 2-2 for Pune Strykers as Bikas Toppo swept home into an open goal as a brilliant pass from the right, by a hard-working Mario Almada, beat the rival goalkeeper and a defender.
Cheetahs rose to the occasion once again with a superb raid and the set-piece specialist from Pakistan, Imran Warsi, made it 3-2 to help Chennai gain lead for the third time and in the process increased his individual tally to 10 goals.
With Chennai defending in numbers, Pune Strykers showed urgency in the circle and their repeated thrusts upfront got them the equaliser yet again. They missed the first short corner but forced the third and final corner in the 65th minute, and Simrandeep Randhawa took the strike and his low drag flick beat Chennai custodian Jasbir Singh (3-3).
Schedule: March 10: Chennai Cheetahs vs Karnataka Lions at Chennai; 7pm; Bhopal Badshahs vs Sher-E-Punjab at Bhopal, 9pm. Live on Neo Sport & Neo Cricket
World Series Hockey website
Cheetahs, Strykers play out a draw
Roshan Minz (centre) did well for Pune Strykers, scoring the team’s first goal. Photo:S. R. Raghunathan
In a contest that was eventful and exciting, Chennai Cheetahs managed only a 3-3 draw against Pune Strykers, in the Bridgestone World Series Hockey (WSH), at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium on Friday.
After five matches, Cheetahs has taken its points tally to seven, while the Pune team has enlarged its lead to nine from the same number of matches.
It was a match that Cheetahs could have wrapped up with a little more resilience in defence. Cheetahs went three goals ahead before Pune Strykers fought back with commendable application and spirit.
Chennai had a glorious start when Adam Sinclair connected a perfect centre by Mark Harris inside the opening few minutes. Subsequently, the frontline, despite the fluent runs by new recruit Peter Kelly, the Cheetahs failed to exert noticeable pressure. Brent Livermore and Vikram Pillay in the midfield held on gamely striving hard to find openings.
It was the Pune Strykers who showed more consistency and craft in the workouts. Served beautifully by the Canadian stalwart, Ken Pereira, and supported well by Birendra Lakra, the midfield controlled the trend almost impeccably.
The equaliser from an eye-catching backhander by Rohan Minz conveyed the mood of the Pune team. When Imran Warsi pumped in a penalty corner in the second quarter, the retaliation was swift and sure. A long pass by Pereira provided a perfect platform for the Argentine star, Mario Alamada, to flick across a measured centre. Bikash Toppo provided the finishing touches.
A goal line save by Amit Gowda delayed the third goal for Chennai.
But Imran netted his 10th goal in the championship, raising hopes of a victory. Cheetahs went into the fourth quarter with a 3-2 lead.
But six minutes before the hooter came the leveller from the gangling Simrandeep Randhawa, pushing the Chennai supporters into the valley of disappointment.
At the end of the day, the verdict fully justified the run of play. For the Chennai team, it was again a case of so near and yet so far.
Cheetahs take on Karnataka Lions on Saturday.
Chennai Cheetahs 3 (Adam Sinclair, Imran Warsi 2) drew with Pune Strykers 3 (Roshan Minz, Bikas Toppo, Simrandeep Randhawa).
Tomorrow's matches: Chennai Cheetahs vs Karnataka Lions (7 p.m.), Chennai; Bhopal Badshahs vs Sher-e-Punjab (9 p.m.), Bhopal.
Correction: The owners of the Chennai Cheetahs are the Nanwanis and not the Lalwanis as stated in the report that appeared on March 9.
Pune Strykers draw with Chennai;remain unbeaten
Pune Strykers continued with their undefeated streak as they pulled back a late goal in the 64th minute against Chennai Cheetahs, drawing the match 3-3, in an evenly contested match at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium,Chennai,on Friday.
