RTI Filed On Tantrum Thowing Diva Of Hockey India


RTI Filed on Hockey India Official For Abusing Indian Hockey Captain

ight to Information no. MOYAS/R/2018/50534 has been filed with Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, asking for the following 10 pieces of information:

  • When and where was the post of the Hockey India CEO advertised?
  • For how many weeks was the job posting kept open for candidates to apply?
  • How many candidates applied? Did Indian citizens get a chance to apply?
  • What were the experience requirements of Hockey India CEO, at the time of the job posting?
  • Was Ms. Elena Norman the best candidate that met all the experience requirements?
  • Does Hockey India believe that if you do some Event Management, you can become its CEO?
  • Are the CEO experience requirements so specialised that no Indian was found suitable?
  • Is this post of an indefinite tenure. If not, what is the term of the CEO post as advertised?
  • Is the CEO's salary being paid, directly or indirectly, by Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports?
  • On the night of 11th December, 2018, in the VIP Lounge of the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubanesvar, on the occasion of the Odisha Men's World Cup, Hockey India CEO was heard giving abuses and curse words to Indian hockey captain Manpreet Singh plus 3 other national team players and an official working for event hospitality. Is this acceptable behaviour of a Hockey India official. If not, is this sufficient grounds for dismissal from her post of Hockey India CEO?

Background Information: The world over, sports federations select their CEOs in a professional and transparent process. As an example, when Hockey Australia was looking for a CEO, the job posting was publicly listed on the Hockey Australia website, along with information on how to apply for the position, and the job duties were clearly stated. The eventual candidate they selected had the following credentials:

  • Educational Background: Bachelor in Physical Education, MBA
  • Federation Experience: Athletics Australia, Soccer Australia
  • Academy Experience: Western Sydney Academy of Sport, Queensland Academy of Sport
  • International Experience: UK Athletics, UK Sport
  • Most Recent Role: Director of Australian Institute of Sport.

Given the rigorous and transparent selection procedure of a national hockey federation as shown above, did Hockey India followed due process in appointing its CEO?

Sports City Bhubanesvar - Ideal Venue for the World Cup


Article compiled from reports in Hindu and FirstPost, Photograph courtesy FIH

unique feature of the 2018 Men's Hockey World Cup was that the government of Odisha and the entire city of Bhubanesvar was involved in the event. Hockey-themed murals were painted across the city's walls; cultural festivities and artisans' exhibitions were organised in the city; the opening ceremony was lavish in its scale and city schools were wholeheartedly involved with the event.

FIH Master Coach Siegfried Aikman, who coached Japan to the hockey gold at the 2018 Asian Games, said: "When I stepped out of the plane in Bhubaneswar Airport, I was smiling nonstop. This was because everything in the airport was about hockey and the World Cup. At the Kalinga Stadium, even when India is not playing, there are so many people. They cheer for everyone. This doesn't happen in any other stadium in India. The dressing room and facilities are superb."

The government of Odisha invited the ambassadors of the 15 participating countries (the sixteenth being India), as well as India's ambassadors in the participating countries. In attendance over the opening five days were the ambassadors of Argentina and Belgium, the French consul general in Kolkata, and diplomats from China, Great Britain, Ireland and Argentina, many of them with their spouses.

Netherlands ambassador Marten van den Berg, a keen sports follower who attended the final said, "The audience, the officials, the organisation for the World Cup - everything was +++. The players also have a very good feeling about the tournament."

The citizens of Bhubanesvar were in a zone of abundant choices. There was the Bhubanesvar Fest at the exhibition ground, with storytelling, food and entertainment. A Fan Village had been set up at Kalinga Stadium, with large viewing screens, activities for children, World Cup merchandise and eateries.

The stadium was near-full for the afternoon games and full for the late evening games. Despite these numbers, security was friendly and unobtrusive. There was not a single incident in the field or on the stands requiring a security scramble.

