Tuesday, September 18, 2018

AHF request FIH to consider Asian Games silver medallists for Tokyo Olympics -- OCM endorses

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Hockey Confederation (AHF) have written to the International Hockey Federation (FIH) a strong recommendation letter to include both the men's and women's silver medallists at the Asian Games into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  The men's silver medallists were Malaysia, while India finished second in the women's event. Both the gold medals were won by Japan, who had already qualified as hosts.
  AHF CEO Datuk Tayyab Ikram wrote to FIH CEO Thierry Weil on Sept 10 to reconsider the tournament rules which only allowed the winners to automatically advance to the Olympics.
  And at the Olympic Council of Malaysia Board Meeting yesterday, president Datuk Sri Norza Zakaria welcomed and endorsed the AHF move.
  Tayyab explained his rationale in the letter to FIH: "While I do understand the FIH criteria, I would want to put forward a request for an important review of the qualification criteria due to the fact that the host of the Olympic Games this time comes from Asia.
  "We do feel a need to reconsider the criteria as there are several high-performing teams of Olympic standard with almost no performance gaps, whose inclusion in the Tokyo Olympic Games via the Asian Games would prove to be justifiable and meriting.
  "Therefore, we would like the FIH to consider the inclusion of the silver medallist for both Men’s and women’s categories of the Asian Games in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, in addition to Japan’s automatic qualification as the host country."
  Among others Tayyab also wrote in the letter: "Consequently, if both, Malaysia men and India women teams are considered to secure their slots for Tokyo 2020, this would prove to be a meritocratic step, as these countries represent two of the largest fan-bases for Hockey in Asia.
  "This will have favorable implications towards the universality criteria, as well as, a well-deserved advantage to the host continent where the Olympics are being held, without compromising on the performance criteria and the set Olympic standards."
  Malaysia were leading 5-2, before allowing Japan to claw back at 6-6 and then lose 3-1 in the shoot-out. India women were edged 2-1 by Japan.
   "I believe the tournament rules are not carved on stone, and so, we will endorse and support the AFH letter to FIH in whatever way we can," said NOrza.
  Also at the Board meeting, it was decided that for future multi-Games under the OCM, they will have a selection pannel ahead of the actual selection.
  "Since there were so many problems with the selection of athletes for the Jakarta Asian Games, the OCM Board has endorsed a three-man panel to do the initial selection before we endorse the athletes.
  "We have suggested Datuk M. Jegathesan (sprints legend), Datuk Mazlan Ahmad (former National Sports Council director general) and Datuk Dr Ramlan Abdul Aziz (National Sports Institute CEO) to form the selection panel and their work is expected to begin before the 2019 Manila Sea Games," said Norza.
  Meanwhile, OCM also decided yesterday that badminton player Goh Jin Wei will be the flag-bearer at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires on Oct 6-18.

Darwin: Malaysia 2 Australia 1

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia lost 5-2 to World No 1 Australia in the Darwin International at the Marrara Hockey Stadium in Australia Tuesday.
  In another match, world No 2 Argentina beat Japan 2-1.
  The Malaysian goals were scored by Haziq Samsul (18th) and Firhan Azhaari (54th), while Australia got their goals off Dylan Wotherspoon (eighth), Tom Craig (11th), Jacob Anderson (32nd), Jack Welch (34th) and Tim Brand (60th).
  The Wednesday's match against Japan would be interesting, as the Asian Games champions beat Malaysia in a shoot-out recently in Jakarta.
  Malaysia took a 5-2 lead, but Japan equalised at 6-6 and then handed Malaysia a painful defeat in the shoot-out to deny  a historic Asian Games gold and an Olympic ticket which came with it.
  "Overall we played well and I need to emphasise that we played the best team in the world today (yesterday).
  "We had chances to score more than two goals but could not find the final touch.
  "I am happy with the way all my charges played, but they can do better and we will learn and work on that.
  "The next match is against Japan, and even though we did not bring our best players here, they know that losing twice in a row is not an option, for, it's redemption time," said Malaysian coach Amin Rahim.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Darwin International: Tough time for Razie and mates..

