India Come Disappointing 6th In Hockey World League Semi-finals In London

Photograph courtesy FIH

he Hero Men's Hockey World League semi-finals were played at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, from June 15-25, 2017. The participating nations were as follows:

  • Pool A: Argentina (world no. 1), England (no. 7), South Korea (no. 12), Malaysia (no. 14), China (no. 18)
  • Pool B: Netherlands (no. 4), India (no. 6), Canada (no. 11), Pakistan (no. 13), Scotland (no. 23)

India was in a generous mood in the tournament. First world no. 14 Malaysia beat India 3-2 in the quarter-finals and qualified for the 2018 World Cup. Then world no. 11 Canada beat India 3-2 in the 5th - 6th placings to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

The Indian team, which came into the tournament as the 3rd highest ranked team, ended up 6th, with the following match results:

Stage Date Result Goal Scorers - India
Pool Jun 15 India 4 - Scotland 1 Ramandeep Singh (31, 34 min)
Aakashdeep Singh (40 min)
Harmanpreet Singh (42 min), PC
  Jun 17 India 3 - Canada 0 S. V. Sunil (5 min)
Aakashdeep Singh (10 min)
Sardar Singh (18 min)
  Jun 18 India 7 - Pakistan 1 Harmanpreet Singh (13, 33 min)
Talvinder Singh (21, 24 min)
Aakashdeep Singh (47, 58 min)
Pradeep Mor (49 min)
  Jun 20 Netherlands 3 - India 1 Aakashdeep Singh (28 min)
Quarters Jun 22 Malaysia 3 - India 2 Ramandeep Singh (24 min-FG, 26 min-PC)
5th - 8th Jun 24 India 6 - Pakistan 1 Ramandep Singh (8, 28 min)
Talvinder Singh (25 min)
Mandeep Singh (27, 59 min)
Harmanpreet Singh (36 min), PC
5th - 6th Jun 25 Canada 3 - India 2 Harmanpreet Singh (7, 22 min), both PCs

The final standings were as follows: 1 - Netherlands, 2 - Argentina, 3 - England, 4 - Malaysia, 5 - Canada, 6 - India, 7 - Pakistan, 8 - China, 9 - South Korea, 10 - Scotland

The top 5 finishers automatically qualified for the 2018 Men's World Cup in Bhubanesvar. A sobering thought to bear in mind - if India was not hosting the 2018 Men's World Cup, India would not have qualified for the tournament from the Hockey World League.

In this tournament, Pakistan suffered their largest ever defeat against Canada (0-6), followed by their largest ever defeat against India (1-7), in two back-to-back matches.

The following were the tournament awards, voted on by a panel comprising team coaches and members of the broadcast and written media.

  • Hero Player of the Tournament: Gonzalo Peillat (ARG)
  • Hero Top Scorer of the Tournament: Gonzaolo Peillat (12 goals)
  • Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Kumar Subramaniam (MAS)
  • Junior (u-23) Player of the Tournament: Thierry Brinkman (NED)

The Indian team for the Hockey World League Semi-finals in London was as follows:

Goalkeepers: Vikas Dahiya, Akash Anil Chitke

Defenders: Pradeep Mor, Kothajeet Singh Khadangbam, Surender Kumar, Jasjeet Singh Kular, Harmanpreet Singh

Midfielders: Satbeer Singh, Harjeet Singh, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (vice captain), Manpreet Singh (captain), Sardar Singh, Sumit

Forwards: Ramandeep Singh, S. V. Sunil, Aakashdeep Singh, Talvinder Singh, Mandeep Singh

Officials: Chief Coach - Roelant Oltmans, Assistant Coach - Jugraj Singh, Analytical Coach - Leendert Johannes Jacobus Streeder, Scientific Advisor - Scott Conway

Sardar Singh Questioned By Yorkshire Police In Sexual Assault Case

Photo of Sardar Singh courtesy The Hindu

day after the Indian hockey team thrashed arch-rivals Pakistan 7-1 in the Hockey World League Semi-finals in London, there was trouble for former captain Sardar Singh who was called for questioning by Yorkshire police in connection with a year old sexual assault case.

In 2016, Sardar was accused by British-Indian hockey player Ashpal Bhogal of rape and assault, both in India and UK. Bhogal claimed to have been in a relationship with Sardar from 2012 - 2016, and alleged he tortured her 'mentally, physically and emotionally', even forcing her to undergo an abortion in 2015. She claimed they got engaged in 2014, and that both sets of families were present at the event, but Sardar subsequently refused to marry her.

