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News for 01 January 2015

All the news for Thursday 1 January 2015

Fiji pulls out

Emoni Narawa

Fiji Men's Hockey coach Hector Smith, left, with Fiji Hockey Federation president Dr Robin Mitchell at the press conference yesterday. Picture: ATU RASEA

THE Fiji Hockey Federation yesterday announced that Fiji would not be participating at the World Hockey League in Singapore later this month.

After qualifying from the Hockey World League Round One held in Suva last month, the Fiji men's and women's teams eased through to the next round after beating their Pacific rivals at the National Hockey Centre.

However, with financial problems not a stranger to sporting bodies in the country, FHF made the revelation that it would not be competing in Singapore.

"This is a critical decision Fiji Hockey made primary because of funding," said Doctor Robin Mitchell, the federation's president.

Dr Mitchell said FHF sacrificed the world league qualifying round so they could focus on defending their gold medal at the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea.

He said the focus was for Fiji to defend gold medal at the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea later this year.

He said they had planned to send only one team to Singapore. However, financial difficulties had led them to make the decision on Tuesday night.

PNG had been invited to replace Fiji at the event which takes place from January 17-25 in Singapore.

"Before the competition last month, we were planning to send only one team but with time against us and with no commitments from sponsors, we have made the decision for the benefit of a minor sport like hockey.

"We want to announce that the men's and women's teams will not compete at the World League Round Two qualification."

Fiji men's hockey head coach Hector Smith said it was not the first time Fiji had made such sacrifice. Fiji participated at the world league in India two years ago with players digging deep in their pockets to pay about $3000 each for the trip.

"This is not the first time we've made sacrifice. We came back from India and sacrificed going to New Zealand so our U18 team can go to the Youth Olympics."

Smith added they looked forward to defending the gold medals in PNG.

The Fiji Times

Resolutions revealed...

From health and happiness to a new home, hockey players reveal their hopes for 2015.

(Photo: Stanislas Brochier)

As we say goodbye to 2014, and welcome in an action-packed 2015, we hear New Year Resolutions from some of the stars of the game, who are sure to shine on the hockey pitch during the next 12 months.

India's captain and talismanic midfielder, Sardar Singh, says: "My resolution is to maintain and improve my skills to help me be more beneficial to my team mates on the field. I want to make hockey, and Team India's performance in particular, even more enjoyable to watch."

Irish goalkeeper David Harte says: "My New Year Resolution will be to continue to do everything I possibly can to get to the Rio Olympics with Ireland."

Mo Furste, the player of the tournament at the recent Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar, where his team, Germany, were crowned champions had these upbeat words of wisdom. "My resolution will be to stay healthy and to just do what I like to do. Don't wanna waste any time. Just wanna enjoy life."

Australian goal-scoring hero Kieran Govers' resolutions were focused on material things: "Hey,  my resolution will be planning my career away from hockey and to look at purchasing a new car and third house!"

Team USA coach Craig Parnham will be delighted with Julia Reinprecht's New Year promises. The midfield star says: "My New Year's resolution is to work on my flexibility with more stretching, yoga, and mobility exercises."

Shelley Russell will be hard to keep tabs on. South Africa's energetic midfielder says: "My resolution will be to see six new places in the world in 2015. It was also my 2014 resolution and I achieved it travelling this year! #TravelBug #MustSeeMore."

Japan's Nagai Hazuki says: I'm working on having a strong mind. A strong mind will always guide me to victory. And I challenge myself every day so that I will help my team earn a ticket to the Olympics!"

Finally, Argentina's superstar 'keeper Belen Succi, whose incredible performances in Mendoza helped secure the Champions Trophy for her team says: "Next year we will focus on qualification for the Olympics in 2016, by preparing for the Pan American Games and the World League. It will be a busy year and we will start thinking about the final goal, which will be the Olympics in Brazil."

With the road to Rio 2016 at the forefront of their minds, we wish all our hockey stars across the globe a happy and successful 2015.