Malaysian skipper Razie Rahim (right) in a shoot at the Darwin Waterfront with skippers from Australia, Japan and Argentina before the 4-Nation Darwin International starts on Tuesday. --  picture6 hours ago

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will open accounts against World No 1 Australia in the Darwin International at the Marrara Hockey Stadium in Australia Tuesday. Sunday, Australia played a friendly with World No 2 Argentina and could only win 1-0, indicating a tough time for Malaysia as well as Japan who make up the quadrangular. Coach Amin Rahim's men then play Japan on Wednesday, and after a days rest play Argentina. Malaysia rested six regulars for the match because some were recovening from injuries after the Asian Games, while others were rested to let the bench prove themselves. The six who will stay back and undergo rehabilitation are Sukri Abdul Mutalib, Faizal Saari, Marhan Jalil, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Nabil Fiqri and S. Kumar. And their replacement were goalkeepeer Hafizuddin Othman, Najib Hassan, Ashran Hamsani, Ramadan Rosli, Haziq Samsul and Norsyafiq Sumantri. The skipper's band was handed to Malaysia's No 1 penalty corner flicker Razie Rahim, as regular Shukri is on the rested list. Razie, who last skippered Malaysia in this year's Azlan Shah Cup said: "I have no problem with the armband, as I believe my team-mates like Faiz (Helmi Jali) and Fitri (Shaari) will help me to organise the players for this tournament. "All I expect in return is for my team-mates, especially the younger ones, to have a high level of confidence as we will be up against the best in the world," said Razie. The Wednesday's match against Japan would be interesting, as the Asian Games champions beat Malaysia in a shoot-out recently in Jakarta. Malaysia took a 5-2 lead, but Japan equalised at 6-6 and then handed Malaysia a painful defeat in the shoot-out to deny Razie and his mates a historic Asian Games gold and an Olympic ticket which came with it.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Malaysia rest six stalwarts for Darwin Open..

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will rest six regulars for the Darwin International which will be held on Sept 18-22 at the Marrara Hockey Stadium in Australia.
  The tournament will also see world No 1 Australia, No 2 Argentina and Asian Games champions Japan in action.
  And the six who replaced the stalwarts are goalkeepeer Hafizuddin Othman, Najib Hassan, Ashran Hamsani, Ramadan Rosli, Haziq Samsul and Norsyafiq Sumantri.
   The tournament will also see coach Stephen van Huizen opting out, as he will be attending to a family member's medical situation.
   Amin Rahim will be the chief coach, assisted by Nasihin Nubli and Technical Director Terry Walsh.
  The six who will stay back and undergo rehabilitation are Sukri Abdul Mutalib, Faizal Saari, Marhan Jalil, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Nabil Fiqri and S. Kumar.
   Amin, a former international, took up the challenge with an open heart.
   "The six were left out because some of them are carrying injuries after the Asian Games, while some were rested ahead of the Asian Champions Trophy in Oman and the World Cup.
   "Looking at the silver lining, this is a good chance for the six fringe players to fight for a spot in the national team in a high-octane International Friendly," said Amin.
  MALAYSIA: Hairi Rahman, Hafizuddin Othman, Razie Rahim (skipper), Syed Syafiq Cholan, Azri Hassan, Faiz Helmi Jali, Najib Abu Hassan, 
Meor Azuan Hassan, Fitri Saari, Joel Samuel Van Huizen, Ashran Hamsani, Amirol Aideed Arshad, Nik Aiman Nik Rozemi, Ramadan Rosli, 
Firhan Ashari, Shahril Saabah, Haziq Samsul, Norsyafiq Sumantri.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Podium: Some need it more than others..

