All the news for Wednesday 9 May 2012
Men's FIH Champions Trophy 2012 to be held in Melbourne
Australia to compete at home for possible fifth consecutive title
A packed house at the 2009 Champions Trophy final in Melbourne (Photo: Fieldhockey.fr )
FIH is delighted to announce that the Men's FIH Champions Trophy this year will be held in Melbourne, Australia from 1 to 9 December 2012. The tournament will be played at the State Netball Hockey Centre, the same venue that also hosted the very successful 2009 edition of the Men's FIH Champions Trophy.
The field of participants is yet to be finalized with Australia, Spain, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Germany qualified as the countries ranked 1 to 5 in last year's edition, as well as Belgium qualified as the winners of the 2011 Champions Challenge 1. The allocation of the two remaining places will be decided by the FIH Executive Board in the coming months, with the participation of the Olympic Champions guaranteed.
FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather was enthusiastic about this year's event going to Melbourne, saying "Melbourne is always a great venue to go back to, and we are looking forward to possibly seeing a new era commence, a new era of players, and a fantastic Champions Trophy in Melbourne."
Hockey Australia Chief Executive Mark Anderson also conveyed his excitement for the opportunity to host the Champions Trophy again, saying “Melbourne hosted a tremendously successful Champions Trophy event in 2009. The crowds were large, loud, supportive and all of the international teams had a fabulous experience both on and off-field," and "We look forward to bringing the teams back to Melbourne for what we believe will be an even bigger event and more entertaining tournament."
Having won the tournament on the last four occasions, alongside a plethora of other titles in the last few years, the home team and world number 1 are of course big favorites, and Australia head coach Ric Charlesworth said, "We're delighted to have won four in a row, we should be happy with that, but Melbourne, at home, in front of our crowd, it would be a special occasion, and I like the idea of us being able to win five in a row, so that would be our aim. We will be looking for that."
However, as the first event after the Olympic Hockey Tournament, the Champions Trophy 2012 will allow a peek into the future of the sport, with the usual re-formation of teams expected to occur after the London 2012 tournament concludes, as Ric Charlesworth acknowledged, "I expect that after the Olympics, we'll see a lot of changes from all of the teams, and I know in Australia some of the players will be saying we want to do other things, and we'll be looking to build for a new cycle. So there will be some new ones, and usually, there are some new exciting ones, and I think that's good for the game."
The 2012 Champions Trophy will mark the end of an era in being the last annual edition of the Champions Trophy, which with the introduction of the FIH World League later this year will become a biennial event. The next Champions Trophies will therefore take place in 2014, with the men to compete in India, and the women in Argentina.
62,000 more hockey tickets go on sale
The Riverbank Arena Olympic hockey stadium
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has announced that another 62,000 tickets for the Olympic hockey tournament will go on sale.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has confirmed the details for the sale of contingency tickets for the Olympic Games.
- 900,000 Olympic Games contingency tickets on sale from 11am on 11 May 2012
- Reflects promise made in 2011 to prioritise unsuccessful applicants from previous rounds
- Olympic Park tickets will be on sale at £10 for adults and £5 for young people and seniors
Reflecting the promise made by LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe and CEO Paul Deighton last year, tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis exclusively to the one million or so people who applied in previous rounds of Olympic ticket sales and were not successful in securing a ticket.
Tickets will go on sale at www.tickets.london2012.com
To see list of contingency tickets going on sale and a timeline of ticket sales to date click here
First priority will be given to the 20,000 people who were unsuccessful in the initial Olympic ballot application and then again unsuccessful when they applied in the second chance sales due to the high demand. These 20,000 people would have received a notification on 26 June 2011 that their second chance sales application was unsuccessful. They will be given 31 hours exclusive access to the tickets.
The 1 million people who applied in the initial ballot but were unsuccessful will then have an exclusive 5 day sales period.
All customers will be limited to applying for one session and a maximum of 4 tickets. Those eligible for the sales will be contacted directly via email by LOCOG today.
LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said, 'We know thousands of sports fans were disappointed when they missed out in the initial sales period because of the massive demand for tickets. We promised we would prioritise these fans when we released the contingency tickets, which is exactly what we are doing.'
LOCOG has also confirmed that Olympic Park tickets will be available as part of this sale. These tickets will not allow access to the sport within the Olympic Park, but will allow ticket holders to experience the atmosphere of the Park and watch sport on the big screens primarily in the first week before the Athletics start. Approximately 70,000 Olympic Park tickets will be available as part of this sale, with further tickets will be available closer to Games time.
The schedule for the contingency sales period is:
11 May 2012 from 11am to 6pm on 12 May, tickets will be on sale for that group of 20,000 people in an exclusive pre-sale. There will be tickets for all events apart from Olympic Park tickets. Limited tickets for Opening and Closing Ceremonies will be included.
13 May 2012 – from 11am – Hockey, Tennis, Wrestling (Freestyle), Wrestling (Greco-Roman), Beach Volleyball and Football
14 May 2012 – from 11am – Athletics (Race Walk), Athletics (Marathon), Canoe Slalom, Canoe Sprint, Shooting, Swimming, Volleyball, Weightlifting and Cycling (Track)
15 May 2012 – from 11am – Equestrian (Dressage), Equestrian (Eventing), Equestrian (Jumping), Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Handball, Table Tennis, Swimming (Marathon) and Water Polo
16 May 2012 – from 11am – Basketball (North Greenwich Arena sessions), Badminton, Sailing, Gymnastics (Artistic), Gymnastics (Rhythmic), Gymnastics (Trampoline), Judo, Taekwondo, Boxing and Fencing
17 May 2012 – from 11am – Archery, Basketball (Basketball Arena sessions), Cycling (BMX), Cycling (Mountain Bike), Cycling (Road), Modern Pentathlon, Rowing, Triathlon and Olympic Park tickets
Unsold tickets on each day will be carried forward to the next day’s sales. By purchasing tickets on any of these days, customers will not be eligible to purchase any more tickets in this sales period. In recognition of Visa’s longstanding support of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, only Visa (debit, credit and prepaid) can be used to purchase tickets. Any tickets unsold during this period will go back on general sale from 23 May 2012 at 11am.
LOCOG has also announced that remaining tickets for the Paralympic Games will go on sale from 11am on 21 May 2012 – exactly 100 days before the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games. There has been unprecedented demand for tickets to the Paralympic Games so far and availability remains in many events. Further details will be released prior to tickets going sale.
LOCOG has also confirmed that new tickets will be on sale from 29 May 2012, which will help more people get to the Games. These tickets are:
- Cycling Road Race at Box Hill, in Surrey. Tickets will be £15 full price and £5 for young people and seniors for the viewing area at Donkey Green and £10 and £5 for the viewing area at Dormouse Drive.
- Cycling Individual Time Trial at Hampton Court Palace. These tickets will be £15 full price and £5 for young people and seniors at Viewing Area A and £10 and £5 at Viewing Area B.
