FIH Hockey Pro League: England men’s team arrive in Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India]: England men’s team arrived on Tuesday night in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, ahead of the double-header against the hosts India in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22, which is scheduled to take place on April 2 and 3 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium.

Upon his arrival, England Head Coach Zak Jones expressed excitement at the prospect of playing against India at the Kalinga Stadium.
“We are really excited and looking forward to playing at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium. Few of the guys have played here before and they know a bit of a challenge because India are a good side at the moment. I think we have got a lot of guys who haven’t been here before, so yeah really excited to come out here and play at this stadium, and also get ready for the 2023 World Cup,” said Jones as per an official Hockey India release.

With two wins and two losses in four matches, England are currently on the 7th position of the FIH Pro League 2021/22 points table. They started their Pro League campaign with wins against Spain, but lost both of their matches against Argentina last month.

Reflecting on the team’s Pro League performance so far, the England Coach said, “I think we have performed really well so far. We are sort of building game-to-game, and it’s really important that we take that momentum and look to get as many results as possible in the Pro League.”

Speaking about the team’s preparedness ahead of the clash against India, England Captain Tom Sorsby stated, “We are quite a new team, so not necessarily in preparations for India, but this group has got some good experience in the Pro League recently. And, I think all the experience we get here will be valuable, especially between now and coming back here for the World Cup.”

“India have been playing really well, they have got some great results. We know they are going to be a tough team to play against, but it’s a challenge that we are really looking forward to taking on. It’s not often that you get to come out to play in India against the home team, so just looking forward to the challenge they are going to give us,” Sorsby added. (ANI)


FIH Pro League: Indian Men’s hockey team leaves for Johannesburg


New Delhi [India], (ANI): Indian men’s hockey team left for Johannesburg, South Africa on Friday from the Kempegowda International Airport to participate in the season opener of the FIH Pro League.

The Manpreet Singh-led squad will play the upcoming FIH Pro League matches against the home team and France which will be played in Potchefstroom, South Africa from February 8 to February 13.
While the team is upbeat and eager to begin their FIH Pro League campaign on a positive note, the team received a minor set back with two of their players replaced due to illness.

“India forward Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Jaskaran Singh will not be joining the team for South Africa. Standbys Sumit will replace Jaskaran in the midfield and Gursahibjit Singh will replace Lalit. Though it is a minor setback for us, we were always prepared for such a scenario and had the option of having five standbys,” said Chief Coach Graham Reid as per an official Hockey India release.

He further added that the Indian Men’s Core Group has enough depth and options with players who are capable of performing in the International level.

“This is the best part about having a group of 33 players who are all capable of putting up a good show on any given day. They are able to step up and perform for the team. We continue to remain upbeat about our campaign and look forward to some good hockey in Johannesburg,” added Reid.

Expressing team’s preparedness, Skipper Manpreet Singh said, “I think we are all thrilled to be travelling again for some good International hockey. While we will miss Lalit and Jaskaran, the team is well prepared and most importantly we are all hungry for some good matches against South Africa and France.”

“Both South Africa and France are very capable of upsetting any big team of the world and we can’t take them lightly. It will be interesting to see how well we will execute our plans which we have been trying out at the national camp,” he added.

The Indian Team will arrive in Johannesburg via Doha. They will play France in the first match on February 8. Image(instagram)

Women’s Asian Cup: Coach Dennerby wants India to play ‘together as a unit’ and win


Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: As the Blue Tigresses gear up to take on IR Iran in their opening encounter of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 on Thursday, Indian senior women’s national team head coach Thomas Dennerby wants the girls to play “together as a unit.”

In the official pre-match press conference held on Tuesday, Dennerby said: “Since I have taken charge the focus has been to play together as a unit — knowing how, and when to press. We have reduced the number of long balls, and are now focusing on playing through the middle to penetrate.”
India have been drawn against IR Iran (January 20), Chinese Taipei (January 23) and China PR (January 26) in Group A of the competition that consists of 12 teams. The top two from each of the three groups, along with the two best second-placed teams from the groups will make it to the quarterfinals.

“The Iran game is going to be tough. We know that they are fighters with a strong defence, playing a low block which will be a challenge for us to score. But I am confident we will be able to create chances. We need to perform well to win,” AIFF quoted Dennerby as saying.

“We are happy with the preparations as we have been working hard for a long time. We have spent a long time working together with more than 200 sessions — tactical, technical, physical. We feel we are ready. Our target is to qualify for the quarterfinals, and we think it’s a realistic target,” the Head Coach added.

Captain Ashalata Devi who was also present at the official press conference shared her views on the team bonding, which she stressed has “grown immensely playing in the international friendly matches.”

“We got the opportunity to play against such higher-ranked teams last year which has helped the entire team to grow and learn a lot. The opponents were exceptional technical sides, and it was challenging for us to match them — both physically and mentally. That has improved us a lot as a team in our preparation ahead of the Asian Cup,” she said.

The Blue Tigresses had travelled to six different countries in 2021 for exposure tours to prepare for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 which included exposure tours to Brazil, Sweden, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Bahrain and the UAE.

The women have also been in preparatory camps under Dennerby since August 2021 in Jamshedpur, and have been training in Kochi since the first week of December 2021. The team landed in Mumbai on January 13, 2022 and started training the next day onwards.

The kick-off against IR Iran on January 20, 2022 is at IST 7.30 pm at DY Patil Stadium, Mumbai. (Image -Instagram)

Asian Champions Trophy: India defeat B’desh 9-0

Dhaka [Bangladesh]: Indian eased past hosts Bangladesh with a convincing 9-0 victory in the Men’s Asian Champions Trophy here at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium on Wednesday.
It was Dilpreet Singh who starred in India’s win with a fine hat-trick that gave India a breakthrough in the first quarter. He scored goals in the 12th, 22nd and 44th minute to put pressure on the Bangladeshi defence while Jarmanpreet Singh (31′, 43′), Lalit Upadhyay (29′), Akashdeep Singh (54′), Mandeep Mor (55′) and Harmanpreet Singh (57′) too scored in India’s first win at the prestigious continental tournament. The match started with a resilient Bangladeshi defence disrupting their high-octane attacks of Indian forwards. As many as eight PCs earned by India in the first quarter were brilliantly defended by the hosts, particularly their first rushers doing a fine job to keep India from taking an early lead. Dilpreet Singh, managed to break the gridlock in the 12th minute, with a good assist by Skipper Manpreet Singh was put away by the young forward to give India 1-0 lead. Dilpreet doubled India’s lead in the 22nd minute and Lalit scored from a fine deflection via Harmanpreet’s drag flick to take India’s tally to 3-0 at half-time.
During the ten-minute break, India’s Chief Coach Graham Reid insisted that the team will start the third quarter afresh with a clean slate and work on improvised variations to score. The players acted upon his advice as they showcased a much better attack and the variations in PC proved hard for the hosts to defend.
India added two more goals in the third quarter through a well executed PC attack led by Harmanpreet Singh and Jarmanpreet, he was on target scoring back-to-back goals. The duo helped in taking India’s lead to a formidable 5-0 while Dilpreet scored his hat-trick in the 44th minute extending India’s lead to 6-0.
The final quarter saw an array of goals scored by India which helped them seal the victory with nine goals. India dominated the match with 16 shots on goal and 25 circle entries.
Speaking about their performance today, Skipper Manpreet Singh said, “It was a good effort from the team and we tried different variations in this match which we had been working on during our training. I feel at the start, we couldn’t convert as Bangladesh had put up a very strong PC defence. But at half-time, Coach Graham provided important inputs on how we could improvise ou attack and as you all could see we improvised as the match progressed.”
“We will go back and further analyse today’s and yesterday’s game (against Korea) and find ways to come up with a much better performance against Pakistan,” he added.
On Friday, India will take on Pakistan in the ongoing tournament.

Asian Champions Trophy: India, South Korea play out 2-2 draw

Dhaka [Bangladesh]: India was denied a winning start to their campaign at the Men’s Asian Champions Trophy with a spirited Korean team holding the defending champions to a thrilling 2-2 draw here at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium.
For India, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (3′) and Harmanpreet Singh (33′) scored while Jonghyun Jang (42′) and Kim Hyeongjin (46′) scored in Korea’s resurgence. Although it was India who dominated the proceedings in the first and second quarter with better ball possession (58 per cent) and a higher number of circle penetrations (14 for India and 8 for Korea), the Korean side rallied on a strong defensive structure in the third and fourth quarter to deny any opportunity for India to score.
After Lalit put India ahead early in the game with a fine field goal, converted brilliantly after controlling the ball upon receiving an aerial pass in the attacking circle, India created another fine opportunity in the second quarter through Akashdeep Singh’s tomahawk from the left top of the circle. But a highly vigilant Korean goalie Kim Jaehyeon made a fine save to keep India from extending the lead.
He came up with another brilliant save when India won their first PC of the match only minutes before the end of the second quarter. It was Varun Kumar who took the shot which rebounded off Kim’s pads but newcomer Mandeep Mor’s attempt off the rebound too was well saved by the Korean goalie.
After the ten-minute half-time break, India extended their lead to 2-0 in the 33rd minute with a fiercely struck penalty corner converted by Harmanpreet Singh.
It was India’s third take of the PC after the first two were blocked by Korea’s first rusher. Even though India created several chances in the following minutes, they could not find success even as Korea had successfully begun to make inroads into India’s circle.
Their tactic to force India to make infringements in defence worked, as India conceded the first PC of the match in the 42nd minute. After the two retakes, Jonghyun Jang successfully put the ball past India’s goalie Krishan Pathak. This goal boosted the Korean attack, which had seemed rather listless in the first two quarters.
They continued to challenge the Indian defence in the final quarter and even found success in the 46th minute when Kim Hyeongjin converted a fine field goal which could not be stopped by India’s young keeper Suraj Karkera. The final few minutes saw India create PCs but could not convert, thus settling for a 2-2 draw. Incidentally, India had drawn against Korea 1-1 at the same venue in 2017 during their successful campaign at the Hero Asia Cup. Korea was the only team India had not beaten in that victorious outing.
Post-match, Skipper Manpreet Singh expressed his disappointment but at the same time was confident the team would bounce back from this draw. “Korea were really good today with their defence and their goalkeeper was quite outstanding. We expected them to give us a hard time and hence it was important we started well.
But we couldn’t keep up that momentum going into the third and fourth quarter. Nonetheless, this was the first match of the tournament and we surely will bounce back tomorrow against Bangladesh,” stated the India Captain.
On Wednesday, India will take on Bangladesh.

