Saturday, January 31, 2015

Delhi Waveriders to play host to Dabang Mumbai on their home turf today

New Delhi, January 31, 2015: The turf of Delhi gets ready for another thrilling game of hockey as hosts Delhi Waveriders will be at odds with Dabang Mumbai in the ongoing Hero Hockey India League, on 1 February 2015 at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi. So far the two clashing teams have not yet registered a win to their name and thus will put in all efforts to defeat the opponent and emerge victorious. 

Sitting at the foot of the points table with 5 points apiece, both Dabang Mumbai and Delhi Waveriders have played three games each, drawing two and losing one, in the League as of yet. With the next game scheduled between the two, the teams will step out on the turf with their best line-up and strategies to take on each other and gain a winning momentum. This is the first time in this season of the League that these two teams will be locking horns and bringing into play the most excellent of their tried and tested strategies and game approaches against each other.

Coached by the very experienced Valentin Altenburg, the newly crafted side Dabang Mumbai has some real star players in its line-up which will allow them to take on their opponent team with much fervour and confidence. 

On the other hand, undeterred by the absence of their Captain – Sardar Singh, Delhi Waveriders will give their finest shot in the impending game with an aim to record a triumph and live up to the expectations of the Coach Cedric D’Souza and their very enthusiastic home crowd. Delhi Waveriders and Dabang Mumbai are ready with their finest hockey, promising to deliver an exciting game tomorrow.

Speaking on the upcoming match, Coach of Delhi Waveriders, Cedric D’Souza said, “This is an important game for us. We have worked on our plans and bettered it for the upcoming matches. The team has also worked on its defence and I am sure we will make a comeback in the next match.”

Commenting on the match, Delhi Waveriders’ Defender Rupinder Pal Singh said, “The next match is going to be very important for us. We have identified gaps in our performance, have worked to rectify them and I am sure we will not duplicate the same mistakes in subsequent games.”

Remarking on the impending clash, Coach of Dabang Mumbai Valentin Altenburg said, “I’m very satisfied on how the whole team works on their action goals. The game against Ranchi was a step in the right direction. Tomorrow we will take the next step. We will play the Dabang style with heart for 60 minutes and then we will see what is on the scoreboard."

Confident ahead of the next match, Dabang Mumbai player Tom Boon said, “We have learnt a lot from our past games and now we are all set for the next match. We have worked on certain areas and will surely give our best to win this one as it is very important one for us. Delhi is a strong team but I am confident of a good show tomorrow.”

HIL Press release

Shiva Keshavan finishes 15th in Nations Cup

Lillehammer, Norway, January 30, 2015: In Luge, the fastest sport on ice, athletes have to tune their senses and overcome the fears of the danger posed by the incredibly high speeds and G-forces while negotiating the course in a highly competitive field.

On Friday, Shiva Keshavan did just that as he brought India to a 15th place finish at the Nations Cup in Lillehammer, Norway. In fact he took it a step further. Shiva had suffered a dangerous crash during the official training in which the runners of his sled were completely shattered at over 120 kmph. It was good fortune that ensured Shiva was unhurt, but he was presented with a unique problem for the second time in his career that he had no sled to race with in Friday’s race.

The last time Shiva was faced with an identical situation was at the 2010 Olympic Games. 5 Supreme court lawyers had donated one lakh rupees each to pay for a new sled, which Shiva competed on for the 2010 Games. This time, without the high profile event of the Olympics around the corner and no media to highlight the issue, Shiva was contemplating returning home without being able to compete. That was not to be. His competitors from Norway, who had the necessary spare parts, in a wonderful gesture of sportsman spirit, gave Shiva the replacements he needed.

Overcoming your fears of speed and G-force to negotiate the Luge run is one thing but coming back from a crash two days before the race to post your personal best time if quite another. That was exactly what Shiva did in the race on Friday. A personal best time of 50.654 second on the Norway track. The result qualifies Shiva for the World Cup that will be held on Sunday, and would be a boost to his morale after the crash.