- There will also be tickets available for Wimbledon which will provide access to The Hill and the big screen only. These tickets will be priced at £10 full price and £5 for young people and seniors.
- The Orbit. Tickets will cost £15 full price and £7 for young people aged 16 or under and seniors aged 60 or over. These tickets should only be purchased by people who have an Olympic Park ticket or a sport ticket for an event in the Olympic Park for the day they wish to visit the Orbit.
LOCOG has also confirmed its ‘babes in arms’ policy. Babes in arms, aged 12 months or under, will be permitted access to all London 2012 venues without a ticket except for Wembley Stadium, St James’ Park, Old Trafford and North Greenwich Arena where existing licensing agreements mean that all spectators require tickets regardless of age. Babies must be securely strapped to their parent or carer by way of a baby carrier, sling, papoose or similar. Customers who have queries about this policy should contact the London 2012 ticketing team on 0844 847 2012.
Potential customers are urged to only buy from official London 2012 sources. A full list of authorised ticket resellers is available on www.tickets.london2012.com where there is also a URL checker to confirm whether websites are authorised to sell tickets.
England Hockey Board Media release
SA, toast of the town
JOHANNESBURG - Champagne was the order of the day yesterday as the South African men’s hockey team returned following their heroics over the weekend in Kakamigahara, Japan where they managed to secure qualification for the Olympic Games in London in a little under three months time.
The road to the Olympics hasn’t been an easy one, a fact that adds even more merit to the achievement of this squad. They were unbeaten in the group stages before seeing off the hosts 2-1 in the final to meet the stringent criteria set by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) which effectively forced them to qualify for the Games twice.
But whatever bad blood there was when Sascoc made their conditions known has been left firmly where it belongs – in the past – and the squad can now focus on their next objective which is to prepare a side that can be competitive in what is arguably the toughest pool at the Olympic Games.
Gregg Clark’s side will be forced to contend with the likes of world No 1 Australia, hosts Great Britain, Argentina, Spain and Pakistan but the national coach is full of hope for a team that he considers to be one of the best that South Africa has produced. Big words when you consider Clark’s playing career and the calibre of players he shared the astro turf with.
“It’s been a really long and challenging road to get to this point,” said Clark yesterday.
“I think it’s well documented the qualification process we had to go through but the players made massive sacrifices to overcome these challenges.”
“This team is really starting to reach its potential. It’s been well documented that I reckon that we’ve got the golden generation.
“Having been involved with SA men’s hockey for 20 years I really think that this is the best group we’ve had for ages and I’m quietly confident that if we can get a really good preparation in the next few months and if a few things fall into place for us we can be competitive at the Olympics.”
With several squad members having already returned to club duties in Europe, plans are in place to host a training camp towards the end of May – after the conclusion of the European season – to allow the full squad to outline their goals and begin a vital phase for SA men’s hockey.
Support was outstanding: Clark
JOHANNESBURG - Support for the South African men's hockey team in Japan was phenomenal and the team appreciated it, coach Gregg Clark said in Johannesburg this morning.
"We were very grateful for the support we received from South Africa," he said at the team's arrival from Japan, where South Africa won the Olympic qualifier tournament, booking a place at the London Games.
"We received constant messages of support and well-wishes which lifted our spirits in tricky times. We always felt the team had the backing of the fans back home and to have that when you are so far from home is great."
A small crowd earlier greeted the South Africans at OR Tambo International Airport, including a Johannesburg high school hockey team which sang and held banners.
The team won its Olympic qualifier tournament on Sunday, beating hosts Japan 2-1 in the final in Kakamigahara. South Africa finished the tournament as the only unbeaten team in six matches.
According to strict SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee requirements, the team had to win the tournament to qualify for the Olympics.
"There were tough times in Japan, but we pushed through and held our nerve," Clarke said.
"Support played a big role in that and we can't thank our supporters enough."
SA hockey: 1 Government neglect: 0
by Inside Politics
FEATURE: Yesterday the South African men’s hockey team joined their female counterparts in successfully qualifying for the London Olympics. Many will have no idea just what a remarkable achievement that is. For years South African hockey has been undermined by the ANC government, financially and politically, to the extent that their players have often had to fund their own training. They have overcome daunting odds. What follows is a tribute to their excellence and a description of the obstacles they have risen above as a result of it.
SA hockey: 1 Government neglect: 0
By Gareth van Onselen
Yesterday the South African men’s hockey team joined their female counterparts in qualifying for the summer Olympics. South Africa defeated hosts Japan 2-1 in the final qualifying tournament on Sunday to secure the last spot in London.
It is a significant achievement, against the odds and worth taking note of. In fact, in the world of professional sport, where money plays an almost determining role in your success, it is nothing short of remarkable: their success defies a history of sustained political interference and financial difficultly often endured as a direct result of the state’s poor administration.
Here is their story.
By a Shoestring
Outside of private sponsorship, the South African Hockey Association (SAHA) is funded by three primary sources: the National Lotteries Board, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) and the Department of Sports and Recreation (DSR). But, like all sports outside of mainstream codes such as cricket, rugby and soccer, it receives precious little from each.
The total amount allocated by Sascoc to all Olympic sports teams for 2009/10 was R14 million. That amount increased marginally in 2010/11 to R17 million. Hockey would have received a fraction of that. According to the DSR’s 2010/11 annual report, SAHA was allocated R1.1 million in 2009/10 and R940 000 in 2010/11. And the National Lotteries Board allocated to hockey R11 million in 2009/10 and R11.5 in 2010/11.
So, let’s say at a generous estimate, and excluding other minor additions, SAHA receives around R15 million a year from the state. Admittedly that is one of the larger allocations next the other smaller sports but it pales in comparison to the main sporting codes. Not only are they able to raise enormous sums through sponsorship and television rights but, because of their size, they get more money from the state too. (Rugby alone, for example, got R35 million from the National Lotteries Board for 2010/11). On top of that, much of money is effectively ring-fenced. The allocation from the DSR must be used to grow the sports at grass roots level. It is not used to support the national team.
Both the National Lotteries Board and Sascoc have complained about the situation. In its presentation to the DSR portfolio committee, and according to the Parliamentary Monitoring Group, the Lotteries Board had the following to say:
“It was problematic that the biggest federations, better placed to attract commercial sponsorship, were the ones that got the biggest share in the allocation of funds from the National Lottery.”
Likewise, this month, Sascoc president Gideon Sam would make a desperate appeal for more money for sporting codes like hockey:
“I cannot emphasise strongly enough how much we need to keep our resources from drying up now when we need it most”, before continuing later, “Some of our major codes are battling financially and Swimming South Africa may need to retrench people at this crucial time. The hockey federation is also hobbling badly at a time when our national women’s and men’s teams are about to embark on their final qualifying bids.”
