Monday, April 30, 2012

South Africa and Japan on a roll..

China vs. South Africa in Day 3 action at the men's Olympic Qualifier (Photo: Stanislas Brochier)

China 2, South Africa 5

South Africa won the battle of the unbeatens in the first major meeting of this Olympic Qualifier, topping China in a solid 5-2 victory. The win puts South Africa and Japan atop of the standings, each with three wins in the three games. The two teams will meet when the men’s tournament resumes on Wednesday.
    The teams started tentatively, but soon enough South Africa found its scoring touch thanks to the fancy flicking of Justin Reid-Ross who fired the 1-0 goal into the upper left corner to break the scoring silence. A defensive lapse by China led to the 2-0 goal for South Africa when they found themselves on a breakaway. The initial shot was stopped, but Ian Haley put in the second effort.
   Lloyd Norris Jones gave South Africa a convincing 3-0 lead before the break with a picture-perfect diving deflection, China had to be disappointed with the first half performance which saw a few miscues on key opportunities and only a handful of meaningful scoring chances.
   Jonathan Robinson was the man of the second half for South Africa. He scored two goals in a five-minute span to give the South Africans ample breathing room. Robinson’s first marker lifted the lead to 4-0 and his second was a answer to China’s Yubo Na’s goal at the other end and was key to keeping the momentum on the South African side.
   China had a few chances late in the half, but the four-goal difference was simply too much to overcome with the clock ticking as top-seeded South Africa won its first major test of the event against third-seeded China.
   South Africa has another major test on Wednesday when they take on unbeaten Japan. It will be a meeting of the two top seeds in one of the most highly-anticipated games of the round robin. China will look to regroup against the Czech Republic on Wednesday before they face Japan on Friday.

Brazil 0, Japan 11

Japan stayed undefeated at the Men’s Olympic Qualification Tournament after a convincing 11-0 victory against Brazil. Japan is 3-0 in three games, but the hosts and second-seeded team at this event still have their two biggest games to play in the last two days of the round robin with South Africa and China coming up.
   Japan wasted no time getting started, opening about 20 seconds into action on its first trip down field. The 1-0 lead stood for about seven minutes until Japan put in three goals in less than two minutes, leaving the Brazilians stunned by the rapid fire onslaught. Hiroki Sakamoto scored once in the flurry and Kenta Tanaka struck twice.
   From there, Japan continued to roll, putting in two more penalty corner goals to close the first half with a 6-‘ lead. The second half was much of the same as Brazil could not keep pace with the quicker, more skilled Japan side. Japan’s scoring slowed a bit in the half, but the still added five goals in the half to bring the final to 11-0.
   Kenta Tanaka paced all scorers with three goals in the win while Katsuyoshi Nagasawa and Hiroki Sakamoto scored two goals each.
Austria 2, Czech Republic 1

Austria earned its first win at the Men’s Olympic Qualification Tournament after hanging on for a 2-1 win against the Czech Republic. Michael Korper was the difference for the Austrians, scoring both goals in the victory.
   The loss leaves the Czechs still looking for their first win of the event as they are winless in their first three outings with China and Brazil left to meet in the round robin phase.
   The two teams are the most physical among the field and in the first half they lived up to expectations as the intensity was high and the tempers were right on the edge. Korper struck midway through the half with a well-executed penalty corner to give the Austrians the early lead. But the Czechs quickly responded with a field goal when Ondrej Vudmaska deflected a shot into the net.
   Korper’s easy conversion on a penalty stroke restored the Austrian lead. Little did either team know that the 2-1 advantage would last through the end of the game as the intensity and scoring chances visibly ebbed in a tepid second half.
    Austria will look to continue its winning ways against last-seeded Brazil on Wednesday. The Czechs have China next on the agenda.

Dharmaraj has a dream...

K. DHARMARAJ was never one to hide his thoughts, be it during his playing days or coaching the Project 2013 team since 2009.
   He has set his mind on not only qualifying for the Junior World Cup next year in New Delhi, but also win Malaysia’s first Junior Asia Cup gold in Malacca from May 3-13.
   “Every time I was quoted in print and television that I want not only the World Cup spot, but also the gold medal in Malacca, I receive many calls and SMS’ cautioning me not to be overconfident.
    “My reply to them is -- until when are we going to have a low key attitude going into a tournament. What is the message that we are sending the players if the coaching staff themselves are afraid to set a target higher than that of the parent body?” questioned Dharmaraj.
    The Malaysian hockey Confederation (MHF) have set a target of playing in the final, but Dharmaraj is bent on winning the gold as he believes his players are capable of it.
   “I have won many local tournaments both as a player and coach. But winning the Sultan of Johor Cup was the best moment of my life.
    “To be honest I never thought that we would be champs in Johor. But having been at the helm as coach since 2009, I have had a dream to win the Asian level tournament.
    “This tournament was why the Project 2013 team, was formed and with playing at home providing us with the perfect opportunity to make good the dream,” said Dharmaraj.
     And he has a large coaching and support staff to achieve the dream of being champions, and denying India their hat-trick of titles.
     “I have two video analyst, one masseur, one medical assistant, one nutritionist, one psychologist and one bio mechanic.
   “My coaching team consists of K. Gobinathan, Nor Azlan Bakar and M. Nadarajan as goalkeeper coach. All were there in Johor as well .
   “To me, I am strong believer of sharing responsibilities and using the best to master the best. All this would not have been possible without the support and encouragement from the MHC, NSI (National Sports Institute) and NSC (National Sports Council),” said Dharmaraj.
     The Junior Asia Cup only offers two tickets to the World Cup, while India are automatic qualifiers.
    In Group A are Malaysia, South Korea, Iran and Japan, while in Group B are India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and China.
    And what is his biggest fear: “I fear my own team’s performance than any of the other team. One off day could spell trouble for us.
    “Pakistan have included five senior players in their squad. And I reckon India and Korea too are strong in their own way as they are Olympic playing nations.
    “but we have trained long and hard and are well prepared for this moment. I will play attacking hockey all the way, and I believe the results will be in our favour,” said Dharmaraj.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Malacca ready for Junior Asia Cup

MALACCA are primed to host their first international  hockey tournament, as their stadium received an RM1  million face-lift, while the opening ceremony will be a first of  its kind.
    The Junior Asia Cup, which also doubles up as a World Cup  Qualifier, will be held on May 3-13 with players and officials  ferried by boats along the Malacca River to the venue of the  Opening ceremony.
    “We are proud to play host to the tournament and have  worked hard to ensure that all preparations are of in ternational standards,” said Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad, deputy  president of Malacca HA and senior vice president of the  Malaysian Hockey Confederation.
    “It is a honour for Malacca to play hosts as this is the first  time we are given the opportunity to host a top class  tournament and that is why we want the opening ceremony to  be a first of its kind.
    “And another pride is that Malaysian coach K. Dharmaraj,  manager Mirnawan Nawawi and assistant coach Nor Azlan  Bakar are all from Malacca as well,” said Nur Azmi.
     Eight teams will battle for two slots to the World Cup, with  India claiming the third as hosts next year in New Delhi.
     The eight are -- Malaysia, South Korea, Iran and Japan in  Group A, while in Group B are India, Pakistan, China and Sri  Lanka.
    The MBM Hockey Stadium has undergone renovations that  cost more then RM1 million and the after effects are there for  all to admire.
    The grandstand has been upgraded with dedicated media  and broadcast rooms and seats fitted as well on the terraces.  Even the changing rooms have been done up, truly reflecting  a world class venue.
    And that is not all, as the lighting system has been  upgraded, enough for telecasting matches in high def inition.
     And fans are also in for a treat, as host broadcaster Astro  Arena are planning to telecast all Malaysian matches live.
     As for Pakistan, among the favourites to claim a slot in the  final, seasoned forward Umar Bhutta will lead them.
     Skipper Umar Bhutta is a regular with the Pakistan senior  team in several international events, along with Kashif Shah,  Ali Shan, Tousiq Ahmed and Muhammad Rizwan.
    “This is an important event for us and we are looking to  book a berth in next year’s Junior World Cup,” said team  manager cum coach Rana Mujahid.
     “We have a strong combination in presence of five senior  players and we are hoping to see boys performing well to  reach the final,” he said.
     Pakistan squad: Mazhar Abbas, Amjad Ali (goalkeepers)  Muhammad Khalid Bhatti, Syed Kashif Shah (full-backs), M.  Rizwan Jr, Kashif Javed, Muhammad Tousiq, M.Faisal Qadir,  Tawasar Abbas, Zohaib Ashraf, Ammad Shakeel Butt (half- backs), Muhammad Irfan, Ali Shan, Muhammad Dilbar,  Muhammad Umar Bhutta, Muhammad Suleman, Hafiz Umar  Sardar, Hafiz Rizwan, Muhammad Umar, Muhammad Jaffar  (forwards).

