Friday, July 25, 2008

No money for hockey, but plenty for Mercedes

Editors Note: The Terengganu State Government recently purchased 14 Mercedes E200 Kompressors for RM3.43mil, as they felt local car Perdana was useless.

MALAYSIA Games hosts Terengganu will not play in the Razak Cup next month, because they do not have enough money to send a team to Kuala Lumpur.
The Razak Cup will be held on Aug 2-10 at the Tun Razak Stadium, with eight teams in Division One and seven teams in Division Two.
"We do have the players, but not the money to field a team in the Razak Cup, and that is why we have released all our players to represent other states instead," said Terengganu HA secretary Mohamed Saberi yesterday.
Saberi said their budget for the year was exhausted after hosting the Malaysia Games.
"I know the Malaysia Games are held to develop sports at state level, but my hands are tied because we were left with nothing after hosting the Games," said Saberi.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) com petitions committee chairman Datuk Dr S.S. Cheema said states, as well as players must not hold each other to ransom in their rush to secure release letters.
"The tournament rules are very clear on this matter. Players who turn up for selections and are dropped, can opt to play for any other state.
"And states have every right not to hand release letters to those who do not attend trials. But states who drop players cannot hold them to ransom by dictating where they can play.
"I expect some minor hiccups, as the norm in Razak Cup, and states can thrash out their problems during the man agers meeting on Aug 1," said Dr Cheema.
National Juniors will play as an outfit in Division One, and they will get another chance to play against 2009 Junior World Cup hosts Singapore after the 2-2 draw in the recent Junior Asia Cup.
Division One: Johor, Perak, Malacca, Armed Forces, Negri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur, National Juniors, Singapore.
Division Two: Kedah, Police, Kelantan, Perlis, Pahang, Penang and Selangor.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mother Knows Best

Boxborough junior Alexa Sikalis will play for the third time for the US Junior Olympic field hockey team. (Travis Dove for The Boston Globe)

By Sapna Pathak (Globe Correspondent).

ALEXA Sikalis spent a great deal of her youth on a soccer field. Laura Sikalis, as the head field hockey coach at R.J. Grey Junior High School in Acton, was hoping that her daughter would shift her attention to field hockey, a sport that she had grown to love.

So when Alexa picked up a stick for the first time, it was to appease her mother. She played for the seventh grade squad. Now, she is considered one of the best young field hockey players in the state.

On Aug. 12, the Acton-Boxborough junior heads to Ann Arbor, Mich., to play for the US Field Hockey Association's Junior Olympic program. This is the third time Sikalis has been selected for the highly competitive squad, and she is one of 11 Bay Staters on the roster. Once in Ann Arbor, the players are assigned to teams and will square off in pool play.

"I hadn't ever played before, but my mom really wanted me to try it," said the 16-year-old, who helped power Acton-Boxborough to the Division 1 state field hockey championship last fall.

"I played in seventh grade and she was my coach, but it wasn't until the summer before high school I thought, 'This is the sport I want to play, sign me up for it all.' "

"That's when it all took off and I really fell in love with it on my own."

Now Sikalis and her mother hit the turf almost every day; they work on passing, which is the strength of Sikalis's game, and perfecting her fundamentals.

Laura Sikalis, who developed her skills playing for the perennially powerful Watertown High program, attends most of Alexa's games and was the first person A-B head coach Mae Shoemaker approached when Alexa was a freshman.

"I knew Alexa would be a starter her freshman year," said Shoemaker, who guided A-B to a 6-4 win over Shrewsbury in the state final.

"I wanted her mother to know we would take care of Alexa. She is probably the most understated player I've ever coached. You don't know what you're getting until she's out there in the middle of a game. She's a complete player but you'd never know it from seeing or meeting her."

Indeed, the 5-foot-1 center/forward doesn't come off as one of the most dominating players on the field. Her work ethic and dedication to her training, though, are what have allowed her to be a member of the US Field Hockey national team four years running.

USFH coaches select the Junior Olympic roster.

In the fall, Sikalis is a mainstay for A-B. In the winter, she plays for the Cape Ann Coalition, which traveled to Virginia Beach, Va., for the indoor championship in February. This spring, she played high school varsity girls' lacrosse.

"I don't know what makes me love it so much," said Sikalis. "I love being on a team, playing a different kind of sport. I would love to someday play for the Olympic team, but the competition level is so high. Right now, college hockey is on my mind for my next goal, and then we'll see what happens from there."

Perak Put Their Foot Down

COLD SHOULDER: Argentina’s Luciano Miguel (right) pushes aside Malaysia’s S. Selvaraju during their Sultan Azlan Shah hockey match in Ipoh last night. Malaysia lost 0-5. Selvaraju was among those who did not attend Perak state trials.

PERAK will not hand give release letters to players who did not attend their Razak Cup trials last week as they are fed-up of being taken for a ride every year.
The Razak Cup will be held on Aug 2-10 at the Tun Razak Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, and competition rules state that players must represent the state they were born in, and need letters of release if they want to play for another state.
“The Perak HA council decided last year not to give release letters to players who do not even bother to attend our trials, and we will enforce it this year,” said Perak HA deputy president Mohamed Hadi.
The Kuala Lumpur and Negri Sembilan HAs have requested for release letters for several players from Perak, but Hadi said they will not relent this time.
Kuala Lumpur have requested for national player S. Selvaraju, former national goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin, and former national players Mohamed Badrulhisham and M. Kaliswaran.
Negri have asked for veteran player Louis Gregory and Mohsin Hamsani.
The Razak Cup will be played on a two-division format, with Singapore the only foreign team.


HISTORY: Forms of hockey were played in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome as well as by the Aztecs. The game was standardised by the British at the end of the 18th century, primarily as a school sport.
It was included in the Olympics as a men’s sport for the first time at the 1908 Games in London. Women’s hockey was added in Moscow in 1980.
The sport’s governing body, the International Hockey Federation, was founded in 1924 and now has 112 members.
The outdoor version of the game was traditionally played on grass but synthetic pitches are now used for top-level competitions.
OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION: Men’s - China, New Zealand, Netherlands, South Korea, Canada, Germany, South Africa, Spain, Belarus, Pakistan, Britain and Australia Women’s - China, Germany, Argentina, Spain, South Africa, Netherlands, Britain, New Zealand, United States, South Korea, Australia and Japan; 2004 CHAMPIONS -- Men: Australia, Women: Germany; VENUE -- Olympic Green Hockey Stadium.

Australia in the mood

NEW DELHI, July 24, 2008 (AFP) - Resurgent Australia hope to defend their gold medal against a strong field in Beijing as men’s hockey celebrates 100 years at the Olympics without former masters India.
The Kookaburras, who won their first Olympic gold at Athens four years ago, reclaimed the number one ranking at Germany’s expense by lifting the elite Champions Trophy in the Netherlands last month.
The victory revived coach Barry Dancer’s men, who had struggled to build on their Olympic success after losing to Germany in the final of both the 2006 World Cup and the 2007 Champions Trophy.
Dancer said the tag of being the world’s number one team would mean little when the 12-nation competition, expected to be one of the closest in the sport’s history, opens in Beijing.
“Teams such as Germany, the Netherlands and Spain are all quality teams who, along with a number of other countries, are all capable of winning gold at Beijing,” he said.
“But in saying that, the Australian team has shown steady signs of improvement throughout the last six months and deserve whatever praise comes their way.”
Field hockey was first played at the Summer Games in London in 1908 with six teams drawn from England, Ireland and Scotland, but it was not until the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928 it became a regular medal sport.

