All the news for Sunday 19 August 2012
Scots fall to Italians in Prague
WORLD LEAGUE ROUND 1 - PRAGUE - 14-19 AUGUST 2012
SCOTLAND 0 ITALY 2
Scotland women`s chances of finishing in pole position in the first round of the World League in Prague took a dent when they went down 2-0 to Italy, they are now three points ahead at the top of the table with one game remaining.
Fortunately, qualification to the second round of the competition is already assured as no fewer than four teams progress, and earlier wins against Turkey, Czech Republic and Belarus have already secured a top three spot for the Scots.
The first half was a fairly even affair, but the Scots failed to find their rhythm and suffered from too many misplaced final passes. Two early penalty corners came to nothing, but the Scots did create some open play chances, Nikki Lloyd hit a post following a long ball by Vikki Bunce, and just on the interval two scoring opportunities fell to Ailsa Wyllie, both times her deflection went wide of the target.
There were also chances in the second half, in the opening minute a move involving Catriona Ralph and Sam Judge found Holly Cram whose shot at goal was blocked by a defender`s stick. The Scots now exerted a lot of pressure on the Italian defence, a Nikki Kidd drag flick at a penalty corner struck a post, the same player then sent a rebound high over the crossbar, and finally Cram had her effort saved by the goalkeeper.
But with nine minutes left, the Italians won a set piece after some slack play by the Scots, and the original strike from the top of the circle was deflected past Amy Gibson by an alert Italian forward.
The Scots now pressed in desperation to level the scores, at a penalty corner Bunce fed the ball to Lloyd whose shot was blocked and a rebound drive by Bunce was also saved by the Italian keeper. With two minutes remaining coach Gordon Shepherd replaced goalkeeper Amy Gibson with outfield player Susan McGilveray, but the move backfired as the Italians deflected the ball into the empty net with 30 seconds remaining to secure the three points.
The Scots play second bottom side France in the final match tomorrow, Shepherd must now hope for an avalanche of goals and Italy lose to Belarus in their last game for the Scotland to have any chance of finishing in top spot.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
US midway through FIH Masters World Cup
The U.S. Men’s over 45 National Team has gathered in Canterbury, England for the first International Hockey Federation Masters World Cup. Selected from U.S. citizens living all over the world, the team completed two days of practices in preparation for the tournament and for its first game against Australia. This is the first time a U.S. Masters team has competed, while Masters International Hockey is well established in Europe, Asia and Australia and New Zealand.
The U.S. team includes three Olympians, Brian Spencer, Morgan Stebbins and goalkeeper Steve Wagner. Two athletes participated in the Indoor World Cup, Olaf Maack and Peter Jones and two others have worn U.S. shirts, Andrew Dunning and Phil Danaher. Buta Johal played in the past for India, Jeremy Roberts for Guyana and Muzammal Malik for Pakistan Juniors. Simon Gray, Robert Goldmuntz, Srinivas Karaturi, Warren Prestwich, Dieter Hillert, Jonathon Drucker, Ian Wagge and Amjad Zia are putting on national team shirts for the first time, after long careers playing good level hockey around the world. Peter and Simon are doing double duty as coach and manager respectively, as well as playing. Todd Koch is assistant manager and runs the bench during games, while Ashley Jones is the video analyst.
The U.S. team faced two powerhouses of Masters hockey in its first two games, Australia and England. Despite hard work on defense and some great saves from Steve Wagner, the U.S. trailed Australia 5-0 at half time and were down 9-0 before fighting through the last 16 minutes to keep it to single figures.
The England game saw a stronger first half from the U.S., with England scoring its second and third goals in the 29th and 33rd minutes. Unfortunately the effort involved drained the U.S. and led to an England goalfest in the second half with a 10-0 final scoreline.
The U.S. team has suffered a number of injuries and had to make adjustments to its lineup for the Spanish game. Spain brought many full international players with a total of over 650 caps and Olympians from Los Angeles (1984), Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996). With total commitment from all the available players, including a strong effort from the second keeper, Warren Prestwich, drafted in as left defender, the U.S. held Spain off the scoreboard until the 27th minute when a glorious deflection beat Morgan Stebbins and Steve Wagner.
Some more amazing reactions in front of goal produced a second goal for Spain just before half time. The U.S. regrouped and was able to mount a number of strong attacks in the second half, keeping the ball in the Spanish end for some extended periods. The last ten minutes saw Spain add to its lead on a well played counterattack, before adding a penalty corner in extended time for a 4-0 final score.
It has been a challenge to blend the players and staff together quickly into a cohesive unit, but a lot of progress has been made. The team still has three more games in which to try to pull some upsets against higher rated countries which have played together before and benefit from established domestic Masters competitions. Next up are Ireland. The USA underdogs are ready to do battle!
The USA team is pleased to have received substantial support and assistance from Asics, USA Field Hockey and the U.S. Men’s Field Hockey Foundation. In addition, the team is delighted to have received financial support from the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). Based in NYC, HSS is the country’s leading orthopedic hospital. One of the players, Phil Danaher, is able to compete because of an innovative shoulder replacement surgery performed at HSS.