THIS article is not biased against any sport, but just stating facts as they stand today.
  The Podium Programme will come under the microscope over the next two days, to chart a fresh perspective in what is perceived by many as a failed venture to uplift the image of Malaysia as a sporting nation.
  Among those invited are Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail, National Sports Institute CEO Dr Khairi Zawi, former Podium director Tim Newenham and Olympic Council of Malaysia president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria.
  Also on the list are the heads of the respective national sports associations (NSAs) involved with the programme.
  The interesting part is not the opening, but the closing agenda as the two-day event will end with a presentation of overall reports and recommendations.
  Here is where the NSAs involved, should be realistic and not get emotional, and not presenting their case just for the sake of continuing to receive funding for their athletes.
  For, even the layman knows that at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Malaysia’s realistic chances of winning medals will come from diving, cycling and badminton athletes.
  Podium, or whatever name is it called after the post mortem, must continue supporting these three sports to achieve Malaysia's dream of winning its first Olympic gold medal.
  And where does that leave the other sports?
  It leaves them in the cold, except for some which are world class and are trying to make a comeback at the highest level after decades of trying.
  Hockey comes to mind, as well as medal potential taekwondo and Olympic newcomer karate.
  While there are only a handful of athletes and officials to take care of in karate and taekwondo, hockey is a 16-member team sport (only for the Olympics, in other games, 18 are allowed to be registered) which needs a host of coaches and back-up crew. In hockey, Malaysia are ranked 12th in the world, have qualified for the World Cup, and are ranked second in Asia after coming as close as 20 seconds to winning a historic Asian Games gold, as well as qualifying for the Olympics on merit.
  But they failed, not for want of trying, but want of a better ending script. Hockey will be involved with a last-gasp measure to qualify for the Olympics and simply put — they need sports science help more than any other sport right now.
  So, the Podium Programme must end its post mortem by considering not only the medal potentials, but also sports which have a world standing and have been shakers and movers for decades.
  Hockey is one which deserves to continue standing at the top of the Podium Programme, with others who are deemed fit by those who hold the money bag.
  If anybody thinks this article is in favour of any sport, read the intro again.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Easy group for Malaysia in Youth Olympics..

PIC: Malaysian men's hockey 5s coach Wallace Tan (right) did not reply to text messages, or answer phone calls.

KUALA LUMPUR: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) Friday released groupings for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires on Oct 7-14, and Argentina are expected to give Malaysia the toughest time in Group A.
  The other teams in Malaysia's way are Mexico, Poland, Vanuatu and Zambia.
  In Group B are defending champions Australia, silver medallists Canada, Austria, Bangladesh, India and Kenya.
  Malaysian men's coach Wallace Tan did not reply to text messages, or answer phone calls.
  According the the FIH website: "Taking place in the Youth Olympic Park in the southern area of the city, the Hockey 5s events are set to take centre stage with hosts Argentina expected to attract large numbers of local fans, renowned for their passionate support of the sport.
  "The last edition of this event in Nanjing, China in 2014, saw Australia win gold and Canada silver in the men’s event, with China winning gold and Argentina bronze in the women’s event."
  The Malaysian women failed to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games, while the men will be making their debut.
  In the Bangkok Qualifier, Malaysia men edged South Korea 5-4 in a sudden-death penalty shootout after regulation time in the semi-finals ended 4-4.
  Malaysian girls lost 4-2 to India in the semi-finals. Only the finalists qualify automatically for the finals in Buenos Aires.
  The men will open accounts against Vanuatu on Oct 7, followed by Mexico, Zambia, Argentina and Poland.
  Top-four in each group qualify for the quarter-finals, and going by form, Malaysia are expected to play in the knock-out stage.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Nor Saiful Zaini: Buck up defence in second lifeline...

PIC: Nor Saiful Zaini -- He is a three-time Olympian who competed in the 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Olympics.

KUALA LUMPUR: Olympian Nor Saiful Zaini shed a tear for Malaysia when the men's hockey team failed to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  In an epic Asian Games final, Japan came back from the dead to claw back from 2-5 to draw 6-6 and then win the shoot-out 3-1.
  Now, Malaysia will have to go through another qualifier where the chances of playing in the Olympics is slimmer.
  "I could not believe my eyes when our boys gave away a 5-2 lead and failed to qualify for the OLympics. I was in tears, as it has been 18 years since we last played at that level," said Nor Saiful.
  It was back in 2000, when Nor Saiful and team-mates beat Japan 2-1 in the Osaka Olympic qualifier to play in Sydney.
  "It was also Japan back then, and they held us to a 1-1 draw until the 63rd minute (it was 70 minutes then) but Kuhan scored off a penalty corner and we held on to dear life by placing a proper defending strategy," said Nor Saiful.
  And Nur Saiful believes that was what lacked in the Asian Games final.
  "The players forgot to place defensive barriers after taking a three-goal lead. They should have stopped Japan at the 50 yard and 25 yard -- but instead, they threw caution to the wind.
  "Back in Osaka in 2000, Japan did everything they could for six minutes after we took the lead, but we held on stoutly by placing barriers at every yard of the field.
  "And now, the Hockey Series is going to be tougher to play in, and I believe scoring goals would also not be as easy as in the Asian Games.
  "Defend, they have to defend well to keep the score down in the Hockey Series and then try for counters in the next Olympic qualifier," said the national juniors coach.
  Malaysia must finish top-two in the Hockey Series Finals which will be held on April 23-May 1 at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil where seven other teams will be named later.
  And after that, Malaysia will be paired with another team based on rankings, in the 14-team Olympics Qualification Event either in October or November 2019.
  "It is a long and winding road to Tokyo 2020, and the team need to boost their defence if they want to make it," said Nor Saiful.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