Adam Sinclair (1st min) and Syed Imran Warsi (30th and 44th) scored for Chennai Cheetahs. For Pune Strykers, the goal scorers were Roshan Minz (5th), Bikash Toppo (35th) and Simrandeep Randhawa (64th).
The Cheetahs stuck early in the match (1st minute) when Adam Sinclair scored a stunning goal as he was set-up at the goalmouth.
Pune Strykers were fast to pull off the equalizer in the 5th minute when Bikash Toppo stole the ball from the Cheetahs, passed it to Roshan Minz. Minz scored off a reverse flick from the top of Cheetahs’ circle.
The Strykers dominated the proceedings in the first quarter with their ball possession going up to 66% at one time. Chennai Cheetahs slowly picked up the pace in the second quarter and took a 2-1 lead in the 30th minute when Syed Imran Warsi’s accurate and powerful flick went zooming past Pune custodian Gurpreet Singh, barely missing his palms.
Not taking it easy, Pune Strykers scored a field goal to draw parity in the 35th minute.The Argentine Mario Almada, who set up a number of moves in the match for the Pune Strykers, gave a short pass from the right to Bikash Toppo on the Cheetahs’ goalmouth. Toppo did the rest to take his team 2-2 into the half time.
In the second half, Chennai Cheetahs upped their attacks as Pune Strykers fared well in saving a number of Cheetahs’ onslaught. In the 38th minute, Tyron Pereira saved a fast flick off a penalty corner deflecting it at the goalkeeper.
However, in the 44th minute, Cheetahs went up 3-2 on a penalty corner, when a rising flick by Syed Imran Warsi found the top of the Strykers’ nets.
A couple of hit-ins from Mario Almada in the third quarter for the Strykers went un-deflected.
The alert Cheetahs also denied the Strykers any space in their circle to score on deflections. A quick hit from the 25-yard line by the Strykers was well anticipated by the Cheetahs goalkeeper Jasbir Singh. He ran up, deflected it not giving a chance to Strykers forward who stood behind him, near the goal bars, waiting for the deflection.
Trailing by a goal, Pune Strykers earned a penalty corner in the 61st minute desperately looking for the equalizer but Gurpreet’s flick was brilliantly blocked by Chennai’s goalkeeper Jasbir Singh.
However, in the 64th minute, the Strykers deceived the Cheetah when Simrandeep Randhawa stood next to drag-flicker Gurpreet, on the penalty corner, and took the flick instead. He low flick found the target and Strykers made it 3-3.
Few minutes later, Strykers’ Vikas Pillay almost scored the winner goal but his hit got deflected off the goal post’s vertical bar, moved along the goal line and missed the cage.
Pune Strykers now stand at the top of the points table with 9 points with Mumbai Marines standing second with as many points but low on goal difference. Chennai Cheetahs stand 5th in the pool table now.
Chennai Cheetahs build-up and domination in the game was evident from the fact that they were 34% on ball possession in the 10th minute and had 60% possession at the end of the match.
Chennai held to 3-3 draw by Pune in World Series Hockey
CHENNAI: Chennai Cheetahs dished out a better brand of hockey but Pune Strykers still maintained their undefeated run as their match ended in a pulsating 3-3 draw in the World Series Hockey tournament on Friday.
After an early goal by Adam Sinclair (1st minute), Pakistani drag flicker Imran Warsi (30th, 44th) struck twice converting two penalty corners, including one in the third quarter, to raise hopes for the Cheetahs.
However, Pune was equally up for the task and scored through Roshan Minz (5th) and Bikash Topo (34th) and substitute Simrandeep Randhawa in the fourth quarter to help his team share the honours.
This is the third drawn match for the Pune Strykers, who have maintained their clean slate so far in five matches, with two wins against Delhi Wizards and Mumbai Marines.
As for Chennai Cheetahs they have won two and lost two and with this draw they take their tally to seven points, while Pune Strykers have accrued nine points so far.
