Indian Men Return Empty Handed From Commonwealth Games Hockey


Photograph credit AFP

he 21st Commonwealth Games men's hockey tournament was held at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre in Labrador, Gold Coast, from April 4-15, 2018. Ten teams participated in the tournament and were grouped into the following pools:

  • Pool A: Australia (world no. 1), New Zealand (no. 9), Canada (no. 11), South Africa (no.15), Scotland (no. 23)
  • Pool B: India (world no 6), England (no. 7), Malaysia (no. 12), Pakistan (no. 13), Wales (no. 24)

India had a disastrous tournament, ending up 4th and out of the medals. India was the second highest ranked team in the tournament, but lost to lower-ranked teams (no. 7 England and no. 9 New Zealand) and drew with lower-ranked teams (no. 13 Pakistan).

India scored only 4 field goals in the six matches it played, including 0 field goals in the knockout stage of the tournament. India had the following match results:

Stage Date Result Goal Scorers - India
Pool Apr 7 India 2 - Pakistan 2 Dilpreet Singh (13 min)
Harmanpreet Singh (19 min), PC
  Apr 8 India 4 - Wales 3 Dilpreet Singh (16 min)
Mandeep Singh (28 min), PC
Harmanpreet Singh (57 min), PC
S. V. Sunil (59 min), PC
  Apr 10 India 2 - Malaysia 1 Harmanpreet Singh (3, 44 min), both PCs
  Apr 11 India 4 - England 3 Manpreet Singh (33 min)
Rupinderpal Singh (51 min), PC
Varun Kumar (59 min), PC
Mandeep Singh (60 min)
Semis Apr 13 New Zealand 3 - India 2 Harmanpreet Singh (30 min-PS, 56 min-PC)
3rd vs. 4th Apr 14 England 2 - India 1 Varun Kumar (27 min), PC

Pakistan did not lose a single game in the tournament, yet they finished 7th out of 10. This is because of their 4 consecutive draws in the pool stage, which relegated them to the 7th-8th placings match, and which they went on to win.

The final placings were as follows: 1 - Australia, 2 - New Zealand, 3 - England, 4 - India, 5 - Malaysia, 6 - Scotland, 7 - Pakistan, 8 - Canada, 9 - Wales, 10 - South Africa

The Indian team for the 21st Commonwealth Games men's hockey tournament was as follows:

Goalkeepers: Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran, Suraj Karkera

Defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajeet Singh Kadangbam, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas

Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (captain), Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (vice-captain), Sumit, Vivek Sagar Prasad

Forwards: Akashdeep Singh, Sunil Somvarpet Vittalacharya, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh

Coach: Sjoerd Marijne

Indian Women Return Empty Handed From Commonwealth Games Hockey


World No. 26 upset World no. 10 India in the Commonwealth Games. Photograph credit Mark Kolbe

he 21st Commonwealth Games women's hockey tournament was held at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre in Labrador, Gold Coast, from April 4-15, 2018. Ten teams participated in the tournament and were grouped into the following pools:

  • Pool A: England (world no. 2), India (no.10), South Africa (no. 14), Malaysia (no. 22), Wales (no. 26)
  • Pool B: New Zealand (world no. 4), Australia (no. 5), Scotland (no. 18), Canada (no. 21), Ghana (no. 30)

India ended up 4th in the tournament - the 3rd consecutive time that the Indian women's hockey team returned medal-less from the Commonwealth Games - they were 5th in Delhi (2010), 5th in Glasgow (2014) and 4th in Gold Coast (2018).

India went scoreless in the knockout stages of the tournament - losing 0-1 to Australia in the semi-finals, and 0-6 to England in the 3rd vs. 4th match. Indian women's penalty corner conversion rate in its last 4 matches was 0% - 0/1 vs. England, 0/2 vs. South Africa, 0/3 vs. Australia and 0/5 vs. England.

