Monday, March 26, 2007

Malaysia look a tired and lost lot


Malaysia 1 Argentina 1
MALAYSIA looked a little rusty in their first friendly match against
Argentina at the Kuala lumpur Hockey Stadium last night.
In fact, there was little resemblance of a team that has been training
since August because the players looked tired and lost for ideas while the
Argentinian side took their time and played at half pace.
The first 10 minutes of the match saw Malaysia having the lion's share
of the ball but when they reached the Argentinian semicircle, Chua Boon
Huat, Jiwa Mohan and K.Keevan Raj looked like they were afraid of taking a
shot at the goalmouth and in the process lost the ball easily.
Jiwa Mohan was all alone in the semicicle and only had the goalkeeper to
beat in the 15th minute after receiving a pass from Chairil Anwar, but he
hesitated a good five seconds and was robbed of the ball.
National chief coach Paul Lissek immediately replaced him with S.Shanker
who played a more composed game.
In the 20th minute Lissek replaced a tired looking S.Kuhan with Shaiful
Azli and K.Logan Raj with K.Gobinathan. The national team played a little
better after that but still there was no urgency in their game plan.
The score at halftime was 0-0 not because Malaysia defended well but
because Argentina were hardly in the game.
In the absence of Mirnawan Nawawi, who tore a muscle in the right calf
while training early in the week, Malaysia did not have enough bite
upfront to trouble the stocky Argentinian defenders.
The second half drama was even worse than the first half as the
Malaysian forwards looked reluctant to score when they were presented with
golden opportunities. In the 60th minute, the Malaysian sob story took a
turn for the worse when Chua came face to face with Argentinian goalkeeper
and had two clear choices.
He was all alone on top of the semicircle and could have either taken a
shot at goal or beat the onrushing goalkeeper. To the amazement of the
crowd at the KLHA stadium, Chua made a 360-degree turn and passed the ball
to S.Shanker who took a weak shot which missed by a mile.
In short, the entire team looked rusty and lacked confidence to make
quick decisions until the final five minutes of the match.
Marco Riccdi sounded the board in the 60th minute with a low flick but a
minute later Logan Raj scored a field goal to level the score.

MHF drops injured Mirnawan


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation Selection Committee yesterday decided not
to field Mirnawan Nawawi for the Champions Challenge on Dec 7-15 at the
National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
The national skipper and most versatile player was floored by a muscle
tear in the calf of his left leg and the National Sports Institute
Director General Dr Ramlan Aziz recommended that he rest for at least
three weeks to recover from the injury.
"Mirnawan needs to rest for at least three weeks to recover from the
muscle tear on his left calf. I am glad that my recommendation was
endorsed by the MHF Selection Committee who also felt that his services
will be better needed for the World Cup in February," said Dr Ramlan.
The Selection Committee members, headed by MHF vice-president Tan Sri P.
Alagendra, deliberated for an hour at the National Hockey Stadium last
night and only made their decision after Dr Ramlan arried and informed
them about the seriousness of the injury.
"I am really disappointed that I will not be able to help my team-mates
in the Champions Challenge. But at the same time I respect the decision
taken by the Selection Committee because in the long run, I will benefit
from it," said Mirnawan who was almost in tears when he found out that he
will not be in the Challenge squad.
"I have been training very hard for the Challenge as it was an avenue
for me to discover how much I have improved since I last played
competitive hockey in the Azlan Shah Cup in August.
"But now, I will have to continue doing some light training and
hopefully be 100 per cent fit for the 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup in
February," said Mirnawan.
In July this year, Mirnawan suffered a muscle tear on his right leg calf
but has since recovered.
"It is really unfortunate that Mirnawan will not be able to play in the
Challenge because of injury. But it is not a great loss at this stage, as
the challenge is not the end goal of the national team.
"We have told him to rest because we will need his services more for the
World Cup next year," said Alagendra.
When asked who will skipper the team in Mirnawan's absence: "The
Selection Committee have yet to decide on that. We still have until the
managers meeting on Dec 6 to name the skipper," said Alagendra.
Other than The Boss, there were no surprises in the 18 players selected
for the Challenge which will see teams from Argentina, India, South
Africa, Japan and Belgium vying for the Champions spot which is an
automatic ticket to the Champions Trophy.
Six players who saw action in the Junior World Cup in Hobart were
selected for the challenge and they are: Chua Boon Huat, S. Shanker, Jiwa
Mohan, Azlan Misron, Tajol Rosli and K. Logan Raj.
Champions Challenge Team: Goalkeepers: Mohamed Nasihin Nubli, Roslan
Jamaluddin; defenders: Maninderjit Singh, Nor Azlan Bakar, Mohamed Madzli
Ikmar Chua Boon Huat, K. Gobinathan; midfielders: S. Shanker, K. Keevan
Raj, M. Jiwa , S. Kuhan, Azlan Misron, Shaiful Azli Rahman; forwards:
Mohamed Rodhanizam, Tajol Rosli, K. Logan Raj, Chairil Anwar, Abdul Razak

Challenge to ignite fan excitement for World Cup


THE 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup is just 86 days away but there is hardly
any excitement in the air.
On Feb 24, Kuala Lumpur will be the only city in the world to have
hosted the prestigious World Cup twice, the first being in 1975, but one
can be forgiven for not feeling the `fever' yet.
But all that, according to the Malaysia Hockey Federation, is set to
change in mid-December after the completion of the Champions Challenge.
"The Champions Challenge unexpectedly fell in our laps after India
agreed not to host it due to security reasons. So right now the MHF have
their hands full making sure the Challenge is organised smoothly.
"Ater the Champions Challenge ends on December 15, we will go full swing
into promoting the World Cup," said MHF secretary S. Satgunam yesterday.
MHF plans to go on a roadshow with the World Cup Trophy at the end of
the year but that is still subject to when the previous champions Holland
can deliver the Trophy to Malaysia.
"The MHF have written to Holland requesting for the World Cup Trophy and
are likely to receive it at the end of the year after which it will be
displayed at various states to promote the World Cup," said Satgunam.
Pakistan were the first country to lift the World Cup Trophy when they
won the first edition in 1971 in Barcelona and later went on to win the
World Cup in 1978 in Buenos Aires, 1982 in Bombay and 1994 in Sydney.
On ticket sales, many people have enquired about it but not many have
actually made purchases yet.
"Yes, the sale of tickets is a bit slow but there is nothing to worry
about because once we get the promotions going, sales are sure to pick up.
We have received many enquiries from overseas on bulk bookings and by the
look of things, there will be many foreigners coming down to support their
teams from February 24 to March 9," said Satgunam.
The cheapest ticket to watch one match in the KL World Cup is RM25
(behind both the goalposts) so it looks like the Malaysian public is still
adopting a wait-and-see atitude before making a commitment.
In addition to airing promotions in television and radios in January,
there will also be numerous quizes where the public can win tickets to
watch the World Cup.
"Since Malaysia will be hosting the World Cup for the second time, MHF
will make sure the athmosphere is really charged come February," said

Penalty corner specialist Lombi coming!


THE inclusion of Jorge Lombi for the Champions Challenge is good news for
the fans but for the Malaysian hockey team, the Argentinian spells doom.
Initially, Lombi's name was missing from the Argentine hockey website,
but on the list submitted to the Malaysia Hockey Federation, he is marked
as their vice-captain.
Going by current form, the ticket to the next Champions Trophy is a toss
between India and Argentina.
Lombi is currently among the top penalty corner experts in the world and
in the World Cup Qualifier in Edinburgh in july, he played a sterling role
to make sure Argentina finish tops and qualify for the 2002 Kuala Lumour
World Cup in style.
In the final of the Qualifier, a brilliant Lombi hat-trick (12th, 60th
and 67th) helped Argentina beat Spain 5-4.
For Lombi, it was a superb Qualifier and he ended as the top scorer and
player of the tournament with 19 goals, a majority of them coming off
drag-flicks from penalty-corners.
He is among the elite penalty corner specialists in the world right now
and is as deadly, sometimes better, than Pakistan's Sohail Abbas and
Holland's Bram Lomans.
From the 18 players named for the Challenge, only three players are from
the junior side that won the silver medal in the recent Junior World Cup
in Hobart. The three are Lucas Cammareri, Matias Pardes and Marco
Argentina will be arriving this morning and will be playing their first
practice match against Malaysia tomorrow.
Earlier, the dates for the friendlies between Argentina and Malaysia
were on Dec 3 and 5, but due to unforseen circumstances, the first match
will be tomorrow and the second on Dec 3.
"Although the journey from Argentina to Kuala Lumour will take them more
than a day, they have agreed to play Malaysia after a day's rest. Earlier
the friendly was to be played at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit
Jalil but right now we might hold it at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium in
Jalan Pantai," said Satgunam.
South Africa and Japan will be arriving on Dec 2, and Belgium on Dec 5.
The only team yet to confirm their arrival date is India.
Their secrecy is to be expected because if any team can stop Argentina
from winning the Champions Trophy ticket for the next edition, it will be
our most improved Asian cousins.
As expected, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) placed their faith in
the juniors as ten from the Junior World Cup winning side have been slated
for the Challenge.
The IHF also recalled star striker Dhanraj Pillay and in place of Cedric
DSouza appointed Junior World Cup winning coach Rajinder Singh as the
chief coach.
The juniors who made it to the national team are goalkeeper Devesh
Chauhan, in the defence, hit by the injury to Dilip Tirkey, backing up
experienced Lazarus Barla will be juniors Kanwalpreet Singh and penalty
corner marksman Jugraj Singh.
India's midfield has been breached by four juniors, Ignace Tirkey,
Vikram Pillay, Bipin Fernandez and Arjun Halappa. In terms of experience,
Sukhbir Singh Gill and Thirumalvalavan will strengthen the midfield.
Indian junior captain Gagan Ajit Singh, Deepak Thakur and Prabhjot Singh
line up with the fowards Baljit Dhillon, Sabu Varkey, Dhanraj and Daljit
Only their defence, without Dilip Tirkey, that seems to be the weakest
link in the Indian team. Apart from that the IHF has chosen the best
possible side from the probables.
Sabu's selection is the most heartening feature as the Bharat Petroleum
player still has the skills and the pace to outwit the best defence in the
ARGENTINA: Pablo Moreira (skipper), Jorge Lombi, Juan Pablo Hourquebie,
Maximiliano Caldas, Matias Dila, Ezequiel Paulon, Juan Manuel Vivaldi,
Mario Almada, Tomas Mac Cormik, Santiago Capurro, Marco Ricarrdi, Fernando
Zylberberg, German Orozco, Fernando Oscaris, Matias Pardes, Leonardo
Deambrosi, Guillermo Muir, Lucas Cammareri.
Coach: Ruiz Jorge.