Said an Indian team official, "We were informed by the police just before the game against Pakistan. It came directly from the authorities and no Indian diplomatic representative was even aware of it. We did not inform Sardar about it to make sure he played the Pakistan match freely."

The day after the match, Sardar and team official and former international Jugraj Singh travelled to Leeds police station. Sardar who is a Deputy Superintendent of Police with the Government of Hariyana, was subjected to nearly 4 hours of police questionning (from 1:30 pm - 5:15 pm), before he was allowed to return to London. The authorities refused to clarify on the future course of action or whether any charges would be pressed, only saying that they would need more time to investigate.

Sardar was but a pale shadow of his former self for the rest of the tournament. In fact, India lost 3 out of the 4 matches after the police questionning of Sardar, and crashed to a disappointing 6th place in the Hockey World League Semi-finals.

2016 was not a good year for Sardar. After the sexual assault case was filed in India in February 2016, Sardar was subsequently dropped/rested for the 2016 Champions Trophy in London, partly because Hockey India didn't want any controversy to distract the on-field performance of the Indian team. Sardar also lost the captaincy for the 2016 Rio Olympics, which was a huge disappointment to him.

The complainant had once tweeted "India is the worst place to get justice, even when you have substantial evidence." This case, which had its origins at London during the 2012 Olympics, may see its denoument 300 kms away, in Leeds, Yorkshire. Until justice gets served, this case will continue to hang like the sword of Damocles on the head of Sardar Singh, who was only recently the poster boy of Indian hockey.

Hockey Pro League Hits Hockey World Like A Tsunami

Article by Sameer Singh of the Mumbai Mirror, Graphic courtesy FH

he FIH's Hockey Pro League strategy has hit the sport like a tsunami, all set to disrupt the way the game has been played across the globe and impacting the traditional calendar of the domestic leagues.

The FIH plans to keep aside the first six months of every calendar year, - from 2019 - for the 9-nation home-and-away Hockey Pro League, with matches played week in and week out.

It will require a major realignment of not just the usual international calendar of events, but also the various domestic competitions, including the Hockey India League and the Euro Hockey League. And it can rule out the chances of regular hockey players from playing a major part in indoor competitions, which form a staple portfolio for the European players.

Four years in the making, the Hockey Pro League seems to have entirely overlooked the domestic events structure across hockey's three major continents: Europe, Asia and Oceania.

At the Hockey World League Semi-finals at the Olympic Park in London, hockey officials are talking in hushed tones about the impact of the FIH decision to dedicated six months from January to June for the Hockey Pro League.

"This will cause turmoil in the entire structure of domestic leagues," said an England official. "If countries still want to retain their traditional season, the domestic and the international games will have no link whatsoever. Losing the elite international players altogether, it could take away whatever sheen remains in domestic competitions."

"This might pose a big risk for young hockey players just to focus on the professional playing career," he continued. "International players pursuing professional degrees at universities and working professionals would probably now have to make a critical decision about sticking to hockey full-time."

An Argentine official, in London for the World League Semi-finals, wondered on the financial impact on federations. "Not all countries have full-time professional contracts for their players. It may be fine for a few nations with deep pockets, but how are we all going to find the money for player contracts?" he said.

In Europe, Asia and Oceania, the prime focus on hockey is from September to March. The national competitions and also the indoor season (in Europe) takes place in these months.

The FIH's proposed time frame for matches, week-in and week-out, has also left some people looking at the scheduling aspects. Which teams would like to come to play international hockey in London in winter in January or February, or play at the National Stadium in New Delhi during the monsoon in June?

European Leagues have a two-tiered season, whose early rounds are played from August through November - before the mid-winter break for indoor hockey season - and then the league resumes in spring and lasts through early summer.

The Hockey Pro League will cause the domestic leagues of England, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, India and other countries to adjust to this new, disruptive Hockey Pro League.

India Come Last In 3-Nation Hockey Tournament in Germany

ndia played in a 3-nation invitational, round robin tournament in Dusseldorf, Germany, from June 1-6, 2017. The other participating nations were host Germany and Belgium.