On the phone from Norway, Shiva was quick to brush aside the accident. ”Never Give In is my motto”, he said, ”I have improved my performance a lot this year thanks to my coach Duncan Kennedy. I am sure the best is yet to come.”

This story talks about the courage and determination of an athlete representing India and also the ideal of sportsman spirit shown by competitors towards each other. It is ironic to know that the government of India refused Shiva’s request for financial support for his equipment and Coach while another nation was so generous in their solidarity to another athlete.

Shiva Keshavan will compete in the World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway on Sundaywhere he will cross the 120 kmph speed once again in search for another personal best time while adapting to the spare parts another national team has provided him.

Press release

Uttar Pradesh Wizards trounce Kalinga Lancers 5-1 in Lucknow

Lucknow, January 29, 2015: Match IX of the ongoing Hero Hockey India League saw an awe-inspiring and spectacular game of hockey between the marvellous home team Uttar Pradesh Wizards and the talented Kalinga Lancers where the hosts defeated the visiting team by 5-1 today, at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, Lucknow.

The first quarter of the game saw the home team being awarded with a penalty corner. V R Raghunath took the strike and without leaving any room for mistakes, very efficiently put the ball in the mesh. The ball swiftly passed through the sturdy guards of Kalinga Lancers’ goalkeeper Andrew Charter before touching the nets and announced an early lead of 1-0 for the Uttar Pradesh Wizards over Kalinga Lancers. Despite a number of scoring attempts by both the teams in the subsequent quarter, none could materialize the chances and the second quarter remained goal-less. The half time score was 1-0 with the home team in the lead.

Uttar Pradesh Wizards, with their brilliant man-to-man marking, were all over the Kalinga Lancers’ defence and maintained dominance in the game in the third quarter. Although no goals were scored in the third quarter, with some very good moves and maximum ball possession, the home team made their intentions of winning the game very loud and clear to the opponents.

The fourth quarter began on an exceptional high where Uttar Pradesh Wizards struck thrice within three minutes to soar up the score to 4-0, gaining insuperable lead over the Lancers. The second goal for the Wizards came from the stick of SK Uthappa, immediately followed by another field goal by Bob De Voogd and a quick next by Wouter Jolie. Russel Ford scored the lone goal for Kalinga Lancers in the dying moments of the game. Just before the final whistle, Uttar Pradesh Wizards got a penalty stroke and Jeroen Hertzberger flawlessly converted it into the fifth goal for the hosts, escalating the score to an insurmountable 5-1.

Speaking on today’s game, Coach of Kalinga Lancers, Jude Felix said, “It was a very disappointing performance today. We were in the game till the third quarter of the match but the fourth quarter changed the entire game.  Few of our best defenders came out of the pitch within four – five minutes due to small injuries and that changed the entire scenario. We tried hard to come back in the game but the team was not in sync as there was lack of coordination.”

Remarking on the match, Kalinga Lancers Captain Vickram Kanth said, “We failed to restrict the strikers of the opponent team as our entire team was mostly playing in the midfield. There were opportunities that we missed in the match today. We will try and work on the mistakes and will deliver better results in the next match.”

Ecstatic on today’s win, Coach of Uttar Pradesh Wizards, Roelant Oltmans said, “It was really necessary for us to win the match today and I am glad that we succeeded in doing so. The team had a new captain in this match that turned out to be fruitful and I will keep rotating the captains in the future matches as well. This strategy seems to be working for us. The third edition of HHIL is much more competitive as compared to the last two editions as every team is playing fantastic hockey and I am certain that such tough competition will ultimately help the Indian players to play and improve their skills even further.”

New Captain of Uttar Pradesh Wizards, Wouter Jolie said, “This was a much needed win today as this is our first in the League till now. The team was in good shape today and performed well too. The second goal by the team really boosted the confidence of all of us. During the half time we discussed the strategies and decided to play with coordination along with team spirit and this turned out in a fantastic win today. Though I am satisfied with our performance today, there is still room for improvement.”
Hero Goal of the Match – Bob De Voogd.

Man of the Match – Wouter Jolie.

HIL Press release