Monday, June 30, 2008

A record nine for Australia

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AFP) - Australia defeated Spain 4-1 to win a record-equalling ninth men’s field hockey Champions Trophy title here on Sunday.
Australia assistant coach Colin Batch hailed the win which matched Germany’s titles in the tournament as useful preparation for the Beijing Olympic.
"It was an excellent tournament for us and great preparation for the Olympics and to find our Olympic squad," Batch said.
Australia will announce their Olympic squad on July 10.
But coach Barry Dancer admitted he now faces a selection headache.
"Selection was always going to be very, very difficult and this tournament has not made it any easier," he said. "I always anticipated that next week would be a difficult time for the players." Australia started with customary speed on the ball and long passes into space, creating early pressure on Spain’s defence.
Desmond Abbott came back from his one-match suspension and made amends by scoring. Eli Matheson hit the crossbar with the ball falling to Abbott’s backstick to tap into goal.
Xavier Ribas scored Spain’s only goal, throwing a penalty corner flick high to the left of Stephen Lambert in the Australian goal.
Spain pressured Australia until the break, however, Australia’s deep defenders Matthew Wells, Bevan George and Mark Knowles repelled every attack.
The match drifted away from Spain in the second half as Jamie Dwyer flicked high to the left of goalkeeper Francisco Cortes for Australia’s go ahead goal.
In the last 10 minutes Spain pressed in Australia’s defensive quarter which Australia broke twice to score.
Eddie Ockenden beat two defenders and Eli Matheson went one on one with Cortes and beat him with a backstick drive into the middle of the open goal for Australia to take the 4-2 win.
"There is a growing maturity in the group which was showing throughout the tournament and the last five minutes of the match was another indication of that maturity," Dancer said.
Spain coach Maurits Hendriks was critical of his side’s finishing.
"We started well and took the game to Australia in certain moments and created chances in front of goal but we did not capitalise on those chances," Hendriks said.
Hendriks however remains positive for the Olympics.
"Spain took important steps forward in this tournament. There is nothing better than playing against the other top teams in the world to prepare for the Olympic Games," Hendriks said.
Earlier Argentina drew 2-2 with the Netherlands in regular time, and won a penalty shoot-out 5-3, to take bronze for their best finish in the tournament.
Argentina’s three Vila brothers - Lucas, Rodrigo and Matias - Juan Gilardi and Lucas Cammareri all netted their penalty strokes for a perfect conversion rate after five attempts.
Ronald Brouwer, Rob Reckers and Roderick Weusthof successfully scored for the Netherlands but Robert van der Horst had his low flick to the left post blocked by Argentina goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi.
Argentina started without midfielder Juan Eduado Garreta who returned on the first flight home after his mother died overnight.
Team members wore black arm bands and held a banner during the playing of Argentina’s national anthem urging the Garreta family to be strong.
The Netherlands put their poor pool performance behind them, attacking from the start with Teun de Nooijer getting the opener before Mario Almada equalised in the middle of the first half.
Argentine defender Lucas Rey was suspended for tripping de Nooijer seven minutes before the break and the Netherlands’ Ronald Brouwer punished the transgression by scoring with a deflection into goal late in the first half.
After the break Argentina employed their counter-attack through Juan Lopez to surprise the Netherlands with a goal by Matias Paredes to equalise at 2-2.
Argentina had one last shot on goal as the hooter sounded and the match went into a scoreless Golden Goal extra time for 15 minutes after which the result was determined by a penalty stroke contest with five strokes for each team.
Earlier Germany scored twice in the last ten minutes to beat South Korea 3-1 and take fifth place. -- AFP

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Homework, before Schools takeover

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) will ensure the quality of age-group tournaments are not compromised before handing over the baton to the Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) next year.
A working paper was presented to the MSSM recently where the MHF requested the MSSM to organise all age-group tournaments from under-12 to under-18.
“We have met with MSSM officials in the presence of National Sports Council (NSC) representatives to discuss a working paper which will eventually see age-group tournaments be organised by MSSM from next year,” said MHF coaching committee chairman C. Paramalingam.
“The MSSM and NSC officials will now brief their bosses before we venture further into this plan.”
Many quarters are skeptical of the proposed move because the MSSM ran their age-group tournaments on a carnival format this year which was a rush job with many glitches and did not benefit hockey at all.
“We proposed that an under-10 tournament be held by MSSM at districts and also said we are not in favour of a carnival format. This is to ensure that quality is maintained as schools provide future national players,” added Paramalingam.
“The MHF has also agreed to provide coaches for grassroots development where there are no teachers with qualifications, as in this way systematic development can start from next year in schools.”
National Juniors coach V. Muraleedharan had said that his present batch of players, who will represent the country in the Junior World Cup next year which will be co-hosted by Malaysia and Singapore, are still shaky with the basics because the schools system did not ingrain it in them.
“The coaching committee had a discussion about that and that is why we are keen to help the schools by providing technical officials and qualified development coaches so that we can arrest this problem as soon as possible,” said Paramalingam.
The MSSN, NSC and MHF will meet again to discuss how best this plan can be turned into a reality without compromising on quality.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Age-Group Back to School

