Where Are The Global Hockey Stars Of Asia?

he voting has opened for the 2017 International Hockey Federation (FIH) Hockey Stars Awards, celebrating the star athletes, both male and female, who have lit up the world of hockey this year.

There are 3 voting categories for the FIH Hockey Stars:

  • Player of the Year (5 male, 5 female)
  • Rising Star of the Year (5 male, 5 female)
  • Goalkeeper of the Year (5 males, 5 female)

The nominees were selected by a panel consisting of the FIH Athletes' Committee, continental federations, coaches and media. Of the 30 players nominated, there are 0 players from India, and just 1 from Asia - goalkeeper Li Dongxaio of China.

The FIH Hockey Stars nominations are listed below.

Player of the Year

  • Male: Billy Bakker (NED); Mats Grambusch (GER); Gonzalo Peillat (ARG); Mirco Pruyser (NED); Arthur Van Doren (BEL)
  • Female: Alex Danson (GBR); Melissa Gonzalez (USA); Stacey Michelsen (NZL); Delfina Merino (ARG); Lidewij Welten (NED)

Rising Star (u-23) of the Year

  • Male: Thierry Brinkman (NED); Jorrit Croon (NED); Timm Herzbruch (GER); Arthur Van Doren (BEL); Victor Wegnez (BEL)
  • Female: Maria Granatto (ARG); Nike Lorenz (GER); Frederique Matla (NED); Laura Nunnink (NED); Xan de Waard (NED)

Goalkeeper of the Year

  • Male: Quico Cortes (ESP); David Harte (IRE); George Pinner (GBR); Vincent Vanasch (BEL); Juan Vivaldi (ARG)
  • Female: Jackie Briggs (USA); Aisling D'Hooghe (BEL); Maddie Hinch (GBR); Li Dongxaio (CHN); Anne Veenendaal (NED)

The poor standing of Asia in world hockey is also reflected in the fact that of the 8 most recent world level championship finals played (2016 Olympics, 2014 World Cup, 2016 Champions Trophy and the 2017 Hockey World League Finals, both men's and women's), only 1 tournament final featured a team from Asia.

22 of the 30 players nominated for the FIH Hockey Stars are from Europe, with both male (13) and female (9) players comparably represented. The centre of world hockey is unquestionably Europe.

Valmeeki Brothers Organise Hockey Clinic by German Coach In Mumbai

Article courtesy The Times of India (Photo credit PTI)

hockey clinic was organised by India players Yuvraj Valmeeki and his brother Devinder Valmeeki from November 1 - 10, 2017 at the Mumbai Hockey Association turf field.

German coach Fabian Rozwadowski, who currently coaches the Alster Club men's hockey team in Hamburg, Germany, imparted lessons to youth at the training camp. There were around 40 players in the camp, in various age-group categories like sub-juniors, juniors and seniors.

Devinder, an attacking mid-fielder, said it was Fabian who groomed his talent and made him a better player.

"I have played in the German League, Bundesliga. Even my brother (Yuvraj Valmeeki) has played in the league. We wanted to impart the latest generation training to the boys in Maharashtra, and so we requested Fabian to come here and give the lessons to the boys," the 25-year-old player said.

According to Devinder, the pace of the game has changed over time, and the German coach will also impart lessons on it to the players.

Said Yuvraj, "In 1999 when I started playing hockey, we had schools, universities and junior teams, but there was no one who could give us modern training. When I was playing in Germany for the last six years, the training I got there was absolutely different. I don't want to the blame the coaches, but we have to get that system for our grassroots players. That's what Fabian and I kept talking about. Also, one of the aims is to have a clinic for coaches as well. To make the coaches aware that world hockey has changed."

Said Fabian, "Everything came by the friendship with the Valmeeki brothers. I had promised Yuvi that I will come here and coach the talented players whom he knew from Mumbai. This is friendship and about giving something back to the sport."

Indian Cricketers Are A Pampered And Commodified Lot

Article and Graphic credit Austin Coutinho, courtesy FirstPost

ndian cricketers are now 'commodities' to be marketed at their 'maximum retail prices'. Their lives, at least off the field, are run by their agencies, their managers and sponsors.