UniKL-Pistoia HC embrace new collaboration...

KUALA LUMPUR: University Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) reached a milestone with Pistoia Hockey Club of Italy in a simple meeting in Kuala Lumpur Monday.
  Both the clubs will work together in player exchange, recruitment, development and also coaching aspects.
  UniKL President and CEO Datuk Dr Mazliham Su'ud met with Pistoia HC's Technical Director Train Filippo as well as players Giordano Daniele and Masi Alessio to cement the collaboration.
  "Pistoia has agreed to use the UniKL logo on their playing jersies as well as their new stadium, and we will also help each other on many aspects to promote the sport at both countries," said Mazliham.
  This will be the fourth season that UniKL will be collaborating with Pistoia HC, thanks to former national player S. Selvaraju.
  Selvaraju, 33, will return to Pistoia HC for the fourth consecutive year and this time he will have a double role as coach-player.
  "This arrangements is to enhance UniKL's visibility at the international level as well as to provide a platform for aspiring athletes to develop and expose their talent at the highest level without neglecting their studies," said Mazliham.
  UniKL, the only hockey club in the country with their own stadium, plan to do exceptionally well in 2019 after 10 years venturing into hockey.
  "UniKL hockey were inspired and launched by Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah in 2009 and since its establishement we have won many junior level titles as well as provided many players for the junior as well as senior national teams.
  "The copletion of the stadium is a new chapter in our story, as besides using it as our home base for MHL (Malaysia Hockey League), we intend to hold age-group coaching clinics, a structured developemnt programme for our students and also hold leagues for clubs, schools, universities and comunities located around Bangi, Nilai Serdang, Seri Kembangan, Kajang and Putrajaya," said Mazliham.
  Pistoia HC's Technical Director Train Filippo said: "This visit is to strengthen our ties as international clubs which can help each other to become stronger."
  Pistoia play in Division Two and have more than a 100 players of all-levels as their members.

Malaysia to miss six for SOJC

KUALA LUMPUR: The Eight Edition of Sultan of Johor Cup will miss the services of six players who will be in Buenos Aires for the Youth Olympics.
  The SOJC, at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium on Oct 6-13, clashes with the Youth Olympics which will be held on Oct 6-18.
  Defending champions Great Britain, Australia, India, New Zealand, Japan and Malaysia will battle in the only invitational junior tournament in the world, with the hosts setting a modest fourth target for themselves.
  Coached by Olympian Nor Saiful Zaini, the team will start their final phase of training on Sept 25 and move to train at Taman Daya on Oct 1.
  “We currently have 20 players in training and we have held one-week training camps for a total of six times since June this year,” said Nur Saiful.
  “I expect India, Australia and Great Britain to be the front runners for the title but we intend to make it tough for them event hough we have to make do without six players who will be representing the country at the Youth Olympics."
  Yesterday (Monday) a sponsorship ceremony was held to present a total of RM2.15 million raised for the tournament.
  “We are thankful that sponsors have generously stepped forward to help the organisational cost of this tournament,” said organising secretary Datuk Manjit Majid Abdullah who is also the vice president of Malaysian Hockey Confederation,
  Those who presented their contributions for the SOJC are; Johor State Government (RM500,000),  RITZ Corporation Holding Berhad (RM500,000),  Astaka Padu Sdn Bhd (RM200,000),  WM Era (RM200,000), Johor Corporation (RM100,000), JBB Builders (M) Sdn Bhd (RM100,000), UM Land ( RM100,000), Tenaga Nasional Berhad (RM100,000), 
SAJ Holdings Sdn Bhd (RM50,000), KH Land Sdn Bhd (RM50,000), The Zon (RM50,000), Iskandar Waterfront Holding Berhad (RM50,000),  Genting Berhad (RM50,000) and Berjaya Times Square (RM30,000).
  Sports Depot will provide apparel for match officials as well as special awards for Man-of-the-Match for all 18 matches.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Subahan: We will appeal to FIH for automatic ticket to Tokyo 2020