AGE-GROUP hockey is heading back to schools, as the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) feel they have too much in their stable.
The Champions School, Under-14 and Under-16 will be organised by the Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) from next year.
"We had a re-look at all the tournaments that we host, and feel that age-group should be held by MSSM from next year. We will, however, still provide MSSM with the technical aspect of the game," said MHF president Tan Sri Admiral (rtd) Anwar Mohd Nor.
MHF will now concentrate on the Under-21, Junior Hockey League, Malaysia Hockey League and the Razak Cup.
The MHF had contemplated scrapping the Champions School tournament, because the MSSM wanted to re-in troduce the Premier Schools tournament.
"That would be doubling up, as Champions School and Premier School would have run in the same format, and serve little purpose in the end," said Anwar.
However, the plan might back-fire, as MSSM started a carnival format this year, which saw hockey being played over 10 days and the rush-job saw many glitches.
"It is their (MSS) players (schoolchildren), so we feel it is better they handle the age-group tournaments, while the MHF concentrates on elite tournaments from next year.
"This will make sure there is a balance in development, and elite tournaments," said Anwar.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Bunch Of Losers

The Malaysian Juniors team are far from ready for the Junior World Cup next year.

NATIONAL juniors’ coach V. Muraleedharan has aged 10 years in the last month, as the Poland Four-Nation and European friendlies revealed that our hockey players are a bunch of losers.
And if Malaysia were made to go though a qualifier for next year’s Junior World Cup, we will not make it.
The alarm-bells have started ringing, as Malaysia will co- host the 20-team 2009 Junior World Cup with Singapore, on June 7-21.
Muraleedharan’s boys only won two out of the nine matches they played in Europe recently, and both were 3-2 and 6-0 wins against France.
Their defeats were 4-3 against Austria, 2-1 against Poland, 4-0 against Germany, 5-2 against clubside Frankfurt, 5-2 against club-side Mannheim, 2-1 against Belgium, and 6-1 against Belgium.
"The problem with this team is that they lose possession within seconds, and it is not only when they are attacking, but in midfield and defense as well," said Muraleedharan.
The European Tour has been an eye opener: "This are the best players in the country today, but they do not measure up, because the schools system has failed to hammer the basics in them.
"I have my work cut out, as the (Junior) World Cup is just a year away, and the Asia Cup will indicate where we stand in this region, before I start planning for next year," said Muraleedharan.
Muraleedharan also conceded that, unlike the 2005 Junior World Cup team, none in this present batch are capable of breaking into the senior ranks.
"The 2005 junior team team had about nine players who were knocking on the seniors doors, and then made the cut, but this batch does not show promise."
Malaysia are in Group A of the Junior Asia Cup, in Hyderabad, India on July 11-18. The National Juniors will be up against India, Japan and Singapore. In Group B are Bangladesh, South Korea, Oman and Pakistan. Thailand has withdrawn.
It will be difficult for the team to reach the semi-finals, but losing to Singapore is not an option.
"We open accounts against Singapore on July 11, and I am confident this is one match we will win. And then, we will have to beat Japan to play in the semi-finals," said Muraleedharan.
It is easier said than done, as Malaysia will not field nine 21-year-olds, who are in the ‘senior ranks’ now, in the Junior Asia Cup, as they will not be eligible to play in the Junior World Cup.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sarjit Defends His Boys

Malaysian skipper Azlan Misron (yellow) attacking the India goalmouth during the Azlan Shah Cup in May in Ipoh. India won 2-1.

NATIONAL hockey coach Sarjit Singh believes his players are innocent, and not involved in any match-fixing or bribery scandals as alleged by some quarters.
That is why Sarjit has also lodged a police report on Tuesday, after the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) lodged theirs.
Allegations of match-fixing, bribery, betting in the English Premier League and money-lending activities have been thrown at his players via anonymous e-mails, and then picked up by a local English daily, prompting MHF and Sarjit Singh to lodge police reports.
"First of all, I believe in my players and I’m confident that they are not involved in illegal activities. That is why I have lodged a police report (on Tuesday) against the news paper, the reporter, and also for the police to find out who sent the damaging e-mails," said Sarjit yesterday.
And until yesterday, the police have yet to call Sarjit or any of his players to investigate the matter.
"I and my players are open to investigation, and we will co-operate with the police when they need our help. There is nothing to hide, and nothing to fear.
"My only concern is to clear MHF’s and my players’ name, and bring to book those who have thrown these wild allegations to tarnish the good name of the sport," said Sarjit.
It is believed that police have started their investigations, as match-fixing and bribery are criminal offences.
"Three-quarter of this team has been training with me since before the (2004 Rotterdam) Junior World Cup, which means they practically grew from boys to men under me.
"I know all of them like the back of my hand, and that is why it saddens me when some quarters have thrown bad light on them.
"They (Players) are family, and are equally disturbed with the allegations, and eagerly await for the police investigation to reveal names of those who are out to tarnish their reputation," said Sarjit.