Hockey National C’ship: Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Delhi register win on Day 3

Pune (Maharashtra) [India]: Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Chandigarh, Rajasthan and Delhi earned victories in their respective matches on Day 3 of the 11th Hockey India senior men National Championship in Pimpri Chinchwad 2021 here on Monday.
In the day’s opener, Karnataka beat Le Puducherry 4-0 in Pool C. Goals for Karnataka were scored by Harish Mutagar (5′), S Deekshith P (25′), Shamanth CS (40′) and Pavan Madivalar (49′). With this, stay on top of the table with a perfect record. In Pool C’s second game of the day Jammu and Kashmir beat Arunachal 10-3 in a high scoring encounter. A hat trick by Jasprit Singh (13′, 19′, 33′, 44′) and a brace each by Karanjit Singh (16′, 26′) and Manpreet Singh (42′, 59′) consolidated the victory.
Sandeep Singh (21′) and Hussain Mohd Dar (56′) also got a goal each for Jammu & Kashmir. Goals for Hockey Arunachal were scored by Sandeep (30′, 33′) and Ucha Singh (22′).
Punjab trounced Andhra Pradesh 7-1 in their Pool D encounter. Punjab started their onslaught early, with captain Rupinder Pal Singh slotting home a PC as early as the 2nd minute of the game.
From thereon, goals by Lovepreet Jainth (5′), Ranjot Singh (19′), Sudarshan Singh (29′, 55′), Parampreet Singh (40′) and Sankalp Singh (42′) ensured they secured the three points. Hockey Andhra Pradesh’s solitary goal was scored by Venkata Sree Aripineni Balaji in the 26th minute.
In Pool E, Chandigarh took on Manipur in the highlight game of the day — a battle among equals. After a goalless two quarters, where both sides defended resolutely, calling their keepers into action more than once, the game hung on a knife edge.
It was Chandigarh that broke the deadlock in the third quarter, Amandeep finishing off a sweeping move in the 42nd minute to give them the lead. It was a lead they hung on to, despite a flood of Manipur pressure to secure three points and jump to top of the group.
In Pool E’s second game, Rajasthan overwhelmed Tripura to win 18-0. A double hat trick by Vijendra Singh (25′, 28′, 40′, 48′, 50′, 57′) was the highlight of a game where eight Rajasthan players got goals.
Shyam Singh Chouhan (14′, 52′, 53′, 58′), Hashanpreet Singh (12′, 45′), Karanjot Singh Mann (16′, 44′), Captain Chandransh Sharma (34′), Akhtar Shoyab Qureshi (39′), Chetan Kalot (43′) and Amit Kumar Saini (59′) were among the goalscorers as Rajasthan took three points.
Delhi and Madhya Pradesh played out a back and forth encounter in Pool B in the final game of the day, Delhi edging out the points, winning 3-2.
In the frenetic encounter, it was Madhya Pradesh who struck first, Shaun Glen Gladwin scoring in the 19th minute to give them the lead. From there though Delhi took control of the game, Dheeraj Vats (29′) and Mohammad Altaf (48′) to give them the lead.
Delhi held on to their slender lead for a majority of the final quarter, but with two minutes to go, Ayush Pethe struck the equalizer, and at that point it looked the two would share the spoils. But there was enough time for one last twist, as Delhi pushed for the winner, and in the 60th minute Braj Gopal finished off a sublime move to give his team the victory, and the three points.
Andaman and Nicobar forfeit their Pool D game against Uttarakhand who were awarded a 5-0 win by default.

India thrash Thailand 13-0 in Asian Champions Trophy opener

Donghae [Korea]: Dragflicker Gurjit Kaur scored five goals as Indian Women’s Hockey team registered an emphatic 13-0 win over Thailand in their first game at the Donghae Women’s Asian Champions Trophy 2021.
Gurjit gave India the lead in the second minute of the match after an infringement from Thailand in their defensive third awarded India a penalty stroke. Gurjit, who scored four goals at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, kept a cool head and put the ball in the back of the nets to give India a 1-0 lead in the second minute. Conceding an early goal put Thailand on the back foot straight away, and Vandana Katariya, the only Indian women’s player to score a hat-trick at the Olympics, scored the second goal five minutes later.
By the time the first quarter ended, Lilima Minz added another field goal in the 14th minute, while Gurjit Kaur and Jyoti scored two more from penalty corners in the 14th and 15th minute, giving India a 5-0 lead.
The second quarter started much the same way as India kept most of the possession giving no room to Thailand to cause any danger. Within the first minute of quarter 2, Rajwinder Kaur, who made her International debut today, scored a field goal in the 16th minute, and in the 24th minute, Gurjit scored her third goal and Lilima scored another from a PC also in the 24th minute.
The Indian team demolished the Thai defence as they struck another PC in the 25th minute through Gurjit, thus giving India a massive 9-0 lead at the end of the second quarter.
Returning from the 10-minute half-time break, India dominated by continuing to make threatening circle penetrations from the left flank. But Thailand dug in deep and defended well for the first six minutes in the third quarter. But Jyoti broke the threshold, scoring another field goal in the 36th minute to exceed India’s lead by 10 goals.
Returning from the 10-minute half-time break, India dominated by continuing to make threatening circle penetrations from the left flank. But Thailand dug in deep and defended well for the first six minutes in the third quarter. But Jyoti broke the threshold, scoring another field goal in the 36th minute to exceed India’s lead by 10 goals.
A defensive error four minutes later from Thailand gave India another PC, but this time Gurjit’s powerful flick was deflected by the opposition. A well-constructed move from the middle late in the 43rd minute caught Thailand’s defence napping as Sonika struck in her first goal in the match.
The fourth quarter, which was a mere formality by the time it started, saw Navneet Kaur threatening Thailand’s defence with penetrating runs from the right flank. But Thailand’s defensive troops managed to keep the danger at bay, preventing any further damage to the scoreline.
In the 55th minute, Monika managed to get her stick on a long pass inside the circle, as she deflected the ball into the back of the nets to exceed India’s lead by another goal. Three minutes later, Gurjit Kaur scored her fifth goal in the match from a late penalty corner, adding in the 13th goal for India.
This was India Women’s team’s first match since the historic fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics. In the absence of Captain Rani, who has been rested from the tournament, India was led by veteran goalkeeper Savita.
Indian Women’s Team Vs Malaysia scheduled for December 6 will not be able to play due to covid-related issues, as officially stated by the Asian Hockey Federation.
India will play the hosts Korea on December 8.

Centre spent over 65 cr on men’s hockey team in last five years: Anurag Thakur

New Delhi [India]: Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur on Thursday informed that the Central Government has spent over 65 crores on the men’s hockey team during the last five years.
The minister said that the amount was utilised for coaching camps, competitions and other expenses. “An amount of Rs 45.05 crore has been spent on senior hockey men’s team and Rs.20.23 crore on junior hockey men’s team towards coaching camps, foreign competitions, domestic competitions, the salary of coaches, equipment etc., during the last five years, i.e., 2016-17 to 2020-21,” Sports Minister Anurag Thakur’s written reply in the Rajya Sabha read.
The senior men’s hockey team returned with a historic bronze medal from the Tokyo Olympics.
Meanwhile, the junior men’s hockey team will be playing the semi-finals of the ongoing FIH Junior World Cup 2021 against Germany on Friday.

Advice from Senior Team’s drag-flick specialists has helped me a lot, says Araijeet Singh Hundal

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India]: With five goals to his name in just three matches at the ongoing FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021, Araijeet Singh Hundal has grabbed the attention of hockey buffs with his impressive performance.
The lanky lad from Amritsar is quick on his feet as a forward and as one of the four penalty corner specialists in the Indian Junior side, Hundal has proved his mettle with powerful drag flicks in crunch situations to help his side. His hat-trick of goals in India’s 13-1 win against Canada even earned him the Player of the Match title. Next up in the quarter-final, the hosts will take on a highly competitive Belgium in what could be a repeat of the 2016 Junior World Cup Final in Lucknow where India had emerged victorious.
Oblivious of the significance of that epic match in Bhubaneswar that changed the lives of many rising stars in both Belgium and the Indian team, Araijeet Hundal just wants to focus on the match on 1st December without going into past results.
“I was just 12 years old when the 2016 Junior World Cup was held in Lucknow and I don’t know too many details of that tournament but of course now I am aware of how that tournament changed many players lives,” said Araijeet in a Hockey India release.
“Although I picked up the hockey stick at a very young age because of my father (Kuljeet Singh) who used to play hockey for the Railways and was even part of the India camp in 1999, I began serious practice only in 2015-2016,” he said.
Araijeet made his first appearance in the domestic circuit when he played for Punjab & Sindh Bank at the Hockey India Junior Men National Championship in Bhopal, 2018. Following yet another impressive outing for his team at the Hockey India Junior Men National Championship in Aurangabad, 2019, Araijeet was called-up for the National Camp for Juniors in SAI, Bengaluru.

FIH Men’s Junior WC: Hosts India thrash Canada 13-1

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India]: Hosts India thrashed Canada 13-1 in their second Pool B match of the FIH Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup 2021 in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha on Thursday.
For India, Uttam Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Sanjay, Maninder Singh, Sharda Nand Tiwari, Hundal Araijeet Singh, and Abhisek Lakra got on the scoring sheet. Coming to Canada, the only goal scorer in the match was Chris Tardif. After their opening game defeat against France, the hosts came off the blocks very quickly with Uttam Singh opening the scoring for India after just three minutes in the match.
The captain Vivek Sagar Prasad doubled the team’s lead in Q1 after lifting the one over the Canadian goalkeeper. The vice-captain Sanjay soon found himself among the goals after he dispatched a penalty stroke in the back of the net in the second quarter.
Maninder Singh who created most of the problems for Canada defence in the match got on the scoresheet after he struck a powerful strike home in Q2. Then in the dying moments of the first half, Canada pegged one back as Chris Tardif late deflection from the penalty corner gave them something to celebrate going into the break.
The second half began at the same pace for India as Sanjay bagged his second goal of the match after a solid drag flick. Sharda Nand Tiwari soon joined the party as he nailed down the PC through the goalkeeper’s legs after Canada went down by a man.
The men in blue never took their feet off the pedal as Hundal Araijeet Singh fired a brilliant drag-flick into the top left corner as hosts went into Q4 with 7-1 score.
The goal rush continued at the Kalinga Stadium as Uttam Singh got his second of the night in the last quarter. Soon, Hundal Araijeet Singh scored two quick field goals to complete his hat-trick as India’s tally reached double figures.
Sharda Nand Tiwari bagged his second of the match through a PC before Abhishek Lakra found himself in the scoring sheet. The Indian vice-captain Sanjay soon bagged his second hat-trick of the tournament as India converted another PC in the match. With that treble, hosts rounded up a memorable night in Odisha.

