Thursday, September 30, 2010

Project 2013 hit four past Kiwis

DOWN AND OUT: New Zealand's Simon Child receiving treatment after a nasty tumble during the match against Project 2013.

The Black Sticks Men's final warm up game in Malaysia saw them win 6-4 against the Malaysian Junior Men's team.
This game was a friendly, and not played to test match rules, but nevertheless gave the team a further chance to gel before heading to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, tonight (NZT).
In this high goal-scoring game, five New Zealand players got the ball in the back of the goal - Phil Burrows twice, and the other four goals were scored by Nick Wilson, Hugo Inglis, Ben Collier and Blair Hilton.
New Zealand came out strong in the first half, scoring three goals and Malaysia zero. However, the second half saw Malaysia come back to score its four goals and New Zealand its final three.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Back to where they finished 12th

LAHORE: Fullback Zeeshan Arshaf will lead a 16-member Pakistan hockey squad at the Commonwealth Games starting next month in New Delhi. The green shirts will play their inaugural match against minnows Scotland. Zeeshan and right half Kashif Javed passed fitness tests on Tuesday and were included in the national outfit by the selectors. Zeeshan had a hamstring injury while Kashif twisted his left ankle during the recent training tour to Europe. Country’s main hopes for a medal are pinned on hockey and tennis. The green shirts are departing for India on Wednesday (today) for the October 3-14 event.
“It’s a very important event for us for which we have done good training in Europe,” Zeeshan told reporters. The 16-member strong team also includes experienced trio Waseem Ahmad, Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi.
Pakistan, who won silver at the last Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006, are in Pool A with defending champions Australia, Malaysia, Scotland and hosts India. The other group comprises England, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Trinidad & Tobago.
Pakistan plummeted to a worst-ever 12th place finish in the World Cup earlier this year at the same venue in Delhi where they will compete for the Commonwealth title. Reaching the semifinals looks a tough proposition for Pakistan. Zeeshan is hopeful Pakistan can do well in India. “Our first target will be to reach the semis, and if we are able to do that I am sure we can upset the best of teams in the race for the title,” added Zeeshan, who came out of retirement after the World Cup failure. Chief selector Hanif Khan is confident the demons of Delhi will not haunt the squad. “The nightmare of Delhi will not haunt Pakistan and I am confident that this team will reach the victory stands in the Commonwealth Games,” Hanif maintained.
Since the World Cup debacle, Pakistan has hired Dutch coach Michel van den Heuvel, who has set long-term goals. “The assignment I have been given is to prepare a strong team capable of winning the 2012 London Olympics, but my own assessment is that we need to target winning the other events as well,” van den Heuvel said. “No doubt we had a poor result in the World Cup, but our team have regrouped and the players are focused on doing well in the Commonwealth Games,” Zeeshan said.
Manager wants pro-active hockey: Team manager Khawaja Muhammad Junaid has urged the team members to demonstrate pro-active hockey at the Commonwealth Games. “We had good preparations for the games as we toured Europe and did fairly well in training camps in Pakistan and Holland. There is dire need to exhibit pro-active hockey in the elite tournament,” he said while talking to media yesterday. Junaid is appointed manager in place of Manzoor Junior who was not relieved by his department Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to take up the job. Junaid was optimistic about the showing of the team. “It is mix blend of seniors and juniors and obviously the selectors and team management have taken everything into consideration before finalising the squad as world’s best teams will be playing in the games,” he said.
Pakistan will open their campaign against Scotland on October 5 before taking on Malaysia (October 6), Australia (October 9) and archrivals India (October 10) in their remaining group matches. The top two teams from both groups advance to the semifinals. Classification matches and semifinals will be played on October 12 while the final and bronze medal matches will be played on October 14.

Squad: Zeeshan Ashraf (captain), Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Irfan, Waseem Ahmad, Mohammad Rashid, Fareed Ahmad, Shafqat Rasool, Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi, Abdul Haseem Khan, Mohammad Waqas Sharif, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Umar Bhutta, Imran Shah, Muhammad Tauseeq and Muhammad Kashif Javed. Officials: Khawaja Muhammad Junaid (manager), Michel van den Heuvel (coach) Ahmad Alam and Ajmal Khan Lodhi (assistant coaches), Faizur Rehman (physio) and Nadeem Khan Lodhi (video analyst).

The Daily Times

No video umpire in Delhi

By S. Thyagarajan

Chennai: With problems at the venues multiplying in the Commonwealth Games, set to go into history on Sunday, there is a threat of some important competitions getting devalued due to non-availability of technology.
Competitive hockey is likely to be one to suffer on this score. Despite repeated reminders, the Organising Committee has remained indifferent towards providing facilities for a video umpire, an important segment of tournament conduct.
Dennis Meredith, Competitions Director in the International Hockey Federation not long ago, and now acting as a Consultant Manager for hockey, regrets the downgrading of image of the sport at this level.
Mr. Meredith has demanded that over 300 journalists who are kept away from the stadia where the athletes are training should be granted immediate access to the stadia to witness the training and have an opportunity to speak to the players.


The consultant accuses the OC of negligence and incompetence in dealing with an important facility despite bringing up the subject as early as in 2008.
“We will not have a video umpire set up here because of the incompetency of the OC,” he writes and adds, “first identified to them by me in 2008, followed up with meetings in 2009 and 2010 and every month since July. OC responded too late for creating a proper organisation to put in place and have the requisite equipment and technical experts to facilitate it.”
He feels that the absence of a video umpire lowers this competition to a “second rate” discipline. Despite this going to the Chairman and Secretary-General of the OC nothing happened until Sunday and of course it is too late for FIH to organise at that stage,”
Meredith has also warned that he might be forced to cancel training sessions for the teams if the staff were not properly accredited. It appears the paid staff and the volunteers at the hockey venues were wrongly accredited.
Instead of facilitating entry to blue zone, the paid members have been given red zone cards. The fields are without ball pickers at this point.
Meredith concludes the e-mail addressed to all important officials dealing with this sport saying “If this matter is not resolved today (Monday), I will have no alternative but to consider cancelling all training sessions until such time as we have appropriate accreditation for both paid and volunteer staff available to service the teams at training sessions.”