India deny fixing match

Two Sardars chasing Malaysian skipper Azlan Misron in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh in May. Malaysia lost 2-1.

NEW DELHI (AFP): India’s field hockey coach Ajay Bansal yesterday played down reports that Malaysia deliberately lost a recent international, saying his team had won fair and square.
Malaysian police are investigating allegations that India’s 2-1 win during the Azlan Shah tournament in Ipoh in May was fixed following online betting by some members of the Malaysian team.
A newspaper said earlier this week that up to six Malaysian players wagered between 1,000 ringgit (313 dollars) and 10,000 ringgit on the outcome of match.
Bansal, whose young Indian team went on to play the final, said he was surprised at the allegations and refused to believe hockey matches could be fixed.
“When we played Malaysia, they had already lost three games and it was expected we would win the match,” Bansal told local media.
“It was a well-contested match and I never felt then that some of their players were under-performing. I don’t think anybody would play to lose a hockey match for the sake of money,” he added.
Indian field hockey official Aslam Sher Khan said he had not been contacted by either the International Hockey Federation (FIH) or the Malaysian authorities in regard to the allegations.
“We have got nothing to do with it,” said Khan. “It is quite clear that India or Indian players are (in) no way involved with whatever the allegations are.
“It is an internal matter of Malaysian hockey and I believe an inquiry has been ordered. I sincerely hope the truth comes out.”
The match, played on May 17, saw Malaysia miss several scoring chances after India led 2-0 by the 15th minute, the second goal coming through a penalty stroke.
The Malaysians scored their only goal in the final seconds of the match with a penalty corner.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation lodged a police complaint following a series of news reports which said some national hockey players were involved in match-fixing, gambling and money-lending activities.
This is not the first time an India-Malaysia hockey match has come under the scanner.
During the 1996 Olympic qualifiers in Barcelona, Canada cried foul after their hopes for a berth at the Atlanta Games were dashed when India and Malaysia split points in a key game.
The draw helped Malaysia edge out Canada, whose official complaint to the FIH was rejected.
India, eight-time Olympic champions, failed to qualify for this year’s Olympics for the first time. Malaysia also did not make the grade. -- AFP

E&Y A Defend Satgunam Cup

The late Satgunam’s wife Sarojini Devi presenting The Most Promising Player Award to Tenaga Nasional's S. Selvaraju.

ERNST & YOUNG ‘A’ (E&Y A) defended their title at the Second Satgunam Cup Six-A-Side Hockey Tournament at the Seremban Two Stadium on June 21-22.
The champions edged Tenaga Nasional 1-0 in a close fought final. E&Y A’s Chua Boon Huat scored the solitary field goal in the third minute to lift the cup.
In the semi-finals E&Y A beat E&Y B 3-2 while TNB edged Bandar Penawar Sports School 2-0. In the inaugural final last year E&Y A trounced TNB Thunderbolt A 4-0.
E&Y As coach, team manager and player Khairuddin Ghani said: “We have six players from the national team and we had targeted both our A and B teams to reach the final, but unfortunately met each other in the semis."
In the third placing play-off E&Y B defeated BPSS 4-1 for the bronze medal.
Negri Sembilan Hockey Association (NSHA) secretary Tamil Selvan Ponniah said, “This meet is held to remember the late S. Satgunam (former Malaysian Hockey Federation secretary) who passed away in 2004 at the age of 60.
“He was a teacher in SMK Seri Ampangan, SMK St Paul and SK Methodist ACS in Seremban.
“He was the former secretary of Negri Sembilan HA, MHF and Asian Hockey Federation who received the Federation of International Hockey (FIH) President’s Award in 2003.
“He mooted the national Junior Hockey League 14 years ago, which has produced countless internationals for Malaysia.
A total of 53 local as well as three teams from Indonesia’s West Papua competed in the Second Edition. The late Satgunam’s wife Sarojini Devi and daughters Malini and Dashini were the invited guests.