The Indian women's team had the following match results:

Stage Date Result Goal Scorers - India
Pool Apr 5 Wales 3 - India 2 Rani Rampal (34 min), PC
Nikki Pradhan (41 min)
  Apr 6 India 4 - Malaysia 1 Gurjeet Kaur (6, 39 min), both PCs
Rani Rampal (56 min)
Lalremsiami (59 min)
  Apr 8 India 2 - England 1 Navneet Kaur (42 min)
Gurjeet Kaur (48 min), PS
  Apr 10 India 1 - South Africa 0 Rani Rampal (47 min)
Semis Apr 12 Australia 1 - India 0  
3rd vs. 4th Apr 14 England 6 - India 0  

The final placings were as follows: 1 - New Zealand, 2 - Australia, 3 - England, 4 - India, 5 - Canada, 6 - South Africa, 7 - Malaysia, 8 - Scotland, 9 - Wales, 10 - Ghana

The Indian team for the 21st Commonwealth Games women's hockey tournament was as follows:

Goalkeepers: Savita Punia (vice-captain), Rajani Etimarpu

Defenders: Deepika, Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjeet Kaur, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam

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

Forwards: Rani (captain), Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navjyot Kaur, Navneet Kaur, Poonam Rani

Coach: Harendra Singh

Swapping of Hockey Coaches Smacks Of Gender Bias Agianst Women's Team


Excerpted from article by Sundeep Misra on FirstPost

ven Balkishan Singh, coach of the 1980 Moscow Olympics gold medal winning Indian men's hockey team, couldn't have envisaged that in 38 years after that Olympic triumph, Indian hockey would appoint 34 coaches. In May 2018, the 34th chief coach of the Indian hockey team is now Harendra Singh.

Hockey India announced after a week of drama, flip-flops, intrigue, meetings, conferences and player interactions that the men's team coach Sjoerd Marijne would become the women's chief coach and Harendra Singh, the women's coach would take over the men's team.

Spare a thought about a decision that stinks of gender bias. The women's team, not always at the forefront of Hockey India's thought process now suddenly finds itself anchorless. The women didn't have a one-to-one with Batra like the men's team. Nobody checked with them what they wanted - the women also finished 4th like the men's team, but yes, they beat the Olympic Champions England and lost to them in the 3rd/4th play-off. In fact, most women hockey fans were looking forward to the July World Cup.

This coaching swap also begs a question - if Marijne wasn't good enough for the men's team, how is he good enough for the women's team? Or did Hockey India push the women's team onto the altar, the sacrificial lambs in what has always been a men's sport in India.

Eliza Nelson, captain of the 1980 Moscow Olympic women's team that finished 4th, once said wistfully, "If only we had the men's team coach Balkishen as our coach, we would have played the Olympic final."

An Indian men's hockey coach in so many ways is ordained to wear the robes of Sisyphus, a figure in Greek mythology, condemned to push a boulder up a mountain only to see it roll down again; Olympics after Olympics (since 1980) and World Cup after World Cup (since 1975).

Probably, it's time to shed those robes. Banish the demons. Write new chapters. Maybe, it's the most unlikely of them all, the non-Olympian, Harendra Singh for whom fate and destiny has finally combined to create a future that can only benefit from the past.

Punjab Win 8th Hockey India Junior Men's National Hockey Championship


2018 Men's Junior National Hockey Champions Punjab

he 8th Hockey India Men's Junior National Hockey Championship ('A' division) was held in Bhopal from April 26 - May 26. The tournament was played at 3 venues in the city - Aishbagh Hockey Stadium, Mayur Park and the SAI Centre.

