Monday, January 30, 2012

Malaysia 2 Australia 5

Note: Australian goals scored by Matt Ghodes (2), Simon Orchard, Jamie Dwyer, Liam De Young.

AUSTRALIA beat Malaysia 5-2 in the second friendly in Perth yesterday, with Razie Rahim scoring a brace against a much stronger Aussie line-up.

Malaysia, who lost the first match 3-1, faced the World No 1 side minus five regulars as the Australians are also trying out new blood.
“It was a much stronger Australian side as compared to the first match, and there was tremendous pressure in the first half.
“However, the players got used to it in the second half and played much better and it was an excellent work out against the best team in the world,” said Malaysian team manager Stephen van Huizen.
Yesterday the match was played with a yellow ball, and on Thursday when the teams square off for the third friendly, the match will be held on a blue turf -- the same as the London Olympics venue.
“Australia have 38 players in training and I believe they will utilise an even stronger side on the blue pitch, and it will be a perfect tune-up to our Dublin Olympics Qualifier,” said Stephen.
Malaysia will play South Korea, Ireland, Chile, Ukraine and Russia in the Dublin Qualifiers where only the gold medallists will advance to the Olympics.
Down Under, the national side will play a total of four friendlies against Australia and two more against the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, SMK Datuk Taha beat Yayasan Pahang 1-0 in Division Two, Group B match with the goal coming off Badrul Hisyam in the 33rd minute. Their earlier encounter in Kuantan last week was washed off by rain.

Flying Sikh gives his 1960 Olympics shoes for charity

Bose was introduced to Milkha by India's 1975 hockey World Cup-winning captain Ajit Pal Singh.

MUMBAI: Indian athletics may not be on the global sporting map just yet, but there are rare moments in the country's track and field history nevertheless that are forever etched in time. None better than Milkha Singh falling painfully short of a medal at the 400m final of the 1960 Rome Olympics by a gut-wrenching fraction of a second.

Milkha or 'Flying Sikh' as he later got christened, is known to have given away all his medals to government museums. However, there's one possession that he never wanted to part with were those Adidas shoes with which he missed the 400m Olympic bronze at Rome, days after setting a 45.8-second world record in the preliminaries of the same event in France.
"I wouldn't part with it even if someone gave me Rs. 10,000 crore," Milkha told Bollywood actor Rahul Bose, who called the legend at his residence in Chandigarh in connection with the second edition of Equation, the actor's sports memorabilia auction to be held on February 11 in Mumbai.
Bose was introduced to Milkha by India's 1975 hockey World Cup-winning captain Ajit Pal Singh. "When I first spoke to Milkha sir over the phone, he said he was a bit unwell, so I let him recover before going across to Chandigarh. Later, when we met, he showed no signs of any illness. He was fine and we chatted enthusiastically. He spoke of how his parents were killed post-partition, leaving him in India to fend for himself.
He told me how he walked a good 20km to and from school each day, bare-footed across scorching earth and having to cross two streams each way. He would cool his feet by rubbing them over the comparatively cooler grass patches. He joined the army and the rest, as they say, is history," Bose told MiD DAY.
As it turned out, the rest of their interaction was historic for Bose too. "I asked Milkha sir if he could give me a picture of him in that Rome race to put up at the auction, but he didn't have one. Then he suddenly got up, walked to his room and returned with a pair of shoes.
I was astonished to learn that it was the very same pair he ran the Rome race with. 'They are priceless to me. I wouldn't part with them even for Rs. 10,000 crore,' he said. And even as I sat there still in awe of those lace-less, old boots in my hand, Milkha sir said, 'tumne mera dil jeet liya hai aaj. Tum yeh jootey le loh (you have won my heart over. Take these shoes)'."

Moved by the effort

Bose believed the ace middle-distance runner was moved by the sheer nature of his charity and the purpose of the auction. "Proceeds from last year's inaugural auction were used to set up operations in Kashmir where we, as the first non-profit organisation, worked towards adopting and creating educational opportunities for 12 children from the land," said Bose, who also has a football autographed by Argentina ace Lionel Messi and an autographed vest from Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel besides other memorabilia in his collection this time round. Milkha's contribution though, is most special!

Funny way to run a tournament

New Zealand surprised at the Argentina FIH Champions Trophy by drawing 2-2 with host Argentina.

By Michael Burgess

The 2012 Champions Trophy will have a different format to previous editions, one that has few fans among the Black Sticks. It resembles something that the Monty Python team might have come up with if asked to design a sporting tournament.
Take eight teams. Play 12 group matches. Then put the same eight teams into quarter-finals.
Only time will tell but Black Sticks coach Mark Hager certainly has reservations about the new format for the tournament, which starts today in Rosario.
His main beef is that the three group games could essentially count for nothing under the structure introduced by the FIH.
"I'm not a big fan," admits Hager, "I thought the previous system worked well, as we saw last year in both the men's and women's [Champions Trophies]. I don't think this format rewards consistency; a lot comes down to one performance on the day."
The eight competing teams are divided into two groups of four. Each country plays the other once but nobody is knocked out come the end of group play - it is almost the ultimate in political correctness.
They move straight into a quarter-final phase with the Pool A winners playing the fourth side in Pool B, second (A) playing third (B), third (A) plays second (B) and fourth (A) plays first (B).
There have been weird scenarios before - the ICC came up with a doozy at the last two cricket World Cups, taking weeks to eliminate just a few teams. The A-League and the NHL have play-off systems which allow more than half of the teams in the league to progress - but having every team progress to the knockout rounds takes the biscuit.
"It's a bit weird," says captain Kayla Sharland, "because you don't need to be consistent. It's a pretty crazy format but we have seen it before; They have used it at the Champions Challenge and sometimes there a team has lost all three pool games but then gone on to win the tournament. I don't think it is ideal."
Obviously there is a theoretical advantage in topping the pool but only in that you get to play a weaker team; there is no second life for the top qualifier or any other advantage.
Still, given their lead-in form, maybe the format is a blessing in disguise for the New Zealand side. Under the previous system, as seen at the Champions Trophy in Amsterdam last year, teams would have to finish in the top two to progress, otherwise they would be cast aside into the unwanted ground of the fifth-eighth play-offs. Now, the Black Sticks will be in a quarter-final regardless of their group form, though the team and coach will be counting on some confidence-boosting results.
Hager says one of the priorities is to try and avoid the formidable Dutch side, currently ranked No1 in the world and likely to top Pool A.
"We back ourselves against any other team in the world and always will but obviously Holland would be a tough side to meet in the quarter-finals."
As well as Holland, Pool A features Great Britain (ranked fourth in the world), China (fifth) and Japan (ninth).
The Blacks Sticks' Pool B is slightly stronger, with Argentina (second), Germany (third), New Zealand (sixth) and South Korea (eighth) and has three of the top four (New Zealand, Argentina and Korea) from the 2011 Champions Trophy.

The New Zealand Herald