Fair enough, you might say, money should be allocated in proportion to a sport’s size and popularity. But, go a little further back in time, and it becomes apparent that hockey’s major funder, the National Lotteries Board, as was the case with much of its funding for a sustained period of time, failed properly to allocate even those meagre amounts available to sports like hockey.
In 2008/09, hockey’s National Lotteries Board grant was denied, ostensibly on the grounds that it had failed, as part of its application, to submit its constitution. It is difficult to fathom the Lotteries Board’s thinking. Here was a national federation, desperate for money, which had ticked every box but failed to hand over a document that could have been secured with a phone call. That this should prevent it from recieving a life-saving grant seems absurd. Later SAHA would submit its constitution and appeal the decision, only to have that denied too. At the same time, Spar, a long time sponsor of the team, also terminated its sponsorship. The consequences of these two developments were dire.
Do or Die
In September 2009, faced with the choice of declaring insolvency or dramatically cutting back its limited expenditure and staff, SAHC went with the latter (bankruptcy would have effectively ruined the sports local and international standing beyond repair). It was a desperate and cruel choice and one which, no doubt, must have resulted in many painful decisions and a widespread decline in moral.
In a February 2010 statement SAHA CEO Marissa Langeni would explain the practical implications of the decision as follows:
“A restructuring process was embarked upon by the executive, taking into account legal advice. This resulted in certain positions becoming redundant or being redefined. SAHA initiated a formal process, engaging all staff on how the organisation would be restructured. Retrenchment agreements were entered into with affected staff members. The position of coaches within SAHA was redefined, resulting in SAHA no longer making use of them on a full-time basis. Coaches for the women’s and men’s teams will be appointed on an event specific basis.”
One can just image the effect that process must have had on everyone in the organisation, players and management alike.
But their commitment never wavered.
Tellingly, in the same statement, Langeni would say the following:
“Hockey programmes will continue, albeit with possible contributions required from players and provinces alike from time to time. An example of this is that the Senior Men’s team had to pay total costs for a training camp in October 2009 and, in addition, they had to pay R10 000-00 per player towards the BDO Men’s Champions Challenge (where they improved their world ranking status from 15th to 13th). Furthermore, they were required to source an additional R220 000-00, which they managed to get funded by ex-national players. We extend our sincere gratitude to the Senior Men’s team for their continued efforts and resilience in difficult times.”
These are people, past and present, who truly love what they do. One has to admire their sheer passion and commitment to the game.
Through extensive but by all accounts painful lobbying, SAHA managed to secure a National Lotteries Board grant for 2009/10 and 2010/11, the former being expedited in light of its financial distress.
But despite these developments, SAHA and its players continue to operate on a shoestring budget.
Since Spar terminated its sponsorship, the sport has managed to secure odds and ends support (the Nedbank Sports Trust, for example, gives some money) but nothing substantial, although this past month Mr Price agreed to officially sponsor the team’s kit, to its great credit.
And all that time the player’s commitment has remained steadfast. In a recent interview, men’s coach Gregg Clark stated: “If we have to fund ourselves to get to training camps and drink out of a tap, then we’ll do that. At the end of the day we know what our goals are, we know what we want to achieve and we try to be as professional as we can.”
One doesn’t want to put all responsibility at the foot of government, business should do more as well. But the Olympics is different. If the government expects more than the single medal South Africa managed last time round, as it often says it does, it needs to put its money where its mouth is. Or, at the very least, distribute properly those monies it has agreed to make available.
Malicious Political Interference
But it isn’t just financial constraints that have hindered the team, politically too they have been held back over the years and their progress stifled by an ANC agenda obsessed with quotas – one that has damaged the prospects of many sports but hockey in particular.
The men’s hockey team also qualified for the 2000 Sydney Olympics but its participation in those games were blocked by then-Nocosa (National Olympic Committee of South Africa) president Sam Ramsamy, supposedly on the grounds that hockey was not transformed enough (it had seven players of colour in its squad of 30). Given the 1995 Rugby World Cup team had one player of colour and the dramatic effect their triumph had on national unity, the decision appeared nothing more than malicious and was widely condemned in the press. An especially cruel punishment for the players themselves, who had nothing but the deepest desire to do their country proud (indeed, they had won the All Africa Games in order to qualify).
But there were practical effects too. Nine international players withdrew from the squad following the decision and one can only image the effect on those thousands of young aspirant players thinking about a career in the sport.
Captain Craig Jackson put it like this:
“The guys have lost heart. Over the last two or three years we kept thinking that all we need is one little break and South African hockey would soar. Not going to the Olympics has just put us further back in that quest. We’ve wasted so much time, energy and emotion and, I’m afraid, we just don’t have it anymore.”
Heart-breaking stuff. To dedicate yourself to a sport for nothing more than the love it, to fund your own training so that you might qualify for the Olympics, the pinnacle of success, only, on doing so, to be told you aren’t good enough.
Writing for the Sunday Times in September 2000, then-SAHA vice president Alan Corrigan said the decision had “put the game back five years”. In response to that, Nocosa would change its tune, arguing the team was not, in its estimation, of sufficient quality to compete.
Four years later, in his book ‘Reflections on a Lifetime in Sport‘, Ramsamy would explain Nocosa’s decision as follows: “Problems arose when white South African athletes and largely white teams began to qualify for the Olympics in sports like fencing, table tennis, rowing, hockey and the rest, that remained largely underdeveloped in the rest of Africa… Thus, the men’s hockey side could not be selected for Sydney 2000: even though they qualified through Africa, they stood no real chance of winning a medal, and they did not include a significant number of previously disadvantaged players in their squad.”
So much for support. And little wonder hockey has struggled for so long to get bigger sponsorships. Who would sponsor a team that, in spite of qualifying, might not be allowed to participate on the biggest stage of them all?
This past weekend, that pattern was broken.
Just prior to the team’s departure for Japan, and having already done all the hard work in order to qualify, often at their own expense, sports minister Fikle Mbalula announced an additional R35 million for Sascoc in support for our various team’s Olympic ambitions. I suppose one should be thankful for that allocation – better late than never – but remember, this was the same minister who, a week or two earlier, had spent R46 million on the South African Sports Awards – 60% of the National Lottery Board’s contribution of R73.8m to support South Africa’s participation in the London Olympics. So even that amount comes against a particular backdrop.
Sascoc itself congratulated the team on its achievement and you can be sure the sports minister and the ANC will be the first on the bandwagon if our hockey team does well.
And there is no reason to expect them not to. Coach Gregg Clark has described the men’s team as comprising South Africa’s “golden generation” of players.
But don’t forget, for a moment, how difficult the government has made this qualification for our hockey players. And how they have persevered. At every turn and for a sustained period of time, the government has acted to retard, indeed, even directly to prevent, its growth and success. The ANC government is by no means a supporter of South African hockey.
When the Olympics arrive we will all revel in the enjoyment that our representatives give us. They play for us as much as they do themselves. Spare a special thought though for the hockey teams. These men and women really are the source of much pride. Individuals who, through thick and thin, have invested so much in national performance and representation, they have known only to forge ahead in spite of everything. And emerged triumphant. That truly is excellence.
