Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Argentina men for London

Lombi trims the team to the final 16 for the Olympics

Argentina men's coach, Pablo Lombi, today announced the 16 players that will represent the country at the 2012 London Olympics.
Among the highlights of the announcement is the inclusion of the Villa brothers: Rodrigo, Luke and Matthew, the captain of the Argentine team. Also of note is that U21 standout Gonzalo Peillat made the final cut.
Argentina will start it's Olympic quest on July 30th with a tough test against Great Britain. In Group A, the Argentina men will also meet Pakistan, Australia, Spain and South Africa. The final 16 players, with two alternates is listed below:

1 Vivaldi, Juan Manuel
2 Ibarra, Pedro
3 Bergner, Ignacio
4 Brunet, Manuel
5 Lopez, Juan Martin
6 Peillat, Gonzalo
7 Rey, Lucas
8 Vila, Matias
9 Rossi, Lucas
10 Mazzilli, Agustin
11 Vila, Lucas
12 Vila, Rodrigo
13 Paredes, Matias
14 Cammareri, Lucas
15 Callioni, Facundo
16 Montelli, Santiago
17 Espinosa, Juan Tomas
18 Gonzalez, Matias
Souce: CAF Press Release

New Zealand banks on experience

New Zealand celebrates its first Azlan Shah title (Photo: Vino John)
New Zealand will take its most experienced hockey team ever to the London Olympic Games starting next month.
  The Black Sticks men’s team of 16 players selected by the New Zealand Olympic Committee today includes four three-time Olympians and nine players who will make their second appearance at an Olympics.
  Three of the team – striker Phil Burrows, midfielder Ryan Archibald, and defender and captain Dean Couzins – have also amassed more 250 caps for their country while defender Blair Hopping is just one off that mark with 249 caps.
  Couzins, Burrows, Hopping and goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex will all be attending their third Olympics while Archibald would also be in that group had he not missed Athens with injury.
  Another two team members – Simon Child and Shea McAleese – have more than 150 caps in the black strip, while five others including Pontifex have more than 100 matches under their belt.
   New Zealand Olympic Committee secretary general and selector Kereyn Smith says she is proud to have announced the 16 players today. “It’s an experienced team and an exciting one too,” she said. “Put the team together and you’ve got significant Olympic Games experience, not to mention international caps. The recent win at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup just adds to the excitement surrounding this team.”
  Black Sticks Men’s coach Shane McLeod said deciding on the final 16, with fellow selectors Grant Edwards and Peter Miskimmin, was made even tougher after winning the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia earlier this month. “It became a luxury problem with so many players performing at the top of their game in Malaysia. In the end it came down to getting the balance right in the midfield and the flexibility of players to slot into a number of positions. It’s incredibly hard for those who missed out.”
  Canterbury midfielder Nick Haig and Midlands defender Richard Petherick have both made the Olympic team after not being selected for last year’s Champions Trophy in Auckland. “Richard is playing with confidence and confirmed his selection with his performance in Malaysia while Nick provides the flexibility to cover both left and right half,” said McLeod.
  He added that despite the Azlan Shah success and the wealth of experience in the side, the players had their feet on the ground in terms of their medal chances in London. “We’re doing things really well but we know that the Olympics are another two steps up and this is just the beginning. The players now have to put their lives on hold, with the Olympics their only priority.”
  Midfielder Arun Panchia and goalkeeper Hamish McGregor will both head to London with the team but will be based outside the Olympic village. If one of the 16 Olympic team members is injured, either Panchia or McGregor will be called on as a permanent replacement for the injured player.
  The Black Sticks men, ranked seventh in the world, head to Cairns on Sunday for a three test series against world No. 1 Australia. The three matches on 22, 23 and 26 June will be the team’s last before they depart for Europe on 6 July for Olympic warm-up matches.
  High Performance Sport New Zealand chief executive Alex Baumann added his congratulations to the team today. He says his organisation has been delighted to help the Black Sticks Men’s team prepare for the London Olympics.  “We’ve put in more than $1.1 million in funding this year into the team’s high performance programme, as well as providing specialists to work with the team on strength and conditioning, nutrition and other aspects of their training and preparation.” While New Zealand has fielded a men’s hockey team at the majority of Olympic Games since Melbourne 1956, New Zealand has won just one Olympic hockey medal – gold against Australia in 1976 at Montreal where the sport was played for the first time on artificial turf.
Source: New Zealand Hockey Release