India reigned supreme on grass with six consecutive titles from 1928 to 1956 and two more in Tokyo in 1964 and Moscow in 1980, but have fallen on such hard times that they failed to qualify for Beijing.
The Indians will miss the Olympics for the first time after losing to Great Britain in a qualifying tournament in Chile in April, adding to the misery of a failed Asian Games campaign in Doha in 2006.
“No one wanted to see India out of the Olympics but the reality is that the best 12 nations have qualified for Beijing,” said International Hockey Federation (FIH) chief Els van Breda Vriesman.
“The hockey world will obviously miss India, but I am confident they will come back stronger and ready to take on the world again.”
Germany, meanwhile, are looking to end a 16-year drought and wrest the Olympic gold medal they last won as a unified team in Barcelona in 1992 and, before that, as West Germany in 1972.

The Germans were embarrassingly confined to a bronze medal in Athens four years ago despite being the reigning World Cup champions, but have conjured a remarkable revival since then.
They retained the World Cup title at home in Munchengladbach in 2006 and won the Champions Trophy in Malaysia in 2007, but only managed fifth place in this year’s edition. Germany’s failure to finish among the top three in the European championships, thereby missing out on a direct entry to Beijing, proved to be a minor hiccup in their search for glory.
The Germans won the Olympic qualifier in April without conceding a goal in the tournament that included formidable opponents in hosts Japan and Malaysia.
Germany’s revival has been masterminded by coach Markus Weise, who fashioned the women’s gold medal winning campaign in Athens before taking over the men following Bernhard Peters’ switch to football.
The unpredictable nature of modern men’s hockey came to the fore in May when two non-qualifiers, Argentina and India, contested the Azlan Shah final in Malaysia ahead of four Olympic teams, New Zealand, Pakistan, Canada and Belgium.
In the women’s field, reigning world champions the Netherlands hope to avenge their Athens Olympic final defeat to Germany despite a shock third-place finish in the Champions Trophy in May.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Big Bite For Razak Cup

ONLY 18 under-20 players will not be able to play in this year’s Razak Cup, while others in the Junior World Cup training squad can represent their states in the Aug 2-10 tournament at the Tun Razak Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) competitions committee chairman Datuk Dr S.S. Cheema yesterday said the 18 will be selected soon by juniors coach V. Muraleedharan.
“The junior team have just returned from the Asia Cup (in Hyderabad, India) and we do not know if any of them are injured or unable to play in the Razak Cup,” said Cheema.
“That is why Muralee will select his 18 players soon and release the others to play for their respective states.”
The tournament will be played in a two-division format with Singapore as the only invited team. Last year, Johor won their second consecutive title while Perak were the runners-up.
Sixteen-time champions Kuala Lumpur took the Division Two title, and will be back in Division One for this edition.
“The rules are still the same, all players must represent the state they were born in and if any player wishes to represent another state he must get a release letter to be eligible,” said Cheema.
The Razak Cup is expected to be keenly contested this year as even senior national players, who will not see Beijing Olympics action, will be released to play for their states.

China Looking For A Break

(The field hockey game of the Daur ethnic group is a typical type of the traditional game and a unique item of Chinese sports. According to historical records, in the Tang Dynasty, there was a popular game called "ball game on foot" quite similar to modern-day field hockey. But as time went on, the game was almost lost among other ethnic groups of China than the Daur minority, in which it was carried on and further developed). --

By Sportswriter Zhou Huimin
Field hockey was first played as a men's competition at the Summer Games in London in 1908 with six teams from England, Ireland and Scotland, but it was not until the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928 it became a regular medal sport. Women's hockey first appeared at the Olympics in Moscow in 1980.

BEIJING, July 21 (Xinhua) -- China's hockey teams have obtained a direct entry to the Beijing Olympics as hosts, but it won't be easy for them to stand out in the tournament.

Since the Champions Trophy in May and June, the Chinese teams have whipped up form for the Olympics. The women's team have set sights on a long-awaited medal, while the men's side are seeking atop-eight breakthrough.

However, it's unlucky for both the Chinese men's and women's teams to be drawn to face powerful rivals.

The Chinese men's team are bundled with world championship runner-up Germany, fourth-ranked Spain and No. 5 South Korea. Rated 17th, China are currently the lowest-ranked in the men's tourney.

China's South Korean coach Kim Sang Ryul admitted it was impossible to win a medal, adding a top-eight finish was a realistic goal.

Likewise, the Chinese women, ranked sixth in the world, will face the world titlists the Netherlands, 2000 Olympic champions Australia and Asian powerhouse South Korea.

Coached by non-nonsense South Korean Kim Chang Back since 1999,the Chinese women qualified for the final stage at the Sydney Olympic Games for the first time and finished fifth.

They finished fourth at the Athens Olympics and won a gold medal at the 2006 Doha Asian Games.

With the Chinese teams undergoing intense training, their powerful opponents, such as Germany, Australia and the Netherlands, have geared up for Olympic medals.

In the men's field, Germany hope to bounce back from June's defeat to win their first Olympic gold in 16 years.

The Germans lost their world top ranking to defending Olympic champions Australia when they finished fifth in the Champions Trophy in the Netherlands.

While Australia are looking to defend their title, the Netherlands, whose dream for their third straight Olympic gold was dashed by the Australians, are hoping for a comeback.

On the women's side, world champions the Netherlands hope to revenge the Athens Olympic final defeat to Germany, while a hard duel against the formidable Argentina will be inevitable.

Germany, the defending champions, hope to continue their gold dream. Australia, the winners of three golds in the last six Olympics, also want to repeat their glory.

Despite so-called home advantage, the Chinese teams have nothing else in their favor, said Kim Chang Back.

"Anyone can win. It's an open house in Beijing," said Pargat Singh, former captain of India, a dominant power on grass before the mid-1990s. "Being consistent will be the key."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Police still investigating

POLICE are still in the midst of investigating match-fixing and bribery claims leveled at the national hockey players, hence, the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) have yet to activate their own investigation squad.
The MHF, as well as national coach Sarjit has lodged a police report at the end of June, after allegations of match- fixing, bribery, betting in the English Premier League and money-lending activities were were thrown at national play ers via anonymous e-mails.
“I have yet to get any feed-back from the police on the outcome of their investigations. And that is why, the MHF proposed three-man panel can’t start an internal inves tigation,” said MHF secretary Sgt Hashim Yusoff.
MHF have identified members for the panel, and among their duties is to check why Malaysian hockey is currently taking a beating on the pitch.
“Once police wind up their investigations, which I expect to be soon, the panel can start cracking.”
MHF president Tan Sri Admiral (rtd) Anwar Mohd Nor had said that they will not conduct an in-house investigation on the matter because they feel the police should be allowed to do their job first.
The panel will be made up of people not direcly involved with the MHF, but have a good knowledge of the sport in Malaysia. One member is expected to be from the National Sports Council.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Act Now, Or Forever Regret

India players celebrate after beating South Korea 3-2 in the Junior Asia Cup final in Hyderabad, India.
IF the alarms bells in the corridors of the Malaysian Hockey Federation were not ringing before, they should after the Junior Asia Cup in Hyderabad, India.
Forget the 3-1 defeat to Japan or the failure to qualify for the semi-finals for such is the state of the Malaysian game now is that we can’t even beat Singapore.
What makes the 2-2 draw even worse is that Singapore were subsequently whipped 5-1 by Oman to finish last in the eight-team tournament.
Yes, Malaysia were represented by an Under-20 squad but we shouldn’t forget that previously, this wasn’t a problem as the juniors were good enough to whip Singapore’s senior squad.
MHF coaching and development committee chairman C. Paramalingam has a reason for Singapore’s rise, if it can be called that. “Singapore have progressed well after competing in our Under-14, Under-16 and Razak Cup tournaments, while we are stuck in a quagmire,” said Paramalingam.
A meeting, said Paramalingam, will be held with chief coach V. Muraleedharan and his assistant K. Rajan upon their return to formulate strategies for next year’s Junior World Cup, which is being co-hosted by Malaysia and Singapore.
Muraleedharan has already attributed the poor showing in Hyderabad to “misfiring forwards, silly mistakes by defenders and players being physically not up to the mark.”
But these seem rather simplistic reasons and the question here is have the right players been selected? If yes, what is the future of hockey, especially when the likes of Singapore are now holding their own against Malaysian teams.
MHF has to address the issues sooner rather than later, especially as at the senior level, Malaysia are unlikely to rise in the near future.

