India Finish With Silver In 37th and Last Men's Champions Trophy

Photograph credit FIH

he 37th Men's Champions Trophy was played at the De Bredase Hockey & Bandy Club in Breda, Netherlands, from June 23 - July 1, 2018. The participating teams were world no. 1 Australia, no. 2 Argentina, no. 3 Belgium, no. 4 Netherlands, no. 6 India and no. 13 Pakistan. This is the last edition of the Champions Trophy - this event will be replaced by the FIH Pro League starting next year.

India came 2nd in the 37th Champions Trophy, losing in a shootout to Australia in the final. Match results are given below:

Stage Date Result Goal Scorers - India
Pool June 23 India 4 - Pakistan 0 Ramandeep Singh (26 min)
Dilpreet Singh (54 min)
Mandeep Singh (57 min)
Lalit Upadhyay (60 min)
  June 24 India 2 - Argentina 1 Harmanpreet Singh (17 min), PC
Mandeep Singh (28 min)
  June 27 Australia 3 - India 2 Varun Kumar (11 min)
Harmanpreet Singh (58 min), PC
  June 28 India 1 - Belgium 1 Harmanpreet Singh (10 min), PC
  June 30 India 1 - Netherlands 1 Mandeep Singh (47 min), PC
Final July 1 Australia 1 - India 1 (3-1 SO) Vivek Sagar Prasad (42 min)

The final standings were as follows: 1 - Australia, 2 - India, 3 - Netherlands, 4 - Argentina, 5 - Belgium, 6 - Pakistan

The following were the tournament awards:

  • Rabobank Player of the Tournament: Aran Zelewski (AUS)
  • ONVZ Goalkeeper of the Tournament: P. R. Sreejesh (IND)
  • Volvo Rising Player of the Tournament: Jake Harvie (AUS)
  • Hero Top Scorer of the Tournament: Gonzalo Peillat (ARG)
  • Deloitte Coach of the Tournament: Colin Batch (AUS)

The Indian team for the 37th Men's Champions Trophy was as follows:

Goalkeepers: P. R. Sreejesh (captain), Krishan B. Pathak

Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Jarmanpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra

Midfielders: Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh (vice captain), Vivek Sagar Prasad

Forwards: S. V. Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Lalit Upadhyay

Officials: Harendra Singh (chief coach), Christopher Ciriello (analytical coach), Jugraj Singh (coach), Bharat Chettri (goalkeeping coach).

All Set For Sandeep Singh Biopic Soorma Releasing In July

iljeet Dosanjh starrer Soorma has been creating a buzz ever since the trailer has released.The actor is essaying the role of the former captain of the national hockey team, Sandeep Singh.

Soorma showcases Sandeep's struggles to get on his own feet after getting paralyzed for two years after an accidental gunshot injures him right before the World Cup.

Shaad Ali, who chose Diljeet Dosanjh for the film, says, "Diljeet was the obvious choice for the film because he looked the part. I was not trying to find too much resemblance. That was not my criteria, because I was just trying to go with the look, who would look honest in that part."

Ali also talked about the challenges one faces while dealing with a biopic. "Biopics comes with an added responsibility because you are dealing with a real-life person. It's not easy to make a biopic, but if you work with that persona and his or her family, things get easy," says Ali.

Soorma will feature Diljeet Dosanjh essaying the role of Sandeep Singh, alongside Taapsee Pannu and Angad Bedi in pivotal roles. Produced by Sony Pictures Networks Productions, Chitrangada Singh and Deepak Singh, Soorma is written and directed by Shaad Ali, and is slated to release on July 13, 2018.

Odisha Chief Minister Asks For Hockey To Be Notified As National Game

Photograph credit Bisvaranjan Rout of The Hindu

s Odisha prepares to host the men's hockey World Cup 2018 here in November, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to notify hockey as the national game of India.

Excerpts from the letter Patnaik wrote the following to the prime minister are given below:

Till the 1980s, India's presence in the international sports arena was marked by its brilliance in hockey. Crores of Indians rejoiced every time our hockey team became victorious and our national anthem was played. Hockey became part of the India psyche.

Cutting across different strata of society and regions, cutting across the rural-urban divide, hockey is hugely popular in India. In the tribal areas of Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, hockey is a way of life. In fact, in a first of its kind, Odisha state government is sponsoring the national hockey teams for the next five years.

As you know, Sir, the next World Cup in hockey will be held in Odisha in November this year. While reviewing the preparations, I was surprised and shocked to know that what is popularly known as the national game - hockey - has in fact never been notified as our national game.

I am sure you will agree with the crores of hockey loving fans in our country that hockey truly deserves to be notified as our national game. This will be a fitting tribute to the great hockey players who have made our country proud. It will also inspire our future generations.