No prizes for guessing the team


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) selectors will name the Champions
Challenge squad tomorrow, but it won't be very difficult to figure out who
will be on the final list of 18.
And MHF will have to enlist the help of eight juniors because some of
the seasoned players, like Chairil Anwar, are carrying injuries and will
surely miss the Challenge.
The Champions Challenge is on Dec 7-15 and other than hosts Malaysia,
the teams taking part are Argentina, South Africa, Japan, India and
Belgium. All six teams have qualified for the 2002 World Cup in Kuala
Lumpur on Feb 24-March 9 - so there is every likelihood that the 18
selected for the Challenge will also be in the World Cup squad as well.
After observing the team training for a month, the sure bets for the
Challenge are seniors Mirnawan Nawawi, S. Kuhan, Maninderjit Singh,
Norazlan Bakar, K. Keevan Raj, Razak Saidin, K. Gobinathan and Rodhanizam
Mat Radzi.
Mirnawan is the most versatile player on the team and is often looked to
by the others for guidance when they are in a tight spot, so it will be a
major surprise if MHF does not name him as the skipper of the national
There are four goalkeepers in training right now but seniors Roslan
Jamaluddi and Nasihin Nubli are more experienced than S. Kumar and Mohamed
Firdaus Ramli, so the selectors will not have any problems in making their
Firdaus did show flashes of brilliance in the Junior World Cup in Hobart
recently, where he stopped four penalty strokes, and if the selectors lean
towards him, it will be because they want to groom a young hand.
"The selectors might lean towards some of the junior players because
they want to see some continuity and also expose them to a higher level of
hockey. But in the goalkeeping department, the time frame is too short to
test them out in the Champions Challenge," said an official who declined
to be named.
The eight juniors who have shown promise in training and have caught the
eye of the coaches by giving 100 per cent are Jiwa Mohan, S. Shanker, Chua
Boon Huat, K. Logan Raj, Redzuan Ponirin, Tajul Rosli, Azlan Misron,
Zaharin Zakariah.
The eight played in the Junior World Cup and although they had the skill
and fitness to play at that level, they lacked maturity to control their
anger and concentrate on the match at hand and not the surroundings.
Coaches Paul Lissek, Steven van Huizen and Yahya Atan have been working
on them since their return from Hobart and it will be interesting to see
how much they have learnt from the Hobart debacle, where they went in full
of hope, but finished 12th in the 16-team tournament.
On the injury list are Jivan Mohan, Norazlan Rahim, Mohamed Fairuz
Ramli, Chairil and Saiful Azli, while V. Vinodhan opted out to concentrate
on his studies.
Meanwhile, team manager Datuk R. Yogeswaran said that the national
trainees have shown some improvement since they started training under the
floodlights since Monday.
"I see a better structure in the team and the trainees seem to enjoy
playing at night because they have a longer break after the morning
session. Also, the attendance rate is very high because those who are
working have no problem making the 8-10pm sessions," said Yogeswaran.
When asked on the criteria for the Champions Challenge selection, Yoges
said: "We will surely look for a well-balanced team by including juniors
who have shown promise in training."
Mirnawan Nawawi, Maninderjit Singh, S. Kuhan, Nor Azlan Bakar, Roslan
Jamaluddin (goalkeeper), Nasihin Nubli (goalkeeper), K. Keevan Raj, Razak
Saidin, K. Gobinathan, Rodhanizam Mat Radzi, Jiwa Mohan, S. Shanker, Chua
Boon Huat, K. Logan Raj, Redzuan Ponirin, Tajul Rosli, Azlan Misron,
Zaharin Zakariah.

Early start for under-18 squad


THE under-18 team which was hastily assembled for the Asian Youth Hockey
Cup in June and was bundled out in the semifinals by Uzbekistan, has
started the ball rolling for a seven-nation tournament.
After the humiliating experience in Ipoh, there are plans to invite the
champions and runners-up of the Asian Youth Cup and three other countries
for a seven-team tournament at the end of next year and then make it into
an annual tournament.
The defeat to Uzbekistan was hard to swallow for the hockey lovers in
the country because the Uzbeks, made up entirely of the Republic of
Uzbekistan Sports College students from the State of Andijon, were more
accustomed to playing on an 18-year-old bumpy and grassless pitch at their
college but hit the ground running, eventhough they only came with the
bare necesseties of one set of jersies.
Malaysia, after being held 2-2, lost 4-2 on penalties in the semis but
if national chief coach's plans are realised, the under-18 side can expect
better times.
"Our under-18 team which took part in the Asian Youth Cup in Ipoh was a
strong side but hastily assembled and did not have enough match
experience. So, the Malaysia Hockey Federation has agreed to start a
monthly camp for that age group to keep them busy and fit all the time,"
said Lissek.
The monthly camps will begin in March next year where the under-18
players will assemble for a week to train and play friendly matches.
"After the 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup, I will have more time for the
under-18 and will start another round of talent scouting in April for a
larger pool for that age-group.
"The National Sports Council and the MHF have agreed in principle to
hold the seven-nation tournament on a regular basis in Malaysia. The idea
is to have two Malaysian sides in the tournament and invite three other
teams plus champions India and runners-up Uzbekistan.
"One Malaysian side will be entirely made up of under-18 players while
the second team will have a mixture of under-18 and under-16 players so
that there will be a continuity of talent in the country.
"Right now, it looks like the under-18 age-group is where we lose some
good players to studies and work commitment because there is no solid
programme to hold them together for long periods," said Lissek.
In the Asian Youth Cup, Malaysia were even beaten by Singapore (1-0) and
then lost to Uzbekistan on penalty flicks in the semis.
"There are some promising players in the under-18 pool today but they
need more international matches to mature so the proposal to have an
annual tournament for them will be a big boost towards the development of
hockey in the country," said Lissek.

Substitutions causing headaches


SUBSTITUTIONS, of all things, is proving to be a big headache for national
hcokey coach Paul Lissek in the run-up to the 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup
on Feb 24-March 9.
First, he does not have depth on the bench to change three or four
players at one go, and the second is a psychological problem which needs
to be ironed out fast.
"Some of the senior players seem to feel that when they are substituted,
I am punishing them because they have done something wrong.
"The truth is that I want to change tactics by playing different players
in different roles. And this will also allow them to recover after giving
100 per cent in a match," said Lissek.
He also feels that when top players like Mirnawan Nawawi, S. Kuhan or
Maninderjit Singh were substituted on the run in the Azlan Shah Cup in
August, it resulted in dejection and a depression.
"So when I ask them to go back in after a 10 minute rest, they fail to
function immediately and need time to get back into the game.
"I am trying to change this mindset because the few precious minutes
they take to recover becomes a big advantage to the opposition.
"In the 2002 World Cup, I will have to substitute Mirnawan, who I feel
gives 100 per cent on the pitch all the time, because if I don't he will
get burned out and become useless towards the end of a match, which is
actually the crucial period for any team.
"When taken out, the players need to understand that it is actually a
tactical move and must not feel dejected."
Lissek singled out S. Kuhan as among the players who needs short breaks
during matches because he has a heavy build and if utilised for the entire
70 minutes, will not be able to cope with the pace.
"Kuhan is a steady hand, but he can't play at a fast pace for long
periods because of his heavy build so I am training a few players who can
take his position when he is on the bench recovering."
Lissek, who watched Germany beat Australia 2-1 in the final of the
Champions Trophy in Rotterdam recently, felt that the match was won
because they could substitute four players at one go and still maintain a
tight grip in the match for 70 minutes.
"That is what we are preparing the team for right now. We are working
towards having a side strong enough to retain their shape even if four key
players are substituted at one go. I will try this out in the Champions
Challenge next month."
The format of the 2002 World Cup, which will see 16 teams taking part in
two groups of eight, favours extremely fit teams who have depth on the
"Fitness will definetely separate the top eight from the bottom eight in
the World Cup so our training right now is centred around making the
national trainees stronger and faster with the ball.
"And I am happy to say the fitness level of the players has improved
tremendously since May and they do not mind the gruelling pace that I am
putting them through even during the fasting month."

Chua, among others, in line for German stint


NATIONAL hockey chief coach Paul Lissek wants to send several players to
Germany for attachments with clubsides, but only if the players are
The German has received the approval from the National Sports Council
(NSC) and Malaysia Hockey Federation (MHF) but has yet to approach the
players as they are training for the 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup.
Lissek, understandably, does not want to disrupt their rhythm at the
"Malaysia has benefitted greatly by sending players to Germany before
and it will be good for their Asian Games preparation.
"I have a few players - one of whom is Chua Boon Huat, in mind for the
German stint - but it all depends on the players because some of them will
have to sacrifice their studies and family life if they take up the
offer," said Lissek.
In 1997, Lissek sent five national players to Germany for a two-month
training stint and it proved to be effective. They were Kerpal Singh, Nor
Azlan Bakar, Chairil Anwar, S. Kuhan and R. Shanker and all were attached
to German First Division side Lubs.
Then in 1999, after winning the silver medal in the Kuala Lumpur
Commonwealth Games, six players from the Project 2001 squad were sent for
a three-month stint in Germany as part of the preparations for the Asian
Junior championship last year. The tournament also doubled up as the
qualifiers for the 2001 Junior World Cup in Hobart.
The six players, sent by NSC based on Lissek's recommendation were Raj
brothers, Keevan and Logan, Suhaimi Ibrahim, Chua, Madzli Ikmar and
Syayrim Uda Karim.
"It is a practice all over the world right now and the players who agree
to go will definitely come back as better players. They need to play with
some `mischievious' players from Europe to gain confidence.
"Right now, I notice that some of the juniors, although very skillful,
are timid and shy of going on their own. By playing in the German League,
they will return home to a brighter future."
"We will not send players who are too young, like the under-16 age
group, because they will not get a chance to play in Germany and will end
up warming the bench instead.
"So, if we send those who are in the early 20s and with some experience
at the international level, I am sure the German clubs will utilise them
to gain promotion.
"I have spoken to clubs like Red and White Munich (the German Indoor
champions) and they have agreed to host Malaysian players. If all goes
well, they will head for Germany at the end of March and return in June."
While the selected will head for Germany after the World Cup, the rest
will continue playing in the domestic league and Lissek, not wanting to
lose his grip on the players, will suggest to the MHF to hold training
sessions at least twice a week when the league takes a break.
"I do not want to rob clubs of their players, but at the same time I
need to keep the national players under some sort of a programme so that
they do not forget whatever I have taught them.
"In this way, most of the groundwork for the Asian Games will be done
when they check into camp again."