Malaysia salvage draw

Austria vs. Azerbaijan in Day 3 action at the Women's Olympic Qualification Tournament (Photo: Stanislas Brochier)

THE Malaysian women’s team salvaged a draw against Belarus in the Olympic Qualifiers in Kakamigahara, Japan, yesterday.
    Coach Nasihin Nubli’s ladies were  down 2-0 by the 27th minute and it looked like they were heading for another hiding, but a second half show saw them salvage a point.
    Siti Rahma ignited the fight-back with a field goal in the 41st minute, while Siti Noor Amarina salvaged the game with a penalty corner attempt in the 68th minute.
   Japan, who beat Malaysia 8-0, were held in a surprise 0-0 draw by Chile.
   “The first half was very panicky as my players failed to settled down after being pressed from the start. However, they were more disciplined in the second half and since Belarus beat Chile 3-1 (last Wednesday) and Chile held Japan 0-0, there are no easy teams in this tournament,” said Nasihin.
    Malaysia next play Chile on Tuesday.
   Meanwhile defender Sebah Kari, who got injured during the Azerbaijan match, is back in Malaysia and will undergo surgery today.
   Sebah fractured the front and side of her jaw in that gruelling match and was flown home on Saturday.
   RESULTS: Malaysia 2 Belarus 2, Chile 0 Japan 0,  Austria 0 Azerbaijan 5.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

India claim favourites tag

INDIA have claimed the favourites tag, as they attempt a  hat-trick of Junior Asia Cup titles in Malacca from May 3- 13.
    The 2013 Junior World Cup hosts, who are automatic  qualifiers, won the last two editions in Karachi 2004 and  Chennai 2008 respectively, and will arrive in Malacca to day.
     India will be captained by striker Akashdeep Singh, and if  they advance to the final, the bronze medallists will also book  a spot in the Junior World Cup.
    Malaysia are in Group A with South Korea, Japan and Iran,  while in Group B are India, Pakistan, China and Sri Lanka.
    In the Sultan of Johor Cup, where Malaysia became  champions, India finished fourth but they have listed 11 new  players for Malacca.
    Both their goalkeepers are new, as well as the captain. The  seven who played in Johor are Amit Rohidas, Pardeep Mor, P.  Thimmanna, Satbir Singh, M. Gnasekar, Sukhdev Singh and  Mylaram Sampath.
    “India have made a big change in their team after the  Sultan of Johor Cup and it looks like their match against  Pakistan would be the highlight of Group B as both of them  fight for the top spot,” said Project 2013 coach K. Dharmaraj.
    If Malaysia meet India in the semi-finals, Dharmaraj’s boys  will have two lives. This is because if India beats Malaysia, the  bronze medal will carry its weight in gold.
    “Out first match is against Iran, and we need to score as  many goals as possible but I would not pressure my players by  setting too high a target. The goals would come, that is for  sure,” said Dharmaraj.
   To date, six team have sent in their team lists while Sri  Lanka have been playing hard to get.
    The Asian Hockey Confederation (AHF) have been in  contact with officials in Sri Lanka who promised a team list,  but until yesterday, it was still not available.
    The Lankans have also made a request to stay in a  dormitory or hostel and organsiers in Malacca are having a  tough time trying to accommodate them.
   FIXTURES: May 3 (Group A): Korea v Japan, Malaysia v  Iran.
   May 4 (Group B): Pakistan v China, India v Sri Lanka.
   May 5 (Group A): Japan v Iran, Malaysia v Korea.
   May 6: China v Sri Lanka (Group B); India vs Pakistan  (Group B); Korea v Iran (Group A).
   May 7: China v India (Group B); Pakistan v Sri Lanka (Group  B); Japan v Malaysia (Group A).

21 goals in three games...

China's Yixian Liu had a hat trick in his team's 8-0 win against Brazil(Photo: Stantislas Brochier)

South Africa 6, Czech Republic 2

Top-seeded South Africa stayed unbeaten at the Olympic Qualification Tournament in Kakmigahara, Japan after earning a 6-2 win against the Czech Republic. Justin Reid-Ross continued to be the South African scoring machine, this time scoring twice in the victory.
    It was a game of spurts for the South Africans, who were only able to solve the stoic Czech defense in for a few minutes at a time, but nevertheless those quick surges were enough to power the South Africans through to their second victory.
   Early on, it looked like South Africa would walk all over the Czechs with two goals in the first five minutes. Reid-Ross picked up right where he left off against Brazil, firing in an early penalty corner for the 1-0 lead. Timothy Drummond double the lead a few minutes later with a sprawling effort. But a defensive lapse by South Africa gave the Czechs a window to march downfield and put in the 2-1 marker.
   That goal stalled the South African offense, which spent the next 20 minutes fruitlessly trying to find a way past the Czech defense. In the last five minutes of the half, Lloyd Norris Jones and Lance Louw put in rapid fire goals to give the South Africans a convincing 4-1 lead at the break.
   The Czechs had a strong start to the second half and once again frustrated the South African offense, The defensive stand allowed the Czechs to climb back into the game when Stepan Bertanek scooped up a rebound to make it a two-goal game early in the second half. But with the focus on defense, the Czechs couldn’t make up the lead that South Africa built in the first half. Reid-Ross put in a goal midway through the half and Thornton McDade scored in the last minute to bring the final to 6-2.
Japan 4, Austria 1

Host Japan joined South Africa and China as the three co-leaders of the Men’s Olympic Qualification Tournament after earning its second win in as many games with a 4-1 win against Austria. The loss leaves Austria looking for its first win and on the brink of elimination from contention for a place in the final.
    Austria was lucky to escape the first half with just a 2-0 deficit as the Japanese applied extraordinary pressure. Austrian goalkeeper Michale Manthler was kept busy in net and made an amazing save just as time expired to keep things close at the break. Japan also hit the post during the half and had several other near misses.
    The two goals that did go in during the first 35 minutes was a penalty corner marker by Katsuyoshi Nagasawa and a thrifty chip in from Toshiro Tachibana.
   Austria had a more settled second half and Japan found itself with fewer scoring chances. Hiroki Sakamoto got things started with his solid shot five minutes into the half but after the initial strike, Japan was held scoreless for more than 20 minutes. Austria had one glimmer of hope when Michael Korper put in the lone Austrian goal of the game, but Japan put in one last goal to restore the three-goal lead and bring the final to 4-1.
   Austria will play a key game against the Czech Republic on Monday. Basically the winner of that will keep a slim chance alive of making it to London. Japan will look to stay unbeaten with its game against Brazil.

Brazil 0, China 8

China earned its second shutout victory, although today’s 8-0 decision over Brazil was definitely more convincing than the 1-0 win against Austria on the opening day
    China’s penalty corner was lethal, accounting for five of the eight goals. Especially strong on the penalty corner was drag flicker Yixian Liu, who fired in three short corner goals in the win. Liu put in the opening goal four minutes into action and back-to-back markers in the last three minutes.
   In between Liu’s bookend goals, it was all China as they controlled virtually every aspect of the game. The Japanese fans rallied around the Brazilian team for their fighting spirit, but China was technically the dominant team and there was little Brazil could do to stop them.
   Both teams have the day off tomorrow before resuming round robin action. Brazil has another tough test on Monday when they take on Japan, while China will also have its hands full with current tournament leader, South Africa.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Boy kicked off girls' hockey team...

THE attorney for a 13-year-old Long Island boy who was kicked off his high school’s girls’ field hockey team for being too dominant says his client will most likely be reinstated.
     "We are confident that a court will see the discrimination in this case," Frank Scagluso, the attorney for Keeling Pilaro said.
   Scagluso said Keeling has support from his school district, other coaches and players in the league and that he has not heard any criticism about the boy’s participation in games.
   Keeling, who played for Southampton High School's varsity girls' field hockey team for the past two years, was told he could no longer play next year after becoming the team's star.
   Section 11, which oversees Suffolk County's high school sports, determined that as a boy, Keeling had too significant an advantage over the other players.
   "(Keeling is) having a significant adverse effect on some of his opposing female players," Section 11 claimed, according to MyFoxNY. "The rules state he would be allowed to play if he wasn't the dominant player."
    Section 11's executive director, Ed Cinelli, told MyFoxNY, "As a sport, it's a girls sport. When a boy plays, it leads the way for other male players to come in and take over."
    Andrew Pilaro, Keeling’s father, said his son was raised in Ireland and played field hockey most his life. In many European countries, the sport is widely popular. But on Long Island, there were no field hockey leagues with boys available for Keeling compete, his father said.
     At 4 feet, 8 inches tall and 82 pounds, Keeling says he does not feel he is at an advantage, or that he is even significantly better than his opponents. He says some of the girls he has played against are faster and stronger than he is.

Pakistan name four Champions Trophy boys

Syed Kashif Shah of Pakistan traps the ball during the match between Pakistan and India on day four of the International Superseries at Perth Hockey Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Perth, Australia.

