Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ambank-SportExcel challenge

Ambank senior Genaral Manager Syed Anuar Syed Ali (right) and  SportExcel Chairman Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar.

THE Ambank Group-SportExcel Malaysian Junior Golf Grand Finals will be held at the Rahman Putra Golf Club on Dec 12-14.
    A total of 120 golfers, 90 from Malaysia, and 30 from Thailand, South Korea, England and also for the first time from India will make it an exciting finale.
    The tournament will also double up as the International Junior Golf Championship, and the winner will receive the Tan Sri Azman Hashim Trophy, named after the Ambank Group Chairman.
    “SportExcel firmly believes that the future of Malaysian sports lies in the sustainable junior development programme and we at AmBank share he same vision a we believe in supporting this tournament for the seventh year,” said Ambank senior Genaral Manager Syed Anuar Syed Ali.
    Ambank will contribute RM28,860 for this edition, bringing their total in seven years to RM190,000.
   “Our commitment, to date, has benefited 620 youth golfers and it has also come to our attention that in the 2013 Myanmar Sea Games, the bulk of our players will be from the SportExcel alumni.
   :It is heartening to note that the programme run by SportExel have produced many sportsmen and sportswomen who went on to win at the world stage,” said Syed Anuar.
    SportExcel Chairman Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar threw a challenge for the young golfers to move abroad and ply their trade.
   “If you notice the top athletes in Malaysia moved abroad and trained as well as played in many tournaments on their own to become champions.
   “And since young Korean, Thai, English and India golfers keen enough to come here and play, Malaysian golfers should also move abroad and play in as many tournaments if they intend to become Olympic as well as world beaters,” said Tunku Imran.
   There will be seven categories in the tournament, with the combined Under-9, and Boys and Girls in the Under-12, Under-15 and Under-20.
    The 90 Malaysians were selected for the Grand Finals after playing over eight legs in the SportExcel junior circuit.

Pakistan stun Olympic champs

Germany – Pakistan 1-2 (1-0 halftime)
Pakistan earned a spot in the 2012 Champions Trophy semi-finals after stunning defending Olympic Champion and World #1 Germany in a 2-1 decision in today’s quarterfinal. Is it the first time since 2004 that Pakistan finds itself in the hunt for a medal at the Champions Trophy. On the other side of the coin, this is the second consecutive time that Germany has missed the semi-finals at the annual event.
Shakeel Abbasi was the man of the hour for Pakistan. He fired in both Pakistan goals in the surprising win.
Pakistan was simply the better team in today’s game, generating more scoring chances and chipping away at the tough German defense, which found itself on duty for much of the 70 minutes. The Germans managed just one shot in the first half, but they made it count  as veteran Moritz Fuerste, one of only three players in Melbourne from the 2012 Olympic team, gave the Germans a 1-0 lead nine minutes into action.
Pakistan was not put off by the goal and maintained its pressure on the German net. Admittedly not all of the scoring chances were impressive, but it put Pakistan in a better position to get the odd penalty corner chance.
Pakistan’s persistence finally paid off when Abbasi scored a picture-perfect goal four minutes into the second half on a follow-up play after a penalty corner opportunity to even things up at one. Abbasi struck again with 20 minutes to go on in the half after he put in another second-effort goal after a penalty corner. The key goal went to video review, but it was ruled valid and Pakistan climbed out to its first lead of the game.
The lead endured through an action-packed 20 minutes as Germany found itself two men up in the last two minutes but unable to get the equalizer as Pakistan earned their semi-final spot.
Pakistan will take on Netherlands in Saturday’s semi-final.

India continues Cinderella run

India – Belgium 1-0 (1-0 halftime)
After sitting out of the Champions Trophy for the last six editions, India’s grand return to hockey’s top stage continued as they earned a spot in Saturday’s semi-final where they will take on Australia in the semi-finals.
   India’s earned its spot after a nail-biting 1-0 win against a persistent Belgium team in an entertaining quarter-final meeting.
The Indians will go for their first Champions Trophy medal since 1982 and are guaranteed their first top-four finish since 2004. A massive success considering the fact that the Indians came into the even as the lowest team in the FIH World Ranking, weighing in at #11.
Nithin Thimmaiah gave India the early advantage after getting a perfect feed from Sardar Singh for the easy 1-0 tap in. Belgium slowly gained momentum as the half wore on and gave the Indians some worry moments late in the half with two good penalty corner chances, but ultimately, India escaped the half with the slim 1-0 lead.
The second half, it was India’s turn to own the momentum, but they simply couldn’t convert their chances into goals, as the tension built with only one goal separating the teams. Belgium had a handful of later penalty corner chances, while the Indians had a speedy counter attack, but neither team managed to put a dent in the scoreboard as Thimmaiah’s goal stood as the lone marker in the critical quarterfinal game.
Belgium is still looking for the elusive first victory at the Champions Trophy. The newcomers have put in some strong performances, but own a 0-4 record so far. The Belgians will look to get the first win in the placement round.
Note: Today marked Sardar Singh’s 150th international cap for India.