Monday, May 21, 2012

24 hours to London hockey fixtures...

The London Olympic Organizing Committee, together with the International Hockey Federation will announce the competition schedule for the 2012 Olympic hockey tournaments tomorrow. The schedule will be released on both the London 2012 page and the official FIH website tomorrow morning.
  The teams and preliminary round groups were finalised two weeks ago after the South African men became the 24th and final team the qualify for the games. The preliminary round groups are:

WOMEN: Pool A: Netherlands, Belgium, China, Korea, Great Britain, Japan.
Women: Pool B: New Zealand, Australia, Argentina , South Africa, Germany , United States.

MEN -- Group A: Australia, Great Britain, Spain, Pakistan,
Argentina, South Africa.

Group B: Germany, Netherlands, Korea, New Zealand, India,

Condom makes Sanjay’s stick better..

By Rajni Shaleen Chopra

Condoms scale down production, but that is when it comes to humans. A Jalandhar-based manufacturer is now the largest producer of hockey sticks in the country — courtesy condoms.
   Sanjay Kohli, managing director of R K Sports, hit upon this idea a few years ago. The reason was his growing frustration with the hook of the stick, which strikes the ball. The slender, curvaceous hook is actually seven pieces of mulberry wood bound and glued through a tedious process before you get the perfect curve. For the manufacturers of hockey sticks, keeping the hook together is the biggest challenge.
    The problem started first at the factory end. The conventional way was to stick a plastic net on the hook to keep it together. On many sticks, the net would not dry properly or grip the hook, making the precious mulberry wood go to waste. “A good percentage of sticks got damaged this way and had to be shoved into the furnace. The next challenge was the playfield, where the hook split after a few hard strokes,” said Kohli.
   Thinking what will hold the hook together and also grip it right, Kohli hit upon a gem of an idea. Now, during the manufacturing process, condoms are smoothened over the stick. After the sticking net has moulded itself perfectly on the hook, it is time to slide the condom off. The result, after some smoothing and polishing, is a shiny, glossy hook to which the handle is attached. And what you have is a perfect hockey stick, ready to strike ball.
   Today, his employees might well say “What an idea Sirji”, because condoms have helped Kohli increase his production — and his annual turnover — four-fold.
   All this didn’t come without hiccups. Kohli started buying loads of condoms from the neighbourhood store. It went well for a few days, till the shopkeeper smelt a rat and asked Kohli’s worker what was going on — had a brothel opened in the area? Kohli invited the shopkeeper over to the factory and explained what was being done with the condoms. It all ended in cheer and laughter and it is Kohli who is now laughing all the way to the bank.
    When Kohli stated using condoms on hockey stick hooks a few years ago, he made 45 to 75 sticks a day, depending on the success of holding the hook together. Production is now up to about 225 sticks a day. “The condoms have improved the quality of our sticks and hence, the rising demand,” Kohli said. The annual turnover is now up to an impressive Rs 5.25 crore — from the 70-75 lakh a year he made earlier.
   Punjab is the largest producer of hockey sticks and Kohli has a clear edge over his competitors with his new technique. The condoms have helped him save significantly on mulberry wood, which is in scarce supply in the country.

   Indian Express

India batting for sixer or better in London

INDIA coach Michael Nobbs is looking for a top-six finish in the London Olympics, and the Azlan Shah Cup starting on Thursday will be a perfect test for his charges.
     The Australian, who brought down a mixed team, arrived yesterday and traveled to Ipoh with his charges via the ETS from Kuala Lumpur.
   “I am building a side to finish among the top-six in London, and the Azlan Shah Cup will provide us another test on a blue pitch against five other Olympians,” said Knobbs at the old Kuala Lumpur railway station yesterday.
    India played in a Four-Nation Invitational at the Olympic hockey venue in London early in the month, and lost 2-1 to Britain in the bronze match, while Germany beat Australia 5-2 for the gold medal.
   In the earlier matches, India lost 3-0 to Australia, 2-1 to Germany, and 4-2 to Britain.
    “And after the Azlan Shah Cup, we will be playing 10 more matches in Europe before the final selection is made,” said Knobbs.
    India’s ace penalty corner flicker Sandeep Singh, who twice became the top-scorer in the Azlan Shah Cup, hopes the pitch is much better than the one at the Olympic venue in London.
   “Hopefully the pitch is not as bumpy as the one in London. I had problems executing drag flicks (during penalty corners) and this affected the outcome of our,” said Sandeep.
    For Rupinder Pal Singh, the joint top scorer last year with six goals, the presence of Sandeep somewhat eases the load off his shoulders.
   “Obviously Sandeep will have the first bite but it also gives us more options during penalty corners,” said Rupinder Pal who was seen watching several penalty corner variations on a lap-top with Nobbs while waiting for their ETS to Ipoh.
     “We need to be consistent as the matches in Ipoh will provide the coach with valuable input that will ultimately decide who travels to London,” said Rupinder Pal.
   As for Malaysia, coach Tai Beng Hai will name his final 18 today in Ipoh. There are 26 trainees, with eight of them juniors who won gold at the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca.
     FIXTURES -- Thursday: Pakistan v Argentina (4pm), New Zealand v India (6pm), Korea v Malaysia (8pm).
    FRIDAY: New Zealand v Argentina (4pm), Britain  v Malaysia (6pm), Korea  v India (8pm).
    SUNDAY: New Zealand v Pakistan (4pm), Korea v Argentina (6pm), Britain v India (8pm).
    MAY 28: Korea v Pakistan (4pm), Britain v Argentina (6pm), India v Malaysia (8pm).
     MAY 30:  Argentina  v  India (4pm), Britain v New Zealand (6pm), Pakistan  v Malaysia (8pm).
     MAY 31: Britain v Korea (4pm), Pakistan v India (6pm), New Zealand  v  Malaysia (8pm).
     JUNE 2: Korea v New Zealand (4pm), Britain v Pakistan (6pm), Argentina v Malaysia (8pm).