The Hindu

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Malaysia beat Kiwis 3-0


MALAYSIA beat New Zealand 3-0 in their second friendly yesterday, to
signal that they are primed for the New Delhi Commonwealth Games
However, just like the first friendly which ended 2-2, the Malaysian
players were guilty of missing numerous sitters which came their way,
and this is someting which they can't afford in India.
Shahrun Nabil slammed in a top-of-the-net stinger in the 33rd minute,
while Amin Rahim scored a penalty corner goal in the 41st minute. The
third goal was scored by Izwan Firdaus in the 62nd minute.
The last time both the teams played was in the World Cup Qualifier final
in Invercargill, where New Zealand won 2-1 and grabbed the ticket to the
New Delhi World Cup.
In the Commonwealth Games, Malaysia are in Group A with world No 1
Australia, India, Pakistan and Scotland. In Group B are England, New
Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Trinidad & Tobago.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Malaysia crumble after taking 2-0 lead


MALAYSIA took a 2-0 lead, but crumbled in the last 10 minutes of the
match to share the spoils against New Zealand at the Tun Razak Stadium
Both the teams are preparing for the Commonwealth Games, and will
play a second friendly at the same venue today.
The Malaysian players looked more confident and there was an urgency
for 60 minutes, buit their end game left much to be desired.
The defenders, marshalled with confidence by goalkeeper Roslan
Jamaluddin, brough off some spectatcular saves to keep the slate clean
into the breather.
In attack, Malaysia won one penalty corner in the first half, but a mis-
push saw the opportunity go to waste.
There were also more shots at goal from the Malaysian side as
compared to thew Kiwis, who relied more on counter-attacks and soaked
in the pressure and also the heavy drizzle.
Malaysia started the second half by a full press and were awarded with
two penalty corners, back-to-back.
The first hit a Kiwi leg, but the second in the 38th minute, saw a powerful
low push from Amin Rahim crashing into the board for the lead.
The pace quickened after that, but Malaysia wasted many chances until
their fourth penalty corner in the 40th minute, which was tucked in by
Razie Rahim to make it 2-0.
After taking the lead, Malaysia started to play in patches and paid the
price in the 64th minute when Hugo Inglis' reverse stick sailed past
goalkeeper Roslan.
And in the 66th minute, Nick Wilson tucked in the equaliser after
Malaysia started to give away too much possession, and the score stood
until the final whistle.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Open challenge to Denis Meredith

By K. Arumugam

It seems to me now hockey cannot live without the likes of Denis Merediths. They are experts to themselves, unparalleled masters in the eyes of the FIH.
This expert from Australia is omnipresent, everywhere during international competitions, at least in India in the recent times.
Yesterday, he intervened when Indian team chief coach and media persons were interacting. Media has no problem, the coach has no problem, the Organizing Committee that thoughtfully takes action to divert media’s attention to sports proper, it has no problem.
But this expert has problem.
He ‘ordered’ all the mediamen out, and gave the wisdom that the training sessions are only for the teams. That may be Australian policy, and if it is so we don’t care.
For a tournament that takes place in India, we have our views.
If Meredith is entitled to his opinion, so also I am.
I understand he is an Australian. If he is expert of everything, my simple challenge to him is only one.
Can you ever get field hockey on the front page of any of your national newspapers?
Of course if it is not Australian women hockey’s lesbian topic.
These experts organized a World Cup recently in Delhi. The media got the accreditation after boycotting a press conference of none other than FIH president. The entire press walked out as soon as the Chief started to speak. We got our accreditation within next 24 hours.
This time, despite the event being doubly mega in size and proportion, the accreditations have been given 10 days in advance. This is the precision with which the Organizing Committee of the CWG works. The FIH could not do even accreditation business in time.
Meredith has now spoilt the purpose for which advance accreditation is given.
What will happen now. Journalists are not jobless to cover hockey. They will go to another sport where they are welcomed.
Who is the loser, Mr. Meredith, hockey or journalists.
Not long ago a gentleman called Phil Appleyard came to India and prevented five luxury cars being given to players. He quoted amateur class in his favour, the donors took away the cars, the five players lost what was theirs.
This Phil did this when exactly 11 years after the International Olympic Committee has taken off the Amateur class from statutes. And the subcommittee recommended for that was headed by an Indian.
We then had Phil Appleyards, now Merediths. As long as long these self-styled preachers on other countries, after having failed miserably back home, hockey has no chance of improving its profile.
Exactly this is what they want, I feel. Because, they can be masters as long as hockey remains a small sport.
Before putting the finish line I wish to remind Meredith again of my Open Challenge – can you bring hockey on the front page of any of your national newspaper anytime in your life time?
For heavens sake accept my challenge.