Spanish Women Cleared of Doping Scandal

SPANISH players after winning against Australia 1-0 in the Women's World Cup semi-final field hockey match in Madrid, 06 October 2006. AFP PHOTO

LAUSANNE, Switzerland: The Spanish women's field hockey team was assured of its place in the Beijing Olympics on Friday when the International Hockey Federation cleared two players of alleged doping violations.
Gloria Comerma and another player, who was not identified, tested positive for banned substances after Spain won its qualifying match in April against Azerbaijan.
The FIH said Friday that Comerma committed a violation, but decided not to impose any sanction because it found "there was no fault or negligence on her part." The Spanish federation had claimed the team's food was tampered with in Baku, Azerbaijan's capital.
The federation's judicial commission said the second player did not commit a doping violation.
The sport's rules state that a country must be disqualified from a tournament if more than one member of a team tests positive.

FIH Official Communication18 Jul 2008 08:26
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) advises as follows the outcome of the hearing of the FIH Judicial Commission regarding the anti-doping tests of two Spanish players which took place during the Women’s World Hockey Olympic Qualifier in Baku, Azerbaijan, in April 2008:
Player Gloria Comerma - tested on 18 April 2008The FIH Judicial Commission found that there was an anti-doping rule violation but that she established that there was no fault or negligence on her part so there is no requirement to impose a sanction.
Second Spanish player - tested on 20 April 2008The FIH Judicial Commission found that no anti-doping rule violation has been committed.
Following the decision of the FIH Judicial Commission, the FIH considers the cases as closed and no other communication will be made.

Friday, July 18, 2008

For US To Enjoy....

United States' Rachel Dawson, left, and Keli Smith, right, struggle for the ball with Belgium's Gaelle Valcke during their gold medal match at the women's field hockey qualifying tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Kazan, Russia, Sunday, April 27, 2008. U.S. won 3-1 to secure the place at Olympics. Pictures from
US hockey player Tiffany Snow listens to the national anthem, displaying her gold medal during the awarding ceremony, after gold medal match at the women's field hockey qualifying tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Kazan, Russia.
US hockey team players run with the national flag, after beating Belgium at their gold medal match at the women's field hockey qualifying tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Kazan, Russia.
Netherlands Antilles hockey player Anika de Haas, center, reacts after she was hit by a stick during match against the United States at the women's field hockey qualifying tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Kazan, Russia, Saturday, April 26, 2008.
U.S. hockey team players listen to the national anthem prior to the match against the Netherlands Antilles team, at the women's field hockey qualifying tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Kazan, Russia.
Belgian players react after losing to the U.S, after their match at the women's field hockey qualifying tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Kazan, Russia..
Belgian players react after losing to the U.S, after their match at the women's field hockey qualifying tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Kazan, Russia.
Mamta Kharb (R) of India attacks goale Marlieke Van Den Pas of Netherlands Antilles during their women's field hockey Olympic qualifying match for the third place in Kazan on April 27, 2008.
India's Ranjita Devi Thockchom makes a pass as France's Geraldine Bonenfant, top, jumps, during their match at the women's field hockey qualifying tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Kazan, Russia, Saturday, April 26, 2008.
Team Russia players look out of their goal before a corner short during their match against Belgium at the women's field hockey qualifying tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Kazan.

India Clinch Asia Cup Crown

In the Junior Asia Cup:
Final: India 3 South Korea 2.
Bronze: Pakistan 7 Japan 2.

THE National Juniors will be playing as an outfit in the Razak Cup in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 2-12.
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) competitions committee chairman Datuk Dr S.S. Cheema said yesterday that the juniors will benefit in the long run by playing against established seniors from other states.
“By fielding them as a team, talent scouts will also get a chance to compare them against juniors from other states, and hopefully, select a few more players for the 2009 Junior World Cup training squad,” said Dr Cheema.
The juniors finished fifth in the Junior Asia Cup in Hyderabad, India, and coach V. Muraleedharan had said that he was not keen to field them for the Razak Cup, as his training schedule will be disrupted.
Meanwhile, the Penang State Hockey Association (PSHA) will conduct a trial to select players for the Razak Cup today at 4.30pm at the Universiti Sains Malaysia Hockey Stadium in Minden.
Players who are born in Penang but want a release letter to play for other states must write in to the Penang HA.
For details call V. Jayanandhan at 012-4933314 or S. Sanjilatheeban at 012-4772306.

Betting on US women

US hockey players celebrate their goal against the Belgium team during their women's field hockey olympic qualifying match for the gold medal in Kazan on April 27, 2008. USA won 3-1. AFP PHOTO/GETTY)
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Since the inception of Field Hockey into the Olympic Games in 1908, the United States has won exactly two medals - a bronze each by the men (1932) and women (1984). That figure will not change in 2008 for the men, while the women have a good chance to reach the podium.
The American men have not participated in an Olympic Games not hosted by the United States since 1948 (Melbourne) and have an all-time Olympic record of 0-28-1. On the other hand, the women last appeared in the Olympics in 1996.
Defending gold medalists Australia heads the 12-team field in this year's men's tournament. The Aussies will be joined in Group B by perennial power and silver medalists the Netherlands, along with Pakistan, South Africa, Canada and Great Britain. However, Australia will be without the services of leading scorer Nathan Eglington, who is out with a torn leg muscle. Replacing Eglington will be tough, but Jamie Dwyer has the potential. Dwyer, who is best known for his match-winning goal in extra time four years ago in Athens, is a two-time winner of the FIH Player of the Year awards (2004 & 2007).

On the other side of the tournament will be host China, Belgium, Germany, Korea, New Zealand and Spain. The Germans won the bronze medal in 2004, defeating the Spaniards.

On the women's side, it should come down to the Netherlands and Germany in the final, as both are back looking for repeat medals. Germany scored twice in the opening 20 minutes and held on to beat the Dutch, 2-1, for the gold medal in Athens.

Australia has won three gold medals in women's play (1988, 1996, 2000), while the Netherlands has won just once (1984). Both will play in Group A, along with host China, Korea, South Africa and Spain.

The Dutch have a strong team, led by the solid play of defender Minke Booij, who was a member of the 2004 team. Booij is also a four-time Champions Trophy winner and was named the 2006 FIH "Player of the Year."

Group B will have the reigning Player of the Year winner in Argentina's Luciana Aymar, who has won the award four times. Aymar helped Argentina qualify for the games with a gold medal victory in the Pan Am Games over the United States. She scored seven goals in the tournament and has a bronze medal (2004) and a silver (2000) in past Olympic Games.

Joining Argentina will be Germany, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand and for the first time in 20 years, the United States qualified for the games they were not hosting. Back in 1996, Team USA finished fifth in the eight-team tournament.

Leading the way for Team USA will be captain Kate Barber, an 11-year national team veteran. Barber plays forward and leads all team members in international caps with 156. She played collegiately at North Carolina, where she was a three-time first-team All-American.

One of the keys to the U.S. revival was the hiring of head coach Lee Bodimeade. He took over the squad in May 2005 and was put in charge of restoring the USA to its place in the Olympic Games. The coach quickly led the team to a fifth-place finish at the 2005 Champions Challenge and recorded wins over traditional powers Spain and New Zealand. Bodimeade earned a silver medal as a member of the Australian men's Olympic team at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Bodimeade also has one of the top goaltenders in the world in Amy Tran. The Pennsylvania born Tran has been a member of the national team since 2002 and was the only American named to the World Hockey All-Star Teams in 2006 and 2007.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dubai To Host World Cup Qualifier

DUBAI will host the Asia Cup next year, which will offer three tickets to the 2010 Delhi World Cup.
The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) had a meeting in Hyderabad, India, yesterday and Malaysia and India’s bid were among those that were rejected.
Malaysia, Japan, China, South Korea, India and Pakistan will be joined by Asian Hockey Federation Cup winner Bangladesh and runners-up Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup.
Meanwhile, Malaysia finished fifth in the Junior Asia Cup when they beat Bangladesh 1-0 with an Ahmad Kazamirul penalty corner strike in the 68th minute.
Today, India will play South Korea in the final, while Japan and Pakistan square off for bronze, which offers the last Asian ticket to the 2009 Junior World Cup.
RESULTS: Classifications -- Fifth-Sixth: Malaysia 1 Bangladesh 0; Seventh-Eighth: Singapore 1 Oman 5.