Criticism is good if it's constructive


Sunday chat with Paul Lissek
TIMESPORT: 1975 skipper Sri Shanmuganathan and K. Balasingam took you to
task for setting No 10 as our target for the 2002 World Cup. Would you
like to comment on that?
A: No. I am a professional and criticisms come with the job. I have
never met the two former internationals so I will not dwell on the matter.
All I can say is that people have a right to criticise my judgements or
decisions and I will not get offended by it.
Most of the time, I get constructive criticisms and it helps. I normally
do not reply with words because I prefer my work to speak for me. I have
been on the job for more than 20 years now, so I can take the pressure and
still perform well.
Q: You were appointed chief coach in April this year which means that
you have about 10 months to prepare the team for the World Cup in
February. Is it enough?
A: I have been with the team for eight months now and only have two more
months to go before the World Cup. So, from the start itself, time was not
on my side but I have done much to change the Malaysian playing style to
that of the German style.
Australian hockey officials, who have seen the team training, have
commented that the national players are disciplined and have a more
systematic playing style right now compared to when they played in the
Azlan Shah Cup in August.
Q: Have the players adapted well to the change from Asian to European
A: The younger players were more receptive compared to seniors like
Mirnawan Nawawi who already have a set style of play. Mirnawan is very
quick and versatile so he is finding it harder to cope with systematic
play. But it is not a problem, because we do need players who can go on
their own from time to time by breaking the normal set of rules because
they are adventurous.
Q: Are you happy with the shape of the team right now?
A: I have taught them the tactical side of the game but, by no fault of
theirs, some of the players lack the basics because they are products of a
school system which is too loose.
Some of them make silly mistakes like not stopping the ball properly and
making hasty and atrocious passes. But that is being worked on right now
and some of the junior players have responded well to the changes that I
have made to their playing style.
I have also shifted the positions of some players like S. Kuhan from
fullback to midfield, Chua Boon Huat from fullback to right half and many
other players are being tried out in new positions.
Some of them adapted well while some found the transition tough.
When I was in Rotterdam to watch the final of the Champions Trophy
between Germany and Australia, I counted no less than 50 substitutions
made by the German side in the run of play because they had depth in the
At times, the German coach substituted three or even four players at one
go eventhough the players replaced didn't do any mistakes. It was a
tactical move which disrupted the Australian style of play.
But in Malaysia, when I substitute a player, he feels that I do not like
the way he plays or that I am punishing him. I am trying to change that
mindset because once they are recalled into the team on the run of play,
they normally take some time to get back their confidence.
Q: You said that the school system is too loose to produce good players.
What can be done to improve the situation?
A: At the school level right now, serious hockey is not being taught and
as a result a whole generation of players are being lost because they do
not have the basics to play proper hockey when they grow up.
I have come up with a plan to counter that and will be meeting the
National Sports Council director general Datuk Mazlan Ahmad to put forward
my proposal.
The gist of my plan is to get parents involved in the sport in a big way
like they do in gymnastics and swimming in this country. I am going to
propose to Mazlan to create a programme which we can call the father-son
plan, to teach basic hockey to children from the ages of 10 to 12.
For a start, I have received favourable response from parents in
Malacca, where hockey once used to be played in a big way, to kick-start
the plan.
For the plan to succeed, I need to have a few strong hockey supporters
in each State so that they can start the ball rolling by playing fun
hockey with their children, maybe for a few hours during the weekends.
If all goes well, the programme will begin in Malacca in April next year
and I hope parents from other states will also support it. Interested
parents can E-mail me at I am ever willing to help
them set up similar programmes in their areas.
Q: How will this help the sport in the long run?
A: We will hold six-a-side tournaments on a small scale where a team
will be made up of three fathers and their sons but only the boys will be
allowed to score while their parents provide the support. This will be
played on a smaller pitch and on a fun basis.
Once we have enough teams at each State, I propose that we have an
annual tournament once a year in Kuala Lumpur where fathers and their sons
will take part in a carnival sort of tournament.
This will teach the aspiring hockey players the basics of the sport and
with the snowball effect, Malaysia will have a bigger pool of players for
the under-15, under-16 and under-18 squads in about five to six years
Q: It has often been said that you are more of a grassroot man in
Germany but have been thrust into the mainstream in Malaysia. Which
department would you prefer to handle after the 2002 World Cup?
A: I was in charge of junior development in Germany from 1979 to 1989
where I formed the base which the Germans, who won the Champions Trophy
recently by beating Australia 2-1, are still enjoying the fruits.
To tell you the truth, this is the first time that I feel like a real
coach where I start work at 7.0am everyday and it is non-stop until 9.0pm
with gym, videos, and training sessions and numerous meetings to sort out
matters relating to the team.
I have never enjoyed myself like I am right now but when the World Cup
is over, I would like to go back to developing juniors. That is what I do
best and it is a legacy that I want to leave Malaysia with when I retire
from hockey in say, four or even 10 years from now.
But I do not want to totally lose control of the juniors that I develop,
so maybe I will still like to play an advisor's role in the future.
Q: You have been a regular in Malaysia since 1994 and coaches Stephen
van Huizen, Yahya Atan, Zulkifli Abbas and Ariffin Ghani have one time or
the other been your assistants.
Do you feel that the handful of hockey coaches that Malaysia have right
now is enough?
A: I am not selfish when it comes to imparting my knowledge to the local
coaches attached to me in the past and I see no change of that in the
I am personally grooming Yahya, Stephen, Zulkifli and Ariffin to replace
me when the time comes. But four or even 10 coaches of calibre are not
enough to sustain long-term development.
We need more coaches at the State level who can help me identify and
groom youngsters so we have a programme where some level three coaches are
being groomed towards this cause.
In the long run, I hope to have a larger pool of coaches who can help me
take Malaysian hockey into the Champions Trophy level because only then
can we start dreaming about making it big regularly at the world stage.

SportExcel stretched but still going


Grassroots back to school
SPORTEXCEL is 10 years old this year and there are no plans to widen its
scope of programmes, because it is stretched to the maximum on the shoe-
string budget that it is running on.
"We have done wonders in the past 10 years as far as grassroots sport is
concerned in the country. We never had enough money, but it did not stop
us from identifying athletes, with help from associations, in our circuits
and forwarding their names to the National Sports Council for further
action," said SportExcel Chairman Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar.
Potential athletes spotted at the SportExcel circuits have gone on to
win honours for the country and the recent success of the Kuala Lumpur Sea
Games, where Malaysia emerged as the overall champions with 111 gold
medals, could not have been achieved without the silent role played by
"Our circuits have been instrumental in providing school children with
opportunity to compete among themselves at a higher level and not just
depend on school or inter-school sports.
"And after they are discoverd we gladly hand them over to the NSC for
the next phase in their lives.
"I don't forsee a change in that pattern because we are more than happy
just to provide a wide base of athletes for the country. Our strategy has
been successful so far so we will not rock the boat," said Tunku Imran.
What if SportExcel has money in the future?
"Still we will continue with the grassroots level and maybe increase the
present grant of RM5,000 per athlete to RM10,000," said Tunku Imran.
TimeSport approached some of the associations that have benefitted from
SportExcel and this is what they had to say:
Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia: "The 2001 circuit has provided an
opportunity for smaller states to organise proper swimming meets and has
also given a platform to `second rate' swimmers to excel.
"We have also uncovered upcoming swimmers like Daniel Bego, Abdul Hui
Salleh, Tunku Samira, Tania Lee and Gloria Ooi through the circuit," said
NSAM secretary Bang Toh Hoo.
"The present budget for the circuit, RM4,000 per-leg is far from
sufficient, but better than nothing. The money helps states with low
budgets to meet ends."
Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia: "Tennis was placed under the
SportExcel umbrella last year and it has helped devise LTAM's national
juniors ranking system.
"From the start, the circuit became very popular with players and
parents and became an integral part of LTAM's calendar," said LTAM vice-
president Datuk Abdul Malik Mohamed Salleh.
"After two years, it was obvious that the SportExcel circuit has
enormously benefitted our juniors because it gives them another five
tournamants to play in a year.
"Although the tennis circuit is only two years old, we have players from
the circuit who have shown promise. The best example is Adam Jaya who is
only 16-years-old but has already played a round of the Davis Cup and won
bronze for Malaysia in the 2001 Kuala Lumpur Sea Games," said Abdul Malik.
"The SportExcel circuit also introduced players like Dannio Yahya,
Moahmed Nor Nordin, Nikesh Singh, Junior Tan, Justion Seow, Raj Dormani
and Roger Tan.
Malaysian Cricket Association: "SportExcel's assistance in the Under-15
circuit has formed the backbone of our present Under-19 squad which took
part in the World Cup Qualifier in Nepal.
"The entire Under-19 team came from the Under-15 SportExcel circuit and
we feel that it must go on as it is the only serious tournament for this
age-group and has proven, by its track record, to unearth talent," said
MCA executive secretary Hector Durairatnam.
New and prodigious talent discovered by the circuit are: 1 Mohamed
Ariffin Ramly (Negri, best batsman), 2 Eszrafiq Abdul Azis (Johor, best
all-rounder), 3 Maxwell Stephen (Sarawak, best all-rounder), 4 Hairil
Anuar (Johor, best wicket keeper), 5 Mohamed Shariq Ahmad (Kedah, best
Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress: "The SportExcel circuit has greatly
helped promote and develop young bowlers throughout the country, because
about 90 per cent of our current national squad came from the junior
circuits and some of them are Shalin Zulkifli, Sarah Yap, Lai Kin Ngoh,
Wendy Chai, Ben Heng, Alex Liew, Lai Chuein Lian, Mustapha Kamaruddin,"
said MTBC executive secretary Oh Eng Taik.
"The circuit must go on as it provides us with some financial assistance
which is vital for youth development and the only `problem' right now is
that due to overwhelming response from youth bowlers, some of the smaller
bowling venues do not have sufficient lanes to run the circuit in two
Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia: "It seems like we started the
SportExcel circuit just recently, but it has been going on for nine
successful years after its launch in 1993.
"We started with three divisions of 16 players in the under-19 (boys and
girls) and the under-16 (boys) and the inaugural circuit attracted
athletes from Australia, Pakistan, India, Hong Kong and Singapore," said
SRAM director of coaching Maj (r) S. Maniam.
"All our current top players grew up with the circuit so it is without a
shadow of doubt that the SportExel junior circuit contributed immensely to
the success of squash in the country."
* Quote of the day: The farther back you can look, the farther forward you
can see - Sir Winston Churchill

