Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ireland back in Champions Challenge I...

Money raised off-line: €21,180.00
Money raised on-line: €36,575.00

The IHA & Irish Men's Hockey team have been bowled over by the response of the Hockey Family far and wide and by friends, supporters and sports fans everywhere to the appeal for funds to get the team to the Champions Challenge in Argentina at the end of November.
   The appeal, only launched at noon on Friday 5th, has exceeded the target this morning with four companies coming on board to take the public contribution (in excess of €55K!) over the line. Further details will be released in a statement later today.
    This website will remain open until close of business today (Tuesday 9th October), should anybody wish to contribute. Please note any additional funds raised will be ringfenced into the National Mens Team budget.

Ladies all dolled-up for Sime Darby LPGA


Pic: Na Yeon Choi from South Korea
THE foxy ladies are back in town, but they will chuck their  branded hand-bags aside in exchange for bulky golf bags for  the third edition of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia which  begins on Thursday.
   The best player in the world Yani Tseng of Taiwan, Sime  Darby defending champion Na Yeon Choi from South Korea,  Stacy Lewis of the United states and Shanshan Feng from  China will be among the players vying for the top purse in the  US1.9 million event.
   As for Malaysia, the wild cards will be in the form of Ainil  Johani and Jean Chua who will be aiming to make the mid- way cut at least.
   Jean is a member on the LPGA’s developmental Symetra  Tour and has been in consistent form, missing just one cut in  her last 13 events coupled with four top-10 finishes.
    Ainil turned professional last year and has made a strong  impression as she ended joint 12th at last year’s US$300,000  Women’s India Open, a Ladies European Tour (LET) event.
    “We are delighted that through our sponsorship of this  world class event we are able to further promote and develop  the sport, not just in Malaysia, but around Asia as well,” said  governing council member of Sime Darby tan Sri Dr M.  Jegathesan.
   In a historic forst for the tournament, it will see all four of  the year’s major winners battle at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and  Country Club.
    The quartet of Yoo Sun Young (Kraft Nabisco Cham pionship), Feng (LPGA Championship), Choi (US Open) and  Shin Jiyai (British Open) are part of the 72-woman field,  which comprises the top-62 players on the LPGA Tour and 10  sponsors invites.
     A portly Shanshan, world No 3, summed up the Asian  revolution in the ladies circuit: “The competition is very keen  in China even though ladies golf is still at its infancy. I would  like to make an impression like our tennis star Li Na who won  the French Open and opened up tennis in my country.
   “I am not comparing myself to her, but she is my idol and I  would like to do what she did to tennis in my country by  winning more events,” said Shanshan.
    In the 2012 Wegmans LPGA Championship, the 23-year- old outclassed world No 2 Stacy Lewis, Karrie Webb and Mika  Miyazato to emerge as the first player from China to win an  LPGA Major Championship.
    It also made her the first player from China, male or  female, to win a Major.
    South Korean Choi won the 2011 edition with 15-under 269  (66-68-67-68) and said she aims to enjoy the support from  the legion of Korean and Malaysian fans.
   “It is really exciting to be back, and KLGCC was very  exciting last year with many fans from Malaysia and Korea  behind my game.
    “I enjoyed every moment and hopefully my small golf (hole- by-hole) will be good as well,” said the champion.

TNB Cup as good as KLHC's..

 THEY have played twice this season, and a total of 14 goals were scored, but expect the TNB Cup final at the national hockey stadium to be a one-sided affair today.
    Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) start as the overwhelming favourites to lift their fourth Overall title, as Tenaga Nasional will be playing without their goal-machine Faizal Saari.
   Faizal scored 21 goals for Tenaga this season, but pulled a hamstring in the second leg semi-finals against Sapura.
   “It would be a great loss, as of today (yesterday) the doctor’s orders are not to play him. And even is he is playable tomorrow (today) I have to think about his future as he is among the best strikers in the country and I would not want to gamble on his future,” said Tenaga coach Saiful Zaini.
   However, KLHC who have won a record seven consecutive League titles, are the least bothered by the ‘good news.
    “I have been coaching in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) for the past 13 years and I know what it means to lose a player to injury or card for crucial matches. However, KLHC are ready to go for our fourth title, even if Tenaga field Faizal. It does not make a difference to my plans,” said KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj.
   In the two-leg league, Tenaga won 4-3 but lost the return leg 3-4 to KLHC.
   “We know each other well, as not only have we played twice this season, but both sides have many national senior and junior players who have trained and played together before.
   “I can’t say it would be a high-scoring match like our previous encounters, but I’m sure the fans will not be disappointed with the standard of play,” said KLHC skipper Azlan Misron.
   In the President’s Cup final, Johor HA will square off against Armed Forces.
    “This is a new trophy and so, I hope my men engrave their name on it by beating Johor HA tomorrow (today). We have beaten them in the league (2-1) but I expect it to be a much more closer match in the final,” said Armed Forces team manager Major Fizal Mohamed.
    Saiful Azli, the Johor HA coach, had other plans: “We have a good combination between local players and Oman imports (six of them) and although we lost in the League to Forces, I believe the President’s Cup final will be much more different as my players are game to lift the title in their debut season,” said Azli.
     TODAY: TNB Cup Final: KLHC v Tenaga Nasional (National Stadium, Pitch II 8pm); Third-Fourth: Sapura v Maybank (National Stadium, Pitch I 6pm).
   President’s Cup Final: Johor HA v Armed Forces (National Stadium, Pitch II, 6pm); Third-Fourth: Thunderbolts v Bukit Jalil (National Stadium, Pitch I 4pm).