Sunday, August 31, 2008

Asia Cup top-two finish target

NATIONAL hockey coach Sarjit Singh is looking for a direct entry into the 2010 New Delhi World Cup, and the aim is a top-two finish in the Asia Cup in Dubai, next year.
The National team is practically ‘jobless’ this year, with only the Hamburg Masters in Germany and the Malaysia Hockey League to look forward to.
But next year, they will be on a do-or-die mission.
“Germany has invited us for the Hamburg Masters in October, where the other teams will be Pakistan and Belgium. It will be good to play against the Olympic champions (Germany) again,” said Sarjit yesterday.

Malaysia were grouped together with Germany in the Olympic Qualifiers in Japan, and the national team lost 3-0 in the pool match.

Germany, who beat Japan for the only ticket to Beijing from the qualifier, went on the lift the Olympics title when they edged Spain 1-0 in the final.

“Qualifiers are becoming increasingly difficult, as even India and Argentina failed in their respective pools for the Olympics.
“That is why I will work towards an automatic ticket, by playing in the final of the Asia Cup,” said Sarjit.
Dubai will host Malaysia, Japan, China, South Korea, India and Pakistan, who will joined by Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) Cup winner Bangladesh and runners-up Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup.

The AHF tournament has three reserved tickets to the World Cup, which means, Malaysia must beat Pakistan, Japan and China to the race. India have qualified as hosts, while South Korea are a class above.

HAMBURG MASTERS FIXTURES — Oct 3: Pakistan v Belgium, Malaysia v Germany.
Oct 4: Malaysia v Pakistan, Belgium v Germany. Oct 5: Belgium v Malaysia, Pakistan v Germany.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Avril makes a lasting impression

KUALA LUMPUR: All the fuss over Canadian teen pop-rock star Avril Lavigne's concert proved com- pletely unfounded as she belted out a measured performance at Stadium Merdeka last night.
It was a pop concert all right, with no element of a rowdy punk-rock performance as feared by some quarters who had objected to her coming here.
PAS Youth leaders had criticised the timing of the concert, claiming that the culture Lavigne promoted was not appropriate especially so close to Merdeka Day.
But all that steam was lost in the night as Lavigne entertained the estimated 15,000 crowd with songs from her three albums, bursting into life in typical fashion for several hit numbers.
There were many who stood in raincoats to watch the star do her thing. Among those who turned up was Kelana Jaya MP Loh Gwo Burne who is from Parti Keadilan Rakyat.
Lavigne was dressed casually in jeans and a black T-shirt as she took to the stage with her first song Girlfriend, and only had one costume change, into a grey T-shirt, in the one-and-a-half-hour show. -- THE STAR
The crowd remained excited throughout, singing and dancing along to Lavigne's entire 17-song set.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Team and venue both in shambles

THE 2004 Rotterdam Junior World Cup venue. Malaysia, who finished 10th in Rotterdam, have yet to get their act together to host the 2009 edition.

WITH only 10 months to the Junior World Cup, hosts Malaysia are still groping in the dark, on and off the pitch.
Johor will co-host the tournament with Singapore on June 7-21 next year, but up till today, Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) affiliates are still in the dark about preparations to host it.
Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) had promised the International Hockey Federation (FIH) two new pitches, as Johor will host 10 teams, while Singapore another 10 for the World Cup.
But till today, MHF affiliates have yet to be briefed about the status of the stadiums, and efforts to raise at least RM2 million to cover organising costs.
The FIH awarded Malaysia as hosts on Nov 14 last year, with MHC deputy president Tunku Majid Sultan Iskandar and Singapore Hockey
Federation president Annabell Dhillon appointed as co-chairmen of the
Junior World Cup organising committee.
“Penang came seeking answers during the last Council meting (on Aug 16) but our deputy president Tunku Majid was absent again, and we left with more questions than answers.
“It was the third Council meeting in a row which Tunku Majid failed to attend, and so the Council has instructed Johor to make a full presentation on the Junior World Cup in our next meeting on Sept 20,” said Penang HA secretary Ranjit Singh.
Ranjit hopes Johor will come with answers: “Right now, it looks like Malaysia are heading to what could turn out to be an embarrassing situation.
“We only have 10 months to build new stadiums, and source for at least RM2 million to cover organising costs.
“The MHF, at present, are still paying the RM1 million debt we went into after organising the Champions Trophy, and are in no position to fall again,” said Ranjit.
Singapore, on the other hand, are all set to host the tournament and the co-hosts are said to be as jittery as MHF affiliates, as Malaysia have not even reached the planning stage yet.
On the team, the juniors drew 2-2 with Singapore in the Junior Asia Cup, and the MHF have entrusted Tenaga Nasional coach K. Rajan to whip-up a respectable outfit, after V. Muraleedharan resigned.
The players were blooded in the Razak Cup, and will now play as an outfit in Division One of the Malaysia Hockey League which starts on Oct 10.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Five years for slapping umpire