Plant the seeds to reap the benefits later


IT WAS a hot and humid day, so I parked my car under my neighbour's mango
tree for a few hours recently.
When I came out, there was a note pinned under the wiper blade which
read "If you like to park your car under the shade, I suggest you plant
your own mango tree."
Some of us never know how selfish we are until it is pointed out to us.
SportExcel (Foundation for Malaysian Sporting Excellence) was
incorporated in Aug 12 1989 and was launched on April 8, 1991 and has been
busy planting seeds at the grassroot level for 10 years now, and have
nurtured many present big names who have brought glory to the country at
the international level.
But, according to their founder and Chairman for the past 10 years,
Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar, their success rate has been moderate "If only
we had more money," lamented Tunku Imran.
The RM15,00-a-year entitles an organisation to become SportExcel's
Chartered Member while RM5,000-a-year will entitle one to become a
Corporate Sponsor.
Even then, SportExcel has been finding it hard to net in big
corporations to become their long-term partners in sport, eventhough the
sum mentioned above can be considered as "pocket money" for them.
The reason: "Not enough publicity is given to them although they have
contributed a large amount for the development of sports in the country."
Shocking as it may seem, some of the previous sponsors that have pulled
out of the SportExcel programme over the years wanted their names and
press presentation pictures to be published in the major dailies so that
they will gain mileage for the money they have pumped in for the
development of grassroot sports in Malaysia.
What these selfish organisations have failed to realise is that their
RM5,000 or RM15,000 has been instrumental in building a strong base of
sportsmen and women in the country for the past 10 years.
SportExcel has played a part in the progress and success of top squash
players like Ong Beng Hee, Nicol David, Leong Siu Lynn; bowlers Shalin
Zulkifli, Sarah Yap, Lisa Kwan, Sharon Low, Ng Yiew Hup; sailors Ryan Tan,
Nazmi Sharif; swimmers Jeffrey Ong, Elvin Chia; golfers Danny Chia, Lim Ai
Lian, Lim Siew Ai; cyclist M. Kumarasen; snooker players Sam Chong, Liew
Kit Fatt; cricket sensation Arul Suppiah; latest discovery in golf Ben
Leong .... the list goes on and on.
These athletes are household names today and have all either grown up
with the SportExcel circuit or have been funded by their Elite
Athlete Programme until they were able to stand on their own and source
for sponsors or get help from the National Sports Cpouncil to take them to
the next level in sports.
Isn't their success reason enough for SportExcel's sponsors to
It takes about RM700,000 for SportExcel to run their 12 sports circuits
per-year and right now, they are finding it hard to make ends meet. But
all is not lost because the NSC, always generous when it comes to
developing the grassroots, and Milo have each chipped in RM200,000 to
support SportExcel's programmes.
The SportExcel tree is today 10 years old and has nurtured and shaded
numerous athletes who have made a name for themselves at the international
It was a prudent investment initiated by Antah Holdings Berhad in 1991
when they planted the SportExcel tree, which, with help from unselfish
sponsors, can only grow bigger in the years to come and help more budding
athletes in the country.
By the way, I have planted my own mango tree, thanks to my neighbour.

Malaysia begin preparing for Champions Challenge


MALAYSIA have started preparing to host Japan in the first match of the
Champions Challenge on Dec 7.
Yesterday, the team started training after 6pm, as a mark of respect for
the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah who was laid
to rest at the Sultan Suleiman royal mausoleum, and the emphasis was on
short corner set-pieces.
"I have watched on video how Japan defended their short corners and have
come up with variations to beat them in that section. The Japanese are
extremely good at defending short corners but they can be beaten," said
national coach Paul Lissek.
Although more than 50 per cent of the national players were still
fasting when training started, it did not stop Lissek from maximising the
training session with gruelling runs and then breaking them up into groups
for set-pieces.
At the goalmouth, Jiwa Mohan, Chua Boon Huat and S. Kuhan were busy
working on a new variation, which looked very simple but deadly at the
same time.
"We do not have much time left to prepare for the 2002 Kuala Lumpur
World Cup in February next year, so I cannot afford to let the boys take
it easy although it is the fasting month," said Lissek.
Malaysia will play all their Champions Challenge matches at 8pm at the
National Hockey Stadium on Dec 7-15, so to prepare the team further,
manager Datuk R. Yogeswaran said they will start training at 8pm from Nov
"We will request for floodlights from the 26th onwards because the
players need to get used to playing right after breaking their fast.
"The Champions Challenge will be crucial in charting our World Cup
fortunes, so we must do well in the tournamant at all cost," said
All six teams taking part in the Challenge - Malaysia, Argentina,
Belgium, India, Japan and South Africa - will be playing in the 2002 World
Right now, most of the national trainees are on their own and only
report for training at specific times in the morining and evenings, but
January onwards, they will be housed a the National Sports Council hostel
for the final push.
"Some of the players have work commitments while some are stil studying,
so right now we accommodate them as long as they are punctual during
training sessions and are serious about making the 2002 World Cup squad.
"But January onwards, we will bring them together under one roof for the
final polish. We have plans to take them out of Kuala Lumpur, for about 10
days in January, to break the monotony of training because we do not want
the players to get jaded," said Yogeswaran.
Malaysia have been invited by Spain for the Four-Nation on Jan 5 and
according to Yogeswaran, it will indicate how much Malaysia have prepared
for the World Cup.
"A Four-Nation involving Malaysia, Spain, England and South Africa is on
the cards next year. It will be a good tune-up before the World Cup
because after we return, there are plans to hold a Six-Nation in Malaysia
at the end of January.
"Right now, we need all the practice matches that we can get because the
national players have not seen any action since the Azlan Shah Cup in
August," said Yogeswaran.
Spain and South Africa are in Group A of the World Cup while Malaysia
and England are in Group B.

OCM plans to build `cheap and available' RM5m hall


THE Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) who have been playing a catalyst
role in the development of sport at the grassroots in Malaysia for decades
now, plan to stop that practice.
Now, they want to play a direct role, and the first step is the
construction of a new hall at the OCM building in Jalan Hang Jebat.
And their motto will be "cheap and available to all."
The RM5 million hall, according to OCM secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi,
will drastically cut down on excuses piled up by associations on the lack
of cheap facilities to develop their athletes.
"The quest for medals and glory has blinded most associations to neglect
the grassroots, so we at the OCM came up with an idea last year to build a
multi-purpose hall on our present car park so that there will no longer be
excuses on the lack of cheap facilities to train athletes.
"Earlier, the OCM were only overseeing development of sports in the
country, and that was our handicap. Now we want to play a bigger hands-on
"OCM has agreed to impose minimal fees, like electricity and water and
if the case is deserving, we will not charge any fee at all for junior
development at our backyard," said Kok Chi yesterday.
Construction on the hall will begin early next year and the expected
completion date is 2003, coinciding with OCM's 50th anniversary.
"The present OCM building was built after the success of hosting the
1989 Sea Games in Kuala Lumpur, so after becoming the overall champions
this year with 111 gold medals, it is only appropriate that we erect a
monument to take sport in Malaysia to a higher level," said Kok Chi.
The hall, 50 metres-by-30 metres, will not be a five-star showcase like
the ones found at the National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil, but instead,
have either a badminton or a netball court and a gym for conditioning
"We decided to do away with the frills and make it more Spartan in
nature because we want to make it more affordable to our affiliates. The
emphasis will be on developing minor sports like table-tennis, judo,
wrestling, weightlifting, taekwondo, wushu and it will also be used to
host seminars, coaching clinics, and functions.
"The OCM building is surrounded by schools and with the LRT at our
doorstep, we feel that it will be fully utilised when completed."
Right now, most of the associations find the rental at the National
Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil and Bukit Kiara too steep for their liking,
but by 2003 they will have a cheaper alternative.
"The hall will not be able to host international tournaments, but then
again, that is not our goal. We are looking more at hosting schools, clubs
and age-group tournaments at the hall," said Kok Chi.
Kok Chi also feels that the present method of uprooting young and
budding athletes from rural schools and bringing them to Kuala Lumpur is a
bad idea.
"The present scenario is not conducive to develop a large base at State
level because once a budding athlete is discovered, he or she is placed in
the sports school and some of them crack under the intense pressure of
trying to excel in a short period.
"It will be better if the athletes are left in their respective States
and monitored closely until they are really ready to face the challenge of
the big city life.
"Right now most schools are not bothered with grooming their students
because once they become potential athletes, they are pinched and placed
in selected schools.
"It will be better for sports in Malaysia if the States are allowed to
share in the glory of developing and watching their sweat and toil
reaching the top of the podium, instead of selected schools basking in the
glory all the time."

Argies for friendlies


ARGENTINA will be arriving in Malaysia on Nov 30 and have agreed to play
two friendly matches against the national side before the Champions
Challenge on Dec 7-15 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
"Argentina have agreed to play two friendlies against Malaysia on Dec 3
and 5 at the National Hockey Stadium. Also, South Africa have requested
for a friendly on Dec 4, but that is subject to the approval of the 2002
Kuala Lumpur World Cup team manager Datuk R. Yogeswaran," said Malaysia
Hockey Federation secretary S. Satgunam yesterday.
When contacted, Yogeswaran said he was aware of South Africa's request
and it will be entertained.
"Actually, the South Africans approached Paul Lissek (chief coach) for a
friendly and we have agreed to host them on Dec 5. The friendlies, likely
to be held at intervals of 25 minutes, will prepare the team for the
Champions Challenge and indirectly the 2002 World Cup," said Yogeswaran.
Argentina and South Africa are in Group A of the 2002 World Cup while
Malaysia are in Group B. But the likelihood of meeting in the crossover is
The other teams in the Champions Challenge are Belgium, India and Japan.
"Ticket prices for the Challenge have been placed at RM5 (grandstand),
RM3 (all other seats) and RM1 (for schoolchildren). On some days, there
will be three matches so the RM3 will be value for money," said Satgunam.
Most of the teams will be arriving early for the Challenge to get
acclimatised. Japan and South Africa will arrive on Dec 2 and Belgium on
the 5th. India are the only team that have yet to confirm their date of
All six teams in the Challenge have qualified for the 2002 World Cup,
with Argentina topping the recent World Cup Qualifier in Edinburgh, so
sizzling action is assured.
The Champions Challenge was supposed to be held in New Delhi on the same
date, but with the Afghan war at their doorstep, the Indian Hockey
Federation decided against hosting it and Malaysia won the bid.
The winner of the Champions Challenge will be promoted to the Champions
Trophy in the next edition.
FIXTURES - Dec 7: South Africa v Argentina (4pm); India v Belgium (6pm);
Malaysia v Japan (8pm); Dec 8: South Africa v India (6pm); Belgium v
Malaysia (8pm); Dec 9: Japan v Argentina (6pm); Dec 10: Japan v South
Africa (4pm); Argentina v Belgium (6pm); Malaysia v India (8pm); Dec 11:
Belgium v South Africa (6pm); Dec 12: India v Japan (6pm); Malaysia v
Argentina (8pm); Dec 13: Japan v Belgium (4pm); India v Argentina (6pm);
Malaysia v South Africa (8pm).
Dec 14: REST DAY.
Dec 15: 5th ranked v 6th ranked (8am); 3rd ranked v 4th ranked (5pm);
1st ranked v 2nd ranked (8pm).
Note: All matches at Pitch One of the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit
* THE first Womens Champions Challenge has been relocated Randburg,
Johannesburg, South Africa, and will be held on Feb 9-17 2002, the FIH
website reported yesterday.
England, Germany, India, Korea, South Africa and the United States will
play in the first Champions Challenge, which will be a biannual event,
with the winner promoted to next years Champions Trophy in August in
Macau, Republic of China.
The FIH and Indian Hockey Confederation (IHC) had mutually agreed to
withdraw the event from New Delhi, India, as it was clear that only a few
of the participating nations were able to travel to India under the
current political circumstances.
The South African Hockey Association has previously hosted the women's
Olympic Qualifier in 1995 and more recently the All Africa Games in 1999.

