Monday, April 28, 2008

Aussies in top form


AUSTRALIA'S men's hockey team have continued their fine-tuning before defending the Olympic title in Beijing by defeating Korea 4-3 in the final of the four-nations tournament in Perth.
The Kookaburras opened their account in the 21st minute, Jamie Dwyer setting up an easy goal for Eli Matheson with a clever fake shot.Luke Doerner converted from a penalty corner five minutes later before the visiting side pulled a goal back in the 28th minute.But Doerner handed the Athens Olympic champions some breathing space with his second goal just before the break, finding the back of the net from another penalty corner.Korea tested Australia's defence after the break before being rewarded in the 51st minute with their second goal.Dwyer knocked in Australia's fourth goal and the kookaburras closed out the game even though Korea reduced the gap again in the 62nd minute.The Kookaburras continue their Olympic preparation when they take on China, Korea and India again at the Darwin four-nations tournament.
Fox Sports

Tamin Nadu still loves Jothi


MADURAI: The Tamil Nadu Hockey Association on Sunday dismissed as 'false' the TV sting operation involving former IHF Secretary K JothiKumaran and resolved to stand by him.
A unanimous resolution adopted at an emergency executive committee meeting here chaired by TNHA Vice-President V Bhaskharan reposed full confidence in Jothikumaran."It was unanimously resolved that the Association reposes full confidence in Jothikumaran and the members vehemently deprecated the false story presented by the TV channel in their media. The members deplored the fabricated entrapping operation," TNHA Vice-President S Venkatachalam said in a release here.The Association will not hesitate to take legal action, if necessary, against the television channel, the release said.
New Indian Express

KPS Gill hangs on by beard...


New Delhi: IHF chief K.P.S. Gill tonight reacted angrily to FIH president Els van Breda Vriesman's criticism of the state of Indian hockey.
Gill took exception to Vriesman's comments about the sting operation in which IHF secretary K. Jothikumaran was caught allegedly accepting bribe for selection of players to represent India.Gill said that throughout his career, he had stood by his juniors but he had nothing to do with Jothikumaran's alleged action as shown in the sting operation.The IHF president accused a section of the media of running a campaign against him and of being unprofessional.
The Tribune

FIH warns India


KAZAN, April 27: The embattled Indian Hockey Federation came in for some fresh salvos from the FIH with the world body on Sunday threatening to scrap the Promoting Indian Hockey Project and the 2010 World Cup if the IOA fails to clean up the mess in IHF.
Expressing dismay at the state of Indian hockey just a day before an IOA meeting to discuss the bribe scandal involving suspended IHF secretary K Jothikumaran, FIH chief Els van Breda Vriesman said the world body can't work with a federation whose top official was under investigation following a TV sting operation."It (the sting operation) is never heard of in the world of field hockey. I wish the Indian hockey gets positive publicity and not this kind. We are in touch with both International Olympic committee and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) how to proceed in such situation," she said."Now the IOA has to manage Indian Hockey Confederation because I don't think we can work with a half-suspended Secretary General (K Jothikumaran) and a president probably linked because he protects his secretary in this case," she added.Vriesman said she was not asking anybody to step down but the IOA or the Sports Ministry will have to intervene now if the future of Promoting Indian Hockey Project and 2010 World Cup is to be protected."The agenda before the Indian table is clear. But who is going to take the decisions. It is upto the Indian Olympic Association and the Sports ministry to handle the situation, it is not up to us," she added."We have already given a deadline to the Indian Hockey Confederation. That has passed. We said ok we will give more time. Now it (IHF) has two weeks to take vital decisions and the future of Promoting Indian Hockey Project and 2010 World Cup are decided," Vriesman asserted.The FIH chief said that she has spoken to IOA president Suresh Kalmadi who has told her that all the concerns and the issues she raised will be discussed and major decisions would be taken in the meeting tomorrow."I have made it clear (to Kalmadi), it is upto them (IOA and Sports Ministry) to take decisions. They have to ensure the hosting of World Cup in India, operationalise the Promoting Indian Hockey Project, for which we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding."She said as per the MOU, the FIH reserves the right to move the 2010 World Cup to another place if the Promoting Indian Hockey Project is not implemented in letter and spirit."When we offered to help Indian hockey come up and regain its past glory, the Indian side said yes, that's why went ahead. Having agreed to this project, we have set targets which are not met. It is almost two years over and how long can we wait?" she asked furiously."Had they said no we could have gone to Pakistan, China or Bangladesh. They agreed to it and then doing everything against it except saying no. The situation right now is worse than saying no," she said.On asked whether the World Cup could be shifted for want of sponsorship, she retorted, "No, not at all. We have lined up sponsors, they are ready to jump in.""But, companies in India want to help hockey as a social cause and they are more interested in Promoting Indian Hockey Project than in the World Cup."
The Times of India