PAKISTAN named their players for the Junior  Asia Cup with a surprise inclusion of four players who played  in the 2011 Champions Trophy in Auckland, New Zealand on  Dec 3-11.
    The four did not come down to Malaysia for the three series  they played against Malaysia where Pakistan won the first  two 5-3 and 4-3 before Project 2013 won the third 5-3.
    The four Pakistan stalwarts are Syed Kashif Shah (19),  Muhammad Tousiq (17), Ali Shan (19) and Muhammad  Rizwan (18).
     “I expected Pakistan to include the four players to strength en their team. The four also did not play in the Sultan of Johor  Cup, but since they are in another group, the possibilities of  playing them is only in the semi-finals,” said Project 2013  coach K. Dharmaraj.
    India, automatic qualifiers, are in Group B with Pakistan,  China and Sri Lanka. In Group A are Malaysia, South Korea,  Japan and Iran.
    PLAYERS: Mazhar Abbas, Syed Kashif Shah (Vice-Capt), Muhammad Khalid, Aleem Bilal, Muhammad Rizwan, Muhammad Tousiq, Tasawwar Abbas, Kashif Javed, Zohaib Ashraf, Muhammad Irfan, Muhammad Umar Bhutta (Capt), Muhammad Dilber, Ali Shan, Muhammad Suleman, Muhammad Umair, Hafiz Umer Sardar, Muhammad Jaffar and Hafiz Rizwan Ali.
    OFFICIALS: Rana Mujahid Ali (Manager/Head Coach), Danish Kaleem, Anjum Saeed & Ahmed Alam (Coaches), Asad Abbas Shah (Team Doctor) & Syed Abu Zar Umrao (Video-Analyst).

Malaysian women receive 8-0 drubbing

 PIC: By
....The floodgates opened in the second half as the Japanese scored six unanswered goals. The hosts spent nearly the entire half camped in front of the Malaysian net and used the experience to craft some fancy plays that included tic-tac-toe goals and spinning behind the back moves. Malaysia could do little to stop the onslaught as they were visibly frustrated and worn out. ... FIH

THE Malaysian women’s hockey team were hammered 8- 0 by Japan in the Olympic Qualifier in Kakamigahara  yesterday.
    The whitewash, at the back of a 4-0 defeat to Azerbaijan,  shattered Malaysia’s dream of playing in the London  Olympics.
   Now, they will play for fourth to sixth placing, to strengthen  their world rankings.
     Japan, ranked ninth in the world, took a 2-0 lead at the  half-time against 23 ranked Malaysia.
   And six more goals, including a penalty stroke, came  Japan’s way in the remaining 35 minutes. Malaysia next play  Belarus tomorrow, and it is expected to be another uphill  battle for the ladies.
   RESULTS: Azerbaijan 3 Belarus 0; Japan 7 Malaysia 0;  Austria 0 Chile 3.
   TOMORROW: Chile v Japan; Austria v Azerbaijan; Belarus  v Malaysia.

PROJECT 2013 named their final 18 for the Junior Asia Cup  yesterday, with coach K. Dharmaraj keeping his eyes firmly  on the gold medal.
    The tournament, from May 3-13, also doubles up as the  Junior World Cup Qualifier with two seats up for grabs in  Malacca.
    India as hosts are automatic qualifiers, while the seven  other teams will battle for the two finalists spots to make the  grade for New Delhi next year.
    In Group A with Malaysia are South Korea, japan and Iran.  While in Group B are defending champions India, Pakistan,  China and Sri Lanka.
    “I was in two minds whether to name two goalkeepers or an  extra outfield player in the final squad of 18. And after  playing a series of friendlies with Pakistan, South Korea and  Australian County sides, I have decided to opt for two  goalkeepers in case one gets injured,” said Project 2013  coach K. Dharmaraj.
    And that was the toughest decision the coach had to make  on his line-up, as the rest were easy to pick.
    “Against Pakistan and South Korea I played mixed teams  and that is why the results were erratic. However, when I  used the final 18 for the Australian County side, we won 7-1,  9-2 and 7-0 (match stopped at 55th minute after both parties  agreed).
    “The Country team is a matured side which is better than  their Australian Juniors, and it was a big boost in the run-up  to the Junior Asia Cup,” said Dharmaraj.
    Against Korea, the Project team lost the first 2-1 but then  thrashed them 9-1. They lost the third 5-3 but won the final  match 6-5.
    And against Pakistan, they lost the first two 5-3 and 4-3  before winning the third 5-3.
   In the 18 named yesterday, five players who helped  Malaysia win the inaugural Sultan of Johor Cup were  dropped, as seniors like Faizal Saari made their debut.
     Meanwhile, the National Under 16 tournament received a  boost of RM 35,000 in cash and kind from main sponsors  Nestle.
    The tournament will be held on April 27-May 4 at two  venues -- Sungai Petani and Alor Star.
    “Twelve teams have registered for the tournament and we  will be hosting it again next year, as the Malaysian Hockey  Confederation (MHC) have decided to award two consecutive  rights for age-group tournaments,” said Organising Chair man S. Satish Kumar, who is also the Kedah HA deputy  president.
    Kedah are in Group B with runners-up Malacca, Perak,  Negri Sembilan, Penang and Perlis.
    Four-time consecutive champions Kuala Lumpur are in  Group A with Kelantan, Selangor, Pahang, Johor and Tereng ganu,
     “We have set a target of reaching the semi-finals, and I  believe it will be a tough tournament as all states have been  preparing for months for it,” said Satish.
    MALAYSIA: Azrul Faiz (gk), Shahrul Azaddin (gk), Izad  Hakimi, Noor Faez Ibrahim, Kavin Kartik, Shahrul Imran,  Faiz Helmi, Aslam Hanafiah, Fitri Saari, Azri Hassan, Ra madan Rosli, Nor Hizzat Sumantri, Shazril Irwan, Amir  Farid, Firhan Ashaari, Faizal Saari, Syamim Yusof, Deddy  Aryadi.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ow Soon Kooi honoured

FORMER Malaysian hockey captain Ow Soon Kooi (pics) was yesterday conferred the Darjah Indera Mahkota Pahang (DIMP) which carries the Datuk title in conjunction with the 81st birthday of Sultan Ahmad Shah.
    The former cop, who is now a businessman, was conferred the title as his contribution to the sport is vast and he played in two World Cups as well as two Olympics.
   He could have been a triple Olympian, as Malaysia qualified for the Moscow Olympics, but the nation boycotted the event.
    Soon Kooi’s debut with the national side was at the 1973 Sea Games in Singapore, where Malaysia were beaten to the gold medal by the hosts. That was the only Sea Games hockey gold medal which the country failed to clinch.
     He then played in the 1974 Asian Games in Teheran, and then the 1978 Buenos Aires and Mumbai 1982 World Cups as well as the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and 1984 Los Angles Olympics.
     However Soon Kooi, now the Penang HA president, went through some hard times before making it good in life.
    He failed his Senior Cambridge examinations in 1971, all due to his passion for hockey as he neglected his studies despite being amongst the top 60 students in an open examination.
    Soon Kooi then started working as a waiter in a local hotel for 18 months and continued playing hockey and was selected for the 1973 Sea Games squad.
    He then joined the Penang Port Commission as a fireman and went back to his books to complete and pass his Senior Cambridge exams.
   After which he joined the Royal Malaysian Police as an Inspector and is now the Chairman of Olympic Sports Hotel. 

Azerbaijan hammering for Malaysia

By Ajitpal Singh

MALAYSIA were hammered 4-0 by Azerbaijan in their  opening Olympic Qualifying match in Kakamigahara, Japan  yesterday.
Azerbaijan, represented by several Korean-born players,  led 2-0 at half-time through a Yulia Muradi brace from  penalty corners in the 17th and 31st minutes.
Myung Soon Mammadova (45th) and Yuliya Muradi (56th)  completed the rout.
Goalkeeper Farah Ayuni Yahya saved a penalty stroke to  avoid further embarrassment for Malaysia.
The team managed to penetrate into Azerbaijan’s semi- circle but failed to convert their chances, including from four  penalty corners.
“We were attacking quite a bit especially in the first half but  luck was not on our side. The score does not reflect how we  played,” said coach Nasihin Nubli yesterday.
“My players tried hard to prove something but their  goalkeeper (Farida Mammadova) was on form.
“Furthermore, their naturalised players made a huge  difference as they were the ones controlling play.”
Malaysia must beat favourites Japan tomorrow to stay in  the hunt for a spot at the London Olympics.
“We were beaten 4-2 by Japan in our last meeting at the  2010 Asian Games. I believe we have a chance if we play to  strategy on Friday (tomorrow,” Nasihin added.
   Results — Japan 7 Austria 0, Belarus 3 Chile 1, Azerbaijan  4 Malaysia 0.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Japan welcomes the world

Japan kicked off the 2012 Olympic Qualification Tournament in Kakamigahara in grand style this morning with an opening ceremony to welcome all the participants in the event.
  The ceremony was an extravaganza with fireworks, a marching band, dancers and a flyover by five Japanese military planes.
  Fans in the stadium were treated to the two flyovers from the jets, which are stationed at Gifu Airforce Base located within a kilometer of the stadium. Following the flyover the Japanese set off fireworks to officially start the ceremony.
  Members of the Organizing Committee and Kakamigahara government were on hand to formally welcome all the teams, which marched in a procession while the marching band honored them with a festive song.
  At the end of ceremony the teams departed the field and prepared to battle for the last two places at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
  The tournament begins today with all six women’s teams in action. Opening the tournament will be Chile vs. Belarus, that game will be followed by host Japan, and tournament favorite taking on lowest-seeded Austria. The day will conclude with Azerbaijan facing Malaysia.
  The men’s tournament begins tomorrow with all six teams playing their first round robin games of the tournament. The highlight of tomorrow’s game will be host Japan taking on the Czech Republic.