Lissek sings a different tune


AFTER one month travelling around the globe, national chief coach Paul
Lissek is now singing a different tune on Malaysia's chances at the 2002
Kuala Lumpur World Cup on Feb 24 to March 9.
Before he left to watch the Champions's Trophy in Rotterdam, and the
Junior World Cup in Hobart before that, the German said that, at best,
Malaysia will finish 10th in the 16-team tournamant.
But after watching the national players train at the National Hockey
Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday, he now feels that Malaysia are good for
a top-six finish.
"It is simply amazing, most of the players have improved tremendously
and are looking better than a month ago. I now see that they have built
the right muscles in gym training and are much more confident of
themselves," said Lissek.
Lissek was shouting at the top of his voice at the hockey stadium
yesterday, guiding the World Cup trainees in their set-pieces, and his
charges seem to be enjoying themselves and were more comfortable with the
"You can see for yourself that they are no longer shy of receiving the
ball and actually enjoy training eventhough most of them have yet to break
their fast.
"And at the gym this morning (yesterday) I saw for myself how they have
developed physically and are much faster on the pitch as a result," said
Some former internationals who played a big role in helping Malaysia
finish fourth in the 1975 World Cup in Malaysia like N. Srishanmuganathan
and K. Balasingam had taken the German to task in the last few days
because he said that Malaysia are only good for No 10 in the World Cup.
They felt that if that was the target, why hire a foreigner because a
local coach would be able to reach that target too.
"I will not comment on that because I have yet to read the reports.
Maybe later I will be able to comment on that issue," said Lissek.
However, he feels that the top spot in the world cup belongs to Germany,
and it will take a mammoth task to deny them the trophy.
"I watched them play at the Champions Trophy last month and they have
the best team in the world right now. They are good in every department
and it will be hard to deny them the 2002 glory.
"German captain Florian Kunz and Oliver Domke are at the top of the
world and if any team harbours hope of winning the World Cup, these two
players must be stopped at any cost, but it will not be easy."
On South Korea, who are in Group B with Malaysia in the World Cup,
Lissek feels that something is bothering the team.
"At the Champions Trophy, they played like they did not have the will
anymore. They were jaded and lost for ideas. It looked like they are no
longer interested in hockey.
"But with the Korean's, you never know. They bounce back very easily and
might recover in time to put up a fight in the World Cup," said Lissek.
He feels that the absence of Suhaimi Ibrahim did deal his plans an early
blow, but the team is recovering and players like Redzuan Ponirin are
benifitting from his absence.
"I treated him like my child because I was the one who selected and
groomed him after a nation-wide scouting programme. Now that he is `lost
in the woods', I feel sad for him but life goes on.
"It looks like some of the younger players like Ponz (Redzuan) have
taken up the challenge to fill his vacuum and that is good for the team."

An affordable Challenge for all


THE ticket prices for the Champions Challenge on Dec 7-15 at the National
Hockey Stadium in Kuala Lumpur has been set at RM3 and RM5.
Compared to the cheapest ticket of RM25 per-match (sittings at the back
of both goalposts) for the 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup, the Challenge is
definately more affordable and should draw a large crowd.
The cheap tickets, according to an official of the Malaysia Hockey
Federation (MHF), was to encourage more people to come out and support the
Malaysian team preparing for the Feb 24 to March 9 World Cup.
"Tickets for the Challenge have been set at an affordable price so that
more people will come out and support the Malaysian team. And since teams
like Argentina, India and Japan are among the confirmed countries taking
part in the Challenge, it is a small price to pay for top-notch action,"
said the official.
By the time the Challenge begins, the National Stadium will have a new
turf and work to fit in additional seats would be in progress.
Meanwhile, the national trainees will take a short break for Deepavali
before resuming training at the second pitch of the National Hockey
"We will break camp for Deepavali and then resume training at the end of
the week because right now we can't afford to have long breaks since the
World Cup is only three months away," said coach Stephen van Huizen.
Chief coach Paul Lissek, who watched the Champions Trophy in Rotterdam,
is said to have picked the six teams in the Trophy to also finish among
the top teams in the 2002 World Cup.
At the Champions Trophy which ended on Sunday, two goals by Florian
Kunz, the tournament's top scorer, helped Germany beat Australia 2-1 in
the final.
Germany became the first team to win the trophy eight times after a
flawless campaign, winning all six of their matches in the annual event.
In the third-fourth placing match, Olympic champions Holland beat
Pakistan 5-2, while in the fifth and sixth placing match Englland beat
south korea 3-2 in a penalty shootout after a 3-3 draw in regulation time.
"Paul Lissek e-mailed me from Rotterdam saying that the six teams
playing in the Trophy are a class above the rest and it is highly likely
that they will hog the top spots in the 2002 World Cup as well," said an
official who declined to be named.
This surely spells trouble for Malaysia and by the look of things right
now, finishing eighth in the World Cup will be a bonus for Malaysia while
the 10th spot is a more realistic target.
Champions Challenge teams: Malaysia, Argentina, Belgium, India, Japan,
South Africa.
FIXTURES - Dec 7: South Africa v Argentina (4pm); India v Belgium (6pm);
Malaysia v Japan (8pm); Dec 8: South Africa v India (6pm); Belgium v
Malaysia (8pm); Dec 9: Japan v Argentina (6pm); Dec 10: Japan v South
Africa (4pm); Argentina v Belgium (6pm); Malaysia v India (8pm); Dec 11:
Belgium v South Africa (6pm); Dec 12: India v Japan (6pm); Malaysia v
Argentina (8pm); Dec 13: Japan v Belgium (4pm); India v Argentina (6pm);
Malaysia v South Africa (8pm).
Dec 14: REST DAY.
Dec 15: 5th ranked v 6th ranked (8am); 3rd ranked v 4th ranked (5pm);
1st ranked v 2nd ranked (8pm).
Note: All matches at Pitch One of the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit

SportExcel in dire straits


SPORTEXCEL, celebrating their 10th year of existence in Malaysia, are in
dire straits as some of their chartered members have decided to pull out.
But they have not thrown in the towel yet.
SportExcel executive director Teng Mui Ngee said yesterday that although
they operated on a shoe-string budget this year and will be in bigger
trouble, financially next year, they will not `let the ship sink.'
"We might trim some legs of the circuit next year, but we will make sure
SportExcel does not cease to exist because it will be a big blow for
junior development in the country if we go down," said Teng.
Right now they have 20 chartered members to support their junior
development programmes but only 17 are paying members and even the
chartered members have written in saying that they might pull out of the
sportexcel development programmes.
SportExcel have 13 junior circuits under their wings. They are squash,
bowling, golf, cycling, shooting, cricket, tennis, rhythmic gymnastics,
artistic gymnastics, swimming, diving, athletics and sepaktakraw.
"Each chartered member gives SportExcel RM15,000 a year and that amounts
to RM255,000 only. To run our programmes for one year we need about
RM600,000, so it looks like we will be in big trouble if some of the
chartered members decide to follow-up on their proposal to abandon us,"
said Teng.
Nestle, through Milo, and the National Sports Council have been pumping
in the balance of the budget but even they are bursting at the seams right
now and will find it hard to pump in more money should some chartered
members pull out.
SportExcel started in 1991 and the athletes that went through their
circuits have helped Malaysia to emerge overall champions for the first
time in the history of the Sea Games.
"The entire bowling squad including Shalin Zulkifli and Lai Kin Goh and
the squash players - Nicol David, Tricia Chuah, Sharon Wee and Sally Looi
who won four gold medals for Malaysia in the Games - are products of
"The list is endless because most of the current national athletes grew
up with SportExcel but we have not been heard because we played a silent
hand in their development. If we fail to find new chartered members, we
will trim some of our circuits but not abandon the programme," said Teng.
Cricketer Arul Suppiah is among those who beneffited from the SportExcel
programme. They have sponsored him for six years and at a total cost of
RM100,000 to take him where he is now.
"Arul is a much sought-after cricketer in England today with the local
club Sommerset County offering him a scholarship to study and play for
"Now that he has made it big, we are going to leave him out and are
looking to sponsor golfer Ben Leong in the Unites States."
Ben Leong, from Sabah, will be playing and studying in the United States
and SportExcel, with help of NSC, have decided to help him achieve his
dream of becoming a top-notch golfer in the near future.
"We are working with the Malaysia Golf Association and the Sabah
Foundation to help chip in some of the money for Ben Leong," said Teng.
It would be a pity if, after 10 years of promoting sports at the
grassroots level, SportExcel ceases to exist because some of their
chartered members, who are big corporations in the country, decide that
RM15,000-a-year is too huge a sacrifice for development of sports in the

Suryani shoots gold tally to seven


NUR Suryani Taibi of Perak shot down two more gold medals in the final day
of the Tun Tan Siew Sin Trophy and the SportExcel-NSC-NSAM-JSA Junior
championships at the National Shooting Range in Subang yesterday.
She won gold in the SB Sport Rifle Prone of the senior and junior
category to bring her grand total to seven gold medals and one record in
the four-day tournamant.
After the medal presentation, she calmly said her short term target is
to win gold in the Commonwealth Games and then the Olympics.
"My dream is to represent the country in the Olympics and win a gold at
the highest level. So right now I am preparing myself to make the
Commonwealth Games squad and maybe qualify for the Asian Games in Pusan
next year," said the 19-year-old UiTM student.
She started shooting at the age of 15 after being persuaded by her
father, who is in the Armed Forces, and her latest achievement was a gold
and a sliver in the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games.
RESULTS - Tun Tan Siew Sin Trophy: Men's Air Pistol - 1 Baharuddin
Hashim (Kel) 654.8 pts, 2 Darham Ali (Police) 652.3, 3 Alinoor Raziff Noor
Sidek (Police) 649.6.
Air Pistol Team: 1 Police - Darham Ali (561), Alinoor Razif Noor Sidek
(556), Abdul Rahim Rajuli (543); 2 Selangor - Ang Chee Choon (557), Wong
Chon Toh (547), Mark Seng (545); 3 Kelantan - Baharuddin Hashim (562),
Zakaria Ishak (540), Wan Abdul Rahman (524).
Trap: 1 Charles Chen (Sel) 137, 2 Gary Goh Kheng Yoong (Sel) 133, 3
Leong Wei Heng (KSA) 127.
Skeet: 1 Kaw Fun Ying (Sel) 138, 2 Richard Cheong (Sel) 133, Mohamed
Omar Risman (Sel) 128.
Women's Sport Pistol: 1 Irina Maharani (Sel) 666.9, 2 Rohayu Yusof 663.1
(Kel), 3 Norsita Mohamed (Kel) 661.3.
Sport Pistol Team: 1 Sarawak - Suefarinawathy Effendi (562), Haslinda
Nosan (550), Rosny Jisin (548); 2 Selangor - Irina Maharani (571), Julia
Ong Been Suan (549), Dahlia Vehicle (522); 3 Perak - Leong Wai Si (556),
Nur Fathiah Zolkefle (556), Noor Asmah Ishak (539).
SB Sport Rifle Prone: 1 Nur Suryani Taibi (Pk) 584, 2 Nordalilah Abu
Bakar (Police) 577, 3 Nasreena Nazaruddin (Pah) 577.
SB Sport Rifle Prone Team: 1 Police - Nordalilah Abu Bakar (577), Ann
Chiew (574), Sarihati Awang Akhbar 571; 2 Pahang - Nasreena Nazaruddin
(577), Siti Nurazreen Eliana Sidek (575), Norlita Omar (566); 3 Perak -
Nur Suryani Taibi (548), Nur Husna Sharuddin (570), Rohayu Nayan (563).
SportExceL-NSC-NSAM-JSA Junior Championship - Men's Air Pistol: 1 Tan
Wei Han (Pg) 548 pts, 2 Mohamed Firdaus (Pah) 541, 3 Khairul Isham (KL)
Air Pistol Team: 1 Johor - Mohamed Nazmi Salleh (539), Mohamed Radi
Wahab (536), Zul Hakim Aman (522); 2 Pahang - Mohamed Firdaus Rahim (541),
Syamsudin Sukemi (540), Mohamed Sabri (512); 3 Sarawak - Joshua Nai (536),
Bibit Nyoged (531), Mushaldi Saruji (505).
Women's Sport Pistol: 1 Nur Fatiah Zolkefle (Pk) 556, 2 Haslinda Nosan
(Sar) 550, 3 Rosny Jisin (Sar) 548.
Sport Pistol Team: 1 Perak - Nur Fatiah Zolkefle (556), Noor Asmah Ishak
(539), Leong Wai Si (536); 2 Sarawak - Haslinda Nosan (550), Rosny Jisin
(548), Chen Po Ling (519); 3 Penang - See Lim Ai Lin (536), Joseline Cheah
(536) Leong Ho Ming (523).
SB Sport Rifle Prone: 1 Nur Suryani Taibi (Pk) 584, 2 Nasrena Nazaruddin
(Pah) 577, 3 Mariani Rafali (Kel) 575.
SB sport Rifle Prone Team: 1 Pahang - Nasrena Nazaruddin (577), Siti
Nurazreen Eliana (575), Norlita Omar (566); 2 Perak - Nur Suryani Taibi
584), Nur Husna Sharuddin (570), Rohayu Nayan (563); 3 Sarawak - Veronica
Eileen (558), Sorea Tiror (555), Imabel Yvonne Tiong (533).