Spectators embraced good play all around, and also encouraged injured players for their effort that was above and beyond. They remained seated right until the end of the shootout in the semi finals, and until the end of the medal ceremony after the finals. Such impeccable manners show the innate grace of Bhubaneswar's fans, and a proper understanding of the magnitude of the occasion.

Former India captain, three time Olympian and a member of the Indian team that won the hockey gold at the Moscow Olympics, M. M. Somayya was thrilled to watch all the action at the World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium.

Impressed by what he has seen, Somaya said: "I was a player in the 1982 Bombay and 1986 London World Cups. As a journalist, I covered the 1990 Lahore and the 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cups. But I have never seen a World Cup managed and conducted like the one in Bhubanesvar."

Somayya was particularly pleased with the way the game and players were portrayed. "Not only the streets everywhere are full of hoardings, but also the venues. The roads talk only about hockey here. The players have been made heroes. The arrangements for players and spectators in the stadium is remarkable. There is also a fan park where spectators can mingle with the players and their idols. The crowd is very participative even when India is not playing. It's a huge celebration of hockey. Bhubanesvar is one of the best centres in world hockey today."

The government arranged tours of Bhubanesvar, Konark and Puri for diplomats and FIH officials. Suresh Nair, Air Asia's General Manager for South Asia, launched a new flight from Bhubaneswar to Bangkok. Players and officials from various teams went to the beaches of Puri.

By promoting complementary activities around the World Cup during the busy season, the World Cup became the trial ground for a sports tourism policy in India. By means of its advertising campaign 'Odisha by Day, Hockey by Night', and by branding the temple city of Bhubanesvar as the spiritual home of Indian hockey, the Government of Odisha made the 2018 Men's Hockey World Cup a memorable events for players, fans and tourists alike.

The Rich Nations Of Hockey And Poor Nations Of Hockey


Rich Hockey Nation (India) vs. Poor Hockey Nation (South Africa)
Article by Hockey Insider, courtesy FirstPost. Photograph credit FIH

he Odisha Men's Hockey World Cup showcases the lopsided world of hockey, where full-time professionals with millions at stake compete with teams comprising motley groups of artisans, teachers, students and day-wagers.

It is a rich man's game in Europe, an amateur sport in Oceania, Americas and Africa and a poor-man's sport in Asia.

EUROPE

Netherlands: Dutch professional contracts are the most attractive ones in hockey, chased by players across the world. All the leading Dutch players have contracts from top local clubs, which also attract several foreigners.

Germany: After the Dutch come the German clubs for the exposure they provide to top-grade hockey players. Many of the students pursuing professional degrees are also eager followers of hockey, despite it being a minor sport in the overall scenario in the country. For a student, joining a German club also ensures a smooth passage in admissions to leading universities and scholarships.

Belgium: After the Dutch and Germans, Belgian clubs have added a new dimension. Also, several leading Belgian players play across the border for Dutch clubs.

England: Since lottery money began funding sports in England, their players now have annual contracts. Some players also pursue additional academic and professional qualifications. It is to be noted that the last two successes for English men's hockey (1986 World Cup silver, 1988 Olympic gold) came when players were primarily amateur, and having to look for off-season work.

Spain: The economic meltdown in the country left Spanish hockey in a precarious situation, where finding funding for the national team has became tough. The game is mainly amateur in Spain, with most players coming from the hockey hubs of Terrasa and Barcelona, with a few from Madrid completing the squad. Top Spanish players get attractive offers and play abroad for other European clubs.

Ireland: In 2017, Irish players had to pay from their pockets to make the trip to the Hockey World League Semi-finals, from which they earned qualification for the 2018 World Cup. Out of the core group of 20, there are 15 guys playing outside Ireland, for clubs in Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and England . Says Irish goalkeeper David Harte, "Many of us are working or studying. Some are accountants, some are lawyers and some are students. I am doing my Master's, my brother (Conor) is studying for his Ph. D."

France: Close to two-thirds of the French national team members play abroad, mainly in next door Belgium, which has a robust hockey structure. The French team is made up of students, a vintner, an aspiring music producer, a marketing manager, a doctor, a lawyer and IT professionals.