PIC: Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal 

By Saiful Affendy Sapran

SEPANG: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) will make an appeal the the International Hockey Federation (FIH) requesting for the men's team to receive an automatic ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  This was said by MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal Monday.
  Malaysia drew 6-6 with Japan in the Asian Games final, and then lost 3-1 on shoot-out and missed the Olympic ticket.
  Subahan said he had already made this stand to FIH CEO Thierry Weil before the Malaysia-Japan final started.
  "In my meeting with the CEO of FIH I already informed him that if Japan becomes champion, if can, the runners-up should also be allowed an automatic qualification to Tokyo.
  "He agreed with my opinion, and said that, that should be the right thing to happen.
  "Now we need to take the matter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and after that need to get an approval from the FIH congress which will be held in November," said Subahan.
  Subahan said not only Malaysia are in this situation, the India women's hockey team which lost to Japan in the final are also facing the same situation.
  "Japan have qualified on merit as hosts, so the Olympic slot should be given to the runner-up.
  "I will make an appeal to the FIH as soon as possible," said Subahan.
  Subahan agrees that there will be quarters who will dispute MHC's stand.
  "But this is the chance we have and we must not let it go," he said.
  According the FIH format, if Japan becomes champion at the Asian Games, the second placed nation does not subsequently qualify and the quota place will be allocated to the Olympic Qualification event.

Second door to Tokyo simplified...

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian men's hockey team missed the Olympic boat by 20 seconds, when they lost to Japan in the Asian Games final.
  And now, they will have to take a long and winding road to try and play in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
  The qualification article by International Hockey Federation (FIH) is confusing to the layman, as it looks more like a lawyers statement than a sporting article.
  However, to make matters simple, Malaysia must finish top-two in the Hockey Series Finals which will be held on April 23-May 1 at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil where seven other teams will be named later.
  And after that, Malaysia will be paired with another team based on rankings, in the 14-team Olympics Qualification Event either in October or November 2019.
  Here teams will play two matches against each other, and aggregate will decide who qualifies for Tokyo.
  "It's very confusing and a tougher road than the Continental Qualification system," said Olympian and former Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) general manager Maninderjit Singh.
  "Since we missed a golden chance at the Asian Games final (Malaysia drew 6-6 with Japan and then lost the shoot-out 3-1) lets forget about it and focus on the next door which leads to Tokyo.
  "First of all, Malaysia must make sure they do not drop their 12th ranking but further improve by finishing as high as possible in the World Cup.
  "They must beat Pakistan (who are in Malaysia's group in the World Cup) and advance to the next stage and challenge higher ranking teams and beat them as well.
  "Preferably, a top 10 finish among 16 teams in the World Cup will boost their chances of qualifying for Olympics.
  "This is because when Malaysia play in the Olympics Qualification Event which has 14 teams, rankings will play a major role.
  "There, sorted out by latest FIH rankings -- teams placed in 1st, 2nd and 3rd spot will face teams in 12th, 13th and 14th spot randomly. Similarly, teams who are placed from 4th to 7th will face teams placed 8th to 11th spot randomly.
  "The teams will face each other over two legs and the team with higher aggregate will qualify for Olympics," said Maninderjit Singh.
  To make it simpler: "Lets say Malaysia are paired with Spain in the Olympics Qualification Event. We will travel to Spain because they are higher ranked than Malaysia, and play them twice, and the highest aggregate qualify," said Maninderjit.
  No other doors are available, but this tough and confucing road which will also be travelled by all the teams who do not qualify via four other Continental Championships.
  And India, Pakistan, South Korea, New Zealand, Canada, Belgium, Germany, England (GB), Spain, Ireland etc could turn out to be Malaysia's challenges in the final 14 paired tournament.
  The same script is for the Malaysian women as well.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Stephen van Huizsen: I shoulder the blame..