The 'making hay while the sun shines' predisposition has now trickled down to the Indian Premier League, where some of the players who haven't even played first-class cricket look to make a fast buck. Nobody grudges them that moolah as long as it is through fair means.

The Forbes list for the 100 highest paid athletes in the world for last year includes India skipper Virat Kohli. He is said to have grossed $22 million in 2017, i.e., 140 crore. He is the only cricketer in the list. A few years ago, M. S. Dhoni was there, and before that there was Sachin Tendulkar.

Any cricketer who plays all formats of the game and the IPL, even for a couple of years, is rich by Indian standards. In a land where the per capita income is around 1.03 lakh, anybody with a net worth of 30 - 40 crore would be considered to be prosperous. How many well-educated Indians can boast of such wealth at the end of a long corporate career?

What's more, for a cricketer who is marketable and endorses dozens of products, the sky is the limit. Therefore, how much he earns through sponsorships, endorsements and public appearances can only be a matter of conjecture.

After the recent meeting between members of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators and Ravi Shastri, Kohli and Dhoni, it is believed that the annual contracts offered to Indian players would jump 100 percent.

Reliable sources tell me that some of cricket's top celebrities, active and retired, demand as much as 1 crore for making an appearance at showroom openings, product launches and even high-brow wedding receptions!

The line dividing cricket and Bollywood has now been obliterated. Both are glamour jamborees and demand similar star prerogatives and lifestyles.

Sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore's move to pay 50,000 as a monthly stipend to more than 150 athletes who are preparing for the Asiad, the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics is therefore laudable. India will never be able to progress in international sport if our athletes can't look after themselves and their families, and of course, aren't able to afford special diets and training facilities.

In a recent interview, former India skipper Saurav Ganguly said that BCCI earns a lot of money, and therefore players should be looked after well and paid handsomely. The BCCI will collect $2.55 billion for the IPL broadcast rights from Star Sports. There's a bounty to be received from ICC, and then television rights for the next few seasons is up for grabs. It is this money that has encouraged cricketers to ask for their slice of the cake.

"Money goes where money is", is an old adage. Ganguly is well within his rights as an ex-cricketer and administrator to push for salary reforms for international cricketers. So also are Shastri, Kohli and Dhoni. But what stops them from sparing a thought for and demanding a better deal for the country's first-class cricketers? And what about the coaches and umpires who work tirelessly at the grassroots level, or the curators and ground staff who are paid a pittance for their efforts?

Indian cricketers are indeed a pampered lot. To supporters of Indian cricket who believe that they have worked hard for it, I would like to ask, "Who hasn't?" Ask a Sindhu or a Sania Mirza or a Sunil Chhetri, or even a Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. Or for that matter, the cricketers of the 1970s - 1990s who worked hard to make Indian cricket what it is today.

Punjab National Bank Win 54th Nehru Hockey Tournament

he Torex 54th Nehru Hockey Tournament was held from November 4 - 14, 2017 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in Delhi.

The following was the pool composition of the quarter-final league:

  • Pool A: Bharatiya Rail, Sthal Sena (Army), Punjab & Sindh Bank, Bharatiya Vayu Sena (IAF)
  • Pool B: Punjab National Bank, Air India, Comptroller & Auditor General of India, National Hockey Academy

Of the above teams, Bharatiya Vayu Sena (IAF) and National Hockey Academy had to win qualifying matches to make it to the league stage, while the remaining teams were pre-seeded directly to the league stage.