OCEANIA

Australia: Australian hockey now gets funding from the government based on their international performances. In addition, players have the option of playing for top clubs in Europe and elsewhere.

New Zealand: The sport of hockey in New Zealand is mostly amateur. Players have to chase their own careers by playing for clubs abroad, like current captain Blair Tarrant who plays in Germany.

AMERICAS

Argentina: The Argentine squad comprises an equal mixture of domestic club players and others who ply their trade for overseas clubs.

Canada: Hockey clubs in Canada mainly exist on the eastern and western side of the prairie provinces. South Asian immigrants, mainly from Goa and Punjab, with their traditional links to the sport make up some of the squad. Canadian players occasionally have to dig into their pockets to be able to appear in FIH tournaments.

AFRICA

South Africa: Devoid of support from both the National Olympic Committee and the government, South Africa's hockey continues to pull along. Despite being the top team in the African continent, they were prevented by their own National Olympic Committee from participating in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. For the 2018 World Cup, the South African players had to contribute 60,000 Rands of their personal money to the fund for sending the team to Bhubanesvar.

ASIA

China: The entire Chinese squad comes from just one of China's 34 provinces - Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The players have modest financial support. China even withdrew their team for the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta at the eleventh hour.

Malaysia: The federation has a sustained funding programme through the National Sports Council. In addition, players get wages from their respective employers and have club contracts. Hockey players come from modest backgrounds and look for full-time employment through hockey for financial security.

Pakistan: Players have to make frequent complaints just to get their allowances. Corporates are not lining up to sign sponsorship contracts with the Pakistani team, which is a far cry from the past decades when hockey gave the nation its proudest sporting moments. Pakistan's participation in the 2018 World Cup was in serious doubt over lack of funds, and only a last-minute intervention by a home appliance company who pumped in Rs. 90 lakh made the trip possible.

India: Full-time employment is offered to most hockey players in the Indian squad, or even those on the periphery of it. Players can continue to attend the national camps almost round the clock and still receive the monthly salaries from their respective employers. The Indian players appear to be hockey professionals in the truest form - no Indian national team player has to withdraw money from his savings account, or ask his parent to contribute to buy the ticket to play in the elite FIH events.

B. G. Joshi - Master Hockey Statistician Of The World


Article by Mufeed Mahdi Rizvi, courtesy Mumbai Mirror

he year was 1968. Defending champions India, with seven Olympic hockey gold medals were hot favourites for their eighth title. At 7.30 pm IST, a boy joined the huddle of Indian supporters gathered around a transistor radio at Bulbul Mian's tea stall.

Fourteen-year-old Baboolal Goverdhan Joshi's tryst with hockey started on a sour note, with India's 1-2 defeat to New Zealand. But he continued to back the team till they reached the third step of the podium in the 1968 Olympics.

Joshi grew up in an era where hockey, and to some extent football, were the only two major sports played in rurual areas of India.

"I grew up in a village in Rajgarh district of Madhya Pradesh. We used to play dadee, a game played with a ball made from cloth rags and tree branches. Almost every house in the village had cows. So in the mornings we'd take the cows and hand them over to the shepherd for grazing. We'd play dadee till the shepherd arrived to take the cows. Evenings were the same - till the shepherd brought the cows back to the designated place we'd play this game," Joshi recalls.

Joshi was, however, unaware that the game he was playing was hockey. Joshi's interest in the game grew with every passing year. Still without a transistor radio, he'd find places that had one and listen to the commentary whenever India played.

He then left his village to enroll in the Ujjain Engineering College. From the 1970 Bangkok Asiad he had started collecting small details, not with the intention of becoming a statistician, but out of interest.

Then the era of World Cups started. In 1971, India finished third in Barcelona. In the 1973 Netherlands edition, India returned home with a silver.

Then came 1975. Every day in his hostel room, around 20-25 of his friends -- including the owners of the transistor radio - Ratib (UAE) and Mahmood (Kuwait) - put their ears together for that commentary. India were progressing well.