Women face tough time in Kakamigahara

By Ajitpal Singh

THE national women's hockey team will find it tough to make an impression in their first competition of the year at the Olympic Qualifiers which begins today in Kakamigahara, Japan.
  The team may have been training as a unit for a long time but they have not played international matches since last December's Sea Cup victory in Bangkok and the lack of match practice could hamper their progress in the qualifiers.
  The Malaysian squad spent a week in Seoul before heading to Kakamigahara last weekend, where they have so far had three practice sessions at the tournament venue.
  They will open their campaign against second-ranked Azerbaijan today followed by a match against favourites Japan two days later, Belarus (Sunday), Chile (May 1) and Austria (May 3).
  It will be tough against Azerbaijan as the former Russian state have several Korean-born players in their squad.
  Malaysia edged Azerbaijan 5-4 in their last meeting at a four-nation tournament in 2008 but the World No 15 have improved tremendously since. Coach Nasihin Nubli said his team were well prepared for the tournament.
  "We want to start the tournament on a winning note. Azerbaijan have improved so much but we have worked out some strategies and, hopefully, we can get a good result tomorrow (today)," said Nasihin yesterday.
  Japan, who won last year's Champions Challenge I, are expected to face either Azerbaijan or Belarus in the final on May 5 for the Olympic berth.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

KL tipped for fifth Under-16 title

PIC: S. Selvaraju during his playing days (left).

FORMER international S. Selvaraju will coach Kuala Lumpur in their bid for a fifth consecutive National Under-16 title on April 27-May 4.
  Selvaraju, who made his national junior debut in the 2005 Junior World Cup in Rotterdam, has enough quality players in his young side who are capable of winning the title.
   Last year, KL whitewashed Malacca 6-0 in the final and did not concede a single goal in eight matches,
   "We have some good players in this KL team who have been playing in Division Four of the KL League and have not lost a single match to date," said Selvaraju.
   KL, who have been in training for one month, have two national under-16 players in Misniwan Gusni and Nor Shafiq Sumantri, two from Sekolah Sukan Tunku Mahkota Ismail and 13 from Titiwangsa School.
  The tournament will be held at two venues -- Sungai Petani and Alor Star.
   "The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHF) will give a grant of RM3,000 to each competing team and we have 12 registered for the tournament," said organising chairman S. Satish Kumar, who is also the Kedah HA deputy president.
   "We decided to hold the age-group tournament at two venues so that more fans can watch the action." Selvaraju feels the challenge will come from Perak, Terengganu and Penang.
  "In any age-group tournament, it is difficult to predict the strength of opposing teams until the first day's matches are over, but the early indications are that Perak, Terengganu and Penang will be the teams to beat," said Selvaraju.
   KL are in Group A with Kelantan, Selangor, Pahang, Johor and Terengganu, while Malacca are in Group B with Perak, Negri Sembilan, Penang, Kedah and Perlis.
   Sabah and Sarawak have opted to stay out. By Jugjet Singh

Monday, April 23, 2012

Malaysian women looking good...

THE Malaysian women's hockey team came up with some encouraging results in South Korea before heading to Japan to play in the Olympic Qualifier in Kakamigahara from April 25 - May 5.
    The first match was against the Korean Sports University and the girls won 3-2, followed by a 6-1 thrashing by the Korean national side.
   The Malaysians then improved but were edged 2-1 by the Korean national team in their second encounter.
   Considering that Malaysia are ranked 23th in the world, while the Koreans have qualified for the Olympics, national coach Nasihin Nubli is happy with the results of the friendlies.
   Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) senior vice-president S. Shamala said: "It was a very worthwhile trip to South Korea as the hosts did not hold back but fielded their full national squad in the second and third friendlies.
   "Nasihin told me that the friendlies completed his training, and they are ready to give their best in the Qualifier."
   The FIH website pronounced Japan, World No 9, and Azerbaijan, World No 15, as the front-runners for the gold medal which comes with an Olympic ticket.
   "Nasihin is confident that his charges have what it takes to play in the final and their confidence was further boosted by the slim defeat to Korea in the last friendly," said Shamala.
   Korea are ranked eighth in the world, one rung better than Japan -- indicating that Malaysia will give all their opponents a tough fight in Kakamigahara and not just make up the numbers.
   Malaysia take on Azerbaijan in their opener on Wednesday,  followed by Japan (April 27), Belarus (April 29), Chile (May 1) and Austria (May 3).
   MALAYSIA: Farah Ayuni  Yahya;   Norhasikin Halim; A. Kannagi;  Noor Hasliza Ali; Siti Noor Amarina; Juliani Din; Norbaini Hashim; Siti Shahidah Saad; Nor Azlin Sumantri; Nuraini Rashid; Nadia Rahman; Sebah Kari; Siti Rahmah Othman; Fazilla Slyvester Silin; Siti Noor Hafiza; Rabiatul Adawiyah; Nurul Nabihah; Raja Norsharina ;   Coach:  Nasihin Nubli; Assistant coach: Hanapi Hassan; Manager: Ernawati Mahmud.

May 5: Acid test for Project 2013

MAY 5 could well be judgement day for Project 2013 in the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca.
   For that is when they play South Korea which could seal their semi-finals fate or may have to wait for their next match against Japan two days later.
   For the record, Malaysia beat South Korea 4-2 in the inaugural Sultan of Johor Cup.
  And recently coach K. Dharmaraj's boys played a series of friendly matches against Korea losing the first 2-1 but then thrashed them 9-1 They lost the third 5-3 but won the final match 6-5.
  "The Koreans have brought 17 players who played in the Sultan of Johor Cup, with the exception of the one player who scored both the goals against us.
   "I don't know the reason for his absence, but after the friendly matches, confidence is high and we will have a good outing against them in Malacca," said Dharmaraj.
   The missing player is You Seung Ju, who scored a brace in Johor off penalty corner deflections, and his name was on the final list forwarded to tournament organisers the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF).
  The Junior Asia Cup doubles up as qualifiers for next year's Junior World Cup which India will host. The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has only given two slots to the World Cup from Malacca, as only eight teams will be competing.
   India, automatic qualifiers, are in Group B with Pakistan, China and Sri Lanka. In Group A are Malaysia, South Korea, Japan and Iran.
   The Project boys also played three friendly matches against Pakistan losing the first two 5-3 and 4-3 before winning the third 5-3.
   "During the Korea and Pakistan friendlies, I tested a big group of players and that is why the scores were erratic. But I believe when I field my best in the tournament proper, the scores will favour Malaysia," said Dharmaraj.
   Right now, the only headache for Dharmaraj is whether to name two goalkeepers or one. "My first choice Hazrul Faiz is in top flight and even if I name two goalkeepers, I might not get a chance to play the reserve (Shahrul Azaddin) for the entire tournament.
   "That is why I am contemplating naming only one goalkeeper, but then the fear that he might get injured or sick looms large.
   "I am still in two minds about that, and that is why I have selected 19 players. I will only drop the last one after the friendly matches against an Australian County team in Malacca on May 24 and 26," said Dharmaraj.
   And it could well be the reserve goalkeeper, as Dharmaraj goes for broke.

Dharmaraj banking on Faizal power

THE Project 2013 hockey team are primed for an explosive Junior Asia Cup in Malacca on May 3-13, with coach K. Dharmaraj bent on winning the gold medal.
    His confidence stems from Faizal Saari
(pic) becoming a one-man scoring machine in the friendlies against Pakistan and South Korea.
   And Faizal will complement well with penalty corner flicker Noor Faeez Ibrahim, who played a pivotal role in helping Malaysia win the inaugural Sultan of Johor Cup.
   "Faizal has shown great composure and is now the ace in the Project 2013 team.
   "His penalty corner flicks are not only accurate, but powerful, and he would be the player to watch in Malacca," said Dharmaraj.
   The finalists in Malacca will advance to the Junior World Cup in India next year.
    Malaysia have South Korea, Japan and Iran for company in Group A. India are in Group B with Pakistan, China and Sri Lanka.
   India, as hosts, are automatic qualifiers regardless of how they end up in the tournament.
   However, if India play in the final, then the bronze medallists will also advance to New Delhi.
   India are the defending champions, and have won the last two editions in Karachi in 2004 and Chennai in 2008.

RIP RMR Balbir

Balbir ( 4th from left, standing) with the NS Veterans Team in Kedah last December
 Funeral details for Balbir: Cremation would be on Tuesday April 24 at Cheras Crematorium , Jln Kuari at 1pm.

