need European hockey coaches"
need European hockey coaches"
"IF you are looking for results in hockey, you must go for a European or Australian coach," says Olympian and former Malaysian skipper Sarjit Singh. "Asians may have been better or more accomplished than players from other parts of the world but coaching is a different ball game," he says.
"We cannot match the scientific and strategic planning of European and Australian coaches. See Pakistan and Malaysia. Ever since they engaged foreign coaches, their results have improved considerably," adds Sarjit. A finance professional, Sarjit has taken to coaching part time after retiring from competitive hockey.
Sarjit Singh not only represented Malaysia in all major hockey events, including Olympic Games, World Cup, Asia Cup and Asian Games, but has also been associated with the training of the junior team. His parents come from Punjab. He was in the city with the Malaysian junior team which was here to play the fourth and last Test.
Though he took the team to Jalandhar for an exhibition game with the Ramesh Hockey Academy, he could not spare time to visit the villages of his father and mother in Amritsar.
"I have been with the Malaysian junior team for more than six months. I have learnt a lot from Paul Lissek, the German coach, who has been training our national (senior) team. He is a giant and after playing in more than 200 internationals, including Olympic Games, World Cup, Asian Games and other tournaments, I find myself nowhere compared with Paul," admits Sarjit.
Hockey has become very scientific and technical. As such, strategies, game plans and training methods which were used in the 80s and 90s have become redundant now.
Both Europeans and Australians have such a strong command over the game that the rest of world has no choice but to emulate them. Gone are the days when Olympians from India and Pakistan were welcome for coaching assignments anywhere in the world. Many of the best hockey coaches never played the game at the international level. But their ability to analyse moves and strategies and to counter opponents on the basis of their strengths and weaknesses have put the Asian teams under pressure, says Sarjit.
"We lost all four Test matches against India Juniors. We will play four Test matches in Pakistan before we return home on March 15. In April, we will be back in Pakistan to play in the Asia Cup for Juniors. These matches will be held in Karachi from April 20. We have Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, China and India in our pool.
"We came here to learn what our weaknesses were and so that we could improve our game in time for the Karachi tournament. I am satisfied with the performance of my boys. Four of my boys are in the senior team, playing in the Olympic qualifiers at Madrid. One player, who was a member of the bronze-medal-winning Malaysian team in the 2002 Asian Games, is injured.
THE Indian hockey team heaved a sigh of relief after qualifying for the Athens Olympics by virtue of the 6-4 win over Canada in the Olympic qualifiers at Madrid on March 9.
However, contrary to earlier belief, the battle for securing an Olympic berth was hardly a smooth affair. The Indians huffed and puffed before eventually succeeding in their endeavour and their campaign was not without a couple of upsets.
After being held to a 1-1 draw by
minnows Belgium, India managed a 5-3 win over Malaysia but not before
Paul Lissek's team had given them a fright with a 2-0 lead in the first
three minutes. In their third encounter against Pakistan, India tasted a
5-3 defeat following a four-goal blitzkrieg by penalty corner expert
Sohail Abbas, who achieved a 100 per cent success rate in short corners.
India badly missed the services of Jugraj Singh, who is recovering from
injuries sustained in a road accident last year. Later, the Indians kept
alive their hopes with a 2-0 win over New Zealand but the 6-4 victory
over Canada in the crucial pool B encounter once again saw the Indians
almost letting the opportunity slip from their grasp. Leading 5-0 at one
stage, the score was 5-4 midway into the second half before Ignace
Tirkey came up with a delightful reverse flick to clinch the issue. The
absence of a penalty corner specialist indeed was a worrying factor and
with the Olympics hardly five months away, the Indian team management
needs to address this problem with all seriousness. — A.S.B.
sets the pace
HE is not a world ranked player but is certainly one of the all time heroes of Indian sport. With rare exceptions, he is at his best when he wears India colours.
Yes, tennis star Leander Paes is in a different category altogether. Though his best rating has been 73, he has given over hundred per cent and more. These days he is not even rated. And barring his encore with Mahesh Bhupathy in the doubles Leander’s performances on the ATP circuit, when he has made the cut, is very ordinary. Yet he is one of most successful Davis Cup players in the world.
In fact after his heroics in the tie against New Zealand in February, Leander is in the 11th position in the all time Davis Cup performers.