"The semi-final against Malaysia was the most interesting one. Poon Fook Loke took the hosts ahead. Shivaji Pawar equalised. Malaysia once again took lead through Shanmuganathan before Aslam Sher Khan converted a penalty corner. And finally, when Harcharan Singh scored the winner, we were all jumping with joy, dancing around the campus," says Joshi.

After completing his engineering, Joshi landed a job with Madhya Pradesh's Water Resources Department as an assistant engineer.

It was only after he started earning that he took data collection very seriously. "FIH used to bring out a monthly magazine called World Hockey. Subscription to the magazine was 10. Although my salary was not even 10 in those days, I still subscribed to it," Joshi says, with a smile and a tinge of pride.

The source of daily match reports was The Hindu. "It was the only publication that reported every international match played around the world. But I didn't get the paper at the place I was posted. I contacted the vendor in Bhopal and gave him an advance. I told him to keep the newspaper with him. And whenever I got time, I travelled to Bhopal and got the entire lot. I would then note down every match's details and tally it with the World Hockey magazine," he says.

Then came divine help. "Looking at my passion, a lady secretary in the FIH sent me all back-dated issues when I requested her."

During the 1978 World Cup, his first statistical and analytical piece appeared in Nai Duniya (Indore), one of the biggest Hindi newspapers in those days. Suresh Gawde, its editor, would carefully edit his piece and also pay him around ₹25 or ₹30. "Good enough in those days," says Joshi.

Joshi's stats started appearing with Thyagarajan's articles in The Hindu and The Sportstar after he met the veteran hockey journalist during an India-Pakistan match at Gwalior.

Collecting information wasn't easy. From 1984 onwards, Joshi would take leave from office and attend every Olympic camp held in the country. Carrying a list, he asked every player the number of matches he had played and the number of goals he had scored.

Joshi stumbled upon a goldmine on his trip to Lahore for the 1990 World Cup. Every participating team had brought out brochures which mentioned caps, goals and head-to-head records with other teams. "Once I got these, I updated my statistics and have been religiously maintaining them till date," says Joshi.

In Lahore, BBC Sports Correspondent Chris Moore opened up insights on detailing. Based on his inputs, Joshi set in order the most goals, most caps and other interesting stats.

According to Joshi, FIH has accurate data since 2013, but prior to that, they are unsure. An FIH source agreed to this. "Some statistical data has gone missing while shifting office recently. But we are looking to put it in order at the earliest," the source told Mirror.

Entries to all records in the early days were made by hand. From 2006, his sons Neeraj and Shravan helped him feed data into his laptop. "I am from an older generation. I took a long time to make the entries. My sons reduced my time by helping me. After they left for other cities for jobs, my niece Megha Chore took over the data-entry role."

Joshi has attended all FIH-conducted tournaments across India. But he has one question now. "I wonder who will take this forward. I want to hand this over to someone who is not only passionate about hockey, but also about numbers."

Aligarh Muslim University To Field First Ever Women's Hockey Team


Article by Ishita Misra, courtesy Times of India

n this Hockey World Cup season, a glass ceiling looks all set to be shattered at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). For the first time since it came up in 1920, AMU will boast of a girls' hockey team.

As part of a groundbreaking project to open doors for Muslim girls to take up the national sport, AMU has created its first ever junior girls team, from students comprising the 10 schools on campus that are administered by the AMU governing body. If all goes well, AMU girls could play their first match in an inter-school competition in February 2019.

Preparations are on, and hockey fever has become contagious. It's a common sight in the evenings to see a group of girls practising at the university's ground near Sir Syed Hall. They are being coached by Anees-ur-Rehman, a former Indian international hockey player from the mid-1980s and current deputy director of the AMU sports committee.

There is also a 'cool vibe' that comes with playing hockey, giving the girls an edge socially on campus among their peers. "Playing hockey was never on my mind until one day my brother told me that a girls' hockey team was being formed. I decided to try it out and now am enjoying it very much," said 13-year-old Naseem Zehra. "But you know what's the best part? Everyone now wants to be friends with me since they think that girls in the hockey team are cool."