Armed Forces women gun down title
Armed Forces lifted the Raja Noora Ashikin Cup for the first time in the history of the competition when they defeated Malacca 3-0 in the final at the Seremban 2 Hockey Stadium.
  It was a final that pitted the experience of the Armed Forces against the youthful exuberance of the Malacca side, who were a last minute entry into the tournament.
  In the end experience won but the Malacca side can stand proud as they made the final of two national championships within a space of two weeks. For in early June the Malacca girls had won the National Indoor Championship for the Raja Ashman Cup.
  As for Armed Forces, the women squad lifted a trophy that had eluded them for seven editions. Their men squad had earlier ended a barren run for Armed Forces since the 1982 Razak Cup triumph by winning the National Indoor Tournament for men on June 2.
  Armed Forces played a tight game at the back, opting for a four-player defence with Juliani Mohamma Din orchestrating the attack from midfield with skipper Nadia Abdul Rahman.
   Despite being awarded three penalty corners early in the match, Nurul Asyadah Ahmad Shapawi failed to find the mark.
  Malacca could not play their free flowing style of hockey that got them into the final as missing from the line-up was key defender Nur Atikah Shari who had to sit for her university examinations.
  Thus Ayu Malina Zainuddin and Nor Aisyah Yaacob had to shoulder more defensive duties.
  With Armed Forces dominating play, it was a matter of time before they scored. And the first goal duly came in the 24th minute through Izzuin Ismail.
  Malacca had barely recovered from that when Nadia struck in the 27th minute giving Armed Forces a 2-0 lead.
  Try as they did in the second half, Malacca could not breach the tight defence of Armed Forces and having to play three matches within 36 hours put paid to any chances of a fightback.
A penalty corner converted by Juliani in the 68th minute sealed the win and title for Armed Forces.
  Meanwhile KL Sukma finished third after defeating Terengganu 3-0.
  Goals for KL were scored by Herni Japlee in the 6th minute and Norazlin Sumantri, who netted a brace in the 11th and 32nd minutes.


3/4th Placing

KL Sukma 3 Terengganu 0


Armed Forces 3 Malacca 0

Roll of Honour

Fairplay: Sarawak
Top Scorer: Suzana Mohd Nasir (Armed Forces_ - 10 goals
Most Promising Player: Herni Japlee (Kuala Lumpur)
Best Goalkeeper: Norafini Kamaruddin (Kedah)
Player of the Match: Juliani Mohamma Din (Armed Forces)

In the Spotlight.... Australia men

A closer look at the 24 teams in the London Olympics

In the Spotlight is a series that will profile each of the 24 participating teams at the London Olympic Games. It will provide a glimpse of what to expect as each squad begins its London quest. Between now and the Olympic opening ceremony a new team will be featured every 2-3 days. Today we feature the Australian men's national team.
The Basics:
The Australian men are currently top in the FIH World Ranking with 2188 points, a full 200 points ahead of nearest rival, Germany. They have played in all but one (1980) Olympic Games since first entering in 1956. After three silver medals, they finally struck gold in 2004 in Athens and have also won two bronze medals in their 13 entries. They are the current World Cup, Champions Trophy and Oceania Cup holders following a stellar run in 2010 and 2011. For trivia lovers, if Australia does win the Olympic Gold Medal, it will become the first-ever nation to hold the maximum number of FIH World Ranking points available, an incredible feat and a nod to their dominance in the last cycle of events.

The Road to London:
With Oceania’s quota of Olympic qualifiers increased to two and the withdrawal of all other nations bar New Zealand, Australia was a virtual automatic qualifier. For good measure, they won the three game series against the Black Sticks with a 6-1 result in game three to claim a seventh consecutive Oceania Cup.