Spain register record-breaking 17-0 win over US in Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India]: Over 70 goals were scored on the second day of the Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup in Odisha, with Spain registering a record-breaking win with a margin of 17-0 over the USA in a Pool C game.
Now with this win, Spain has set a new record for the highest victory margin in the history of the tournament. This record was previously held by Argentina, who defeated Egypt by 14-0 in a Pool D game earlier on Thursday. Argentina had broken the record of the highest victory margin in the tournament’s history, previously held by India, who had defeated Singapore by a margin of 13-0 in the 1982 edition of the tournament. However, Spain’s dominant display of skill meant that the record set by Argentina was broken in a matter of a few hours.
Indian Hockey team also dominated the day and registered a 13-1 win against Canada in their second pool B match after facing a 4-5 loss against France in their first game on Wednesday.
In another pool C game played on Thursday, the Netherlands registered a 12-5 win over Korea.
After defeating India in their first match, France continued their winning ways after registering a 7-1 win over Poland.

Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup: Odisha Sports Minister reviews preparedness

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India]: With just two days to go for the Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup, Odisha Sports Minister, Tusharkanti Behera visited the Kalinga Stadium and reviewed the progress of work.
Almost all of the participating teams have arrived in the host city, Bhubaneswar, and are training rigorously at the Kalinga Stadium for winning the Champions title. According to the press release by the Sports & Youth Services Department on Sunday, Officials of the Sports and Youth Services Department and Hockey India briefed and updated him on the preparations. Aspects related to Covid management, security, infrastructure, broadcasting and hospitality, were the high points of the review.
Expressing his satisfaction with the preparedness of the event, Sports Minister said, “All mandatory arrangements and protocols are in place. I am satisfied with the timely execution of work. Our efforts are towards the safe and successful conduct of the event and I am confident, once again, along with Hockey India, Odisha will prove to be a great host.”
“The infrastructure at Kalinga Hockey Stadium is an iconic and coveted stadium and all the teams have expressed their excitement to play here. I am glad to know that the players have settled in well, turf and all allied facilities of the stadium are match-ready and the visiting teams have commenced their training and practice matches. It is good to see this atmosphere here” he added.

Bhubaneswar: Teams arrive for Junior Hockey WC

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India]: USA and Chile arrived in Bhubaneswar on Thursday for the much-awaited FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021.
Grouped in Pool C, along with Korea, Spain, and the Netherlands, the USA are in for a tough battle to make it through to the group stages. “We had a camp in California. It was around 10 days, so we had a training camp there. We were preparing as a team, so we are ready to go,” said Pat Harris, USA Head Coach, according to a Hockey India release.
Excited to compete in Bhubaneswar at the iconic Kalinga Stadium, Harris said, “The boys are very excited. This is the first time for many that they have been in such a hockey atmosphere. I think to the world, India has a very strong hockey culture with a big hockey stadium. So, I am sure the boys will really enjoy playing in the hockey stadium.”
While speaking about the team’s preparations, Chile Captain Nicolas Abujatum said, “We have been preparing a lot. We were a part of the Pan-American Championship, which was a big part of our process. Afterwards, we continued training for the World Cup with our staff. We are excited to play at Kalinga Stadium, as most of us have not played in such a great stadium.”
Meanwhile, Team Malaysia arrived in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday night. Speaking on the prospect of playing at the iconic Kalinga Stadium Malaysia Head Coach Wallace Tan expressed, “Our team is very excited to play at the Kalinga Stadium as it is a very big and respected stadium. Many big tournaments have been held here, and many legends have played here, so it will be an honour to play here.”
The USA will open up their campaign against Spain on November 25, while Chile and Malaysia, who are both placed in Group A along with Belgium and South Africa, will face off against each other in their first game of the tournament on November 24.

Rani Rampal awarded PadmaShri

New Delhi [India]: Women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal was honoured with the Padma Shri award 2020 on Monday.

Rani Rampal had led the women’s hockey team in Tokyo Olympics 2020 held earlier this year.
Padma Shri Award is the country’s fourth-highest civilian award.

The ceremony for presenting Padma awards was held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi today.

Rampal was conferred with the award by President Ram Nath Kovind.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar were among the attendees.

The Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian honours of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day. The Awards are given in three categories: Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order) and Padma Shri (distinguished service). The award seeks to recognise achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.

119 Padma Awards will be presented by President this year. The list comprises seven Padma Vibhushan, 10 Padma Bhushan and 102 Padma Shri Awards. 29 of the awardees are women, 16 Posthumous awardees and one transgender awardee. (ANI)

Have been lucky to get exposure with senior team, says Salima Tete

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]: Over the last three years, Salima Tete has proven her mettle to cement her place in the Senior Women’s Team. Only 19-years-old, Salima was one of the youngest members of the Indian Women’s Team that came up with a historic performance at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 where they narrowly lost the bronze medal to Great Britain.
“I have been really fortunate to get this kind of exposure with the senior team, so early in my career. Playing under pressure and also understanding what it really takes to play at the highest level have been some of the key takeaways for me. I look forward to using this experience with the Senior team while working with my teammates from the Junior core group,” stated Salima in an official release. The Indian Junior Women’s team are grouped in Pool C along with Argentina, Japan and Russia. The other teams in the fray include Netherlands, Korea, Ireland, Zimbabwe in Pool A. England, Belgium, Canada and Uruguay in Pool B, and Germany, Spain, United States and South Africa in Pool D.
With just one month to go for the prestigious quadrennial event, Salima, who also led the Indian U-18 team to a Silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018, believes that the team is shaping up well.
“The team has been preparing well. I have been part of this camp since September and I see a lot of improvement and there is a lot of excitement among the players. We get to play some internal matches with the Senior team which is great exposure for youngsters in this squad. The Indian Junior Team also did well when they travelled to Chile earlier this year for some test matches,” she stated.
Salima further added “The team is extremely inspired by the Senior team and they all want to eventually play for the senior side and realise that the upcoming Junior World Cup is a perfect platform to showcase their talent. With the team yet to be announced, there is healthy competition within the group. These are indeed exciting times,” Salima concluded.

Men’s hockey skipper Manpreet Singh, other athletes participate in parade at Statue of Unity

Kevadia (Gujarat) [India]: Men’s hockey skipper Manpreet Singh was one of the notable athletes who took part in the parade at Statue of Unity on the occasion of Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary.
Manpreet Singh gave a salute as Union Home Minister Amit Shah stood on the podium, giving a salute to honour Sardar Patel’s legacy. Since 2014, October 31 is observed as National Unity Day marking the birth anniversary of Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and today is his 146th birth anniversary.
On the occasion, Union Home Minister Amit Shah also paid floral tribute at the Statue of Unity in Kevadia and said that his dedication, loyalty, struggle and sacrifice serve as an inspiration to citizens for unity and integrity of the country.
“Sardar Sahib’s dedication, loyalty, struggle and sacrifice for the motherland inspires every Indian to dedicate himself for the unity and integrity of the country. On the birth anniversary of such a great craftsman of united India, salutations at his feet and best wishes to all the countrymen on ‘National Unity Day’,” Shah tweeted.
‘Rashtriya Ekta Diwas’ is being celebrated across the country on Sunday to mark the occasion.
Meanwhile, other Union Ministers including Nitin Gadkari, Hardeep Singh Puri, Piyush Goyal among others also paid tributes to Sardar Patel. Goyal called Patel ‘a stalwart of India’s freedom struggle’, while others highlighted his contributions to the country.

Day 6: 1st Hockey India Junior Men Academy National C’ships results

Bhopal [Madhya Pradesh] : Salute Hockey Academy, Hubli Hockey Academy, Jai Bharat Hockey Academy, SGPC Hockey Academy, Vadipatti Raja Hockey Academy and Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy earned victories in their respective matches on day six of the 1st Hockey India Junior Men Academy National Championship 2021 here in Bhopal on Saturday.
Salute Hockey Academy began the day six proceedings with a monumental 17-2 win over Malwa Hockey Academy Hanumangarh in the Pool F match. Gaganjeet Singh (22′, 41′, 56′) and Gurnoor Grewal (42′, 52′, 60′) registered hat-tricks to their names, while Ramkesh (9′, 36′), Ankush (17′, 60′) and Pritam (33′, 35′) bagged a brace each. Sumit (19′), Manjeet (24′), Manish (28′), Vipin (50′) and Aadil Khan(54′) also chipped in with a goal each to help their team Salute Hockey Academy seal a place in the quarter-final of the tournament. Abinav Singh Bhadoriya (9′, 49′) scored the two goals for Malwa Hockey Academy Hanumangarh.
Hubli Hockey Academy ended their campaign with a thrilling come-from-behind 2-1 win against Republican Sports Club. Prajwal Shashikanth Bekkinkannavar (26′) and Niketh Chandan Gagade (38′) were the goalscorers for Hubli Hockey Academy, while Aryan Nitin Pagare (23′) scored for Republican Sports Club in what was the final Pool F match of the tournament.
In Pool G, Jai Bharat Hockey Academy also ended their tournament with a stunning 4-3 comeback win over Thirumalvalavan Hockey Academy. Captain Naveen Narwal (26′, 59′) led his team Jai Bharat Hockey Academy to victory by scoring two important goals in the match. Abhijeet Singh (38′) and Sunny (42′) also got on the scoresheet for Jai Bharat Hockey Academy. On the other hand, Dharaneesh P (10′, 57′) netted twice and Sri Hari Raam (24′) scored a goal for Thirumalvalavan Hockey Academy.
In another Pool G match, SGPC Hockey Academy registered a clinical 4-1 win against Maharaja Ranjit Singh Hockey Academy to advance to the Quarter Finals of the tournament. Onkar Singh (37′, 55′) starred with two goals, while Arshdeep Singh (13′) and Jassimran Singh (50′) scored a goal each for SGPC Hockey Academy. Gurpreet Singh (15′) scored the only goal for Maharaja Ranjit Singh Hockey Academy.
In Pool H, Vadipatti Raja Hockey Academy registered a massive 16-2 win against Lakshmi Ammal Sports Academy to finish the competition on a winning note.
Captain Sandeep Singh (7′, 15′, 21′, 26′, 30′, 50′, 57′, 58′) was the star of the match as he scored as many as eight goals, Deepak (44′, 45′, 55′) registered a hat-trick and Ashutosh Sharma (4′, 40′) and Harmandeep Singh (29′, 59) each bagged a brace for Vadipatti Raja Hockey Academy. Chandan (36′) also contributed a goal in the team’s big win. Dheenadayalan (14′, 19′), on the other hand, was the goalscorer for Lakshmi Ammal Sports Academy.
In the final group stage match of the tournament, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy eased past Tamil Nadu Hockey Academy with a remarkable 9-1 win to finish on the top of Pool H.
Love Kumar Kanojiya (14′, 37′), Shreyas Dhupe (6′, 22′) and Himanshu Sanik (23′, 30′) each bagged a brace, while Rajat (18′), Talem Priyobarta (53′) and Abdul Ahad (57′) scored a goal each for Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy. Anantharaj (41′) scored the only goal for Tamil Nadu Hockey Academy.
The quarter-finals of the 1st Hockey India Junior Men Academy National Championship 2021 will be played on Sunday, October 24, 2021.