By Azidan Nahar and Azlan Muhammad Zain

JAKARTA: National chief coach Stephen van Huzien said he will shoulder the blame of losing to Japan in the final of the Asian Games on Saturday.
  "I am fully responsible for the defeat, as my players gave everything they had in the match.
  "There were also some decisions (by the umpires) which did not side us," said van Huizen.
  However, he said such incidences do happen in sport, when the opponents rise their game, while those with a comfortable lead keep making mistakes.
  "It is very painful, it (the pain) will be with me forever, it (gold) was in our hands but we let it go," said van Huizen after the final.
  Malaysia were leading 5-2 at one stage, but allowed Japan to fight back and draw 6-6 before winning the shoot-out 3-1.
  Van Huizen said everybody in the squad is equally shattered, as they almost qualified for the Olympics.
  "If the Malaysian fans are disappointed we failed to win gold, imagine our feelings. We know the silver is still precious, but we wanted gold," said van Huizen.
  On the match, Van Huizen said he had reminded the players not to go for a big win, as a one-goal victory would be enough, but because of certain reasons as well as being nervous, everything fell apart.

Kumar shattered...

JAKARTA: National No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar said his heart shattered into pieces after Malaysia lost 3-1 in shoot-out to Japan in the final of the Asian Games on Saturday.
  He did not hide his disappointment, as Malaysia had taken a 5-2 lead, before Japan fought back to draw level at 6-6 and then win the shoot-out.
  Japan, as hosts of the 2020 Olympics, did not need the gold medal as much as Malaysia did to qualify.
  "What else can I say? I am heartbroken. We played so well to take a 5-2 lead and at that juncture, I already started thinking that we will win gold and qualify for the Olympics.
  "We (all the players) need to accept the defeat and be happy with the silver medal. We should have killed off them match with our early lead, but we let Japan back into the match," he said when met after the sizzling final.
  Malaysia have yet to win gold in the Asian Games after 60 years of competing, and the script on Saturday was same as Guangzhou, China, in 2010 where Malaysia lost to Pakistan in the final. - BERNAMA

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Malaysia throw away Olympic ticket

PIC: Two-goal hero: Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin.

FIRST GOAL: Razie Rahim.

JAKARTA: After trying for 60 years, the Malaysain men's hockey team gave away a historical Asian Games gold medal to Japan on a silver platter.
  After taking a 5-2 lead, Malaysia let slip the golden opportunity when they allowed Japan to claw back at 6-6 and then win the shoot-out 3-1.
  Japan double qualified as hosts as well as Asian Games gold medallists.
  The national players never missed a beat in the first quarter, and the goal fest was started by Razie Rahim in the fourth minute but Tanaka Seren equalsied in the ninth minute off a solo effort.
 However Malaysia were in no mood to share the spoils.
 Two reverse stick goals from seasoned striker Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin in a spate of 60 seconds (both at the 11th minute) and Faizal Shaari's 17th minute penalty corner gave them some breathing space.
  Japan narrowed the gap when Malaysia started to look complacent with the lead, and Tanaka Kenta punished them for snoozing in the 22nd minute.
  It was a befitting final, as Malaysia threw caution to the wind and pushed dangerously looking for more goals, while Japan sat back and soaked in the pressure as they had already qualified for the Olympics as hosts.
  Malaysia settled down in the third quarter and even though Japan attacked relentlessly, the score stood and only 15 more minutes remained for a famous gold.
  And just for good measure, Malaysia increased the gap in the 49th minute with a deft deflection from Amirol Aideed to make it 5-2.
  Japan never gave up and goals from Fukuda Kentaro (52nd), Tanaka Kenta (53rd) and Yamasaki Koji (58th) made it 5-5.
  Razie Rahim made it 6-5 in the 58th minute, but with 17 seconds on the clock Japan equalised off Hiromasa Ochiai and took the match to shoot-out.
  RESULTS -- Final: Malaysia 6 Japan 6 (Malaysia lose shoot-out 3-1); Third-Fourth: India 2 Pakistan 1; Fifth-Sixth: South Korea 7 Bangladesh 0; Seventh-Eighth: Hong Kong 2 Kazakhstan 2 (Kazakhstan win shoot-out 3-2). 

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. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Malaysian veterans' 55+ best finish...

