All the news for Tuesday 17 September 2012
Great Britain build winning momentum with Spanish victory
A lightning start and second half grit ensured Great Britain’s men’s hockey team took the honours at the tri-nations Olympic warm-up tournament in Santander on Monday evening. First half goals from Reading’s Jonty Clarke and HGC’s Barry Middleton fired GB into an early lead and although Pau Quemada halved the deficit before half time, Great Britain rode out 2-1 victors, winning the tournament in the process following their 3-1 victory over India on Saturday.
Head Coach Jason Lee played his 16 man Olympic squad in the match, which saw Surbiton forward Matt Daly make his 50th appearance for Great Britain. Afterwards Lee said he was pleased with the outcome: “We started brightly and there were some nice signs but as you’d expect Spain stepped it up after going two nil down. But we toughed it out and the players showed some real grit in the second half.”
Satisfied with his side’s preparation going into London 2012, Lee added, “We’ve been playing on the same blue and pink turf here as we will be at the Olympics and we’ve had vaguely British weather too. With opponents like India, who are tenth in the world, and Spain fifth we’ve had high quality practice. When you include our practice game against the Dutch recently we’ve now won three in a row so we’re building a winning momentum.”
Great Britain began positively and having roared into the ascendancy from the first whistle it came as no surprise when Reading forward Jonty Clarke gave GB the lead in the 11th minute. A through ball from Ashley Jackson was laid off first time by Surbiton’s Rob Moore and Clarke smashed the ball home from the top of the circle to make it 1-0.
The partisan Spanish crowd was silenced again in the 19th minute when captain Barry Middleton doubled Great Britain’s lead with a deft back post deflection that left goalkeeper Francisco Cortes with no chance following good approach play from Reading’s Nick Catlin.
GB were worthy of their two goal lead, although Cannock goalkeeper James Fair was called into action to keep out two penalty corners diving to his right. Four minutes from half time Fair was beaten by Pau Quemada’s penalty corner drag flick that flew high into the roof of the net.
As they had the first, the visitors began the second half brightly but as Spain found their grip, Great Britain’s defence did well to keep out four more penalty corners. Despite their defensive duties, GB looked dangerous on the break. Surbiton’s Matt Daly narrowly failed to connect with a cross from Hampstead & Westminster’s Dan Fox before moments later East Grinstead’s Ashley Jackson saw his reverse stick shot saved by Cortes.
Spain looked the more threatening side in the closing stages but Great Britain held out to take the three points and with them, the tournament title.
Great Britain’s men will remain in Spain until Thursday, where they will train. The team will enter the Olympic Village on Sunday. Spain and India meet on Wednesday afternoon in the tournament’s concluding fixture.
SPAIN 1 (1)
Pau Quemada 31 (PC)
GREAT BRITAIN 2 (2)
Jonty Clarke 11 (F)
Barry Middleton 19 (F)
GREAT BRITAIN SQUAD v SPAIN
Name (Club) Position
James Fair (Cannock) Goalkeeper
Ben Hawes (Wimbledon) Defender
Iain Lewers (East Grinstead) Defender
Richard Smith (Loughborough Students) Defender
Alastair Wilson (Beeston) Defender
Ashley Jackson (East Grinstead) Midfielder
Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead) Midfielder
Harry Martin (Old Loughtonians) Midfielder
Nick Catlin (Reading) Midfielder/Forward
Barry Middleton (HGC (Netherlands) ) Midfielder/Forward
Matt Daly (Surbiton) Forward
Dan Fox (Hampstead & Westminster) Defender
Iain Mackay (Reading) Midfielder
Jonty Clarke (Reading) Forward
Rob Moore (Surbiton) Midfielder/Forward
James Tindall (Surbiton) Forward
Did Not Play
George Pinner (Beeston) Goalkeeper
Richard Mantell (Reading) Defender
Great Britain Hockey media release
Olympics-Britain's hockey team on a roll after tri-nation wins
by Mark Elkington
MADRID: Britain's men's hockey team received a morale boost ahead of the London Olympics by beating 2008 silver-medalists Spain and India to win a tri-nation warm-up tournament in Santander on Monday.
Jonty Clarke and Barry Middleton netted in the first half for a 2-1 victory against their Spanish hosts, who pulled a goal back just before the break through Pau Quemada at a penalty corner.
The British side had come back to beat eight-times gold medallists India 3-1 on Saturday.
"With opponents like India, who are 10th in the world, and Spain fifth we've had high quality practice," coach Jason Lee told www.greatbritainhockey.co.uk.
"When you include our practice game against the Dutch (ranked third) recently we've now won three in a row so we're building a winning momentum."
The men's team head off to London on Sunday and play Spain in their final pool A match on Aug 7, after facing Argentina, South Africa, Pakistan and the world's top ranked team Australia.
Pool B contenders India play-off for second place with Spain on Wednesday.
Jackson & Co to welcome the Euro
By Graham Wilson
ASHLEY JACKSON and his Great Britain team-mates will be hoping he will have an Olympic gold medal to show off at his East Grinstead club when they become the first English side to host the Euro Hockey League from October 26-28.
Their round features 12 clubs playing in four pools of three which will also feature English champions Reading. The top two of each pool will reach the KO16 tournament which will be played next Easter. The Euro League has really taken off after its inception five years ago, attracting the world's top players and revolutionising the game.
Jackson's men will play Belgian champions Waterloo Ducks and the Belarus club Stroitel Brest. Reading face Belgians KHC Dragons and St Germain of France while Beeston go to the other group in Barcelona from October 12-14 to play Dutch champions Amsterdam and Poland's top club Grunwald Poznan.