Hockey India wants Belgium federation to apologise for comments on Indian athletes

New Delhi [India] : Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningobam has written to International Hockey Federation (IHF) CEO Thierry Weil, saying that the federation is disappointed with the reaction shown by some of the national associations on Indian athletes being handed by FIH Hockey Stars Awards.
“I write to you today on behalf of the Hockey India Executive Board that is very disturbed by the reaction of some National Associations and athletes to the announcement of the Indian nominees as the winners of the recently announced FIH Hockey Stars Awards 2021. We believe that the public statements of displeasure at the announcement of the Indian winners is highly disrespectful and not in the spirit of sportsmanship and the sport of Hockey,” said the Hockey India President in his letter, in possession of ANI. “The Indian athletes and Coaches were nominated by a panel of their peers and are just as deserving of the awards as any of the other nominees. The criteria for the selection of the winners of the awards were clearly shared with all National Associations including Hockey India along with the nominees. Hockey India made great efforts to ensure good participation across all categories from our country and now feel publicly penalised for the full-hearted participation and support of the Indian nominees,” he added.
Gurjit Kaur (FIH Player of the Year, Women), Harmanpreet Singh (FIH Player of the Year, Men), Savita (FIH Goalkeeper of the Year, Women), PR Sreejesh (FIH Goalkeeper of the Year, Men), Sharmila Devi (FIH Rising Star of the Year, Women) and Vivek Prasad (FIH Rising Star of the Year, Men) were handed out awards at the FIH Hockey Stars’ ceremony.
“It is disappointing that the Belgium Federation would prefer to question the voting system and the legitimacy of the Indian winners then actually take responsibility for not encouraging more voting and supporting their athletes in the first place. There is no doubt that any of the nominees would have been suitable winners however the voting system has been clear from the start and those that had put in the effort to vote have made their preferences clear,” wrote Ningobam.
“The core of the matter is that these national associations need to first introspect to see their actual level of participation and interest right from the start instead of now questioning the system once results are announced not in their favour. lt has already been stated by FIH that the Asian continent facilitated by the Asian Hockey Federation was very active in ensuring their “National Associations” vote counted,” he added.
Hockey India President also said that it is quite shameful to see European Hockey Federation sitting quiet and not taking any responsibility for the lack of seriousness in voting.
“lt is shameful in contrast that the European Hockey Federation is sitting quiet and not taking responsibility for the lack of activation and seriousness in voting by that their Member Associations while also allowing their athletes and Member Associations undermine the results and showing disrespect to the winners,” said the Hockey India President.
The Indian athletes have legitimately won the polls, in most cases across all three categories yet the shine of winning has been totally undermined by such negative comments by fellow athletes and National Associations. ls it fair that the hard work and efforts of these athletes are being scrutinised and they are being put through such harassment and mental intimidation because they and their National Association made a full commitment to the market and promote themselves,” he stated further.
Signing off, the Hockey India President stated: “We are with this letter requesting the FtH CEO, Thierry Weil to either kindly request the Belgium Federation to issue an official public apology for the demeaning comments on the achievements of the Indian athletes and coaches on social media and if not then refer this matter to the FIH Governance Panel for a thorough investigation into what is discrimination.”

MP gears up for 1st Hockey India Junior Men Academy National C’ship

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) [India] : After the success of the 1st Hockey India Sub Junior Men Academy National Championship 2021, Madhya Pradesh is all geared up to host the forthcoming 1st Hockey India Junior Men Academy National Championship 2021 starting on October 18.
28 teams with over 550 players as well as coaching and support staff, will arrive in Bhopal this week for the first-ever Hockey India Junior Men Academy National Championship 2021. The maiden tournament for academies will provide young hockey players with a platform to showcase their talent and impress selectors, who will be present at the National Championships. Good performances here will hold great prospects for young and aspiring players to make it to the National Program.
The participating teams include Berar Hockey Academy (Vidarbha) Amravati, Naval Tata Hockey Academy — Jamshedpur and Olympian Vivek Singh Hockey Academy in Pool A, while Bhai Behlo Hockey Academy Bhagta, Namdhari Sports Academy and RV Academy of Hockey are in Pool B.
Dhyan Chand Hockey Academy, Mumbai Schools Sports Association, and Raja Karan Hockey Academy are grouped in Pool C, while Ghumanhera Riser’s Academy, Mata Sahib Kaur Hockey Academy Jarkhar — Ludhiana, Roundglass Punjab Hockey Club Academy are in Pool D.
HIM Academy, Markandeshwar Hockey Academy, SAI – Academy (Kolkata) and Citizen Hockey XI are in Pool E and in Pool F Hubli Hockey Academy, Malwa Hockey Academy Hanumangarh, Salute Hockey Academy, Republican Sports Club are grouped together.
Pool G will include Jai Bharat Hockey Academy, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Hockey Academy, SGPC Hockey Academy and Thirumalvalavan Hockey Academy. Lakshmi Ammal Sports Academy, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, Tamil Nadu Hockey Academy, Vadipatti Raja Hockey Academy feature in Pool H.
After six days of pool matches, the quarter-finals will be played on October 24, the semi-finals will be held on October 26 whereas the Medal matches are scheduled for October 27.
The government of Madhya Pradesh has left no stone unturned in its preparations to successfully host back-to-back tournaments and also provide a safe environment for the athletes to compete.
Minister of Department of Sports and Youth Welfare, Technical Education, Skill Development and Employment, Yashodhara Raje Scindia said, “It was great to see talented players compete for the coveted title in the 1st Hockey India Sub Junior Men Academy National Championship 2021 in Bhopal. We ensured the COVID protocols were followed.”
“I believe having more tournaments like this at the Junior and Sub Junior level will really help build a strong grassroots system and it will only help the sports grow further. We are very happy to support Hockey India in their endeavour and host more such tournaments in Bhopal as it will inspire more children to take up the sport,” she added.
Apart from several SOPs laid out by Hockey India, each and every athlete, coach, technical officials participating in the 1st Hockey India Junior Men Academy National Championship 2021 would need to submit a negative COVID RT-PCR test report on arrival at Bhopal with the test taken within 48 hours prior to departure to Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
Further to this, all athletes and officials need to have the Aarogya Setu app on their devices. They must also follow physical distancing measures at all locations, except athletes on the field.
A Covid-19 task force will also be constituted by the organising committee to ensure the implementation of the protocols issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the respective state government.

Skipper Rani feels playing in FIH Hockey Pro League will help women’s team take game to next level

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]: The Indian women’s hockey team was elated on Friday as the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced that India and Spain will be a part of the FIH Hockey Pro League season 3 after Australia and New Zealand pulled out.
The team expressed excitement about joining the world’s best teams to compete for the coveted title this season which kicks off on October 13 with the first match between Olympic Champions The Netherlands and Belgium. “This is great news for us. We have seen how much the exposure at the FIH Hockey Pro League helped our male counterparts from the Indian team,” skipper Rani said in a Hockey India release.
“They got to play the best teams of the world, and I believe that helped them take their game to the next level. Likewise, the Indian women’s team is also looking forward to make the most out of this opportunity. The entire team is excited,” she added.
Savita, on the other hand, said that this exposure will help increase the talent pool in the Indian team.
“We have some very talented junior players coming into the core group. Playing regular matches against top teams in the FIH Hockey Pro League will help the team try different combination of players ahead of important tournaments like the Asian Games in 2022 and the FIH Women’s World Cup in 2023,” said Savita.
“We believe this experience in the Pro League will help us improve our game further,” stated the goalkeeper who won the FIH Goalkeeper of the Year award.
Youngster Sharmila Devi who won the FIH Rising Star of the Year also stated that this will be a great opportunity for young players like her in the team.
“Playing top teams of the world will provide youngsters like me great exposure. Something we wanted to work on before the Asian Games was to perform under pressure. The FIH Hockey Pro League will be a great experience in that aspect and we are very excited about it,” she said.

Great moment for Indian hockey as all our nominees for FIH Stars Awards have won, says HI President

New Delhi [India]: Hockey India on Wednesday congratulated all the award winners of the FIH Hockey Stars Awards which was announced on Wednesday by the International Hockey Federation (FIH). The voting-based annual awards had six Indian hockey players and two coaches from both the Indian hockey teams (Men and Women) nominated for various categories. This is the first time that all nominees from India have won the prestigious awards in their respective categories.
India’s dragflick sensation Harmanpreet Singh was crowned the ‘FIH Player of the Year’ in the men’s category. He was the top scorer in India’s Bronze medal-winning performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Meanwhile, Indian women’s hockey team dragflicker Gurjit Kaur won the ‘FIH Player of The Year’ in the women’s category. India’s famed goalkeeper PR Sreejesh won the ‘Goalkeeper of the Year’ in the men’s category. Sreejesh came up with a career-best performance at the Olympic Games 2020 and was the cynosure of Indian defence. Indian women team custodian Savita, on the other hand, won the ‘Goalkeeper of the Year’ in the women’s category. Savita, who was also the joint-vice captain for the Indian women’s hockey team at the Olympic Games 2020, was outstanding in guarding India’s post and played an instrumental role in the team finishing fourth in the Tokyo Olympic Games.
In the FIH Rising Star of the Year for men, Vivek Sagar Prasad won the award for the second consecutive time. In the FIH Rising Star of the year for women, Sharmila Devi won the award with maximum votes ahead of Great Britain’s Fiona Crackles and Argentina’s Valentina Raposo.
Indian men’s hockey chief coach Graham Reid was awarded the FIH Coach of the Year. He was nominated along with Australia’s Colin Batch and Belgium’s Shane McLeod. Former Indian women’s hockey chief coach Sjoerd Marijne too was awarded the ‘FIH Coach of the Year’ in the women’s team category.
Congratulating the award winners, Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam said, “This is a great moment for Indian hockey as all our Indian nominees for the FIH Stars Awards have been announced winners. After the historic performances in Tokyo by both Indian men and women’s hockey teams, the support from Indian fans from across the globe has been overwhelming. We thank everyone who supported the nominees by voting for them. This is a big moment for us and these awards will definitely inspire future generations to take up the sport professionally. On behalf of Hockey India, I congratulate all the award winners and wish them success in their future endeavours.”

