Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dog-gone Delhi Games..

PIC: Stray dogs in Kashmir.

AS IF the problems couldn’t get worse for Commonwealth Games organisers, a stray dog evaded security and run amok inside the main athletics stadium on Saturday.
A women’s 400m hurdles heat was about to start when the mangy dog darted across the finish line and onto the field.
Initially, no-one made any effort to catch it before several officials tried cornering the mutt, who gave them the run around before darting out an exit as the crowd in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium erupted in laughter.
AFP photographers said the dog had also been seen inside the arena earlier in the day before the competition started, playing with some cables.
It wasn’t just dogs that athletes had to deal with on Saturday, with large birds circling low over the stadium and swooping down on the field.
Despite their best efforts to keep mosquitoes away, the athletics stadium has been beset by insects, moths, cockroaches and some very large unidentified bugs that have been dropping down into the press tribune.

Cheema to challenge Nur Azmi

MALAYSIAN Hockey Federation (MHF) vice-president for four-terms Datuk Dr S.S. Cheema confirmed yesterday that he will be challenging incumbent Nur Azmi Ahmad for the deputy president’s post on Oct 31.
The closing date for nominations is Oct 15, while there is a two-week grace period for withdrawals before the Biennial General Meeting.
Cheema, who was also nominated for the Deputy’s post in the last elections, withdrew to concentrate on the veep challenge instead.
“I have been a veep for eight years and feel it is the right time to challenge for the deputy’s post. I have received a good backing from the states that I have approached so far, and the feeling is good,” said Dr Cheema.
When asked if he heard of any other challenges: “I only read in the newspapers that Nur Azmi will be defending his post, and there is no other news of challengers.”
Cheema feels hockey has its work cut out for the next four years, and he is eager to help achieve the president’s dreams.
“Tengku Abdullah (Sultan Ahmad Shah) has outlined many plans to take Malaysia into the top-10 bracket in the world and I am willing to help achieve his dreams,” said Cheema.
Malaysia are ranked 15th in the world, and their acid test to break into the higher bracket would be the Asian Games, which offers a ticket to the 2012 Olympics and a shot in moving into the top-10.
The President Tengku Abdullah is expected to be re-elected unopposed, while the latest amendments to the MHF con stitution will see the posts of secretary and treasurer not contested, but appointed.
That leaves the fight for the deputy’s post, and four vice- presidents as two veeps will be automatically chosen my Sabah and Sarawak.
Immediately after the elections, a council meeting will be held to nominate chairmen for their various committees who will have their hands full in the coming months.

Condolences to S. Kumar

MALAYSIAN No 1 Goalkeeper S. Kumar suffered a tragic lost today when his father passed away in Tampin, Negri Sembilan.
Kumar, representing Malaysia in the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games, returned home for the funeral.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Faizal's moment of stupidity

Malaysia striker Faizal Saari was Saturday suspended for two matches for a violation during a Pool A match against Scotland in the men’s Commonwealth Games hockey tournament.
Saari was handed the suspension by tournament director David Collier for an incident involving Scotland goalkeeper Alister McGregor during a league clash at the Major Dhyan Chand stadium on Friday.
Saari, 19, will miss Malaysia’s next match against Australia (October 10) and a classification game on October 12.
The player was charged under a level 2 offence of FIH’s code of conduct which deals with physical assault without causing serious injury.
Collier told AFP he handed the suspension after watching video replays.
“The on-field umpires did not penalise the player during the match as it was off the ball and the umpires would not have been able to see it.” The incident led to an angry outburst by McGregor and the match was held up briefly.
Collier, however, said there had been no warning for McGregor.
Malaysia won the match 2-0 to snap their losing streak in the tournament.