USFHA media release
Ireland's Men's Masters Off To World Cup
by Mark Brown
The Ireland Men's Hockey Masters are sending 3 teams to the World Cup tournament in Canterbury, England from 18th-25th August. Following the success of the inaugural master's Interpro's at Lisnagarvey earlier this year, the squads truly reflect an all Ireland feel with teams comprising of players from the 4 proud provinces of Ireland. New players selected for the Over 40s, 45s and 50s made their debut at the Home International's in Edinburgh in June of this year and quickly gelled together with their new teammates.
This bodes well for the short trip to Canterbury and there is a real buzz within the squads with all looking forward to taking on teams from around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, USA and Spain, and making new friends. The Masters men are no strangers to the World Cup stage having sent teams to Hong Kong in 2009, Singapore in October 2011, and proudly carried the flag both on and off the pitch making many friends with their style of hockey, socialising and of course that world famous Irish craic. Manager and coach, Jamie Millar, hopes all the hard work and training that all the players have put in over the last couple of months will pay off and provide some big results.
The squads travelling are as follows:
O40s Squad : Davy Bolas (Lisnagarvey), George Blackwell (Limerick), Mark Brown(GK Ballynahinch), Robert Carter (Three Rock Rovers), Paul Fitzpatrick(Capt Glenanne), Leslie Harrison (Ballynahinch), Grant Hayes (Ballynahinch), Jason Hill (Mossley), Stephen Magee (North Down), Ross McMullen (Clontarf), Ivan Moore (Catholic Institute), Clinton Murphy (Glenanne), Matt O'Sullivan (Bournemouth), Michel Pobloth (Kilkeel), Jonathan Smyth (Clontarf), Gregg Sterrit (Annadale) Ian Stuart (Monkstown), John Wallace (Catholic Institute)
O45s Squad: Bruce Agnew (Lisnagarvey),Martin Collins (Old Georgians HC), Dara Crowe (CatholicInstitute), Michael Millar (Cookstown), Mark Murray (Capt, Lisnagarvey), Neil Murray (Liecester), Andy Nye (Lisnagarvey), Lawrence Patterson (Ballynahinch), Nicholas Pheifer (Suttonians), Rupert Pinion (Lisnagarvey), Peter Priestly (Pembroke), William Quinn (Kilkeel), Ali Reilly (Antrim), Martin Rodgers (Kilkeel), Derek Squire (Three Rock Rovers), Mark Stockil (Ashton), Philip Thomas (Cambellians), Herbie Todd (Mossley), Martin White (GK-Galway) Jamie Millar, Manager/Coach (Lisnagarvey), Jamie Aiken, Umpire (Lisnagarvey) Tim Hogg (GK, Instonians), Crawford McKee (Chelmsford), David Woods (Chelmsford), Cedric Christie (Three Rock Rovers) , Mervyn McCaigue (Newry), Gerry Hamill (Mossley), Sean Curran (Teddington), Stuart Egner (Cork H), Peter Chadwick, Kieran McGoldrick (Capt, Larne), Tim Myer, Andy Barlow (Bristol), Ollie O'Connor (Cork Institute) John McCann, Fergus Stapleton (Reading)
Irish Hockey Association media release
Auckland and Canterbury on top of Ford NHL
Auckland and Canterbury women’s teams, and Auckland men are on top of their respective competitions after today’s second round of the Ford National Hockey League (NHL).
Today’s two feature matches were at Auckland’s Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium between Auckland and Midlands men’s and women’s sides – who were all unbeaten after yesterday’s first round.
Auckland men were a class above their Midlands counterparts as two early goals set up the home side for their 4-0 victory. But the women’s clash went right down to the wire.
Midlands women were a different side from their timid performance yesterday and after a classy Stacey MacDonald goal in the second spell they threatened to take the lead. But former Black Stick Honor Carter ended their hopes with four minutes to go as she latched on to a brilliant pass from captain Jan Rowsell to secure the 2-1 victory.
Canterbury joined Auckland at the top of the women’s competition with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Central in Levin.
In other women’s games, Capital and Southern drew 1-1 in Dunedin with the visitors grabbing the bonus point with a 3-2 penalty shoot-out victory. North Harbour convincingly beat Northland 6-0 with Black Stick Petrea Webster collecting a hat trick.
In the men’s league, Southern were lucky to escape with a 4-3 win over Capital in Dunedin thanks to a last minute goal from Jason Dungey which saw his diving touch go past the keeper.
Central got their campaign back on track beating Canterbury 3-0 in Levin, while Northland upset North Harbour in a penalty shoot-out after they were locked at 3-3 at fulltime.
The Ford NHL continues with rounds three to seven, semifinals and finals at Auckland’s Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium from 25 August to 2 September. Both finals are on Sunday 2 September.
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Auckland stamps mark on NHL
Defending champions Auckland were in ominous form in both the men's and women's competition's in today's opening round of the National Hockey League.
The Auckland women showed why they are again favourites to take the K Cup as they demolished Northland 7-1 in Whangarei. Leading 4-0 at the break, Auckland continued their domination in the second spell with former Black Stick Jan Rowsell controlling the midfield.