In the very first minute, Cheetahs went into the lead when former international Adam Sinclair made good use of a defense lapse by Ken Pereira and grabbed the ball almost at the mouth of the goal to sound the boards.
Cheetahs were in control of the game but their goal keeper Jasbir Singh, a junior India player, wilted under pressure from the Pune Strykers and ended up yielded two goals to Warsi.
In the second quarter, Cheetahs managed to score off their 12th minute second penalty corner conversion by Warsi but in the fag end of the quarter Bikas Topno came up with a goal when Jasbir was out of charge.
The ball came off Jasbir's pads following a try by Mario Almeda off a perfect cross by Strykers biggest star Gurpreet Singh, who had so far accounted for eight goals from four matches. This was Bikas Topno's third goal in the tournament.
Cheetahs should have been paid for their better display compared to their first home match against Mumbai Marines on last Tuesday.
In fact they were looking to be scoring every time that they were in the Strykers circle but were denied off a good combined effort as young full back Amit Gowda brought off an excellent save at the nick of time when the ball was about to cross the goal line off an Imran Warsi shot.
Cheetahs play Karnataka Lions on Saturday in their sixth tie, while Strykers take on Chandigarh Comets on Sunday.
The Times of India
Badshahs rule as Wizards magic fails
In a thrilling contest, Bhopal Badshahs outmaneouvred Delhi Wizards 2-1 to take the top position in the inaugural Bridgestone World Series Hockey here on Friday. Earlier before this match, Pune Strykers and Mumbai Marine were occupying the top-2 position respectively, but the Badshahs just flew over them in the points tally with a fine victory in the 20th match of the tournament, the last match of the day.
Some stars never tire or let their energy fade with age. Sameer Dad of Bhopal Badshahs proved so authoritatively when he set up youngsters for goals on umpteenth occasions in 70 minutes of play, and was the main catalyst of his team’s thrilling win over the hugely talented but increasingly less opportunistic Delhi Wizards.
The match started on a breathtaking pace. Badshahs went up when Dad fetched a penalty corner against the run of play and let others to do the rest. Young gun Laxman Baskaran made his Olympian father and coach of his team, Vasudevan Baskaran, proud with his deadly grounder (14th minute. Wizards goalkeeper Kamaldeep Singh spotted the flight of that blinder, but the sheer power was too much for him to stop the ball from its intended destination.
Delhi replied in style in the next quarter. Bikramjeet Singh, who shot wide his attempt in the first penalty corner, flicked the ball so high that it crashed into the inside roof top (33rd minute) when he got another chance to showcase his ware.
Dad missed some easy chances, but made amends when he selflessly parted the ball to mate AB Cheeyanna, who had to merely tap the ball inside the goal, with the goalkeeper sprawled in front as the crowd came to its feet in the 49th minute.
In the third quarter, when the team played with a player less on account of yellow card suspension, Pakistani star Shakeel Abassi put Manoj Antil with gem of a feed, but the youngster fumbled in the D. The Wizards squandered many such lovely chances. Abbasi stole the ball when Badshahs failed to stop cleanly during their third penalty corner drill only to see Rajpal Singh miscuing his reverse shot. Delhi missed several sitters of this nature to gift the match to Badshahs. Dad was deservingly, declared the man-of-the-match.
World Series Hockey website
Delhi Wizards lose again; Bhopal on top
BHOPAL: Bhopal Badshahs beat a fighting Delhi Wizards 2-1 to go to the top of the points table in the World Series Hockey on Friday. Karan Bhaskaran (14th minute) and AB Cheeyanna (42nd) scored for the winners while Vikramjeet Singh sounded the board in the 33rd minute for Delhi's lone goal. It was Bhopal's first win at home, taking their points tally to 10. The Wizards crashed to their third defeat in five matches.
Earlier, Pune Strykers came from behind to hold Chennai Cheetahs 3-3 in Chennai. Imran Wasir converted two penalty corners and Adam Sinclair scored one for the hosts, while Roshan Minz, Bikash Toppo and Simrandeep Randhawa were the goal scorers for the Strykers.
