Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ritu Rani looks at the young brigade to fire in the Commonwealth Games

Scotland, July 22, 2014: Going by the present form of her team, seasoned midfielder and captain of the Women Hockey Team, Ritu Rani seems very positive and assured of a striking show by her young players at the Commonwealth Games which is close at hand.

Reassured by the current shape of her team, which is at its best form and with confidence soaring high, Ritu Rani is anticipating a victorious performance in the upcoming matches and is looking forward to finale clash for the upcoming Games. She also is optimistic and inspired by the thumping victory in the just concluded Malaysian Tour, which was the team’s groundwork for the Commonwealth Games.

Speaking on the current form of her team, Captain Ritu Rani said, “I am very confident and at ease with the present form of my team members. Each player, irrespective of whether they are experienced or young, is high on confidence and determined to give their best. A very interesting aspect that I see amongst the young players in this team is their hunger to showcase their play and to prove themselves on the international arena. Be it Ritusha or Anupa in the forward or Lilima and Navjot in the Midfield or Namita in the defence each one has stood up to their responsibility and delivered with elan in the past and I see them yet again eager to deliver”.

 The Women Hockey Team will take on Canada on July 24 in their first match in the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Glasgow (Scotland).

-HI Press release 

We too would like an India Vs Australia clash in the finals, says Sardar Singh

Scotland, 22 July 2014: When Australian legend Jamie Dwyer expressed his views towards the outing of both India and Australia in the Commonwealth Games 2014, the Indian Men Hockey team’s Captain Sardar Singh too shared the same feelings and is keen to see the Kookaburras clashing against his team in the finals of the upcoming Commonwealth Games at Glasgow, Scotland.

With just a day left for the inauguration of the Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland, the Men Hockey Team of India is upbeat towards accepting any and every challenge coming their way in the tournament and a win is what rules the mind of every player in the team.

Speaking on the preparations of the team, Indian Men Hockey Team Captain Sardar Singh said,“Just like my counterpart legend Jamie Dwyer, we too would like to see Australia in the finals with us. While we had lost the match against Australia in the World Cup, the second half of the game cannot be overlooked, as our defence made a significant come back in restricting Australia’s goal scoring spree. Our defence line-up is in place and now it is time for the forwards to deliver their best.”

Speaking on the practice match against England, Captain Sardar Singh added, “The team is showing major signs of improvement and the players’ is morale is on a high as we took on England in the recent practice match and won by 3-2. We played fast hockey with our passes being the key in beating them during our practice game. The training sessions have grown intense and faster as the testing time approaches. We have worked on the pace of the game and the team is in form with the passing.”

The Men Hockey Team will clash with Wales on July 25 in their first match of the Commonwealth Games at Scotland.

A HI Press release

FIH makes changes in indoor hockey rules

Lausanne, July 22, 2014: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) Executive Board has approved several changes to the rules of indoor hockey following a proposal from the Rules Committee. The majority of the changes are aimed at improving gameplay and the experience for spectators, while others are clarifications and tidying up of existing rules.

Most notably the number of times a team may substitute their goalkeepers off the pitch will now be limited to two per game, as opposed to the previous possibility for unlimited substitutions. The change addresses the issue of multiple goalkeeper substitutions during matches, which were detracting from the game and spectator experience. It also ensures that goalkeeping skills continue to be an integral part of the game, while still allowing teams to make tactical use of goalkeeper substitutions at suitable points during any game. 

A limit on the maximum length of a hockey stick will be introduced into the rules for the first time, following the use of this requirement as a regulation at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup in The Hague last month. In recognition that goalkeepers were swapping to longer sticks for shoot-outs, which was considered as being against the spirit of the rules, all sticks must now be a maximum of 105cm long. 

The breaking at a penalty corner regulation, which has been successfully used at FIH tournaments, is introduced as a full rule. An attacker who breaks into the circle early or any defender who crosses the back-line early is sent beyond the centre-line. Special provisions apply if a goalkeeper crosses the back-line early, with one of the other defenders being required to go beyond the centre-line. The use of this regulation has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of breaks, encouraging fair play and reducing the amount of time spent on re-setting penalty corners.

Leandro Negre, FIH President, said the rule changes would help drive the continued growth of the sport: “In all forms of the sport we strive to create the most fair, entertaining and competitive environment possible, with particular consideration for our increasingly global fan base. The changes introduced embody these values and are aimed at improving the game at all levels”