Monday, June 23, 2008

MHF Forms Probe Committee

Coach Sarjit Singh (right) waiting for his turn to be called by the committee.
Journalists waiting outside the MHF office in Bukit Jalil.Journalists waiting outside the MHF office in Bukit Jalil.
THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) will set up an independent three-man committee to probe the drastic performance slide in the national team.
“The management committee will not comment on allegations of bribery and match-fixing which were highlighted in the press recently. We will also not conduct an in-house investigation on the matter because we feel the police should be allowed to do their job first.
“However, the management committee decided to form an independent three-man committee to look into the slide of performance among players,” said MHF president Tan Sri Admiral (rtd) Anwar Mohd Nor yesterday.
MHF deputy president Tunku Majid Sultan Iskandar and vice-president Datuk Dr S.S. Cheema were among those who attended the management committee meeting yesterday.
The national team, after a silver in the Azlan Shah Cup and a bronze medal in the Asia Cup last year, failed perform at the Beijing Olympic Qualifier and then finished last in the Azlan Shah Cup this year.
“The committee will not be totally alien to hockey, but none will be from the present circle of administrators. This way, we can truly have people who know the game, but are currently independent of the administration to probe the slide in the sport,” said Dr Cheema.
National coach Sarjit Singh was called to the meeting and said: “I have presented a n in-depth report on the Azlan Shah Cup and also the Japan Qualifier as requested. And I have also been given the green-light by the management committee to lodge a police report tomorrow (today) so that those who have written ‘poison-pen e-mails’, and blogged about the coaching set-up will be investigated.
“We want to know who these people are, as they have tarnished the name of the MHF’s coaching set-up,” said Sarjit.
A series of e-mails, alleging that national players have been involved in bribery, match-fixing, betting in English Premier League matches and money-lending activities have been circulating after the Japan Qualifier.
“We did not act on the e-mails because they did not have the name of sender(s) so we took them as poison-pen letters. But after the e-mails were re-produced in print (newspaper) and it became ‘public domain’, we lodged a police report because there were allegations of criminal activities,” said Anwar.
The police, according to Anwar, have yet to call any official or player for questioning.
And when Anwar was asked if the three-man committee will question players and officials on the above allegations, he said: “That is up to them, but in the course of their investigation, if anything comes out, we will report it to the police as we want to get to the bottom of this matter, right or wrong.”

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Argentina 2 Australia 1!


Team-mates congratulate Matias Paredes (middle) upon scoring the equaliser against Germany.
After a 2-2 draw with World No 1 Germany, Argentina scalp Australia. Pity they did not make it to the Beijing Olympics, but that is a different strory.
Argentina also lifted the 2008 Azlan Shah crown.
Argentina 2 (L. Vila 8, Argento 15) Australia 1 (Kavanagh 24).

The two teams started off as even opponents, neither going for full press at the beginning, but Argentina soon dared the Kookaburras, winning a penalty corner that Lucas Vila made good use of with a powerful drive into the right side of the goal.

Australia responded with increasing pressure, and the match turned into a fast-paced end-to-end game. The Kookaburras found it hard to create chances however, with Argentina absorbing the pressure well and putting forward a great performance in defense.

The white-and-blue even ended up upping the ante with a second goal as Tomas Argento slapped the rebound off a Lucas Rey shot into the net.
Two down now, Australia continued to increase the pressure, and got on the scoreboard with a beautiful goal when Fergus Kavanagh deflected a great drive into the circle from Desmond Abbott, but could not get any closer.
Throughout the second half, both teams played great hockey in this match that was certainly the best in this tournament so far.

Australia was closer to scoring but Argentina played cleverly and showed world class skills, denying the Olympic champions on a couple of great opportunities, including a cracking short corner flick from Luke Doerner that hit the post.
With more than two minutes to go, Australia even took their goalkeeper off the field, opting to play with 11 field players, but it was to no avail: Argentina held the score over time, winning the match thanks to their two goals early in the match. Argentina are beginning to emerge as serious contenders in this tournament, while today's dropped points may well end up seriously hurting Australia's bid for the final. Australia will be disappointed after having the better part of possession in the second half, especially given that after scoring five in their opener, they struggled with their finishing.

Aussies break free

Eli Matheson of Australia celebrates scoring in his Champions Trophy debut
AUSTRALIA sailed past Korea, the Netherlands booked three points with a great performance against Spain, and Argentina were held by World Champions and Champions Trophy title holders Germany to a draw.
Australia 5 Korea 3 (2:1)
AUS: Eli Matheson FG 4m, David Guest PC 24m, Jamie Dwyer FG 38m, Andrew Smith FG 40m, Liam de Young FG 49m.
KOR: Woon Kon Yeo FG 28m, Jong Hyun Jang PC 47m, Nam Yong Lee FG 58m.
Germany 2 Argentina 2 (1:1)
GER: Florian Keller PC 6m, Timo Wess PC 69m.
ARG: Matias Paredes FG 25m, Rodrigo Vila FG 55m.
Netherlands 3 Spain 1 (2:0)
NED: Teun de Nooijer FG 10m, Ronald Brouwer FG 19m, Laurence Docherty FG 53m
ESP: Xavi Ribas PC 61m.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Investigate till the last drop

IN lodging a police report on allegations of match-fixing, Malaysian Hockey Federation secretary Hashim Yusoff was quick to add the association didn’t suspect any foul play by the players.