PIC: Datuk Manjit.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian veterans' 55+ team earned their best finish ever when they ended sixth among 15 teams in the Masters Hockey World Cup in Terrassa, Spain.
  Malaysia beat United States 4-1 in the fifth-eighth classification but then lost 4-2 to Australia for sixth position.
  Harcharanjit Singh, who also scored against Australia yesterday (Sunday), was the 55+ tournament top-scorer with six goals.
  "This is the best ever finish for 55+ Malaysia in the veterans World Cup, but still, it was a little disappointing because I believe we were good enough to play in the semi-finals this time around," said team manager Datuk Manjit Majid Abdullah.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Malaysia 55+ beaten by Dutch..

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian veterans' 55+ team finally hit a brick wall when they were beaten 6-2 by the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the Masters Hockey World Cup in Terrassa, Spain.
  Netherlands took a 5-0 lead by the 36th minute before Raymond Tio scored off a penalty corner. But the Dutch scored their sixth, before Raymond made it 6-2.
  In the other quarter-finals, England beat the United States 7-0, Germany and Australia drew 1-1 but Germany won 3-2 on shoot-out, Spain and Italy drew 1-1 but Italy won 2-0 on shoot-out.
  Malaysian skipper Sarjit Singh said: "Even though we lost in the knock-out, it was still a wonderful tournament for us because we did target to at least make the quarters in this edition."

Dharmaraj dares to dream..

MEN AT WORK.. Dharmaraj under the spotlight.

KUALA LUMPUR: National women's hockey coach K. Dharmaraj has taken up the Malaysian Hockey Confederation's (MHC) challenge for a podium finish at the Jakarta Asian Games.
  In the Games where only the gold medallists qualifies for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Malaysia are in Group A with China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, while in Group B are South Korea, India, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Indonesia.
  "If I had been asked to deliver a medal in the last Asian Games, I would have said its not possible because we were not ready yet back in 2014.
  "But after three years with the team, and watching them grow in confidence during the five friendlies in Australia, I can now say that we are ready to take up the challenge of a podium finish," said Dharmaraj.
  In Brisbane, Dharmaraj's girls started with 1-1 and 2-2 draws before winning 3-1, 2-1 and 3-2.
  "In all my years with the girls' team, they have no been consistent, meaning there was never a time that they did not have one or two bad days in a tournament or friendlies.
  "But in Brisbane, where we played with the Australian League champions minus five of their national players who are competing in the London World Cup, my players grew in confidence after each match.
  "Now I can say they are ready for the Games, and we will go for a podium finish.
  "I will now adapt the same policy with these girls which I held when coaching the men's national juniors team.
  "People never gave us a chance at the beginning but we won gold at the Sultan of Johor Cup and Junior Asia Cup and then fourth in the Junior World Cup.
  The women will be travelling to Jakarta on Category B, where they must win a medal to be reimbursed.
  In the last Games, Malaysia ended fifth.
  For the record, the only medal ever won by Malaysian women at the Asian Games was a bronze in New Delhi 1982 when there were no playoffs as it was a round-robin tournament.

It's not a holiday, warns Selvaraju...

MAN ON A MISSION .. Selvaraju (third from left) being recognised for his role in getting clubs to hire Malaysian women.

By Naqib Nor Said

KUALA LUMPUR: Former national player S. Selvaraju warned the four women's hockey players heading to play in Germany and Italy not to take it as a holiday, but pave the way for others to follow suit.
  Selvaraju was the middleman who secured playing contracts for 
Nuraini Rashid and Fatin Syafika Sukri with Butterfly Roma in Italy while Hanis Nadiah Onn and Wan Norfaiezah Saiuti will play with German club Wespen Zehlendorfer.
  For the first time, Malaysian women will not be going overseas on National Sports Council paid-attachments, but fully paid by clubs for their services.
  Selvaraju, who has played with 13 overseas clubs to date, said: "Malaysia has many talented players in the men's and women's teams but they find it difficult to play overseas because of language, food and different playing styles becoming main barriers.
  "But these clubs were are to give our women a chance, and take my word, because I have successfully done the same with our men before.
   Three more coach K. Dharmaraj's players -- Raja Norsharina Shabuddin, Surizan Awang Noh and Nuraslinda Said -- are on the waiting list because the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) is still in discussion with Uddingston HC in Glasgow, Scotland.
  Meanwhile, Wespen Zehlendorfer's team manager said: "We are newcomers in Division One and so, I believe it was a smart move by us to have two of Malaysia's top players with us for two months.
  "It will also have a good impact on our relationship with the Malaysian HC as earlier we have fielded men's national palayers in our club (Baljit Singh Charun, Harvinder Singh, S. Selvaraju and Shazrul Imran Nazli).
  Butterfly Roma are also newcomers in Italy's Division One and will be coached by Argentine Sergio Herrera this season.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