Project 2013 beat Singapore again

PROJECT 2013 beat the Singapore national team with an identical 2-1 score in their return match at the Kuala Lumpur HA stadium yesterday.
And this time, the goals were delivered by 16-year-old promising player Shahril Saabah. Shahril nailed the first off a penalty corner flick, while his brace came off a field attempt.
“I have 33 players in training, so I used three sets of players, with each set getting about 20 minutes because I am still in the process of selecting players for the two tour naments in India next month,” said Project coach K. Dhar maraj.
The Project boys will next play the New Zealand Com monwealth Games squad at the Tun Razak Stadium on Wednesday.
Dharmaraj will then select the best to play in an Under-21 tournament in Punjab, and then the Surjit Singh Memorial in New Delhi in the middle of October.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Project 2013 beat Singapore seniors 2-1

PROJECT 2013 beat the Singapore national senior team 2- 1 in a friendly at the Kuala Lumpur HA Stadium yesterday.
The Malaysian boys let in a second minute penalty stroke, but fought back in the last five minutes of the first half to score the equaliser off a penalty corner and then the winner off a field attempt.
Malaysia also had the upper hand in the second half, but muffed four penalty corners and let off the Singapore side lightly. Both teams will square off again today morning.
Singapore are preparing for the Asian Games in China, and they are in the same group as Malaysia, South Korea, China and Oman.
In Group B are Pakistan, India, Japan, Hong Kong and Bangladesh.
Singapore coach Spaniard Juanma Mas said his players lost out two months of training: “The Singapore Olympic Council only told us a few months back that we can play in the Asian Games and so we lost a couple of months of training time.”
However, he sees improvement in his charges: “I believe my players are better than what they displayed today (yesterday) and should be a better side when we play in the Asian Games.”
Malaysian coach K. Dharmaraj fielded more than 30 players yesterday, as we was looking for the best to play in India next month.
“The two matches against Singapore and then against New Zealand (Wednesday) is actually a selection for two tour naments in India.
“We will be playing in an Under-21 tournament in Punjab, and then the Surjit Singh Memorial after the Commonwealth Games. That is why I tried out the entire training pool against Singapore and it will be the same in the return match tomorrow (today),” said Dharmaraj.
The coach will field his best against the Kiwis, who will first play two matches against the Malaysian national side on Monday and Tuesday.
After the three matches, Malaysia and New Zealand will head to New Delhi to play in the Commonwealth Games from Oct 4-14.
Malaysia are in Group A with Australia, India, Pakistan and Scotland. While in Group B are New Zealand, Canada, England, Trinidad & Tobago and South Africa.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Black Sticks stick to plan

Both Black Sticks teams will still depart this weekend as planned.
With the confirmation from the New Zealand Olympic Committee that the New Zealand contingent is still competing in the Commonwealth Games, but should delay going into the village, the travel plans for the Black Sticks Women have altered.
The Black Sticks Men were always scheduled to arrive in Delhi on September 30, therefore the delay notification via the NZOC has not affected their travel plans. They depart as scheduled on Sunday, September 26 and travel to Malaysia first to play two test matches against the Malaysian Men’s team (September 27 and 28) and a friendly game against the Malaysian Junior Men’s team (September 29).
However, for the Black Sticks Women, the NZOC delay notification means they will now spend four days in Hong Kong. The team flies to Hong Kong on Saturday, September 25.Originally, they were scheduled to travel to Delhi directly after departing New Zealand, with only a brief stopover in Hong Kong. In light of the NZOC’s decision, the team will now extend their stay in Hong Kong.
They will now arrive in Delhi on September 29, rather than September 26.
Black Sticks Women’s Coach, Mark Hager, says staying in Hong Kong will still give the team time to acclimatise to warmer, humid conditions, and they will still be able to maintain a training schedule.
“For us, the delay means we miss out on a warm up game against India. We had planned to arrive on Sunday, and get into our training schedule and warm up games. Now, we’ll arrive in the village later, and pick up our training from there,” says Hager.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

England fly out with 'plan B' in pocket

By Emily Benammar

The England men's hockey squad, who are due to arrive in New Delhi on Thursday, will be moved to temporary accommodation if their rooms in the athletes' village are not completed to an acceptable standard.
David Faulkner, England Hockey’s performance director, said that while he was satisfied with the progress being made by the Commonwealth Games organisers, the team had made other provisional arrangements.
Faulkner travelled to the Indian capital on Wednesday for a final inspection. He then confirmed that Jason Lee and his 16-man squad would travel as planned, denying that reports of uninhabitable conditions applied to England Hockey’s accommodation and describing the outstanding issues as minor repairs and cleaning.
“I have seen England’s accommodation and my view is that I’m satisfied with the build, aside from a few snags which are being rectified. It needs a good clean and once this and minor fixes are made, what I saw will be suitable.
“I’ve read things in the press and I know in other tower blocks things haven’t been finished, but we’ve seen unfinished electrical sockets, broken air-conditioning or leaking taps.
“It’s to that level, so this is why we’re happy for the team to fly because if it’s not ready by Friday we have made arrangements for alternative accommodation for two or three days with a view to moving in maybe on Monday, when our women’s team arrives.
“There’s a lot to be done but they’re identifying the problems, working to rectify them and that will be ongoing.”
Faulkner said the focus needed to be on how things move forward from here. “Every few minutes we’re getting releases from this nation delaying travel and this one threatening not to come, but what’s important is looking at solutions rather then focusing on problems, and doing everything possible to support the athletes. What we don’t want to do is hinder performance.”

