Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dubai To Host World Cup Qualifier

DUBAI will host the Asia Cup next year, which will offer three tickets to the 2010 Delhi World Cup.
The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) had a meeting in Hyderabad, India, yesterday and Malaysia and India’s bid were among those that were rejected.
Malaysia, Japan, China, South Korea, India and Pakistan will be joined by Asian Hockey Federation Cup winner Bangladesh and runners-up Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup.
Meanwhile, Malaysia finished fifth in the Junior Asia Cup when they beat Bangladesh 1-0 with an Ahmad Kazamirul penalty corner strike in the 68th minute.
Today, India will play South Korea in the final, while Japan and Pakistan square off for bronze, which offers the last Asian ticket to the 2009 Junior World Cup.
RESULTS: Classifications -- Fifth-Sixth: Malaysia 1 Bangladesh 0; Seventh-Eighth: Singapore 1 Oman 5.

Ric Charlesworth Blasts Qualifiers

Olympic Qualifiers were a kick-in-the-face for India and Argentina. Malaysia and Japan were grouped with World No 1 Germany.

NEW DELHI, July 17, 2008 (AFP) - Australian field hockey legend Ric Charlesworth says he is not impressed with the new Olympic qualifying system that kept both India and Argentina away from Beijing.
"I never liked the new process as I knew it would throw up anomalies," Charlesworth, who resigned this month as India’s technical advisor, told AFP in an e-mail interview.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) awarded direct entries to nine teams based on their performance in regional meets, with the remaining three berths going to the winners of three separate qualifying tournaments.
A team that did not automatically make the grade could take part in only one qualifying event and needed to win it to go to Beijing.
Eight-time gold medallists India lost to Britain in the final of the qualifying tournament in Chile in April and will miss the Olympics for the first time.
World number seven Argentina, one place higher than India, lost to Canada in the Pan-American Games and then went down to New Zealand in the Olympic qualifier in Auckland.
Even world champions Germany were forced to go through the qualifying route after failing to finish among the top three in the European championships.
The Germans responded by winning the qualifying event in Japan without conceding a goal and became the last team to get an Olympic berth.
"Both Argentina and India are clearly in the best 12, so it’s a pity they are not in the Olympics," said Charlesworth, a four-time Olympian and noted coach.
"The new process might promote the game better around the world, but it throws up some ridiculous mismatches that benefit nobody.
"But it must be stressed India had two chances to qualify as did Argentina and they failed to realise them. It’s their own fault." India and Argentina mocked the new system by reaching the Azlan Shah final in Malaysia in May ahead of four Olympic-bound nations, New Zealand, Pakistan, Canada and Belgium.
Charlesworth predicted a tight contest in Beijing with Australia, Spain and the Netherlands as his favourites to win the gold.
"But at the Olympics there is often a surprise, perhaps Great Britain, Korea or New Zealand may throw up a surprise."
Teams qualified for Beijing are Germany, Spain, South Korea, New Zealand, Belgium, China, Australia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Britain, South Africa and Canada.