Twenty teams from all over India participated in the tournament, and were grouped into the following pools:

  • Pool A: Odisha, Maharashtra, Chandigadh, Bhopal, Delhi
  • Pool B: Steel Plant Sports Board, Hariyana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, Chattisgadh
  • Pool C: Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai, Manipur, Services
  • Pool D: Bharatiya Khel Praadhikaran (SAI), Gangpur-Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Himachal, Punjab & Sindh Bank

Punjab won the 8th Hockey India.Men's Junior National Hockey Championship ('A' division) with the following match results:

Stage Date Punjab Date Hariyana
Pool Apr 26 beat Manipur 7-2 Apr 26 beat Jharkhand 2-1
  Apr 27 beat Mumbai 5-0 Apr 28 beat Chattisgadh 17-0
  Apr 29 drew with Uttar Pradesh 3-3 Apr 29 drew with Steel Plant Sports Board 3-3
  May 1 drew with Services 3-3 May 1 beat Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy 3-2
Quarters May 3 beat Bharatiya Khel Praadhikaran 3-2 May 3 beat Chandigadh 4-0
Semis May 4 beat Odisha 1-1 (3-1 SO) May 4 beat Gangpur-Odisha 3-2
Final May 6 beat Hariyana 4-2

Hockey Gangpur-Odisha defeated Odisha 6-1 to finish 3rd.

In the 8 years since Hockey India has been conducting the Men's Junior National Hockey Championship, Punjab has won 4 of the 8 titles - 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2018.

This year, Punjab won both the Hockey India Men's Senior Nationals (held in Lucknow) and the Hockey India Men's Junior Nationals (held in Bhopal). Men's hockey is flourishing in Punjab, both at the senior and junior levels.

Jharkhand Win 8th Hockey India Junior Women's National Hockey Championship


he 8th Hockey India Women's Junior National Hockey Championship ('A' division) was held in Bhopal from April 26 - May 26. The tournament was played at 3 venues in the city - Aishbagh Hockey Stadium, Mayur Park and the SAI Centre.

Twenty teams from all over India participated in the tournament, and were grouped into the following pools:

  • Pool A: Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, Gangpur-Odisha, Chandigadh, Mumbai, Delhi
  • Pool B: Hariyana, Odisha, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Chattisgadh
  • Pool C: Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bhopal, Kodagu (Coorg), Hockey Him
  • Pool D: Punjab, Bharatiya Khel Praadhikaran (SAI), Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Mizoram

Jharkand won the 8th Hockey India.Women's Junior National Hockey Championship ('A' division) with the following match results:

Stage Date Jharkhand Hariyana
Pool Apr 26 beat Kodagu (Coorg) 10-1 beat Tamil Nadu 18-0
  Apr 27 beat Bhopal 16-0 beat Karnataka 11-0
  Apr 29 beat Uttar Pradesh 4-0 lost to Odisha 1-2
  May 1 beat Hockey Him 7-3 beat Chattisgadh 11-2
Quarters May 3 beat Bharatiya Khel Praadhikaran 9-0 beat Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy 1-0
Semis May 4 beat Gangpur-Odisha 2-0 beat Uttar Pradesh 5-0
Final May 6 beat Hariyana 4-2

Hockey Gangpur-Odisha defeated Uttar Pradesh 2-1 to finish 3rd.

Photograph of the Month


Graphic courtesy FIH

he Photograph of the Month for May 2018 is of recently retired Australian hockey captain Mark Knowles.

Mark is the player with the golden touch. He won the following tournaments for Australia, the number one ranked hockey nation in the world:

  • Olympics: 2004 (Athens)
  • World Cup: 2010 (Delhi), 2014 (The Hague)
  • Champions Trophy: 2005 (Chennai), 2008 (Rotterdam), 2009 (Melbourne), 2012 (Melbourne)
  • Commonwealth Games: 2006 (Melbourne), 2010 (Delhi), 2014 (Glasgow), 2018 (Gold Coast)

Knowles was selected as the FIH Young Player of the Year (2007) and the FIH World Player of the Year (2014). He was the Kookaburras captain since 2014, till he retired after winning the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold. Knowles was the Australian Flag Bearer for the 2018 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.

Money Matters


oshiba TVs has signed on as Principal Partner of England and Great Britain Men's Hockey for 2018.

As part of this collaboration, Toshiba will provide "edge of your seat" viewing experiences for the hockey community and sports fans. Toshiba's partnership agreement includes exclusive branding of the England and Great Britain teams' playing shirts and training kit.