Rule Changes to Indoor Hockey 2015
The following are the changes that were recommended by the FIH Rules Committee to, and approved by, the FIH Executive Board: -
i. Date of implementation: It was agreed that this should remain as 1 January 2015.
ii. Terminology
i. Hit – to be amended to ‘Striking or ‘slapping’ the ball …’ with the guidance from page 23 to be moved to this section
iii. Composition of team
i. Rule 2.3a – last paragraph of guidance to be changed from ‘If the goalkeeper or player with goalkeeping privileges is suspended, the offending team plays with one less player’ to ‘ … plays with one fewer player’

ii. Rule 2.3b – the change from 6 to 5 players has resulted in a tactical re-think on the part of a lot of Indoor Coaches, whereby their teams will try to attack with 5 field players and defend with 4 field players and a goalkeeper. This has resulted in multiple goalkeeper substitutions during matches, which has not been seen as an attractive aspect of Indoor Hockey.
In an effort to address this issue Rule 2.3f was adjusted, with effect from 25 November 2013, such that goalkeepers needed to be substituted (as all other players) within 3 metres of the centre-line. Whilst this has had some effect, it has not had the desired effect, and with agreement from the respective Continental Federations two trial goalkeeper substitution experiments were set up to operate at the PanAm Indoor Cups in Montevideo (URU) 7-12 April 2014 and at the Men’s Indoor Asia Cup in Changhua (TPE) 16-22 June 2014.
Following consideration of the feedback from the trials and a review of the information from the Rules questionnaires, the preferred route is a limitation of two fully kitted GK substitutions off the pitch per match (with allowances for injury and/or suspension) which would still permit teams to make tactical use of these at suitable points in any match.
Rule 2.3b currently reads: -
There is no limit to the number of players who are permitted to be substituted at the same time or to the number of times any player is permitted to substitute or be substituted

A Mandatory Experimental Rule 2.3b will read: -
There is no limit to the number of players who are permitted to be substituted at the same time or to the number of times any player is permitted to substitute or be substituted, except that the number of times a team may substitute their goalkeepers off the pitch is limited to a total of two per match
If a team has used their full allocation of goalkeeper substitutions and their goalkeeper is injured and incapable of continuing then, for safety reasons, that team is allowed if it so wishes one further substitution onto the pitch of another goalkeeper who is wearing full protective equipment. The substitution of this replacement goalkeeper should take place in accordance with Rule 2.3g and its guidance.

In the event that a goalkeeper receives a temporary suspension, their return to the pitch following its completion does not count towards the total number of goalkeeper substitutions, but only if they are replacing a player with goalkeeping privileges or another field player. Should they return to the pitch in place of another goalkeeper who is wearing full protective equipment, this will count towards the total number of times a team may substitute off their goalkeepers.

If a team has used their full allocation of goalkeeper substitutions and their goalkeeper receives a temporary or permanent suspension then, for safety reasons, that team is allowed if it so wishes one further substitution onto the pitch of another goalkeeper who is wearing full protective equipment. The substitution of this replacement goalkeeper should take place in accordance with Rule 2.3g and its guidance.
iii. Rule 2.3d – the guidance to be adjusted from ‘one less player’ to ‘one fewer player’
iv. Conduct of play: players
i. Rule 9.5 – the guidance regarding ‘slap’ hitting is to be deleted and inserted in the terminology section.
ii. Rule 9.11 - Guidance to be adjusted from ‘The player only commits an offence if they voluntarily use their hand, foot or body to play the ball …’ to ‘The player only commits an offence if they gain an advantage  …’
iii. Rule 9.19 – greater emphasis to be placed in the guidance on intentional, as compared to unintentional, trapping of the ball against the boards.
v. Penalties
i. Rule 12.1 - Guidance that ‘If awarding a penalty is not an advantage to the team which did not break the Rules play must continue’ to be deleted, since it does not add anything to the Rule
ii. Rule 12.4c – given that the Regulation concerning Breaking the line at Penalty Corners will be adopted as a Rule, the requirement that a penalty stroke is awarded ‘for defenders persistently crossing the back-line before permitted during the taking of penalty corners’ will be deleted. Breaking at Penalty Corners can now be managed using the new Rule, noting that the penalty stroke provision was only very rarely invoked
iii. Rule 12.5 – the provision, if there is another offence or misconduct before the awarded penalty has been taken, to progress a free push by up to 5 metres is to be deleted. This has become redundant with the new Free Push Rules and the ability to self-pass, whilst any other offence or misconduct can be managed using the other provisions in Rules 12.5b, c and d, and/or Rule 14 Personal penalties.
vi. Procedure for taking penalties
i. Rule 13.3h – this Rule that ‘until the ball has been played, no attacker other than the one taking the push from the back-line is permitted to enter the circle and no defender is permitted to cross the centre-line or back-line’ is to be supplemented by the adoption of the Breaking at a Penalty Corner Regulation as a Rule
ii. Rules 13.7b, 13.7c & 13.7d – to be adjusted by the adoption of the Breaking at a Penalty Corner Regulation as a Rule
iii.      Rule 13.10d - the guidance that ‘if the player defending the stroke prevents a goal being scored but moves either foot before the ball has been played, this player must be warned (green card) and for any subsequent offence must be suspended (yellow card)’ to be amended to ‘if the player defending the stroke prevents a goal being scored but moves either foot before the ball has been played, this player may be awarded a personal penalty and for any subsequent offence must be suspended’.
vii. Personal penalties
i. Rule 14.1b – it was decided not to adopt the Regulation that a green card indicates a temporary suspension of one minute as a Rule, since it was considered that the green card as a warning is still important at lower levels of the game. It will however remain as an FIH Tournament Regulation
ii. Rules 14.1c and 14.1d – the guidance to be adjusted from ‘… one less player’ to ‘… one fewer player’.
viii. Umpiring signals
i. 4.6c Penalties – as a result of the deletion of Rule 12.5a and advancing a Free Push up to 5 metres, it follows that the signal should also be deleted
ix. Field and Equipment Specifications
i. 2.18 Stick – in view of longer than normal sticks being used by goalkeepers at Shoot-out competitions, the stick specification will now include a maximum length provision, ‘the length of stick, as measured from the top of the stick to the bottom of the head of the stick (line X in Figure 3 on page 57 of the Rules of Indoor Hockey), shall not be more than 105cm’