IT is with profound sadness that I report the death of former international Balbir Singh. He was 51 years old and leaves behind three boys and his wife.
    Balbir, who represented Malaysia, RMR and Yayasan Negeri Sembilan in the 1980's to 1990's, suffered a heart attack while representing Malacca Sikhs in a tournament in Singapore this afternoon (Sunday).
   He was walking towards the centre of the pitch when he collapsed.
   One of the first to rush to Balbir was his long time friend and team mate Gurmit Singh.
   "He just collapsed and we tried to revive him. There was a faint pulse and he was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead," said Gurmit who was in tears when contacted in Singapore.
   "It was all of a sudden. One minute we were joking and now he is gone. I just cannot believe it."
   Balbir was a member of the YNS team in 1995 that won the Overall Championships in the MHL.
   Prior to that Balbir played for RMR and served the Armed Forces for 18 years, his last post being a Sargent Mejar.
   Balbir represented Negeri Sembilan in the National Veterans Tournament in Kedah last December and was instrumental in helping the team emerge champions.
   "It is truly a sad day for hockey as Balbir was one of the more fitter players during his hey days. He made up for his lack of skills with hard running and was a very disciplined player. I am shocked at his demise and still cannot get over it," said MHC Vice President Manjit Majid Abdullah who is also in Singapore.
   Balbir , who hails from Malacca, was a member of the three men RMR strike force that drove fear into the hearts of their opponents, the other two being Mohd Nor Hussain and Yusof   Sameon.
   HRH Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, the President of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) who is currently attending the Asean Football Federation meeting in Manila has extended his condolences to the family of Balbir.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

ALL IZZ WELL....(Amir Khan's 3-Idiots)

THE national hockey team has gone through the normal process of meeting up with the management and coaches after the Dublin Olympic Qualifier, and the consensus is to forget the failure and look forward to better days.
Initially, there was talk that a group of disillusioned senior players wanted to quit the national team after the coaches report was submitted to the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) council on April 10.
However, all the issues have been clarified, and the players are back in training for the Azlan Shah Cup on May 24 to June 3 in Ipoh.
Team manager George Koshy said yesterday that after meeting MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, the players have started their Azlan Shah Cup train ing.
“Even before the coaches report was tabled at the MHC Council Meeting, Tengku Abdullah had wanted to meet the players.
“And after I met them, and the coaches (Tai Beng Hai and Nor Saiful Zaini) spoke to the players, Tengku Abdullah met them and had a healthy discussion.
“The mandate was to forget the Dublin failure and con centrate on the task at hand -- which is the Azlan Shah Cup,” said George Koshy.
The manager also clarified that no player has withdrawn from the team.
“Azlan Misron did indicate that he wanted a break and would like to skip the Azlan Shah Cup. However, after listening to all parties, he was back in training today (yesterday).
“The only player who has indicated strongly that he wants to quit is Madzli Ikmar, but I am going to have a chat with and see where it goes.
“Otherwise, 95 per cent of the players called-up for training have reported, while a few of them are with the Project 2013 side and also busy with their studies,” said George.
The Project 2013 will be involved with the Junior Asia Cup on May 3-13, which also doubles up as the Junior World Cup Qualifier.
The Azlan Shah Cup will be a seven team event with Malaysia the only team not qualified for the Olympics. The Olympics cast is Pakistan Great Britain, South Korea, New Zealand, Argentina, India.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Project 2013 carry huge burden

By Ajitpal Singh

THE future of Malaysian hockey will depend on how the Project 2013 squad fare in the Junior Asia Cup, which doubles up as a qualifier for next year's New Delhi Junior World Cup.

Coach K. Dharmaraj believes his players, who have been with him since 2009, will not let him down at the tournament scheduled for May 3-13 at Malacca's Bukit Serindit Stadium.
Except for India, who as hosts have qualified automatically for the Junior World Cup, the other seven teams will be vying for the two berths allocated by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
Malaysia have been drawn in Group A with South Korea, Japan and Iran while India, Pakistan, China and Sri Lanka make up Group B.
"I want my team to win this tournament. Anything less than that means I've failed. We, however, need to focus on reaching the final first before thinking about the title," said Dharmaraj yesterday.
"We have played all these teams and I believe we are good enough to do better than them. I have 32 players in training and all of them have improved since 2009. It will be tough for me to select only 18 for this event."
The team will bank on the experience of national players Firhan Ashaari, Amir Farid and the Saari brothers, Faizal and Fitri in the tournament.
"They will form the core but I also have 10 other players who have been in and out of the national squad of late," said the coach.
Dharmaraj will drop 10 players after today's friendly against South Korea before they leave for Malacca.
"We will play friendlies against an Australian county side in Malacca before I trim the squad to the final 18," he added.
Malaysia open their campaign against Iran on May 3.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Iran opener in Malacca..

7th Men’s Junior Asia Cup
Malacca, Malaysia – 3/13 May 2012

Pool A Pool B
Korea Pakistan
Malaysia India
Japan China
Iran Sri Lanka

Date Match # Time Pitch Pool Match
Thu 3 May 12 01 17h00 1 A Korea v. Japan
02 19h00 1 A Malaysia v. Iran

Fri 4 May 12 03 17h00 1 B Pakistan v. China
04 19h00 1 B India v. Sri Lanka

Sat 5 May 12 05 17h00 1 A Japan v. Iran
06 19h00 1 A Malaysia v. Korea

Sun 6 May 12 07 15h00 1 B China v. Sri Lanka
08 17h00 1 B India v. Pakistan
09 19h00 1 A Korea v. Iran

Mon 7 May 12 10 15h00 1 B China v. India
11 17h00 1 B Pakistan v. Sri Lanka
12 19h00 1 A Japan v. Malaysia

Monday, April 16, 2012

The never-ending wait..


MALAYSIAN Golf Association (MGA) turned out to be the biggest winners of the Maybank Malaysian Open, when they received a grant of RM2 million from the government for the development of junior golfers.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made the the announcement when he presented the Seagram Trophy to tournament winner Louis Oosthuizen on Sunday.
The fact that only Shaaban Hussin made the half-way cut in the Malaysian Open, while 21 others fell by the wayside, paints a perfect picture of the current local golf scene.
The smile on MGA president Tan Sri Mohamed Anwar Mohamed Nor’s face after hearing the announcement said it all, but he should know that getting the grant is just the beginning of a long uphill battle to produce a local champion.
MGA recently announced the formation of a Junior Club to register all juniors under 18 years old with the governing body and among some of the benefits or joining with a fee of RM20 are:

Free Handicap from the National Handicapping System.
Invitation to attend golf clinics conducted by MGA.
Invitation to attend National Golf Camps.
Be included in the Order of Merit to represent Malaysia in the local and international events.
Play at some MGA affiliated clubs at special rates.
. Special rates on golf apparels and equipment at selected shops.

That move to register all juniors under one umbrella is long overdue, and was refreshing considering that not a single Malaysian has won the Malaysian Open since its inception in 1962.
Even golfers from the Philippines, Ireneo Legaspi (1967) and Ben Arda (1970) have won the Malaysian Open. Not to mention, the six Japanese, three China, two South Korean Malaysian Open champions who showed that Asians can compete against the rest of the world.
Thailand golfer Thongchai Jaidee deserves special mention as he won back-to-back in 2004 and 2005.
History also has witnessed China’s Lu Hsi-chuen winning a hat-trick of titles in 1979, 81 and 84.
So, when Shaaban came close to tears after signing in his card at joint-57th, Malaysian golf fans were crying their hearts out at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
They have resigned to the fact that it is a near impossible task for a Malaysian to be atop the podium in the next decade -- and nasty jokes were flying around the greens as well as the many sponsors marquees.
Money is never a problem, as even the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour, in its infancy, has attracted 19 sponsored legs which offers a total of RM3 million in prize money.
But while the MGA money will go towards developing the youth, the rich PGM Tour might just make local golfers lazy to venture beyond our shores as the pickings are easier here.
Shaaban was spot on, when he blasted some golfers who were handed the Asian Tour cards on a platter but refused to get out of the local comfort zone.
“How are they going to improve their game if they do not venture abroad but keep on playing at home? lamented Shaaban.