Seeing the enthusiasm of their juniors, some college-going seniors have also taken up the game. Afreen Ali, a final year graduation student, said she recently took special permission from her hostel warden to play hockey after class.

AMU has boasted of many illustrious male hockey players through the decades, with former 1980s captain, Aligarh-born Zafar Iqbal, being the last Olympic gold medal winner (Moscow, 1980) from the university.

Other Olympic medallists include Masood Minhas (Los Angeles, 1932, gold), Ahsan Mohammad Khan (Berlin, 1936, gold), Lateef-ur-Rehman and Akhtar Husain Hayat (both London, 1948, gold), Joginder Singh (Rome, 1960, silver), Joginder Singh and Syed Ali (both Tokyo, 1964, gold), Inam-ur-Rehman (Mexico City, 1968, bronze), as well as 1975 World Cup winner B. P. Govinda.

"This is a great beginning for women's hockey and, in particular, for Muslim girls to get a chance to play the game. It will open many doors for them," said Aslam Sher Khan, Govinda's World Cup-winning teammate in 1975. Aslam had a brief, fleeting sojourn with AMU, having represented the university in a North Zone championships in 1970, before going back to Bhopal.

"You'd be hard-pressed to name a handful of Muslim hockey players at the top level," he said, adding that Saba Anjum Karim, the 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medal winner from Chhattisgarh, is probably the most recent Muslim woman hockey player at the national level.

But AMU's mini hockey revolution hasn't come easy. In 1982, Razia Rizvi, deputy director, physical education at AMU's women's college, tried hard to make girls play hockey in the university but ran into a stone wall.

Razia remembers her struggle. "After eight years of effort, when nothing happened, I dropped the idea," she said, listing acute funds crunch, and minimal support from university authorities who were uncomfortable with the idea of women playing what they considered a 'man's sport' as the main reasons for the initial failure.

"However, things began to change a few years ago after Lt. Gen. Zameeruddin Shah took over. The present Vice Chancellor, Tariq Mansoor, also supports girls who want to take up sports seriously," she added.

Things have begun to look up. "Initially, we were not sure how girls would respond to the idea of playing hockey, but we received an overwhelming response. All the girls have been diligently practising and working hard. It's an absolute delight to see the girls shaping up well. This is just the start," says coach Rehman before he went back to the middle to teach his stick-wielding stalwarts a few more tricks.

Photograph of the Month


Photograph courtesy FIH

he Photograph of the Month for January 2019 is dedicated to the Indian hockey fans, who have not seen Indian men's hockey win the Olympics or World Cup for the last 38 years.

Year 2018 was an exercise in futility. In the Azlan Shah Cup held in Ipoh in March, India finished second last in the tournament. In the Commonwealth Games held in April, the second-highest ranked team in the tournament, India, finished without a medal.

In the Asian Games held in August/September, the highest ranked team in the tournament, India, finished 3rd and thereby lost an automatic qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Asian Games was won by world no. 16 Japan.

In the World Cup held in November/December in front of a passionate crowd in Bhubanesvar, India lost in the quarter-final stage, unable to end a 43-year-old jinx of never being able to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals.

The Photograph of the Month is dedicated to the Indian hockey fan whose heart beats for India, but which is never reciprocated by the Indian hockey team as they continue to fail at the world level.

Money Matters


oftCo, the leading global Finance Automation Software provider, today announced the extension of its main sponsorship agreement for the Ireland Women's Hockey team that will include the 2019 European Championships and the team's qualification campaign to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Susan Spence, co-founder, SoftCo said: "We were so proud of the team in their run to the World Cup final during the summer. An Irish team achieving success on the world stage was a true inspiration to us all. This is a further significant investment to assist the team to reach its ambitious goals. We are delighted to be extending our support."

Ireland Hockey will be getting a new training centre at Abbotstown, and a new FIH-certified artificial turf pitch at University College Dublin.