With regards,

Yours sincerely,
Naveen Patnaik

The Incredible Story of Zimbabwe Hockey In The 1980 Olympics

Article by Cathy Harris, courtesy The Times

n what was surely one of the most bizarre starts to an Olympic campaign, the Zimbabwe women's hockey team set off from Harare for the 1980 Moscow Games in an aircraft used to transport meat. They had to cope with the overpowering stench, strapped in like paratroopers down either side, their luggage piled up in the middle.

Robert Mugabe had led the newly independent country, formerly known as Rhodesia, for three months when the International Olympic Committee extended its invitation. Women's hockey was making its Olympic debut and there had been plans for a six-team tournament, but five pulled out after the US-led western boycott protesting against the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.

With only the hosts left, the organisers cast around for replacements. The Zimbabweans received their invitation 35 days before the opening ceremony and officials scrambled to select a squad. Their captain, Ann Grant, admitted that they were like a bunch of excited children when they first saw the Olympic stadium. "We had never seen an artificial pitch and didn't have the right shoes to play on it because we'd only ever played on sunbaked grass pitches in Zimbabwe," she recalled. "We had to rush out and buy the shoes."

The happy-go-lucky group attracted the attention of many athletes in the Olympic Village. Britain's impending medal-winners Daley Thompson, Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett were among the athletes who spent time with them and followed their progress during the Games.

"Suddenly people wanted to know all about Zimbabwe," said Chase. "We went to a party at the Kremlin and had such fun socialising with loads of famous athletes. Everyone wanted a part of us - we were all just so proud."

A skilful and versatile forward with a natural goalscoring ability, Chase was a cornerstone of the side as they pro- gressed through the round-robin event. Despite struggling with a knee injury, she provided the pass for Pat McKillop to seal Zimbabwe's 4-1 victory over Austria, which secured the gold medal.

There was one hitch at the medal ceremony, Sarah English, the team's goalkeeper, recalled. "Zimbabwe didn't even have its own national anthem," she said. "They played the Olympic anthem, that's all. But there was the Zimbabwe flag and we were all so proud."

Back home the team's unlikely victory had captivated the nation: they were heralded as 'The Golden Girls', and Mugabe's wife, Sally, promised each squad member an ox.

At a ceremony to mark their triumph the said animals failed to materialise and the players were left bemused as Mrs Mugabe presented them with a small polystyrene-wrapped packet of meat each.

Liz Chase, pictured above, died of cancer on May 9, 2018, aged 68.

Indian Women Draw 5-Test Hockey Series With Spain

Photograph of the India vs. Spain match courtesy Hockey India

he 10th ranked Indian women's team played a 5-test series against 11th ranked Spain at the Consejo Superior de Deportes Hockey Stadium in Madrid, from June 12-18, 2018. This was an exposure tour ahead of the Vitality Women's World Cup in July.

India drew the 5-test series 2-2. Match results are given below:

Date Result Goal Scorers - India
June 12 Spain 3 - India 0  
June 13 India 1 - Spain 1 Anoopa Barla (54 min)
June 15 India 3 - Spain 2 Gurjeet Kaur (28 min), PC
Lalremsiami (32 min)
Rani Rampal (59 min)
June 16 Spain 4 - India 1 Udita (22 min)
June 18 India 4 - Spain 1 Rani Rampal (33, 37 min)
Gurjeet Kaur (44, 50 min), both PCs

The Indian team for the Spain test series was as follows:

Goalkeepers: Savita Punia (vice-captain), Svaati

Defenders: Deepika, Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjeet Kaur, Suman Devi Thoudam, Suseela Chanu Pukhrambam

Midfielders: Monika, Namita Toppo, Nikki Pradhan, Neha Goyal, Leelima Minz, Navjyot Kaur

Forwards: Rani Rampal (captain), Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Anoopa Barla, Udita

Officials: Sjoerd Marijne (chief coach), C. R. Kumar (coach), Erik Johan Wonink (analytical coach)

Photograph of the Month

Graphic courtesy Excel Entertainment

he Photograph of the Month for July 2018 is of the poster of the movie Gold, whose trailer was released on 25th June.

In the movie, Tapan Das (Akshay Kumar), an assistant manager of the Indian Olympic team in 1936, dreams of winning a gold medal for an independent India. He forms a hockey team that initially falls apart but join hand again to achieve the goal in 1948. This Olympic gold medal would be the first sporting achievement of independent India.

The character of Tapan Das is loosely based on Pankaj Gupta of Kolkata, who was the assistant manager of the Indian team in 1936, and the manager in 1948.

Besides Akshay Kumar, Gold's ensemble cast includes Kunal Kapoor, Amit Sadh, Vineet Kumar Singh and also television actress Mouni Roy, who makes her Bollywood debut with this film.

Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani have jointly produced Gold under the banner of Excel Entertainment. The trailer of the movie can be viewed here.