Azlan Shah training starts

THE National senior team started their Azlan Shah Cup training yesterday, with 11 available players at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
The Azlan Shah Cup, on May 24 to June 3, will feature six teams who have qualified for the Olympics -- India, Australia, Great Britain, South Korea, New Zealand and Pakistan.
Only hosts Malaysia failed to make the grade in the Dublin Olympic Qualifier.
“Eleven players turned up for training today (yesterday) as five of them are involved with the Project 2013 side, while others could not get leave from their studies.
“We invited 24 trainees for the Azlan Shah Cup, and will most probably head for Ipoh to train at the blue pitch for a few days,” said national coach Tai Beng Hai.
The Olympics will use a blue artificial pitch and a yellow ball for the first time, and the six Olympians will benefit from the Azlan Shah Cup simulation.
Five Project 2013 players have been included in the Azlan Shah Cu list, which means if they get selected, they will play in the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca on May 3-13, and then another gruelling tournament 11 days later.
The Junior Asia Cup also doubles up as the 2014 Junior World Cup Qualifier, and two berths will be made available in Malacca, excluding hosts India.
AZLAN SHAH CUP TRAINEES: Roslan Jamaluddin (gk), S. Kumar (gk), Hairi Rahman (gk), Izzat Rahim, Amin Rahim, Marhan Jalil, Fitri Saari, Izwan Firdaus, Faizal Saari, Shahrun Nabil, Shukri Mutalib, Azlan Misron, Nabil Fiqri, Razie Rahim, Hafifi Hafiz Hanafi, Baljit Singh, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Azreen Rizal, Fitri Abu Bakar, Shahrin Mohamed, Faiz Helmi, Firhan Ashaari, Farid Fuzi, Azammi Adabi.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Oosthuizen show

IT was a sobering experience for South African Louis Oosthuizen, as he not only avenged his Agusta defeat, but also pocketed a cool US$416,660 with came with his winning score of 17 under 271 in the Maybank Malaysian Open at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club yesterday.
There was never a doubt that he is going to slip, or that there will be a play-off to determine the winner, as the South African was fully focused at the task at hand.
Scotsman Stephen Gallacher carded a battling 70 for second place while American David Lipsky, winner of the Cambodian Classic last month, finished joint third and two shots back after a 70 alongside Danny Willett of England (71) and Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello (71).
Former Asian Tour number ones Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa of India were the best placed Asians in tied 11th place in the US$2.5 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
"It was important for me to come here and put up a good fight after last week. Last week was tough and that kind of a result always takes abit out of you," said Oosthuizen.
And having his family along was just the right tonic he needed to overcome a 30-hour flight jet-lag.
"Having the family here this week was unbelievable. They were meant to fly to South Africa from Augusta but my wife said she she wanted to come here even though she knew she was in for a tough one with the kids!
"But it was just great, it always is. It is always nice to have your little girl waiting on you when you come off the 18th to give you a hug. And it doesn't matter if you have played good or bad, she just wants that hug," said Oosthuizen.
His wake-up call was when he missed a short putt for par on the sixth: "I kind of woke up again and refocused and started to make better shots and played really well on the back-nine."
Oosthuizen, who received the Seagram Trophy from Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Sri Najib Tun Abdul Razak and also the champion’s navy blue jacket, said: “It would have been better if I had the green jacket (laughter) but I’m a little bit surprise because I thought I would be tired. I played well and the game was there so it made it a lot easier. I had a good week.”
A distant four shots behind was Stephen Gallacher of Scotland, who was never really a worrying factor for the leader in the back nine chase.
"I'm pleased with myself, as I only had a couple of bogies this the week and even threw in a shot as well which wasn't there!," said Gallacher who signed for the wrong score in the morning third round, with a 69 when he had a 68 and it stood.
He paid tribute to the phenomenal show from the South African.
"It was a super show from Oosthuizen considering what he went through last week. I thought he might get tired today and obviously he isn't. He is a fit guy and fair play to him."

Maybank Malaysian Open final scores

271 Louis Oosthuizen (SA) 66-68-69-68.
274 Stephen Gallacher (Scot) 67-68-69-70.
276 Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Sp) 67-72-66-71, Danny Willett (Eng) 69-69-67-71, David Lipsky (US) 70-67-69-70.
277 Charl Schwartzel (SA) 64-75-70-68.
279 Matteo Manassero (Ita) 70-72-68-69, Martin Kymer (Ger) 70-67-71-71, Romain Wattel (Fra) 68-68-72-71, Hennie Otto (SA) 71-64-72-72.
280 Scott Hend (Aus) 70-71-73-66, Victor Dubisson (Fra) 72-68-69-71, Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) 65-73-70-72, Jyoti Randhawa (Ind) 66-72-68-74, Jbe Kruger (SA) 70-65-77-68.
281 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 68-72-71-70, Rikard Karlberg (Swe) 73-69-71-68, Ben Fox (US) 70-68-70-73, Mo Joong-kyung (S Kor) 71-71-70-69.
282 Joost Luitten (Ned) 72-69-73-68, Chapchai Nirat (Thai) 71-73-69-69, Antonio Lascuna (Phil) 67-74-72-69,Julien Quesne (Fra) 69-72-73-68.
283 Prom Meesawat (Thai) 68-75-70-70, Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg) 68-71-66-78, Simon Dyson (Eng) 69-70-70-74, Rhys Davies (Wal) 70-68-72-73, Pablo Larrazabal (SP) 69-73-67-74.
284 Alvaro Quiros (SP) 72-68-73-71, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 72-68-73-71, Lian Wen-chong (Ch) 72-68-70-74, Marcel Siem (Ger) 69-73-70-72.
285 Berry Hendson (US) 72-72-70-71, Mardan Mmat (Sing) 73-71-70-71, Steve Webster (Eng) 73-70-69-73, Scott Barr (Aus) 73-70-70-72, Richard Green (Aus) 69-74-71-71, David Howell (Eng) 71-71-75-68, Gary Boyd (Eng) 75-67-68-75.
286 Joonas Granberg (Fin) 68-73-71-74, David Drysdale (Scot) 72-69-74-71, Daisuke Kataoka (Jpn) 70-71-72-73, Branden Grace (SA) 69-72-72-73, Panuphol Pittayarat (Thai) 69-74-73-70, Tom Lewis (Eng) 70-70-72-74, Gaurav GHEI (Ind) 68-74-73-71.
287 Jason Knutzon (US) 66-75-71-75, Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 75-69-74-69, Marcus Both (Aus) 72-72-73-70, Robert-Jan Derksen (Ned) 71-73-74-69, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita) 69-71-74-73.
288 Siddikur Rahman (Bang) 72-71-73-72, Fabrizio Zanotti (Par) 72-71-75-70, Simon Khan (Eng) 72-71-73-72, Shiv Kapur (Ind) 69-72-72-75.
289 Peter Karmis (SA) 72-70-74-73.
290 Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 73-71-75-71, Stephen Lewton (Eng) 70-71-77-72, Anthony Kang (US) 69-75-76-70, Prayad Marksaeng (Thai) 73-70-69-78, Shaaban Hussin (Mas) 70-72-75-73.
291 Thanyakon Khrongpha (Thai) 73-68-72-78.
292 Michael Campbell (NZ) 72-71-71-78, Zaw Moe (Myan) 72-71-74-75, Alastair Forsyth (Scot) 71-72-70-79.
293 Lee Sung (S Kor) 69-75-75-74, Zhang Lian-wei (Ch) 70-74-72-77, Richard McEvoy (Eng) 72-71-75-75.
294 Pariya Junhasavasdikul (Thai) 76-68-72-78.
295 Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Fra) 71-69-80-75.
296 Keith Horne (SA) 72-72-78-74.
311 Ignacio Garrido (SP) 71-70-81-89.

Indian stars Jyothi and Jeev shine

INDIA stars Jyothi Rahdhawa and Jeev Milkha Singh ended jointh-11th, salvaging some Asian pride in the Maybank Malaysian Open.
Jyothi had a final round of two-over 74 for an eight-under 280 total, while Jeev played par golf yesterday.
"At least I hung in there for quite a bit. I just had two bad shots really. I hit my second shot on the 13th hole and it got plugged (double bogey). I had another bad tee shot on the 14th hole (triple bogey).
"If you take those shots away then I would have finished higher. At least I know why those bad shots came because the old swing came in. I birdied after those shots so that was a good comeback," said Jyothi.
"All in all I think I’m feeling good. I just need to give it a little bit more time. I guess I’m on the right track. After this week, I’m feeling even more confident with a top-10 finish. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.
"I’ll just try to do the best that I can and focus on the process and routine. If I can keep doing that then I think I can play well.
"Just when I needed a few shots to go straight and when I needed a few birdie putts, it (swing) just didn’t work for me because of anxiety. When something is new it just doesn’t work under pressure but I know what I need to do so hopefully one day I can hold it under pressure.
It has been a while since Jyothi came into a competition under stress.
"I hope I can hang in there and don’t do the bad swings. I feel very nice the way I swung this week. I feel very nice that it is all coming together. I just had two bad swings so I’m feeling positive for next week.
"It is a great golf course. I think it is a ball strikers’ golf course and the greens are fast. You got to hit the ball long way so I’m looking forward to it," said Jyothi.
As for Jeev: "I had a great start today (yesterday). I think I got ahead of myself and gave a few shots away. I thought I got really unlucky on 16, I hit a great shot in there but it rolled into the water. That set me back and I shot even par. But I tried you know. It is the first top-10 of the year and hopefully it gets better from here."