Hasli Aiming For Glory

(L-R) Pemba Tamang (Silver) of India, Vijay Kumar (Gold) of India and Amir Hasli Izwan (Bronze) of Malaysia pose with their medals in the Men's 25 m Rapid Fire Pistol at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games
By Jugjet Singh
HASLI Izwan is a portly chap, who will not receive a second look on the
But put a pistol in his hand, and you better be more than 25 metres
away because he can place the bullet right between the eyes.
The 31-year-old manager of the Langkawi International Shooting Range
(LISRAM) will be competing in his first Olympics, but he hopes not his
"In Beijing, my aim is to get a good placing, preferably in the top-15
bracket. And then I will keep on shooting until I win an Olympic medal,
as age is no barrier in this sport," said Hasli.
His love for shooting blossomed in 1994 when the sport was introduced
in the Malaysia Games. Hasli represented Perak and fell head-over-heels
in love with his pistol.
"The Malaysia Games were fun but it was tough breaking into the
national team as there were many established shooters in my field. I got
my break in 1997 and have smashed a few records since."
His personal best is 581 points which he did at the Asian Shooting
Championship in Kuwait last year which earned him a ticket to Beijing on
But the score is way behind that of the top Rapid Fire Pistol shooters
around the world. A check with the International Shooting Sports
Federation (ISSF) website listed Christian Reitz from Germany as the
World No 1 while Hasli's name was not among the top-50 listed.
It will be a monumental task for Hasli in Beijing as his discipline
involves a regime of four series of five shots, and the series will each
be in four seconds.
"If I think about the odds, I might as well stay home. But I am not
worried as I gain my strength from prayers and my family.
"Thinking about my son and daughter, always helps calm my nerves, and
that is what one needs to win a medal in the Olympics."
He was a bronze medallist at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, and
if nothing else, experience will be on his side.
He is also the first Malaysian shooter to have qualified on merit for
the Olympics.
* Date of birth: 22 Feb, 1977
* Hometown: Ipoh
* Height: 167cm
* Weight: 89kg
* Coach: Mohamed Hashim Desa
* Likes: Kampung Food
* Dislikes: Hypocrites
* Favourite movie: Action thrillers
* Favourite food: Malay dishes
* Favourite actor/actress: Sylvester Stallone
* Career high: Silver medal at the 2007 Asian Championships
* Career low: Failing in the1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games
* Previous Olympic appearances: Debutant
* Beijing event: 25-metre rapid fire pistol
* Competition dates: Aug 9-17.

Kevin Counting on Grit


By Jugjet Singh

YOU surely can't go on singing Rod Stewart's I Am Sailing when the windsof support and money stop blowing your sail home.
But this doctor sailor is made up of sturdier stuff than the pirates ofthe Caribbean.
He paddled, and then waded and finally swam alongside his boat untilthe Beijing Olympics ticket was justly handed to him.
Kevin Lim is no stranger to the Olympics, but it is a pity that he hadto fight his way as his qualification in the Laser class was challengedby the Malaysian Yachting Association (MYA).
Kevin, 32, qualified through the World Laser Championships in Australiain February, where the MYA did not see it fit to send any of its sailors. But he triumphed in his appeal, and is now looking forward to blueskies and choppy seas again
. When asked about his chances: "Much poorer than if I had been funded tocampaign throughout 2007."
And even though he had numerous problems with funding, he is realisticabout the RM1 million incentive dangled by the government for a gold inBeijing.
"I feel this (RM1 million) is a great outcome goal but outcome goalsare only good if the process goals have been given sufficient investmentas well.
"Personally, I would rather the RM1 million be invested into theOlympic campaign to give the athletes a chance at winning a gold medal inthe first place.
"Once you have good results in most sports (and combined with a goodpersonality and some decent planning for the future), it is possible tosecure employment that will set you up for life anyway," said the good doctor.
And on his training regime? "It is strict. 07.30 wake up; 08.30 morning training session; 10.30post training meal; 11.00 paper work/studying/ lunch. "14.00 afternoon training session; 19.00 post training meal; 20.00flexi time and 22.30 sleep."
He has it meticulously planned, but funding was his major set-back andhe could not train as much as he wanted in 2007.
And what does he thinks is the future for a sport which he has given much of his life to?
"The future of Malaysian sailing will be good if the funding andsponsorship dollars are used to expose the many talented sailors toregattas in Europe and Australia.
"There is little value in building more training centres locally andbuying hundreds of new boats to fill them because high level competitionand ideal racing conditions do not exist locally.
"For the benefit of the sailors, we need to take the road less traveledand venture overseas to learn from the leaders in the field."
And his message to future Olympic sailors?
"Train hard, study smart and drink a lot of Milo."
And only then can you continue singing Rod Stewart's classic, with ahusky tone.
FACT FILE KEVIN LIM * Date of birth: 27 Sept 1976 * Hometown: Selangor * Height: 182cm * Weight: 79kg * Coach: Lou Cwee Peng * Likes: Hawker food, chocolate, travelling * Dislikes: Cruelty to animals * Favourite movie: Die Hard * Favourite food: Mums chicken curry, Penang style char kway teow,satay * Favourite actor/actress: Bruce Willis * Career high: Winning gold fleet race in French Olympic Week 2006 * Career low: Double disqualification at the start of the 2006 AsianGames * Previous Olympic appearances: Three * Beijing events: Laser * Competition dates: Aug 12-19