FIH site

At Liberals, no takers for hockey thrills

Only teams and officials, and monkeys from reserved forest belt, turn up to watch

Aman Sood

Namdhari XI (in red) beat SGPC XI 4-0 in a one-sided match of the Liberals Hockey. Tribune photo

Nabha - The lush green grounds at the Punjab Public School here, venue of the 39th GS Bains Liberals All India Hockey Tournament, have a unique feel about them — surrounded by reserved forest belt, the grounds have monkeys in abundance in the vicinity. The players, used to empty grounds, would be glad to have some sort of spectators, even if they are monkeys. Despite this being a well organised tournament, human beings have largely given this event a miss, opting not to come and see future hockey stars play.

Many international players of the past two decades and more, who went on to represent India, had in their initial years played in this tournament. Yet, it has not caught the imagination of the fans. Despite the tournament being well organised and covered by the national media, the spectators are missing. The only viewers are organising officials and members of the teams and staff. No one from the nearby villages comes to watch the closely fought matches being played by top teams from across the country.

Interestingly when Nabha hosted the World Cup Kabaddi (which is not a recognised sport) earlier this month, there was an attendance of over 5,000 spectators at the matches. Hockey, despite being considered the national sport, has failed to bring in crowds. This makes finding sponsors very tough.

An official associated with the tournament said that the efforts of the state government ensured good turnouts at the kabaddi matches, and added that the indifference of the youth towards hockey is not a good sign. “In a state facing the drug menace, we want more such tournaments and more youth in the spectators’ galleries, but sadly that is not happening as for now,” said Gurkaran Singh Bains, chief organiser of the tournament. “We are working very hard to keep the tournament going.”

The organisers would indeed need to work hard, given the tight finances and the squeeze in sponsorship.

In today’s matches, Namdhari XI crushed SGPC Academy (Fatehgarh Sahib) 4-0; Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) Patiala won 2-0 against Sangrur Academy; Artillery Centre Nasik beat CISF New Delhi 3-2; and Western Central Railway crushed Shahjahanpur (UP) XI 5-2.

In the first match, PSPCL Patiala eased past the hard-fighting Sangrur Hockey Academy in a drab affair. Sangrur’s defence could not withstand the repeated attacks of PSPCL from the right flank and conceded the first goal in the 21st minute. Inside-left Manbir Singh collected an accurate pass and dodging the defenders outside the D, he slotted the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper into the net. Another goal in the 50th minute, by centre-half Hardial Singh, ensured the win for PSPCL.

The game between Namdhari XI and SGPC XI was a well-contested affair, but the experienced Namdhari boys, with excellent ball control and better understanding, grabbed their chances in the striking circle to forge ahead 1-0 in 20th minute through Jaswant Singh. Jaswant Singh was again on target in the 22nd minute when he hoodwinked a bunch of defenders before beating the goalkeeper. Outside-right Bishan Singh scored the third goal in the 32nd minute, taking advantage of a defensive lapse by Ramandeep of SGPC XI.

After the change of ends, the SGPC lads improved their attacks and kept the Namdhari defence-line confined to their half, but poor finishing prevented any damage to the Namdhari citadel. Namdhari XI completed the 4-0 scoreline in the 68th minute when Udhampreet found the net with a neat deflection from near the goalline.

The Tribune

National Hockey Championship: Kashif scores hat-trick as PIA rout Sindh 12-1

Pakistan international Shafqat Rasool opened the scoring in the ninth minute through a field goal. PHOTO: APP

KARACHI: Another hat-trick by Kashif Ali guided PIA to a massive 12-1 victory over Sindh on the sixth day of the 61st PSO National Hockey Championship at the Sialkot Hockey Stadium on Wednesday.

Pakistan international Shafqat Rasool opened the scoring in the ninth minute through a field goal, while Awaisur Rehman added another in the next minute as PIA led 2-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Kashif increased PIA’s tally by scoring in the 20th minute, while Azfar Yaqoob piled further misery on Sindh through his 22nd minute field goal.

Shujaat Ali struck the only goal for Sindh at the end of the second quarter to bring some consolation to the flailing team.