The Telegraph

Better than sixth

THE Malaysian women's hockey players aim to better their sixth placing in the last Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
Malaysian Women's Hockey Federation (MWHF) have selected a balanced squad of 16 players, and their secretary S. Shamala hopes the four experience players will carry the squad in New Delhi from Oct 4-14.
"We lost an influential player to injury when Nurul Nadia Mokhtar has yet to fully recover from a knee operation. However, we have four experienced players in the squad, and hope to better our sixth spot in Melbourne," said Shamala.
The four cogs in the team are Catherine Lambor, Sebah Kari, Nurfaraha Hashim and skipper Nadia Rahman.
The youngest is 18-year-old Norazlin Sumantri: "We hope the experience of playing in the Commonwealth Games will make the team stronger for the Asian Games Challenge," said Shamala.
The team went on a Tour of China reecently but the results were not very encouraging eventhough they played against clubsides.
Four years ago, Malaysia lost 3-0 to Scotland in the Fifth-Sixth playoff, and will open their accounts in New Delhi against Canada on Oct 4.
GROUP A: Australia, South Africa, India, Trinidad & Tobago, Scotland; Group B: England, New Zealand, Canada, Malaysia, Wales.
MALAYSIA: Ayuni Yahya, Fazilla Sylvester Silin, Siti Rahmah Othman, Sebah Kari, Noor Hasliza Ali, Rabiatul Adawiyah, Siti Noor Amarina, Juliani Din, Nurfaraha Hashim, Catherine Lambor, Norashikin Halim, Norazlin Sumantri, Nuraini Rashid, Nadia Rahman, Norbaini Hashim, Siti Noor Hafiza.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Great Wall of silence

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) are perplexed with the total shut-out of information from China regarding the fixtures and type of artificial pitch that will be used during the Asian Games in Guangzhou from Nov 12-27.
MHF have written to the Tournament Director as well as the China Hockey Federation, but there has been no reply to date.
“I just checked my e-mail and there is still no reply from the Asian Games Tournament Director or the China Hockey Federation. I am a little perplexed as such information is normally given many months before a tournament,” said MHF secretary Hashim Yusoff.
According to Hashim, the information, especially regard ing the kind of artificial surface teams will be playing on, are crucial to coaches to plan their strategy.
“When we organise the Azlan Shah Cup, or for that matter, any other tournament, the fixtures and type of surface is given out months in advance so that coaches can have a clearer picture and plan early.
“China is keeping the information to themselves, and this is certainly puzzling.
“I am left with no choice but to write to the International Hockey Federation (FIH) tomorrow for an explanation,” said Hashim.
Hashim said he smells something fishy in the silence: “Malaysia are in a good group and with a good chance to a advance to the semi-finals as India and Pakistan will not come into play before the knock-out.
“That is why we need to know who we will be playing first, and how much rest is given before we play the hosts. All this is vital to any coaches’ planning.”
The groupings were released a month ago, and Malaysia are in the same page as the hosts.
Malaysia, 15th ranked in the world, are in Group A with defending champions South Korea (sixth), China (14th), Oman (43rd) and Singapore (39th).
In Group B are Pakistan (eighth), India (ninth), Japan (16th), Hong Kong (54th) and Bangladesh (34th).
A gold in the Asian Games offers a direct entry into the 2012 London Olympics.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Army men in battle mood

ARMED Forces were a feared team in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) a few decades ago, and are slowly working their way up to return to top-flight in a few years time.
Last season the Army men finished second in Division One, behind UiTM, and both the teams have gained promotion to the Premier Division.
The other teams in the Premier Division are Universiti KL, Maybank, Tenaga Nasional, Sapura, KL Hockey Club and Nur Insafi.
This year, there is more good news for the achievers, as the Malaysia Hockey Federation (MHF) has increased the total prize money from RM260,000 to RM340,000.
Now, the double champions in Premier and TNB Cup stand to earn RM120,000 while previously it was RM90,000.
“The Armed Forces is not ready to claim prize money yet, but I feel we are good enough to challenge for a spot in the quarter-finals (TNB Cup),” said Armed Forces coach K. Rajan.
The top-six teams in Premier Division and the top-two in Division One will play in the knock-out TNB Cup.
According to Rajan, his charges are still young but en ergetic: “We have bee training since July and there were more than 60 players then. Now, I have trimmed to squad to two teams who will play in the Premier as well as the Division One tournament.”
Half the Premier Division team is below 23-years-old: “They are slowly improving and the plan is to take the Armed Forces back to its glory days in two or three years time.” And the fact that there will not be any national players, or imports, will make it even harder for the Army men to win matches but they are hoping for a few upsets.
The Premier Division will now offer a prize money of RM60,000, RM40,000 and RM30,000. Last season it was RM30,000, RM20,000 and RM15,00.
The Division One offers RM30,000, RM20,000 and RM10,000. Previously it was RM20,000, RM15,000 and RM10,000.
The TNB Cup prize money remains at RM60,000, RM40,000, RM30,000 and RM20,000.
The Premier Division will start on Dec 17, while Division One on Dec 3 with 12 teams expected to play in a round-robin format.