5-0 trashing by Korea


Three teams have emerged with two wins after the second day of competition in Victoria, with Korea dispatching Malaysia (5-0), Ireland winning a hard fought game against host Canada (2-0), while Italy struggled to beat Uruguay (4-0).

Game 4 – Uruguay v. Italy: 0-4 (half-time: 0:0)The first game of the day was played under steady rain, slowing down the ball and affecting the pace of play. Italy had a few early chances but Uruguay seemed to have well rebounded from their heavy loss against Korea and the game became more balanced. Uruguay even had a good chance on penalty-corner, but it was well saved by Paula CALVO in the Italian goal. Italy missed a golden opportunity to open the score when a ball rolled in front of the empty net after superb work by Maria Victoria CORSO on the right of the circle.Italy appeared less composed than in their critical encounter against Canada the day before, obviously too anxious to score and wasting a number of opportunities, including two shots from close range that were well saved by Noel DE LOS SANTOS in the Uruguayan net. Uruguay forced a last second penalty-corner, but the game went into halftime scoreless.Italy did not waste any time in second half, scoring on penalty-corner in the second minute of play with a quick sweep shot from Maria Victoria CORSO. The play became confined to one half of the field, but the Uruguayan defense was well regrouped and the Italians missed a few more clear chances. It took another penalty-corner by Maria Victoria CORSO to establish a more comfortable cushion. With the results not in doubt any more, Italy added 2 more goals to earn their second win of the competition, but they won’t be happy with their overall performance and their chances conversion rate, while Uruguay can be satisfied with their performance today, only allowing goals on set pieces.Game 5 – Ireland v. Canada: 2-0 (half-time: 2-0)With the sunshine suddenly back, a large crowd was on hand to cheer the home team and Canada did not waste any time, earning a penalty-corner in the first minute of play when Tiffany MICHALUK was fouled at the top of the circle after a decisive run. Ireland calmly absorbed the initial pressure and did not miss their chance to take the lead on their first penalty-corner, when Cathy McKEAN celebrated in style her 100th International Cap by deflecting from close range the initial shot by Nikki SYMMONS.The play was going back and forth, keeping the crowd well entertained, but neither team could take control of the play. Canada was mostly dangerous with deep runs, but their attackers were too isolated to threaten a well regrouped Irish defense, with an inspired Mary GOODE in goal to save two dangerous situations one-on-one against Katie BAKER then Tiffany MICHALUK. Ireland on the other hand took full advantage of their rare chances, scoring again on penalty-corner by Clare PARKHILL to establish a comfortable cushion before half-time.Canada attacked with more purpose in second half, desperately trying to come back quickly in the game. They besieged the Irish circle and created some good scoring chances but consistently missed the last touch to open their tally, including on a number of penalty-corners. With the rain starting again, the tempo of play slowed down, easing the pressure on the Irish defense.With time ticking down, Ireland could afford to calmly maintain their defensive structure, earning their second win of the competition to stay on course for a spot in the Final next Sunday. Canada on the other hand will regret missing so many chances in second half and letting slip away a game that was well within their reach.Game 6 – Malaysia v. Korea: 0-5 (half-time: 0-3)Korea did not waste any time to take the lead in the last game of the day, scoring within 5 minutes of play by Mi Young EOM, picking the rebound of her initial shot to slot the ball out of reach of the keeper. They dominated the proceedings without forcing their talent, providing an entertaining show of speed, skills and team play and scoring regularly, including two goals in so many minutes by Jong Eun KIM, much to the delight of the very vocal Korean fans.Despite the forgone conclusion, Malaysia never let down their guard and consistently maintained their defensive structure, limiting the score at 0-3 going into the halftime break. They started the second half aggressively, effectively cutting the Korean options in midfield and even creating two good chances in front of the Korean goal. The Koreans weathered the storm quietly, before increasing their tally by Mi Hyun PARK on their first penalty-corner of the period.Korea comforted their status of favorites, but Malaysia played a strong game to limit the score line at 5-0 and could even have scored their first goal of the competition.The WorldHockey Olympic Qualifier continues on Tuesday in Victoria when Ireland meet Uruguay, Korea take on Italy, and host Canada conclude the day against Malaysia.WorldHockey Olympic Qualifier, Women – Victoria, CanadaResults day 2: Sunday 27 April 2008Uruguay - Italy 0:4 (0:0)37mn Maria Victoria CORSO (PC) 0:148mn Maria Victoria CORSO (PC) 0:253mn Francesca FAUSTINI (PS) 0:368mn Maria Victoria CORSO (PC) 0 :4Ireland - Canada 2:0 (2:0)10mn Cathy McKEAN (PC) 1:020mn Clare PARKHILL (PC) 2:0Malaysia - Korea 0:5 (0:3) 5mn Mi Young EOM (PC) 0:120mn Jong Eun KIM (PC) 0:222mn Jong Eun KIM (FG) 0:348mn Mi Hyun PARK (PC) 0:456mn Jin Kyoung KIM (FG) 0:5Standings: 1) Korea 6pts 2) Italy 6pts 3) Ireland 6pts 4) Canada 0pt 5) Malaysia 0pts 6) Uruguay 0pts