World Cup might help Dharmaraj's girls

KUALA LUMPUR: National women's coach K. Dharmaraj feels there are positives and negatives which will effect his charges in the Jakarta Asian Games, from the ongoing World Cup in London.
  With the Games just 15 days away, Japan, China, India and South Korea played or are playing in the World Cup, and Dharmaraj said it might work against the teams mental and psychological preparations.
  In the Asian Games where the gold medallists qualifies for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Malaysia are in Group A with China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, while in Group B are South Korea, India, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Indonesia.
  "Japan and China are in our group in Jakarta and even though they only played three games in the World Cup and did not qualify for the quarter-finals, both the teams will still feel the strain of playing at such a big stage and then travelling home and after a few days of rest and light training, they will be off to Indonesia.
  "This might work against their players who were put under so much of pressure to prepare for the World Cup, and then have to cope with the fact that they did not live up to their country's expectations.
  "It would be difficult for players in such a situation to try and peak again at the Asian Games," said Dharmaraj.
  Malaysia need to beat either Japan or China as Hong Kong and Taiwan are out of coach Dharmaraj's teams league.
  "Not taking any team lightly, I believe my players should collect full points against Hong Kong and Taiwan and so, if we can upset either one of the World Cup teams in our group -- we will qualify for the semi-finals," said Dharmaraj.
  The positive side for both the teams is that they prepared for the Asian Games by playing tough matches in London.
  In the World Cup Japan lost 3-2 to Australia, 6-3 to Belgium and beat New Zealand 2-1; while China 
  China lost 3-0 to Italy, 7-1 to Netherlands and drew 1-1 with South Korea.
  "The fact that they played against some of the best in women's hockey could be turned into a positive element by their coaches, with the right approach."
  And the positive for Dharmaraj's girls?
  "We have a compilation of their matches in London, and the coaching staff is studying them to come out with a plan for upset(s)," said Dharmaraj.
  South Korea also went home after the group stages, and only India made it to the quarter-finals -- making them the early favoutites in Asian Games.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Malaysian 55+ vets play Netherlands in last four

MALAYSIA 55+ in blue against Germany Wednesday.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian veterans' 55+ team lost their last Group C match 2-1 to Germany, and will play Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the Masters Hockey World Cup in Terrassa, Spain.
  Germany took a 2-0 lead, before skipper Sarjit Singh scored Malaysia's goal in the 46th minute.
  However, the 45+ Malaysian team lost 7-0 to Spain Wednesday. They started with a 2-1 win over Scotland, but lost 3-0 to France and 7-2 to Germany in Group B and will play in the 9th-12th position.
  After a day's rest, the 55+ will play in the knock-out on Friday.
  "It was a good match against Germany, and even though we tried to claw back into the match, they defended well.
  "Now, we need to keep our structure and make sure we do not miss any sitters against Netherlands. I have watched the Dutch play and I believe we have a 50-50 chance against them," said Sarjit whose team ended second in Group C.
  According to Sarjit, the favourites so far in the 55+ are Australia.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Malaysia 55+ beat Italy 3-1

MALAYSIA 55+: Surinder Singh (left) in action against Italy.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian veterans' 55+ team beat Italy 3-1 in Group C of the Masters Hockey World Cup in Terrassa, Spain.
  It was their third consecutive win, and their last group match is against Germany Wednesday.
  Currently, the 55+ have qualified for the quarter-finals, but according to team captain Sarjit Singh, they will go all out to beat Germany.
  "Even though we had qualified for the quarter-finals before entering the pitch against Italy, we never let it get into our heads.
  "And it will be the same against Germany, we will try to beat them to keep a clean record before planning for the knock-out," said Sarjit.
  Italy took the lead, but two field goals from Derek Fidelis and a penalty stroke from Raymond Tio handed Malaysia full points.
  However, the 45+ Malaysian team suffered their second defeat in Group B when they lost 7-2 to Germany, and will play Spain Wednesday.