East Grinstead chairman Simon Longhurst said: "We are delighted to bring the Euro League to England for the first time so soon after London 2012. This is an excellent opportunity to reunite hockey supporters after the Games."
Sally Munday, England chief executive, said: "We are working hard to provide great spectator experiences to hockey fans across England and are excited about this high calibre addition to our calendar."
European Hockey Federation president Marijke Fleuren said: "We have consolidated the tournament and are spreading our wings. In this special Olympic year we are delighted to be bringing the EHL to Olympic heartlands, old and new. It is vital for hockey to build on the momentum of our heightened publicity during the Games year so it is perfect that our first legacy event in England should be our premier club event the EHL."
Jorge Alcover, EHF vice-president, said: "I am very happy about bringing the EHL to England, its clubs and hockey fans so everybody can realise the importance and strength of this club competition."
Black Sticks women off pace as medal contenders
CHARLOTTE HARRISON: The Black Stick tapped the ball to the back of the net after a goalmouth scramble against Germany yesterday. Fairfax NZ
Six months ago the Black Sticks women were seen as Olympic medal contenders, now the world's sixth-ranked team has plenty to do and not a lot of time to do it if they're going to compete with the big guns in London.
The Black Sticks had scored wins over lesser-ranked Belgium and South Africa at the Four Nations tournament in Germany, but the hosts were too good for them yesterday, winning 5-1.
“It was a very disappointing performance," coach Mark Hager said. "We turned the ball over too much and this made our job of defending very difficult."
New Zealand conceded two goals in the first half, and the Germans stretched their lead to 3-0 soon after the break.
A goalmouth scramble saw Charlotte Harrison tap the ball to the back of the net, but Germany scored twice more and took the game out of reach.
The women now go to the Olympic village where they will spend two days training before a friendly against France this week.
Meanwhile, the Black Sticks men will also head to London on a losing note after a 3-2 defeat to world No 3 the Netherlands in Utrecht.
It follows a 3-0 loss to the same team at the weekend, but coach Shane McLeod believed they were not far off the team ranked four places above them.
"There were elements of the game that were pleasing, but our turnover rate was high," McLeod said.
"Overall, it was a much better performance than our first game."
New Zealand scored in the third minute from the first penalty corner of the game, thanks to a Richard Petherick drag flick, but the Dutch scored two field goals before halftime, then went two goals up after the break following a penalty corner.
The Black Sticks put some pressure on in the last 15 minutes and pulled one back through Blair Hilton.
The men's team will depart for the Olympic village in a couple of days where they will train on the Olympic turf and play practice matches against Great Britain and Spain.
Daddys little girl is London bound
DHS grad Paige Selenski is member of U.S. field hockey team
by Sarah Hite.
Brian Selenski holds a portrait of his daughter Paige, a member of the U.S. field hockey team and 2008 graduate of Dallas High School, at his home in Shavertown.
Friends and family of 22-year-old Paige Selenski weren’t exactly surprised when the 2008 Dallas High School graduate was recently named to the U.S. Olympic Field Hockey Team.
“Well, yes and no,” said Paige’s father Brian Selenski, of Shavertown. “You know from the coaches what’s going on and who’s doing well but then you’re holding your breath because you never know.”
For Selenski, a University of Virginia senior majoring in English, making the team was a long time coming.
Brian Selenski said his daughter was first introduced to the sport as a seventh-grader at Dallas Middle School by her late mother Judy’s suggestion to join a field hockey camp.
And the rest is the stuff of Olympians.
Selenski joined the junior high team at Dallas and earned a starting spot on the varsity team by her freshman year.
Former coach Mary Kate Stauffer said it’s evident that Selenski has no one but herself to credit for her success.
“Paige was and continues to be head and shoulders above the rest of her peers in terms of her skills,” said Stauffer, who coached all four years of Selenski’s high school career. “From an early age, she knew how to harness her talents and definitely worked hard.”
It was during that time when Selenski lost her mother to cancer, and Brian Selenski wanted to make sure his daughter continued on her athletic path as long as she enjoyed the game.
“I asked her if she wanted to continue and she said ‘yes,’” Brian said. “My wife was there right down to the end. When she got sick she would still go to see the games, and even when she wasn’t feeling well she would watch the games from the car.”
Brian believes that kind of support is what keeps the field hockey star so motivated.
“I think part of her playing is for my wife,” he said. “I think it gets her adrenaline up, especially when she gets into a slump during a game.”
Selenski pressed on and continued to excel throughout her career at Dallas. Stauffer, who played field hockey at a New Jersey high school that produced Olympians, said Selenski was a “quiet leader” whose passion and dedication for the sport were always apparent.
“The girl knew what she was doing,” said Stauffer. “She had a lot of drive, and there were many things that were God-given to her in terms of skill and desire to be successful. She was always extremely passionate about competing. Hockey was her thing.”
Robyn Jones, a Dallas High School guidance counselor and former field hockey coach, plans to attend the 2012 Olympic Games in London this month to watch Selenski perform.
“I’m especially excited about the game on July 31, when the United States team faces Argentina,” she said. “It’s going to be a war.”
Jones believes it’s the support that Selenski received throughout the years that contributes to the field hockey player’s success.
“Paige’s success as a student athlete can be attributed to, first and foremost, her tenacious work ethic, second, her God-given talent and third, her innate intelligence,” said Jones. “And very importantly, her family upbringing. Judy was very invested in her daughter, academically and athletically, and Dad has done a wonderful job since Judy passed away of continuing to parent her. Her mom and dad are huge contributors to her success.”
Brian Selenski said response from the community has been overwhelming.
“When she was first named to the team, the phone never stopped ringing,” he said. “Even Robyn Jones and the principal at Dallas said the phones at the school were ringing off the hook when it was announced.”