Hashim’s stand is commendable but MHF should not be too quick in refuting this, and the numerous other allegations that have been made. Yes, most of the allegations came via several anonymous e-mails which were sent to, among others, the Sports Minister, National Sports Council, Olympic Council of Malaysia and the media but MHF is duty bound to investigate their worthiness.
It has no other choice for the image of the sport has been tainted as the e-mails have spread like wildfire.
Among the allegations, some of which were first made when Malaysia failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, were that some players received money to play in a tournament, are involved in betting in the English Premier League, had fixed an Azlan Shah Cup match and that a coach was involved in money-lending activities.
The last e-mail was even more personal in nature as it made derogatory comments about several officials from MHF and NSC.
MHF has made the right move by lodging the police report as any allegation of match-fixing, given football’s history, has to be investigated.
But it shouldn’t stop there for the other allegations need to be investigated by MHF.
Both players and officials have been implicated and should MHF just brush the allegations off, hockey’s name will be tarnished for good.
The belief within MHF circles is that this is merely a smear campaign due to unhappiness with the federation but even if that ultimately proves to be true, the allegations need to be thoroughly investigated.
And should there be an iota of truth in even one of the allegations, then action should be taken against those guilty.
But if they are merely allegations, MHF must also leave no stone unturned to nab the sender or senders of the e-mail.
The game demands it.

MHF lodge police report

Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary Sgt Hashim Yusoff (left) with lawyer Amrit Pal Singh in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. After consulting the lawyer, the MHF lodged a police report yesterday.
Sgt Hashim Yusoff leaving the Pudu Police Station in Kuala Lumpur after lodging the report.

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) yesterday lodged a police report on allegations by an English daily that their players are involved in match fixing, and other illegal activities.
The report was lodged by MHF secretary Sgt Hashim Yusoff after receiving instructions from MHF president Tan Sri Admiral (Rtd) Anwar Mohamed Nor and MHF deputy president Tunku Majid Sultan Iskandar.

The daily yesterday quoted a player who alleged that his teammates had fixed an Azlan Shah Cup match, received money to play in a tournament, are involved in betting in the English Premier League and also alleged that a coach was involved in money-lending activities.
"We at the MHF strongly believe that the allegations are untrue, and so we lodged a police report today (yesterday).
"The report was lodged so that police can call those who have the alleged information on match fixing, bribery, illegal betting and money lending activities and investigate thoroughly," said Hashim.
The MHF has appointed lawyer Amrit Pal Singh to handle the case.

"We want those who have the alleged information, which has put the Federation in bad light, to stop writing articles, and instead co-operate with the police in their investigations.
"These are some serious allegations, and we will let the police handle them from now onwards," said Hashim.
MHF's management committee is meeting on Monday.
"We will provide further information, if any, in a press conference after the meeting," said Hashim.
Malaysian hockey officials and players have come under a series of attacks on cyberspace, after they failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics and then finished last in the Azlan Shah Cup.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

40 and on a high at 4,095meters

IT was suppose to be a routine break from life in Kuala Lumpur over last weekend, and I got more than I bargained for when I scaled Mount Kinabalu for the second time.

June 13 2008: The Blogger (right) reached the top of Mount Kinabalu after a six-hour climb to Laban Rata, and then another four hours to the top starting at 2am.
1993 and a fitter Blogger up Mount Kinabalu

The first was in 1993, when I was slimmer and fitter, with the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia) Reserve Officers Training Unit, and it was a breeze.
But on June 13 2008, it was much more difficult as I had put on much weight, and was out of shape, but reached the top again, nevertheless. It was with eight others, on a National Press Club trip to Sabah, which turned out to be both tiring and exciting.
My NPC climbing mates were The Blogger Jugjet Singh, Arnaz M. Khairul, Hilary Merrai Sebastian Koeh, Sivanesan Kandasamy, Pascual Dino Herrera, Lum Chih Feng, Voon Miaw Ping and Tony Yew Wei Keat.
Mount Kinabalu is situated in the East Malaysia state of Sabah on the island of Borneo. It is the place where you could see breathtaking sunrise from above the clouds, 13,435 feet (4,095 meters) above sea level.
FROM WIKIPEDIA: In 1997, a re-survey using satellite technology established its summit (known as Low’s Peak) height at 4,095 metres (13,435 ft) above sea level, which is some 6 metres (20 ft) less than the previously thought and hitherto published figure of 4,101 metres (13,455 ft).[1] The mountain is the fourth tallest in Southeast Asia behind Hkakabo Razi of Myanmar (5881 m), Puncak Jaya (4884 m) and Puncak Trikora (4750 m) of Papua, Indonesia,[1] and is therefore also the tallest in Malaysia and on the island of Borneo, which Malaysia shares with Indonesia and Brunei.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

R. Nadesh in extra-time

TOP PIC: Pahang women with their gold medals. They beat hosts Terengganu 2-0 in the final.
BOTTOM PIC: Federal Territories' R. Nadesh (in Blue) in action with Johor's Shaheeb Shah in the Malaysia Games final. FT won 2-1 in extra-time, courtesy of Nadesh.