Shaaban almost in tears

SHAABAN Hussin, 32, was close to tears after he could not muster the physical side of his game to make an impact in the final round of the Malaysian Open.
The lanky Malaysian ended joint 57th, after a final round of one-over 73 for a total of two-over 290.
He won a purse of US$7250, but that was besides the point: "I was close to tears after finishing my round, as I felt that I was a letdown as the sole Malaysian in the Malaysian Open. Also, it was my best chance to get more money and improve my Asian Tour rankings."
And what was the reason?
"My physical side of the game was not good in the last two rounds, and I have been suffering this syndrome in the last three tournaments as well.
"I was a regular gym-goer, but could not have regular sessions for the last month, as I was traveling most of the time," said Shaaban.
He was in Cambodia, then Perak followed by Singapore and finally the Malaysian Open -- and it took a toll on his gym schedule.
"I did well in the first two rounds of all the tournaments, only to lose out in the last two rounds because of fatigue. That is one area I will have to work on further," said the player who will play in the Indonesian Masters at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club from Thursday.
In the Cambodian Open he finished tied-22 (69-69-71-72), and then in the Perak PGM-Clearwater Classic, he lost a two-hole sudden-death playoff against R, Nachimuthu.
His Singapore Open outing last week was much better, as he finished joint 13th (66-65-72).
"The confidence was there going into the Malaysian Open, as I was doing well in the earlier tournaments. But my drive killed me off, as I was only hitting five to six greens in the last two rounds and had to scramble to save my game most of the time," said Shaaban.
He had three bogies on the first, third and 14th. The birdies which counted were on the fourth and fifth.
Shaaban also lamented on the fact that there are a few Malaysian players who do not take up their Asian Tour spots because they prefer to play on the local tour.
"They have a mind-set that it is easier to win money on the local tours. I know that I can earn easily RM10,000 in one leg of the local tour, but how long can I continue to play at home? The competition on the Asian Tour is is tougher, but it gave me experience to play much better."

Indian keeper D’Souza tested positive

The Asian Age

Indian hockey goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza has tested positive for a banned substance in a random test conducted by the National Anti-Doping agency during the recent World Series Hockey tournament.
D’Souza, who skippered the Mumbai Marines team in the inaugural league, was tested along with 11 others during the tournament.
And even though Nada “remained firm” that the player’s identity could not be made public, an ambiguous mail made its way to the media on Thursday night, naming D’Souza.
And given the 27-year old’s runs-in with authority over the last year or so, it wasn’t hard to guess the source of the leaked news.
“As many as 12 samples were collected during the World Series Hockey, and 10 results have come so far. One of them has tested positive for tetrahydro-cannabinol, a metabolite of marijuana, and notices have been sent to the athlete, the respective federations, and the organisers,” Nada director general Rahul Bhatnagar said.
“As cannabinol is a specified substance, there will be no provisional suspension imposed on the athlete. He can participate in tournaments during the hearings and if a ban is imposed, it would be from the date of sample collection and whatever medals or cash prizes he had won during that period, he will have to forfeit them.”
Dr P.S.M. Chandran, chief medical officer for WSH, said he was not a position to comment.
he Nada letter sent to D’Souza mentions a sample collected on March 21, containing “higher concentration of tetrahydro-cannabinol (THC), a metabolite of marijuana”.
D’Souza, can ask for a ‘B’ sample test within seven days time from the date of receipt of the order.

Oosthuizen in charge

Kuala Lumpur, April 15: Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa is 18 holes away from winning the Maybank Malaysian Open after shooting a third round three-under-par 69 on Sunday.
Oosthuizen, who is on a mission of erasing his play-off defeat at the Masters last week, returned this morning to complete eight holes and take a one-shot lead over Stephen Gallacher of Scotland at the US$2.5 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello of Spain, Ricardo Gonzalez of Argentina and Danny Willet of England trail Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion by two shots at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Asian Tour rookie David Lipsky of the United States, winner of the HANDA FALDO Cambodian Classic last month, and Indian star Jyoti Randhawa, a former Asian Tour number one in 2002, are tied in sixth place on 206, three shots from the leader.
Round 4 is currently in progress with the leading flight teeing off at 10.20am.
Scores after round 3 of the Maybank Malaysian Open 2012 being played at the par 72, 6967 Yards Kuala Lumpur GcC course (a- denotes amateur):
203 - Louis OOSTHUIZEN (RSA) 66-68-69.
204 - Stephen GALLACHER (SCO) 67-68-69.
205 - Rafael CABRERA-BELLO (ESP) 67-72-66, Ricardo GONZALEZ (ARG) 68-71-66, Danny WILLETT (ENG) 69-69-67.
206 - Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND) 66-72-68, David LIPSKY (USA) 70-67-69.
207 - Hennie OTTO (RSA) 71-64-72.
208 - Ben FOX (USA) 70-68-70, Jeev Milkha SINGH (IND) 65-73-70, Martin KAYMER (GER) 70-67-71, Romain WATTEL (FRA) 68-68-72.
209 - Victor DUBUISSON (FRA) 72-68-69, Charl SCHWARTZEL (RSA) 64-75-70, Simon DYSON (ENG) 69-70-70, Pablo LARRAZABAL (ESP) 69-73-67.
210 - LIANG Wen-chong (CHN) 72-68-70, Matteo MANASSERO (ITA) 70-72-68, Rhys DAVIES (WAL) 70-68-72, Gary BOYD (ENG) 75-67-68.
211 - Soren KJELDSEN (DEN) 68-72-71.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Class act from Oosthuizen

SOUTH African Luois Oosthuizen (pic) was oozing with class, putting behind his masters play-off disappointment, to steal the thunder in a weather disrupted Maybank Malaysian Open at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club yesterday.
Third round play was against stopped short by rain, with 60 players still on the greens and fairways, but the South African was in the club-house drivers seat with a 13-under through 10 holes in the third round.
He completed his six holes of the second round with two more birdies for a four-under 68, and will have to play eight more today, before competing for the title in another gruelling 18 holes.
Second on the clubhouse leaderboard is Scotland's Stephen Gallacher who was 12-under through 10 holes of round three.
He travelled 30 hours from Augusta after losing the Masters play-off, and the jet-lag has started to hit him in a different way.
"The jet-lag has been pretty rough, expecially having the kids with us because they are sleeping all day and then coming alive at night!
"Thankfully my wife has been able to sit up with them at night in the room next door while I try and sleep but I haven't had more than four hours straight at any one time," said Oosthuizen.
"I got off to a pretty slow start in the third round as I hot three good putts but did not birdie any of them. Then I picked up two shots on the fourth and fifth, and then I hit a pretty stupid shot on the sixth (bogey).
"I am probably going for a few more shots (birdies) in the remaining third round because I'm kind of playing it like it might be the last round," said the South African.
Oosthuizen's haste stems from the fact that if it rains today morning and disrupts play further, the tournament might be turned into a 54-hole event.
"You never know with the weather here so you are trying to get ahead of the guys in case all of a sudden, it becomes a 54-hole event. I actually don't think that will be the case now, but at that point on the sixth, I was still thinking that there was a chance that this could be the last round," said Oosthuizen.
As for the Scotsman, his confidence rose from the fact that he did not hit a single bogey in the third round.
"Its a good feeling to be right up there and the bogey-free round is helping with the confidence.
"It will be tough to land the title, as Louis is in great form. We all saw what he did last week and how well he played but if I can stick to my own game, I will have a good chance to win," said Gallacher.

Lonely two rounds for Shaaban

THE last Malaysian standing at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, Shaaban Hussin (pic), felt a tinge of sadness as 21 of his compatriots fell at the halfway-cut of the Maybank Malaysian Open.
And Shaaban also had a torrid day, as he played a total of 27 holes and was dead tired in the last four holes, resulting in a string of bogies which saw him finish at three over 75, for a three round total of 217.
“I felt a bit shaky when I started my uncompleted nine holes this morning. The pressure piled on me when the crowd started shouting that I’m the only Malaysian who has a chance of making the cut. That didn’t help with the nerves! My caddy told me to ignore them and that calmed me down a bit,” said Shaaban.
"And after I completed my second round, I felt very sad when none of the other Malaysians managed to get past the cut, and it was a heavy feeling, but I had to soldier on and it was not easy playing 27 holes in a day," said Shaaban.
He completed nine holes of the second round in the morning, and after an hours rest, continued 18 in the third round.
"I had very little time to rest and practice. But the first nine was good, as I managed to hold onto my game, but the return was bad as the muscles started to tire.
"Also, our flight was a little slow and after a warning from the marshal, we picked up pace in the last four holes and that is when I hit three bogies in a row and spoilt my game," said Shaaban.
His six bogies were on the 6th, 7th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 17th while the birdies were on 8th, 9th and 14th.
"It was good that I managed to save par on the 18th, and in the final round, I must play more consistently and if I can get five under, it would be a good finish," said the lanky golfer.
“It would have been better if the round did not stop yesterday (second round). I had the momentum going and just couldn’t find my rhythm today (third round). You can’t do anything with the weather delays. I’m disappointed, I won’t deny that,” he said.
Whe asked how many times he played at KLGCC this year: "I only played about four times here as I had many other commitments and tournaments every weekend."

Happy Vaisakhi

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin making capati during the Vaisakhi open house at Gurdwara Sahib Sentul in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Bernama pic

Friday, April 13, 2012

Maninderjit Singh breaks silence..

Dear All

I would like to personally thank everyone during my tenure as the General Manager and Secretary General of MHF & MHC since July 2009.

This has been a very difficult decision for me, but I feel it is appropriate choice for my future undertakings in term of career advancement and family. Please read below the milestones that were achieved during the tenure.

Thanking you again for all the support rendered.


July 2009 – march 2012

These few years has left with invaluable lessons.