Che Not In Just For Kicks

By Jugjet Singh
CHE Chew Chan is not a distant relative of Argentine Marxistrevolutionary Che Guevara, but she possesses his steely grit, and many ofher taekwondo opponents will vouch for that. Both the Ches have one thing in common though - revolution.
"I will be fighting for the sport, not myself in Beijing. A medal fromme will help revolutionise the sport in Malaysia," was her response justbefore she left for a one-month training stint in South Korea.
Born in Pontian, Johor, she had her doubts about taekwondo and wascontemplating playing basketball, but was persuaded by her school coachKoh Keng Kiang to continue as he saw potential in her.
"And the silver medal I won at the Asian Championships in May in ZhengZhou, China, was the sweetest of rewards," said Chew Chan.
"My one month stint in Korea is going to be tough, but I hope it willhelp me kick out the butterflies in my stomach during competition, and Iwill return from Beijing with a medal."
Chew Chan has broken her jinx in theAsian Championships, as she lost inthe first round of the 2006 edition. She was also a first round casualtyin the Goodluck Beijing tournament earlier this year, but that is history.
"I am better prepared now, and although the competition in Beijing willnot be easy, I have as good a chance as the next exponent to lay my handson a medal." She will not be thinking much about her opponents in Korea, where sheis training to become mentally strong.
"The skills and physical strength are there, now I will concentrate onmental strength, because that is what separates losers from winners.
"I will also have to be cautious not to pick up an injury, as I do notwant to waste the golden opportunity of competing in my first Olympics."
And she is also delighted with the RM1 million cash offer for a goldmedal, and the pension that comes with it.
"Life will be set!," she giggled like a teenager when asked about thecash incentive.
"But seriously, it is a huge boost for any athlete in the lead-up tothe Games. All of us want to return from the Olympics with a medal, andnow we have an extra reason, which will make our lives cushier," saidChew Chan.
Winning gold might be tough though as China's two-time Olympic goldmedalist Chen Zhong is in her category but Chew Chan is one grittypersonality and,who knows, Beijing might well be where she really showsher stuff.

FACT FILE CHE CHEW CHAN * Date of birth: Oct 1, 1982 * Hometown: Pontian, Johor * Height: 179cm * Weight: 72kg * Coach: R. Dhanaraj * Likes: Chocolates and sleep * Dislikes: Loud and talkative people * Favourite movie: Comedies * Favourite food: Ice-cream and nasi lemak * Favourite actor/actress: None * Career high: Silver medal in the 2008 Asian Championships * Career low: Failing in first international outing in Vietnam, 2001 * Previous Olympic appearances: Debutante * Beijing events: Women's heavyweight * Competition dates: Aug 20-23

Let Coaches Breathe

Junior Asia Cup Semi-finals: India 3 Pakistan 1, South Korea 4 Japan 2. Classification: Malaysia 5 Oman 1, Singapore 0 Bangladesh 0 (Bangladesh win 4-1 on penalties).

By Ajitpal Singh
COACHES should be given a free hand in preparing athletes or teams for competitions. National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong, in making this call, also advised national sports associations (NSAs) to stop meddling in the duties entrusted to coaches. "The NSAs should stop this practice. It's not healthy as it gives the impression that they don't trust their coaches.
"Why hire them in the first place then?," said Zolkples yesterday.
He was commenting in response to national junior hockey coach V.Muraleedharan's claim on Wednesday that he was not the decision-maker in preparing his charges for next year's Junior World Cup.
The coach attributed his team's current poor results in tournaments to the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF), who often make decisions on the team without consulting him.
Zolkples is also unhappy with the series of failures by the national senior and junior hockey teams.
"I need to hold a meeting with them as what's happening now is unacceptable. Problems after problems are arising in hockey and they must be resolved soon. The MHF will have to table their report to me and from there, I will see what can be done to improve the current situation."
Meanwhile, Malaysia notched their first win in the Junior Asia Cup, by defeating minnows Oman 5-1 in the fifth to eight classification match in Hyderabad, India, yesterday. Malaysia scored through Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin in the sixth and 32nd minutes, Azreen Rizal Nasir (24th), Muhammad Azammi Adabi (64th) and Mohd Noor Khairul Azrain Adnan (69th). Oman replied in the 39th minute.
Malaysia will face Bangladesh in the fifth placing classification match.