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) Disciplinary Board slapped Selangor Razak Cup player Rohizan Ramli with a five-year ban after finding him guilty of slapping an umpire.
The incident happened during the Division Two final of the Razak Cup on Aug 9, between Penang and Selangor, which Penang eventually won 3-2.
“The DB, chaired by Datuk G. Vijayanathan, felt that the player went overboard when he slapped an umpire, and then tried to hit him with a hockey stick. That is why he was slapped with a lengthy ban,” said MHF secretary Sgt Hashim Yusoff.
The incident happened in the last minute of regulation time, when Selangor’s Rohizan Ramli harassed umpire Syed Harun after he blew for a penalty corner.
Syed flashed a yellow card to Rohizan, who then slapped the umpire, and swung his stick which missed by inches.
The 46th Razak Cup also saw a record of sorts, as five red cards were flashed in nine days.
Among those who received the red card, was former International K. Gobinathan. Gobi, who turned out for Perak, verbally abused an umpire, and was immediately banned fot two matches.
The National Juniors also took part as an outfit in the Razak Cup, and there were moments of indiscipline which disrupted their matches.
“I have spoken to some of the players who argued with umpires during the Razak Cup, and told them that I will not tolerate it anymore.
“Indiscipline will not be tolerated during our preparations for the Junior World Cup next year. I will show the door to any player who feels he is bigger than the sport,” said National Juniors coach K. Rajan.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rajan to lead 2009 World Cup team

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) council recently endorsed K. Rajan as the new National Juniors coach following the resignation of V. Muraleedharan.
Rajan has been entrusted to whip up a team for the 2009 Junior World Cup, which Malaysia and Singapore will be co-hosting.
“I have selected eight new faces from the Razak Cup, including Negri Sembilan’s (G. Kavin Kartik) 16-year-old boy who played very well in the tournament,” said Rajan.
“We have started training, and I will continue even during the fasting month to build their fitness which was lacking during the Razak Cup.”
Rajan also plans to blood the juniors in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) which starts on Oct 10. “It will be good for the juniors to play in the tough MHL, I believe they will pick up some valuable pointers.”
The Junior World Cup will be held on June 7-21 with 20 teams competing in four groups.
Meanwhile, MHF secretary Sgt Hashim Yusoff confirmed yesterday that the parent body is still interested in hiring Korean Kim Sang Ryul as a consultant for the juniors and seniors.
“Kim is now free (after coaching China men’s team for the Beijing Olympics) and we have approached him to train our players on a consultant basis,” said Hashim.
“He has yet to reply, but we hope he can come and help (seniors coach) Sarjit Singh and Rajan as a consultant because both the sides have major assignments next year.” While the juniors will be involved in the World Cup, the seniors will play in the Asia Cup, which is a qualifier for the 2010 New Delhi World Cup.
THE MHF will hold its next council meeting on Sept 20 to submit its accounts and prepare for elections.
Nominations for the biennial elections open on Oct 3 and will close on Oct 25.


Germany hockey players with the Beijing Olympic gold medal.
Spain hockey players with the Beijing Olympics silver. Come on guys, smile! You earned it.

Super Women ........

GERMAN Women celebrate their Beijing Olympics Gold Medal.
China finished second, but nothing to cry here, as they are the team to watch from now.