Ric Charlesworth Blasts Qualifiers

Olympic Qualifiers were a kick-in-the-face for India and Argentina. Malaysia and Japan were grouped with World No 1 Germany.

NEW DELHI, July 17, 2008 (AFP) - Australian field hockey legend Ric Charlesworth says he is not impressed with the new Olympic qualifying system that kept both India and Argentina away from Beijing.
"I never liked the new process as I knew it would throw up anomalies," Charlesworth, who resigned this month as India’s technical advisor, told AFP in an e-mail interview.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) awarded direct entries to nine teams based on their performance in regional meets, with the remaining three berths going to the winners of three separate qualifying tournaments.
A team that did not automatically make the grade could take part in only one qualifying event and needed to win it to go to Beijing.
Eight-time gold medallists India lost to Britain in the final of the qualifying tournament in Chile in April and will miss the Olympics for the first time.
World number seven Argentina, one place higher than India, lost to Canada in the Pan-American Games and then went down to New Zealand in the Olympic qualifier in Auckland.
Even world champions Germany were forced to go through the qualifying route after failing to finish among the top three in the European championships.
The Germans responded by winning the qualifying event in Japan without conceding a goal and became the last team to get an Olympic berth.
"Both Argentina and India are clearly in the best 12, so it’s a pity they are not in the Olympics," said Charlesworth, a four-time Olympian and noted coach.
"The new process might promote the game better around the world, but it throws up some ridiculous mismatches that benefit nobody.
"But it must be stressed India had two chances to qualify as did Argentina and they failed to realise them. It’s their own fault." India and Argentina mocked the new system by reaching the Azlan Shah final in Malaysia in May ahead of four Olympic-bound nations, New Zealand, Pakistan, Canada and Belgium.
Charlesworth predicted a tight contest in Beijing with Australia, Spain and the Netherlands as his favourites to win the gold.
"But at the Olympics there is often a surprise, perhaps Great Britain, Korea or New Zealand may throw up a surprise."
Teams qualified for Beijing are Germany, Spain, South Korea, New Zealand, Belgium, China, Australia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Britain, South Africa and Canada.

Hasli Aiming For Glory

(L-R) Pemba Tamang (Silver) of India, Vijay Kumar (Gold) of India and Amir Hasli Izwan (Bronze) of Malaysia pose with their medals in the Men's 25 m Rapid Fire Pistol at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games
By Jugjet Singh
HASLI Izwan is a portly chap, who will not receive a second look on the
But put a pistol in his hand, and you better be more than 25 metres
away because he can place the bullet right between the eyes.
The 31-year-old manager of the Langkawi International Shooting Range
(LISRAM) will be competing in his first Olympics, but he hopes not his
"In Beijing, my aim is to get a good placing, preferably in the top-15
bracket. And then I will keep on shooting until I win an Olympic medal,
as age is no barrier in this sport," said Hasli.
His love for shooting blossomed in 1994 when the sport was introduced
in the Malaysia Games. Hasli represented Perak and fell head-over-heels
in love with his pistol.
"The Malaysia Games were fun but it was tough breaking into the
national team as there were many established shooters in my field. I got
my break in 1997 and have smashed a few records since."
His personal best is 581 points which he did at the Asian Shooting
Championship in Kuwait last year which earned him a ticket to Beijing on
But the score is way behind that of the top Rapid Fire Pistol shooters
around the world. A check with the International Shooting Sports
Federation (ISSF) website listed Christian Reitz from Germany as the
World No 1 while Hasli's name was not among the top-50 listed.
It will be a monumental task for Hasli in Beijing as his discipline
involves a regime of four series of five shots, and the series will each
be in four seconds.
"If I think about the odds, I might as well stay home. But I am not
worried as I gain my strength from prayers and my family.
"Thinking about my son and daughter, always helps calm my nerves, and
that is what one needs to win a medal in the Olympics."
He was a bronze medallist at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, and
if nothing else, experience will be on his side.
He is also the first Malaysian shooter to have qualified on merit for
the Olympics.
* Date of birth: 22 Feb, 1977
* Hometown: Ipoh
* Height: 167cm
* Weight: 89kg
* Coach: Mohamed Hashim Desa
* Likes: Kampung Food
* Dislikes: Hypocrites
* Favourite movie: Action thrillers
* Favourite food: Malay dishes
* Favourite actor/actress: Sylvester Stallone
* Career high: Silver medal at the 2007 Asian Championships
* Career low: Failing in the1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games
* Previous Olympic appearances: Debutant
* Beijing event: 25-metre rapid fire pistol
* Competition dates: Aug 9-17.

Kevin Counting on Grit


By Jugjet Singh

YOU surely can't go on singing Rod Stewart's I Am Sailing when the windsof support and money stop blowing your sail home.
But this doctor sailor is made up of sturdier stuff than the pirates ofthe Caribbean.
He paddled, and then waded and finally swam alongside his boat untilthe Beijing Olympics ticket was justly handed to him.
Kevin Lim is no stranger to the Olympics, but it is a pity that he hadto fight his way as his qualification in the Laser class was challengedby the Malaysian Yachting Association (MYA).
Kevin, 32, qualified through the World Laser Championships in Australiain February, where the MYA did not see it fit to send any of its sailors. But he triumphed in his appeal, and is now looking forward to blueskies and choppy seas again
. When asked about his chances: "Much poorer than if I had been funded tocampaign throughout 2007."
And even though he had numerous problems with funding, he is realisticabout the RM1 million incentive dangled by the government for a gold inBeijing.
"I feel this (RM1 million) is a great outcome goal but outcome goalsare only good if the process goals have been given sufficient investmentas well.
"Personally, I would rather the RM1 million be invested into theOlympic campaign to give the athletes a chance at winning a gold medal inthe first place.
"Once you have good results in most sports (and combined with a goodpersonality and some decent planning for the future), it is possible tosecure employment that will set you up for life anyway," said the good doctor.
And on his training regime? "It is strict. 07.30 wake up; 08.30 morning training session; 10.30post training meal; 11.00 paper work/studying/ lunch. "14.00 afternoon training session; 19.00 post training meal; 20.00flexi time and 22.30 sleep."
He has it meticulously planned, but funding was his major set-back andhe could not train as much as he wanted in 2007.
And what does he thinks is the future for a sport which he has given much of his life to?
"The future of Malaysian sailing will be good if the funding andsponsorship dollars are used to expose the many talented sailors toregattas in Europe and Australia.
"There is little value in building more training centres locally andbuying hundreds of new boats to fill them because high level competitionand ideal racing conditions do not exist locally.
"For the benefit of the sailors, we need to take the road less traveledand venture overseas to learn from the leaders in the field."
And his message to future Olympic sailors?
"Train hard, study smart and drink a lot of Milo."
And only then can you continue singing Rod Stewart's classic, with ahusky tone.
FACT FILE KEVIN LIM * Date of birth: 27 Sept 1976 * Hometown: Selangor * Height: 182cm * Weight: 79kg * Coach: Lou Cwee Peng * Likes: Hawker food, chocolate, travelling * Dislikes: Cruelty to animals * Favourite movie: Die Hard * Favourite food: Mums chicken curry, Penang style char kway teow,satay * Favourite actor/actress: Bruce Willis * Career high: Winning gold fleet race in French Olympic Week 2006 * Career low: Double disqualification at the start of the 2006 AsianGames * Previous Olympic appearances: Three * Beijing events: Laser * Competition dates: Aug 12-19