The women's feature match of the day was in Hamilton, where Midlands and North Harbour were all square at 1-1 at fulltime leaving the match requiring a penalty shootout. The shootout was even at 4-4 before North Harbour's Carli Michelsen was pushed wide with her effort and Shiloh Gloyn knocked in the winner for the home side.
In Wellington, the home side Capital held out a fast-finishing Central team to take a 3-2 win. Capital took a 3-0 lead in the second spell before late goals to player-coach Caryn Paewai and Michaela Curtis gave Central a chance, but Capital managed to hold on for the win.
In the final women's game, Canterbury had a comfortable 4-1 victory over Southern in Timaru with Olivia Merry knocking in a hat trick.
The Auckland men, joint champions with Central last year, went three better than their female counterparts as they thrashed Northland 10-0 in their defence of the Challenge Shield. Up just 2-0 at halftime, the Aucklanders put their foot down in the second spell with Tom Wickham, Dwayne Rowsell and Alex Shaw playing strongly.
Midlands men looked like the other form team of the league as they claimed a comprehensive 3-1 win over a young North Harbour side in Hamilton. Kookaburra Tim Deavin made a quick turnaround after his bronze medal effort at the Olympics to lead the midfield for Midlands.
In other men's games, Capital won 4-2 at home against joint defending champions Central in a fast, open game. The goal of the match came late in the second half when Todd Gould buried the ball into the net after a lovely pass from Jake Smith.
Canterbury also started the NHL with a 3-1 win over neighbours Southern in Timaru with Trent Summers knocking in two goals.
NHL action continues tomorrow with round two matches at North Harbour, Auckland, Levin and Dunedin.
The New Zealand Herald
Police move to top of the table
By AYUMBA AYODI
Moses Cheplaiti of Kenya Police dribbles past Mvita’s Chris Arunga (left) during their men’s hockey Premier League match on 18 August 2012 at the City Park Stadium in Nairobi. Kenya Police won 3-1 to rise to the top of the league with 18 points. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO
Champions Kenya Police weathered a brave assault from Mvita, claiming a 3-1 win at City Park to move to the top of the men’s hockey Premier League.
Samuel Oungo put Kenneth Kaunda’s charges 1-0 ahead at the break from a penalty corner in the 11th minute but Samuel Webo drew level for Mvita after a scintillating comeback in the 56th minute.
But Mvita’s defence collapsed under late strike from Police, with James Munyi and Moses Cheplaiti scoring from field display in the 60th and 70th minutes respectively.
The win saw Police, who blew away several opportunities to break away from Kisumu Simba, lead with 18 points from six wins and two loses.
Kisumu Simba second
The 2008 champions Kisumu, who were tied on 15 points with Police, dropped to second with five wins and two losses. Police had the previous weekend crushed 2009 and 2011 champions Strathmore 3-0, a win that threw the title race wide open.
Wazalendo are third with 14 points from four wins, two losses and two draws, and are followed by Nairobi Simba on 12 points from four wins and one defeat. Strathmore are fifth with 12 points. Nairobi Simba, who have three matches at hand, will tour Western next weekend to play Kisumu Simba and Western Jaguars.
Strathmore will be out to recover from from their loss to Police when they meet Mvita on Sunday at City Park.
Men’s Premier:Strathmore v Mvita (9am, City Park)
National Men:Nakuru Club v Wazalendo Youth (2pm, Nakuru); UoN v Gymkhana (3pm, City Park)
National Women: Multimedia v Blue Eaglets (11am); Vikings v Orange (1pm, City Park)
Terps lose exhibition match with Team USA, 4-3
by Nicholas Munson
The Terrapins field hockey team got their first test of the 2012 season against the U.S. Under-21 Team on Saturday in College Park. Luckily for it, the match was just an exhibition.
In a game that went down to the wire, the Terps could not catch up with the national team, eventually falling by a score of 4-3. Although the Terps held a 2-1 advantage at the halftime break, Team USA reeled off three consecutive goals that proved to be an insurmountable margin.
“We’re kind of working on a new system of play, and I think we did pretty well with it at times but it needs to become more consistent,” said coach Missy Meharg following the loss.
The first goal of the game came from the stick of Katie Gerzabek, a sophomore forward who was one of two players for the Terps to suit up for the opposing side. Five minutes later, defender Hayley Turner notched the score with a reverse shot that eluded the grasp of USA goalkeeper Lauren Blazing. At the end of the first half, all the goals had been scored by players from the Terrapin roster- midfielder Danielle Kauffman tipped in a high shot shortly after Turner’s goal to take the lead.
Things went south, however, at the onset of the second half. Both Georgia Holland and Allysa Chillano of Team USA tipped in rebounded shots to regain the advantage, and with ten minutes remaining they scored their third-consecutive goal.
Terps defender Ali McEvoy, also a member of the USA team, followed through on a penalty shot with approximately three minutes remaining. The Terps put the decision in doubt with a few exciting possessions late, but failed to capitalize.
The next action for the team will be a road trip to the Bay Area and games against California and Stanford on August 24 and August 26, respectively. These matches will kick off the games that count for the Terps, who will then arrive home to take on Old Dominion, who they defeated last year in the NCAA Tournament semifinals.