Germany snatch Olympic history




An early penalty corner goal from Christopher Zeller was enough to take the German men to a 1-0 win over Spain and put the Gold around their necks in the final match of the Olympic hockey tournament in Beijing.
Australia took the Bronze medal with a stunning 6:2 win over The Netherlands. Eddie OCKENDEN was the star of the show, scoring two and setting up another as The Kookaburras cruised to victory.
Earlier in the day, Great Britain surprisingly took fifth place by scoring five second half goals against Korea, with forward Jonty CLARKE scoring a brace of field goals. Other strikes came from the sticks of Barry MIDDLETON, Ashley JACKSON, and Glenn KIRKHAM. The Chinese team delighted the home crowd by grabbing a dramatic win over South Africa in extra-time to finish 11th in this Olympic competition.

Gold Medal Match
Germany defeat Spain 1:0 (1:0)

Emulating the Dutch women who took the Olympic Gold in Beijing as World Champions, the German men today wrestled victory in the final from rivals Spain to pronounce themselves Olympic Champions.
Both teams started by playing low intensity hockey, Germany knocking the ball around on risk-free trajectories while Spain was happy to leave them to it, patiently waiting for their opportunities.
A 16th minute penalty corner changed all that however, as Christopher Zeller powered a cracking flick under the crossbar to give his team the lead, putting all the pressure on Spain.
Spain coped well, shifting a gear up and gaining momentum as time progressed. They looked extremely threatening as the break approached but were unable to get on the scoreboard before halftime interrupted their efforts.
In the second half, Spain kept attacking but still failed to break down the rock solid German defence. Dominating open play for much of the second half, they were faced with a clock ticking down relentlessly, the pressure ever increasing, and a German wall that just didn't give way.
Late in the half, with Spain getting frustrated and desperate in equal measures, Germany even had more chances than Spain who seemed to be repelled by the German goal and circle, and losing Sergi Enrique to a yellow card didn't help the Iberians.
Germany held their lead down to the final whistle with an amazing effort in defence, while the Spanish played a great game but entirely lacked the finishing touch.
This win confirms Christopher Zeller as a big match player - taking Germany to Olympic glory with his one goal today, when two years ago, it was him as well who led the Germans to their World Cup title.
For German striker Florian Keller it is also a special moment: he adds his Gold to the four that are already in the family, with his grandfather, father, brother and sister all having been Olympic Gold medallists.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dutch women simply too good

Results - Women
Friday 22 August
08:30 11-12 RSA:NZL 4:1 (2:1)
11:00 5-6 AUS : GBR 2:0 (1:0)
18:00 3-4 GER : ARG 1:3 (0:2)
20:30 Final CHN : NED 0:2 (0:0)

A few facts from FIH: Hosts China will play their first ever Olympic Hockey final and will collect their first ever medal in Olympic Hockey. Netherlands are only the second team to reach back-to-back Olympic finals. Before 2008, that feat had only been achieved by Australia, the 1996-2000 Hockeyroos. At Athens 2004, the Dutch went down 2-1 against Germany. The Netherlands will collect a record sixth Olympic medal. So far they have won one gold (1984), one silver (2004) and three bronze (1988, 1996 and 2000).

The Netherlands 2 (Naomi van As 50, Maartje Goderie 63) China 0 H-t: 0-0; Bronze medal play-off: Argentina 3 (Rosario Luchetti 11, Carla Rebecchi 22, Noel Barrionuevo 63) Germany 1 (Anke Kuehn 47) H-t: 2-0.
Classification matches: For 5-6 positions Australia 2 Britain 0 H-t: 1-0; For 11-12 positions: South Africa 4 New Zealand 1 H-t: 2-1.
Final women’s rankings: 1 The Netherlands 2 China 3 Argentina 4 Germany 5 Australia 6 Britain 7 Spain 8 United States 9 South Korea 10 Japan 11 South Africa 12 New Zealand