Gurjit Kaur wins FIH Women’s Hockey Player of the Year, Harmanpreet wins men’s award

As a likely outcome of India men’s team winning a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics as well as the outstanding performance of the Indian women’s team at the showpiece event, India’s athletes and coaches dominated the FIH Hockey Stars Awards 2020-21.

Lausanne [Switzerland], October 6 : Athletes Gurjit Kaur (Best Player, Women), Harmanpreet Singh (Best Player, Men), Savita (Best Goalkeeper, Women), PR Sreejesh (Best Goalkeeper, Men), Sharmila Devi (Best Rising Star, Women) and Vivek Prasad (Best Rising Star, Men) as well as the coaches of India’s women’s team, Sjoerd Marijne (NED) and India’s men’s team, Graham Reid (AUS) grabbed the highest number of votes in their respective categories. 79 National Associations — represented by their respective national captains and coaches — have voted (Africa: 11 out of 25 Member Associations; Asia: 29 out of 33; Europe: 19 out of 42; Oceania: 3 out of 8; Pan America: 17 out of 30). And with a record number of almost 300,000 fans casting their votes, fan participation in the FIH Hockey Stars Awards has been exceptional.
Tellingly, all winning athletes have topped the standings in each of the three voting groups (National Associations / Fans and Players / Media).
Belgium (Men) and the Netherlands (Women), who were not only crowned Olympic Champions but also won the 2020-21 FIH Hockey Pro League, as well as the GBR/ENG Women’s team, were also given high recognition by the voting groups.
Belgium’s Alexander Hendrickx and Arthur van Doren were voted second and third best Players respectively, with Vincent Vanasch named second best Goalkeeper and Shane McLeod (NZL) second-best Coach.
For the Netherlands, Eva de Goede and Frederique Matla clinched the respective second and third places in the FIH Player of the Year Award while Alyson Annan (AUS) finished on the second spot of the FIH Coach of the Year Award.
For Great Britain/England, Goalkeeper Maddie Hinch, Rising Star Fiona Crackles and Coach Mark Hager (AUS) all reached the third spot of their respective categories.
Every continent is represented in the top three of at least one Award, with Belen Succi (ARG) named second best Goalkeeper and Valentina Raposo (ARG) as well as Mustaphaa Cassiem (RSA) clinching the second place of the FIH Rising Star of the Year Award, while Goalkeeper Andrew Charter (AUS), Rising Star Sean Findlay (NZL) and Coach Colin Batch (AUS) all finished on the third spot of their respective categories.
With no FIH Hockey Stars Awards in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 global health pandemic on the international calendar, this year’s awards covered the period from January 2020 through to the conclusion of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The voting process started on August 23 and concluded on September 15, 2021. Votes from National Associations — represented by their respective national captains and coaches — counted for 50% of the overall result, while fans and players (25%), as well as media (25%), made the other half of the votes.
FIH Women’s Player of the Year: Gurjit Kaur (IND)
FIH Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year: Savita (IND)
FIH Women’s Coach of the Year: Sjoerd Marijne (NED – Team IND)
FIH Men’s Player of the Year: Harmanpreet Singh (IND)
FIH Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year: PR Sreejesh (IND)
FIH Men’s Rising Star of the Year: Vivek Prasad (IND)
FIH Men’s Coach of the Year: Graham Reid (AUS – Team IND).

Indian men’s hockey team hits turf for first time post bronze medal win at Tokyo Games

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]: Bronze medallists from the Tokyo Olympics, the Indian men’s hockey team resumed training at SAI Bengaluru on Monday. The team hit the turf for the first time after their podium finish at the Tokyo Games and looked all charged and pepped for their upcoming international engagements.
All covid protocol guidelines are strictly being adhered to in the camp. The players have gone through the Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and are staying in separate rooms as per the quarantine rule. They are undergoing outdoor training in a different slot and are not mixing with other campers of SAI Bengaluru. The revised SOPs of the SAI allows for outdoor training.
The men’s hockey team is likely to participate in the Asian Champions Trophy scheduled to be held in Dhaka in December this year, Commonwealth Games scheduled to be held in Birmingham in July 2022, Asian Games scheduled to be held in China in September 2022 and the World Cup, which India shall host in January 2023, before the Paris Olympics 2024.
Manpreet Singh, captain of the team, thanked the administration and the staff of SAI Bengaluru for working overtime to provide all facilities to the team during the prolonged training camp prior to the Tokyo Olympics
“I want to thank the entire staff of SAI Bangalore and the Regional Director on behalf of the entire team for the whole hearted support extended to the team even in difficult times,” said Manpreet in a statement.
Head coach Graham Reid said that the team was returning to training after a well-deserved break and this initial camp shall help to reorient the players to their priorities in the coming months.
He expressed his happiness on the support extended to the players by SAI Bengaluru before the Tokyo Olympics despite the challenges of the Covid situation. “The boys are all excited to resume the training and we are looking at our future engagements,” said the head coach.
Assistant coach of the team, Piyush Dubey said that the boys are now refocusing on future engagements after the euphoria of winning the bronze medal for the nation after 41 years in the Olympic hockey event.
“Our entire focus, for the time being, is on the Asian Champions Trophy in December this year and this month-long camp shall mainly target on improving the physical conditioning of the players,” he mentioned.
The men’s team was felicitated on their return to the campus of SAI Bengaluru in a grand manner on Monday. A felicitation function was organised in honour of the team.
The team was felicitated by the former regional heads of SAI Bengaluru including 1972 Olympic medalist MP Ganesh and ASV Prasad.
Both Ganesh and Prasad while praising the efforts of the players and the coaching staff in their performance in Tokyo said the expectation of the country had risen by their performance and the country expected them to change the colour of their medal in the Paris Olympics.
Ritu A Pathik, the Regional head of SAI Bengaluru, assured that SAI would extend all possible support to the team in all aspects of their training and thanked the team for making the country proud.
The entire program was conducted by the junior hockey players, who also asked interesting questions from the senior players regarding their Olympics journey in an interactive session with them.

Hockey India tells IOA team won’t participate in CWG, prioritises Asian Games

New Delhi [India]: Hockey India on Tuesday decided not to send its men and women teams for the Commonwealth Games set to go ahead in Birmingham next year. The decision has been taken citing the 10-day mandatory quarantine period for Indian citizens in the UK as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter accessed by ANI, Hockey India President Gyanandro Ningombam President clarified that why such a stance has been taken.
“With reference to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, we have observed over the last 18 months that England has been the worst effected country In Europe. As you are aware that the Commonwealth Games are scheduled in Birmingham, England from 28 July to 08 August 2022 and the Asian Games are scheduled in Hangihoti, China from 10 to 25 September 2022 There is only a 32-day window between the conclusion of the Commonwealth Games before the start of the Asian Games.”
“You will also appreciate the Asian Games is the continental qualification event for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and keeping the priority of the Asian Games in mind, Hockey India cannot take a risk for any members Of the Indian Teams contracting COVID-19 during the above the Commonwealth Games,” said Hockey India President in his letter addressed to IOA President Narinder Batra.
“Therefore, Hockey India will not be sending its men and women teams to Commonwealth Games 2022 and are informing you in advance to kindly notify the Organisers to identify reserve teams for the Commonwealth Games,” he added.
Further in his letter, HI President said: “It is pertinent to mention that due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, England have issued guidelines that 10 days quarantine is required Indians arrivals in England even for those who are fully vaccinated since unfortunately the Indian vaccinations are not yet recognised by the English government. Such discriminatory restrictions were not imposed on Indian athletes and officials during the recent Tokyo Olympic Games and this 10 days quarantine requirement for vaccinated sports persons will affect their performances. We feel these restrictions are biased against India and term it as very unfortunate.”
It is important to note that Hockey India’s decision comes just a day after England withdrew from this year’s Junior World Cup in Bhubaneswar citing the 10-day quarantine rule imposed by India.
On October 1, India had decided to impose reciprocity on British nationals under which UK nationals arriving in the country from Britain will have to undergo mandatory quarantine at home or in the destination address for 10 days after their arrival, sources said.
The step came days after the United Kingdom announced new travel rules which state that Indian travellers, even those who have received both doses of the Covishield vaccine, will be considered unvaccinated.Sources said that reciprocity will come into force from October 4, the same day UK’s new travel rules come into effect.

Hockey India name 30-member group for senior men’s national camp

Hockey India on Saturday named the 30-member core probable group for the senior men’s national coaching camp to begin in SAI Bengaluru on October 4.

New Delhi [India], October 2 : After a successful campaign at the Tokyo Olympic Games where India clinched a historic Bronze Medal and ended the 41-year wait, the Indian Men’s Core Group will begin the new Olympic cycle with an intent to improve upon this performance at Paris 2024. The core grouped called up for the National Coaching camp includes a mix of young and experienced players including PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Suraj Karkera, Harmanpreet Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Surender Kumar, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Simranjeet Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Gursahibjit Singh, Shamsher Singh, Varun Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Dipsan Tirkey, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Jaskaran Singh, Rajkumar Pal, Gurjant Singh, Sumit, Shilanand Lakra, Suman Beck, Mandeep Mor, Ashis Kumar Topno.
Speaking about the upcoming national coaching camp, chief coach Graham Reid said, “The players are coming off a long and well-deserved break. I believe they will be excited to be back in the National Camp and refocus on our goals for next year. We will be going through our performance in the Olympics both from the perspective of individual performances and as a team,” expressed Reid.
He further emphasized that the players must now leave behind the success of Tokyo and start fresh ahead of a hectic season in 2022. “Experiencing success in the Olympics is great but now I want the players to be mentally and physically ready for a hectic season in 2022 with some very important tournaments starting from the FIH Hockey Pro League in February. This camp will be more about strength and conditioning and we will look at making a slow start,” he added.

India hockey defender Birendra Lakra announces retirement

India hockey star Birendra Lakra on Thursday announced his retirement from the game.

New Delhi [India], September 30 : “Over the past few weeks, I have introspected about my journey in hockey. Nothing has given me more joy and pride than to represent my country and wear the India jersey. Now, the time has come for me to move on and allow the next generation of players to experience this great feeling of playing for India. After 201 caps and 11 years, I have decided to retire from the Indian Hockey team,” said Lakra in an Instagram post. “The thought of not being able to share the dressing room again with some of the most fantastic players is unimaginable at the moment but I wish my teammates the very best as they prepare to take Indian hockey to the next level with just three years left in this Olympic cycle,” he added.
Lakra was a part of the Indian men’s hockey team that managed to win a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
“There have been many highs and lows in the years that I was with the Indian Men’s Hockey Team but there could be no better feeling than winning the Olympic Bronze medal. I feel the moment is right to move on from the national team and pursue a new path. The game has given me so much and I will always look for different ways to give back to the sport that has changed my life for the better,” said Lakra.
“I would like to acknowledge the role Hockey India has played in my career. Their support all these years, particularly when I was struggling with injuries, is invaluable. I would also like to thank all the coaches I have worked with as they have all taught me important lessons I will cherish for life,” he added.
Earlier on Thursday, India hockey player Rupinder Pal Singh decided to hang his boots and make way for the young brigade. Having been a part of India’s historic journey to a bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics, Rupinder said he is happy and content after winning a medal in the showpiece event.