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Women lose 3-0 in opener


The WorldHockey Olympic Qualifier in Victoria started smoothly for Korea with a clean win over Uruguay (10-0), while Ireland fought hard before taking the better over Malaysia (3-0) and Italy wrestled the victory from Canada (1-2).
The competition is played at the University of Victoria, in an excellent facility diligently prepared for the event. Day 1 was played in fine conditions that were a welcome change from the cold weather earlier in the week.
Game 1 – Korea v. Uruguay: 10-0 (half-time: 5-0)
The first game of the day pitted top ranked Korea against Uruguay, who arrived late in Canada after an eventful and delayed trip. The South Americans absorbed well the initial pressure from the Koreans, even mounting some good attacks of their own, but Korea took the lead after ten minutes of play with two goals in two minutes, first by Seon Ok LEE with a high flick left of the keeper on the second Korean penalty-corner, then by Mi Hyun PARK with a powerful hit from the top of the circle.
The game settled in the Uruguayan half, with Korea displaying their superior speed and individual skills, but they were untidy in their passing and finish, and wasted a number of chances before adding three goals to reach half-time with a comfortable lead (5-0).
Korea kept besieging the Uruguayan circle in the second half, creating multiple opportunities but a few shots were off target before Seul Ki CHEON opened the floodgate with a superb penalty-corner in the top right corner, immediately followed by a field goal by Jin Kyoung KIM and an opportunistic goal by Mi Hyun PARK to complete her hat-trick.
Korea were never in danger in this game and finished with a tally of 10 goals, but they might be unhappy with some of their untidy plays in the first half, and with some on their wasted opportunities. Uruguay played with a lot of determination but were no match for the experienced Koreans.
Game 2 – Italy v. Canada: 2-1 (half-time: 0:0)
The next game was more balanced with two teams very close in the world rankings, 19th for Italy and 23rd for Canada. The Canadian women were eager to play in front of their home crowd, a rare opportunity for them, and immediately grasped control of the proceedings. They created some dangerous situations in front of the Italian goal after dynamic runs from Tiffany MICHAKUK, but could not capitalize on their chances, including on a couple of penalty-corners. The play progressively became more balanced and Sarah FORBES in the Canadian goal was called twice into action on dangerous shots from the top of the circle.
The game was flowing back and forth, entertaining the large crowd, but settled in the midfield. Italy had a late push in the period, earning a penalty-corner, but half-time was reached without goal.
Canada started the second half with a bang, scoring on a penalty-corner in the second minute of play when Christine DePAPE deflected in goal the initial shot by Andrea RUSHTON. Italy immediately reacted and tied the score, despite been reduced to ten players, when Jasbeer SINGH pounced on a loose ball in the circle and push it in goal. With neither team satisfied with a tie, the game opened up and Italy forced a penalty-corner to take the lead with a direct shot by Chiara TIDDI.
Canada pushed desperately in the final minutes to score an equalizer, but Italy sustained the pressure and earned the gain of a game that could have gone either way.
Game 3 – Malaysia v. Ireland: 0-3 (half-time: 0-2)
Ireland set the initial pace of the game and earned an early penalty-corner, saved by Malaysian keeper Ernawati MAHMUD with a stunning stick save. They could have again opened the scoring a few minutes later, but Lisa JACOB’s shot from close range hit the crossbar. Ireland were finally rewarded on their forth penalty-corner when Clare PARKHILL’s direct hit was deflected in goal off the keeper’s pad.
Despite having most of the ball possession, Ireland were prevented from developing their game by a well organized Malaysian team occupying efficiently the midfield. It took another penalty-corner for Ireland to make a break, Eimear CREGAN pushing over the line a ball originally stopped by Ernawati MAHMUD.
Ireland kept dominating the proceedings in the second half, and immediately increased the gap with a superb deflection by Cathy McKEAN over the diving keeper. They created many more opportunities in the half, but somehow the score stayed at 3-0.
The result of this game was never in doubt, with Malaysia only having one scoring opportunity late in the match, but Ireland had to fight hard for their win and won’t be happy with their numerous missed chances.
The WorldHockey Olympic Qualifier continues tomorrow in Victoria when Uruguay meet Italy, Ireland take on host Canada, and Malaysia conclude the day against Korea.
WorldHockey Olympic Qualifier, Women – Victoria, CanadaResults day 1: Saturday 26 April 2008
Korea - Uruguay 10:0 (5:0) 9mn Seon Ok LEE (PC) 1:011mn Mi Hyun PARK (FG) 2:021mn Sung Hee GIM (FG) 3:029mn Jong Eun KIM (PC) 4:033mn Mi Hyun PARK (FG) 5:041mn Seul Ki CHEON (PC) 6:042mn Jin Kyoung KIM (FG) 7:0 48mn Mi Hyun PARK (FG) 8:057mn Mi Young EOM (FG) 9:063mn Seul Ki CHEON (PC) 10:0
Italy - Canada 2-1 (0:0)37mn Christine DePAPE (PC) 0:150mn Jasbeer SINGH (FG) 1:163mn Chiara TIDDI (PC) 2:1
Malaysia - Ireland 0:3 (0:2)21mn Clare PARKHILL (PC) 0:130mn Eimear CREGAN (PC) 0:240mn Cathy McKEAN (FG) 0:3