“There were bits and pieces of really good play on the other side that showed us what we have to work on before we go to California,” said Megan Frazer, the senior midfielder and co-captain of the Terps. “We’ve got a week of training before we leave, so we’re going to use that and pick up on the weaknesses we had from this game.”
Preseason Update: 2012 Duke Field Hockey
Duke Sports Information
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The Duke field hockey team is over a week into preseason where it has been practicing hard through two-a-days and scrimmaged Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday afternoon. The Blue Devils fell to the Demon Deacons 4-1 but head coach Pam Bustin was encouraged with the team's overall performance.
"We are grateful for today's scrimmage," Bustin commented. "The opportunity to play a full match against a team other than our own is extremely valuable. Today we were able to see where we are as a group in terms of our organizational understanding, fitness and decision making."
The Blue Devils lone goal was scored by junior Brenna Rescigno off a corner late in the first half. Senior Chelsea Amsley inserted the ball into stopper junior Grace Christus. Junior Emmie Le Marchand made a quick pass off of Christus' stop to Rescigno, who had an open look from the top left side of the circle for the score.
"I am very pleased with our skill level and creativity with the ball," Bustin added. "We can definitely make improvements with our off-ball play on both sides of the 50. Today was exactly what we needed as we fine tune our collective game in preparation for our opening weekend."
In other news from the week, sophomores Abby Beltrani and Lauren Blazing along with freshmen Aileen Johnson and Hannah Barreca left Thursday for a week of training with the U-21 National Team in College Park, Md. In September, the squad will compete in the Junior Pan American Tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The Blue Devils will officially open up their season in Philadelphia, Pa., where they will face Drexel on Friday, August 24 and Temple on Sunday, August 26.
Grzywacz’s hard work has paid dividends
By DENNIS C. WAY
STATE COLLEGE — It seems like it would be pretty nice being Brit Grzywacz.
After all, at just 20 years of age, the Methacton High graduate has already been acknowledged as one of her alma mater’s best athletes, played in a World Series (with her 16U softball team) and been named homecoming queen.
One of the best field hockey players to ever come out of a high school that, historically, has excelled in the sport, Grzywacz had little difficulty making the transition from high school phenom to Division One standout — note her making the All-Big Ten team in each of her first two seasons at Penn State University, while playing for a Nittany Lions team that has made the NCAA Tournament in both her freshman and sophomore seasons.
Oh, did we mention Grzywacz was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team in her first two seasons while helping the Lions to a Big Ten crown in 2011?
To her credit, the Nittany Lions junior is not about to apologize when her list of accomplishments is brought up.
“It’s been a good time,” she said, “and I’m having a great time at school.
“Winning is fun.”
Kidding aside, Grzywacz has worked extremely hard making it look easy, and as Penn State prepares for another push for the elusive national title, the hard work has continued.
A day after Grzywacz arrived at practice, the Lions, under long-time head coach Char Morett, were on the practice field. And it wasn’t to hand out equipment.
“We’re working very hard,” Grzywacz acknowledged. “And we’ve trained hard all summer. The goal is the national championship. And we want to win the Big Ten again.”
With only four players graduated from a team that reached the national quarterfinals a season ago, the Lions are optimistic about making another return to the big dance.
If so, Grzywacz will play no small role.
Moved from her accustomed position in the midfield to the PSU backfield a year ago, Grzywacz flourished, scoring eight goals and three assists (mostly off corners) while more than adequately handling her defensive duties.
“I’m like a fullback now,” she said, “but I really like it. That’s where I feel most comfortable. You get to see the whole field back there.
“It took a lot of learning because it’s a vocal position, you’re always positioning people in front of you. But our coaches have been awesome and really got me ready to play back there.
“I’ve even kind of lost that scoring mentality.”
No small feat for a player who notched 56 career goals at the scholastic level.
“The truth is, I wouldn’t be opposed to be put anywhere on the field,” Grzywacz said. “But I do like it.”
The position change, Grzywacz said, has probably been the most difficult part of her transition to the college game.
“You notice the level of play is different,” she said of her early days as a Lion freshman, “but I’d been playing in a lot of U.S. programs, and that really helped with the transition.
“Playing here has been both physically and mentally challenging, and the mental part has probably been the toughest. The time it takes out of your day during the season, the travel and trying to keep up with schoolwork. The part on the field is great, that’s what you’ve been training for.”
The Lions field hockey team’s pursuit of another Big Ten crown and a national title, of course, comes at a time when another PSU Fall activity has been making some news of its own.
“It was a little weird at first up here,” Grzywacz said of the Penn State football media circus, “but there’s an awesome vibe now. The Penn State pride has been incredible, all of the sports are getting so much support. The other morning there was a huge crowd of people at five in the morning cheering the football team just coming out of the locker room and walking to the field.
“Really, nothing has changed as far as the school goes. It’s still a great school and I’m still getting a great education. But I’ve never seen so many people wearing their blue and white.”