Nationalism loves to wallow in ‘national pride’. In this particular case, however, the ANC government should hang its head in shame.
JAC: Semi-finals preview
Rana Mujahid of Pakistan is a man of few words. But after Pakistan had destroyed Sri Lanka with a 14-0 margin to top the group and avoid hosts Malaysia in the semis, Rana opened up and stated that they were hell bent on avoiding Malaysia.
Finishing on top of the group gave them satisfaction on two fronts, that they had finished ahead of India in their group and also qualified for the 2013 Junior World Cup.
Watch the video as Rana speaks on the respect they have for the Koreans, the semis opponents.
Meanwhile Malaysia were dealt with a severe blow when their attempt to move their semi final fixture from 1735H to 2005H was denied by the Tournament Director after consulting the other three teams in the semis.
While Korea had no objection, Pakistan had wanted to seek consent from their Secretary General Asif Bajwa while India flatly refused the request, which was made to ensure that the public could make it to the stadium to watch the match and enable it to be telecast live.
It was hockey's loss actually as its not easy to get matches live on TV.
Malaysian Hockey blogspot
Doing the nation proud
DOWN SIDE: But six players from present squad will not make it to New Delhi
By JUGJET SINGH
Malaysia’s Mohd Shamin Mohd Yusof celebrates the 3-1 victory over Japan on Monday.
MALAYSIAN hockey has never shown so much promise in any tournament for the last seven years, be it at senior or junior level.
The last time Malaysia had such a quality bunch of players was during the 2005 Junior World Cup in Rotterdam, but still we could only finish 10th.
The Project 2013 team have achieved their target of qualifying for the 2013 Junior World Cup in New Delhi, but unfortunately six will be overage by then.
They are stalwarts Faizal Saari, skipper Nor Faez Ibrahim, Izat Sumantri, Amir Farid, Mohamed Ramadan and Dedi Aryandi.
For now, all is rosy but the coaching set-up as well as the team management have been through a lot to form this bunch of winners.
"For sure, I will miss the six in the Junior World Cup, as they played big roles in helping the team to qualify. However, we do have back-up players in training as we foresaw the situation much earlier.
"By November next year, they should be ready to step into the shoes of those who will leave us," said Malaysian juniors coach K. Dharmaraj.
He treats his charges like he does his children, and even the naughty ones are loved.
"Since this team was formed in 2009, I have faced many challenging situations for not only do I have to manage my own children but am also entrusted by parents to manage their children who dream of bringing honour to the nation.
"At times, I did feel helpless, tackling the problems that surfaced. But now, looking back, I am happy as some of the boys who were branded as 'naughty' have matured to caring human beings," said Dharmaraj.
Malacca has been a super host, as not only is the stadium spanking new and spectator friendly, the officials have also done a great job in organising and running the show.
The only two problems seem to be the umpiring and publicity, which are the concern of the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
Dharmaraj and Japan team manager Satoshi Makimoto have complained about the umpiring as crucial goals were disallowed and penalty corners were not given when supposed to. Both were of the opinion that since so much was at stake, quality umpires should have been selected and also video referrals made available to settle disputes.
As for publicity, the Asian Hockey Federation only uploads a day later, while the FIH doesn't care about the Junior Asia Cup as its website does not even have a mention of the event.
TODAY -- Classification: China v Iran (6pm), Japan v Sri Lanka (8pm). TOMORROW -- S-finals: Malaysia v India (6pm), Pakistan v South Korea (8pm).
New Straits Times
Great hockey in store for the fans as Malaysia aim to outgun India
by S. RAMAGURU
MALACCA: Two engrossing matches are in store in the semi-finals of the Junior Asia Cup at the Bukit Serendit Hockey Stadium tomorrow.
Malaysia play defending champions India in the first semi-final before Pakistan take on South Korea.
Malaysia are the only ones of the four yet to win the title but that could change in this seventh edition of the tournament. They have been installed as the favourites by all the other teams after their display in the preliminary round.
India coach Baljit Singh Saini said the Malaysians are reaping the benefit of their long-term preparation.
“This is so obvious in their performance as they play as a unit and are highly skilful. The long-term training has benefited them as seen last year when they won the Sultan of Johor Cup. So they have to be favourites here too,” he said.
Baljit may have said that to ease the pressure on his team but India are also playing well. They are barely recognisable as they have made 10 changes to the side that played in Johor Baru last year.
“Our team are just at the starting block as we haven’t been together very long. Our target is of course the Junior World Cup and we are not under any pressure to defend the title here,” he said.
“I rate our chances against Malaysia as even as it will be a tough encounter. It will be close.”
Malaysia coach K. Dharmaraj said playing any team in the semi-final was a tough proposition.
“It’s a different ball game where you either win or get knocked out. There is no second chance,” he said.
“That is why you have to get your tactics right. The players are doing that well as they are keeping to our playing structure.
“It’s also good to see that they don’t give up when they were trailing. I’m quite optimistic about our chances.”
Malaysia and India both have deadly hitmen. Mohamed Noor Faeez (5 goals), Faisal Saari (3), Amir Farid (3) and Mohamed Syamin Yusof (2) are scoring at will while Amit Rohitdass,Akashdeep Singh and Malak Singh are doing the same for India.
The other tie between Pakistan and South Korea is also a touch-and-go affair.
Pakistan are starting to play with more flair and have settled down well. They hold the edge over the South Koreans who are predictable with their hard–running game.
But manager Anjum Saeed warned his players that taking any team for granted would be folly at this stage.
“It will be a close match. We must go all out to secure an early advantage if we are to succeed,” he said.
Whoever the winners, the fans are in store for some great hockey in Malacca tomorrow.
The Star of Malaysia
Faeez wants to ensure he bows out with a bang
by Vijhay Vick
TAKEN: Mohd Ramadan overcomes Japan’s Sasaki in Malaysia’s 3-1 win
MALACCA: Muhd Noor Faeez Ibrahim wants to end his career with the National Juniors with a bang.
Having led the team to next year’s Junior World Cup Finals in India, Faeez will be forced to miss out on the tournament as he will be overaged.
Hence, winning the ongoing Junior Asia Cup (JAC) will be his only consolation.
“Of course it’s disappointing I won’t be able to lead the team in India next year.
But it was always an honour to help Malaysia qualify for the event,” said the captain.
“As for me and some of the others, winning the JAC will be the highlight of our junior careers.”
Besides Faaez, the others who will farewell to this team are Faisal Saari, Izat Sumantri, Amir Farid, Mohd Ramadan and Dedi Aryandi.
Some of them have already established themselves in the senior side and coach K. Dharmaraj has already said he’ll miss having them in the team.
“Right now, the only thing on my mind is the semifinal clash against India. Though they finished second in Pool B, they’re still a strong team and also the defending champions,” he added.
Dharmaraj has already led his charges to a win over India.