Selenski is the middle child – she’s big sister to 18-year-old Greg and younger sibling to 25-year-old Brad. Her father said no one else in the family has forayed into sports as extensively as his daughter.
“The boys played Little League and soccer, and Greg is now recreationally into golf,” said Brian Selenski.
Greg Selenski said it’s been an interesting ride watching his sister rise through the field hockey ranks.
“It’s been an experience,” he said. “Our vacations revolved around it for a while.”
But as the young woman prepares to take on international teams in London, Brian Selenski is sure the games won’t be his daughter’s last.
“I don’t think this is going to be the end,” he said. “I think she’s going to stay on for the World Cup.”
Until then, Brian Selenski and the rest of the family are enjoying Paige’s Olympic success.
“Sometimes I think it’s a dream,” he said. “I mean, what are the chances that your son or daughter is going to play at the Olympics?”
Georgie Twigg, the baby of the team
By Graham Wilson
GEORGIE TWIGG had that starry-eyed look about her. There she was up on stage at the Grange St Paul's Hotel in London alongside both GB Olympic squads on show at a special send-off gala night before the Games. And if the "boys and gals" were not sure about the kind of reception they will get at the Olympic Park come their opening matches, then they certainly got the message here from a huge core support.
Introduced up by TV commentator John Inverdale, whose daughter Josie plays for Leicester, they were clapped off to a standing ovation.
Twigg, the baby of the women's squad at 21, handled it all rather well. And she was in great demand from the guests. She had brought her Olympic Torch which she had carried along the street at her club town of Clifton, Bristol – where at the university she has just earned a 2.1 degree in law – to the hockey family in London where she eventually wants to work as a solicitor.
There have been many, what she calls, "goosepimple" moments on her journey from her home in Lincoln and her Repton School days. And it has been a huge rise to international level. She already has a World Cup bronze medal and a Champions Trophy silver to her name but there is no doubting that if all goes well at the Riverbank Arena she will be a new star of the British game.
"It is hard to believe that all this is happening," she said. "Two years ago when I first got called up to train and trial out with the squad I did not even think I was being contemplated on. Now I see it as just a fantastic achievement and I am so honoured to be part of this squad."
Team GB have medal aspirations."This team is the right one," says coach Danny Kerry and that Twigg is able to compete against some of the world's best with Olympic champions Holland and silver medallists China in their group, comes down to the coaching support and centralised programme.
"It has meant we train day in, day out," says Twigg. "When we are not on the pitch, we are in the gym and conditioning wise all the hard work put in is paying off. That is what is making it so exciting. We are all looking fit and sharp. We have been working on our attack and obviously we have our penalty corners which are a real threat. We will be putting that ball in the back of the net. Hopefully, I will score.
That would be fantastic to score at your own Olympics, in front of your own crowd, wouldn't it," says Twigg.
Leicester hockey Hannah Macleod inspired by Olympic star Linford Christie
When sprinter Linford Christie took Olympic gold in Barcelona in 1992 it sparked a burning desire in then eight-year-old Hannah Macleod to become an Olympian.
Twenty years on and Leicester hockey star Macleod is set to fulfil that ambition when she competes for Great Britain at the London Olympics.
Macleod narrowly missed out on the squad for the Beijing Olympics four years ago, which has made her even more determined to savour every moment of London 2012.
"This is my first Olympics and everyone keeps telling me how big it is, but as far as I am concerned just to be involved is amazing," says Macleod.
"I was eight when I watched Linford Christie win gold in Barcelona. I looked at the television and thought 'I want to be part of that'.
"I don't know how an eight-year-old would think that by just looking at the television, but I did. Since then, I have been an absolute fan of the Olympics.
"I didn't go to Beijing but I was the most avid spectator and enthusiastic supporter, and watched absolutely everything.
"It was just a dream as I just didn't quite make it, but now it is absolutely unbelievable.
"I didn't pick up a hockey stick until I was 14 so I didn't care what sport it was, I just knew I wanted to be involved in an Olympics."
Macleod described the anxious wait for confirmation of her place in the squad and the utter relief that her Olympic dream was going to be fulfilled.
"I was still up at 5am constantly refreshing my email, even though I knew it wouldn't be announced until 8am," she said. "I couldn't eat anything and was shaking. It was the worst anxiety you can feel.
"People have different emotions, but for me it was just relief. I knew I should be there. It is just an emotional nightmare.
"The first thing I did was call my parents who live in Hong Kong. My dad didn't know what to do, and my mum ... you forget how much it matters to them as well because they just want us to be happy."
Macleod, who was born in Boston, USA, admits she has sacrificed a lot to achieve her Olympic dream. She has moved away from her family and put her career on hold to play hockey full-time, but says it will all be worth it when the Olympics begin.
"Four years ago, I was just outside the training squad," she said.
"I had been involved with England all the way up to the training squad and then was a reserve for Beijing. I was doing my PhD in exercise physiology at the time, so I didn't commit to hockey in the same way I do now.
"I have been full-time at hockey for the last three years. I have never used my qualification, after seven years of study, because three weeks later I was in full-time hockey. I picked up a contract and was invited down to Bisham Abbey to train and I haven't looked back since.
"The last three years have been incredible. Everyone who comes and joins us is just amazed how tight we are as a group and how much respect we have each other.
"That is because, since 2009, those who didn't want to commit left and the rest of us all have the understanding that a gold medal is a realistic target.
"They are the ones who have stuck it out. It is a huge commitment.
"I moved area to train and my team-mates became my family. We have left friends and family behind to do this. We all live like students in one house. But if you ask any of us they will say it is totally worth it. What is going on is absolute madness. I wouldn't change it for the world."