A day-by-day look back at London
A trip back in time to remember some of the forgotten moments
Remember this? Belgium picked up its first-ever Olympic point after a draw against China on Day 3 (Photo: Stanislas Brochier)
Sure, everyone remembers the golden Olympic moments from the Dutch women and the German men, but there were 14 full days of hockey action that might seem like a blur to most people. To help refresh the memories of hockey fans worldwide, the FIH has compiled a list of some of the biggest moments and highlights from each day.
New Zealand began the tournament with a bang as Cathryn Finlayson netted three minutes into their tie against Australia, a result that ultimately saw her side edge out their Oceania neighbours.
On the men’s opening day, Spain’s bid to repeat their 2008 final appearance was put on the back foot straightaway as captain Santi Freixa broke his arm in their opening day 1-1 draw with Pakistan. It left them and the Pakistanis playing catch-up as all the big guns made statements of intent, the world’s top four men’s sides all winning. India pushed the Netherlands the whole way but fell 3-2 in what ultimately proved their best performance of the campaign.
Belgium’s women made history, earning their first ever Olympic point when they played out a scoreless draw with China in their second game of Pool A. USA repeated their Pan-Am final victory over Argentina to burst Pool B wide open.
South Africa’s men came close to a major shock as the tournament low-ranked side led hosts Great Britain 2-1 with less than two minutes before Ashley Jackson salvaged a draw. Spain’s woes got worse as Pol Amat also left the tournament injured as Australia compounded their misery with a 5-0 win to establish the world number ones as firm favourites.
In the women’s jockeying for positions, Korea picked off their first win of the campaign, keeping Japan without a point from three outings while Great Britain and the Netherlands established Group A dominance with third wins. In Pool B, the day ended with four teams locked on six points as Australia bounced back from opening day defeat, nabbing an eye-catching 3-1 win over Germany.
In men’s Pool B, Belgium’s first win – a 2-1 success over Korea –kick-started their campaign which ended with a fifth place finish, going unbeaten in their final four games. In turn, it pushed the Netherlands and Germany to the brink of semi-final qualification with third successive wins each. Argentina revealed chinks in Australia’s armoury when they bounced back to draw 2-2 from being 2-0 down.
China spoiled Great Britain’s party to set up a potentially huge round five in women’s Pool A, ending the hosts perfect run after three earlier wins, as they the Asian champions sucker-punched twice in the second half. The Netherlands became the first side to confirm their semi-final berth with a 3-2 win over Korea.
Pakistan played their way back into men’s Pool A contention with a stunning 5-4 win over South Africa who continued to play fast and free hockey. At the end of the day’s play, GB’s comeback from 3-0 to tie with Australia and Spain’s 3-1 win over Argentina – all the goals coming in the last quarter – set up an amazing final day’s action with two sides on eight points and two on seven. Pool B was more clear-cut. Teun de Nooijer scored on his 450th cap in a 3-1 over Germany to guarantee the Dutch a semi-final place. Only Korea were left in a position to deny Germany second place.
On a manic final day of women’s pool play, New Zealand eliminated Germany with a 0-0 draw, making it through to the semi-finals for the first time. South Africa amazingly outdid the five-goal margin they needed to escape the bottom rung of Pool B with a 7-0 win over the US. Japan did GB a huge favour, beating China to allow the hosts to go through. Argentina completed the semi-final line-up with a scoreless draw to end Australia’s hopes in the final game of the preliminary phases.
Korea’s men’s semi-final dreams went up in smoke with a 4-2 loss to the Dutch, concluding the key issues in Pool B. Australia took the third final four spot when they hammered Pakistan 7-0 in the second game of the day. It left Spain and GB to battle for the final place and, despite a tumultuous closing ten minutes, the hosts held on for a 1-1 draw to sneak through. Belgium nudged into third place in Pool B as they condemned India to last place. New Zealand were well set to complete pool play with the result of the competition, leading 5-2 against Germany, before Christopher Zeller inspired a comeback to tie 5-5 in a stunning game. Earlier, Argentina claimed their only win of the competition with a 6-3 success against South Africa.
Already guaranteed a best ever finish, New Zealand’s women pushed the Netherlands all the way in the first semi-final. But for a couple of Maartje Paumen’s penalty corners – her first of the tournament – they could have nabbed the tie in normal time. But the Dutch experience held and they won out on penalties, Joyce Sombroek saving three times. Argentina set up a repeat of the 2010 World Cup final as they edged out Great Britain 2-1, leading from start to finish courtesy of Noel Barrionuevo and Carla Rebecchi’s first half goals. By reaching the final, Luciana Aymar was guaranteed a fourth Olympic medal, a record for any Argentinean female sports person.
Men’s semi-final day served up two vastly contrasting ties as Pool B qualifiers outdid their Pool A counterparts. Germany produced a tactically superb second half to undo Australia and keep their title retention hopes alive and kicking, Matthias Witthaus, Timo Wess and Florian Fuchs firing their 4-2 comeback. The second semi-final proved no contest as GB’s wait for a first gold medal since 1988 blew up early on, falling 4-1 at half-time and eventually 9-2 to the Dutch juggernaut, their sixth successive victory.