This team whipped India 5-1 in the Sultan of Johor Cup last year.
While earning qualification was the utmost objective for the Malaysia at JAC, they now want to win JAC.
They have lived up to their expectations by defeating Iran 6-1 in their opening game before virtually sealing qualification to the JWC with a 6-3 win over South Korea.
They boys then defeated Japan 3-1 in their final Pool A match to top the group.
UPM rule the roost
By K. Kandiah
DEFENDING champions Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) won all their seven matches to top Division One and retain the Malaysian University Sports Council (Masum) Hockey League title on Sunday.
UPM beat Universiti Teknologi Mara (3-2), Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (4-1), Universiti Tenaga Nasional (4-1), Universiti Malaya (5-3), Universiti Sains Malaysia (6-2) and Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (9-3).
In their final league match, UPM thrashed Universiti Malaysia Perlis 7-2 at the Universiti Sains Malaysia synthetic turf hockey stadium in Minden on Sunday.
Universiti Teknologi Mara, who won six matches and lost one, finished second while last year's Division Two champions, Universiti Sains Malaysia, won four games, drew one and lost two to settle for third.
Meanwhile, in the Division Two final, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) upset favourites Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) 2-1. UTM took the lead in the fourth minute when Muhd Shaiful Nizam Aswan beat two opponents to score.
In the 58th, UTM made it 2-0 when Mohd Hilmi Hafidz Mohd Haidir scored off a penalty corner, but UPSI battled on and were rewarded when Aniq Amran reduced the deficit in the 67th minute but their attempts for more goals proved futile.
RESULTS -- Div 1 (League): 1 Universiti Putra Malaysia, 2 Universiti Teknologi Mara, 3 Universiti Sains Malaysia.
Div 2, S-finals: Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris 2 Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia 0; Universiti Teknologi Malaysia 4 Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia 3.
Final: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia 2 Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris 1.
New Straits Times
Black Sticks Men’s team named for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
The Black Sticks Men’s team has been announced for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup which will be played in Ipoh, Malaysia from 24 May to 3 June. It is the last tournament the Black Sticks will compete in before the Olympic team is named in mid June.
Other teams competing are Great Britain, Pakistan, Korea, Argentina and India as well as host country Malaysia, who are the only team not to have qualified for this year’s Olympics.
“This will be a great quality tournament for us and offers an opportunity to test ourselves against teams we’ll be playing against in London. Korea and India are both in our pool at the Olympics, so we are looking forward to playing them,” says captain Dean Couzins, who will likely reach his 250th test cap during the tournament.
The tournament will be played on the same blue turf as the one at the Olympics. To ensure the Black Sticks have the best preparation in their build up, both the men’s and women’s teams have been training on the blue turf at Westlake Girls High School. Furthermore, all their upcoming test matches in Australia and Europe will be played on blue turfs also.
Four notable inclusions in the team, who were not named in the Owen G Glenn Champions Trophy team last year, are Ben Collier (Central), Nick Haig (Canterbury), Arun Panchia (Auckland) and Richard Petherick (Midlands). Blair Hopping (Midlands) was not considered due to the birth of his baby boy recently and Steve Edwards (North Harbour) is recovering from a groin injury.
The Black Sticks leave for Malaysia next Thursday 17 May, playing practice matches against Great Britain and Malaysia prior to the tournament starting.
The side then returns to Auckland where the Olympic team will be announced the week commencing 11 June. They then go to Cairns for a three test series against Australia from 17-26 June, before leaving for Europe in the first week of July where they will play against Belgium and Holland.
Click here for the team list
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Black Sticks named for Olympics warmup
BEN COLLIER: The midfielder is one of four Black Sticks added to the squad for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup who wasn't involved in their Champions Trophy campaign. Getty Images
Four changes have been made to the men's Black Sticks squad for this month's Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
Two of the switches from the outfit which finished fourth at the recent Champions Trophy in Auckland have been forced upon coach Shane McLeod, with first-choice players Blair Hopping and Steve Edwards both out.
Key defender Hopping was not considered for selection due to the birth of his son while experienced midfielder Edwards is recovering from a groin injury.
Coming into the fray are Nick Haig, Arun Panchia, Richard Petherick and Ben Collier, and 371 caps between them, all now have golden opportunities to stake their claim in McLeod's plans for the 2012 Olympic Games, which begin in 79 days.
Beginning on May 24 the Azlan Shah Cup will be played in Ipoh, Malaysia and represents the Black Sticks' last tournament before the Olympic team is named in mid-June.
Other teams competing are Olympic hosts Great Britain, Pakistan, Korea, Argentina and India as well as host nation Malaysia, who are the only team not to have qualified for this year's Olympics.
And with two of those sides also in the Black Sticks' Olympic pool, captain Dean Couzins says the tournament is a crucial part of their preparation for the London Games.
"This will be a great quality tournament for us and offers an opportunity to test ourselves against teams we'll be playing against in London," Couzins said.
"Korea and India are both in our pool at the Olympics, so we are looking forward to playing them."
The Black Sticks leave for Malaysia next Thursday 17 May, playing practice matches against Great Britain and Malaysia prior to the tournament starting.
The side then returns to Auckland where the Olympic team will be announced the week commencing 11 June. They then go to Cairns for a three test series against Australia from 17-26 June, before leaving for Europe in the first week of July where they will play against Belgium and Holland.
Black Sticks men's team for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup:
Goalkeeper: Kyle Pontifex.
Defenders: Nick Haig, Andy Hayward, Dean Couzins (capt), Brad Shaw, Blair Tarrant, Arun Panchia, Matt L'Huillier, Richard Petherick.
Midfielders: Blair Hilton, Ryan Archibald, Phil Burrows, Shea McAleese, Ben Collier.
Strikers: Simon Child, Stephen Jenness, Hugo Inglis, Nick Wilson.
Kids new to hockey experience Fun Sticks for the first time
Fun Sticks module hits of in Marlborough (Credit Marlborough Hockey)
Hockey New Zealand’s Small Sticks has got underway with Marlborough, Northland and the Tauranga regions all rolling out the Fun Sticks module and receiving really positive feedback.
In the Marlborough region, 70 children are learning fundamental skills and playing hockey at a level that suits their ability and, most importantly, is fun to play.
Marlborough Hockey have been delighted with the response from kids and parents new to hockey and are confident they will get even more registered and playing hockey in the upcoming weeks.
“I came along on Saturday with my daughter for the first time and I just wanted to say thanks for such a fantastic session for the little ones. Everyone involved did such a great job - coaching was clear and easy for the kids to follow, but most of all you could see the kids were really having fun. The coaches were so good at engaging with the kids, which was just great to see and my daughter is really excited about coming back next week,” says new hockey mum Shelley Hartland from Marlborough.
In Northland, they have also had a good turn out with 40 kids attending last Saturday, which was an increase of 20 kids from the first week’s session before. Three regions within the Northland area - Whangarei, Green Bay and Mangakaramea – have so far hosted the programme and like Marlborough feedback has been really promising.