Tindall puts England back on track

ACE striker James Tindall hit his maiden hat-trick as England defeated New Zealand 5-3 to bounce back into the reckoning for a semi-final spot in the Commonwealth Games hockey here Saturday.
England, with seven points from three outings, moved to the top of Pool B while New Zealand were pushed to the second after suffering their first defeat in the tournament.
Tindall, 27, put England into the lead in the 7th minute before New Zealand levelled the score two minutes later when captain Phil Burrows converted a penalty in the crucial match at the Major Dhyan Chand stadium.
Tindall, a trained electrician from Surrey, showed his skill with the stick again in the 23rd minute with a powerful reverse flick after receiving a pass from Richard Alexander.
Full-back Richard Mantell made it 3-1 for England in the 30th minute before New Zealand hit back through Hayden Shaw who converted a penalty just a minute from the half-time hooter.
England surged to a 4-2 lead after the break off a Rob Moore penalty but New Zealand ran them close once again with Shaw scoring his second goal of the match in the 48th minute.
England were reduced to 10 men in the 64th minute after full-back Alastair Wilson was shown a yellow card for obstructing the ball, a decision hotly disputed by the player.
In-form Tindall then shut out New Zealand finally after hammering his third goal of the match from the top of the circle.
“It was my first hat-trick as a senior,” said Tindall. “I have scored 49 goals now, and I could have scored another one, but their keeper had an amazing save right at the end.
“It was hard, New Zealand just never give up. Their penalty corner was superb, and they were strong at the back and had some good tackles.” England take on South Africa and New Zealand play Canada on Sunday in their last league matches.
Shaw said the team needed to have more faith in their abilities.
“We got behind a bit early and then played more of a chasing game,” he said. We need to push hard. We must show more aggression in the circle. We need to get in a few more corners and believe in ourselves.
“Canada will be a tough side. If we give them a chance they’ll come hard, so we need to be prepared.”

Australia scrape into semis

DEFENDING champions Australia qualified for the Commonwealth Games men’s hockey semi-final with a 1-0 victory against a spirited Pakistan here on Saturday.
The Aussies moved to the top of Pool A with nine points from three wins to set themselves on course for a fourth gold medal on the trot in the Games.
The world champions have finished on the top of the podium in all the three editions since the sport was introduced in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.
Pakistan, who tasted their first defeat of the tournament, will now have to win their match against arch-rivals India on Sunday if they are to make it to the semis.
Australia were tested by the nippy Pakistan forwards throughout the fiercely-fought match played in nearly 40 degrees temperature at the Major Dhyan Chand stadium.
The Aussies owed their win to full-back Chris Ciriello who converted a penalty corner three minutes from half-time for a 1-0 lead.
Pakistan, who lost the final to Australia by the same margin in 2006 Melbourne Games, struggled hard for the equaliser but were unlucky to miss a few close chances.
They forced a penalty corner in the final 70th minute but full-back Muhammad Imran botched the golden chance.
Pakistan coach Michel van den Heuvel credited his team for making Australia sweat for the victory.
“I am happy they were able to make it hard for 70 minutes for Australia, the world number one. They put a lot of pressure on our ball players. Together, with the collective fatigue, it made it very hard for us.
“We have a young team and we need a little extra power and luck, but we’ll get to that. Tomorrow (Sunday) will be a difficult game. It’s an iron clash between two cultures.
“It’s going to be more of a mental game than anything else.” Ciriello praised Pakistan’s fighting spirit.
“Pakistan are one of the top teams,” he said. “They really fought hard. We gave away two penalty corners but they failed to score off them. Pakistan also defended their goal pretty well.
“Heat also was a factor. We knew the conditions would be like this so we prepared accordingly.”

Women: Malaysia 0 England 3

THE upset that national coach Yahya Atan was hoping for failed to materialise as the Malaysian women lost 3-0 to England in their final Group B match at the Dhyan Chand Stadium yesterday.
Malaysia, who had beaten Canada 3-2 in their opening match before falling in two matches, had to win yesterday to keep their faint semi-final hopes alive.
The women were beaten 5-0 by New Zealand and 2-1 by Wales and kept England at bay for the better part of the first half yesterday.
England, who needed to win to ensure progress to the semi-finals, finally broke through in the 33rd minute through a Nicola White field goal.
Five minutes into the second half, England went further ahead when Alex Danson sounded the board and victory was sealed in the 46th minute when Georgie Twigg converted a penalty corner.
Malaysia will now play in the fifth-eighth classification playoffs with the target of bettering the sixth-placed finish in the 2006 Melbourne Games.
The men, meanwhile, face world champions Australia in their final Group A match today after having registered their first win of the Games by beating Scotland 2-0 on Friday.
The Aussies beat Pakistan 1-0 yesterday, meaning Malaysia still have a mathematical chance of advancing but even if other results go in their favour, they still have to beat Australia today.
The likelihood is that the winners of today's India-Pakistan cracker, which is set to fill the stadium to capacity, will accompany the Australians to the last four while Malaysia must prepare for the fifth-eighth playoffs.