Hockey India congratulates Amit Rohidas on being awarded Biju Patnaik Sports Award

New Delhi [India]: Hockey India on Thursday congratulated Indian men’s hockey team defender and drag-flicker Amit Rohidas for winning the prestigious Biju Patnaik Sports Award for outstanding performance in Sports and Games.
Rohidas played an instrumental role in India’s backline as well as penalty corner defending in the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics where India ended the 41-year wait to win an Olympic Medal. The hockey star from Sundargarh district has been a regular feature in the Indian team after making a comeback in 2017 and has been part of some of the biggest feats in Indian hockey.
Hockey coach Kalu Charan Choudhury, on the other hand, has worked towards developing talented players at the grassroots level and has been coaching aspiring hockey players from Odisha state for many decades now. He won the Biju Patnaik Sports Award for Lifetime Achievement in promotion of Sports & Games while Siba Prasad was awarded Coach of The Year.
Congratulating the awardees, Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam said, “I am very delighted to know that Indian Men’s Hockey Team defender Amit Rohidas has been awarded with the prestigious Biju Patnaik Sports Award for outstanding performance in Sports & Games. He is truly deserving of it. His contribution to the Indian Team in their Bronze Medal feat in the Olympics will go down in history. I wish this accolade will encourage him to do better and better for the Indian team in the coming days.”
“I also congratulate coach Kalu Charan Choudhury for winning the Biju Patnaik Sports Award for Lifetime Achievement in promotion of Sports & Games. He has dedicated his life to hockey, and this is a befitting award for his contribution. I also congratulate Siba Prasad on being awarded the Coach of the Year. Congratulations to all the winners,” Ningombam added.

Odisha sponsors hockey for 10 more yrs

Bhubaneswar (Odisha): Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday felicitated the Indian national hockey teams that scripted history, with their brilliant performance at the Tokyo Olympics.

In recognition of their achievement and their potential to be the top teams in the world, the Chief Minister announced that Odisha will continue to sponsor Indian hockey teams, for another 10 years. Addressing the gathering, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, said, “We, in Odisha, are elated that our partnership with Hockey India has led to this great achievement for the country. I believe, Odisha and Hockey are destined to become synonymous.”

“We will continue our partnership with Hockey India. Odisha will support the Indian Hockey teams for 10 more years. This will herald a new era of Indian Hockey and bring back the glory to the nation,” he added.
The Chief Minister felicitated captain Rani Rampal and the women’s team and also felicitated the skipper, Manpreet Singh, and the men’s team for bagging a bronze in Tokyo Olympics.

Each player was awarded Rs 10 lakh and each support staff member was awarded Rs 5 lakh by the Chief Minister.

As a token of regard and appreciation, each team gifted a framed Jersey autographed by the players to the Chief Minister.
“You made us all so proud with your spirited fight at Tokyo. These are deeply emotional moments for India to witness the revival of Indian Hockey,” said Naveen Patnaik

“For nearly four decades, the hockey fans have been yearning to see India grab a medal at the Olympics. The way the entire country was glued to the screens to watch the Hockey teams’ matches, it is quite evident there is something more to hockey than just sports.

“In the background of the COVID pandemic, it is remarkable that our teams have worked so hard in spite of all challenges and emerged victorious. In these crisis times, the teams have brought smiles on the faces of crores of Indians. We all should be thankful to our boys and girls,” the CM added.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, also gave away 13 awards.

Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Dhruv Batra was also felicitated by the Chief Minister.
Speaking at the event, Batra, said, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaikji and the people of Odisha for showing their love and affection for the sport of hockey and helping our teams achieve the Olympic dream for India.”

Earlier in the day, the teams arrived to a rousing welcome at the airport by fans and sportspersons alike. The atmosphere was euphoric amid fanfare and celebrations.

Hardeep Puri felicitates 11 players from Indian men’s hockey team, announces reward of Rs 15 lakh each

New Delhi [India]: Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday felicitated the 11 players who were part of the Bronze medal-winning men’s hockey team at the Tokyo Olympics.
The felicitated players are Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) Hockey players who are employees of various public sector companies of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas & Labour and Employment Rameswar Teli was also present on the occasion. Puri said that the hockey stars brought glory to India after a gap of 41 years by winning the Bronze medal.
He announced a reward of Rs 15 lakh to each of the 11 players, who were part of the 18-member team. The Minister also announced that these players will also be given one out-of-turn promotion by their respective organizations for their outstanding performance in Tokyo.
Puri said that it is a matter of delight that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is part of the re-scripting of history in the field of hockey. He said that the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) with the support of 15 PSUs continues to promote and encourage sports and sportspersons, by continuously conducting sports activities, camps and providing scholarships.
This year in Tokyo Olympics, 22 players in six disciplines were from the petroleum sector.
Puri expressed the confidence that the Indian players will keep putting their best performance and bring more medals in the years to come. He also congratulated the women’s hockey team for their superlative performance. The Minister assured the players of the Government’s full support in their endeavours. He said that these stars have rekindled the spirit that Indian hockey is back in action.
Teli said that Hockey is a popular sport in the country, and is being played in villages, towns, and cities. He said that the Indian hockey team, both men and women, have brought laurels to the country. Congratulating the players, he expressed the hope that in the future, they will continue to make the country proud with their performance.
Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Tarun Kapoor, CMD Indian oil and president, PSPB SM Vaidya, CMD HPCL M K Surana were among those present on the occasion.

Indian women’s hockey team members meet Haryana Home Minister

Chandigarh, Aug 11: Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij met the members of the Indian women’s hockey team at his office on Wednesday.
Mr Vij welcomed women players, including team captain Rani Rampal, Monica, Nisha, Navneet Kaur, Navjot Kaur, Uday, Sharmila and Neha, with shawls and sweets.
On this occasion, Mr Vij said that in sports one team wins and the other losses, it does not matter in the game, what matters is how strongly the player has played.
He said that these hockey players displayed their stamina, technique, scientific sense in the matches. He said that they could not win the match but they have done the work of uniting the whole country.
The Minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi also evinced interest in the game of hockey and also encouraged a player who had got injured during the match. He said that Prime Minister values sports and that is why he started ‘Khelo India’ programme so that good players can be prepared.
Expressing his gratitude to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, he said, “I also express my gratitude to the Chief Minister who has announced Rs 50 lakh each to these hockey players.”

Team to start training next month for Commonwealth, Asian Games: Gurjant Singh

Amritsar (Punjab) [India], August 11 : Indian men’s hockey team forward Gurjant Singh said that the team will start training from next month as the team has a busy year ahead due to Commonwealth and Asian Games.
The Indian hockey men and women hockey players from Punjab received a rousing welcome at Amritsar on Wednesday. “We’ll start training from next month. We have a busy year ahead due to Commonwealth and Asian Games. Confidence of team is high,” said men’s hockey team player Gurjant Singh.

Gurpreet Singh Khaira, District Collector, Amritsar, said, “This is a matter of pride for us that our team has won the bronze medal after 40 years. We will take them to the Golden Temple then we will escort them home. This is a small gesture from us. They all deserve it.”
Gujrant Singh’s uncle said, “Many people are dancing in happiness for their return. Everyone’s ready to welcome them.”
The Indian men’s hockey team, which ended a 41-year medal drought by clinching a bronze medal in Tokyo, rose to 3rd in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) World Rankings, behind Belgium and Australia, respectively.

Before this feat, the Manpreet Singh-led side’s career-high ranking was No.4, which they achieved in March 2020 on the back of their scintillating performances in the first three rounds of the second edition of FIH Hockey Pro League 2020.

Manpreet and Co. finished second in Pool A winning four out of five group phase matches and defeated Great Britain 3-1 in Quarter-Final before losing 5-2 against Belgium in their historic Semi-Final.

However, they staged a remarkable comeback to grab a 5-4 win over Germany to clinch a historic Bronze medal at Olympic Games and as result climbed up to their best-ever world ranking.

Indian men’s hockey team rises to third spot in FIH rankings, women’s team to eighth

New Delhi [India]: A delightful finish to a dream campaign at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 saw Indian hockey scripting history as both men’s and women’s teams achieved their highest ever FIH world rankings.

The Indian men’s hockey team, which ended a 41-year medal drought by clinching a bronze medal in Tokyo, rose to 3rd in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) World Rankings, behind Belgium and Australia, respectively. Whereas, the Indian women’s hockey team, moved up to the 8th position according to the latest FIH world rankings.

Before this feat, the Manpreet Singh-led side’s career-high ranking was No.4, which they achieved in March 2020 on the back of their scintillating performances in the first three rounds of the second edition of FIH Hockey Pro League 2020.

On the other hand, the Indian Women’s team’s highest-ever world ranking was 9th, which they accomplished by producing their best finish (Quarter Finals) at the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 in four decades. Having reached till Quarter Finals of the World Cup, the Indian eves became the top-ranked Asian team and went on to clinch the Silver Medal at Jakarta Palembang 2018 Asian Games.

Both the teams achieved their highest ranking following their stunning performances at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Manpreet and Co. finished second in Pool A winning four out of five group phase matches and defeated Great Britain 3-1 in Quarter Final before losing 5-2 against Belgium in their historic Semi Final.

However, they staged a remarkable comeback to grab a 5-4 win over Germany to clinch a historic Bronze medal at Olympic Games and as result climbed up to their best-ever world ranking.

Whereas, the Indian Eves, who faced three losses in the initial matches, went on to pull off arguably the biggest upset as they beat World No.3 Australian side in what was their first ever Quarter Final of the Olympics. Rani & Co. lost both Semi Final and the Bronze Medal Play-Off match against Argentina and Great Britain, respectively. Hence, finishing fourth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics led India Women’s Hockey Team to climb up to the 8th in the world rankings.

Having achieved their highest-ever world rankings, the Indian Men’s Hockey Team Captain Manpreet expressed: “It’s the reward of all the hard work and dedication towards the game we love, towards the game which has given us everything. This ranking and the Olympic medal after 41 years mark the rise of Indian Hockey, and I think this couldn’t have happened without the support of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Sports Authority of India, Odisha Government and Hockey India. There is no looking back now, we have set the benchmark for ourselves and would like to grow from here.”

