Saturday, August 2, 2008

Azerbaijan’s appeal dismissed

MADRID, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Azerbaijan’s appeal for Spain’s women to be disqualified from the Olympic hockey competition because of doping violations has been dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The CAS panel said that Azerbaijan’s case arguing that they should replace Spain in the competition had no standing.
The Azerbaijan Hockey Federation had appealed to CAS against the International Hockey Federation (FIH) decision to allow Spain to compete in the Olympics after exonerating the team following an alleged doping case involving two Spanish players in the qualifying tournament in Baku in April.
The FIH found one player guilty of a doping violation without significant fault or violation and the other was exonerated of any offence.
Spain, who qualified ahead of Azerbaijan in the tournament, argued the cases were the result of a possible attempt to sabotage the team’s chances during the Olympic qualifying tournament. Players and coaching staff complained about the organisation of the event on their return from Azerbaijan.
They said four members of the team had collapsed in the hotel prior to their match against Kenya having inhaled gas that had escaped from the air conditioning system.
They also complained that players were unable to sleep after being bombarded by telephone calls in their hotel rooms. Others felt ill after drinking water given to them by organisers during matches. Spain qualified for the Olympics after beating hosts Azerbaijan 3-2 in the final.
(Reporting by Simon Baskett; editing by Miles Evans in Beijing)

Juniors hold Johor

NATIONAL Juniors held Division One defending cham pions Johor 1-1 in the Razak Cup at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.
The Juniors were the better team, but poor shooting in the semi-circle was their bane.
Johor took the lead off S. Shankar, who scored after a solo 50-metre run, in the 14th minute. The National Juniors got their equaliser in the 31st minute, when Azammi Adabi connected home.
"My instruction was to play an attacking game from the midfield onwards, and the boys proved that they have the capabilities to play good hockey.
"This team can only get better with more emphasis on fitness. I believe they will give every team in Division One a fight," said newly appointed National Juniors coach K. Rajan.
In another Division One match, Negri Sembilan beat Armed Forces 2-1. Negri scored off Mahinder Singh (10th) and Suhaimi Ibrahim (37th). Zaini Sarip scored for Armed Forces in the 34th minute.
RESULTS -- Division One: Armed Forces 1 Negri Sembilan 2, Johor 1 National Juniors 1, Kuala Lumpur x Malacca x.
Division Two: Kelantan 0 Selangor 5, Police 3 Penang 7.
TODAY: Division One -- Negri Sembilan v Malacca (4pm), Perak v Kuala Lumpur (6pm), Armed Forces v Johor (8pm).
Division Two: Singapore v Penang (7.30am), Kelantan v Perlis (9.15am).
Note: All matches at the Tun Razak Stadium, and entrance is free.

Juniors against defending champions

NATIONAL Juniors will square off against defending cham pions Johor in Division One of the Razak Cup at the Tun Razak Stadium in Kuala Lumpur today.
The fixtures were redrawn, after Kedah and Pahang withdrew. Terengganu are also not in the fray, as the state claimed that they did not have enough money to send a team.
This has placed Singapore in Division Two.
"The Razak Cup is a perfect avenue for juniors, below 20 years-old, and not in the national training camp to impress selectors.
"We (the Malaysian Hockey Federation) are on the lookout to select more players to strengthen the (2009 Junior) World Cup training squad," said MHF vice-president Datuk Dr S.S. Cheema.
The National Juniors progress in the tournament will also be closely monitored, after they fared miserably in the recent Junior Asia Cup in Hyderabad.
And the MHF will not hesitate to axe juniors who show no progress while playing against state teams.
K. Rajan, appointed as interim coach after V. Muraleed haran resigned yesterday, will have his hands full, as Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Perak have many experienced current and former internationals in their squads.
And at the team managers meeting yesterday, there were plenty of arguments on release letters for players to rep resent other states.
"There was a healthy discussion, and every state produced release letters except for Johor who had wanted the services of brothers (K.) Logan Raj and Keevan Raj.
"But the duo did not have release letters from their state of birth (Malacca) so they were deemed as not eligible to represent Johor," said Cheema, who is also the MHF com petitions committee chairman.
DIVISION ONE: Armed Forces, Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, National Juniors, Negri Sembilan, Perak.
DIVISION TWO: Kelantan, Police, Perlis, Penang, Selangor, Singapore.
TODAY: Division One -- Armed Forces v Negri Sembilan (4pm), Johor v National Juniors (6pm), Kuala Lumpur v Malacca (8pm).
Division Two: Kelantan v Selangor (7.30am), Police v Penang (9.15am).
Note: All matches at the Tun Razak Stadium, and entrance is free.

Famous Five meet Azlan Shah

FIVE former internationals met former Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) president Sultan Azlan Shah for 30 minutes yesterday to submit a petition on the state of hockey in the country.
Former skipper Mirnawan Nawawi, K. Embaraj, S.M. Sambu, Maninderjit Singh and Azlin Fairuz were the players who met Sultan Azlan Shah, the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) president.
Among the issues discussed were the failure to reach the final of the Olympics Qualifiers in Japan, the miserable outing in the Azlan Shah Cup, and failures at the junior ranks the past 10 months.
This was a follow up to the petition signed by 102 former hockey coaches, players, and officials who wrote an open letter to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, asking him to help save hockey.
The petition was also sent to the Sports Ministry which has instructed the National Sports Council to meet these players after the Beijing Olympics.
On Monday, the players are expected to meet Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad, the Sports Advisory Panel chairman.

Muralee calls it a day

NATIONAL Juniors coach V. Muraleedharan sent in a shock resignation letter to the Malaysian hockey Federation (MHF) on the eve of the Razak Cup which will be held at the Tun Razak Stadium from today.
And the MHF accepted his letter, and have appointed his assistant K. Rajan as an interim coach. The juniors will play as an outfit in Division One.
Muralee is a teacher with the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) in Kuala Lumpur.
"I received Muraleedharan’s resignation letter this morn ing (yesterday), and as an interim measure, we have ap pointed his assistant Rajan to handle the national juniors for the duration of the Razak Cup.
"The coaching committee will now make their recom mendation for a new juniors coach as soon as possible, and we will announce it after the council meets and endorses on Aug 16," said MHF secretary Sgt Hashim Yusoff.
Muralee, barely six months into the job, came under intense fire after the juniors fared miserably in the Kuala Lumpur eight-nation, the Poland four-nation, Europe friendlies and the final straw was when the drew 2-2 with Singapore in the recent Junior Asia Cup in Hyderabad, India.
Before Muralee, Tai Beng Hai had resigned after a short stint, as this same batch of players has lost more than 30 matches in friendlies and tournaments under him.
"Muralee did state his reason for quitting, but I can’t reveal the content of his letter. We will leave it in the hands of the coaching committee and the council to decide on that," said Hashim.
The national juniors are in training for the 2009 Junior World Cup, which Malaysia and Singapore will co-host in july next year. So, the MHF need a speedy replacement, as time is not on their side.