Germany and Spain bank on mascots

BEIJING, Aug 22, 2008 (AFP) - World Cup champions Germany and Spain go into Saturday’s Olympic men’s field hockey final hoping the coaches put their previous gold medal experience to good use.
Spain’s Dutch coach Maurits Hendriks was with the Netherlands when they won the title at the 2000 Sydney Games, while German Markus Weise masterminded the women’s team triumph in Athens four years ago.
Their wisdom will count as Germany contest their first final since winning the gold medal at Barcelona in 1992 and Spain bid for their first Olympic title after losing the deciders in 1980 and 1996.
“It will be about strategy and how we put that into practice,” said Spanish veteran Pol Amat. “I hope Maurits bring us luck. After all, he knows what it takes to win a gold.” Hendriks, however, stressed the final was not about coaches, but the players.
“This is for the boys, I am just going to sit and watch,” the flamboyant coach said. “The team has done a lot themselves to get this far. They are just a delight to watch.” Spain, widely regarded as the best men’s team not to have won the Olympic gold, will be wary of the Germans who beat them 1-0 in the preliminary league.
“We played badly that day and did not deserve to win,” said Hendricks.
"Germany will be tough, but this is a new day, a new game. We will go in as equals.” Weise, who took over the German men three years ago after head coach Bernhard Peters switched to football, remained wary of Spain despite his team’s unbeaten record in the competition.
“All the good work of the past will be of no use if we do not deliver when it counts the most,” Weise said. “But the team is confident of finishing the job.” Germany, who conceded the world number one ranking to Australia after failing to win the Champions Trophy in June, have won four of their six matches so far and drawn the other two.
The European rivals made it to the gold medal clash by reversing the semi-final results at Athens four years ago when Spain lost to Australia and Germany were beaten by the Dutch.
On Thursday, Spain fought back after being two goals down to upset defending champions Australia 3-2 in a thrilling semi-final, ace striker Santi Freixa scoring the winner two minutes before the final whistle.
Germany beat the Netherlands 4-3 in the penalty shoot-out after the European heavyweights were locked 1-1 at the end of extra-time.
“We have worked hard for three years to achieve this result and now we are close to realising our dream,” said Spain’s Amat. “There is a lot to play for in the final.” Meanwhile, Australia will clash with the Netherlands for the bronze medal earlier on Saturday.
“We need to re-visit our strengths and remind the players of those strengths that made us number one,” said Aussie coach Barry Dancer, who is due to leave the Kookaburras after the Olympics.

Men's semi-finals action


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Taeke Taekema blows it for Dutch!, Spain beat mighty Australia!

Men’s S-finals — Netherlands 1 Germany 1 (Germany win 4-3 on penalties); Spain 3 Australia2.
Classifications —Ninth-10th — Belgium 3 Canada 0, Seventh-Eighth: New Zealand 4 Pakistan 2.
BEIJING, Aug 21, 2008 (AFP) - Germany rode on a rare error by Dutch sharpshooter Taeke Taekema in the penalty shoot-out on Thursday to enter the Olympic men’s hockey final for the first time in 16 years.

The Germans beat the Netherlands 4-3 in the shoot-out after the European heavyweights were locked 1-1 at the end of extra-time in a tense semi-final at the Olympic Green Hockey stadium.
The shoot-out itself went into sudden death as both teams drew 3-3 after the first 10 strokes.
As Christopher Zeller made it 4-3 for Germany, Taekema, the tournament’s leading scorer with 10 goals, scooped straight and high to allow goalkeeper Max Weinhold to palm the ball over the goal post.
The Germans avenged their defeat against the Dutch in the Athens Games semi-final four years ago to make their first Olympic final since winning the gold medal at Barcelona in 1992.
In Saturday’s title clash, Germany will face the winner of Thursday’s other semi-final between defending champions Australia and Spain.
Germany should have sealed the match in the first session of extra-time when a high ball rebounded off the Dutch goalkeeper, but Philip Witte failed to connect in front of an open goal.
The rivals ended level in regulation time after a scrappy encounter sparked to life in the last four minutes.
Timme Hoyng put the Dutch ahead in the 66th minute when he diverted a penalty corner pass from Taekema into the goal.
Germany, who wasted their first penalty corner soon after, drew level two minutes before the final whistle when Philipp Zeller dived to deflect in Moritz Fuerste’s free hit.
Both sides shared the early exchanges, repeatedly raiding the rival goal, but could not convert the half chances that came their way.
Dutch veteran Teun de Nooijer and Germamn striker Florian Keller failed to give their sides the lead just before half-time when they broke through the rival defences but shot wide.
Christopher Keller wasted a similar opportunity early in the second session, his shot from the right just missing the Dutch goal.
The Netherlands earned the first penalty corner of the match in the 53rd minute, but Taekema’s high flick was warded off by the German defenders.

Singing in the Rain...

Misty May-Treanor (L) spikes.

