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India rout Japan to enter FIH Series final

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Bhubaneswar: India tore apart reigning Asian Games champion Japan 7-2 in a one-sided encounter to storm into the summit clash of the FIH Series Finals hockey tournament here on Friday, assuring themselves a place in the year end’s Olympic qualifying event.

Ramandeep Singh (23rd, 37th) scored a brace in his comeback match after a long injury lay-off while Harmanpreet Singh (7th), Varun Kumar (14th), Hardik Singh (25th), Gursahibjit Singh (43rd) and Vivek Sagar Prasad (47) all got on to the scoresheet.

Japan sounded the board through Kenji Kitazato (2nd) and Kota Watanabe (20th).

India will face South Africa in Saturday’s final while Japan will lock horns with the USA in the third place play-off match.

South Africa had earlier defeated USA 2-1 in the first semifinal.

Japan took the lead in the second minute from a counter attack with Kitazato turning in a pass from Kenta Tanaka from their first attack.

But India got their act together soon after, as Harmanpreet equalised from a second penalty corner.

Varun then beat the Japan defence with a powerful grounded flick to hand the hosts a 2-1 lead.

In the 20th minute, Japan scored their second goal from a counter-attack as Watanabe sounded the board after being set up by Kazuma Murata.

India restored their advantage three minutes later through Ramandeep, who scored his first goal for the country after returning from a year-long injury break.

Minutes later, India made it 4-2 when Hardik scored. There was no looking back from then on as Ramandeep scored his second goal of the day in the 37th minute while Gursahibjit and Vivek Sagar Prasad also netted from field efforts to register an emphatic win after the change of ends.

The FIH Series Finals provide two spots in the Olympic Qualifiers to be held in October-November this year.

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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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