“The parents new to hockey love it because the kids love it. The sessions are really organised and clear which makes it enjoyable for everyone,” says Hockey Northlands’ hockey development coach Mac Bowmar.
Fun Sticks 2011 pilot group, Tauranga Hockey, are also sharing in the programme’s success, with three new satellite groups in 2012 on top of the three groups which were run in 2011. Last Saturday they hosted an impressive 127 kids, which was supported by 15 players and coaches from the Tauranga Boys first XI team. This gave each group a total of four coaches overlooking their skills and development, which enabled quality coaching.
‘We are really excited about registrations this year. Parents have registered their kids through word of mouth based on the positive feedback we received from last year’s pilot and we’re already getting an increase in entries from our schools too,” says Fun Sticks coach Gill Gemming.
Small Sticks is Hockey New Zealand’s nationally branded junior programme, designed to attract children, aged 4–13, into hockey and foster a lifelong love of the sport. Small Sticks allows children to play hockey at a level equal to their ability, with the correct equipment and in the appropriate game format.
You can read more about Small Sticks here
Photos: Fun Sticks module hits of in Marlborough (Credit Marlborough Hockey)
Hockey New Zealand Media release
SBP serves another show cause notice to turf installer
LAHORE – Sports Board Punjab (SPB) served another show cause notice to the installer of blue turf here at National Hockey Stadium on Tuesday for their continuous negligence to remove shock pads from the arena.
SBP Director Sports Jalil Ahmad Chohan said that they had failed to understand why the installer (Swallow International) was not taking necessary measures to carry out work in accordance with the tender notice and document which was causing unnecessary delay to lay the turf as per schedule.
“It is strange that the installer did not answer the previous show cause notice and in the given circumstances SPB has left with no option but to serve another show cause. Despite clear instructions issued to you for removal of the shock pads, no action has yet been taken to remove it and start installation of the new ones,” said the show cause notice.
The SPB official said the installer had not only violated the provision of tender notice but also has stopped the work and there was no likehood of its completion with in the stipulated time period.
Punjab government has allocated a special grant of Rs 35 million for the installation of blue turf for the preparation of Pakistan hockey team for London Olympics. It is hoped that as per the work order and the tender the task will be completed next month giving few weeks time to the player to adjust with the newly introduced plastic surface, he added. “We will also be recommending to the Federal government as well as Punjab government for black listing the installer,” he concluded.
London woes: Are Nobbs’ boys good enough?
Harpreet Kaur Lamba
When Ric Charlesworth and Michael Nobbs came face to face ahead of the India-Australia opening match of the London test event, the former could not help but walk across to the bunch he had once dreamt of turning into the best in the world.
Charlesworth, who coaches Australia now, enquired about the Men in Blue’s progress and even had a joke or two to crack on the hold of administrators on Indian hockey.
During the next five days, India lost to each of their opponents in the tournament - Australia, Germany and Great Britain. Ranked 10th in the world, Nobbs’ boys were never expected to get past their higher-ranked opponents, but the manner of defeats has brought questions.
Nobbs’ all-attack theory - something he has advocated since taking over as the national coach - cut no ice against the big guns. The players had clear instructions to restrict themselves to their own half, doing away from the usual full press style.
"The results were disappointing, but now we know what to expect at the London Games," said goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh, who had an outstanding tournament. "The positive thing is that we played against the best and know exactly what was lacking.
"All the matches were a learning experience and since Germany are in the same pool as ours (at the Olympics), the scoreline against them (1-2) gave us more confidence," he added.
The team, who returned home on Tuesday morning, believe there’s no need to panic. But the fact that Nobbs has chosen to fly to Malaysia directly - to pick a few defenders from the ongoing Junior Asia Cup tournament for future national camps - reveals worrying signs ahead of the London Games.
In the four matches in the test event, India could only score one field goal. Also missing were the drag-flicks of Sandeep Singh, since the team could not earn any penalty corners against Australia and Germany.
"That can be a major worry for us," said midfielder Gurbaj Singh. "The big teams do not give you any width, and they perhaps understand that our strength is scoring through penalty corners. The strikers will have to take up greater responsibility in such a scenario."
The defence too has been a major worry for many years now.
"As goalkeepers, we can save all direct hits, but when it comes to deflections or passes inside the Dee, the defence should step up. And sometimes that doesn’t happen.
"It is very clear that we have to sharpen our defensive skills against teams like Australia. We will have to play hard, tough, at a fast pace and even be sharper in the mind to match up to them," said Sreejesh.
Striker S.V. Sunil though says India have the ability to surprise at the Games. "This was our first big tournament before the Olympics, and playing on the blue turf was a bit difficult to start with. We took our time to settle, and improved gradually."
The Asian Age
Nobbs keen to launch a national talent spotting program
MALACCA (Malaysia): India hockey team coach Michael Nobbs said that he plans to visit every nook and corner of India to spot talented youngsters, who can be groomed to play for the country.
Stating that it was necessary to launch a nationwide campaign to look out for the talent pool, Nobbs said, "Since I took over I have been busy with the national team preparation. Once the Olympics is over, I will focus on real talent resources of the country.
"But for that we need to go to those places where talent is being nurtured by various parties."
Nobbs, who has directly flown down here from London after the Olympic Test event was over, to watch the junior Indian players, said that he would need the help of coaches like Baljit Singh Saini and Md. Riaz to find out the real talent.
"With the assistance of young and upcoming coaches like Baljit Singh Saini and Md. Riaz and others, I plan to visit every hockey academy and centre in India to see the guys there. If there is good talent, which I hope there is, we will invite the players to come for focussed training.
"This could take almost a year, but it is worth it," said Nobbs.
Citing that the reason for Indian hockey lagging behind in the world despite having a number of talented players is the fact that they are not spotted at the young age, Nobbs said "spotting talent early is prerequisite in creating a strong foundation".
"We need to focus on future. We need to develop three good teams in each category. Sitting in a centralised place, watching and grooming only a particular set of players won't serve our long-term interests," insisted Nobbs.
"First and foremost step is to know the extent of player resources in the country, and their talent level.
"Authorities in India are favourable to this type of survey and talent hunting, and with young coaches at our disposal, the task should not be a problem," he added.
The Times of India
Sanwar, Jaspreet star as IAF win big
Sanwar Ali and Jaspreet struck a brace each as Indian Air Force (IAF) crushed Fortis 6-1 in the Ozone Group - KSHA National Hockey League championship at the KSHA stadium on Tuesday.
This was IAF ’s second win and they now have six points from nine matches. Fortis remain static on seven points from 10 games, crashing to their seventh defeat.
Sanwar’s goals came in the 3rd and 16th minutes while Jaspreet struck in the 24th and 34th minutes, Topno M (41st) and Lovepreet Singh (62nd) struck the other two goals. Vikramjith Singh hit Fortis’ only goal in the 64th minute.