Leander has even caught up with Ramanathan Krishnan on the home front. Krishnan was the first man after Independence to give special meaning to Indian tennis. And till recently he had one of the finest records in Davis Cup which in his days was played on a different format. And after the Indian victory over New Zealand, Leander has equalled Krishnan’s record of the highest number of wins, a total of 69, singles and doubles put together. While Krishnan made this record in 43 matches Leander had done so in 34 ties.
It has been a spectacular performance from this player who made his Davis Cup debut at the age of 16 against Japan in 1990. It was a successful beginning for him since he more than contributed in India’s victory. In fact one of the features of the match was the 18-16 win in the fifth set, one of the longest ties in the history of Davis Cup.
In many ways the tie against New Zealand was a bench mark for Leander. It was for the 16th time that he won all his three matches and it was the 24th time that he had, by his individual heroics, had led India to a victory. And the fact that he had not played any singles for nearly a year and that he had just recently recovered from a major operation to the head speaks volumes of this player’s commitment to Indian tennis.
The Indian colours do something to him. They turns him from an ordinary player to a great one. That is the only explanation possible if one looks at some of the big names he has humbled. Can anyone imagine a player, not even among the top 100 of the world, beating world ranking stars like Wayne Ferreira, Goran Ivanisevic, Henri Leconte, Marc Rosset, and all those who entered the court with much higher rating. All it requires for Leander to be goaded into top gear is the national colours.
No wonder that he is an Olympic medalist, a bronze in the Atlanta Olympics where he took Andre Agassi into the tie-breaker and then beat the higher rated Fernando Melgeni after losing the first set in the fight for the third spot. And as for Asian Games, he is perhaps next only to P. T. Usha in the number of medals he has contributed to the Indian kitty.
DAVID Beckham makes more money when he is not playing.
The English football icon earned an incredible £ 6.75 million last year from advertisements alone taking his total earnings to almost 11 million pounds.
Beckham got a £ 4-million salary from the Old Trafford Club and almost 7 million pounds from off-field sponsorships and endorsements.
At just 28, with the possibility of many more mega-deals in the future, Beckham could be on his way to becoming the richest sportsman in world history, the tabloid ‘Sunday Mirror’ has reported today.
The earnings are revealed in accounts for Beckham’s first Footwork Productions, where he channels all his non-football income.
He paid himself £ 5.5 million in wages and another £ 1.25 million in share dividends in the financial year ending last April.
The company made a total of £ 8.7 million, compared with £ 3.5 million the previous year.
Even after Beckham collected his share and paid his taxes, there was still another £ 1.2 million in the kitty, the report said.
The money comes from advertising deals with mobile phone firm Vodafone (1 million pound) and previously with Brylcream (1 million pound).
There are also 1 million pounds endorsements with Police sunglasses and Rage software, for lending his name to computer games.
Now even that level of wealth will be made to look small as the working class boy from Chingford, East London, continues his transformation into a global brand as Beckham is earning even more after his transfer last summer to Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Gail hard as nails
athlete Gail Devers, who swept to the women's 60 metres title at the
World Athletics Championships in Budapest on March 6, was the cynosure
of all eyes for quite another reason. With her trademark long painted
nails gleaming under the lights, Devers remained the centre of
attraction for curious onlookers after she had pulled away from Kim
Gevaert of Belgium and Yuliya Nesterenko of Belarus. Her nails, more
than an inch in length, also attracted photographers who clicked
pictures not only of the athlete in action but also of her ‘talons’.
Hats off to Baldev Singh
Apropos of "Shahbad, nursery of women’s hockey" by Rahul Das (February 28), hockey coach Baldev Singh’s contribution in making Shahbad a hockey centre will be long remembered. Currently working as Deputy Director (Sports) in Haryana, it was his dedication to the cause of Indian hockey that brought fame to Shahbad. He does not like interference during selection. He loves hockey so much that he has built his house just 50 metres away from the ground. There are about 50 girls and boys from Shahbad working in Indian Railways who have been his trainees. He does not crave for fame or awards.
I am proud of my coach.
Bhupinder Kaur, Kapurthala
The January cricket Test will be remembered for its historical and emotional importance not only by Indians or Aussies, but also by the entire tribe of cricket lovers. Ironically, Steve Waugh commenced his cricket career on this turf in 1985. Steve proved to be the most successful skipper for Australia who added excitement to the game. Stephen Rodger Waugh, we shall never forget you!
H.S. Dimple, Jagraon
Nothing could encapsulate the Indian drubbing at the hands of the Aussies more appropriately than the cricket fan who displayed a placard which read ‘Follow on’ at the Sydney Cricket Ground on February 8.
Surjeet Mann, Sangrur