Hannah is joined in the squad by Leicester team-mates Crista Cullen, Anne Panter and Chloe Rogers plus Loughborough University's Laura Unsworth and Nicola White, who is at Loughborough College.
This is Leicestershire
Seeking the Olympic redemption
After missing the Beijing Games, Indian hockey has a chance to find its place at the global stage
In a normal world, unrealistic expectations would not exist. In a normal world, practicality and sentiments would never cross paths. In a normal world… there would be no scope for the abnormal. There would be no scope for a story of a nation that dominated world hockey for decades, and then went into a shell, never to emerge.
As the Indian hockey team, eight-time Olympic champions, and rank outsiders off late, seek redemption at the London Olympics, India will once again wait. A billion people will once again look for magic on the field, the ball sounding the back of the post, and hope that the team that walk onto the field as players, walk off it as champions.
No logic, no reasoning, but this is not the normal world. Welcome to the 'wonderland' that Indian hockey has turned into.
It might be unrealistic to expect the team to finish high at London, though legions of fans across the country and from the diaspora expect them to win a medal — which is completely unrealistic.
A year ago, when former Australian international Michael Nobbs replaced Jose Brasa of Spain as the chief national coach, he had inherited a fractured team, beset with dissensions and revolt. Though Brasa had done much to elevate the standard of the game in the short span he was with the team, which included the 2010 World Cup in Delhi, and podium finishes in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, player-power had assumed threatening proportions, and the existence of two hockey bodies — Hockey India and the Indian Hockey Federation — only emboldened the players to assert their rights, and wangle more cash and other facilities for themselves.
This vitiated the discipline in the team, and Brasa had to pay with his job for espousing the cause of the players when he locked horns with his employers, Hockey India and the Sports Authority of India.
The launch of the World Series Hockey (WSH), modelled on the pattern of the cash-rich IPL, weaned away many good players from the national team, including former captain Rajpal Singh. Nobbs took charge of the team at a difficult time, and he was not even sure that the bunch of players put in his charge was capable of taking India past the Olympic qualification hurdle.
After a series of camps, he identified the core of the players who would be the backbone for the Olympic qualifiers, and then the Olympics. But the only catch was that some of them were contracted to play for the cash-rich WSH, which Nobbs felt would divide their loyalty, and which in turn would hamper their preparation for the Olympics.
He gave them the choice of playing for themselves, or for the country, and many opted to play for the country, the sensible options.
Hockey India also pitched in, offering them many cash and other incentives. Thus, finally, Nobbs had the team under his full command. From then on, his focus was on shaping them into a battle-fit combination for the tougher campaigns ahead.
Nobbs brought in many changes, including in the playing format, bringing back the attacking ways of the Indian team by exploiting their natural ability to run fast — the hallmark of Indian and Asian hockey.
Being tutored in the Australian way of hockey, Nobbs knows too well that only sustained attacks and a rock-solid defence can stand the test of trials against top-ranked teams. That his strategy worked wonders was evident at the Olympic qualifiers in Delhi in February, when the hosts gave a stand-out performance, which culminated in them giving an 8-1 lashing to France to make the Olympics cut, after sitting out the Beijing Games. The Olympic qualifiers also brought out the best in drag-flicker Sandeep Singh, mid-field marshal Sardar Singh and forward S.V. Sunil and goal-keeper P.R.Sreejesh.
Though Nobbs felt that India could have done well with a lot more exposure matches against top teams, he still managed to get many outings to fine-tune the team for the big battle ahead in London, where his aim would be to make the team play as well as they are capable of.
Though Nobbs has declared that India will not be in London to make up the numbers, he understands that winning a medal will be a tough task. So, for the present, his aim would be to put the team among the top six.
But even that would be a tough call, as India have been clubbed in Pool B comprising Olympic champions Germany, Korea, New Zealand, Belgium and the Netherlands. Nobbs has often said that any team who make up the 12 in the Olympics can beat any other team. But realistically, it would be a great achievement if India grab a top-six position.
India, of course, last won a medal at the boycott-hit Moscow 1980. India came close to making the semifinal cut in Sydney-2000, but hit the nadir when the country failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time, in 2008.
One worrying factor for Nobbs is that in the recent matches, including the Azlan Shah Cup, where India finished third, the team failed to cash in on scoring chances. The attacks, though penetrative, have not fetched many penalty-corners either. That’s worrying as India's chances of victory greatly hinge on their two world-class exponents of the drag-flick — Sandeep and V.R.Raghunath.
Nobbs has opted for goalkeeper Bharat Chhetri as the captain on the premise that with two goal-keepers in the team, he will be able to field a custodian who does well in a particular situation.
Will London bring a turn-around for Indian hockey? Wait and watch.
1972 Olympics: India’s golden glory fades
By Anand Philar
The Indian hockey team to the Munich Olympics sported a new look with only four players from the 1968 edition making the cut. Making his Olympic debut was Ashok Kumar, son of legendary Dhyan Chand and also the fiery forward B.P. Govinda, who went on to become an iconic figure with the distinctive head band.
Also in the team was full-back Michael Kindo, who became the first Adivasi to don Indian hockey colours and was to become an inspirational figure for many of his ilk, who followed him into the national team in the subsequent years.
The competitions in the Munich Olympics were overshadowed by the Palestinian terrorist attack on Israeli athletes, 11 of whom were gunned down. While the athletes mourned the killings, the hockey tournament set another landmark as it ended Asian dominance in the Olympics as Germany displaced Pakistan as the new champions. It was for the first time that neither Pakistan nor India won an Olympic gold medal since hockey returned to the programme in 1928.