Lack of funds stunt junior development


THE National Sports Council's (NSC) decision not to fund shooting clubs
and associations have started taking its toll on junior development
National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) executive secretary Mej
Jasni Shaari said in the past NSC's support has made the sport grow but
now they will have a hard time implementing their development programmes.
"With the policy, even the Subang Shooting Range, among the best in the
country, find it hard to support the junior and senior shooters because
they have an overhead cost of about RM20,000 a month to keep the place
"Even the richer shooting associations like Selangor and Kuala Lumpur
have been hit by the policy because now we have to source for our own
funds to pay for coaches and equipment. And it looks like we may have to
make do without foreign coaches because we can't afford to pay their
salaries anymore.
"Some shooters, like Irina Maharani, only get their salary from the NSC
but the Selangor Shooting Association (SSA) foot the bill whenever there
is a tournamant," said Jasni.
Shooting clubs survive on what they get from members but unfortunately,
the members are only interested in recreational shooting and most are not
bothered with the score.
"So we are in a dilemma here. You can't blame the clubs for being
business minded but at the same time, we need some form of subsidy to keep
shooting alive in the country."
NSC director general Datuk Mazlan Ahmad was unavailable for comment as
he is he has left for overseas.
Meanwhile, Jasni said 11 shooters who competed in the Kuala Lumpur Sea
Games have been retained in their project squad for the Commonwealth and
the Asian Games.
"But they will have to be on their toes if they want to get selected.
The Tun Haniff Cup after Hari Raya is part of the selection for the Asian
and Commonwealth Games.
"After that there will be other tournaments where they will have to do
well before making the final squad," said Jasni.
According to Jasni, it is easier to win medals at the Commonwealth Games
than in the Asian Games where China also compete.
In the Commonwwalth Games, the format is also different where by instead
of the team event with three shooters, only two are allowed and they
compete in the individual and doubles.

Hockey in dire need of help


DATUK R. Yogeswaran has been in love with hockey since his schooldays in
Tapah, a small town under the shadows of majestic Cameron Highlands, which
he described as the centre of the hockey nerve in the northern region in
the late 50s.
He fondly remembers the Tapah Government English School headmaster Utam
Singh and teacher M. Kandavanan as fanatics of hockey and credits the 1975
Kuala Lumpur World Cup success to people like them.
In 1975 he was assistant to head coach Ho Koh Chye, and 27 years later,
he will play the role of team manager in the 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup.
TIMESPORT'S JUGJET SINGH picked his brains and discovered that hockey at
the grassroots is in dire need of help.
Timesport: You were the assistant coach to the 1975 World Cup team. What
was the recipe to their success?
Yoges: It was a combination of skillful players and some element of
luck. Team manager Datuk Abdul Manaf Ibrahim, assistant manager the late
R. Neelakandan (Yogeswaran's brother), head coach Ho Koh Chye, assistant
coach Sidek Othman and I did not have any formal training on the job and
neither did we go for many overseas courses.
Koh Chye went for a coaching course in Patyala and I went for an
advanced course in coaching in Briton, that was it.
But we were a dedicated lot and the boys knew that it will be years, if
ever, when the World Cup comes back to Malaysia so they gave everyting
that they had.
We only trained full time for six months and public expectations were
not very high on the team. But after we drew the first two matches with
New Zealand and Spain and lost narrowly (2-1) to Pakistan, suddenly
everybody was talking about the team.
From the coffee shops to announcements on Malaysia Airlines flights, to
television and radios, the 1975 players became household names overnight.
To reach the semifinals, we had to beat Holland and when the match
started in Ipoh, it started raining heavily and the match was abandoned.
Holland then played Poland and, amazingly, they lost and it was good
news to Malaysia. The rest is fondly remembered in history.
The recipe for success then was a bunch of dedicated players and some
element of luck, in the form of floods.
Q: How do you rate the present batch of players training for the 2002
Kuala Lumpur World Cup?
A: We have the material to form a good side but it could be better. The
fault does not lie with the coaches or the Malaysia Hockey Federation
because in the past 10 years, very few players have been nurtured by the
school system in Malaysia.
Those days, hockey players used to be all-rounders and were involved in
two to three sports before they were discovered and took up one seriously.
I know players who were versatile in cricket, hockey and track and field.
They really beneffited because their reflexes became better and just by
teaching them some skills, they became top-notch players.
Today, most students stick to one sport from Primary School and either
have speed or skills, very few have both.
It looks like hockey `fanatics' like my headmaster in Tapah, Utam Singh
sports teacher M. Kandavanan, and a host of other names from around the
country who helped develop hockey in schools in the `50s to the '80s also
no longer exist because the schooling system is such that sports has taken
a backseat in most States.
Q: What can be done to bring back the good old days in schools?
A: First, the Education Ministry must start selecting specialists to
handle certain sports and pay them graduate salary scales eventhough they
do not have the paper qualifications. As an example, former national
skipper Sarjit Singh can be said to be holding a `masters degree' in
hockey because he has vast knowledge of the sport.
Former internationals like him should be placed in selected schools to
develop hockey because they love hockey and will go all out to produce a
champion school.
Secondly, when talent is discovered in, say remote places like
Gemencheh, Sungkai, Chemor, Trolak or any other village, we must not be
hasty in bringing them to Kuala Lumpur and ask them to train and play in
Bukit Jalil. I feel it will be better to take hockey to them insted of
bringing them here.
We also need to have more hockey bases in States, especially where
hockey used to be played on a grand scale and when two `rival' schools
play, the town field or the school field is swamped by spectators. This
used to happen in Perak, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Johor but school
rivalry has all but died and the sport is suffering because of it.
Q: What about the current structure of hockey where state leagues and
club hockey is almost dead?
A: That is another big problem in hockey today. I can't think of any
club that specialises in hockey alone. Right now, most clubs and banks
have multiple sports programmes and none that specialises.
I propose that hockey clubs, with no other sports under their wings,
only be allowed to play in the league is they have a development programme
for the under-16, under-18 and under-21.
If clubs are unable to do that, let them die off naturally, because we
are not interested in quantity but quality.
In Germany, it is a must for a club to have all age groups under their
wings if they want to take part in the league. In malaysia, the structure
is not strong because most clubs only have one age group under their care
and junior development is neglected.
Once they have all the age groups under their care, the MHF should allow
them to host some international friendlies or even selected international
tournamants so that the members of the club will be proud to be associated
with it.
When I took the Malaysian team to Germany recently for friendlies, we
played at club premises and the support from members was an eye-opener.
Q: Do you think that hockey should be made a school subject and students
gain marks by being active in it?
A: In 1975, Argentina beat India at Seremban and everybody were shocked.
But a closer lok at Argentina revealed that selected sports were school
Hockey is a school subject in Argentina now and they are reaping the
rewards. Their junior side were the runners-up in the Junior World Cup in
Hobart and the senior side topped the World Cup Qualifications in
Edinburgh and come highly rated for the 2002 KL World Cup.
I strongly feel the Education Ministry should make hockey a compulsory
school subject if they are serious about developing the sport at the
grassroots level. The associations will then have a larger pool of players
to choose from and will be more successful at international tournaments.
Q: If you were given a chance to make one change in the current
selection process of players, what will it be?
A: Speed. I feel that speed is what the Europeans have capatilised on to
win international matches. I will make sure that only those with speed and
the ability to endure 70 minutes of gruelling play will be selected. For
future selections at national level, speed will be made into a big
Q: You have been following the progress of the rest of the 2002 World
Cup teams for the past year. Who do you pick to finish champions and
runners-up in the 2002 KL World Cup?
A: My biased prediction would of course be Malaysia! But if I am asked
to select the top two, with Malaysia not in the picture, I will pick
Germany and Pakistan.