A NAIL-BITING repeat final from 2006 in men's hockey at the State Sports Complex, resulted in the same victors, but this time Federal Territories (FT) were taken to extra-time by Johor, before an 84th minute penalty corner converted by R. Nadesh sealed the Malaysia Games gold medal for coach K. Dharmaraj's team in Terengganu, after the score was tied 1-1 at full-time.
RESULTS: Men’s Final: Federal Territories 2 Johor 1 (after extra-time) ; Bronze:Penang 4 Kelantan 3.
Women’s Final: Pahang 2 Terengganu 0; Bronze: Penang 2 Johor 0.

Spain draw Britain

SPAIN 1 (0) Santi Freixa 42 (PC)
GREAT BRITAIN 1 (0) James Tindall 6 (F)

GREAT Britain Men drew the first of two Test tatches against Spain in Terrassa.
With both teams in the full swing of preparations for the Olympic Games, this was an even encounter which saw only five penalty corners – two for Britain and three for Spain.
James Tindall struck early for Britain with a sixth minute goal scored with a reverse stick deflection from a Richard Mantell free hit and the score remained 1-0 until the break.
The hosts hit back in the second half when Santi Freixa converted a penalty corner low to James Fair’s right to make it 1-1 and neither side could find a winning goal in the remainder of the game.
Spain and Great Britain are in opposite pools in the Olympic Games so will not meet in the early stages of the tournament. The two teams last met in the Champions Trophy in Malaysia in December where Spain recorded 5-0 and 4-2 victories over the Brits.
Manager Pete Nicholson said “We’re very pleased with the training camp this week. The guys have been faced with some very tough training sessions and we’ve come through without any injuries which is good. We are looking forward to the second encounter on Sunday.”
Scotland’s Graham Moodie earned his 50th cap for Great Britain in this evening’s game.
Source: Great Britain Hockey

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Terengganu Women hit it right

TOP PIC: Terengganu's Nur Suhaili Sapie rejoices after scoring the first goal against Penang.
BOTTOM PIC: Terengganu's Siti Sarah Mohd Idris (Left) in a tussle with Penang player Irnie Yanty Md Isa. Terengganu won 4-1.
THE Malaysia Games men's hockey final today will see defending champions Federal Territories take on Johor, in a repeat of the 2006 final after the latter overcame Penang 4-2 on penalty strokes after both sides were tied 1-1 at full-time.
FT made little work of surprise package Kelantan in their earlier semi-final, romping away with a 3-0 win thanks to goals from Faisal Kamaruddin, Razie Abdul Rahim and Hafiz Zakaria.
RESULTS (All Semi-finals) -- Men: Federal Territories 3 Kelantan 0, Johor 1 Penang 1 (Johor win 4-2 on penalty strokes).
Women: Pahang 2 Johor 0, Terengganu 4 Penang 1.

Germans Have Nine Lives

GERMANY have won the Men's Champions Trophy a record 9 times, while Australia and Netherlands have taken the trophy 8 times each. Spain have one title under their belt, while Argentina and South Korea are both chasing their first.
Germany (1) is the top ranked team in the ABN AMRO Men's World Rankings, followed by Australia (2), Netherlands (3), Spain (4), Korea (5) and Argentina (7). -- FIH

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Best in Action


Argentina finished first, ahead of India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Canada, Belgium and Malaysia in the Azlan Shah Cup.
In comparison to the team that played in the Auckland Olympic Qualifiers, Juan Gilardi is back, pushing Pedro Ibarra off the list.
Tomas Argento and Facundo Callioni make their return to the national team after longer absences, at the expense of Lucas Rossi and veteran Fernando Zylberberg.
And Joaquin Gonzalez Rothberg replaces Juan Espinosa as second goalkeeper to No 1 Juan Vivaldi.


1 Juan Manuel VIVALDI (GK) 28 84
2 Juan GILARDI 26 37
3 Juan Martin LOPEZ 22 48
4 Matias VILA (C) 28 194
7 Mario ALMADA 33 235
8 Lucas REY 25 70
9 Rodrigo VILA 26 144
10 Matias PAREDES 26 135
11 Lucas CAMMARERI 27 114
12 Lucas VILA 21 39
13 Juan GARRETA 24 59
20 Tomas ARGENTO 21 65
22 Matias REY 23 47
24 Lucas ARGENTO 21 37
26 Joaquin ROTHBERG (GK) 24 0
28 Facundo CALLIONI 22 21
29 Agustin CORRADINI 23 25
31 Ignacio BERGNER 23 37

Off-Field Staff
Coach: Carlos RETEGUI
Assistant Coach: Santiago CAPURRO
Manager: Juan Manuel GRONDONA


1 Guus VOGELS (GK) 33 226
2 Wouter JOLIE 22 27
3 Geert-Jan DERICKX 27 124
6 Thomas BOERMA 27 50
7 Sander van der WEIDE 31 262
8 Ronald BROUWER 29 175
9 Roderick WEUSTHOF 26 87
11 Laurence DOCHERTY 28 27
12 Jeroen DELMEE (C) 35 387
14 Teun de NOOIJER 33 374
15 Eby KESSING 23 44
16 Floris EVERS 25 141
18 Rob RECKERS 26 154
19 Matthijs BROUWER 27 196
20 Jeroen HERTZBERGER 22 13
23 Timme HOYNG 31 98
24 Robert van der HORST 23 90
26 Jaap STOCKMANN (GK) 23 9

