Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Finally, Malaysia win three points..

MALAYSIA finally found their winning touch when they beat hosts China in the Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, yesterday.
Now, they will have to continue the momentum against India today and Japan in the final round-robbin match to finish among the top-three in the inaugural tournament.
Malaysia, who lost 3-2 to Pakistan and 4-3 to South Korea in the earlier matches, scored off Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (seventh), Amin Rahim (23rd), Izwan Firdaus (53rd) and Faizal Saari (60th).
The China goals were scored by Liu Yi Xian in the 29th and 35th minutes.
In the other matches yesterday, Japan shocked Pakistan 3-1 while India beat South Korea 5-3 to open up the tournament.
Malaysian team managere Stephen van Huizen said: "There are no two ways about it now, we have to beat India tomorrow (today) to stay in the hunt to finish among the top-four. Against China, the team played much better and now they must put the two defeats behind them and look foward."
Japan are the revelation of the tournament, as they held India 1-1 and then beat Pakistan yesterday.
Meanwhile, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) confirmed yesterday that they have yanked the Champions Trophy from India because of internal conflicts involving two hockey bodies there.
"We regret that we have to move the Champions Trophy from India. It is difficult for the teams, the organisers and the fans. But we feel that this is the only way to maintain the integrity of our sport," said FIH President Leandro Negre.
It is believed that the Champions Challenge will now be held in New Zealand on Dec 3-1, as the FIH have offered India to play in the Champions Challenge I in South Africa on Nov 26 - Dec 4.
Currently, the teams in the Champions Challenge I are Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Poland and South Africa.
RESULTS: China 2 Malaysia 4, Japan 3 Pakistan 1, India 5 South Korea 3.
TODAY: Malaysia v India, China v Japan, South Korea v Pakistan.

INDIA 3 2 1 0 11 4 7
PAKISTAN 3 2 0 1 8 6 6
S KOREA 3 2 0 1 10 10 6
JAPAN 3 1 1 1 6 5 4
MALAYSIA 3 1 0 2 9 9 3
CHINA 3 0 0 3 3 13 0

Pain in the plains of Inner Mongolia

COMMENT By Jugjet Singh

ORDOS, a city which once witnessed the might of Genghis Khan, is fast turning into a painful spectacle for hockey.
The inaugural men's and second women's Asian Champions Trophy is going on in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, as you read this column.
But if you are looking for instant results from the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) website, www.asiahockey.org, don't bother.
The AHF, which finally came to its senses and organised a tournament which is 20 years overdue, might need another 20 years to realise that it needs to market the tournament and make results available on its comatose website.
The AHF website proudly proclaims with a screaming headline 'Spectacle in Ordos' and the first paragraph reads: "The city of Ordos is set to be the centre of Asian hockey for the next two weeks, when it hosts the 1st Men's and 2nd Women's Asian Champions Trophy. One of the 12 major subdivisions of Inner Mongolia China, the city is reputed to be the birthplace of hockey in China."
And at the end of the four-paragraph story, you can find the match schedule but it has not been updated since, even though two days of exciting hockey has been played.
Compare it with the efforts from European continent, who not only market their Euro Hockey League (EHL), and are becoming stronger by playing among themselves, but also get solid support from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to spread the news via instant results and also prominent space on the FIH homepage.
And the tournament organised by their most important partner, Asia, does not even get a passing mention on the FIH mouthpiece, so forget about sourcing for results there.
Sadly, the only place one can get Malaysian and other match results in Ordos instantly is on some privately run blogs.
Asia has always received the raw end of the deal from FIH, as AHF president Sultan Azlan Shah and secretary general Tan Sri P. Alagendra struggle to promote the sport in the region.
Organising a tournament alone is not enough, but it needs to be milked to the maximum to attract sponsors, which in turn will beam the matches live to our living rooms, and money for AHF to further help their member countries.
India and Pakistan are Asia's drawcards as they lure huge crowds to the stadiums, and television rights are easy to sell when these two teams play in a tournament.
This fact is recognised by the FIH which gladly let India host the last world World Cup, and this year's Champions Trophy and one leg of the Olympic Qualifier as well as the Junior World Cup next year.
India also hosted the Commonwealth Games, where excellent hockey is played, and it was widely followed on the idiot box.
However, the FIH is regretting its decisions to milk the hockey market in India, as two rival bodies are at loggerheads and can't seem to come to a compromise.
The FIH has taken back the Champions Trophy and handed it to New Zealand, which will further deprive an Asian team of playing in a high level tournament.
But since the AHF is not bothered with the welfare or progress of its member countries, the FIH can't be bothered as well and so the inaugural men's Asian Champions Trophy does not offer any ranking points.
And with no proper marketing and publicity on its prized tournament, the AHF supremos are still living in an ancient era where informative websites, Facebook and Twitter were yet to be invented or designed.
Sadly, the Malaysian Hockey Federation also lives in the same era as AHF, as its website (http://www.malaysiahockey.com.my/) was last updated during the Razak Cup at the end of July.
The Malaysian team have found themselves a gazing stock in Ordos, having lost 3-2 to Pakistan and 4-3 to South Korea and more misery is in store as they face China, India and Japan in their remaining fixtures.