Some are painful and some are joyful. With this, MHF and MHC have achieved several vital milestones as stated below:-
  • Constitutional Changes

- Amendments of six (6) Articles of the MHF Constitution namely:

o Article 5 – Definitions

o Article 12 – Congress and Congress Meetings

o Article 14 – Management Committee

o Article 15 – General Meetings

o Article 16 – Duties of Principal Elected Office-Bearers

o Article 17 – Committees

- Spearheaded and facilitated the new MHC Constitution to be compliance with FIH Statutes.

- Communicated and coordinated with FIH, AHF, OCM, MHF & MWHA to resolve the issue of compliance with FIH.

- Prepared a detailed sequence of events and timeline for MHC since 2006 till as of today.

- Dissolution of Malaysian Hockey Federation via EGM.

- 1st MHC Executive Board Meeting was convened successfully.

  • Competition

- Organized two editions of 2010 and 2011 Sultan Azlan Cup in Ipoh, Perak.

- Secured and facilitated Televisyen and Broadcasting Rights with Astro Arena for domestic competition.

- Secured RM3million deal for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup (2010-2013).

- Initiated and obtain approval from FIH to organize first Annual Under 21 Men’s Junior hockey tournament called Sultan of Johor Cup in 2011.

- Remodeling two vital Domestic Events i.e. TNBMHL & Tun Abdul Razak.

- Organized two (2) Inaugural Indoor Hockey Tournament i.e. National Indoor Championship and National Under-16.

- Managed age-group events – Sukma, National Under 21, Under 16 and Under 14.

- Reviewed and Increased Allowances for Tournament Officials.

- Increased TNBMHL Prize Money by 30%.

- Increased MJHL Prize Money by 80% and record breaking of 26 teams.

- Increased Hosting Grant by 40% to RM35,000.

- Secured TNB, 100Plus, QNet, Milo (Nestle) for events.

- Rebrand with new logos for the events: TARC, MHL and MJHL.

- Dedicated Website, Twitter and facebook were established.

- Coordination and communication with Media on Press Conference and provide latest updates on the events.

  • Affiliates

- Increased Hosting Grant by 40% to RM35,000.

- Subsidy from RM3,000 to RM5,000 for each affiliate to participate.

- Introduced Incentive Schemes for State Under-18 League for the Affiliates.

- Organized a Tour to Dublin to support the Malaysian Hockey Team – total of 23 people.

- Special scheme of Air-Ticket (50%) will be absorbed by MHC for Sabah & Sarawak to play in the National Under 14 and Under 16 event.

- Administrative grant of RM10,000 for each Affiliates. Total payout of RM160,000 in 2011.

- Regular emails are sent to keep all the Affiliates updated on the upcoming events and urgent matters.

  • Administration

- Established a Strategic Planning for six years from 2010 till 2016 with objectives and targets to achieve by MHC.

- Appointment of General Manager effective from August 2009.

- Achieved “Grade A” Scale from Malaysia Sports Commissioner’s Office.

- Attained 63.60% in the Annual OCM Rating Programme.

- Facilitated Management, Council and General Meetings for the year 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

- Streamlining Meetings and Reports with 2-year Calendar in placed.

- Obtained four (4) cars and two (2) Multi-Purpose Vehicle on loan from Hyundai-Sime Darby Malaysia.

- DRB-HICOM donated a motorcycle.

- Skali Group established a website and to maintain it.

- University of Stirling of Scotland has accredited MHC at 3.3 points which is above the requirement of 3.0 points. We were ranked third best NSA among 56 after BAM and SRAM.

- Established twitter and facebook account.

- Prepare speeches for Office Bearers for Meeting and events.

  • Monetary

- Solicited funds from the Government, Sponsors and well wishers to the tune of RM17.0 million.

- Cleared the debts of RM1.4million.

  • Coaching

- Managed to send five (5) Coaches to attend FIH High Performance Coaching Course in the Hero Honda Hockey World Cup and Champions Trophy in Germany.

- Undertaken MHF Level 1, 2 & 3.

- Organized Workshop to review the syllabus of Level 1 & 2.

- Communicated with NSI (Coaching Division) on the funding for the yearly courses.

- Also assisted in the recent FIH-AHF DUC Workshop.

- Conducted FIH-MHC High Performance Coaching Course in-conjunction with Sultan of Johor Cup 2011. About 20 person attended.

- FIH-MHC Coaching Course Advance Level 3 (A) will be organized in May during the Sultan Azlan Cup 2012.

- MHC won the Best Coaches category during the Anugerah Sukan Negara 2010.

  • Umpiring

- Promoted several young Umpires and Umpires Managers at International arena.

- A Strategic Plan was established on the KPI’s by MHCUB.

- Organized Umpires and Umpires Managers’ Seminar in-conjunction with 19th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2010.

- Also structured a National Hockey Umpires Theory Exam throughout the Nation.

- Included and Umpire as part of Tour of the National Teams to provide exposure.

  • Women Hockey Association

- Contributed RM125,000 to Malaysian Women Hockey Association

- National Women Team participated in the 2010 Junior Hockey League.

- Also included women coaches into the Coaching courses and women umpires to officiate in the domestic competition.

- Review the allowance for the umpires and the officiating umpires get more than the reserve umpire.

- Managed to secure our Malaysian Women team to participate in the Lanco International Super Series event as part of CHOGM.

  • National Teams – Senior, 2013 and 2017 squads

- Current World Ranking at 13 in the world.

- Won Silver Medal at 2010 Asian Games.

- Won the best team award category at Anugerah Sukan Negara 2010.

- Bronze Medal at the 1st Asian Champions Trophy in 2011.

- Won the 1st Sultan of Johor Cup 2011.

- Won the 2009 & 2011 SEA Cup.

- Silver Medal in AHF Boys Under-18 event in 2009 & 2011.

- Failed to qualify for 2012 London Olympic Games & 2010 World Cup.

- Secured attire sponsorship - Kappa for National Team and Grays for National Junior Team (Project 2013).

- A ray of hope is seen in the Project 2013 and National 16 boys’ performance. Project 2013 did a good job by winning the 2009 SEA Cup gold for the country and became runners-up at the 2009 Under-18 Asia Cup tournament in Myanmar and 2011 in Singapore. They also participated in the Razak Cup & Under 23 and became runners-up and third place respectively.

- After four (4) years, the National Under-16 became runners-up after Germany and beating Holland and Belgium in the 4 Nations Mannheim event in Germany in the month of June 2010.

- By looking at the current structure of the National Teams’, we shall have two (2) Junior World Cup Project Squad of 2013 & 2017 and it will be a feeder to the National Senior Team.

- This detailed seven (7) years plan shall equip MHF to greater challenges and to attain first-rate results in the 2014 Asian Games & World Cup, and more importantly the 2016 Rio Olympics.

- Established Code of Conduct for National players.

- Established Bonus Structure for National teams’.

- Streamline the biodata and international caps for the National teams’.

  • Development

- Contributed on yearly basis of RM300,000 to Malaysian Women Hockey Association for 1MAS woman program.

- 1Mas is a long term development initiative which has been conceived to produce a stream of players equipped for elite class, high performance hockey in a structured and coordinated program.

- A standard national training curriculum, progress monitoring, reporting, overseas attachments for identified talent, specialist coaches based regionally and long term collaboration with successful foreign clubs are key features of this program.

- The overall framework of this project will take Malaysia to a gold medal (1MAS) at the regional level (Asian Games) and will be the most developed age group hockey development scheme in Asia.

- Secured RM11.0million from the GOM for the 1MAS Hoki program.

- The Ministry of Education is doing its part to ensure that schools are doing the necessary things.

· Nationwide Inter-District Training Centres or called as “PLD”.

· 14 Selected State Sports School

· High Performance Sports School (“SPTS” program)

· Supported by two dedicated National Sports School i.e. Bukit Jalil and Bandar Penawar.


During the three (3) years, I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation to the management and staff for their dedication and commitment to the MHF and MHC. My gratitude also goes to the Tuanku President, Government of Malaysia (GOM), Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education, Olympic Council of Malaysia, International Hockey Federation (FIH), Asian Hockey Federation (AHF), National Sports Council (NSC), National Sports Institute, Task Force & Project Secretariat of “1MAS HOKI”, business associates such as Tenaga Nasional Berhad, Air Asia Berhad, F&N Beverages Marketing Sdn Bhd (100Plus), Nestle Malaysia Berhad (MILO), Astro ARENA, DRB Hicom, SKYBUS, Chilis, QNet, Hyundai, Reebok, Kappa & Grays for attire sponsorship for the Senior and 2013 team.

I must specifically mention Tuanku President, Government of Malaysia, NSC and NSI, as they have been a source of invaluable advice to me and are willing to consider various proposals for the success of Malaysian hockey.

Also, special appreciation to the Media members’ includes the bloggers’ who have been keeping us on our toes and provides a check and balance on the ideas and actions taken for the betterment of hockey in Malaysia.

Last but not least, I wish to extend my personal thanks to my fellow Office Bearers, Council members, Committee members, staff of MHC & Shahzan House for their continued support and contributions during my tenure since 2009.

“For greater heights of Malaysian hockey, we must strive together”.

Thanking you.

Maninderjit Singh (Mike)