Tuesday, September 18, 2018

AHF request FIH to consider Asian Games silver medallists for Tokyo Olympics -- OCM endorses

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Hockey Confederation (AHF) have written to the International Hockey Federation (FIH) a strong recommendation letter to include both the men's and women's silver medallists at the Asian Games into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  The men's silver medallists were Malaysia, while India finished second in the women's event. Both the gold medals were won by Japan, who had already qualified as hosts.
  AHF CEO Datuk Tayyab Ikram wrote to FIH CEO Thierry Weil on Sept 10 to reconsider the tournament rules which only allowed the winners to automatically advance to the Olympics.
  And at the Olympic Council of Malaysia Board Meeting yesterday, president Datuk Sri Norza Zakaria welcomed and endorsed the AHF move.
  Tayyab explained his rationale in the letter to FIH: "While I do understand the FIH criteria, I would want to put forward a request for an important review of the qualification criteria due to the fact that the host of the Olympic Games this time comes from Asia.
  "We do feel a need to reconsider the criteria as there are several high-performing teams of Olympic standard with almost no performance gaps, whose inclusion in the Tokyo Olympic Games via the Asian Games would prove to be justifiable and meriting.
  "Therefore, we would like the FIH to consider the inclusion of the silver medallist for both Men’s and women’s categories of the Asian Games in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, in addition to Japan’s automatic qualification as the host country."
  Among others Tayyab also wrote in the letter: "Consequently, if both, Malaysia men and India women teams are considered to secure their slots for Tokyo 2020, this would prove to be a meritocratic step, as these countries represent two of the largest fan-bases for Hockey in Asia.
  "This will have favorable implications towards the universality criteria, as well as, a well-deserved advantage to the host continent where the Olympics are being held, without compromising on the performance criteria and the set Olympic standards."
  Malaysia were leading 5-2, before allowing Japan to claw back at 6-6 and then lose 3-1 in the shoot-out. India women were edged 2-1 by Japan.
   "I believe the tournament rules are not carved on stone, and so, we will endorse and support the AFH letter to FIH in whatever way we can," said NOrza.
  Also at the Board meeting, it was decided that for future multi-Games under the OCM, they will have a selection panel ahead of the actual selection.
  "Since there were so many problems with the selection of athletes for the Jakarta Asian Games, the OCM Board has endorsed a three-man panel to do the initial selection before we endorse the athletes.
  "We have suggested Datuk M. Jegathesan (sprints legend), Datuk Mazlan Ahmad (former National Sports Council director general) and Datuk Dr Ramlan Abdul Aziz (National Sports Institute CEO) to form the selection panel and their work is expected to begin before the 2019 Manila Sea Games," said Norza.
  Meanwhile, OCM also decided yesterday that badminton player Goh Jin Wei will be the flag-bearer at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires on Oct 6-18.

Darwin: Malaysia 2 Australia 1

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia lost 5-2 to World No 1 Australia in the Darwin International at the Marrara Hockey Stadium in Australia Tuesday.
  In another match, world No 2 Argentina beat Japan 2-1.
  The Malaysian goals were scored by Haziq Samsul (18th) and Firhan Azhaari (54th), while Australia got their goals off Dylan Wotherspoon (eighth), Tom Craig (11th), Jacob Anderson (32nd), Jack Welch (34th) and Tim Brand (60th).
  The Wednesday's match against Japan would be interesting, as the Asian Games champions beat Malaysia in a shoot-out recently in Jakarta.
  Malaysia took a 5-2 lead, but Japan equalised at 6-6 and then handed Malaysia a painful defeat in the shoot-out to deny  a historic Asian Games gold and an Olympic ticket which came with it.
  "Overall we played well and I need to emphasise that we played the best team in the world today (yesterday).
  "We had chances to score more than two goals but could not find the final touch.
  "I am happy with the way all my charges played, but they can do better and we will learn and work on that.
  "The next match is against Japan, and even though we did not bring our best players here, they know that losing twice in a row is not an option, for, it's redemption time," said Malaysian coach Amin Rahim.