Johor to shoot ahead with new range


THERE were no spectactular results in the third day of the Tun Tan Siew
Sin Trophy or the SportExcel-NSC-NSAM-JSA junior tournamant at the
National Shooting Range in Subang yesterday.
But there was good news for the sport in Johor as, the organisers of
both the tournamants Johor Shooting Association (JSA), have almost
realised their dream of having a state-of-the art shooting range in Batu
JSA president Robert Lim Wan Sia said yesterday work on the shooting
range in Batu Pahat wil start in the middle of the month and is expected
to be completed in March next year.
"At last we will have a good shooting range in Johor to kick-start the
sport in the State. We bought our own land and the National Sports Council
(NSC) gave us RM1 million to build a complex.
"We will utilise RM500,000 on construction and the rest to buy
equipment," said Robert.
Johor were handed the task of organising both the championships and
since their complex is still not ready, they used the Subang Shooting
Range instead.
"This was a good opportunity and we did not want to let it go, so we
suggested the Subang Shooting Range and the National Shooting Association
of Malaysia agreed to our proposal," said Robert who is also the vice-
president of NSAM.
Robert was instrumental in getting shooting into the Malaysia Games
calendar by writing to the 1994 hosts, Ipoh, to include the sport.
"They replied by saying that if I can get eight States to submit teams,
the sport will make its appearance in the Malaysia Games. I managed to get
10 States and now it is a permenant fixture in the Games," said Robert.
With the new range in Batu Pahat, Johor hope to make an impact in the
Sabah Malaysia Games.
"The priority will be junior development and once the range is ready, we
will start preparing a team for the Sabah Malaysia Games."
Johor have four other shooting centres in Muar, Kluang, Johor Baru and
Segamat but thaey are not of international standard and according to
robert "We will be upgrading the sport from tatched roof to the modern era
and hopefully, in a few years time, Johor will have a strong pool of
juniors for international duty."
Yesterday, Kelantan lad Mohamed Zainul Akmal shot down three golds and a
silver but his scores were nothing to shout about.
In the Tun Tan Siew Sin Trophy, Zainul won gold in the Small Bore Rifle
Three Position team and silver in the individual event.
In the SportExcel category, he won gold in the Small Bore Free Rifle
Three Position individual and team events.
RESULTS: Tun Tan Siew Sin Trophy - Men's Centre Fire Pistol: 1 Hasli
Izwan Amir (Perak) 559 points, 2 Zakaria Ishak (Kel) 554 (shootoff 143), 3
Mohamed Hashim Desa (Police) 554 (shootoff 136).
Centre Fire Pistol Team: 1 Police - Marzuki Man (554), Mohamed Hashim
Desa (554), Abdul Rahim Rajuli (554); 2 Kelantan - Zakaria Ishak (554),
Baharuddin Hashim (535), Mohamed Saipuddin Yusoff; 3 Johor - Ker Pok San
(469), Wong Siong Jhang (445), Tay Chiow Sia (358).
SB Rifle Three Position: 1 Mohamed Emran Zakaria (Armed Forces) 1,238.6,
2 Mohamed Zainul Akmal (Kel) 1,216.6, 3 Mohamed Sabili Din (Armed Forces)
SB Rifle Three Position Team: 1 Kelantan - Mohamed Zainul Akmal (1,123),
Khairuddin Sidek (1,095), Asri Mohamed (1,097); 2 Selangor - Ivan
Jayavenkatesh (1,112), Wang Wen Chuen (1,097), Ong Poh Teck (1,104); 3
Armed Forces - Mohamed Emaran Zakaria (1,141), Mohamed Sabiki Din (1,120),
Mohamed Khusaimi Shariff (1.043).
SportExcel-NSC-NSAM-JSA Junior Shooting Championship - Men's Sport
Pistol: 1 Hafiza Adzha (Sel) 543, 2 Mohamed Syahrul (KMPP) 536, 3 Bibit
Nyoget (Sarawak) 536.
Sport Pistol Team: 1 Selangor - Nicholas Aw Kai Fong (535), Omar Sheriff
(528), Alif Fazally Omar (483); 2 Johor - Zulhakim Ahmad (525), Nohamed
Radi Wahab (508), Mohamed Syawal Othman (494); 3 Pahang - Mohamed Sobri
(506), Mohamed Khalis Kadir (495), Khairul Azri Roslan (485).
SB Free Rifle Three Position: 1 Mohamed Zainul Akmal (Kel) 1,123, 2 Ivan
Jayavenkatesh (Sel) 1,112, 3 Ong Poh Teck (Sel) 1,104.
SB Free Rifle Three Position Team: 1 Kelantan - Mohamed Zainul Akmal
1,123, Asri Mohamed 1,097, Khairuddin Sidek 1,095, 2 Selangor - Ivan
Jayavenkatesh 1,112, Ong Poh Tech 1,104, Wang Wen Chuen 1,097; 3 Sarawak -
Christopher Pintos 1,094, Almond Aldrian 1,038, Alvin Elser Naftali 1,006.
Women's Air Pistol: 1 Siti Sarah Ibrahim (PMKL) 367, 2 Leong Wai Si
(Perak) 363, 3 Haslinda Hassan (Sar) 360.
Air Pistol Team: 1 Sarawak - Haslinda Nosan (360, Agnes Taiji (352),
Christine Helen (351); 2 KMPP - Joseline Cheah (356), Se Lim Ai Lin (354),
Leong Ho Ming (349); 3 Selangor - Leong Wai Si (363), Nur Fatihah Zolkefle
(345), Noor Asmah Ishak (338).

Qabil, Mun Yee honoured


QABIL Ambak Mohamed Fathil and Leong Mun Yee were last night crowned as
the 2001 Olympian of the Year in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Qabil, who was adjudged athlete of the KL Games, won four gold medals in
equestrian at the recent Kuala Lumpur Sea Games while Mun Yee also won
four gold medals in diving at the Games.
The awards were presented by DYMM Al-Wathique Al-Sultan Mizan Zainal
Abidin, the Sultan of Terengganu, and it carries with it a cash reward of
RM10,000 and a gold medal.
Qabil, 21, won gold in dressage, team dressage, showjumping and team
showjumping while Mun Yee won gold in the 3m platform, 10m platform, 3m
springboard synchronised and 10m platform synchronised.
"I'm happy to receive the award. I didn't expect it at all," said Qabil,
a business administration student in Brussels, Beligum.
"This my semester break and I will return to start training for the
Pusan Games. In the Bangkok Games I won a silver but I want to improve on
that. My next assignment will be the World Cup final in Germany in May."
Mun Yee, who is sitting for her SPM examination, also hopes to do well
in the Asian Games.
"I'm very excited about the award and the money. I will be using it to
further my studies," she said.
Olympic Council of Malaysia secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi said this is
the first time that equestrian and diving received the awards since its
inception in 1993.
Sieh was also rewarded yesterday with the 2001 IOC Trophy, Sports And
Volunteers, in recognition of over 30 years of volunteer service he has
contributed to sports in Malaysia in various capacities and levels.
The trophy was presented by Sports Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein
"The annual Olympian of the Year awards are presented to the most
outstanding male and female athlete of the multi-sports games of that
year. For odd years, the Olympians of the Year are selected from the
athletes who participated in the Sea Games of the year.
"While for even years, the winners are selected from either the
Olympics, Asian or the Commonwealth Games," said Sieh.
The IOC Diplomas for Sports Volunteerism went to: Malaysian Red Crecent,
St John's Ambulance, Paralimpic Council of Malaysia and Dean of Diplomatic
Corp and Ambassador of Poland Marek Paszucha who has served as volunteer
sports official in basketball at various positions and levels for more
than 35 years.

Nur Suryani shoots down junior record


NUR SURYANI Taibi of Perak, 19, was in smashing form at the Subang
Shooting Range yesterday when she cracked the national juniors record
enroute to a three gold and a silver medal haul.
On Thursday, she equalled the national juniors air rifle record with 391
Yesterday she rewrote the smallbore rife three position record with 566
points in the SportExcel-NSC-NSAM Junior Champion-ships. The old mark of
565 was done by Lim I Vern of Selangor in April this year.
She then won gold in the Tun Tan Siew Sin Trophy small bore rifle three
position by firing 660.7 points. She upstaged her more illustrious team-
mate Nurul Hudda Baharin, who finished seventh with 558 points, and later
withdrew from the final round because her arm started giving her problems.
Nurul fractured her arm just before the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth
Games and the old injury forced her to withdraw yesterday.
Felix Ho, former national coach and now coaching the Perak squad, said
Nur Suryani has started making progress and her future looks bright.
"She helped the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games team win a silver and a gold, and
today (yesterday) she consolidated her position for the 2002 Commonwealth
Games with a steady hand. If she continues her form in the other
qualifiers, she will make the Games squad," said Ho.
Nur Suryani's other gold was from the Small Bore Rifle Three Position
team event in the junior category and her silver was from Small Bore Rifle
Three Position team event in the senior category.
RESULTS - Tun Tan Siew Sin Trophy: Men's Air Rifle Individual: 1 Mohamed
Zainul Akmal (Kel) 687.2, 2 Mohamed Emran Zakaria (Police) 683.4, 3 Azhari
Abdullah (Police) 677.7.
Standard Pistol Individual: 1 Leong Jia Chyuan (Sel) 550, 2 Baharuddin
Hashim (Kel) 548, 3 Marzuki Man (Police) 541.
Standard Pistol Team: 1 Police - Marzuki Man (541), Abdul Rahim Rajuli
(538), Darham Ali (531); 2 Kelantan - Baharuddin Hashim (548), Zakaria
Ishal (538), Mohamed Saipuddin Yusoff (482); 3 Armed Forces - Zulkifli
Ismail (531), Nazaruddin Galok (521), Mohamed Sany Ghazali (514).
Double Trap Individual: 1 Edward Khor Seng Chye (JCT) 154, 2 Ong Chee
Kheng (Sel) 146, 3 Raymond Yap (JCT) 141.
Women's small bore rifle three position: 1 Nur Suryani Taibi (Perak)
660.7 points, 2 Nordalilah Abu Bakar (Police) 658.8, 3 Sarihati Awang
Akhbar (Police) 6550.0.
Small Bore Rifle Three Position Team: 1 Police - Ann Chew (543), Nurul
Hudda Baharin 558, Nordalilah Abu Bakar (569); 2 Perak - Nur Suryani Taibi
(566), Nur Husna Sharuddin (530), Rohayu Nayan (524); 3 Sarawak -
Veronica Eileen (513), Betty Tapeh (544), Imabel Yvonne Tiong (545).
SportExcel-NSC-MILO-NSAM Championships: Men's air rifle team: 1 Mohamed
Zainul Akmal (Kel) 587, 2 Ivan Jayavenkatesh (Sel) 572, 3 Wang Wen Chuen
(Sel) 571.
Air Rifle Team: 1 Selangor - Ivan Jayavenkatesh (572), Wang Wen Chuen
(571), Ong Poh Teck (570); 2 Kelantan - Mohamed Zainul Akmal (587),
Khairul Nizam Sidek (566), Asri Mohamed (553); 3 Armed Forces - Mohamed
Emran Zakaria (581), Ahmad Yaacob (561), Ismail Diran (557).
Standard Pistol Individual: 1 Leong Jia Chyuan (Sel) 550, 2 Nicholas Aw
Kai Foong (sel) 506, 3 Hafiza Adzha (Perak) 505.
Standard Pistol Team: 1 Selangor - Leong Jia Chyuan (550), Nicholas Aw
Kai Foong (506), Omar Sheriff (489); 2 Johor - Zulhakim Aman (505),
Mohamed Radi Wahad (456), Mohamed Syawal Othman (432).
Women's Small Bore Rifle Three Position Team: 1 Perak - Nur Suryani
Taibi (566, national juniors record), Nur Husna Sharuddin (530), Rohayu
Nayan (524); 2 Pahang - Nasrena Nazaruddin (535), Siti Nurazreen Eliana
(533), Norain Ibrahim (528); 3 Sarawak - Imabel Yvonne Tiong (545), Sorea
Tiror (522), Veronica Eileen (513).
Small Bore Rifle Three Position Individual: 1 Nur Suryani Taibi (Perak)
566, 2 Imabel Yvonne Tiong (Sarawak) 545, 3 Mariani Rafali (kel) 541.