A FIH Press release

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Arshdeep Tiwana emerges round two leader at Karnal

Arshdeep Tiwana 

Karnal, Haryana, June 25, 2014: Arshdeep Tiwana of the Golden Greens Golf & Country Club, Gurgaon, took the sole second round lead at the PGTI Feeder Tour event at the Madhuban Meadows Golf Course in Karnal. Tiwana shot a two-under-66 at the par-68 course to end up with a two-day total of seven-under-129. Delhi’s Suleman Ali, Pradeep Kumar of Noida and Pune’s Dinesh Raghuvanshi are all in tied second place at six-under-130.

The cut was declared at three-over-139. Forty-six professionals made the cut.

Arshdeep Tiwana (63-66), the overnight joint leader, grabbed the sole lead on day two after firing a 66 that included seven birdies and five bogeys. Tiwana was off to a slow start as he dropped four bogeys and made a lone birdie on the front-nine. Arshdeep turned it around with a brilliant back-nine. He birdied the 12th and 13th before losing a shot with a bogey on the 14th. The 25-year-old Gurgaon-based professional closed the round in style with birdies on the last four holes.  

“I wasn’t at my best on the front-nine as I dropped far too many shots. But the back-nine was a different story altogether. I sank a 15-footer to pick up a stroke on the 13th and drove it really well on the last four holes to set up comfortable chip-putt birdies. My caddie egged me on to play better on the back-nine and that helped my cause. I’ve set myself up nicely for the last round and would look to capitalize on each opportunity that comes my way,” said Tiwana, a former winner on the Feeder Tour.

Suleman Ali leapfrogged from overnight tied 22nd to tied second place after returning the tournament’s joint best score of six-under-62. His round featured seven birdies and a bogey. Dinesh Raghuvanshi, the overnight joint leader, and Pradeep Kumar also joined Suleman in tied second. Raghuvanshi shot a 67 on day two while Pradeep fired a 65 to rise from overnight seventh to joint second.

Raju Singh of Noida, Ravi of Chandimandir, Haryana and Kolkata’s Samaresh Sardar are in tied fifth at five-under-131.

Aditya Bhandarkar of Pune, who also fired the tournament’s joint best score of six-under-62 on Wednesday, is a further shot back in eighth place. Bhandarkar made an eagle, seven birdies and three bogeys in round two.

Karnal golfer Maniram Sharma (five-over-141) missed the cut.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Indian challenge at Japan Open ends

New Delhi, June 21, 2014: Indian challenge at the 2014 ITTF World Tour Japan Open Superseries came to an end when Jun Mizutani beat Achanta Sharath Kamal 11-4, 11-5, 11-6, 13-11 in the pre-quarterfinals of the $300,000 event this afternoon.

Earlier in the morning, Soumyajit Ghosh exited from the semifinals, going down in straight games to Hugo Calderano of Brazil in the u-21 singles. The Brazilian, who won 11-9, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 at Yokohama, has come a long way from his early shaky appearances to beat the Indian.

It was no shame for the top-ranked Indian in the world to go down to the higher-ranked Japanese, but what was disturbing was the meek surrender of Sharath Kamal. In fact, the Indian was kept on a tight leash right from the beginning by the classy Japanese and it took the toll on a normally fighting Sharath Kamal. Unfortunately, the Indian was rendered clueless on the day as Mizutani kept exploiting Sharath’s weak backhands.

As for the u-21 semifinals, Hugo was all concentration on the day and it showed in his game. Matching stroke for stroke, he did not give much leeway to the Indian who seemed good in the first two games. Ghosh, however, could not sustain the pace needed to outwit the Brazilian who was clinical in his approach throughout the semifinal match.

Ghosh admitted to his folly of not continuing with his attacking game. “I made far too many mistakes and could not reply as well as I should have to my rival. He seized the chances and scored many winners of my negative play,” said Ghosh, who had beaten Hugo in the Brazil Open two years ago in the pre-quarterfinals.

Peter Engel, the foreign coach, was happy with the way the Indians had prepared for the CWG Glasgow. “The twin tour of Korea and Japan has given our paddlers a very good match practice and they have done reasonably well in the two top-class events. I am happy for their good showing,” said the coach.

India’s men paddlers will return to India before departing for the Commonwealth Games next month. Meanwhile, the women paddlers who are training in China too will join them after their training stint.

TTFI Press release