Monday, September 13, 2010

MHF yet to be gripped by fever

By Jugjet Singh


THERE is an eerie silence leading to the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) elections as hopefuls as well as incumbents are waiting for a clear signal before launching their campaigns.
Nominations will be sent out on Sept 23, and close on Oct 15 with the elections held on Oct 30, but till yesterday, all those who were contacted lamented on the same issue -- that there is total silence as opposed to the fierce campaigning they are used to.
The main reason, according to the officials interviewed, is that MHF president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah himself is keeping mum.
Tengku Abdullah is the fifth MHF president, with the first being Tun Abdul Razak, followed by Sultan Azlan Shah, Raja Nazrin Shah and Admiral Tan Sri Anwar Mohammad Nor.
Raja Nazrin and Anwar only served one term each, while Tengku Abdullah was shoved into the hot seat and made it known that he will only be a temporary stop-gap-measure.
However, after serving one term, he seem to be enjoying the challenge and even spearheaded an amendment which will see him in charge for four years instead of two, as he is set to be retained unopposed.
The amendments also did away elections for secretary and treasurer, who will be appointed instead, leaving only the deputy president, and four vice-presidents posts to be decided by the ballot.
Two other vice-presidents will be nominated by Sabah and Sarawak.
However, Tengku Abdullah did not have his cabinet line-up when he won unopposed in November 2008, and those who are waiting for him to announce his favourites might just find themselves in the same boat again.
And those who were contacted said they will wait as long as possible for the president to make his stand, before throwing their weight on either hopefuls or incumbents.
Nur Azmi Ahmad is the incumbent deputy-president and he has said that he will be seeking his second term, but does not know if there will be any challengers.
He beat one-term deputy president Tunku Majid Sultan Iskandar by a 12-vote margin in the last elections, and looks good enough to brush off his challengers again, unless there is a strong lobby from the very top.
The vice-presidents voted in were Datuk Dr S.S. Cheema, Datuk Rahim Ariff, Datuk Sri Che Khalib Mohamed Noh and M. Gobinathan
Among the four, Cheema has served four terms as a veep while Gobinathan will be attempting his second term.
The sound of silence is deafening, but it is a good indicator that the affiliates and incumbents all respect their president and are waiting for his orders, unlike the previous years where only the law of the jungle applied when MHF elections were around the corner.
It also means states are more cautious and only want the best, as those elected will serve four years and not the whirl- wind two.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

2010 Women's Hokey World Cup

Argentina celebrate victory
Argentina celebrate victory
Argentina celebrate victory
Australia were winners of the Fair Play Award
Maartje PAUMEN (NED) - Top Goal-scorer
Rani RAMPAL (IND) - Young Player of the Tournament
Beth STORRY (ENG) - Goalkeeper of the Tournament
Sadness for The Netherlands
Luciana AYMAR (ARG) - Player of the Tournament
Argentina - 2010 BDO FIH World Cup winners

Argentine women best in world

Host nation Argentina have won the BDO FIH World Cup thanks to a 3-1 victory over The Netherlands. It was a stunning match between the two top ranked teams, but two Carla REBECCHI goals either side of a Noel BARRIONUEVO penalty corner gave Las Leonas victory over the Olympic champions.

It was a stunning night for Las Leonas, who saw their star player Luciana AYMAR named as the player of the tournament. Incredibly, AYMAR was also playing her 300th international match for Argentina, with winning the World Cup being the perfect way to crown the occasion. The best goalkeeper award went to England's Beth STORRY, who helped her side to a Bronze medal earlier in the day thanks to victory over Germany. The best young player award went to India's Rani RAMPAL, while Maartje PAUMEN was given the prize for tournament top goalscorer. Australia were the recepients of the fair play prize.
The match itself was a brilliant encounter between the two best teams in the world. Argentina were clearly inspired by their cheering crowd, going on the offensive from the first moment, and struck the opening goal when Carla REBECCHI fired into the net in only the third minute. Noel BARRIONUEVO netted a second just four minutes later to send the crowd into delerium.

Maartje PAUMEN pulled a goal back ten minutes after half time with a ferocious penalty corner flick that gave Belen SUCCI no chance of saving, hitting the roof of the net at breakneck speed. It was PAUMAN's 11th goal of the tournament, and certainly her most important to date. Argentina won a penalty corner of their own minutes later, but failed to take advantage. However, Argentina were not to be denied a third goal when Carla REBECCHI scored her second of the game, slamming home a volley from a tight angle after Alejandra GULLA hit the post with a diving shot. The goal was greeted with wild cheers and singing from the huge Argentinean following in the stadium, who were really beginning to raise the decibels to unforeseen levels at this event. Arguably the biggest roar of the night came when Belen SUCCI pulled off a stunning penalty corner save to vitually seal victory for Las Leonas. It was a special night not only for Las Leonas, but also for hockey in general, with a huge fireworks display bringing the curtain down on an incredible two weeks of action.

Match 38 - Final 1-2: Netherlands v Argentina 1-3
> Argentina are World Champions for the second time ever and for the first time since their maiden World title in 2002.
> Las Leonas are the third team to win the World Cup as hosts, joining West Germany in 1976 and the Netherlands in 1986.
> Argentina are now on 7 World Cup medals (2 gold – 3 silver – 2 bronze).
> The Netherlands are now on a record 11 World Cup medals (6 gold – 4 silver – 1 bronze).
> Argentina is the first team to beat the Netherlands three times in one year at major tournaments (Olympics, World Cup, Champions Trophy and European Nations Cup).
> Luciana Aymar, Marine Russo, Agustina Soledad Garcia and Claudia Burkart all won a third World Cup medal. They are no on 2 gold (2002, 2010) and one bronze (2006).
> Carla Rebecchi (ARG) scored twice today. She also scored in Argentina’s two Champions Trophy wins over the Netherlands at Nottingham 2010.
> Argentina have opened the score in all 7 of their matches at Rosario 2010.
> Noel Barrionuevo (ARG) scored her 6th PC goal of the tournament to become joint third on the tournament top scorer list trailing Maartje Paumen (11) and Rani Rampal (7).
> Argentina took a 2-0 lead after only 8 minutes. The last time the Dutch were 2 goals down this early in the match was 16 years ago, at the 1994 World Cup, when Germany took a 2-0 lead after only 7 minutes and went on to win 2-1.
> Tournament top scorer Maartje Paumen (NED) lifted her goals total to 12. Only Fieke Boekhorst (NED) has ever scored more goals in a World Cup tournament (13 goals in 1981).
> Maartje Paumen has scored in all 7 of Holland’s matches at Rosario 2010. The last player to score in seven successive World Cup matches was Bianca Langham-Pritchard (AUS) in 1998.
> Minke Smeets (1Gold – 3 Silvers) is now on 4 World Cup medals. The competition record is five medals by Lisette Sevens (3G – 1S – 1B) in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Back against the wall