Off-Field Staff
Coach: Roelant OLTMANS
Assistant Coach: Hans STREEDER
Manager: Robert van MAASAKKER

Aussies pick their best

HOCKEY Australia has selected a strong squad combining youth and experience for the upcoming Men's Champions Trophy tournament to be played in Rotterdam, Netherlands from 21 until 29 June.
Overall five players (Des Abbott, Nathan Burgers, Kiel Brown, Fergus Kavanagh and Eli Matheson) will make their Champions Trophy debuts.
Andrew Smith, Simon Orchard, Russell Ford, Brent Livermore, Nathan Eglington (injured) and Stephen Mowlam (injured) are the remaining Kookaburra squad members who have missed out on making the Champions Trophy squad.
The 2008 Men's Champions Trophy will see the Kookaburras face off against Argentina, Spain, Germany, Korea and the Netherlands in what is the last major international tournament on the world hockey calendar prior to the Olympics.
With the 2008 Beijing Olympics only two months away, Kookaburras coach Barry Dancer says the team is aiming to get the best preparation possible.
'There are several outcomes that we are looking to achieve during our time away, not only during the Champions Trophy but also during our two matches against Belgium prior to the tournament.
Firstly we are looking to develop our mental toughness and our competitive pressure in what will be a high pressure event.

The tournament will also allow us to further develop our team understanding while also giving us an opportunity to develop form and confidence amongst the group as we expose ourselves to some quality opposition.' Said Dancer.
Dancer says that while being selected in the Champions Trophy squad will give the players a final opportunity to impress prior to the Olympic squad selection, other factors will also be taken into consideration.
'The performances of the players at the Champions Trophy tournament and the two games against Belgium won't be the only factor when we sit down to select the Olympic squad in July. But in saying that, it presents a good opportunity for this group of players to step up and put their best foot forward against the world's best opposition.'
Australian 2008 Champions Trophy squad: Des Abbott, Travis Brooks, Kiel Brown, Nathan Burgers, Liam De Young, Luke Doerner, Jamie Dwyer, Bevan George, David Guest, Robert Hammond, Aaron Hopkins, Fergus Kavanagh, Mark Knowles, Stephen Lambert, Eli Matheson, Eddie Ockenden, Grant Schubert, Matthew Wells.
Source: Hockey Australia

USA gets serious


MAINE (USA): After spending a year playing with and against some of the better men's field hockey talent in the country, Gardiner's Ross Gorham has formed his long-term goal.
"Now it's much more toward the 2016 Olympics," said Gorham, a current member of the U-21 national team.
Gorham, a 2007 graduate of Gardiner Area High School, has spent the past two weekends competing in tournaments in California and New York. Later this month, he'll play at a festival in San Diego where the junior and senior men's national teams will be re-selected.
"It's getting more and more intense as we draw closer to bigger events," Gorham said.
Gorham, 20, figures there will be 50-60 players competing for one of the 24 roster spots on the U-21 team which will play in the Pan Am Games in October and at the Junior World Cup next June.
Gorham, who is a defensive midfielder, has played field hockey most of his life. He was a member of a middle school team that won three straight championships. Although boys are longer allowed to play on girls teams in high school, he was around the team coached by his aunt, Moe McNally, throughout his years at Gardiner.
"More and more (men) are playing as the national championships get bigger," he said. "There's a lot more younger (boys) playing than ever before."
The men's game is played at a quicker pace and is much more physical than the women's. At 6-foot-1 and 178 pounds, Gorham can hold his own at the junior level.
"I think I do have to get stronger the make it to the next level," he said.
The U.S. men's team failed to qualify for this year's Olympic Games and Gorham thinks many of the players may retire, creating openings throughout the program.
A freshman majoring in sports studies at the University of New Hampshire, Gorham worked out and traveled with the women's field hockey team.
"I'm with the team all the time when they're together," he said. "It's kind of a coaching thing."
Gorham's trip to San Diego will preclude an opportunity to help coach at McNally's Big Cat Field Hockey Camp. But he will coach for Seacoast United in New Hampshire later in the summer.
"There's players from all over the place," he said. "There's a couple of kids from Augusta."

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Spain in great pain

SHORT-LIVED JOY? Spanish women celebrate after beating Azerbaijan 3-2 in the final of the women's Olympic Qualifiers.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) wish to inform about the outcome of the B-samples from anti-doping tests of two Spanish players which took place during the Women’s World Hockey Olympic Qualifier in Baku, Azerbaijan, in April 2008.
The FIH informed the athletes that the B-samples from both players have shown the same adverse analytical findings as the A-samples.
In accordance with the provisions in the FIH Anti-Doping Policy, which is in line with the World Anti-Doping Code, both players requested a hearing before the FIH Judicial Commission. These hearings, which will take place before the end of June 2008, will determine whether or not an anti-doping rule violation has been committed and, if so, what the sanction should be. -- FIH

Rich Women Warriors

WATERLOO, Ont. - The Warriors Women's Field Hockey program has established an enrichment program with the Bonner THV Club, in Bonn Germany.