(BEIJING, August 21) -- Today the American duo of Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor proved that they are the best-ever team in the history of the fledgling Olympic sport. By beating China's Wang Jie and Tian Jia in the final of the Women's Beach Volleyball competition, Walsh and May-Treanor won their second gold medal and remained undefeated in Olympic competition.

(BEIJING, August 21) -- Olga Kaniskina crossed the finish line to win Russia's first gold in Women's 20km Walk at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in 1 hour 26.31 minutes on August 21, breaking the previous Olympic record of 1 hour 29.05 minutes. "I haven't broken the world record because of the weather. I think my regular training is the most important factor contributing to my victory," said Kaniskina.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Avril too sexy for Malaysians?

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s Islamic opposition party has urged the government to cancel a planned concert by Avril Lavigne, saying the Canadian singer’s on-stage moves are “too sexy” for this Muslim-majority country, an official said Monday.
Lavigne, a Grammy-nominated rock singer who burst to fame with her 2002 debut album “Let’s Go,” plans to start her monthlong Asia tour with a performance in Kuala Lumpur on Aug. 29.
The youth wing of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party said Lavigne’s concert would promote wrong values ahead of Malaysia’s Aug. 31 independence day.
“It is considered too sexy for us. ... It’s not good for viewers in Malaysia,” said Kamarulzaman Mohamed, a party official. “We don’t want our people, our teenagers, influenced by their performance. We want clean artists, artists that are good role models.”

Germany edge Japan for semis

Results - Women
Monday 18 August
08:30 GER : JPN 1:0 (0:0)
10:30 KOR : RSA 5:2 (4:0)
18:00 GBR : USA 0:0 (0:0)
18:30 NED : ESP 2:1 (1:0)
20:30 ARG : NZL 3:2 (1:1)
21:00 CHN : AUS 2:2 (1:0)

Hockey stars in action

Germany's Anke Kuehn (18) falls over Japan's Kaori Chiba during the field hockey competitions at the Olympic Hockey Center at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Monday, Aug. 18, 2008.
South Africa's Jennifer Wilson, right, falls as her shot is blocked by South Korea's goalkeeper Moon Young-hui as Lee Seon-ok (7) defends during their women's field hockey match at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Monday, Aug. 18, 2008.
Park Mi Hyun of South Korea leaps over Jennifer Wilson of South Africa during their 2008 Beijing Olympic Games preliminary women's field hockey Beijing on August 18, 2008. South Korea won 5-2.
US players (R) celebrate after scoring a goal against Germany during their 2008 Beijing Olympic Games women's field hockey match in Beijing on August 14, 2008.
Germany's Florian Keller (front) and goalkeeper Max Weinhold celebrate after winning their 2008 Beijing Olympic Games preliminary men's field hockey match against Spain in Beijing on August 17, 2008. Germay's won 1-0.
New Zealand's Gemma Flynn is carried from the field after she was injured during the field hockey competition against the United States at the Olympic Hockey Center at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2008. USA won 4-1.
Australia's Eddie Ockenden, right, is upended by Netherlands' Taeke Taekema during the men's field hockey competition at the Olympic Hockey Center at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2008. The match ended in a 2-2 draw.

Australian swimming stars

Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice arrives for a promotional event to celebrate the end of the Olympic swimming programme, in Beijing on August 17, 2008. Rice won three gold medals at the Beijing Games and she joined Betty Cuthbert, Shane Gould and Ian Thorpe in equalling the record haul for an Australian at a single Olympics.
Australian swimmer Leisel Jones (R) and her fiance Marty Pask arrive for a promotional event to celebrate the end of the Olympic swimming programme in Beijing on August 17, 2008. Australia's world champion and world record holder Leisel Jones is now Olympic champion after her all-the-way victory in the 100 metres breaststroke final at the Beijing Games. The undisputed breaststroke queen of world swimming made amends for her Olympic disappointment in Athens four years ago, winning just outside her world record in a time of one minute 05.17 seconds.
Australian swimmer Grant Hackett and his wife Candice arrive for a promotional event to celebrate the end of the Olympic swimming programme in Beijing on August 17, 2008. Grant Hackett signed off from the Olympics after his heartbreaking loss of a third consecutive 1500 metres freestyle crown at the Beijing Games by less than a second. The champion Australian swimmer, who has held the world record for seven years, fell agonisingly short in his attempt to become the first male swimmer to win the same event at three consecutive Olympics.