In the day’s second game, Sports Authority of India (SAI) drew Army Red 2-2. SAI have eight points from 9 matches while Army Red are on 13 from 9 games with one match each to go.
Meanwhile, heavy downpour led to the postponement of league leaders’ ONGC’s crucial match against Air India to Wednesday.
ONGC, with 21 points from eight games, have the opportunity to be crowned champions if they can seal victory against Air India (18 points from eight matches) and beat IAF in their last match on Thursday.
Second placed IOCL and third placed BPCL, both in contention, with 19 points each will clash in Wednesday’s last game.
Results: IAF: 6 (Sanwar Ali 3rd, 16th, Jaspreet 24th, 34th, Topno M 41st, Lovepreet Singh 62nd) bt Fortis: 1 (Vikramjith Singh 64th); SAI: 2 (Darshan 6th, Nikin Thimmaiah 61st) drew Army Red: 2 (Dhananjay Mahadik 15th, 40th).
New initiative to promote school hockey
By Taus Rizvi
On the lines of EPL and IPL, Mumbai School Sports Association (MSSA) have come up with a new concept to promote hockey at school level.
Presently, the tournament, Super Hockey League, is being played on an experimental basis for two days (May 8 and 9) at Bandra’s St Stanislaus High School grounds with six U-14 teams split in to two groups participating in it.
The pool ‘A’ has teams from outside Mumbai - Pune Lions, Thane Strykers and Nashik Panthers - while pool ‘B’ comprises Mumbai sides - Mumbai Tigers, Mumbai Zions and Mumbai Wizards.
The concept is the brain child of MSSA secretary N Chandrashekhar and two other hockey enthusiasts. “The two-day event is just an experiment for the future league. It has gone well so far. We are planning to have a league at the all-India level to promote hockey in December,” said Chandrashekhar.
All the six teams have different owners. The concept is a bit different from the usual. The owner doesn’t have to shell out big sums of money. They only need to provide kit and take care of the welfare of the players. Also, the teams have been divided on a lottery system. “Since it is just a beginning, we decided to give the teams to hockey enthusiasts who could look after their respective teams. To have balanced teams we had organised a lottery system and that’s how the players were divided,” said Chandrashekhar. “The MSSA is fully supportive of it.”
Results: Pune Lions 1 drew Thane Strykers 1; Mumbai Tigers bt Mumbai Zions 1; Pune Lions 8 bt Nasik Panthers 1; Mumbai Tigers 0 drew Mumbai Wizards 0; Thane Strikers 3 bt Nasik Panthers 2
Jadhav's heroics in vain
Western Railway defeated Union Bank of India by nine runs in a Group ‘B’ match of the Police Commissioner’s Twenty20 D/N Cup played at the Police Gymkhana ground, Marine Drive.
Western bowled well to defend their total of 162/8 from their 20 overs by restricting Union Bank of India (UBI) to 153 for eight from their quota of overs.
Batting first, Western lost an early wicket, but thereafter managed to make steady progress as their No.3 Vinayak Bohir made a timely half-century (51) to lift Western’s innings and set UBI a challenging target to win.
In reply, Union Bank had things under control with their one-drop batsman Sanket Jadhav on top of the bowling and striking the ball well to gave the innings the much need momentum. However, Jadhav, who scored an unbeaten 69, received little support from the other batsmen and as a result UBI fell short by nine runs.
Income Tax were beaten quite comfortably by Mumbai Port Trust in an earlier match. Rohit Pawar scored an unbeaten 53, and with support from Sanjeev Shrivastav's 37 saw his team home with eight balls to spare. Income Tax only scored 129 in their 20 overs, and Port Trust cruised to victory losing just five wickets.
Brief Scores: Group B: Western Railway 162 for 8 in 20 overs (Vinayak Bohir 51) bt Union Bank of India 153 for 8 in 20 overs (Sanket Jadhav 69 n.o.); Group A: Income Tax 129 all out in 18.5 overs (Ajitesh Argal 32) lost to Mumbai Port Trust 130 for 5 in 18.4 overs (Rohit Pawar 53 n.o., Sanjeev Shrivastav 37).
Five star win for Karnatak SA
Karnatak Sporting Association (KSA) were in cracking form as they handed Intelenet SC a crushing 5-0 defeat in a Super Division match of the Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) league at the St Xavier’s ground, Parel on Tuesday.
Dominating the proceedings from the outset, KSA raced to a 2-0 first half lead and later added three in the second session to complete the opponents' demolition. Melwyn Pereira, Wilfred Pereira, Gilroy Aranha, Saad Ansari and Nigerian Uchenna Arihi, all contributed a goal each towards the victory.
Earlier, G M Franco East Indians received a walkover after Mumbai United did not turn up for their match.
Results: Super Div: KSA 5 (Melwyn Pereira, Wilfred Pereira, Gilroy Aranha, Saad Ansari, Uchenna Arihi) bt Intelenet SC 0.
Malcolm saves the day
Malcolm Patel's heroics under the bar, especially in the crucial tie-breaker, helped his team overcome Warriors SC 4-2 and advance to the semi-finals of the MHA organized S D Biwandiwalla Cup Memorial hockey tournament at the MHA Stadium, Churchgate on Tuesday. There was not much to separate the two teams in this engrossing quarter-final contest, which ended goalless. And it was Catholic Gymkhana’s goalkeeper who proved to be the difference between the two teams in the end. However, in the ensuing penalty strokes duel, Catholic Gym held their nerves and successfully converted their first four attempts. In contrast, Warriors could only convert two of their attempts as goalkeeper Patel stopped the other two, to seal Catholic Gym’s passage to the last four on a day he will always remember.
Results: 2nd round: Catholic Gymkhana 4 (Gavin Vandrine, Sandeep Patelia, Arthur Castelino, Sheldon Fernandes) bt Warriors SC 2 (Joginder Singh, Roxy Rodrigues) via the tie-breaker.
Carmel rink hockey from May 9
The Carmel Sports Committee in collaboration with Kripa Foundation will be organising the annual Mt Carmel Invitation Floodlit Rink Hockey Tournament at the Mt Carmel Church compound from May 9-12.
The five-a-side tournament will feature a men’s and women’s section and will feature some of the best teams in the city like Western Railway, Mumbai Customs and Union Bank of India playing alongside top club teams like Companeroes, Bombay Republicans, Rebels Sports Club and Sea View. Both sections will be played on a ‘knockout’ format with the finals to be held on May 12. Each match will be played over a short 20 minute duration for women and 30 minute duration for men.
Participating teams: Women: Rhema SC, Khalsa College, F-United, Marcelinians, Sea View SC, Western Railway; Men: Western Railway, Khalsa College, Sea View Brothers, Catholic Gymkhana, Companeroes, Freunds, Boscoites, Hockey Santacruz, Mumbai Customs, Union Bank, SAISA, Rebels, Abhi Foundation, Rhema, Bombay Republicans, Wenden Carters.