Nurul back in the Games saddle


KUALA LUMPUR Commonwealth Games gold medallist Nurul Hudda Baharin
equalled her air rifle national record at the Tun Tan Siew Sin trophy
yesterday to signal her intention of making the 2002 Manchester
Commonwealth Games squad.
Shooting at the the National Shooting Range in Subang, Nurul fired 394
points in the classification rounds and in the Grand Final, she fired
another 99.1 points for a total of 493.1 for the gold.
Her previous record of 394 was done at the '98 Commonwealth Games at the
Langkawi Shooting Range.
In the SportExcel-NSC-NSAM tournament, Nur Suryani Mohamed Talib of
Penang equalled the National Juniors air rifle record when she shot 391
points. The previous mark of 391 points was shot by Nina Ismawati of
Selangor in 1999.
Her effort, combined with the scores of Rohayu Nayan (386) and Nur Husna
Sharuddin (384) cracked the national juniors air rifle team record with a
total of 1,161 points. The previous 1998 mark of 1,159 belonged to
Selangor shooters Noormimi Jailani, Lim Mi Mi and Mashita Ramli.
"After the Sea Games, where she also won a gold medal in the event,
Nurul continued training and today (yesterday) she fired her best round
since the '98 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games," said National Shooting
Association of Malaysia executive secretary Mej Jasni Shaari yesterday.
The Tun Tan Siew Sin Trophy is part of the selection process for the
2002 Commonwealth Games and also the Asian Games in Pusan.
"We have started preparing the shooters for the Commonwealth and the
Asian Games because Malaysia want to make an impact at the international
"Their next tournament will be the Tun Haniff Trophy on Dec 27-30 and
next year we have another three local tournaments which will be part of
the selection process," said Jasni.
A total of RM500,000 will be needed to prepare the shooters for the
Asian and Commonwelath Games.
TUN TAN SIEW SIN TROPHY RESULTS: Men's rapid fire pistol - 1 Mohamed
Firdaus Rahim (Pahang) 656.3 points, 2 Hasli Izwan Amin (Penang) 650.1, 3
Nicholas Aw Kai Fong (Selangor) 646.0.
Rapid Fire Pistol Team: 1 Kelantan - Ong Ho Sheng (548), Ahmad Faiz Azmi
(537), Mohamed Saipuddin (529); 2 Penang - Hasli Izwan Amin (560), Hafiz
Adzha (512), A. Rajini Kumar (483); 3 Pahang - Mohamed Firdaus (562),
Mohamed Khalis (484), Syamsudin Sukemi (476).
Small Bore Free Rifle Prone: 1 Mohamed Sabiki (Armed Forces) 688.0, 2
Mohamed Emran Zakaria (Armed Forces) 683.9, 3 Khairulnizam Sidek
(Kelantan) 683.6.
Small Bore Free Rifle Prone Team: 1 Armed Forces - Mohamed Sabiki (586),
Mohamed Emran Zakaria (583), Ismail Diran (580); 2 Kelantan - Khairulnizam
Sidek (587), 2 Mohamed Zainul Akmal (579), Asri Mohamed (572), 3 Selangor
- Wang Weng Chuen (582), Ivan Jayavenkatesh Rao (580), Ong Poh Teck (562).
Free Pistol Individual: 1 Mohamed Hashim Desa (Police) 619.8, 2
Baharuddin Hashim (Kelantan) 602.0, 3 Mohamed Syahrul (KMPP) 600.2.
Free Pistol Team: Police - Mohamed Hashim Desa (527), Marzuki Man (512),
Darham Azli (485); 2 Kelantan - Baharuddin Hashim (517), Zakaria Ishak
(487), Wan Abdul Rahman (484); 3 Selangor - Leong Jia Chyuan (511), Mark
Seng (497), Nazri Sulaiman (469).
Women's Individual Air Rifle - 1 Nurul Hudda Baharin (police) 493.1 pts,
2 Ann Chiew (Police) 490.7, 3 Noriha Abdul Rani (Armed Forces) 490.7.
Team Air Rifle: 1 Police - Nurul Hudda Baharin (394 points), Ann Chiew
(390), Asmayuzy Mat Amin (381); 2 Penang - Nur Suryani Taibi (391), Rohayu
Nayan (386), Nur Husna Sharuddin (384); 2 Armed Forces - Noriha Abdul Rani
(389), Norzalini Shafie (384), Masniza Maizan (365).
SPORTEXCEL-NSC-NSAM RESULTS: Men's Rapid Fire Pistol - 1 Mohamed Firdaus
Rahim (Pahang) 562, 2 Nicholas Aw Kai Fong (Selangor) 558, 3 Ong Ho Sheng
(Kelantan) 548.
Small Bore Free Rifle Prone Individual: 1 Khairulnizam Sidek (Kelantan)
587, 2 Wang Wen Chuen (Selangor) 582, 3 Ivan Jayavenkatesh (Selangor) 580.
Small Bore Free Rifle Prone Team: 1 Kelantan - Khairulnizam Sidek,
Mohamed Zainul, Asri Mohamed; 2 Selangor - Wang Wen Chuen, Ivan
Jayavenkatesh, Ong Poh Teck; 3 Pahang - Mohamed Suhaimi, Mohamed
Badlishah, Mohamed Azani.
Free Pistol: 1 Mohamed Syahrul (KMPP) 515, 2 Leong Jia Chyuan (Selangor)
511, 3 Syamsudin Sukemi (Pahang) 500.
Free Pistol Team: 1 Pahang - Syamsudin Sukemi, Mohamed Firdaus, Ahmad
Azahid; 2 Sarawak - Bibit Nyoged, Joshua Kai, Mushaldi Saruji; 3 Selangor
- Leong Jia Chyuan, Nicholas Aw Kai Foong, Noor Harizan Khuri.
Women's Air Rifle Individual - 1 Nur Suryani Taibi (Penang) 391, 2 Goh
Lyk Chwuen (KMPP) 386, 3 Mashita Ramli (Selangor) 386.
Air Rifle Team: 1 Penang - Nur Suryani Taibi, Rohayu Nayan, Nur Husna
Sharuddin, 2 Pahang - Norlita Omar, Siti Nurazreen Eliana, Norain Ibrahim,
3 KMPP - Goh Lyk Chwuen, Muslifah Zulkifli, Sharifah Shahida.

Malaysia to face Japan in Challenge opener


MALAYSIA will open their Champions Challenge campaign against Japan on Dec
7 at the National Hockey Stadium.
The inaugural Champions Challenge men's hockey tournament, moved from
India because of security reasons, will see Argentina, Belgium, India,
Japan, Malaysia and South Africa battle it out on Dec 7-15 in Kuala
Yesterday, the match schedule was approved by the International Hockey
Federation (FIH).
"We have received approval from the FIH to hold the tournament from Dec
7-15 at the National Hockey Stadium. Our request for Malaysia to play at
8pm, because of the Fasting Month, was also approved," said MHF secretary
S. Satgunam yesterday.
The winner of the new tournament will earn a place in the next Champions
Trophy tournament to be played in the German city of Cologne in August.
The Champions Challenge was originally scheduled to be held in New
Delhi, but the FIH was forced to change the venue after some of the teams
declined to travel to India due to the US-led strikes on nearby
FIH secretary-general Peter Cohen said, on their official website, that
Kuala Lumpur would get a chance to test their organisational capabilities
ahead of the World Cup on February 24 to March 9.
The FIH are still looking for an alternative venue for the women's
Champions Challenge event, which was also scheduled to be held in New
Delhi on the same dates.
Teams: Malaysia, Argentina, Belgium, India, Japan, South Africa.

Juniors looking for that right lift


THE mood at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil was in two shades
as the national seniors and juniors trained for the 2002 Kuala Lumpur
World Cup on Feb 24-March 9.
The seniors, who have been training since the Azlan Shah Cup in August,
looked a bit tired but were in high spirits as opposed to the 15 juniors
who were still trying to get over their disastrous outing on the Junior
World Cup in Hobart last month.
"The juniors are still feling a litle down after the World Cup in Hobart
but they have been atending training regularly and that is a good sign. It
means that they are still fighting for a place in the 2002 squad," said
national coach Stephen van Huizen yesterday.
They are a little behind as far as physical training is concerned but
van Huizen is not worried because they have just returned from a hectic
tournament in Hobart and should be match fit.
"All we need to do is push them in the right direction and they will
come out of the shell that they went in after Hobart. It is not a big
problem," said van Huizen.
S. Kuhan, a prolific defender and on whose shoulders rest our penalty
corner hopes, feels that `all training and no play' has started to get
into their nerves but the situation is under control.
"After the Azlan Shah Cup in August all we have been doing is training,
and there has not been any matches to see how far we have improved. But
now that Malaysia have secured the Champions Challenge in December, we
have someting to look forward to.
"The Challenge will do us all good because it will break the monotony of
training all the time. Overall, I get a feeling that the team has improved
much since the Azlan Shah Cup," said Kuhan.
Van Huizen said Kuhan is among the top penalty corner specialists in the
world and he has been scooping about 100 balls a day and is geting
stronger and more confident by the day.
"The team is slowly shaping up and by the Champions Challenge on Dec 8,
they should be ready to put up a good display," said van Huizen.
The teams for the Champions Challenge, especially Argentina, Japan and
India will give Malaysia the much needed practice before the World Cup.
There are plans to hold a series of matches with Argentina beore the
"MHF are trying to secure a few matches with Argentina before the
Challenge so that the team can have more practice matches to prepare for
the World Cup. I hope everything is in place because we do need the extra
matches," said van Huizen.
Meanwhile, national skipper Mirnawan Nawawi was the notable absentee at
the National Hockey Stadium yesterday.
No, he has not been skipping training, but went home to welcome a new
family member. Mirnawan became a father to a baby girl yesterday.
2002 World Cup training squad: Mohamed Nasihin Nubli, Roslan Jamaludin,
S. Kumar, Maninderjit Singh, S. Kuhan, Nor Azalan Bakar,K. Gobinathan,
Jiwa Mohan, S. Shanker, K. Keevan Raj, Chua Boon Huat, Mohamed Mazli
Ikmar, K. Logan Raj, Shaiful Azli, Mohamed Rodhanizam, Mirnawan Nawawi,
Abdul RAzak Saidin, Chairil Anwar, Mohamed Firdaus Razali, Redzuan
Ponirin, Mohamed Amin Rahim, Jivan Mohan, V. Vinodhan, Nor Azlan Rahim,
Azlan Misron, Tajol Rosli, Zaharin Zakaria, Mohamed Fairuz Ramli, Mohamed
Riduan Nasir.