The home side thought that they had won the game in the 44th minute when Warsi converted yet another PC but Strykers had the last laugh when they scored in the 64th minute through Randhawa.
The Times of India
Attempt to sabotage match?
BANGALORE: The first match of the World Series Hockey in Bangalore between Bhopal Badshahs and Karnataka Lions was all but a non-starter. For some mischievous elements tried to sabotage the game. The cables supplying power to the newly-installed towers that hold the 1300 lux bulbs were found to have been deliberately cut by some elements hell bent on trying to play mischief with the conduct of the tournament.
But the KSHA officials, to ensure that everything was in place, conducted a dress-rehearsal of things pertaining to the game on Sunday itself. As they checked the lighting facility, the lights did not come on. In trying to locate the fault, they found that the cables were cut off.
“Yes it was a deliberate attempt to sabotage the game. Fortunately, we found out what was wrong well in advance and had sufficient time to set right the faults. Imagine if we had taken it for granted and the lights did not come on today. With a packed stadium, it would have led to serious problems and repercussions for all concerned,” said Krishnamurthy, the KSHA secretary.
“I have lodged a complaint with the police and have requested them to investigate the matter. Such elements must be identified and given the punishment they deserve,” Krishnamurthy added. The rivalry between the Indian Hockey Federation and Hockey India has caused immense harm to the game and it is believed that it could be the reason.
“I am trying to get in touch with the Chief Minister, Sadananda Gowda, as he is also the Sports Minister. The stadium is owned by the government and no matter who conducts an event, such incidents have no place,” said IHF president R K Shetty.
Glenalmond win boy`s Scottish Cup
Glenalmond College triumphed in the boy`s final with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Loretto at Peffermill.
The contest was effectively over by the interval, Will Jack opened for the Perthshire side in 14 minutes and there followed further strikes by Robbie Swift and Archie Farquharson for a three goal lead at half-time. There was no further scoring until the final minute when Farquharson scored his second.
The semi-finals were played a few days earlier, and both were decided by a penalty shoot-out. Last Saturday Fettes and Glenalmond fought out a 2-2 draw in normal time, but the latter won through 2-1 on the subsequent penalty competition. It was a similar score between Gordonstoun and Loretto the following Tuesday, this time the Edinburgh school won 4-3 on penalties.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
SCOTTISH SCHOOLS CUP FINALS AT PEFFERMILL (GIRLS) - 08 MARCH 2012
Hannah Cockburn was the toast of George Watson`s College, she scored the only goal in the final against Mary Erskine`s School in an all-Edinburgh contest to retain the girl`s Scottish Schools Cup at Peffermill.
Cockburn`s goal, her seventh of the tournament overall, came from a penalty corner mid-way through the match.
Cockburn was also the catalyst in Watson`s semi-final defeat of The High School of Glasgow, this time her open play strike came in the opening five minutes. In the other semi-final Mary Erskine defeated Kelso High School 2-0, both goals coming in the second half from Amy McPherson and Lucy Preston.
George Watson`s piled on the goals in the earlier pool stages of the competition to finish top, in the opening game the Edinburgh school beat Kelso 2-0 with strikes from Ailsa Small and Felicity Johnson. St Columba`s were then swamped 6-0, Cockburn notched a hat-trick, Anna Bryans scored twice and Kirsten Peters got the other. It was a similar score against Gordonstoun School in the final pool match, Cockburn and Johnson got two each while Bryans and Kirsty McKean also scored.
Mary Erskine`s progress in the group stages was not so impressive, they started with a goalless draw with The High School of Glasgow, beat Robert Gordon`s College by a single goal from Caitlin Gray and finally saw off Strathallan by a similar score, Amy McPherson getting the important strike.
Scottish Hockey Union media release