By Jugjet Singh


ITS council gets more time to do the job, its secretary and treasurer are appointed on track records and not by votes of an election and finally after five years, a gold medal from an international meet in its cupboard.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) and its players seem to be heading in the right direction, and more can be expected if the 1Mas programme turns out to be a success.
The MHF elections are around the corner, Oct 30 to be precise, and who the states elect will hold the reins of hockey for the next four years and the new term will give them more time to implement programmes, or to make a bigger mess.
Council members unanimously decided to appoint their secretary and treasurer in their extraordinary general meeting last Saturday, and also agreed to extend the office term from two years to four.
That eliminates two seats from the contest, while MHF president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah will also be re-elected unopposed.
It leaves the posts of deputy president and four vice presidents to the ballot, while two more vice presidents will be appointed by Sabah and Sarawak.
The new council will then have full control of the 1Mas programme, which is a state-based project to unearth talent, and if they get full support from their affiliates, the Malaysian team should be able to produce better results than what is being achieved today.
As other than the Sea Games gold medals, which are also drying up as hosts like Vietnam, the Philippines and Laos do not include the sport, Malaysia last won a Four-Nation gold in Poland in 2005 and then the recent Five-Nation gold medal in France.
Never mind the fact that the teams we beat were all ranked below us, the fact that Malaysian hockey finally won gold is rejuvenating in itself.
Malaysia, ranked 15th, beat Ireland, Scotland, France and Poland to the Five-Nation gold medal, but just barely as all the scores were close and we were even hammered 4-1 by Ireland in one match.
But the national players can expect to have their backs to the wall when they play in the Commonwealth Games against India, Pakistan, Australia and Scotland.
After that, they have to beat mighty South Korea, India, Pakistan, China and Japan in the Asian Games if they hope to play in the 2012 London Olympics.
If they fail at the Asiad, it will be back to playing against the likes of Poland, France, Ireland and Scotland in the qualifiers.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The best for New Delhi

Goalkeeper ROSLAN Jamaluddin gets a re-call.

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) took into con sideration an appeal from chief coach Stephen van Huizen, and will now field the best available players for the Com monwealth Games in New Delhi on Oct 4-14.
Earlier, the MHF were adamant that a mixed team be sent for the Commonwealth Games, while the best be fielded for the Asian Games in China on Nov 12-17.
“We decided to send the best available players for the Commonwealth Games after taking into consideration an appeal from van Huizen. The coach felt that playing in New Delhi would be a good preparation for the Asian Games and so be it,” said MHF president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
Malaysia are grouped with India, Pakistan, Scotland and Australia in that playing order in Group A of the Com monwealth Games.
In Group B are England, New Zealand, Canada, Wales and Trinidad and Tobago.
“However, now that we will be sending a full side, I expect the team to show some results and not just make up the numbers,” said Tengku Abdullah.
One name which was conspicuously missing from the list was that of Kelvinder Singh, who picked up an injury during the Azlan Shah Cup, and has been on the recovery list since.
“We have selected the best and those who showed im provement in all the Tours that we had prior to the Com monwealth Games.
“It is an important tournament for Malaysia, as even though it does not offer a ticket to anywhere, it will prepare my players for the Asian Games challenge,” said van Huizen.
Kelvinder when contacted said: “I did not attend a few training sessions (in Malaysia) when the team was playing in Europe, because there were only a handful of us who were left back home.
“However, I have fully recovered from my injury and will train hard to re-claim my spot and play in the Asian Games.”
In the Asian Games, Malaysia, 15th ranked in the world, are in Group A with defending champions South Korea (sixth), China (14th), Oman (43rd) and Singapore (39th).
In Group B are Pakistan (eighth), India (ninth), Japan (16th), Hong Kong (54th) and Bangladesh (34th).
A gold in the Asian Games offers a direct entry into the 2012 London Olympics.
MALAYSIAN SQUAD: S. Kumar (gk), Roslan Jamaluddin (gk), Madzli Ikmar, Jiwa Mohan, Amin Rahim, Razie Rahim, Baljit Singh Charun, Shukri Mutalib, Nabil Fikri, Marhan Jalil, Shahrun Nabil, Faizal Shaari, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Hafifi Hafiz, Azlan Misron, Izwan Firdaus.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

MHF term extended to four years

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) council yesterday unanimously accepted proposals to appoint their secretary and treasurer, and also extend the officebearers term from two to four years.
The three ammendments sailed through the Extra Ordinary General
Meeting, with not a whimper of protest, and will be applied in the MHF
elections on Oct 30th.
"It was agreed in the EOGM that the secretary and treasurer's posts be
turned from elected to appointed, while the office term is now four years.
"And the reason for extending the term from two to four years is to
allow the council to work from world cup to world cup, so that there is
continuity in the programmes initiated," said MHF president Tengku
Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
The amendments will now be forwarded to the Sports Commissioner's
office for endorsement, which is just routine paperwork, and the elections this year will only see the posts of president, deputy-president and four vice-presidents posts going through the ballot.
"I believe four years is much better because there is more time to carry
out our projects and the KPI can also be better gauged. Two years is just
too short to see any results," said Tengku Abdullah.
MHF have six vice-presidents, but two are reserved for Sabah and
Sarawak who nominate their men.
The MHF also handed RM125,000 to the Women's Hockey Federation as
a grant to continue their programmes.
The Project 2013 players and Under-16 boys also received cash for their
efforts in wining the Sea Cup and finishing second in a tournament in
Germany respectively.
After the cheque presentation ceremony, the MHF held a breaking of fast
function which was attended by oficials and national players.

