Monday, April 19, 2010

Sapura's hand bitten by selfish player

HAPPIER DAYS: ... Sapura team manager Abdullah Yunus (second from left) in a tug-a-war with Tenaga Nasional team manager before the TNB-Cup Final. Sapura took TNB to the penalties before bowing out.

By Jugjet Singh

SAPURA are among the best managed hockey clubs in the country, but unfortunately they have been dragged into a doping controversy because one bad hat tested positive for party drug when a random doping test was conducted.
The club, which finished second in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) TNB Cup final, has done much to develop the sport and give a lifeline to retired as well as budding internationals to compete in the MHL.
The culprit in question is neither a national nor a former national, but just a club player. However, he has not only brought a bad light on his sponsors, but also Malaysian hockey.
Sapura team manager Abdullah Yunus said after the A sample tested positive for a party drug, the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) and the club could not contact the player to come forward to test his B sample.
And finally, the player returned Abdullah’s call yesterday after a report on the matter was published by TimeSport. And after an in-house investigation, Sapura decided to terminate his contract before the B sample is tested and will let the MHF handle matters from here.
Abdullah sounded apologetic when explaining the sit uation, but there was not need to be embarrassed because the club is not the guilty party here, as they signed the player based on his performance and had no control over his personal lifestyle.
Needless to say, Malaysian hockey has received many hard-knocks off the field with allegations of players in heavy debt to illegal moneylenders, match-fixing, gambling and now party drugs have crept into the picture.
The latest allegation is that some players from a particular team in the ongoing Junior Hockey League (JHL) are are also abusing party drugs as they feel it makes them much more alert and stronger when playing.
That is a load of rubbish, but being 19-year-olds, they can be excused for rationalising like teenagers, but need to be identified fast and their habit nipped in the bud before they turn into full-fledged addicts.
The MHF medical committee chairman Datuk Dr S.S. Cheema had said that random testing will be conducted in the JHL soon, and these group of players, if indeed they are involved in abusing drugs, are living on borrowed time.
Another matter that is fast turning out to be a fiasco is the Women’s World Cup Qualifier which was supposed to be held in Chile on April 24-May 5.
Australia flew in safely into Chile but Scotland, Ireland and Malaysian players have been stranded because of cancelled flights.
The Malaysian Women’s Hockey Federation are in contact with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) on the matter and the natural disaster is fast turning disastrously hi larious.
Australia is of the opinion that since there might be a delay in the other teams arriving in Chile, they should be allowed to play a series against the hosts to decide which team plays in the World Cup.
And the Aussies also suggested, in an e-mail to FIH, that another qualifier be held among the stranded teams where a second ticket to the World Cup will be on offer.
And if the FIH can’t accommodate the request, the Aussies feel the tournament should be played on a round-robbin basis with the top team playing in Argentina.
The tournament was in the picture when Chile was hit by an earth-quake but the venue stadium stood still and the FIH adamantly decided not to shift the venue. And now ash from Iceland has grounded flights, leaving the FIH with a messy situation.
What next? All five teams automatically qualify for the World Cup?

JHL turns corner with three sprinters

JOURNALIST CAUGHT WORKING: Aftar Singh from the Star (left), Jugjet Singh from the New Straits Times and UniKL coach I. Vickneswaran at the Kuala Lumpur HA Stadium after UniKL beat Anderson 6-1 in the Junior Hockey League. Photo from UniKL Facebook.

THE MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League Division One title race is fast turning into a three-horse affair, and very little separates the early sprinters at this early stage.
Debutantes UniKL have been impressive but hot on their heels are Bandar Penawar Sports School-Thunderbolt and double champions Bukit Jalil Sports School.
UniKL beat Anderson and Petaling Jaya City Council by six goals each but there were moments of madness in the team which should be of concern to their coach I. Vikneswaran.
“Winning matches is one thing, but consistency is required to win the title in a close tournament like this,” said Vikneswaran.
The missing link for the new-comers is a bungling strike- force as they should have won by double digit margins instead of scoring only six.
“Against the two sports schools, chances will be few in between, so I will have to polish the strikers finishing before the weekend.”
Among the three, Thunderbolt looks like the team to beat in Division One this year.
Powered by national player, Faisal Saari, Thunderbolt are keeping pace with UniKL by winning all three matches convincingly.
The Thunderbolts have scored a total of 17 goals and conceded only three, and will increase their tally when they square off against Anderson on Friday.
FRIDAY: Division One -- Bukit Jalil Sports School v Petaling Jaya City Council (Tun Razak, 7pm), BPSS-Thunderbolt v Anderson (Bandar Penawar, 5pm), Kelantan v Bukit Jalil Sports School (Terengganu, 5pm).
Division Two: Tunku Besar Secondary School v Pahang (Tampin, 5pm), Kuala Selangor v Johor (Pandamaran, 5pm), Matri v Datuk Taha (Alor Star, 5pm).
SUNDAY: Division One -- Petaling Jaya City Council v Bandar Penawar Juniors (Tun Razak, 8pm), Kelantan v Anderson (Terengganu, 5pm), UniKL v Bukit Jalil Sports School Juniors (KLHA Stadium, 5pm).
Division Two: Matri v Sabah (Alor Star, 5pm), Kuala Selangor v Ipoh City Council (Pandamaran, 5pm), Johor v Pahang (Johor Baru, 5pm).

Sapura player tests positve for party drug

A SAPURA Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) player tested positive for party drug after he was snared in a random doping dragnet conducted by the National Sports Institute.
The player’s A sample returned positive, and he has been sent a letter to show up so that his B sample can be tested in his presence, but he has yet to turn up.
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) Medical Committee chairman Datuk Dr S.S. Cheema did not confirm or deny the allegation.
“Yes, there was random testing done during the MHL but I can’t comment on the matter because there are many technicalities involved, and one needs to be sure (test B sample) before any further announcements can be made on the matter,” said Dr Cheema.
However, when some Sapura players were approached on the matter, they at first denied, but then concurred with the allegation.
“It is an open secret among Sapura players that one of our members tested positive for party drug in his A sample, but the issue has been hushed up because the B sample has yet to be tested,” said one player who declined to be named.
However it was learnt that if the player does not respond to the letter and refuses to show up to test his second sample, he will be found guilty.
“Rest assured that any player found guilty of violating doping standards will be dealt with severely. The MHF have been conducting random testing during most of our tour naments and will continue doing so to weed out abusers,” said Dr Cheema.
There are also allegations that players from a certain team in the ongoing under-19 Junior Hockey League (JHL) are also abusing party drugs.
“We have plans to conduct random tests on JHL players, and if any official or player has concrete evidence on the matter, please approach the MHF and we will test the said player(s) and clear the air,” said Cheema.