In the curtain raiser to the women’s main event, Great Britain picked off their first medal since 1992 as their corner prowess undid New Zealand 3-1. Their fourth place was the kiwis best ever Olympic placement. And the Dutch painted the Riverbank orange in the final winning their fourth gold medal. Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel and Paumen scored second half goals to get the better of Argentina 2-0 with a superbly controlled performance. It earned back-to-back titles for the Dutch. For Argentina, it was a fourth successive medal but the ultimate prize continues to elude them.
Jan-Philipp made himself an instant German hero as he emerged from the shadows to score twice to hand his side the men’s gold medal with a 2-1 win over the Netherlands. Prior to the game, no outfielder in the German squad had scored less international goals than the midfielder but he popped up at the back post to guide the winner in with under five minutes to go, ensuring the Olympic men’s title would stay in Germany for another four years. Australia had too much strength for hosts Great Britain, claiming a medal for a sixth successive Games but relinquished their world number one ranking to the Germans due to their third place finish. South Africa’s first Olympic men’s win, a 3-2 success against India, was their first in the competition since 2004, netting them 11th place overall. Belgium followed up with a 5-2 win over Spain to take fifth, their best finish since 1928.
Shakeel and Waqas fro Maybank?
MAYBANK look set to part with tradition, and hire foreign players for the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) challenge starting on Sept 1.
The Tigers, among the pioneers of the MHL which made its debut on 1987, has only hired Singaporean Mohamed Ali in 2005 before this as they kept a local line-up.
And they were former greats who won the Overall titles in 1988, 1990 and 1994 and League titles in 1994 and 1995.
However, the bankers have been struggling to find a footing for the last 10 years.
Although there were no conformation from Maybank officials on their quest to hire foreign guns, it is believed Pakistan players Shakeel Abasi and Muhammad Waqas as well as a New Zealand player will don their colours this season.
Shakeel and Waqas played for Yayasan Negri Sembilan two years ago, and recently helped Pakistan finish seventh in the London Olympics.
Maybank coach Wallace Tan refused to be drawn into confirming or denying the foreign inclusion move: “At pre sent there is nothing I can say except that I have been training the team over the past month.
“It will be a tough league given that only four teams will make the semis, instead of having a quarter-final stage.”
Wallace said he will leave it to the management to make an announcement, if Maybank were to hire foreign players.
“The usual suspects , KL Hockey Club, Tenaga Nasional and Sapura are the teams to beat so, really, the rest of us (Maybank, Nur Insafi-MBI and UniKL) will be fighting for the single semis berth.
“Although the league is short, only five weeks, we un derstand the plight of MHC (Malaysian Hockey Confed eration) and it is important that the players have a high level of fitness and play consistently.”
Maybank are relatively an unchanged side made up of former players, and will only have one current international in Hafifihafiz Hanafi.
That is why they need foreign inclusion in attack, if they want to snatch a semis ticket.
Last season, Maybank were fourth in the League, and lost 3-0 to Sapura in the Overall bronze battle.
New Straits Times
Maybank set to sign three foreign players
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Former champions Maybank are on the verge of hiring three foreign players to beef up their squad for the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) which begins on Sept 1.
The Tigers have been struggling in the MHL for the past few years and finished a disappointing sixth out of the seven teams that featured in the Premier Division last seaon. They lost in the quarter-finals in the knockout stage.
Though none of the Maybank officials would confirm it, the foreign signings are believed to be two from Pakistan and a junior player from New Zealand.
It is believed that Shakeel Abasi and Muhammad Waqas, who played in the London Olympics, are the two Pakistani players.
Shakeel and Waqas played for Yayasan Negri Sembilan (YNS) last year. The long-haired Shakeel was a hit with the fans with his skills and sportsmanship.
Maybank coach Wallace Tan refused to say anything on the hiring of foreign players, saying that nothing was confirmed yet.
“All I can say is that we have been training for a month.
“It will be a tough league given that only four teams will make the semis,” said the former national coach.
“Double champions KL Hockey Club (KLHC), Tenaga Nasional and Sapura are the favourites. Maybank, Nur Insafi-MBI and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) will be fighting for the remaining semi-final berth.
“Although the league is short, only five weeks, it’s important that the players have a high level of fitness and play consistently well,” added Wallace, who will be assisted by former internationals Chairil Anwar Abdul Aziz and Zam Zam Mohamed Ali.
The Star of Malaysia
Another exercise is on; but is there a solution in sight?
Another exercise of chasing a chimera is on. The dismay over the deplorable show by the hockey team in the Olympics is being deflected for the umpteenth time to a committee that is expected to solve the tangle of governance.
The Indian Olympic Association, which authored this mess in 2008, now comes up with a three-member commission to determine who among the claimants — Hockey India or Indian Hockey Federation — will administer the sport. Painful exercise
To go back to the genesis of the crisis is a painful exercise. If K.P.S. Gill and his associates were guilty of failure in India not retaining its Olympic spot and deserved to be replaced, the scenario now is no less different.
The IOA, then under the command of Suresh Kalmadi, invoked the vague clause “disrepute to the game,” and disaffiliated the IHF. It constituted an ad hoc body, and then created Hockey India, fully aware of its legal and constitutional infirmities. The IOA hoped it would brazen it out with the opposition that cried foul of ignoring the canons of democracy. The Delhi High Court ruled against the disaffiliation.