India, with only one win, finished last in the tournament, with the following match results:

Date Result Goal Scorers - India
Jun 2 Belgium 2 - India 1 Harmanpreet Singh (38 min), PC
Jun 3 India 2 - Germany 2 Mandeep Singh (45 min)
Sardar Singh (45 min)
Jun 5 India 3 - Belgium 2 Harmanpreet Singh (34, 38 min), both PCs
Ramandeep Singh (49 min)
Jun 6 Germany 2 - India 0  

The Indian team for the 3-nation invitational tournament in Dusseldorf was as follows:

Goalkeepers: Vikas Dahiya, Akash Chitke

Defenders: Pardeep Mor, Kothajeet Singh, Surender Kumar, Rupinder Pal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh

Midfielders: S. K Uthappa, Satbeer Singh, Harjeet Singh, Chinglensana Singh (vice captain), Manpreet Singh (captain), Sardar Singh

Forwards: Ramandeep Singh, S. V. Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Talvinder Singh, Mandeep Singh

Officials: Chief Coach - Roelant Oltmans, Director, Assistant Coach - Jugraj Singh, Analytical Coach - Leendert Johannes Jacobus Streeder, Scientific Advisor - Scott Conway

Bharatiya Rail Win Senior Men's National Hockey Championship

Photograph courtesy Hockey India

he 7th Hockey India Senior Men's National Hockey Championship (Division 'A') was held in Lucknow from June 15-25, 2017. Twenty teams from all over India participated, and were grouped into the following pools:

  • Pool A: Bharatiya Rail, Uttar Pradesh, Namdhari XI, Services, Jharkhand
  • Pool B: Punjab, Gangpur-Odisha, Comptroller & Auditor General of India, Bharatiya Khadya Nigam (FCI), Bhopal
  • Pool C: Odisha, Mumbai, Patiala, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, Punjab & Sindh Bank
  • Pool D: Bharatiya Vishvavidyalaya Sangh (AIU), Karnataka, Hariyana, Air India, Chandigadh

In Pool B, Bharatiya Khadya Nigam (FCI) did not show up, so only nineteen teams took part in the national championship.

Bharatiya Rail and Punjab & Sindh Bank reached the final of the tournament, with the following match results:

Stage Date Bharatiya Rail Date Punjab & Sindh Bank
Pool Jun 15 bbeat Namdhari XI 1-0 Jun 15 beat Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy 1-0
  Jun 17 beat Uttar Pradesh 8-0 Jun 16 drew with Patiala 1-1
  Jun 18 beat Jharkhand 8-1 Jun 18 beat Odisha 4-1
  Jun 20 beat Services 4-2 Jun 19 beat Mumbai 2-1
Quarter-finals Jun 22 beat Comptroller & Auditor General of India 3-1 Jun 22 beat Air India 3-2
Semi-finals Jun 24 beat Chandigadh 5-1 Jun 24 beat Punjab 1-0
Final Jun 25 bbeat Punjab & Sindh Bank 1-1 (3-0 SO)

In the 3rd-4th placings match, Punjab beat Chandigadh 2-1 to finish third.

This marks a hat-trick of national hockey titles for Bharatiya Rail, who were also men's national champions in 2015 and 2016.

In a space of two months, Bharatiya Rail have won both the senior women's (held in Rohtak in April) and the senior men's (held in Lucknow in June) national hockey championships.

Photograph of the Month

Photograph by Ian MacNicol, courtesy Getty Images AsiaPacific

he Photograph of the Month for July 2017 is of Argentine national hockey coach Carlos Retegui. He is the coach with the golden touch, with back-to-back gold medals at the last two Olympic Games. His golden record, with both the women's and men's team, spans three continents, and is as follows:


  • 2009 Champions Trophy (Sydney) - Gold
  • 2010 Champions Trophy (Nottingham) - Gold
  • 2010 World Cup (Rosario) - Gold
  • 2012 Champions Trophy (Rosario) - Gold


  • 2015 Pan American Games (Toronto) - Gold
  • 2016 Olympics (Rio de Janeiro) - Gold

Based on his record with the Argentine national teams over the past decade, Carlos Retegui may be the number one hockey coach in the world. He has propelled Argentina to a world no. 1 ranking in men's hockey.

Carlos is to Argentina what Charlesworth was to Australia - a coach who delivers gold medals to the country at regular intervals on the world stage.

Money Matters

Image courtesy FIH

he International Hockey Federation (FIH) plans to generate a whopping $150 million in four years from the Hockey Pro League. The six-month long home-and-away competition will commence from January 2019, with 144 internationals broadcast over a six-month period.

Hockey Pro League will feature 9 teams each in both men and women's categories. Each team will play the other eight in a double round-robin format at home and away, culminating in a grand finale at the end of the year between the top four teams.