Friday, September 3, 2010

MHF EOGM to break new ground

This cartoon by Andy Davey from The Sun relates to news that from next October, it will be illegal for UK firms to get rid of staff when they reach 65, allowing millions who are facing retirement to stay on. (Methuselah is the oldest person whose age is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible— 969 years; the name Methuselah has become a general synonym for any living creature of great age).

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) is expected to break new ground when they hold their Extraordinary General Meeting in Kuala Lumpur today.

On the agenda is to change the status of their secretary and treasurer from elected to appointed officials, and more importantly, to extend the tenure of office-bearers from two to three or four years.
“The change from elected to appointed had already been approved by the council and I see it being stamped and endorsed at the EOGM. However, we have since received written requests from six states to also include the extension of office term from the present two years to either three or four years and this will also be discussed at the EGM tomorrow (today),” said MHF secretary Hashim Yusof.
Many states feel the two year mandate is too short to implement and carry our long term programmes, and will vote today to either extend it to three or four years.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

World's largest free kitchen

Published: August 29, 2010

August 29, 2010 AMRITSAR, India — The groaning, clattering machines never stop, transforming 12 tons of whole wheat flour every day into nearly a quarter-million discs of flatbread called roti. These purpose-built contraptions, each 20 feet long, extrude the dough, roll it flat, then send it down a gas-fired conveyor belt, spitting out a never-ending stream of hot, floppy, perfectly round bread.
The rotis never stop coming, extruded from three clattering machines that transform 12 tons of whole wheat flour into nearly a quarter million discs of the flatbread a day.
Soupy lentils, three and a third tons of them, bubble away in vast cauldrons, stirred by bearded, barefoot men wielding wooden spoons the size of canoe paddles. The pungent, savory bite wafting through the air comes from 1,700 pounds of onions and 132 pounds of garlic, sprinkled with 330 pounds of fiery red chilies.
It is lunchtime at what may be the world’s largest free eatery, the langar, or community kitchen at this city’s glimmering Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of the Sikh religion. Everything is ready for the big rush. Thousands of volunteers have scrubbed the floors, chopped onions, shelled peas and peeled garlic. At least 40,000 metal plates, bowls and spoons have been washed, stacked and are ready to go.
Anyone can eat for free here, and many, many people do. On a weekday, about 80,000 come. On weekends, almost twice as many people visit. Each visitor gets a wholesome vegetarian meal, served by volunteers who embody India’s religious and ethnic mosaic.
“This is our tradition,” said Harpinder Singh, the 45-year-old manager of this huge operation. “Anyone who wants can come and eat.”
Barefoot men with wooden spoons stir bubbling cauldrons at the community kitchen at the Golden Temple. On a weekday, some 80,000 people come to eat. On weekends, almost twice as many people visit Sikhism, which emerged in the Punjab region of India in the 15th century, strongly rejects the notion of caste, which lies at the core of Hinduism. The Golden Temple seeks to embody this principle, and nowhere is it more evident than in the community kitchen, where everyone, no matter their religion, wealth or social status, is considered equal
India is not only the world’s largest democracy, it also is one of the most spiritually diverse nations. It was born in a horrific spasm of religious bloodshed when British India was torn in two to create a Muslim homeland in Pakistan. Yet from the moment of its independence, India has been a resolutely secular nation and has managed to accommodate an extraordinary range of views on such fundamental questions as the nature of humanity, the existence of God and the quality of the soul.
Indeed, few places in India demonstrate so clearly the country’s genius for diversity and tolerance, the twin reasons that India — despite its fractures and fissures — has remained one nation.
Sikhism, which emerged in the Punjab region of India in the 16th century, strongly rejects the notion of caste, which lies at the core of Hinduism.
The Golden Temple, a giant complex of marble and glittering gold that sits at the heart of this sprawling, hectic city near the border with Pakistan, seeks to embody this principle. Nowhere is it more evident than in the community kitchen, where everyone, no matter his religion, wealth or social status, is considered equal.
Guru Amar Das created the community kitchen during his time as the third Sikh guru in the 16th century. Its purpose, he said, was to place all of humanity on the same plane. At the temple’s museum, one painting shows the wife of one of the gurus serving common people, “working day and night in the kitchen like an ordinary worker,” the caption says.
Volunteerism and community support are other central tenets of Sikhism expressed in the langar. When the Mughal emperor Akbar tried to give Guru Amar Das a platter of gold coins to support the kitchen, he refused to accept them, saying the kitchen "is always run with the blessings of the Almighty." Indians of all faiths come here to find a measure of peace largely unavailable in the cacophony of India's 1.2 billion people. The child of one of the volunteers sleeps in the kitchen of the Golden Temple
Volunteerism and community support are other central tenets of Sikhism expressed in the langar. When the Mughal emperor Akbar tried to give Guru Amar Das a platter of gold coins to support the kitchen, he refused to accept them, saying the kitchen “is always run with the blessings of the Almighty.”
Ashok Kumar, a Hindu with a scraggly beard, has been coming to the kitchen for the past five years — all day, almost every day — to work as a volunteer. “It is my service,” he explained, after reluctantly taking a very brief break from his syncopated tray sorting.
A white cloth covered his head, and his hands were bound like a boxer’s. His job is to man the heavy bucket that receives the dirty plates and bowls. He is the last man on a highly organized line that begins with collecting the spoons, dumping out any leftover food, then loading giant tubs of dirty dishes bound for the washing troughs.
Plates and bowls fly at him, but he never misses a beat, using a metal plate in each hand to deflect the traffic into the tub. Plates go around the rim, while bowls get stacked in the middle.
Mr. Kumar used to be a bookbinder.
“I feel happy here,” he said when asked why he had given up his old life.
Indian volunteers of every faith and social status wash dishes in the kitchen at the Golden Temple Each visitor gets a wholesome vegetarian meal, served by volunteers who embody India's religious and ethnic mosaic
Indians of all faiths come here to find a measure of peace largely unavailable in the cacophony of the nation’s 1.2 billion people. Like the thousands of pairs of shoes left at the temple gates, the chaos and filth of urban life are left behind at the marble entrances.
The temple is a world of cleanliness and order — where the wail of the harmonium and the shuffling of bare feet are the only sounds, and every square inch is scrubbed many times a day.
It has not always been a peaceful place. A Sikh insurgency, which sought a separate homeland for Sikhs in Punjab, tore at India’s heart in the 1970s and ’80s. In 1984, Indira Gandhi, then the prime minister, ordered a bloody raid on the temple. Hundreds of militants were hiding there, and many were killed. The temple was also damaged. Sikh bodyguards later assassinated Mrs. Gandhi to avenge the attack on the temple.
Despite this history, Sikhs remain resolutely a part of India’s mainstream, holding leading positions in the arts, government and business. India’s current prime minister, Manmohan Singh, is a Sikh.
Pankaj Ahuja, who owns a medical supply shop in Rajasthan, was visiting the temple for the third time, this time bringing his wife and son, who had never been before. They took the Golden Temple Express train, and were sleeping in the pilgrims’ dormitories, which are also free. The family is Hindu, but the temple has a special significance for them nonetheless.
“You have lots of religious places in this country,” said Mr. Ahuja’s wife, Nikita. “But the kind of peace and cleanliness you find here you won’t find anywhere else.”
Back home, cleaning floors would be considered degrading for someone of her status — people of low caste usually do such work. But here, Mrs. Ahuja happily scrubs floors.
“In normal life, I would ask, ‘Why should I do this?’ It is shameful to clean floors,” she said. “But here, it is different.”
Indeed, she never gives a moment’s thought to who prepared the food in the kitchen, even though in India’s highly stratified caste traditions such matters are vital.
“It is more than food,” she said of the meals that she had eaten at the community kitchen. “Once you eat it, you forget who is cooking, who is serving it, who is sitting next to you.”
Anil Kumar, a 32-year-old Hindu, was up to his elbows in soapy water at one of the washing troughs.
“At home, I would never do this,” he said with a laugh. “It is my wife’s work.”
But he said he tried to come for at least an hour every day to wash dishes. “It is not a question of religion,” he added. “It is a question of faith. Here I feel a feeling of peace.”
Hari Kumar contributed reporting.