Men’s team Chief Coach Graham Reid stated, “I must admit, I feel privileged to have played a part in the rise of Indian Hockey. It’s a great feeling that we won the historic Bronze Medal as well as achieving the highest ranking on the back of our solid performance in the Olympics. We played like a unit, with the right kind of attitude, and I think that has helped the team achieve this feat. Also, Hockey India, Sports Authority of India and all the stakeholders involved with the Indian Hockey has played a huge part in bringing back the team where it truly belongs.”

Indian Women’s Hockey Team Skipper Rani said: “We were very close to finishing on the Podium, and it is hurting the team that we didn’t. However, looking at the bright side, we have made remarkable progress in recent years, and I am really proud of it. Finishing in the top four at Olympics, and climbing to the 8th position in world rankings, is a very big thing for us, and this has boosted our confidence, it will certainly help us grow going forward. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Odisha Government, Hockey India and Sports Authority of India for the continuous support and encouragement.”

Indian Women’s team Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne expressed, “It’s the result of all the hard work that girls have put in over the past few years. Achieving 8th rank in the world ranking and finishing among the top four at Olympics, is a big step for Indian Women’s hockey, and I think every team will definitely take us seriously. The athletes have that desire to learn and improve each and every day, and I feel this is one of the biggest reasons why we could finish among the top four.”

Naveen congratulates Indian Women’s hockey team for putting a brave fight against Britain in Tokyo Olympics

Bhubaneswar, Aug 06: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today spoke to the Indian

Women’s hockey team through video conferencing and congratulated them for putting up a

brave fight against Britain in Tokyo Olympics.

India women Hockey team lost to Britain 3-4 in a tough fight for the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Great Britain were the Gold medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics and number 4 in world ranking.

After the Match the Chief Minister while talking to the team members said, “Girls, you have

worked very hard and played very well. You lost a game, but won our hearts. Congratulations to

all of you because of the hard work you have put in and playing so well,” he said.

“You will be coming over here (Odisha) on August 17. We will all meet then,” Mr Patnaik said.

In return a team member thanked the Chief Minister and Odisha government for supporting and helping them. “You have played a big role in our journey and therefore credit also goes to you,”

she told Mr Patnaik.

The Chief Minister said, “all of you have a long road ahead, keep working hard. Be happy and

keep well.’’

Give Rs 3 cr and DSP job to Hockey Olympic bronze medalists : Sukhbir

Chandigarh, Aug 6: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday asked Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to give a cash reward of Rs 3 crore to all hockey players of Punjab who were part of the bronze medal winning men’s team at the Tokyo Olympics.

In a statement here, the SAD chief also asked the Congress government to offer a job of a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in the Punjab Police to all hockey players of Punjab who represented the country at the Tokyo Olympics. Simultaneously Rs one crore should be given to all representatives from the State who had part of the Indian contingent at the Olympics, he said.

Mr Badal said it was a great honour that as many as ten players from Punjab were part of the men’s hockey team. He said the boys had not only brought glory to the State and the country but their victory would also serve the purpose of reviving the sport in the country. “The interest of the youth in Hockey is set to revive after the historic podium finish after 41 years”.

He said the SAD was committed to prioritizing hockey and had during its ten year tenure in government created a large number of astro turf grounds besides establishing a world class hockey stadium at Mohali.

“We will continue in our effort to take hockey forward once we form the government in 2022”, Mr Badal said adding “in case the Congress government does not give enhanced compensation and a government job to the hockey bronze medal winners, the next SAD-BSP alliance would do the needful”.

Khel Ratna Award named after Major Dhyan Chand

PM Narendra Modi announced that the Khel Ratna Award will now be named after Major Dhyan Chand.

The Khel Ratna award has been named after Major Dhyan Chand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday.

The nation’s highest sports award, which was previously named after former PM Rajiv Gandhi, will now be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award in honor of one of the greatest hockey players to have ever lived.

“I have been getting many requests from citizens across India to name the Khel Ratna Award after Major Dhyan Chand. I thank them for their views. Respecting their sentiment, the Khel Ratna Award will hereby be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award! Jai Hind!” the Prime Minister tweeted.

“Major Dhyan Chand was among India’s foremost sportspersons who brought honour and pride for India. It is fitting that our nation’s highest sporting honour will be named after him,” PM Modi further wrote on his official Twitter profile.

The requests for the change in name increased multifold on social media following Indian hockey teams’ brilliant outings in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

While the men’s team bagged a bronze medal — ending the country’s 41-year-wait for an Olympic podium finish in the sport, the women’s team secured fourth place after pulling out stunning performances throughout the tournament.

Major Dhyan Chand, who was known for his extraordinary goal-scoring feats, played a key role in India’s three successive gold medal victories at the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics. His legacy further played a huge role in India’s triumphs in the later editions of the Olympics, as the nation secured seven gold medals in eight editions of the Games between 1928 and 1964.

He represented India between 1926-1949, scoring an incredible 570 goals in merely 185 matches.

His birthday on August 29 is also celebrated as National Sports Day in India.

Tokyo 2020: Indian Women’s Hockey Team lose 3-4 against GB in bronze medal match

Tokyo, Aug 6: The Indian Women’s Hockey Team lost 3-4 after putting up a valiant effort against Rio Olympics Gold Medallists Great Britain in the Bronze Medal match here at the Oi Hockey Stadium on Friday.
The Great Britain side controlled most of the proceedings in the opening minutes of the match and took a 2-0 lead by the 24th minute.
However, Gurjit Kaur (25′, 26′) and Vandana Katariya (29′) struck three goals in quick succession to help India take the lead at 3-2 just before the half-time whistle. Great Britain regained the momentum in the second half and scored a goal in each of the third and fourth quarters to seal a Bronze Medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Great Britain made an aggressive start in the opening minutes of the first quarter and earned a Penalty Corner in the second minute of the match, however, their shot at goal was brilliantly saved by Indian Goalkeeper Savita. Navneet Kaur made a brilliant run on the right flank in the 6th minute of the match and passed the ball to Rani, however, the latter couldn’t find a way to tap the ball into the goal.
Great Britain got dangerously close to the Indian goal in the 8th minute, however, the Indian defence stood tall and ensured that the ball is kept away from the goal. The Great Britain team continued to put pressure on the Indians and earned a Penalty Corner in the 10th minute, however, they couldn’t carry out the drag-flick as they failed to trap the ball. Great Britain took two shots in the final minutes of the first quarter, however, Savita carried out two brilliant saves and ensured that the deadlock was not broken.

Tokyo Olympics: Indian women’s hockey team misses out on bronze after losing to Great Britain

Tokyo [Japan]: Indian women’s hockey team went down fighting against Great Britain 3-4 in the bronze medal match here at Oi Hockey Stadium — North Pitch on Friday. With this loss, the Indian women’s team finished fourth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, meanwhile, team Great Britain captured their third consecutive Olympic medal.
Great Britain started the match with a storming pace giving no chance whatsoever to the Indian forwards and in sequence creating very good opportunities for their forward line. But Indian goalkeeper Savita Punia rose to the occasion with some brilliant saves and made sure to lead the team goalless into the second quarter. The GB team soon made their dominance count as in the second quarter after a brilliant run from the right flank by ES Rayer, they forced an own goal from Indian defender Deep Grace Ekka. Soon, the GB team doubled their lead via a beautiful pacy field goal by Sarah Robertson after Nisha got the green card.
Indian team then dramatically shifted their gears and scored two goals in quick succession — both via penalty corners through Gurjit Kaur — to level the match against Britain. Drag flicker Gurjit struck both PC to the left of Maddy Hinch and defence, giving them no chance whatsoever to even react. Vandana Katariya in the dying minutes of the first half gave the Indian team a very crucial lead with an absolute poacher of a finish after she latched on to a loose ball inside the D. India led Great Britain 3-2 going into the second half.
The second half saw more resolve from GB forwards. As they again stormed into the right flank and Pearne-Webb utilised a brilliant move as she came with a captain’s magic to equalise for the European team. A rough tackle in the D by Udita saw India going down to 10 players for 5 mins after she received the yellow card, early in quarter 4. Soon, the pressure and one-player advantage paid for Britain as Baldson gave the team lead through PC.
Indian forwards flocked GB’s D in the dying moments of the match but the Rio 2016 gold medalists made sure to hold their nerves and see the team through to win the bronze.

Khattar announces Rs 2.5 cr each to both players of Haryana in Hockey team

Chandigarh, Aug 5: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday announced a job of Senior Coach (Group B) along with a reward of Rs 2.5 crore each to both the players of Haryana in the men’s hockey team which won the bronze medal in the Olympics.

Along with this, plots of Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran will be provided to both of them at concessional rates, the Chief further announced while interacting with the media persons after the Haryana Cabinet meeting on Thursday.

Congratulating the people of the state and the country on the victory of the men’s hockey team, Mr Khattar said that after 41 years, hockey team has created history and made the country proud by winning bronze medal in Olympics and it is a matter of great pride for us that this team includes two players from Haryana who have performed brilliantly during the entire competition.

During the interaction with the media, he informed that in a decision taken during the cabinet meeting now farmers will not have to pay full stamp duty for exchange of land. A proposal has been passed in the cabinet that farmers will be able to exchange land in the same revenue estate by paying a stamp duty of Rs 5,000 only.

Mr Khattar said that in many cases, farmers who are compelled to sell their land at throwaway prices, will be able to sell their land to the government. This land will be used for government projects. He said that sometimes it becomes difficult to get land for good projects, keeping this in mind, it has been decided to form a land bank. In this, the farmer can propose to sell the land to the government.

He informed that the government has decided to include guest teachers in the transfer policy in the cabinet meeting. He said that first the transfer drive of regular teachers will be conducted, after that guest teachers will be able to participate in the second phase of transfer drive. He said that guest teachers had been demanding to be included in the transfer policy for a long time.

He said that teachers with disabilities will get special exemption in transfer drive. Apart from this, People with Disabilities appointed as clerical assistant and lab attendant will also get exemption in this policy. They will be given relaxation on the basis of percentage of disability during transfer drive.

Mr Khattar said that in the meeting of the Cabinet, approval was given for the formation of Human Resources Department. This department will look after the arrangements for transfer, recruitment, service rules etc. of the employees. The department has been constituted under the Chief Secretary.

He said that the need for this department has been felt for a long time. Now with the formation of this department, decisions regarding the employees will be taken uniformly.