It is difficult to imagine that the IOA, which has a slew of problems to solve, will disband Hockey India for the inglorious London campaign. Such recourse will receive spontaneous approbation. Hockey India’s record of administration is nothing to speak of with any degree of eloquence.
Tragically perhaps the International Hockey Federation, misled and misinformed, acted in haste. Cover-up mode
Unable to retract, it ventured into a cover-up mode, raising various issues with the IHF over the failure of the merger from 2000 but continued dealing with the same office-bearers till 2008. How the three-member commission will untangle the imbroglio is a million-dollar question. All previous efforts, including that by the Sports Ministry, met with a dead-end after generating hopes of an accord.
What probably prompts the FIH to direct the IOA for a final decision could be related to India’s commitment to hosting the World Series League. If the FIH believes that a solution will be on the table on August 31, it is hovering in illusions.
A quick-fix remedy to a problem that has eaten away the vitals of Indian hockey for four years is unlikely to be found on one day (August 21).
The three-member commission may have no option but to recommend another ad hoc panel. If pushed to that edge, the IOA-team should keep the officials from both factions out of such a panel. The IOA can even think of forming an advisory committee enlisting members from outside its ambit, inviting senior lawyers and industrialists who share a love for hockey, to end this endemic national malaise. IOA’s urgency underlines a hint of desperation. Is it not time for the factions to realise the damage they have done to the national sport? They will earn the gratitude of all if a formula, embracing the frame-work of democracy, is framed and implemented quickly to extinguish the flames of acrimony, mistrust and egoism.
High time warring Indian hockey factions learn from Olympic debacle in London
By Samikshan Dutta Choudhury
High time warring Indian hockey factions learn from Olympic debacle in London 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 votes.
It has been four years since Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and Hockey India (HI) has been locked in an impasse. Many attempts were made to settle the issue amicably but never could they come to a settlement. The issue over the last four years saw International Hockey Federation (FIH), Sports Ministry, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) jump into action, trying to resolve the rift but none of these warring factions looked to relent.
Last year, FIH took away the Champions Trophy from India, pertaining to the row, but still the people at helm did not learn from the loss. They put their personal interests ahead of the game and stood adamant to their stand. Now with an aim to end the dispute, IOA has taken the affairs in their own hands following a directive by FIH.
IOA has constituted a three member body which will now decide as to who would run hockey in the country. The panel includes the former Wrestling Federation of India president G.S. Mander, the Indian Weightlifting Federation president Birendra Prasad Baishya and the Handball Federation of India secretary-general S.M. Bali. They have told the HI and the IHF to present their cases on August 21 and a committee will submit its decision on August 31.
This is one thing that the all the hockey fans in the country were waiting eagerly for. It all started back in 2008 after India failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. The Indian Hockey Federation, which was the helm of things, was disbanded due to that and subsequently Hockey India was formed. Since then both these bodies are at constant loggerheads with either bodies taking jibe at each other frequently.
They got entangled into an ego clash and in order to attain supremacy neglected the game and it kept of vouching for their personal interests. This rift saw such a wonderful concept World Series Hockey, which had the capacity to lift the game to its old glory, get a lukewarm response as the Hockey India prevented its players from playing in it. The infighting amongst the two existing hockey bodies and self-egos of a few vested interests rested with the power of taking hockey to its old glory casted a doom for tournament, which otherwise could have acted as a precursor to restoring the game back on track again.
With only one body in functioning, it will now see all the hockey players under one aegis which will do world of wonders to the sport. The players, who fell apart with the board due to their compliance to the IHF, will now come back into the selection fold.
The rift has killed the interest of the hockey lovers of the country with constant controversies and now that can be expected to put to rest. Controversies are the biggest demons that a sport can fight and continuously staying in news due to wrong reason creates a sense of hatred within the people. FIH had taken out the Champions Trophy out of the country last year and also threatened to pull out the Olympic qualifiers. At least this kind of situation can be avoided if the issue is settled.
A sport to thrive in the country requires money. But the current scenario has seen the corporate powerhouses divided over both the bodies and if only one body stays at power then all corporates can divert all their money to single association helping in strengthening of the game.
The row has never done any good for the hockey and now the decision to end this long standing rift might be the first step towards uplifting the game to its forlorn glory.
Indian Sports News Network
Players concede lack of mental strength and need for psychologist
Uthra Ganesan Chaturvedi
For a long, long time now, Indian hockey’s travails have been considered more a problem of the mind than anything to do with skills. And now, the players themselves are admitting they lost their way at the London Olympics much before they even stepped on the turf for the first game. And the need of the hour seems to be a sports psychologist, something former India coaches Jose Brasa and before that Harendra Singh have been crying out for. For more than a year, coach Michael Nobbs too has been seeking one, without success.
“We reached London on a losing note. We had lost our matches in Spain during the three-nation meet and practice games against Spain. Then, we lost the first two games. Even before the Holland match, we were under pressure; the Spain losses were still on the minds. The first two games killed whatever was left,” admits a senior player.