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Kuala Lumpur Boys MSSM champs


KUALA Lumpur snatched the Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) Boys’ Under-18 hockey title from the jaws of a fighting Selangor after a dramatic penalty conversion just as the final hooter blew.
KL and Selangor were tied 2-2, and there was just a few seconds remaining in the match when KL made a full press and were rewarded with a penalty stroke.
Substitute Yusof Mat Nor, who only played five minutes in the final, turned hero when he cooly converted the penalty stroke to hand hosts KL the title.
Selangor were the better team in the first half, and took the lead off Syamil Zulkifli in a ninth minute penalty corner, but KL found the equaliser in the 22nd minute off a Saiful Nizam penalty corner.
There were plenty of excitement in the match, and Se langor again took the lead when Shaharul Dennis scored a field goal.
But the goal failed to crack KL, who came back for the second time to draw level at 2-2 in the 54th minute. This time, it was a field attempt from Syamim Yusof which sailed over the goalkeeper and dipped into the goal-mouth.
With seconds remaining in the match, the hosts took the lead for the first time in the match, and it was good enough to hand them the title.
In the Girls’ Under-18 final, Penang beat Perak 2-1 for the crown. The Penang scorers were Irnie Yanty (21st) and Zuraidah Yahya (31st). Juita Abdul Razak scored for Perak in the 55th minute.
"It was a superb comeback from my boys, and I never doubted their ability to upset Selangor as they played as a team, and never gave up.
"As the hosts, we had a point to prove, and the boys delivered by coming back after trailing in both the semi-finals and finals," said KL coach Lokman Yahaya.
RESULTS -- Boys’ Under-18 Final: Kuala Lumpur 3 Selangor 2; Third-Fourth: Penang 6 Pahang 0.
Girls’ Under-18 Final: Penang 2 Perak 1; Third-Fourth: Kedah 1 Terengganu 6.