SoftCo, who are involved with grassroots hockey for 15 years, sponsored the Green Army during the 2018 Women's World Cup in London, where the 15th-ranked team defied the odds to become the first Irish Senior team to reach the final of a World Cup, in any field sport.

These achievements were recognized at the RTE Sports Awards where the Irish women's hockey squad won the 2018 Team of the Year and coach Graham Shaw won the 2018 Coach of the Year.

Forward Anna O'Flanagan said, "After the World Cup, we all went our separate ways, back to our jobs, back to studies. It's been an incredible year for our sport. Hockey is back on the map in Ireland. We want to create a legacy and be role models, not only for girls in sport, but girls in general."

Media Matters


BBC Northern Island documentary on the inspirational Irish women's hockey team will be shown over the Christmas holidays. Entitled 'Live like Legends', it is a 30-minute programme, produced by Nigel Ringland, to be broadcast on BBC 2 at 7 pm GMT on Thursday, December 27.

The documentary, which has highlights from all of Ireland's games, includes previously unseen footage and will feature coach Graham Shaw, manager Arlene Boyles and the 19-strong World Cup silver medal-winning squad.

The Irish side made headline news by upsetting the odds with dramatic penalty shootout victories over India in the quarter-finals and Spain in the semi-finals, before eventually falling to Netherlands in the final.

The programme will be repeated on BBC Two Northern Ireland on Sunday, 30 December at 10 pm GMT.

Visitor of the Month


Growth of Hockey in Belgium

he January 2019 Visitor of the Month is from Paris. Like everyone, he is also fascinated with the Belgium success story. He sent the above image and the following email to BharatiyaHockey.org:

Belgium played the first game of the World Cup (against Canada) and the last game of the World Cup (against Netherlands). This June I met with officials of the Belgium Hockey Federation. In 2004, they failed to qualify for the Athens Olympics. They did a conscience review in 2005, along with a membership augmentation - from 13,000 registered hockey players in 2000 to 46,700 players in 2018. The World Cup had an amazing, heart-stopping final all the way through the shootout. Belgium are deserving winners.

Fun With Numbers


Statistics by B. G. Joshi

he January 2019 edition of Fun with Numbers is a statistical survey of Indian men's hockey, from 1926 - 2018.

  • Summary

World Ranking: 5
First Tournament: 1928 Amsterdam Olympics (gold)
Last Tournament: 2018 Bhubanesvar World Cup (6th)

  • Win-Loss Records
Category Description MP W L D
Matches Win-Loss Total Matches from 1926 - 2018 1700 936 490 274
Series Win-Loss Total 143 series vs. 30 countries 143 91 33 19
Arch Rival Win-Loss Maximum Matches vs. Pakistan 175 62 82 31
  • Tournament Records
Category Description TP G S B
IOC/FIH Tournaments Olympics 20 8 1 2
  World Cup 14 1 1 1
  Champions Trophy 16 - 2 1
  Hockey World League Finals 3 0 0 2
  Hockey World League Semi-finals 3 0 0 0
  Hockey World League Round 2 (pre-semi-finals) 1 1 0 0
  Olympic Qualifier 5 1 3 0
  World Cup Qualifier 3 0 0 2
  Champions Challenge 4 1 1 2
  IOC/FIH Total 69 12 8 10
Continental Tournaments Asian Games 16 3 9 3
  Asia Cup 10 3 5 1
  Asian Champions Trophy 5 3 1 0
  Commonwealth Games 5 0 2 0
  Afro-Asian Games 1 1 0 0
  South Asian Games 4 1 3 0
  Continental Total 41 11 20 4
Invitational Tournaments Invitational Tournaments in Asia 48 17 7 13
  Invitational Tournaments in Europe 39 10 5 11
  Invitational Tournaments in Oceania 22 2 9 3
  Invitational Tournaments in America 2 0 1 1
  Invitational Tournaments in Africa 1 1 0 0
  Invitational Total 112 30 22 28
  GRAND TOTAL 222 53 50 42