The club has offered to accommodate Waterloo players in the homes of club members and allow them to practice with the First and Second teams. They will play in league games (German 3rd Division) and participate in the coaching of young children in the club. In addition, they will be provided with opportunities to see the area of the Rhine Valley and enjoy the usual tourist attractions.

The club is 105 years old, having been established in 1903. It has more than 20 coaches contributing to dozens of groups in training, indoor and out, from age four to senior men and women. The main coach for the field hockey program is Rudiger Hanel, who led Germany to a silver medal at the Barcelona Olympics.

Current Warrior captain Vicky Lounder (5th Yr. Engineering, Halifax, NS) arrived in Germany on April 22 and stayed through most of the spring field hockey season, and returned to Canada on June 5th. Vicky has been training with the club three days a week and playing on the weekends. She is also taking advantage of her trip by taking language classes five afternoons a week. "I'm learning a lot from some incredibly talented and experienced players," Vicky mentioned from Germany. "I hope I can bring some experiences back for the Waterloo squad this fall, and that some of our new recruits can get the chance to benefit from an opportunity like this n the future."

Katherine Olsen, (3rd Yr. Engineering, Calgary, AB), also took part in the program for a shorter stay, from May 1st through May 13th.

The Waterloo coaching staff is now in discussions with the Bonner Club about the possibility of hosting the entire Warriors squad in Bonn, for a special development camp, in the spring of 2009.


Chris Gilbert
Department of Athletics
University of Waterloo

FIH keep doping secret

"Representative of International Field Hockey Federation: "It is not true that Azerbaijani side demanded to take doping tests from Spanish hockey team"
Though the results of B-doping test for two players of Spanish hockey team were opened on May 30, the results have not yet been made public.

Day.Az has appealed to Arien Meyer, manager of the committee of the International Firld Hockey Federation) on public relations. Unfortunately, he refused to answer most questions, but commented on some of them.

- Unfortunately, I can not announce the results of B-doping tests. Be sure that I will inform you immediately after official statement on this issue is made.

- Spanish side states that the doping-test from their players was taken by demand of Azerbaijan's Field Hockey Federation. Is it true?

- It is impossible. All doping tests are held in line with the charger of FIH and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

- Will the Spanish team be disqualified in case B doping test is positive?

- In case it is positive the Spanish side may demand additional hearing in the FIH legal committee. The said committee will consider this issue and take its decision.

- The charter of FIH states that in case doping tests are positive for over than one sportsmen, the team may be either disqualified or applied any other measures. What is implied under "any other measures"?

- It implies any sanctions, except for banning.

- Which team will get an olympic license if Spain is banned?

- Now too much is spoken about it. Let's have the decision on the issue and then speak who will replaced the Spanish team, if necessary.

As is seen from Mr.Meyer's brief statements, it is not true that Azerbaijan has demanded to hold doping tests among Spanish players.

It should be noted that two Spanish sportsmen underwent doping test during the Olympic qualification finals, held in Baku in April. Spain defeated Azerbaijani team (3:2), winning the contest and the Olympic license.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

KL snatch crown

HAPPY LOT: KL players posing with the trophy after beating Singapore 4-1 in the national Under-16 final. – MUSTAFA AHMAD / The Star

KUALA Lumpur were crowned as the new National Under- 16 hockey champions when Syamim Yusof’s hat-trick saw them steamroll Singapore 4-1 in Alor Star yesterday.
And the bronze medal went to Penang, who beat last year’s gold medallists Perak 5-3.
Kuala Lumpur, who were the bronze medallists last year, were in total control as they raced to a 3-1 lead, before soundly beating Singapore.
Syamim scored off two penalty corners in the 23rd and 36th minutes, before scoring a field goal in the 50th minute.
Singapore started a fight-back when Mohamed Azhari scored in the 59th minute, but Ahmad Kafeel doused the fire with KL’s fourth in the 61st minute.
As for Penang, the bronze was won with goals from Amin Shafiq (14th), Rashid Baharom (20th, 44th, 47th), Arif Rahman (55th).
Hanif Saidin (54th), Azrul Fazrin (63rd) and Shazrul Imran (67th) scored for Perak.
RESULTS -- Final: Kuala Lumpur 4 Singapore 1; Third- Fourth: Perak 3 Penang 5; Fifth-Sixth: Kelantan 5 Johor 4; Seventh-Eighth: Terengganu 3 Selangor 0.
ROLL-OF-HONOUR: Man-of-the-Final: N. Balukumaran (Singapore); Best Overall Player: Azri Hassan (Penang); Best Goalkeeper: Hafizuddin Othman (Terengganu); Fair-play: Perak.