In the men's category, world no. 9 Ireland was bypassed by world no. 13 Pakistan, despite Pakistan not even able to host a single match at home. Pakistan's designated home venue will be a continent away, in Glasgow, Scotland, which ironically is next door to Ireland.

Hockey Ireland chief executive Jerome Pels said, "The FIH press release pitched the Hockey Pro League as involving 'the nine best men's and women's teams from around the world'. It reads as if the Irish team wasn't good enough, that our ranking wasn't good enough and that others 'qualified' for the league. We want to reiterate that this is absolutely not the case. It is the commercial side of things where the issues are."

FIH CEO Jason McCracken said, "There is robust marketing strategy in place to achieve the target. We have Star Sports as broadcasting partners in India. The FIH is working to have broadcasters on board from other nations that are competing in the League. Fans will be able to watch all 144 matches played in the league live. We believe this league will change the face of world hockey."

McCracken said the world body is in talks with emerging markets like Malaysia and Spain which missed out on the Pro League to host its international events there.

"We are in serious talks with Malaysia to host a Hockey World League Final and other events there. Malaysians love their hockey and the sport has a huge fan following there," he said

Men's Pro League teams: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, England/Great Britain, Germany, India, Netherlands, New Zealand and Pakistan

Women's Pro League teams: Argentina, Australia, China, England/Great Britain, Germany, India, Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States

Media Matters

T Sport will broadcast more than 700 hours of live men's and women's hockey over the next two years, after agreeing a deal to become the home of the United Kingdom and Irish international hockey.

The deal with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) will see BT Sport provide live coverage of the following events from around the world:

  • Men's Hockey World League Semi-final, 15-25 June 2017, London
  • Women's Hockey World League Semi-final, 8-23 July 2017, Johannesburg
  • Women's Hockey World League Final, 17-26 Nov 2017, Auckland
  • Men's Hockey World League Final, 1-10 Dec 2017, Bhubaneswar
  • Women's Hockey World Cup, 21 July - 5 August 2018, London
  • Men's Hockey World Cup, 24 Nov - 16 Dec 2018, Bhubaneswar

Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: "I am really excited that BT Sport is now the home of international hockey for men and women, including the prestigious World Cups. Hockey continues to grow and has done so ever since the women's Team GB team won the hockey gold medal at the Rio Olympics."

Andy Oram, FIH TV and Broadcast Director said: "BT Sport were the first to believe and commit to the Hockey Revolution, long before their success in Rio, and we are delighted to continue our relationship and vision with them. Their world-class production of the 2016 Hockey Champions Trophies in London introduced ground-breaking innovations for our sport, and has set some very high standards as we move towards our Men's and Women's World Cups in 2018. We look forward to working with them to make BT Sport the exclusive 'Home of Hockey' in the UK and Ireland."

Visitor of the Month

Hockey coach Shiv Jagday

he July 2017 Visitor of the Month is Shiv Jagday, who runs Shiv's Coaching Academy. Shiv moved to Canada in 1977, and is a former former Canadian and USA National team coach. Shiv sent the following email to

I just finished watching the India versus Canada 5th - 6th placings match in the Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-finals, which India lost. I am happy for Canada and sad for India. There is something very wrong in preparing the Indian national team for tournaments, which I did highlight in my latest coaching article. I am planning to write a follow up article covering the 2017 HWL, focussing on India's performance. Among other factors, I will also be looking at the penalty corner conversion rate, both offensively and defensively.

Fun With Numbers

Statistics by B. G. Joshi

he July 2017 edition of Fun with Numbers is on the Women's Hockey World League, the semi-finals of which will be held in Johannesburg from July 8-23, 2017.

The Indian women's team is in Pool B, and has the following match schedule:

  • India vs. South Africa (July 8, 9:30 pm IST)
  • India vs. USA (July 10, 9:30 pm IST)
  • India vs. Chile (July 12, 3:30 pm IST)
  • India vs. Argentina (July 16, 9:30 pm IST)

India has a losing record against Argentina, South Africa and USA. India has a winning record against Chile, and has never lost a match to Chile.

Country MP W L D GF GA Last Match
Argentina 17 1 13 3 17 44 Argentina 5 - India 0, 2016 Rio Olympics pool match
Chile 8 5 0 3 26 6 India 1 - Chile 1 (3-0 SO) in Vancouver Hockey World League Round 2 Final
South Africa 34 9 19 6 52 76 India 2 - South Africa 2, 2nd Test of Test Series in Capetown
USA 27 4 15 8 27 50 USA 3 - India 0, 2016 Rio Olympics pool match