Che Not In Just For Kicks

By Jugjet Singh
CHE Chew Chan is not a distant relative of Argentine Marxistrevolutionary Che Guevara, but she possesses his steely grit, and many ofher taekwondo opponents will vouch for that. Both the Ches have one thing in common though - revolution.
"I will be fighting for the sport, not myself in Beijing. A medal fromme will help revolutionise the sport in Malaysia," was her response justbefore she left for a one-month training stint in South Korea.
Born in Pontian, Johor, she had her doubts about taekwondo and wascontemplating playing basketball, but was persuaded by her school coachKoh Keng Kiang to continue as he saw potential in her.
"And the silver medal I won at the Asian Championships in May in ZhengZhou, China, was the sweetest of rewards," said Chew Chan.
"My one month stint in Korea is going to be tough, but I hope it willhelp me kick out the butterflies in my stomach during competition, and Iwill return from Beijing with a medal."
Chew Chan has broken her jinx in theAsian Championships, as she lost inthe first round of the 2006 edition. She was also a first round casualtyin the Goodluck Beijing tournament earlier this year, but that is history.
"I am better prepared now, and although the competition in Beijing willnot be easy, I have as good a chance as the next exponent to lay my handson a medal." She will not be thinking much about her opponents in Korea, where sheis training to become mentally strong.
"The skills and physical strength are there, now I will concentrate onmental strength, because that is what separates losers from winners.
"I will also have to be cautious not to pick up an injury, as I do notwant to waste the golden opportunity of competing in my first Olympics."
And she is also delighted with the RM1 million cash offer for a goldmedal, and the pension that comes with it.
"Life will be set!," she giggled like a teenager when asked about thecash incentive.
"But seriously, it is a huge boost for any athlete in the lead-up tothe Games. All of us want to return from the Olympics with a medal, andnow we have an extra reason, which will make our lives cushier," saidChew Chan.
Winning gold might be tough though as China's two-time Olympic goldmedalist Chen Zhong is in her category but Chew Chan is one grittypersonality and,who knows, Beijing might well be where she really showsher stuff.

FACT FILE CHE CHEW CHAN * Date of birth: Oct 1, 1982 * Hometown: Pontian, Johor * Height: 179cm * Weight: 72kg * Coach: R. Dhanaraj * Likes: Chocolates and sleep * Dislikes: Loud and talkative people * Favourite movie: Comedies * Favourite food: Ice-cream and nasi lemak * Favourite actor/actress: None * Career high: Silver medal in the 2008 Asian Championships * Career low: Failing in first international outing in Vietnam, 2001 * Previous Olympic appearances: Debutante * Beijing events: Women's heavyweight * Competition dates: Aug 20-23

Let Coaches Breathe

Junior Asia Cup Semi-finals: India 3 Pakistan 1, South Korea 4 Japan 2. Classification: Malaysia 5 Oman 1, Singapore 0 Bangladesh 0 (Bangladesh win 4-1 on penalties).

By Ajitpal Singh
COACHES should be given a free hand in preparing athletes or teams for competitions. National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong, in making this call, also advised national sports associations (NSAs) to stop meddling in the duties entrusted to coaches. "The NSAs should stop this practice. It's not healthy as it gives the impression that they don't trust their coaches.
"Why hire them in the first place then?," said Zolkples yesterday.
He was commenting in response to national junior hockey coach V.Muraleedharan's claim on Wednesday that he was not the decision-maker in preparing his charges for next year's Junior World Cup.
The coach attributed his team's current poor results in tournaments to the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF), who often make decisions on the team without consulting him.
Zolkples is also unhappy with the series of failures by the national senior and junior hockey teams.
"I need to hold a meeting with them as what's happening now is unacceptable. Problems after problems are arising in hockey and they must be resolved soon. The MHF will have to table their report to me and from there, I will see what can be done to improve the current situation."
Meanwhile, Malaysia notched their first win in the Junior Asia Cup, by defeating minnows Oman 5-1 in the fifth to eight classification match in Hyderabad, India, yesterday. Malaysia scored through Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin in the sixth and 32nd minutes, Azreen Rizal Nasir (24th), Muhammad Azammi Adabi (64th) and Mohd Noor Khairul Azrain Adnan (69th). Oman replied in the 39th minute.
Malaysia will face Bangladesh in the fifth placing classification match.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Muralee wants to call shots


By Ajitpal Singh
THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) calls the shots when it comes to the release of Junior World Cup-bound players for local tournaments and coach V. Muraleedharan (pic) wants to change this.
Muraleedharan, who has lost patience after a series of failures, wants his players to be barred from all local tournaments in preparation for the world meet, which Malaysia will be co-hosting with Singapore on July 7-21 next year in order to ensure a respectful showing.
He has warned that if the trend continues, his team will face heavy weather at the world meet.He attributed the poor performance in all tournaments for lack of training time to rectify the team's weaknesses.Since taking charge of the squad in December last year, the players were released twice for local meets, namely the National Junior Hockey League (NJHL) in March and the Terengganu Malaysia Games in June.
And if MHF does not chance its stand, the players will be released for the National Hockey League in December and the next year's NJHL, prior to the World Cup.
"I'm confident of transforming the team provided I am able to hold on to them for the next 11 months," said Muraleedharan, when contacted in Hyderabad where the junior team is taking part in the Junior Asia Cup, yesterday.
"I have good players but currently they suffer from lack of physical strength and fitness. They just can't sustain the 70 minutes.
"I wanted to work with them between March and June for the Tour of Europe and the Junior Asia Cup, but training was halted for two months because of local events (NJHL and Malaysia Games)," he said.
He also hopes that his team will be able to withdraw from the Razak Cup on Aug 2-10.
"The players need a break. They have been competing non-stop since the Malaysia Games." he added.Since last year, Muraleedharan has achieved nothing but failures in preparation for the world meet.
In his first tournament as coach at the Eight-Nation in Kuala Lumpur in January, the team finished last.
In the tour of Europe, the squad played nine matches and won only two. They suffered embarrassing defeats to minnows like Austria and Poland.
At the ongoing Junior Asia Cup, the team struggled to a 2-2 draw against Singapore before losing to India (3-1) and Japan (3-1).
They play Oman in the fifth-to-eight classification match.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Malaysia A Total Flop

TENSED MALAYSIANS: (From Left) goalkeepers coach Shahid Ali Khan, juniors coach V. Muraleedharan and Malaysian Hockey Federation assistant secretary N. Krishnan in Hyderabad, India. -- Pic:
JAPAN comfortably beat Malaysia 3-1 to reach the semi-finals of the Junior Asia Cup in Hyderabad, India yesterday.
Malaysia took a 14th minute lead when Marhan Jalil scored a field goal, but allowed Japan to equalise in the 28th minute, and then take the lead a minute from the half-time hooter.
And Japan sealed their semis ticket in the 60th minute, after Malaysia went for broke in the second half, as they needed an outright win to shut Japan out of the semis.
“We had the match in our hands, but lost out in the last 15 minutes on physical and fitness. The team played to instructions and waited patiently for counters and that gave us an early lead.
“But two mistakes, the first on marking and the second by our penalty corner runner gave Japan a life-line.
“And in the second half, we went forward looking for goals, but Japan increased the lead instead,” said national juniors coach V. Muraleedharan.
The Junior Asia Cup offers three tickets to the 2009 Junior World Cup, where Malaysia and Singapore have qualified by virtue of being co-hosts.
Japan will play South Korea, while India meet Pakistan in the semi-finals tomorrow (Wednesday).

