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Formidable India women look to top pool with another powerful display against Fiji

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Indian women will look to maintain their winning momentum when they face Fiji in their last FIH Women's Series Finals Pool A match in Hiroshima on Tuesday. Photos: Hockey India

Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne says his team is focused on winning regardless of the opposition they face

New Delhi: Following their rich vein of form in the FIH Women’s Series Finals in Hiroshima so far, a formidable Indian women’s team will hope to top Pool A with a victory over Fiji on Tuesday. India began the tournament with two impressive victories against Uruguay and Poland respectively.

Being the top-ranked team in the event, World No. 9 Indian women will look to secure their semifinal berth with a win against World No. 44 Fiji at the Hiroshima Hockey Stadium.

Chief women’s coach Sjoerd Marijne is satisfied with his team’s performances in the first two matches against Uruguay and Poland respectively, but believes that there is still room for improvement. “There is no doubt that the team has played well in the first couple of matches, but we want to be performing at the highest level possible, and I believe that there is still room for improvement. Our conversion rate can definitely be higher and if that happens, it will be easier for us to win the matches,” said Marijne.

“What has impressed me in the first two matches has been the fact that we have created good field opportunities, and have also been able to earn more Penalty Corners (PC). The team is enjoying themselves on the pitch, and that is good to see as a coach that your players are enjoying each other’s company,” he added.

Indian women chief coach Sjoerd Marijne

He continued, “We do realise we are a much higher ranked team than the teams that we have played so far. Everything we do is about entering the semifinals, and that is where our collective focus is. We see our performances in the last two matches from the right perspective that all the good things happened, and the team is very well aware of this.”

The 45-year-old Dutchman also feels that his team is now combining well. “The most important aspect for me, is to see how the players enjoy playing together, and how they combine on and off the field. When you keep trying to combine on the field, it results in everybody getting an opportunity to play and perform as well,” he said.

India have so far accumulated six points from their two matches in the competition, with a 4-1 win against Uruguay in the opening match and a 5-0 win against Poland in their second match. But chief coach believes that the team is focused on winning all the matches. He said, “Even though we have won the first two matches and are in a good position in the Pool, our players are very focused on winning each match. We treat all the matches the same, and the match against Fiji is as important as any other match as it helps us in qualifying for the semifinal.”

On Tuesday, India take on Fiji in their last Pool A match at 10.30 hours IST. All matches from the competition will be streamed on fih.live

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Invitee Kavanagh helping improve tackling skills, feels defender Surender

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New Delhi: Over the past week, the Indian men’s hockey team have focused on improving their defending skills. The team is under the eyes of chief coach Graham Reid and analytical coach Chris Ciriello. Two-time World Cup winner Australian Fergus Kavanagh, who is working with the team on an invitation by Hockey India, a media release stated.

The Indian defender feels Kavanagh’s tips in tackling and positioning will play a key role in team’s outing at the Olympic Test Event next month in Japan.

Surender Kumar one of the most reliable defenders in the current Indian team said, “When we played matches in Australia in May this year, we really felt that we fell short in our defence. We made errors that led to conceding PCs and we also gave away goals in pressure situations. When we regrouped in Bhubaneswar for the FIH Men’s Series Finals, our priority was to get our defence right. Though we eventually managed to execute what we had worked on, it’s now important to show the same consistency against higher ranked teams.”

At the Olympic Test event in Japan, India will play against nemesis Malaysia, New Zealand and hosts Japan. The event will start from August 17 and Surender feels the results of this defender’s camp will show during this event.

Coach Fergus Kavanagh tips in tackling and positioning will play a key role in team’s outing at the Olympic Test Event next month in Japan.

“No doubt this Camp has been very beneficial for the team. We have been watching our previous match videos and working on minor details such as the distance that needs to be maintained between forwards and defence line,” Surender added.

“It’s now important that we execute what we have been doing in these practice sessions in match situations. When we train, we do create mock pressure situations and working with Fergus has been fun because he brings that player-enthusiasm to each session and as a player I admired him for his ability of making zero errors in most tense situations. Though I never played against him I have watched him closely during Hockey India League and having him train with us now is fun and I am sure will be result-oriented,” he continued.

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Hockey India names 33 probables for junior women’s national camp

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The players will report to coach Baljeet Singh Saini at the Sports Authority of India, Bengaluru

New Delhi: Hockey India on Friday named 33 core probables for the Indian junior women’s national coaching camp to begin on July 8 at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Bengaluru campus. The four-week national coaching camp will conclude on August 3, a media release stated.

The goalkeepers who are selected for the camp are Rashanpreet Kaur, Khushboo and F. Ramengmawii, while Priyanka, Simran Singh, Marina Lalramnghaki, Gagandeep Kaur, Ishika Chaudhary, Jotika Kalsi, Sumita, Akshata Dhekale, Usha and Parneet Kaur are selected as the defenders.

Midfielders Baljeet Kaur, Mariana Kujur, Kiran, Prabhleen Kaur, Preeti, Ajmina Kujur, Vaishnavi Phalke, Kavita Bagdi, Baljinder Kaur and Sushma Kumari have been called up.

Forwards Mumtaz Khan, Beauty Dungdung, Gurmail Kaur, Deepika, Lalrindinki, Jiwan Kishori Toppo, Rutuja Pisal, Sangita Kumari, Yogita Bora and Annu have been called up to report the coach Baljeet Singh Saini.

After a great tour of Ireland, where the team won the Cantor Fitzgerald U-21 International 4-nations tournament against the host Ireland, Canada and Scotland, the team went to Belarus and defeated the junior and development teams of the host nation.

Coach Saini is satisfied with the way the team played in Ireland and Belarus. He said, “The team performed exceptionally in our recent tours of Ireland and Belarus. I am very satisfied with the way they played, and this national camp will now give us the opportunity to keep working in the right direction.”

“Our focus in the upcoming camp will be on our basics, fitness, agility and trying our different tactics. It is important that we maintain our rhythm in these four weeks, and keep building towards our ultimate aim which is to lift the junior Women’s Asia Cup next year,” he added.

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Hockey India invites Dennis van de Pol to conduct special goalkeepers camp

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New Delhi: Hockey India named nine players for the seven-day Special Goalkeeping Camp starting on Monday at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Bengaluru. The camp will be conducted by Dennis van de Pol and overseen by Indian men’s chief coach Graham Reid.

PR Sreejesh, Krishan B Pathak, Suraj Karkera, Jugraj Singh, Paras Malhotra, Jagdeep Dayal, Pawan, Prashant Kumar Chauhan and Sahil Kumar Nayak have been called-up for this Special Goalkeeper’s Camp which will be a regular feature in the national coaching program going forward. “This is the first goalkeeping camp in 2019 and it will provide an opportunity for not only our keepers in the 33 core probables but also the upcoming young keepers as well. This will provide an opportunity to get world class coaching and help provide them with the training tools to keep their development moving in a positive direction. The goalkeepers camp will be an important feature in the National program going forward,” stated Graham Reid, Indian men’s chief coach.

Reid further added that this goalkeeper’s camp will give him an opportunity to take a closer look at the available options for goalkeeping. “This will certainly give me an opportunity to get a closer look at the pool of young goalkeepers we have coming through to the senior ranks in the near future,” Reid added.

Dennis van de Pol, who is with Drijver Goalie Academy in The Netherlands as well as the KNHB (Koninklijke Nederlandse Hockey Bond), trains the national youth and also regularly trains foreign teams on invitation. He was formerly associated with the Canadian National Women’s Team and also had a goalkeeping stint in China.

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