New Zealand Tests before Commonwealth Games

MALAYSIA lost 2-1 to New Zealand in the World Cup Qualifier.

THE Malaysian hockey team will play three matches against New Zealand at the Tun Razak Stadium in their final preparation for the New Delhi Commonwealth Games on Oct 4-14.
Malaysia are in Group A with world champions Australia, hosts India, Pakistan and Scotland. In Group B are New Zealand, England, Canada, South Africa and Trinidad & Tobago.
“We have arranged for three matches against New Zealand on Sept 27 to 29, while the team will head for New Delhi on the 30th,” said Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary Hashim Yusof.
The Commonwealth Games squad will play in the first two matches, while the national juniors will play in the third match against the Kiwis.
Malaysia open accounts in New Delhi against India on Oct 5, followed by Pakistan the next day. Scotland will be the third hurdle on Oct 8, while Australia have been reserved for last on Oct 10.
“New Zealand are in Group B, but we might meet them in the semi-finals and that is why the three matches will be crucial in the team’s preparations,” said Hashim.
Malaysia last played the Kiwis in the World Cup Qualifier and lost 2-1 after taking a 1-0 lead.
The matches against India and Pakistan are always close while Malaysia beat Scotland 3-1 in the recent France Five- Nation en-route to lifting the title.

Netherlands on another rampage

A hat-trick from Krystal FORGESSON in her 100th game could not stop a rampant Netherlands side from scoring seven times for the second successive game to run out comfortable winners against New Zealand in the second game of the day here in Rosario. Oranje fully deserved their victory, producing a master class of attacking hockey that included a period of four goals being scored in 14 breathless minutes.

Match 11 - Netherlands v New Zealand 7-3
> Netherland beat New Zealand 7-3 to go top of the table in Pool A.
> This 10-goal match is the joined second on the list of World Cup matches with most goals. Other World Cup matches with at least 10 goals are Germany-Nigeria (10-1) in 1978 and Netherlands – Soviet Union (7-3) in 1981.
> The Dutch have now scored 14 goals in 2 matches: 7 goals per match on average. Their highest World Cup average of 4 goals per match dates back to 1981.
> This match saw both teams score within 3 minutes of the start of the game. The last time this happened in a World Cup match was in 2002 in the RSA - ENG match (2-2) when Helen Grant (ENG, 2’) and Johke Koornhof (RSA, 3’) scored early goals.
> Four of the six Dutch goalscorers today also scored the match against India (Paumen, Hoog, Lammers and Agliotti).
> Janneke Schopman (NED) has now scored in the last 3 World Cups (2002, 2006 and 2010).
> Krystal Forgesson (NZL) scored a hat-trick while picking up 100 caps for New Zealand.