Tokyo Olympics: Punjab minister announces Rs 1 cr cash reward for each men’s hockey team players from state

New Delhi [India], August 5 : As the Indian men’s hockey team clinched bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, Minister of Sports & Youth Services in Punjab, Rana Gurmit S Sodhi on Thursday announced a cash award of Rs 1 crore each for players from state.
“On this historic day for #IndianHockey I am delighted to announce a cash award of Rs 1crore each to players 4m #Punjab. We await ur return to celebrate the much deserving medal in #Olympics. #Cheer4India #Tokyo2020 #IndvsGer #Hockey #IndianHockeyTeam @capt_amarinder @Media_SAI,” read a tweet by Rana Gurmit. The Minister praised the team on the historic victory against Germany and tweeted, “An absolutely Gripping Match! Our boys have done it in #Tokyo2020 Bringing an #Olympic medal home after 41 years #BronzeMedal #India #Punjab is proud of this Brilliant Team Play #HockeyIndiaTeam All 5 scorers #Punjab. Simranjeet Singh @rupinderbob3 @13harmanpreet Hardik Singh”.
It took 41 years, but the dream of every Indian was finally realised on Thursday as the men’s hockey team beat Germany 5-4 to win the bronze medal here at the Oi Hockey Stadium — North Pitch.
The Men in Blue showed absolute resilience, strength, and winning spirit to register a remarkable comeback win against a strong German team.

Rani Rampal’s journey: Steered by unimaginable struggle into the biggest stage

By Arijit Das

Rani Rampal, the captain of the Indian Women’s Hockey Team. Yes, this is the name that every Indian is aware of today. While trying to know this daughter of a cart puller and a maid, we tried to go back to her village Shahabad Markanda in Kurukshetra.

In Kurukshetra, Rampal is known for her undying passion and dedication towards hockey. It is said that during her childhood, her family couldn’t even afford her a new “hockey stick”. But this couldn’t stop her from playing. She picked up a broken stick and started practising.

At a nearby academy, Rani would spend hours watching the game. Her early years were marked by economic hardship; her family had to contend with power cuts, slept starving frequently, and during rains, their home was frequently flooded.

The veteran striker, who captained Team India at the 2017 Women’s Asia Cup and won silver at the 2018 Asian Games, also revealed that the academy’s coach would reject her every day, telling her, “You aren’t strong enough to pull through a practice session,” and that this discouragement eventually led the aspiring hockey star to begin practising with a broken hockey stick. She used to run in her ‘salwar kameez’. This kind of dedication attracted her coach and finally, he was convinced to train her.

In the initial days, her family was not happy to see their daughter playing in a ‘short skirt’. However, with time, they realized her passion for the game. Her coach even supported her with kits and hockey shoes. One incident which is shared by Rampal herself, states that once she won INR 500 in a tournament and later when she handed that money to her father, they realized that her father has never seen so much money around. She promised her family that one day she will buy a home for them.

In 2010, Rampal was inducted into the national team for World Cup as the youngest player. She was only 15 years old at the time. The players of the future generation should take inspiration from a talent of this stature. Sports should not be gender-biased. Both men and women players must keep up her handwork as an example. Today, Rani Rampal is not only an example to the nation but also an icon at the international level.

India’s comeback in Hockey after 36 long years in the Rio Olympics in 2016 was somehow possible for her efficient contribution towards the game. Initially, her little knowledge about the outer world couldn’t make her realise how big an event the ‘Olympics’ is. Later in 2008, when she saw her fellow plays crying while they missed a spot in Beijing Olympics, she slowly started realizing the importance of playing in the Olympics. Coming from a humble background, Rani Rampal loves to keep herself simple on one hand and on the other hand, she wants to do something big for the aspiring players from the underprivileged mass. In one of her interviews she shares, “Now I’m at such a place that I can give back to the society, to the kids in my hometown of Shahbad-Markanda, and I want to continue making a difference in the lives of many children.”

After upsetting three-time winners Australia by a solitary goal, the Indian women’s hockey team qualified for the semifinals for the first time. Gurjit Kaur, a drag-flicker, scored the game-winning goal in the 22nd minute from a penalty corner for India. The team led by Rani Rampal will next face the Argentinian team in the semis that defeated Germany 3-0 in the previous quarterfinals match.

There are many strange incidents that she has overcome. Being from a needy family it was not possible for her to carry 400 ml of milk every day for training. But she continued mixing water with 200 ml of milk which her family could provide. She is not just a sports icon but also a great example of an Indian daughter who knows how to sacrifice.

Today, India is proud of her. The nation salutes her willpower. There may be many more like Rani who are still waiting for their turn to come. It’s our responsibility to find them out and bring them to the limelight.

About the author

Arijit Das is a Broadcast Expert. He had been associated with the live Production of IPL matches and many sports events across the globe.

Indian men’s hockey team to face Germany for Bronze in Tokyo Olympics on August 5

Tokyo [Japan]: The Indian men’s hockey team will face Germany in the Bronze medal play-off match on Thursday in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.
India’s hopes to play in an Olympic final were dashed on day eleven of the ongoing Tokyo Games as a formidable Belgium squad came back from a 1-2 deficit to beat the Manpreet Singh-led side 5-2 on Tuesday. It was a hat-trick by Alexander Hendrickx (19′, 49′, 53′), and goals by Loick Luyaert (2′) and John-John Dohmen (60′) that helped Belgium book a place in the final.
For India, Harmanpreet Singh (7′) and Mandeep Singh (9′) scored the two goals. India’s hunt for a medal, however, will continue when they play the Bronze medal play-off match on Thursday.
In another semifinal, Australia defeated Germany 3-1 to reach the summit clash of the Tokyo Games. As a result, India will face Germany for third place in the mega sporting event.

Tokyo Olympics: India men’s hockey team lose semis 2-5 to Belgium, to play for bronze


Tokyo [Japan]: The Manpreet Singh-led Indian men’s hockey team suffered a defeat at the hands of Belgium in the first semi-final of the ongoing Tokyo Olympics here at Oi Hockey Stadium North Pitch on Tuesday. Belgium defeated India 5-2 in the semi-final and they will now face the winner of the second semi-final between Australia and Germany in the gold medal match on Thursday.

On the other hand, India will lock horns in the bronze medal match on Thursday with the loser of the game Australia and Germany. The Indian boys started well and looked to keep up the good work, but lost the tempo slightly in the last quarter and that is where the boys from Belgium capitalised. In fact, the last goal was a case of the Belgium players taking advantage as India withdrew goalie Sreejesh and brought in a field player.
Loick Luypaert gave Belgium an early lead in the match as he registered a goal in the starting minutes of the first quarter and as a result, India was put on the back foot straight away.

However, India struck back as Harmanpreet Singh and Mandeep Singh scored goals in quick succession, and as a result, India gained a 2-1 lead in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Belgium got the equaliser as Alexander Hendrickx successfully converted a penalty corner, and it brought the scoreline level to 2-2. No more goals were scored in the second quarter, and the scoreline remained level.

The deadlock was not broken in the third quarter as well, and as a result, heading into the last 15 minutes of the game, both India and Belgium were highly tensed. In the fourth quarter, it was Belgium who struck first as Hendrickx scored his second goal of the match, giving Belgium a 3-2 lead with more than 11 minutes still left to play.

A few minutes later, Hendrickx got his hat-trick as he converted from a penalty and hence, Belgium gained a 4-2 lead. In the end, Belgium managed to hang on and the side registered a victory, progressing ahead to the finals, their second successive final appearance.

Earlier, India had defeated Great Britain 3-1 in the quarterfinals on Sunday to enter the last four stage.

Olympics: Need courage and mindset to come back after losing opening matches, says Rani Rampal

Tokyo [Japan]: India women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal was proud of the Women in Blue as the team executed their plans well against Australia and booked a historic berth in the final four of the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Gurjit Kaur scored the lone goal in the match during the first half through a penalty corner in a very tightly contested match.
“I am super proud of the team especially each individual player. Before the game, we just said one thing to each other, give it all that you have then we will see what will happen, just don’t focus on the semi-final or final. We just concentrated on sixty minutes and we put all our energy and focus on our jobs,” Rani Rampal told reporters after the match.

“By scoring the goal in the first half and then defending it especially against a team like Australia is not easy. We played as a team and according to the plan of our coaches.”

“When we entered the tournament, everyone thought our pool was tough and it was tough. After losing opening matches with such margins it’s not easy to come back in the tournament and it needs a lot of courage and mindset.

“The first half against the Netherlands gave us a lot of confidence and after the Great Britain match, we all were crying because of not that we lost the match but because that we didn’t follow the plan. We are in semis now and it’s an open game now. We will celebrate for a little today and will focus on the next game.”

Earlier on Sunday, the men’s hockey team also reached the semi-finals after Manpreet Singh’s side defeated Great Britain 3-1.

Talking about both men’s and women’s hockey teams reaching semis, Rani said, “There can’t be any bigger moment to be proud of in Indian Hockey because if team sports does anything it unites the nation.”

Reflecting on the moment of victory, the Indian skipper pointed, “I couldn’t believe it for a second and it feels like I was dreaming.”

Olympics: Indian women’s hockey team make history, beat Australia 1-0 to reach first-ever semi-final

Tokyo [Japan]: The Indian women’s hockey team created history on Monday here at Oi Hockey Stadium — North Pitch — as they qualified for the semi-finals of the Olympics for the very first time after defeating Australia 1-0.

In what comes as a historic day and possibly the greatest moment for women’s hockey in India, Gurjit Kaur scored the lone goal in the match during the first half through a penalty corner in a very tightly contested match. The Indian players looked to give it their all as they ensured Gurjit’s effort didn’t go in vain. The Australians threw it their all, but the Indian women refused to buckle even though the Aussies kept piling the pressure with each passing minute.
The first quarter started in great pace as both teams put their foot on the accelerator and the forwards from both teams came very close to finding the back of the net. But none succeeded in scoring after the first fifteen minutes.

After saving a penalty corner on another end, India soon got the second PC of the match in the second quarter. India’s star drag-flicker Gurjit made sure that she made the opportunity count as she gave the Women in Blue a crucial lead against the mighty Aussies. Indians went for a direct PC and after hitting the legs, the ball hit a stick and found a way into the goal. Notably, Australia had conceded just one goal in the tournament so far.

In the second half, Hockeyroos as expected came in waves as they looked for the goal. But India goalie Savita and the defense stood firm. The Indian team made sure they did not give any space to the Aussies as chances became rarer and rarer for their forwards as the game progressed.

India again kept Australia at bay with some smart defence in the last quarter as they made sure they didn’t let Hockeyroos spoil the dream of making it to the semi-final.

Earlier on Sunday, the Indian men’s hockey team reached the last four of the Olympics for the first time in 41 years as the team defeated Great Britain 3-1. The last four berth had eluded the Indian men’s hockey team since the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games where the team led by V Baskaran won the eighth Gold medal for India.

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