For India, it was another disappointing outing despite a strong showing in the league phase when they won five and drew two matches to qualify for the semifinals. However, India went down to their old foes Pakistan 0-2, but scrambled to a 2-1 win against Holland in the playoff to pick up the bronze medal for the second Olympics in a row.
Indian team: Harmek Singh (captain), Mukhbain Singh, Manuel Fredericks, Charles Cornelius, Michael Kindo, Aslam Sher Khan, Perumal Krishnamurthy, Virender Singh, Ajit Pal Singh, Vece Paes, MP. Ganesh, Victor John Phillips, Harbinder Singh, Kulwant Singh, Ajit Singh, Ashok Kumar, BP. Govinda and Harcharan Singh.
League: India drew with Holland 1-1 (Ashok Kumar 1).
India beat Great Britain 5-0 (Mukhbain Singh 3; Michael Kindo 1; Harmik Singh 1).
India beat Australia 3-1(Mukhbain Singh 3).
India drew with Poland 2-2 (Harmik Singh 1; Govinda 1).
India beat Kenya 3-2 (Mukhbain Singh 2; Harmik Singh 1).
India beat Mexico 8-0 (Kulwant Singh 3; Ashok Kumar 2; Harmik Singh 1; Michael Kindo 1;Govinda 1).
India beat New Zealand 3-2 (Kulwant Singh 1; Ganesh 1; Michael Kindo 1).
Semifinals: India lost to Pakistan 0-2.
Bronze Medal playoff: India beat Holland 2-1 (Govinda 1; Mukhbain Singh 1).
Positions: Germany 1; Pakistan 2; India 3; Holland 4; Australia 5; Great Britain 6; Spain 7; Malaysia 8; New Zealand 9; Belgium 10; Poland 11; France 12; Kenya 13; Argentina 14; Uganda 15; Mexico 16.
India's worst show in hockey at 1976 Olympics
By Anand Philar
Barely a year after winning the World Cup in the hot and steamy Kuala Lumpur, Indian hockey slid to its nadir amidst considerable controversy and acrimony among players as the high profile team finished a shocking seventh. The unheralded New Zealand won the gold on the spanking new synthetic pitch that made its international debut.
With few players having even seen an artificial surface much less played on it, the Indian team, under World Cup captain Ajit Pal Singh, playing in his third Olympics, set off for Canada via Europe where they played a few warm-up games. It was a journey that was marred by in-fighting regarding the division of money accrued through sale of hockey sticks.
Indiscipline that bordered on open rebellion affected India’s performance that can be best described as up and down on a surface the players were unfamiliar with. Three victories and two losses tied India with Australia in the battle for the second place in the group.
The two teams were then involved in a play-off that ended in a 1-1 draw resulting in the tie-breaker. Ajit Singh, taking the fourth stroke, failed to convert and the Aussies came through 5-4 in the shootout for an aggregate 6-5 win and a berth in the semi-finals.
India never really recovered from this defeat and went down 2-3 to West Germany after leading 1-0 at the break in the play-off game for 5-8 positions before defeating Malaysia 2-0 on penalty corner conversions by Aslam Sher Khan to finish seventh for their worst ever performance in the Olympics.
The repercussions of the Montreal disaster were to resonate over the following couple of years that witnessed player rebellion, suspensions and quarrel over captaincy. And though India were destined to regain the gold medal four years later at the boycott-ridden Moscow Olympics from a depleted field, the country’s hockey reign and the “golden era” had well and truly ended.
Indian team: Ajit Pal Singh (captain), Ashok Dewan, Ajit Singh, Bir Bahadur Chhetri, Aslam Sher Khan, Surjit Singh, Baldev Singh, Virender Singh, Mehboob Khan, Mohinder Singh, Victor John Phillips, Ashok Kumar, BP Govinda, Harcharan Singh, Vasudevan Baskaran, Chand Singh.
League: India lost to Holland 1-3 (Phillips 1)
India lost to Australia 1-6 (Surjit Singh 1)
India beat Canada 3-0 (Phllips 2, Ajit Singh 1)
India beat Malaysia 3-0 (Ashok Kumar 2; Surjit Singh 1)
Play-off for 2nd position in Group: India lost to Australia 6-5 on penalty strokes*. Full-time: 1-1 (Surjit Singh 1); Extra-time: 1-1
Classification (5-8 positions): India lost to Germany 2-3 (Mohinder Singh 1; Ajit Pal Singh 1)
For 7-8 positions: India beat Malaysia 2-0 (Aslam Sher Khan 2)
*Penalty Stroke competition v Australia: India - Surjit Singh (scored 1-0); Ajit Pal Singh (scored 2-1); Ashok Kumar (scored 3-2); Ajit Singh (missed 3-3); Phillips (scored 4-4). Australia - David Bell (scored 1-1); Robert Haigh (scored 2-2); Terry Walsh (scored 3-3); Trevor Smith (scored 3-4); Ric Charlesworth (scored 4-5)
Positions - New Zealand 1; Australia 2; Pakistan 3; Holland 4; Germany 5; Spain 6; India 7; Malaysia 8; Belgium 9; Canada 10; Argentina 11
Story of our first Olympic captain Jaipal Singh
Jaipal Singh in his 40s
Story of India’s first Olympic hockey captain Pramod Pahan (later Jaipal Singh). The ‘Oxford Blue’ rebel lost his Degree as leave refused for the Amsterdam Olympics
- Lost the prestigious ICS degree because of Hockey
- Fought against prejudices within the 1928 Indian team and paid for it.
- Shunted out of a Princes Colleges Principal post as he was not a ‘White’.
- Not selected for second Olympics, as he was branded a ‘rebel’.
- Won all the Parliament elections handsomely till he died.
Hockey had no other colourful, ‘controversial’ and outright personality than Jaipal Singh, a truly multi-faceted genius.