Punjab National Bank won the 54th Nehru Hockey Tournament with the following match results:

Stage Date Punjab National Bank Date Punjab & Sindh Bank
League Nov 7 beat National Hockey Academy 4-1 Nov 7 drew with Bharatiya Vayu Sena 2-2
  Nov 8 beat Air India 1-0 Nov 9 beat Sthal Sena (Army) 4-2
  Nov 10 drew with Comptroller & Auditor General 3-3 Nov 11 drew with Bharatiya Rail 2-2
Semis Nov 13 beat Bharatiya Rail 5-4 Nov 12 beat Comptroller & Auditor General 3-2
Final Nov 14 beat Punjab & Sindh Bank 3-0    

Punjab National Bank has reached the final of the Nehru Hockey Tournament the last three years in a row. In 2015, it lost to Punjab & Sindh Bank in the final. In 2016, it lost to Bharatiya Rail in the final, before 2017 proved to be third-time lucky for the champions.

Punjab National Bank received the winners cheque of 2 lakh. Runners-up PSB received a cheque of 1 lakh.

Every year, the Jawaharlal Nehru Hockey Tournament Society conducts the All-India Inter-University Championship, an inter-schools Delhi Dhyan Chand Cup, and the Nehru Hockey Tournament for u-15 boys, u-17 girls and u-17 boys.

Punjab National Bank Win 28th Lal Bahadur Shastri Hockey Tournament

he 28th Lal Bahadur Shastri Hockey Tournament was held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in Delhi from November 17-24, 2017.

The following teams took part in the tournament:

  • Pool A: Bharatiya Rail, Punjab National Bank, Seema Suraksha Bal (BSF), Delhi
  • Pool B: Bharatiya Vayu Sena (IAF), Air India, Comptroller & Auditor General, PNB Hockey Academy

Punjab National Bank won the 28th Lal Bahadur Shastri Hockey Tournament with the following match results:

Stage Date Punjab National Bank Date Bharatiya Rail
Pool Nov 17 beat Delhi 6-2 Nov 18 beat Delhi 9-1
  Nov 19 drew with Seema Suraksha Bal 2-2 Nov 20 beat Seema Suraksha Bal 5-0
  Nov 21 lost of Bharatiya Rail 0-3 Nov 21 beat Punjab National Bank 3-0
Semis Nov 23 beat Bharatiya Vayu Sena 1-1 (SO 2-1) Nov 23 beat Air India 3-0
Final Nov 24 beat Bharatiya Rail 1-1 (SO 4-2)    

This is the second consecutive tournament victory by Punjab National Bank in the span of a month - they also won the Jawaharlal Nehru Hockey tournament earlier in November.

Photograph of the Month

he Photograph of the Month for December 2017 is of the Men's Hockey World League (HWL) Final, being played in Bhubanesvar from December 1 - 10, 2017.

The Kalinga Stadium in Bhubanesvar is turning out to be the ideal choice to host international hockey events in India. The opening ceremony of the Men's HWL Final was very nicely done. Even the entrance to the stadium (seen in the picture) is colourful and well lighted. The event has the full patronage of the Odisha state government and its chief minister Naveen Patnaik. The event has a cute mascot in Olly the Olive Ridley turtle.

And most important, the hockey loving crowds of Bhubanesvar are among the best in India. Hockey players love to play in front of packed stadia, and the hockey fans of Bhubanesvar have come out in droves to watch the Hockey World League.

Money Matters

ockey India announced a cash award of 1 lakh each to the 18-member squad which won the Women's Asia Cup in Kakamigahara, Japan. India pipped China 5-4 in the shootout in the final, securing a World Cup berth in the process. Coach Harendra Singh will also get 1 lakh and members of the support staff 50,000 each. The Indian women's team remained unbeaten in the tournament, scoring 28 goals and conceding five.

Meanwhile, in an event in Bhubanesvar, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik gave away cash awards worth 76.75 lakh to 59 state sportspersons for their achievements across various sports and competitions. The largest chunk of that went to hockey players - two men and five women - who were part of the victorious Asia Cup campaigns in 2017. Dipsan Tirkey, Amit Rohidas, Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Leelima Minz, Sunita Lakra and Rashmita Minz each received 7.5 lakh at the ceremony.

Media Matters

Sandeep Singh with actor Angad Bedi

irector Shaad Ali's biopic on former Indian hockey captain Sandeep Singh is to be called Singh Soorma. The film, starring singer-actor Diljeet Dosanjh, Angad Bedi and Taapsee Pannu, went on the floors on 13th November, 2017. It is being shot in Shahabad, Hariyana.

