Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oz-Kiwi battle for women's hockey gold

New Zealand hockey players celebrate after scoring a goal against South Africa during the women's semifinal match.

For the first time since hockey came on stage in the Commonwealth Games in 1998, New Zealand came in line with Australia for a gold medal contention, here on Monday. In an absorbing duel that stretched till the final seconds, the Kiwis edged out South Africa by a solitary goal.
Early in the day, Australia, the reigning champion, entered the final with an identical margin accounting for the exit of England.
That the Kiwis had to put every ounce of their energy to coast towards victory is well reflected in the margin. The South Africans matched them move for move with the dangerous striker, Pietie Coetzee, lurking in the area.
Though the focus was riveted on the burly Katie Glynn, the consistent scorer, it was the splendid midfield work by the skipper Kayla Sharland that stood out in the match. Aided well by Anita Punt and Krysal Forgession, the Kiwi raids carried an element of danger. Emily Naylor contributed her might, making a goal-line save from a shot by Coetzee.
The South Africans had three penalty corners against the zero by their opponent in the first half. In fact, the Kiwis had their first only midway in the second half. The second led to the goal, and eventually, the match winner.
An attempt by Katie Glynn was thwarted by goal-keeper Mangisa but Clarrisa Eshuis made it memorable for the Kiwis with a deft flick.

Tough fight

In a contest that rarely crossed the parameters of mediocrity, possibly because of the searing weather conditions, the Aussies fought England. On form, England was expected to be in the title fight. Despite being more organised and fluent, thanks to the good work by Charlotte Craddock on the right and from Georgie Twigg, England failed to consolidate the advantage. Content be to more circumspect, the Aussies waited for its chance. In fact, its first penalty corner surfaced only early in the second half. A crafty deflection by skipper Madonna Blythe following a penalty corner by Jessica Nicole ended the party for England.
The Aussies managed to cling on to this slender lead notwithstanding the valiant efforts made by the England players who were hunting for the leveller until the last 10 seconds before the hooter.

India fifth

Deprived of a possible podium finish, India did its best to take fifth place. Winner of the gold and the silver respectively in the last two editions, the home team made heavy weather of the rival, Canada, although eventually it picked up three goals. The frontline suffered from excessive individualism making the Canadians group in well inside the circle. Goalkeeper Azelia Liu baulked a few attempts.
Flat hits from Rani Ramphal did nothing to disturb the rival custodian. But she was unlucky to see her brilliant backhander thud against the upright and curve out of play late in the first half.
India had to wait till midway in the first half for the lead, which came when Ritu Rani capitalised on a forward pass from Chanchan Devi. The struggle to enlarge the lead was clear in the second half.
The resistance from Canada was stiff. Nearing the end, Saba Anjum revealed the wealth of her experience. A neat pass helped Chanchan net late in the second half; Saba did the finishing job to a loping run by Ritu Ramphal, the goal synchronizing with the hooter for the third goal.

The results: Women: (9-10): Trinidad and Tobago 2 (Blair Wayne, Stacey Ann) beat Malaysia 1 (Fazilla Sylvester); (5-6): India 3 (Ritu Rani, Chanchan Devi, Saba Anjum) beat Canada 0. (7-8); Scotland 1 (Alisa Robertson) bt Wales 1 (Shara Thomas) (Tie-breaker 3-1)

Semifinals: Australia 1 (Madonna Blyth) beat England 0; New Zealand 1 (Clarissa Eshuis) beat South Africa 0.

The Hindu

Penang to nominate Ow Soon Kooi

THE Penang State Hockey Association (PSHA) will nominate one of its favourite sons, Ow Soon Kooi, for one of the four vice-president's posts at the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) general meeting-cum-elections on Oct 31.
PSHA vice president Ranjit Singh said Soon Kooi, a former national skipper, is the right choice as he will be able to "sell, promote and market" hockey to the corporate world and also help the president boost MHF's financial standings.
Ranjit said that with sound financial backing, Soon Kooi can help Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah achieve the president's plans to take Malaysia into the top-10 in the world.
"Soon Kooi will be also able to give his opinions and lend experience to the management committee," said Ranjit.
"We will also be heeding the prime minister's call to emulate the 1Malaysia concept for a multiracial committee."
Ranjit pointed out that at present there are no Chinese in the MHF management committee and that the last Chinese player to represent the country was Chua Boon Huat.
He said PSHA is concerned about the decline of Chinese players in the sport and is hoping that with Soon Kooi in MHF, it would spur the Chinese to take up hockey.
"It is a long shot and an indirect way of promoting hockey among the Chinese, especially in Chinese schools,"added Ranjit.

Johor Manjit to contest veep post

By J.J. Shah

AFTER nearly three decades of involvement in the sport Johor Hockey Association (JHA) secretary Majid Manjit Abdullah believes that he contribute more to Malaysian hockey and has decided to contest one of the four vice-president’s post in the coming Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) biennial elections.

The long-serving Manjit, who has served in various capacities at both state and level in hockey in his 25 years involvement, revealed that he has received the blessings from several parties to contest the post.
“I have been involved in hockey for 25 years and I believe it is time to move up. The experience I have gained at various levels at state, national and international level will stand in good stead to help me take hockey to a new level,” said Manjit.
He was the national team manager from 1985-1986. He was the Seoul Asian Games team manager where Malaysia scored a rare 2-1 win over Pakistan at the Songnam Stadium with then skipper Sarjit Singh netting the winner.
Apart from that he was also appointed judge by the FIH at the Asia Cup in Dhaka in 1985 and the Inter-Continental Cup in New Jersey, USA in 1989. In the 1980s, Manjit was also involved as a judge and technical delegate in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
With the Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah at the helm of MHF as the president, Malaysian hockey is undergoing a revival, Manjit added a “strong team” is needed to help the Tengku Mahkota of Pahang achieve his dream to make Malaysia a hockey powerhouse in the world.
While Tengku Abdullah is not expected to be challenged in his post, a keen contest is expected in the deputy president and vice-presidents posts.
Last week, incumbent vice-president Datuk Dr S.S. Cheema announced that he will be challenging incumbent Nur Azmi Ahmad for the deputy president’s post at the Oct 31 elections.
Two of the six vice-presidents’ posts are automatically given to Sabah and Sarawak, leaving contest for four veeps.