Monday, August 13, 2018

Asian Games: Pakistan dead serious..

KUALA LUMPUR: Pakistan arrived in Jakarta on Friday for a one-week Asian Games camp before they play Thailand on Aug 20.
  Even though the players had complained that they did not receive a cent for the past six months and wanted to boycott the Games, but cool heads prevailed and they are the earliest team to acclimatise for the Games.
  Malaysia will only travel on Aug 16, and play their first match against Kazakhstan on Aug 20.
  "I believe Pakistan and Malaysia have the same game plan -- to beat each other and top Group A. And their early arrival will give them more time to settle down and acclimatise to the weather and food.
  "For us, Jakarta does not pose any problems of acclimatisation and everything suits us just fine," said Malaysian coach Stephen van Huizen.
  The good part about the schedule is that Malaysia and Pakistan will play three other matches first before clashing head-on.
  "We will first play Kazakhstan, followed by Thailand and Bangladesh and it will give us enough time to get used to the playing surface before we play, what I expect, to be our toughest match in Group B.
  "However, we will not take other teams lightly and need to go for goals as well, because if the Pakistan match ends in a draw, we need the advantage to top the group," said van Huizen.
  India are the early favourites, and Malaysia must avoid them at all cost in the semi-finals.
  The world No 5 are in Group A with South Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka Hong Kong and Indonesia.
  Malaysia are ranked 12th, while Pakistan 13th in the world.
  "Ranking wise, India are far ahead and are one of the favourites to play in the final. Pakistan is just one rung below us, and that's why they have taken extra precaution to have a week-long centralised camp at the tournament venue itself.
  "We are also prepared, as both the teams have played each other many times and we know their strengths and weaknesses," said van Huizen.
   Both the teams last met at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia and the match ended 1-1. Malaysia went on to play in the fifth-sixth bracket and beat Scotland 2-1, while Pakistan played in the seventh-eighth bracket and beat Canada 3-1.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

MHC's president and deputy will resign if men's team fail to play in 2020 Olympics

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) will not only lose their president, but also their deputy if the men’s team fail to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Shamala, who has been involved with hockey for over two decades, made the announcement during MHC’s annual general meeting (AGM) here.
"Our president has done a great job and I am very proud to be in his team.
"And so, to shoulder collective responsibility, I will also relinquish my post if the men's team fail to qualify for the Olympics," said Shamala.
The last time Malaysia featured at the Olympics was the 2000 Sydney edition where the men’s team finished 11th.
Stephen van Huizen's men have two routes to qualify for Tokyo. One is to win gold at the Asian Games, and the second is via the Hockey World Series which Malaysia will host the first part in April next year.
While it was a fresh statement from Shamala, Subahan has made his stand many times.
Shamala feels their stand will not add pressure to the team.
"We are making our stand because we believe the team have the ability to win the gold (at the Asian Games),” she added.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Terry Walsh: Kirandeep a good find..