P W D L F A Pts
India 3 3 0 0 11 1 9
Japan 3 2 0 1 12 4 6
Malaysia 3 0 1 2 4 8 1
Singapore 3 0 1 2 3 17 1

P W D L F A Pts
S Korea 3 2 1 0 22 3 7
Pakistan 3 2 1 0 16 6 7
Bangladesh 3 1 0 2 9 17 3
Oman 3 0 0 3 2 23 0
RESULTS: Group A -- Japan 3 Malaysia 1, India 6 Singapore 0; Group B: Pakistan 8 Bangladesh 2, South Korea 11 Oman 0.

7th Royal Selangor Club Nines

THE Seventh Royal Selangor Club Hockey Nines will be held on July 18-20 at the RSC Bukit Kiara Grounds in Kuala Lumpur.
The first day will see Under-12 action, where 16 boys’ and eight girls’ teams have registered. The weekend action will be among 24 men’s and six women’s teams.
“We have received tremendous response in the Under-12 category, and this augurs well for future development of the sport.
“And with the RSC celebrating its 125th anniversary next year, the next edition will be held in an even grander scale,” said tournament organising chairman Oommen Koshy.
Foreign teams from Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Indonesia have also registered for the event. On the local front, former internationals will represent the RSC while a number of current internationals will turn out with their clubs Ernst & Young and Sapura.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A mountain to climb

INDIA have qualified fo the Junior Asia Cup semis from Group A. Pic: Stick2hockey
JAPAN are physically stronger, but national juniors coach V. Muraleedharan is not throwing down the gauntlet, and promised that his charges will battle till the end in the Junior Asia Cup in Hyderabad today (Monday).
Malaysia will be playing with a handicap, as Noor Khairul Azrain was suspended two matches after picking up a red card in the first match against Singapore, and so Malaysia can only register 15 players against Japan.
Japan have three points from their 9-1 drubbing of Sin gapore, and need only a draw to advance to the semi-finals, while Malaysia need an outright win to advance.
"The stakes are very high and I expect Japan to come charging at us from the whistle. So, we will hold back a little, and have to make sure all our counter attacks count," said Muraleedharan.
After watching video replays of the match against Sin gapore and India, Muraleedharan yesterday worked on some of the silly mistakes which led to goals.
"Both the Singapore goals, and the first India goal was a lapse in defense, and we had a work-out today (yesterday) and will be better prepared against Japan.
"Although the match will be 60-40 in favour of Japan, I still believe patience will take us through to the semi-finals," said Muraleedharan.
From Group A, India have snatched one slot, while the remaining will be a toss between Malaysia and Japan. And in Group A, Pakistan and South Korea look like the best bets to advance.

P W D L F A Pts
India 2 2 0 0 5 1 6
Japan 2 1 0 1 9 3 3
Malaysia 2 0 1 1 3 5 1
Singapore 2 0 1 1 3 11 1

P W D L F A Pts
S Korea 2 1 1 0 11 3 4
Pakistan 2 1 1 0 8 4 4
Bangladesh 2 1 0 1 7 9 3
Oman 2 0 0 2 2 12 0

RESULTS: GROUP B -- Bangladesh 7 Oman 1; Pakistan 3 South Korea 3.
TODAY (Monday): Group A -- Japan v Malaysia, India v Singapore; Group B: Pakistan v Bangladesh, South Korea v Oman.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

India Beat Malaysia for semis

MALAYSIA displayed better understanding, but still went down 3-1 to India in the Junior Asia Cup in Hyderabad yesterday.
The win saw India reaching the last-four comfortably.
In another Group A match, Japan hammered Singapore 9-1 and will meet Malaysia in their last group match on Monday, where a win will ensure Malaysia play in the semi-finals.
India took a 2-0 lead into the breather with goals from Ranjeet Singh and Diwakar Ram, but Malaysia narrowed the gap with a 38th minute goal from Khairul Anuar.
Diwakar was on target again off a penalty corner to give India the win. It was Diwakar’s fourth goal in two matches.
"We matched India, but lost out to Diwakar’s powerful drag flicks. Otherwise, it was a much better performance that against Singapore (Malaysia drew 2-2).
"Now, we must beat Japan on Monday, and we will be in the semi-finals," said national Juniors coach V. Muraleedharan.
The India team was described as "Continuing their below normal performance that everyone witnessed yesterday (where they beat Japan 2-0), India showed no improvement in the first half at least. They was lethargic, moves were not constructive, even defence clearances were pathetic," reported a website.

P W D L F A Pts
India 2 2 0 0 5 1 6
Japan 2 1 0 1 9 3 3
Malaysia 2 0 1 1 3 5 1
Singapore 2 0 1 1 3 11 1

P W D L F A Pts
S Korea 1 1 0 0 8 0 3
Pakistan 1 1 0 0 5 1 3
Oman 1 0 0 1 1 5 0
Bangladesh 1 0 0 1 0 8 0

RESULTS: Group A -- Singapore 1 Japan 9, Malaysia 1 India 3.
TODAY: Group B -- Oman v Bangladesh, South Korea v Pakistan.
TOMORROW: Group A -- Japan v Malaysia, India v Singapore; Group B: Pakistan v Bangladesh, South Korea v Oman.

Ric Charlesworth's Resignation Letter

Elements not interested in Richard Charlesworth continuing in India have released the media though knowing well, though it is another aspect that the letter was sent long back and Ric was considering a review of it. Any case he is coming back to India, as s2h reported earlier, in the last week of this month. It is unfortunate the government sources openly leaked the letter on the opening day of the ongoing Junior Asia Cup. His letter of resignation.

To, Hon. MS Gill Mr Kalmadi, President, IOA Els van Breda, president, FIH Director General, SAI Mrs Amrit Bose, secretary, IWHF
Dear all, You represent all the interests in my employment in India and therefore this letter is addressed accordingly. I have now been working in India since the 10th of December 2007 although SAI unfortunately has failed to recognize in contractual format my earlier tenure. On March 20, under duress, I finally signed a contract that was far from adequate and from what was agreed earlier.
I did so in order to continue my work in the hope that things would improve in my working conditions and that I would have the opportunity to do what the original concept entailed. I also did so at the express promise of the IHF president and secretary general as well as the Executive Director, team sports that all outstanding invoices and salary arrears would be paid expeditiously.

This has not proved to be the case. The history of the contract negotiations and the fact of so many unfulfilled promises is the great regret of my time in India.
Quite explicitly, in the early negotiations (and even in my present contract, flawed as it is) it was agreed that my focus should be on the top end of the game. Unfortunately, to satisfy the need to address other problems in game development, facilities and coach education and training there was enthusiasm for me to deal in all these areas.
The reality is that full time positions are essential in addressing the women, the men, the junior team, development and coach education. The expectations of my position have been entirely unrealistic. Given no support staff, impossible traveling and living arrangements, no tools of trade or freedom to act, the whole thing has proved very difficult if not impossible. All these things had been promised.
I am not crying foul as I knew that India would be difficult... I just did not believe it could be this difficult. I still have no computer, no employer provided phone, no efficient capacity to plan and book travel and I remain unpaid for many months with considerable personal expenditure un-remitted and have suffered unnecessary separation from my family.
Equally, I have been frustrated with the inadequate working and living conditions and with very little support. Recent events in the administration of the game in India have offered some hope but also increased uncertainty. Arrangements are erratic and there is no capacity for flexibility in the present system.

My emails to staff in the SAI and Federations are testimony to this. The fact that they were only erratically answered goes to the work practices of staff or perhaps the difference in the working arrangements between India and other places.
Notwithstanding this difficult situation I have fulfilled the conditions of the contract and according to its parameters am offering my resignation effective from today. While I have been offered the position of National Coach informally there seems to be little enthusiasm for putting in place the necessary support such as position needs, and as such, this is not a proposition that makes sense. If India believes it can resurrect its fortunes without matching the practices of successful nations it will be a remarkable feat. An outline of the budgetary detail required in a quality programme has been outlined to the IOA already.
I will fulfill the statutory one month as outlined in my contract. You can contact me so that we can work out what should happen there. During that time, I will be able to finalise any details regarding my work so far and the requirementrs of my contract. I reserve the right to claim the outstanding amounts are owed to me by the SAI and the IHF for my work in India over the last seven months. This will likely entail legal action in order to be compensated for that which is owed and for the opportunities foregone to come to India.
As I have pointed out many times I do not believe that India can afford to change slowly or that it can, without a paradigm shift, generate the resources and energy to reorganize the game at the highest level. My ‘Observations and Recommendations’ paper goes directly to these points. I am happy to make it available to you with my other reports when my financial arrangements have been finalized satisfactorily. A range of my reports have already been forwarded.
It is with regret that I take this decision as I believe India can be a great power in the game again and indeed I would love for them to become a power again. The FIH supported this project sharing the same view but sometimes the reality on the ground is too overwhelming and without any glimmer of change on the horizon I make this decision. I believe that I am left with no other choice as things stand.

