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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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India submits bid to host 2023 men’s hockey World Cup

Press Trust of India

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Hockey World Cup

Lausanne (Switzerland): India is among the three nations who have presented their bids to host the next edition of the men’s World cup, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said on Thursday.

India, who have hosted the men’s World Cup thrice, wants to conduct the event in the January 13 to 29, 2023 window.

Belgium and Malaysia are the other two nations who have also sent their bidding dossier to conduct the men’s event but they prefer to host the event in the July 1 to 17, 2022 window.

For the Women’s World Cup, five countries have presented their bids, the FIH said in a release.

While Germany, Spain and the Netherlands want to host the event in the July 1 to 17, 2022 window, Malaysia and New Zealand are keen to conduct the tournament in the January 13 to 29, 2023 window.

“It’s great to see that so many national associations and countries want to host our quadrennial flagship events. This is encouraging for the further growth of our sport,” FIH CEO Thierry Weil said.

An FIH Task Force will meet on November 6 to thoroughly examine all bids and make a recommendation to the Executive Board (EB).

The EB will take the final decision on both events’ hosts on 8 November 2019 during their next meeting in Lausanne.

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Indian hockey team in good shape, says women’s coach Sjoerd Marijne

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Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne
Sjoerd Marijne with his wards.

Bhubaneswar: FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers is to be held on 1st and 2nd November 2019 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

This is the first time the Indian women’s team will be playing at the Kalinga Stadium. Rani, the team’s skipper said, “We have been looking forward to play here for a long time now. This is a dream come true moment for many of us and we thoroughly enjoyed our first session of training at the Kalinga Stadium on Monday. We are hopeful hockey lovers from this region will come to support us in our quest to make the qualification for 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”

Chief coach Sjoerd Marijne has emphasised on the two high-intensity practice sessions which take place on 19th and 26th October at the Kalinga Stadium.

“I want the athletes to have an idea of the kind of atmosphere they will be playing in on match days. We have opened two of our training sessions on Saturdays in the lead up to the event, so that the players can get a feel of the environment here,” said Marijne.

Speaking about the next two weeks in Bhubaneswar where the women’s team is training, Marijne said, “I think we are in that perfect rhythm at the moment and I want the players to build on this momentum. We are training one session every day and I am quite happy with the energy and confidence the girls are showing.”

The Indian Women’s Team will have open training sessions on 19th and 26th October 2019. These practice sessions will be open for public in order to give the local support the opportunity to watch their Women’s team’s players live in action before the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Odisha.

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India beat Belgium for fourth straight hockey victory

Press Trust of India

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ind vs bel
Action during the match.

Antwerp (Belgium): The Indian men’s hockey team eked out a fighting 2-1 win over reigning World and European champions Belgium to register their fourth consecutive win of the tour here on Tuesday.

Amit Rohidas (10th minute) and Simranjeet Singh (52nd) scored for world no.5 India.

Belgium’s lone goal came from the stick of captain Felix Denayer in the 33rd minute.

Riding high on confidence after their 5-1 win over Spain in the third match of the Tour of Belgium, the Indian men’s hockey team started on an attacking note against the hosts and earned a penalty corner in the 10th minute, which was duly converted by Rohidas to give his side the lead.

World no. 2 Belgium, however, did not sit back and tried to counter the Indian attacks.

But some last-ditch defending from the Indians coupled with some fine saves by experienced goalkeeper P R Sreejesh helped the visitors go into first quarter break with a one goal lead.

The second 15 minutes had a similar story as the visiting team enjoyed possession in the opening few minutes, creating a few chances but the quarter ended with the hosts putting intense pressure on their opponents.

With five minutes to go for half-time, Belgium earned their first penalty corner of the match, but Indian custodian Krishan B Pathak, who replaced Sreejesh for the second quarter, made an outstanding save to deny the world champions from levelling the scores.

India, thus, managed to maintain their one goal lead at the halfway break.

Belgium showed their quality in the opening minutes of the third quarter as they secured another penalty corner in the 33rd minute and Denayer scored with stunning drag-flick to level the scores.

Thereafter, both the teams seemed focused on not giving away possession cheaply as the third quarter ended on level terms.

Belgium made a fast start in the final quarter and won a couple of penalty corners in quick succession but Pathak was upto the task again as he made some crucial diving saves to deny the hosts.

India, on the other hand, were happy to sit back and wait for their opportunity.

India’s tactic bore fruit in the 52nd minute when they scored a well-constructed team goal in the 52nd minute through Simranjeet.

Down by a goal, Belgium attacked in numbers in the dying stages of the match and in the process earned another penalty corner, but the Indians came up with some resolute defending to secure their fourth consecutive win of the tour.

The Indian men’s hockey team will again face Belgium on Thursday.

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