Players to Watch:
While Australia has a multi-faceted selection of stars, Jamie Dwyer is the obvious one that shines brightest with his remarkable control and trickery, carried out at top speed. The esteem he is held in by his peers has seen him voted FIH World Player of the Year for the past three years and five times in total and he has won everything in the game, the 2004 Olympic title and the 2010 World Cup the pinnacles.

A four-time Olympian as a player and two-time gold medalist as coach of the Hockeyroos, Ric Chalesworth is aiming to complete the full boat from the men’s coaching perspective since taking over the Kookaburras in 2009. A hockey international and highest level cricketer, Charlesworth earned a myriad of awards in his playing days, chief among them the Australian Order of Merit and induction into the country’s sporting Hall of Fame. As a hockey player, he won World Cup gold 1986 in London, adding top-scorer gong and player of the tournament to boot. His best Olympic performance as a player came in 1976 in Montreal with a silver medal and his success translated into the coaching sphere. From 1993-2000, he coached Australia’s women to back-to-back Olympic titles and two World Cup crowns. His tenure as men’s coach looks to be going the same way, winning the 2010 World Cup in New Delhi, the Commonwealth Games and three Champions Trophy titles. Gold at the Games would provide an extraordinary cap on a remarkable life in sport. Aside from his impressive sporting career, Charlesworth is also a qualified doctor and served as a Member of Parliament in Australia between 1983 and 1993.

Their ability to impose a lightning quick tempo on more sedate opponents has raised the bar in recent years and a settled squad with the likes of Eddie Ockenden, Des Abbott and Simon Orchard to the fore and Dwyer as the fulcrum, there are plenty of angles of attack. At corner time, Chris Ciriello and Luke Doerner provide powerful options in a formidable line-up.

It’s never easy to go into any event as the favourite, but add the element of the Olympics and you have a pressure cooker situation. Other teams have nothing to lose chasing down the Number One team in the world. Australia will definitely be the hunted prey, and with the nation hosting the next big FIH event, the Champions Trophy in December in Melbourne, the necessity to succeed in London will be doubled.

Crystal Ball:
Four successive Champions Trophy wins and a World Cup win leading into the competition points to that status and anything less than gold can be seen as potential unfulfilled. Great Britain look to be their main threat in the group stages while Germany have shown an ability to best the Aussies but they will most likely need to oust Charlesworth’s hordes – either in the final or semi-final – if they are to win gold.

India announce Olympic team

After a two day selection camp last week, Hockey India today announced their team for the 2012 Olympic Games next month in London.
   As expected, there were no major surprises, with the team almost identical to the one that competed at the recent Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, in which India won a bronze medal amongst a strong field of mostly fellow Olympic competitors. Goalkeeper Bharat Chetri has been selected to lead the team as captain, with Indian hockey's superstar midfielder Sardar Singh supporting as vice-captain.
   Other players moving forward from the bronze team are penalty corner specialists Sandeep Singh and VR Ragunath, midfielders Manpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra and Gurbaj Singh as well as forwards Shivendra Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Tushar Khandker, SV Sunil, Dharamvir Singh and SK Uthappa. Replacing Yuvraj Walmiki and Rupinderpal Singh, who are the two players from to the Azlan Shah team missing out, are veteran defender Ignace Tirkey and forward Gurwinder Singh Chandi.
   In an interesting move, head coach Michael Nobbs has also decided to include the team's second goalkeeper, PR Sreejesh, in the core 16 player squad, while the tendency amongst the rest of the participating teams so far has been to include only one goalkeeper. The two P-accredited athletes for India - available only in case of serious and permanently incapacitating injury to anther athlete - will be Sarwanjeet Singh and Kothajit Singh.
  The Indian team is set to travel to Europe at the end of the month for a busy three week programme of preparation for the Olympic Hockey Tournament. After playing two test matches against France in Lille, India move on to the Spanish city of Santander, where they will play two tests each against South Africa and Spain, before taking part in a three nations event with Spain and Great Britain.
  Source: Hockey India Release