Mixed day for Pune, Thane
Both Pune Lions and Thane Strikers had a mixed day out in the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) under-14 hockey tournament at St Stanislaus School in Bandra on Tuesday. For starters, they could not be separated when they met each other in the competition, with the match finishing in a 1-1 draw. Anand Pawar scored for the Lions while Pradeep Vahle found the back of the wooden cage for Thane.
Sachin Tendulkar, Dhanraj Pillay and another Sachin, an incident in the life Malaysian goalkeeper.
When Indian hockey legend Dhanraj Pillay phoned him and enquired whether his son Sachin is interested in meeting real Sachin, Natarajan would not believe his ears.
The former Malaysian goalkeeper, who played along side the Indian hockey legend in the Malaysian Hockey League, took his son to the Malaysian Cricket Association Stadium where Indian cricket team was practicing.
It happened four years ago, when four, five top cricket teams of the world assembled for a tournament in the most unlikely of place, Malaysia. Still, Natarajan, now goalkeeper coach of the Malaysian team in the Junior Asia Cup, vividly remembers the day his son Sachin was on cloud nine.
"Pillay’s only instruction to me was to get my phone to Sachin when he comes for practice, but I found that practically impossible as security would not allow me to even 100m close to Sachin”.
As Natarajan was in this difficulty, came RP Singh, up and coming cricketer then to pick up a ball, and exactly that time Natarajan told him Pillay is on the phone and wants to talk.
"I can’t believe this cricketer paid so much reverence to Pillay, at once I felt my son's dream of meeting Sachin will materialize. In the next minute, RP Singh handed over the phone to Sachin, who spoke to Dhanraj almost 10,15 minutes non stop. Then he called me. Once Sachin called us, everything seemed to fall in line, security would allow us, things flow easily."
"Me and my son almost spent half an hour with Sachin. Though am not a cricket fan my son, who was named after the cricketer due to my wife’s passion of this cricketing personality, was jumping in joy."
"Sachin was a such a simple person it is difficult to think anybody else of his stature would. He offered us tea, spent much time. And when he asked what more he needs, I told him that one legend put me through another legend and I need a photo with him with his son, which he obliged, and got a photographer do that."
"We in the family hold the photo dear to us, not only to remember Sachin but also to think how much care Pillay took on my son's interest, and also how much influential Dhanraj Pillay is with other sporting legends."
"Once we were with Sachin for such a time, it took the entire Indian media by surprise, they surrounded us to know how we know Sachin, and what we discussed, like things".
"Days later one Hindi paper in India published a story on us under the title, Sachin meets Sachin.
Shocking death Of Oz player brings issue of safety back under scanner
PANAJI: The death of Australia's Lizzie Watkins due to a head injury on the hockey pitch in Perth on Sunday came in the most bizarre of circumstances: a deflection off her own stick to the back of the head. A doctor with the national team described the incident as a "freak occurrence", but it also brings to the fore a dangerous set-piece in the game: the penalty corner.
Way back in 1988 at the Seoul Olympics, the world watched in horror as Dutchman Floris Jan Bovelander's undercut shot hit the head of German star Stefan Blocher. The giant German lay motionless for several seconds before recovering. Since then, the penalty corner has undergone a metamorphosis, but not so much from the safety point of view.
The drag flick, evolving through subtle rule changes, has become a very potent method of scoring. But it is doubly dangerous. Face masks for the defenders appear to enhance safety, but with PC experts dragging the flick very often at 130kmph or more, it's a near miracle that a tragedy hasn't taken place at the top level. There was a case of hospitalization, though, at the 2000 Olympics when a South Korean stood in the line of Pakistani Sohail Abbas' scorching salvo.
The penalty corner, clearly, represents the biggest area of danger to life and limb on the hockey pitch. Australian coach Ric Charlesworth's 'Nine's' format, where the penalty-corner routine eliminates the sledge-hammer strike, must be given a chance.
According to the Nine's routine, four attackers -- one injecting the ball into play from the goal-line in the usual way -- face off against three defenders standing behind the goal-line (including the goalkeeper). The three attackers receiving the ball must stand beyond the 23m line (not on top of the 'D' as in 11-a-side hockey) and the ball must be played over the 23m line before a goal can be scored.
The four against three power-play may bring in safety while banishing the dreaded penalty corner assassin.
The Times of India
Controversial Argentina player dropped
DROPPED: Controversial Argentina hockey player Fernando Zylberberg has missed selection for the team's next tournament. Reuters
The Argentine hockey player filmed training on the Falkland islands in a controversial video that caused a furore in Britain last week has been dropped from Argentina's final Olympic Games warm-up event.
Fernando Zylberberg, a 34-year-old midfielder who has captained Argentina, was not included in the 18-man squad for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia posted on the Argentine Hockey Confederation website.
The other teams participating in the six-nation tournament from May 24 to June 4 are the hosts, India, Pakistan, South Korea, New Zealand and Britain.
A veteran of the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, Zylberberg was in the Argentina side that qualified for London as Pan-American champions last year and his absence in Malaysia does not mean he is definitely discarded for the July 27-Aug.12 Games.
The Argentine state-supported television advertisement aired in the run-up to the London Games and featuring Zylberberg was branded by Britain as "tasteless and insulting".
It shows Zylberberg running past symbolic landmarks on the Falklands, the South Atlantic islands over which the two countries fought in 1982, and exercising on the steps of a war memorial to British soldiers.
It ends with the voiceover: "To compete on English soil, we are training on Argentine soil." Argentina claims sovereignty over the islands it calls Malvinas.
The Argentine Olympic Committee (COA) issued a statement on Tuesday distancing itself from the advertisement.
"using the Olympic Games to make political gestures of any kind is not acceptable and we will conduct ourselves in the proper spirit of Olympism in all that we do in London and elsewhere," COA president Gerardo Werthein said.
Olympic trivia: India lose to Pak at Rome 1960
Before the 1960 Rome Games, India had never lost a hockey match at the Olympics. The likes of Dhyan Chand, Roop Singh, Balbir Singh and Gurbax Singh had become household names. However, Pakistan had impressed one and all with their silver medal-winning performance in Melbourne four years ago.
Nevertheless, when Leslie Claudius’s Team India left for Rome, they were the favourites.
India had it easy in the preliminary stages. They thumped Denmark 10-0, brushed aside New Zealand 3-0 before conceding a rare goal against The Netherlands in a 4-1 win. Then, the struggle began. They met Australia in the quarterfinals and earned a hard-fought 1-0 win. India then beat Great Britain 1-0 in unconvincing fashion.
The title clash was a repeat of the 1956 Games final. But alas, a different bunch of players were celebrating this time. Ahmad Nasir’s goal put Pakistan ahead. India never managed to recover and Pakistan were successful in halting India’s wondrous run at six successive Olympic Games. For the first time in more than three decades, the Indian hockey team returned without the gold medal.