If that sounds bizarre, coming from a professional player with enough international experience, there’s more. “Holland and Germany were expected to be tough and New Zealand have been quite a side against us for some time now. But it was against Korea that it all actually fell apart. They had lost their previous match and came out like a team possessed. They were playing like crazy, it seemed all they wanted was to win, win, win. Our guys? They simply turned up for a job, play out 70 minutes. We had burnt out, physically and mentally,” adds another player.
Let it be remembered that we are not talking of any random tournament here, we are talking of the Olympics. If a few losses during training in a practice event before the Olympics are capable of burning out our ‘professional’ players, it is a really scary situation.
Which brings us to back to the sport psychologist. It is well-known that Indian athletes, across sports, generally struggle on the big stage, in big competitions. Whether in team sports or individual events, the same players whom we beat regularly and consistently round the year suddenly become too strong for us at tough world level competitions. A full-time psychologist with the team at London would have helped them regain the lost confidence and reminded them of their strengths. It’s a specialized job and even though the coach or manager are also responsible, it is difficult for them to counsel every one individually.
Every player is unique and must be treated and handled so. A sports psychologist is trained to understand the individual traits and work accordingly. With just two players in the ranks with prior Olympic experience, the Indian hockey team was full of youngsters, talented but having never experienced pressure. They needed guidance, support and a reaffirmation of their talent. At the Olympic stage, where the best crack up under pressure, these youngsters were tailor-made for a breakdown in the absence of scientific psychological support.
What’s worse is that almost everyone broke down. There were exceptions -- Ignace Tirkey, Sardara Singh and the goalkeepers Bharat Chhetri and PR Sreejesh -- who managed to do their best, but the rest couldn’t. Sandeep Singh, the only other Olympian in the team, was pathetic. Other seniors – Gurbaj, Tushar, Shivendra, Raghunath – all faltered. The juniors expectedly couldn’t handle it.
Even before leaving for the Europe tour in July, Nobbs had said that he had been trying to get a sports psychologist but he couldn’t find the right one. It’s a long held demand of both players and coaches that has been studiously ignored by the officials. Nobbs, even after his return, has repeatedly stated that a psychologist is the need of the hour, more so after the debacle at London. Off record, every team support staff insists the pressure killed the team. “Honestly, no one expected a medal. Realistically, anyone who knows Indian hockey and has seen this team believed they were a 5-8 place team. I insist they still are. But at London, we had the skills, strength and stamina for 5-8 finish; we did not have the mental attitude,” said a senior staff member who was with the team in London.
Consider this: Abhinav Bindra, gold medalist at Beijing and participating in his fourth Olympics, admitted at London that he couldn’t handle pressure – and he has been working with a mind trainer for more than 8 years. Vijender Singh, bronze medalist at Beijing and a third-time Olympian, admitted after losing in quarters that he couldn’t figure out what was happening. On the other hand, wrestler Sushil Kumar went up from bronze at Beijing to silver at London. The only difference: he had his wife and childhood coach with him at London, who never let him doubt himself. It was all in the mind.
Sardar, Yuvraj to get Arjuna award
Cricketer, hockey star among 30 players finalised for big honour
New Delhi - Hockey Olympian Sardar Singh and cricket ace Yuvraj Singh are two of the star names who figure in the list of Arjuna Awardees finalized by the selection panel, headed by shooter Rajyawardhan Singh Rathore, here today.
Olympic silver medallist in shooting Vijay Kumar and bronze medallist in wrestling Yogeshwar Dutt have been jointly selected for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. Though former Indian cricket captain Rahul Dravid was also a strong contender for the highest sports award, the Olympic medalists won the day, as the majority rooted for them.
Others who have been selected for the Arjuna Award are: Deepika Pallikkal (squash), P. Kashyap and Ashwani Ponnappa(badminton), Joydeep Karmarkar (shooting), Deepika Kumari and Bambaiyla Devi (both archery), Sudha Singh and Kavita Raut (athletics), Arun Kumar (kabaddi), Vikas Krishnan(boxing), Aditya S Mehta (billiards), Nar Singh Yadav , Rajendera Kumar and Geeta Phogat (wrestling), Jaspal Solanki (judo), Anuraj Singh and Onkar Singh (shooting), Sandeep Sejwal (swimming), Sonia Chanu (weightlifting) and Bimaljit Singh (wushu).
Hockey India congratulated Sardar Singh for his selection for the Arjuna Award.
HI said the 26-year-old serves as an inspiration for the young hockey players in the country, as he has been performing excellently in the recent tournaments, including the Olympics.
In the Olympic Qualifying Tournament held in Delhi early this year, Sardar Singh was adjudged as the Player of the Tournament, and got a similar award in the 21st Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia and the Tri-Nation Tournament in Spain.
He was selected in the FIH World XI team continuously for two years in 2010 and 2011 for his outstanding performance. Though Yuvraj Singh has been out of action after his stellar deeds in the 2011 World Cup due to a rare form of lung cancer, he has staged a strong come, and has been selected for the 20/20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in September. And the Arjuna Award has come as an icing on the cake for his remarkable recovery and return to cricket.