Sincerely Yours, Richard Charlesworth.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Malaysia 2 Singapore 2

MALAYSIA started on a pathetic note, when they clawed back from being 0-2 down, to hold Singapore to a 2-2 draw in the Junior Asia Cup in Hyderabad, India, yesterday.
And after leveling the score, Noor Khairul Azrain was flashed the red card, and a 10-man Malaysia struggled until the end.
Juniors coach V. Muraleedharan described the Malaysian match as “rubbish”.
“The boys were just too eager to get back into the match after Singapore took the lead in the 20th minute off a penalty corner rebound, and that resulted in Malaysia chasing a 0-2 lead at the end of the first half.
“In the dressing room, I told them to remain calm and play their normal game, and (Ahmad) Kazamirul score off a penalty corner in the 44th minute.
“Hang (Edzharsyah) leveled the score with a field attempt in the 49th minute and the team were looking good, but the un-necessary red card blew our chances,” said Muraleedharan.
Malaysia and Singapore are co-hosts of the Junior World Cup. Now, Malaysia will have a mammoth task of qualifying for the semi-finals, as they must beat Japan and India in the remaining pool matches.
RESULTS: Group A -- Singapore 2 Malaysia 2, India 2 Japan 0; Group B: Oman 1 Pakistan 3, Bangladesh 0 South Korea 8.
TODAY: Group A -- Singapore v Japan, Malaysia v India.
TOMORROW: Group B -- Oman v Bangladesh, South Korea v Pakistan.
July 14: Group A -- Japan v Malaysia, India v Singapore; Group B: Pakistan v Bangladesh, South Korea v Oman.

Ric's Indian Honeymoon Over

Ric Charlesworth captained the Australian men’s team, was a Member of Parliament besides a first-class cricketer with 2,000-plus runs for Western Australia. On retirement, he successfully coached the Aussie women’s team, Hockeyroos, to World Cup (1994, ’98), Olympic (1996, 2000), Commonwealth Games (1998) and Champions Trophy (’93, ’95, ’97, ’99) gold medals. In the recent years, he had moved to Italy where he wrote an offbeat book titled Shakespeare the coach that followed his two previous works, The Coach: Managing for success and Staying at the top.

NEW DELHI/HYDERABAD: Ric Charlesworth's honeymoon with Indian hockey is over. The high-profile Australian consultant has put in his papers and left Hyderabad for Delhi en route to Melbourne on Wednesday night.
Secretary-general of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Randhir Singh told IANS that Charlesworth has indeed quit, but his resignation is kept on hold.
A decision would be taken only after meeting the International Hockey Federation (FIH) officials as the international body had deputed him as the technical director to assist the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).
An ad hoc committee member said that some of Charleworth's demands were unreasonable and unacceptable.
"He had asked for a bomb as salary, to the tune of $70,000 per annum from the government and another $70,000 from the FIH Olympic solidarity fund," said the official not wanting to be named.
Over and above the Australian had asked for unimaginable perks, he added.
The official said the Australian's tenure in India was nothing much to speak of. He was flitting in and out of the country attending seminars and workshops making Delhi his base.
He used every excuse to go to Australia, making his stay in India uneventful. Before leaving Hyderabad, where he was to assess the performance of the Indian players in the Junior Asia Cup, starting Friday, Charlesworth told the media that he was frustrated at the way the the hockey administration ran the sport in the country.
Citing reasons for his quitting, Charleworth stated that he was mischievously not allowed to be a part of the men's OIympic qualifiers by the IHF and the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
"The problems in is the plans are of short-term. I have seen both the men's and the women's teams. I came here with an optimistic approach and when I saw the players for the first time I felt they are extremely gifted. I feel my impact here would have been that of a catalyst," he told a television channel.
He said he was extremely unhappy with the nature of his assignment and the tardy pace of progress in the execution of his recommendations.
"I cannot work in a pressure-cooker atmosphere. Moreover, the expected changes in the system did not come about. I had told K. P. S. Gill ( the ousted IHF president) the steps needed to be taken to revamp the system, " he said.
Charlesworth also said he had expected India to learn from the debacle in Olympic qualifier, but that had not happened.
"I thought it (debacle) will act like a catalyst but unfortunately other events have conspired to derail the process. There should be an urgency and the crisis should be handled in a professional way," he said.
Charlesworth said he was clueless about his role in Indian hockey and although he was appointed as consultant before the the Olympic qualifiers, he was still not clear what he was expected to do. Charlesworth was also unhappy with the scheduling of his work by SAI.
New Indian Express

Thursday, July 10, 2008

When Losing Not An Option

Junior Asia Cup Statistics
No Year (Host) Gold Silver Bronze
1 1987 (Karachi) Pakistan, South Korea, India.
2 1992 (Kuala Lumpur) Pakistan, Malaysia, South korea.
3 1996 (Singapore) Pakistan, India, Japan.
4 2000 (Kuala Lumpur) South Korea, India, Malaysia.
5 2004 (Karachi) India, Pakistan, South Korea.

THE Junior Asia Cup starts today, with Malaysia locking horns with Singapore in Hyderabad, India, and losing is not an option.
The tournament offers three seats to the 2009 Junior World Cup, which Malaysia and Singapore will co-host, so the curtain raiser will be a clash of pride, more than anything else.
Malaysia are in Group A with Singapore, India and Japan; while in Group B are Bangladesh, South Korea, Oman and Pakistan.
And if either Malaysia or Singapore reach the semi-finals, all the last four will be automatic qualifiers as well.
“I am confident that we have the material to beat Singapore, and then we will have to give our best against Japan to qualify for the semi-finals.
“India juniors are in a league of their own, so we will not be hoping too much out of that match,” said national juniors coach V. Muraleedharan.
TODAY: Group A -- Singapore v Malaysia, India v Japan; Group B: Oman v Pakistan, Bangladesh v South Korea.
Tomorrow: Group A -- Singapore v Japan, Malaysia v India.
July 13: Group B -- Oman v Bangladesh, South Korea v Pakistan.
July 14: Group A -- Japan v Malaysia, India v Singapore; Group B: Pakistan v Bangladesh, South Korea v Oman.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Kim For Malaysia Next?

FIH HOMEPAGE -- KIM Sang Ryul raised more than a few eyebrows at the Athens Olympics when he said he found it impossible to handle a women’s team.
“All they want to do is colour their hair, paint their nails and go shopping.” he said.
Now the former Korean women’s coach has taken up a new challenge with the China men’s squad.
Will he take up a Malaysian challenge after the Beijing Olympics?