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Thursday released men's and women's team lists for the Jakarta Asian Games, with Kirandeep Kaur stealing the limelight.
  The 15-year-old was the only 'new face' in both the men's and women's teams who will be gunning for gold and bronze in Jakarta respectively.
  MHC Technical Director Terry Walsh was all praise for the Form Three student.
  "The rest of the players, men's and women's, are familiar faces with Kirandeep Kaur being the exciting new inclusion. I have watched her in training as well as matches, and I believe she has tremendous potential at such a young age," said the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Master Coach.
  TimeSport had reported on Wednesday that Kirandeep Kaur will become the youngest hockey player in Malaysia to play in the Asian Games, thanks to visionary coach K. Dharmaraj.
  And when asked his projection on what the men and women are capable of at the Asian Games?
  "I expect both our teams to break new ground in the Games. The women should put up a good fight to qualify for the semi-finals and then chase for a medal, while the men should play in the finals," said the two-time Olympian Australian.
  The men are in Group B with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Oman, Kazakhstan and Thailand while the women are in Group A with China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
  Yesterday, players from both teams received shoes sponsorship from Vik Network.
  MEN -- S. Kumar (gk), Hairi Rahman (gk), Sukri Mutalib, Razie Rahim, 
Syed Syafiq Syed Cholan, Azri Hassan, Faiz Helmi Jali, Nabil Fiqri, 
Marhan Jalil, Meor Azuan Hassan, Fitri Saari, Joel Samuel van Huizen, 
Amirol Aideed Arshad, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Faizal Saari, Nik Aiman Nik Rozemi, Firhan Ashari, Shahril Saabah.
 WOMEN -- Farah Ayuni Yahya, Mas Huzaimah Aziz, Siti Noor Amarina, 
Juliani Din, Raja Norsharina, Nuraini Rashid, Fatin Shafika, 
Fazilla Sylvester Silin, Wan Norfaiezah Saiuti, Surizan Awang Noh, Norazlin Sumantri, Hanis Nadia Onn, Nuraslinda Said, Nur Syafiqah Zain, Nur Amirah Shakirah, Nur Zafirah Aziz, Kirandeep Kaur, Noor Hasliza Ali. 

Coach Dharmaraj admitted to hospital


KUALA LUMPUR: National women's coach K. Dharmaraj (pic) was admitted to a hospital on Wednesday for indigestion problems, but Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) are not ready to push the panic button.
  After returning from the Australian Tour, Dharmaraj had complained about his stomach becoming bloated after every meal.
  He has undergone blood tests, ultra sound as well as many other tests: "The doctors have done many tests on me but my condition is still the same as they can't seem to find the cause. All the tests indicate nothing is wrong with me, but everytime I have a meal, I become bloated and come down with a fever," said Dharmaraj.
  Subahan said: "I have received the latest news about Dharmaraj from team manager Lailin (Abu Hassan). Tests are still being done to find the cause of his discomfort, but the early indications are that he might recover in time for the Asian Games."
  The women's squad will play their first Group A match against Hong Kong on Aug 19.
  "The entire coaching staff as well as players are praying for Dharmaraj's speedy recovery. The girls' are really worried, as they are very attached to him and hope he will be in Jakarta to guide them.
  "There are a few more tests to be done, and hopefully he recovers soon," said Lailin.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Kirandeep Kaur, 15, selected for Asian Games

KUALA LUMPUR: Kirandeep Kaur (pic), at 15, will become the youngest hockey player in Malaysia to play in the Asian Games, thanks to revolutionary coach K. Dharmaraj.
  There were many obstacles in her way to gaining the historical spot, and a last minute frantic appeal had to be made to include her in the 'long list'.
  (Long List is names of athletes submitted by the respective National Sports Associations in January and it can contain as many names as the associations want).
  Kirandeep Kaur was only called up for training by Dharmaraj in May, and the Form Three student of SMK Bukit Bandaraya in Bangsar was promptly included in the World Series in Singapore a month later.
  She played in all six matches and scored a goal in the final against Thailand, which Malaysia won 6-0.
  She was then selected for the hockey playing tour in Brisbane recently, where Malaysia drew two matches and won three -- Kirandeep Kaur also scored Down Under.
  However, since she was not listed in the Long List sent to the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) had to make an appeal for her inclusion.
  And after a few days of Red Tape and some bungling, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) finally agreed to give her accreditation Wednesday.
  She will not only be the youngest Malaysian women, but also the youngest among the men who made their international debut at the age of 14 in Singapore, celebrated her 15th birthday during the Brisbane Tour, and now representing the country at an Olympic Qualifier.
  However, the lanky lass did not have it easy, as she did not even play in the National Under-16 in March due to various reasons, but in the end, she beat the odds and coach Dharmaraj's brave break deserves a standing ovation. 
  MHC are expected to name the women's and men's squad on Thursday.