Indian hockey world today appreciates Viren Rasquinha not only for his field exploits as a player, but also for his academic excellence, -- an Indian School of Business graduate, heading a big organization such as Olympic Gold Quest.
Hockey world too take pride in Aslam Sher Khan and Pargat Singh: simply because they excelled on the political front, even becoming Minister in the parliament.
To be in other field brings in that extra bit of profile to a hockey player as the cases of Viren, Aslam and Pargat vouchsafe.
If that is the yardstick of a public personality that fill up the great canvass of Indian hockey, Jaipal Singh stands out tall.
Jaipal Singh was requested to lead India at the Olympics even as he was a student in England.
Why? Was there was no suitable candidate in India? Why the search goes to England?
Here commences the great story of Jaipal Singh.
He was a popular hockey player of his university. His profile and exploits on the field had well been covered British media of his times.
Sitting in a Chair as Member of Parliament
This is how Jaipal Singh looked at his early days: “I was called the finest fullback…there was nothing extraordinary in my play. I was a sprinter, I could outrun the cumbrous British forwards’.
He was selected to his University team without trial, and then moved up to play for the prestigious Wimbledon Hockey Club.
He was also a good organizer, and brought his College and University teams to Indian Princedoms every year -- to Baroda, Patiala, Bhopal among others. One great development of these tours is formation of Indian Hockey Federation. During one of his visits only Ansari of Bhopal, advised by Jaipal, formed the Indian Hockey Federation. An amazing story how a player helped to form his National Sports Federation. This is only a sample of his life, which is full of such vision and fortitude.
How could a tribal boy, of Munda clan, born in a remote area of the country, go to England for higher studies in the first place? This question might haunt the readers.
Jaipal Singh was born in Takra Pahantoli, a village that completely converted to Christianity to the Anglican Communion. Jaipal Singh’s original name was Pramod Pahan. His name was changed to present one at his school, Saint Paul’s.
The day he joined the school was considered his birthday, and it stayed forever – January 3.
When the school principal Canon Gosgrave retired and moved to England, he took Jaipal with him, and this is how Pramod Pahan, now somehow Jaipal Singh, landed in the West.
The rest is history.
Jaipal, now a smart youngman, was doing probationer of the Indian Civil Service at Oxford when the call for leading India came calling. He applied for leave, did not get it, still went ahead. The streak of rebellion came to the fore, for the first time on such a grand scale.
Jaiapal, though new to the Indian team, was respected by them, and had no difficulty to mingle.
He defied the colleges’ diktat and participated in the Olympics to lead India to the first Olympic gold.
With Indian National Congress President K. Kamraj when he merged his Adivasi Mahasabha with Congress
He paid a big price for that. He returned to Oxford only to be told that he had broken his probationer term and he would have to stay one more year. ‘Captaining India to world Championship was no prize for the British’, he once observed.
What did Jaipal Singh do?
He resigned from the ICS and refused to pay back 350 Pounds due to the college!
He later in his life observed: “I was not sent to jail for doing this”.
Jaipal’s career suffered because he could not complete the prestigious ICS, but he never regretted for this in his entire career.
This gains enormous significance against the backdrop of another factor.
Iftikar Ali Khan Pataudi, father of Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, was also selected for the same Indian hockey team, but he did not go to the Olympics. He was a colleague of Jaipal in Wimbledon Club too. His first love was cricket and did bother to play for India at hockey, though by all accounts he did not seem to be any great in hockey.
However, today’s Indian public know more about Pataudis who refuse to play for India than Jaipal Singh’s who suffered because they chose to play for India.
Regarding Nawab of Pataudi Sr. Jaipal had said: ‘He would have never got his Hockey Blue. He had wonderful eyesight but he could not face rough play”.
At Amsterdam in the Olympics, Jaipal did not tolerate the over-bearing attitude of some Anglo-Indians. He overruled them, and when things did not go the way he was expecting, he did not bear it, walked out of the camp.
He lost the ICS and also the Amsterdam Olympics finals simply because he stood for principles, and won’t compromise.
But the establishment did not take his acts kindly. He was not selected for the next Olympics, even though he was very well available in Calcutta -- where the trials were held -- and was a popular hockey player in the prestigious Calcutta Hockey League.
Dhyan Chand in his autobiography ‘Goal’ considers this is wrong to sideline the player.
However, this is the storyline of the great personality of Jaipal Singh.
He worked for many leading business establishment of his time including Dunlop and others in India after returning India, but when he was posted as Principal of Princess College in Raipur – where only the kith and kin of ruling Kings and Princes enrolled – our own Indian Kings and Princes saw to it their wards don’t study under a non-white, and was soon made things difficult for him to continue.
Jaipal Singh (extreme right) and Fakruddin Ali Ahamad (extreme left) when studied together in the same college. Fakruddin later became President of India.
Jaipal had to move out, and landed as a Minister in the Bikaner Government.
Independence offered new scope for Jaipal’s quest for equality in the Indian society, despite the fact that the rulers by and large migrated back home.
He started Adivasi Mahasabha, won five consecutive elections for Parliament from Ranchi, fought for tribals’ reservation in the Indian Constitution. He had long feud against ruling Congress and its messiah Jawaharlal Nehru in securing his points of view, and he would not bother. He edited a newspaper and a magazine to create awareness among the weaker sections, worked fulltime for the welfare and rights of Jharkhand tribals.
Today these tribals have a separate State, Jharkhand, seeds of which was sown by the vision and mission of Jaipal Singh. A hockey player remains the collective consciousness of a whole race, the tribals of Eastern part of India, and it is tribute to Indian hockey.