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation’s (MHF) coaching committee chairman C. Paramalingam claims to have no knowledge but the National Sports Council (NSC) has made it known that it prefers a foreigner to handle the national team.
NSC director general Datuk Zolkples Embong has spoken to MHF deputy president Tunku Majid, indicating that the agency will fully support should the federation decide to go foreign.
“I had a meeting with (MHF deputy president) Tunku Majid (Sultan Iskandar) where it was verbally agreed that South Korean Kim Sang Ryul be hired because he has proven to be a coach of caliber. Maybe Tunku Majid has yet to brief the coaching committee.”
And the NSC is thinking about a full-time coach, not a consultant.
“We have an excellent set of players in the national team now, but sadly, they have not shown any improvement under local coaches. Players like Ismail Abu and Tengku (Ahmad) Tajuddin (both strikers) are potential world-class players, but have not improved over the years.
“I feel that a foreign coach like Kim can help their progress. But I would like to state that the decision is in the hands of the MHF, and we are merely playing a supporting role.”
Sang Ryul is now coaching the China team, and he was instrumental in the hosts qualifying for the Olympics, on merit, by finishing second in the Doha Asian Games.
“Kim has a contract with China until the Olympics, and if the MHF wants him, they can have him as a full-time coach after that,” said Zolkples.
However, the coaching committee is totally against a full-time foreign coach.
“Sarjit Singh (current national coach), was tasked to qualify for the 2010 Delhi World Cup and the 2012 London Olympics without the need to go through a qualifier when he was appointed in January 2007.
“I strongly disagree on a full-time foreign coach as even the MHF council had only endorsed a striker consultant to help Sarjit.
“There is something sinister in this move, because when Sarjit delivered in 2007 by finishing second in the Azlan Shah Cup and third in the Asia Cup, nobody questioned his capabilities.
“And then, there was never a target of qualifying for the Olympics after Germany were dumped in our group. The target was to reach the final, and that was missed by a whisker when Japan scored the disputed equaliser,” said Paramalingam.
The national team have no major assignment this year, but are in training for the 2009 Asia Cup, which offers a direct entry into the Delhi World Cup.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hakim Is Good, But Lazy

SHAHID Ali Khan with Hakim (in Black).

NATIONAL goalkeepers’ coach Shahid Ali Khan sees promise in junior Hakim Adnan provided he sheds his lazy attitude in training.
Hakim will be the player between the posts for Malaysia in the Junior Asia Cup which starts on Friday in Hyderabad, India.
The tournament offers three tickets to the 2009 Junior World Cup but co-hosts Malaysia and Singapore need not sweat.
Malaysia are in Group A with Singapore, Japan and India, while in Group B are Bangladesh, South Korea, Oman and Pakistan.
“Hakim has the height and is agile and I see a great future for him, but he is lazy and does not like training. Also, he does not keep fit when left on his own.
“I am working to change his attitude, as I believe he can challenge seniors goalkeeper (S.) Kumar in a few years,” said Shahid, who was a former Pakistan international.
The No 2 juniors goalkeeper is Safiuddin Sahrom, but he is unlikely to see much action in Hyderabad.
“Goalkeepers are so well protected these days that one rarely gets injured. Most teams have started with only one goalkeeper so that they can have an extra man in outfield,” said Shahid.
“We also fielded one goalkeeper in many of the Azlan Shah Cup matches and I believe this will be the trend in the Asia Cup too.”
Shahid is also impressed with five young goalkeepers he saw in action at the Terengganu Malaysia Games.
“I will call them for a training stint soon and select a few who show promise to have a bigger pool of goalkeepers.”
Currently Kumar is the No 1, while the others are miles behind.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Wright Way To Beijing

SUPER MOM: Thelma Wright (1972, 1976; 1,500 metre run)
UBC athlete Anthony Wright is the fifth Canadian Olympian in his family - photo by Martin Dee

By Basil Waugh
Forgive Olympic historians for experiencing déjà vu when Anthony Wright takes to the field hockey pitch in Beijing this summer.
In what surely is an Olympic record, the graduating Human Kinetics student and his national squad and UBC teammate Philip Wright, his younger brother, will become the fourth and fifth members of his family to sport the maple leaf in Olympic competition.
“It feels pretty special,” says Anthony Wright, 24, who counts late grandfather Harold Wright (1932, track and field), mother Thelma Wright (1972, 1976; 1,500 m run) and father Lee Wright (1964, 1976; field hockey) as fellow Olympians.
“I’ve been dreaming of the Olympics since I was five,” says the hard-nosed defender. “For field hockey players, qualifying for the Olympics is our Stanley Cup. You train with one goal in mind with no guarantee that you will achieve it. It is a dream come true.”
Wright, whose parents are both UBC alumni, has added to his family’s impressive athletic legacy in other ways. Winner of the 2008 Bobby Gaul Memorial Trophy as UBC’s Outstanding Graduating Male Athlete of the Year, he followed in the footsteps of his mother, who received the equivalent honour for female athletes in 1974.
Wright chalks up his Olympic development to healthy doses of nature and nurture.
“My parents have been incredibly supportive,” he says: “But I guess it also helps when both your parents are Olympians, gene-wise.”
With seven other current or former Thunderbirds joining Wright on Canada’s 18-member Olympic team, Beijing should be something of a coming-out party for UBC’s men’s field hockey program. League champion for the past three years, the team has not lost a Vancouver Men’s Field Hockey Premier Division game since 2005.
Wright attributes the program’s powerhouse status to three factors: some serious globetrotting, the coaching of former Canadian Olympic team coach Shiaz Virjee, and the distinct advantage of playing home games on Wright Field, a world-class artificial turf facility named in honour of his Olympic forbear Harold Wright.
In addition to UBC trips to Spain and Malaysia, Wright has toured extensively with Canada’s national team, attending the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Australia and qualifying for Beijing by winning gold at the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil.
He supplemented these team experiences with a semester of study at University of Queensland thanks to UBC’s Go Global international exchange program.
“Field hockey is not a mainstream sport in North America, so you need to travel to play the top players,” Wright says.
“Seeing how huge the sport is in other countries and learning how they play the game has been essential to my development and an amazing experience.”
Out of appreciation for the opportunities he has been given as an athlete, Wright has been a regular volunteer with I’m Going To UBC, which pairs varsity athletes with inner city kids for campus tours, sports clinics and T-Birds games, with the ultimate goal of increasing access to post-secondary education for children who may think it is beyond their grasp.
He also visits with local elementary students every month as part of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Adopt-an-Athlete program, and will write them weekly by email from Beijing.
Wright has also been a heavy-hitter in UBC’s School of Human Kinetics where he has been a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship and a three-time Academic All-Canadian for maintaining an average grade of 80 per cent or higher.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Under-20 for Asia Cup

Junior goalkepeepers after training.
Goalkeepers' coach Shahid Ali Khan training his charges for the Asia Cup.

NATIONAL Juniors coach V. Muraleedharan has set his sights on the semi-finals in the Asia Cup in Hyderabad, India, on July 11-18.
Three tickets to the 2009 Junior World Cup will be on offer in Hyderabad, but since Malaysia have qualified by virtue of being hosts, the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) selected only players who will be eligible to play next year.
Malaysia open their campaign against Singapore, who have also qualified as co-hosts, and Muraleedharan is confident of three points.
Malaysia have Japan, India and Singapore in Group A, while Bangladesh, South Korea, Oman and Pakistan are the Group B cast.
“Even if Singapore field Under-21 players, I believe we will win three points, and then we will have to beat either Japan or India to qualify for the semi-finals,” said Muraleedharan after naming the 18 for Hyderabad yesterday.
There will be five new additions from the recent European Tour, where Malaysia only won two of nine matches played.
“I believe the team is now stronger and we will aim for the semi-finals.”
The squad: Hakim Adnan, Safiuddin Sahrom; Kazamirul Nasruddin, Sybrie Shamsuddin, Nor Hafiq Gaffar, Marhan Jalil, Noor Khairul Azrain, Khairil Anuar, Shafiq Zain, Hang Edzharsyah, Andika Rahis, Fitri Bakar, Azammi Adabi, R. Nadesh, Fareez Ismail, Faizal Saari, Azreen Rizal. Coach: V. Muraleedharan; Assistant coach: K. Rajan; Manager: Ranjit Singh.
Meanwhile, it has been brought to Timesport’s attention that in a report headlined “Bleak future for Muraleedharan’s squad”. which appeared on June 28, a quote which read: “These 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,” was wrongly attributed to Muraleedharan. The error is regretted.