The filmmakers had earlier decided to name the biopic Flicker Singh. However, after much discussion, the team decided to go with Singh Soorma, which roughly translates to a brave person doing something selfless. A source revealed, "The team felt this was an apt title for the film knowing the hurdles that Sandeep has faced in his life."

Sandeep Singh was hit by a stray bullet while on a train journey in the Shatabdi Express to join the national team in Delhi for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. This accident almost paralyzed him, and he was in a wheelchair for two years.

Two years later, Sandeep made a successful recovery and went on to win the Player of the Tournament and the Top Goal Scorer award in the 2009 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, which India won. In 2010, Sandeep bagged a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and was awarded the Arjuna Puraskar by the Government of India. He was a top scorer in the Hockey India League. Sandeep's four goals in India's 8-1 win over France in the London Olympic Qualifer Final made him a hero, and he represented India in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Singh Soorma is a love story about two ace hockey players in which the woman helps the man to achieve his dream and go on to lead the country. The actors underwent extensive hockey training for their roles. The film is being produced by Chitrangada Singh, and is expected to release in 2018.

While shooting the film in Shahabad, Angad and Taapsee took time off to visit Sandeep's house, where they were greeted by his entire family, including his brother, wife, parents and kids. The actors were extremely happy with the love they got from Sandeep's family.

"Going to Sandeep's place was long due. Luckily, we were shooting in the same area where he lives, so we decided to go and meet the entire family in person. Though we had met them before briefly on set, it was a good experience meeting them over lunch. They are very warm and sweet family and they cooked some amazing paranthas for us. It felt similar to how I feel when I visit my extended family members in Punjab," said Taapsee. "Smaller cities always have people with bigger hearts," she added.

Visitor of the Month

he December 2017 Visitor of the Month is Shiv's Coaching Academy (SCA), which is run by FIH-certified coach Shiv Jagday. Coach Shiv and his staff are based in San Jose, CA, USA, and Vancouver, BC, Canada.

The academy sent the following email to BharatiyaHockey.org:

SCA conducts Coach Education and Elite Youth Player Development programs worldwide. These programs can be delivered by visiting the respective training centers, or online via long distance learning. SCA has conducted these coaching courses and seminars for coaches/players in Australia, USA, Canada, India, and Malaysia, to name a few. SCA's coaching newsletters are available at: http://www.coachshiv.com/blog/.

Fun With Numbers

Statistics by B. G. Joshi

he December 2017 edition of Fun with Numbers is on the 5 legends of men's hockey who have played more than 400 internationals for their countries.

  • These internationals have a combined 19 Olympic appearances, though 2004 Athens was the only occasion when all of the them played in the same Olympics
  • Floris de Nooijer and Jeroen Delmee are the only players from the list to have won the Olympic, World Cup and Champions Trophy gold
  • Barry Middleton of England is the only currently active player from among the list of internationals who have played 400+ games
Player Country Caps Goals Scored Career Duration Gold Medals Won Gold Medals as Captain
Teun Floris de Nooijer Netherlands 453 219 1994 - 2012 Olympics Games - 1996, 2000
World Cup - 1998
Champions Trophy - 1996, 98, 2000, 02, 03, 06
EuroHockey Cup - 2007
Dilip Tirkey India 412 77 1995 - 2009 Asian Games - 1998
Asia Cup - 2003, 07
Afro-Asian Games - 2003
Afro-Asian Games - 2003
Waseem Ahmad Pakistan 410 37 1996 - 2013 Asian Games - 2010  
Barry Middleton England 402 113 2003 - active EuroHockey Cup - 2009 EuroHockey Cup - 2009
Jeroen  Delmee Netherlands 401 10 1994 - 2008 Olympics Games - 1996, 2000
World Cup - 1998
Champions Trophy - 1996, 98, 2000, 02, 03, 06
EuroHockey Cup - 2007
Champions Trophy - 2002, 03, 06
EuroHockey Cup - 2007