The evolution of the Olympic hockey pitch
Time lapse video shows just how busy Riverbank Arena is
A time lapse shot of the early progress on the Riverbank Arena (Photo: LOCOG)
The Riverbank Arena has been a busy venue since it officially opened for business in May. Following the Visa International Invitational Tournament held at the start of May, there has been more than 80 hours of play on the main competition pitch, facilitated by the LOCOG hockey sport management team.
And now hockey fans can see first hand everything that went into building the venue in time lapse video released by LOCOG.
In addition to use by international teams from Australia, Germany, Netherlands, South Africa and Great Britain, there have been junior international training sessions which have been designed to ensure all areas of the pitch have been played on. All of these users have provided LOCOG with formal feedback and there have beenwith overwhelmingly positive comments received, especially regarding the speed and consistency that the ball travels across the surface in any direction.
“It is always important that a new pitches gets a lot of play to ensure that it hasthey an even playing surface,” said LOGOC Hockey Sport Manager Sue Catton. “We had a tight schedule with which to work, but with thanks to great enthusiasm from both local and international teams we have exceeded our expectations and can say that all four the pitches has been well-used in advance of its the Olympic debut on July 29Games.”
As well as international players, LOCOG also set up a summer league in which more than 150 members of staff competed in seven- a -side games twice a week over a three week period.
Before the start of the Games, there will also be over an additional100 105 training hours of additional training on the competition pitch ensuring that the eye-catching Riverside Arena will be ready when the top 24 teams in the world go for Gold in London.
Scots goalless against Ukraine
EUROPEAN JUNIOR NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIPS 11 - ALEKSIN (RUSSIA) - 15-21 JULY 2012
SCOTLAND 0 UKRAINE 0
A slight dent to Dave Stott`s target of a gold medal and promotion when Scotland women`s under 21 side were held to a 0-0 draw by a very stuffy Ukraine side in the second pool match of the European Junior Nations Championships 11 in Aleksin (Russia) today.
Although Stott had identified Ukraine as one of the stronger sides in the tournament, it was the Scots youngsters who took the initiative throughout the game but could make little headway against a packed Eastern European defence.
The Scots opened brightly with three penalty corners in the first 15 minutes but they could not get a shot away in any of them. Stott`s charges continued to press after the interval, the best openings coming from attacks up the right from Edinburgh University`s Sarah Robertson, on one occasion her cross was just missed by Stephanie McInally. Other chances fell to Jenny Morris and Nicola Skrastin, but the Scots failed to clinch that elusive opening goal.
The cause was not helped when the Scots had only nine players for most of the closing minutes, both Nikki Mollison and Robertson received yellow cards and spent time in the sin-bin. The final chance to break the deadlock came from an overtime penalty corner, Ali Howie`s shot was saved by the goalkeeper but there was no one to latch on to the rebound.
"We had by far the better of both halves, but the girls found it hard to penetrate a packed, and often destructive, Ukraine defence, and we took nothing from our seven penalty corners. We had all the play but didn`t create enough chances," said Dave Stott, Scotland`s coach.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
Super Faizal toast of Terengganu
Terengganu’s Faizal Saari (facing the camera) emerged topscorer in the tournament with 20 goals.
TERENGGANU coach Nik Rozemi Nik Mohamed has hailed star forward Faizal Saari for his pivotal role in helping the state win its first-ever Malaysia Games men's hockey gold medal.
Nik Rozemi said the 21-year-old national player, who emerged topscorer in the tournament with 20 goals, was an outstanding talent in a class of his own.
Faizal scored a hat-trick in the final against four-time defending champions Federal Territories, the overwhelming favourites, en route to a 4-3 win on penalties.
"Before the tournament, I told the boys that we have a special team this year that we might not see (the same talent) again for some time with players like Faizal, Fitri Saari and Muhd Hafizzudin Othman in the side," said Nik Rozemi.
"Our target was only to win a medal, regardless of colour, as we knew the competition would be tough with many good teams in the event.
"However, we somehow managed to find the inspiration to go all the way.
"Faizal, despite carrying an ankle injury earlier in the tournament, carried the team on many occasions.
"He not only has outstanding technique and ability but is also a real leader and rallied the boys on many occasions when we were down.
"Even off the pitch, he is a real professional and his discipline in regards to training and match preparation is an excellent example for his teammates."
Nik Rozemi added that the team for the Malaysia Games in Perlis 2014 will be in good shape considering that only five of this year's gold-medal winning team will be over-aged.
"This victory will definitely spur us to work harder in the hopes of defending our title two years from now."
Terengganu notched a double victory in hockey with their women's side also emerging champions with a 1-0 win over FT in the final on Sunday.
New Straits Times
Club over country
MHL: Dharmaraj willing to let Project 2013 players feature for respective employers
By JUGJET SINGH
THE Project 2013 will not play as a team in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) as all their players have contracts to play for their respective clubs.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) has yet to announce the dates for the MHL, as proposals to send players to Europe and other matters are still being ironed out.
"My hands are tied, there is no way that Project 2013 can play as a team in the MHL because all my players have binding contracts, or are working for their respective clubs. It could turn ugly if I bulldoze through," said Project 2013 coach K. Dharmaraj.
The coach himself played in the MHL for the juniors squad in 1989, but things have changed since.
"Back then, nobody wanted juniors as clubs already had established players and did not want to take risks by blooding youth.
"That is why the then MHF (Malaysian Hockey Federation) had to field the juniors as an outfit for experience.
"But today, my players have established themselves at a young age, and contracts have been signed and employment provided by clubs to secure their services," said Dharmaraj.
After winning the Sultan of Johor Cup and the Junior Asia Cup, Dharmaraj's charges are now in great demand.