At the start of the third quarter, Kashif scored two penalty corner goals in the 33rd and 35th minute to complete his second hat-trick in as many matches, while captain Ihsanullah scored the seventh goal for PIA in the 39th minute.

Abubakar ended the third quarter 8-1 with his 44th-minute penalty corner goal.

In the last ten minutes of the game, PIA added four more goals through Rana Sohail, Abubakar, Nohaiz Malik and Ammad Butt scoring in the 50th, 55th, 59th and 60th minute respectively.

Meanwhile, in the other match, Navy defeated Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) 8-0 as Akbar Ali scored a brace for Navy, while Atif Ali, Wajiullah, Muhammad Sabir, Muhammad Asif, Shahbaz Ali, and Ali Sher also got their name on the score card.

Elsewhere, the match between PQA and HEC was drawn 2-2 as PQA’s Abu Bakar and Muhammad Saleem scored in 28th and 58th minute, while Muhammad Arsalan and Hassan Ubaid scored in 32nd and 45th minute for HEC.

In today’s fixture, Sindh will take on Railway, while NBP will clash with Islamabad as K-P face Wapda.

The Express Tribune

MHC to postpone start of junior hockey league due to floods

by S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) are set to postpone the start of the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League (MJHL) due to the flood situation in the country.

The league is scheduled to begin on Jan 16, but the competitions committee are now looking into changing the date as some of the teams are from the flood-affected states.

“We’ll meet on Saturday to decide the new date. It’s reasonable for us to postpone the start of the MJHL as most of the teams taking part have school-going players. And the start of the school term has also been delayed for a week because of the floods,’’ said competitions committee chairman M. Gobinathan.

“On top of that, we have teams that are from the flood-affected states. There’s no need for us to rush the kick-off and then forced to postpone the matches later on.

“We need to consider the situation seriously and give the teams more time to prepare,” he added.

A record 31 teams from Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak, Terengganu, Pahang, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Johor are competing in this year’s league. Only Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak have no representatives.

Gobinathan also said they would decide on the format as well as the teams’ make-up for the two divisions on Saturday.

“Once we have finalised the teams in each division, we can start to work on the fixtures,” he said.

A total of 27 teams took part last year with seven sides competing in Division One. The other 20 teams in Division Two were divided into two groups.

The Star of Malaysia

Harte twins looking forward to HIL

Kampong’s David Harte and twin brother Conor, who plays for Racing Club de Bruxelles, are looking forward to the “electric atmosphere” at Dabang Mumbai  whom they link up with in January for the Hockey India League.

The Irish twins were both bought at auction last month with goalkeeper David signed for $51,000 at action, making him the second most expensive goalkeeper in the league this season after PR Sreejesh.

Conor’s signing ($10,000) for the same team makes him only the second Irish person to ever play in the league and mark a high point for the brothers.

Since their school days, David and Conor Harte have played together at club – including in the EHL with Pembroke – interprovincial and international level hockey, bringing a rapport which will prove crucial for the fortunes of Dabang Mumbai.

Speaking about the tournament, David Harte said, “Since the news of joining a new team together, we both are very happy and excited to play alongside for Dabang Mumbai.

“I have experienced the electric atmosphere at the games which is something I can’t wait for, the chance to be able to play in front of 10,000 screaming fans who love the game.

“This will surely be a good experience for Conor also. I have shared many stories of the Hero HIL with him and the magnitude of the competition.

“We want to finish the league with good points. We have some very experienced international players in our team with names like Tom Boon, Floris Evers, Matthew Swann, Glen Turner with whom hockey fans across the world reckon with.”

Conor adds, meanwhile: “This League will be another adventure for us. David is among the best players in the world and he is training hard for the upcoming league.

“The Hero HIL will be different for us as the world’s best players get to compete against each other. I am excited to reach India and rub shoulders with top foreign internationals and former Indian players like Vinaya Swamy, Arjun Halappa and having former Indian captain Viren Rasquinha as the mentor.”

The 3rd edition of the Hero Hockey India League will start from January 22, 2015.

Euro Hockey League media release

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