Sales & Marketing Director for Toshiba TVs in Northern Europe, David Flintoft, said, "This partnership enables us to support England Hockey during such a significant year, which includes the Men's World Cup. We are set to capture and share the team's progress, so that fans everywhere can live and breathe the sporting action. For us, this is not only a great opportunity to introduce hockey to more television viewers, but also to inspire the next generation of athletes."

Media Matters


he following eight universities are competing in Varsity Hockey Tournament in South Africa, which is being held from May 4 - 23, 2018 in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

  • University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)
  • University of Cape Town (UCT)
  • University of Stellenbosch (Maties)
  • Nelson Mandela University (Madibaz)
  • University of the North West (Puk)
  • University of Pretoria (Tuks)
  • University of Johannesburg (UJ)
  • University of the Free State (Kovsies)

Varsity Hockey is sponsored by Samsung, Mugg & Bean and FNB. SuperSport will broadcast the following Varsity Hockey matches live:

  • Last day of the Johannesburg leg of the competition (May 7)
  • Final three days of the Pretoria leg of the competition (May 12 - 14)
  • Championship Game (May 23)

8 of the 18 players in the South African Commonwealth squad played Varsity Hockey, showing the role Varsity Hockey plays in development in South African Hockey.

South African hockey legend Austin Smith, who represented South Africa for 14 years, and who currrently plays for the Dutch club HC Den Bosch, said, "Having SuperSport involved in varsity sports is huge. Most of the hockey televised in South Africa is from foreign international tournaments, which is of course great, but it’s even more exciting to see our own home grown talent on television. The fact that this allows sponsors to come on board and cover players’ costs is tremendous. It’s extremely difficult to make a living from hockey in South Africa, but events like this certainly go a long way in making that possible."

Present South African hockey captain Keenan Home, who played in Varsity Hockey in 2016 said, "With the introduction of Varsity Hockey, a lot more universities are putting proper conditioning and training programs together in order to prep for the tournament. This allows university players to improve their hockey immensely and sets a high standard for their careers at a young age. It also makes the transition from Varsity Hockey to the national setup almost seamless, because these young players are used to conditioning and high performance programs."

This is a model worth emulating in India - providing sponsorship and television exposure to inter-university hockey, and establishing a regular supply chain from Combined Universties to the national team.

Visitor of the Month


he Visitor of the Month for May 2018 is SafeSport, which is a US-based non-profit organisation providing education and training to prevent gender abuse across sports. As pertaining to hockey, the following news release was sent out by US Field Hockey Assocation:

As of March 20, 2018, USA Field Hockey will implement procedures that require all coaches, club administrators, umpires and club owners be SafeSport trained. USA Field Hockey Coach and Umpire Memberships requires them to submit to a national level background check screen, complete the SafeSport training, and receive educational messaging from USA Field Hockey, the United States Olympic Committee and U.S. Center for SafeSport.

Thank you for joining us in committing to protect athletes, calling out dangers and standing up for what is right. This behavior has been happening in sport for far too long, and together we can influence positive change.

Fun With Numbers


Statistics by B. G. Joshi

he May 2018 edition of Fun with Numbers is on the fastest goals scored in elite world-level hockey competitions (men, women).

Category Tournament Venue Date Country Scorer Opponent Goal Scoring Time
Men Olympics Montreal Jul 18, 1976 India Ajeet Singh Argentina 15 seconds
  World Cup The Hague Jun 1, 2014 New Zealand Steve Edwards South Korea 11 seconds
  Champions Trophy Karachi Dec 11, 1984 Pakistan Hanif Khan Netherlands 10 seconds
  Commonwealth Games Gold Coast Apr 13, 2018 Australia Trent Mitton England 26 seconds
Women Olympics Beijing Aug 16, 2008 USA Kelly Smith New Zealand 39 seconds
  World Cup Rosario Sep 3, 2010 South Korea Kim Jong Eun England 14 seconds
  Champions Trophy Amsterdam Jul 3, 2011 Argentina Carla Rebecchi Netherlands 17 seconds
  Commonwealth Games Gold Coast Apr 9, 2018 England Alex Danson India 35 seconds