UniKL, Maybank, Tenaga Nasional and KL Hockey Club all have signed or offered jobs to the Project players, and might even stop their players from venturing overseas if the MHL clashes with their stints.
"The date of the MHL must be carefully planned, if not I am afraid that clubs might not be too keen to release players for overseas stints if it clashes with the MHL period.
"These clubs have invested much into the sport and they would surely want to see returns in titles," said Dharmaraj.
Citing an example, Dharmaraj said that in the 2009 Razak Cup, one state even did not want to release one player when a proposal was made for them to play as a team.
"That was just the Razak Cup but it turned chaotic when one state did not want to release a player when we wanted to field a national juniors team. Imagine what would happen if the clubs are told to release their players to play in the MHL under the Project 2013 banner," said Dharmaraj.
New Straits Times
U21 Mens Team headed to Vancouver
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Twenty-two athletes from across the nation packed their summer bags and headed to Ventura County, CA. Their luggage didn’t encompass the weight of surfboards, tanning oil or any other traditional Cali beach staple. Rather crammed in their cargo are an assortment of graphite sticks, an abundance of hockey socks and the heavy weight of preparing for the Junior Pan American Games.
The U.S. U21 Men’s Field Hockey Team departs today for a 3 Nations Tournament in Vancouver, British Columbia. The series that commences tomorrow features Canada, Chile and USA and will lay the groundwork for the U.S. U21 Men’s Team that is preparing for the Junior Pan American Games held this September.
Since selection camp, the athletes entered a 12-week, full-time training camp in Ventura County, CA. This is the first time ever the program has trained together for this long of a time duration.
While living with a host families, the opportunity has afforded the Junior Team to compete against the Senior Squad regularly. This style of training is an excellent occasion for the Junior Team to further strength their play and gain experience from the very athletes they aspire to one day become.
The Junior Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico this fall is an important tournament the U.S. athletes hope to capitalize on. The Pan Ams will determine which teams will be a part of the 2013 Junior World Cup. The top two teams from the Junior Pan American Games will automatically qualify for the Junior World Cup, with the third place team being a first reserve for the premier tournament.
Though the team has high hopes for success in futures tournaments, the U21 Men's athletes are focused on the first step to getting there – the 3 Nations Tournament in Vancouver. Accompanying the Junior Squad to Canada are two U.S. Men’s National Team members, Ajai Dhadwal and Tyler Sundeen. Both Dhadwal and Sundeen competed at the Pan American Games last October.
The immersive 12-week training program before heading to the Pan American Games will give the U.S. Men’s U21 team an extra edge and full cohesiveness heading into the tournament. The upcoming series against Canada and Chile will also afford the opportunity to compete against opponents they will likely face in Guadalajara in September. And while their summer bags are filled to the brim, the team has made sure to make room to take home a few top finishes in their upcoming tournaments.
U21 Mens 3 Nation Invitational
Info Team Score
July 15 @ 3:00pm Canada vs USA 9-2
July 16 @ 6:30pm Chile vs USA
July 17 @ 6:30pm Canada vs Chile
July 18 @ 6:30pm Canada vs USA
July 19 @ 6:30pm Chile vs USA
July 20 @ 5:00pm Canada vs Chile
July 21 @ 2:30pm Canada vs USA
July 22 @ 12:30pm Chile vs USA
July 23 @ 10:00am Canada vs Chile
USFHA media release
WC Eagles crowned U14 Club champions
The WC Eagles were crowned the inaugural champions of the U14 National Club Championship, presented by Harrow Sports. The WC Eagles earned a 9-1 victory over Northeast Elite in the final on Friday, June 13 at the National Training Center, Virginia Beach, VA. Coached by Richard and Jun Kentwell, the WC Eagles maintained a level of performance that was unmatched throughout the tournament. Comfortable pool victories over Thrashers, Oranje and Freedom, were followed by 8-0 victory over IFHCK in the quarterfinal and 13-0 victory over Spirit of USA in the semi final as the WC Eagles cruised through to the Championship game.
Northeast Elite, coached by Chelsey Feole, surprised some on their way to the final, knocking out Mystx in the quarters followed up by an impressive 5-0 defeat of Oranje in the semifinals. But despite being the only team to notch a goal against WC Eagles all tournament they could not keep it close in the final.
The U14 National Club Championship featured sixteen clubs from across the country and precedes the U16 and U19 National Club Championships. The tournament organized by USA Field Hockey provides developing field hockey athletes the most competitive environment in the calendar year to test themselves. The matches are played on Astroturf at the National Training Center, and games are officiated by some of the nations top officials, supported by Technical Officers, ensuring the highest level of game management is provided. The Champions received a gold Harrow field hockey.
Full tournament results and placings can be read here.
USFHA media release
New FIH Outdoor Regulations published
Latest version takes effect on August 13
A new edition of the FIH Tournament Regulations has been posted today on the FIH website. These new Regulations will come into effect from Monday 13 August and will apply from that date until an update is published.
The new edition of the Regulations has been subject to a major review and follows the format used for the Regulations for the Olympic Games. In particular, the order of each section and appendix has been made more logical and some of the content has been re-worded to make it clearer.
The overall content is therefore much the same as previously, but significant changes have been made to:
- The duties and responsibilities of Tournament Directors
- Up to 18 players allowed on a squad
- Protests and appeals
- Competition formats
Other changes to the Regulations include:
Appendix 1: the inclusion of an 'own goal' before it becomes a mandatory experimental rule with effect from January 2013
Appendices 2 and 4: the method of ranking in a pool competition in Rounds 1 and 2 of the FIH World League
The new Regulations can be found here and a copy will be sent to all National Associations competing in Round 1 of FIH World League.
FIH Media release