Money Matters

he Odisha government has made significant infrastructural upgrades in the lead up to Men's World Cup which will be held in Bhubanesvar in November-December.

The seating capacity of Kalinga Stadium has been increased to 15,000. The stadium will also get two brand new pitches. The floodlights at both the main pitch and the practice pitch have been upgraded while the entire main stadium is being given a facelift, with wider roads, new gates and CCTV cameras to monitor stadium safety.

The upgrades are being carried out by the Department of Youth Services and Sports, Government of Odisha.

FIH events director Gabrielle van Zwieten, who visited Bhubanesvar to review the preparations, said, "I am delighted with the progress of work at the Kalinga Stadium. The keenness of the Odisha government and Hockey India to leave no stone unturned in their preparations to host the biggest hockey event is worth a mention. I am confident that the hockey fraternity will witness a spectacular event starting this November."

Besides the stadium upgrades, the city itself is getting spruced up for the big event. An increase in the number of city buses, improved bus stands and shelters, fresh painting of major public properties and development of roads are just some of the items being worked on. Also, wi-fi spots have been proposed at nearly 300 locations in the city, in partnership with Bhubanesvar Smart City Ltd.

Media Matters

Article and Graphic courtesy FIH

book charting the Rio 2016 gold medal triumph of Great Britain's women's hockey team won a prestigious book award in London, when The History Makers was named the Thomson Reuters Illustrated Book of the Year at the 16th Sports Book Awards. The awards ceremony was held at Lords Cricket Ground on June 7.

Written by lifelong hockey players, fans and freelance journalists, Richard Stainthorpe and Sarah Juggins, and with photographs from World Sports Pics, the award is a fantastic recognition for the sport and Great Britain's women's team.

The book charts the journey of Team GB's women's hockey team from their lowest point - failing to qualify for the Athens 2004 Olympics. It recalls the battles the team faced - sliding down the world rankings, in-fighting and discord within the squad, no funding and very little prospect of a bright future.

Three players - Crista Cullen, Helen Richardson and Kate Walsh - were junior members of that team. Fast forward 12 years and the same three players were at the heart of the greatest moment in Great Britain women's hockey, standing on the podium in Rio with Olympic gold medals proudly hanging around their necks.

The History Makers is more than an account of a famous victory. It is the story of how a team changed its culture and its attitude and transformed a sport barely worth a mention in the press into the provider of an Olympic moment that gripped the nation.

The History Makers fought of fierce competition from George Rowlands The Redmen: The Tobacco Years, Michael Donald's Goal!, Iain T. Spragg's Remarkable Golf Courses, Martyn Farr's The Darkness Beckons and AELTC's A Portrait of Wimbledon to win the award.

Visitor of the Month

he Visitor of the Month for July 2018 is more a Website of the Month. A new website, The Bridge, seeks to bridge the gap in Indian sports. As they mention in their website:

Why is it that we don't have a world-class basketball team from the one billion plus Indians? Why is hockey dying in India? Why have we failed to win the second individual Olympic gold medal?

Are we destined for mediocrity and should accept it and move on?While the debate and embarrassment exist for a few weeks after every Olympic Games, it vaporises into thin air soon except for school essays and college debates.

The Bridge is here to bring about a change in the sports ecosystem, and most importantly, a change in you. We have a billion people in this country; it is just the matter of identifying the right talent and training them. The change can't come alone. A start has been made and there is a glimmer of a hope to change the script that has starved Indian sports for so long. The signs are positive.

Fun With Numbers

Statistics by B. G. Joshi

he July 2018 edition of Fun with Numbers is on the Women's World Cup Hockey, the 14th edition of which is taking place in London from July 21 - August 5, 2018.

  • Europe has dominated the Women's World Cup, winning 9 of the 13 tournaments held so far, including the first 7 editions in a row
  • Netherlands has won the maximum number of golds, more than all other countries combined
  • Netherlands has won a medal in 12 of the 13 tournaments it has participated in, the lone exception being 1994 when it returned empty-handed
  • New Zealand is the highest ranked team in the tournament (world no. 4) to have never won any medal in the Women's World Cup
World Rank Country App Gold Silver Bronze
1 Netherlands 13 7 (1974, 78, 83, 86, 90, 2006, 14) 4 (1981, 98, 2002, 10) 1 (1976)
2 England 9     1 (2010)
3 Argentina 13 2 (2002, 10) 3 (1974, 76, 94) 3 (1978-Joint, 2006, 14)
5 Australia 10 2 (1994, 98) 3 (1990, 2006, 14) 1 (1983)
6 Germany 13 2 (1976, 81) 2 (1978, 86) 2 (1974, 98)
7 USA 8     1 (1994)
8 China 7     1 (2002)
9 South Korea 7     1 (1990)
13 Belgium 5     1 (1978-Joint)