Junior Hockey World Cup: NOC granted for Colts to compete in India

Junior Hockey World Cup: NOC granted for Colts to compete in India

KARACHI: 

The Pakistan government has given the NOC for the national team to participate in the upcoming Junior Hockey World Cup to be held in India from December 8, announced Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary Shahbaz Ahmed Senior yesterday.

The junior hockey team had been training for the mega event for months and had momentum on their side having claimed silver at the recently concluded Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia, and the news came as a huge relief for the team who did not know whether they could participate in the event or not because of the current political situation between the two countries.

“The government has given the NOC for the team to participate in the Junior Hockey World Cup, for which they have been training for months, including their tours to Malaysia and Europe,” Shahbaz told The Express Tribune. “Now they will leave as per the schedule on December 4.”

He further added, “I have informed Director General Pakistan Sports Board Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera about the NOC,” he said. “The team will have to reach Lucknow, India on December 4 so they can take part in practice matches against Canada and Germany.”

Shahbaz also revealed the team will be provided will full security during the event by the Indian government.

Meanwhile, junior team head coach Tahir Zaman expressed his delight at the news. “This is great news indeed. It will certainly help the PHF arrange for our departure on time.”

Zaman further said that the development, while extremely relieving, had no bearing on the team’s training with the camp in full swing at the Johor Town Hockey Stadium in Lahore. “We have been working continuously to improve on our mistakes since the Sultan of Johor Cup ended. We do physical exercises in the morning; video sessions in the afternoon and match practice in the evening.”

The head coach also praised the PHF for arranging the tours to Malaysia and Europe which have helped in boosting the players’ confidence. “The players have gained a lot of experience from these tours and hopefully that will help them at the World Cup,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2016.

Pakistan barred from Kabaddi World Cup in India

Pakistan barred from Kabaddi World Cup in India

NEW DELHI: 

The 12-nation Kabaddi World Cup kicks off this week in India, with a row over a decision to bar arch-rivals Pakistan from competing threatening to overshadow the tag-wrestling sport’s showcase event.Formidable Iran clash with newcomers the United States in Friday’s opening round of the competition that also includes top sides from Australia, South Korea, England, Poland, Kenya and Argentina.

Pakistan beat India in 2016 Asia Kabaddi cup final

With the World Cup last staged nine years ago, teams are relishing the chance to compete in the two-week event being held in India’s western city of Ahmedabad.

But the traditional South Asian sport that mixes tag and wrestling and is growing in popularity has been hit with controversy over a decision to exclude highly fancied Pakistan.

International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) chief Deoraj Chaturvedi, who is from India, said Pakistan has been denied entry because of a spike in tensions between the two nuclear-armed nations.

“This is not the right time to engage with Pakistan,” Chaturvedi told AFP.

“Pakistan is a valuable member of the IKF but looking at the current scenario and in the best interest of both the nations, we decided that Pakistan must be refrained from the championship.”

Pakistan accused the IKF of unfairly targeting the country, saying both rival nations should have been excluded if there were security concerns.

“We have called a meeting to discuss this issue but let me tell you that a Kabaddi World Cup is no world cup without Pakistan,” said Pakistan kabaddi federation secretary Rana Muhammad Sarwar. “This is just like a football world cup without Brazil,” Sarwar told AFP.

Pakistan captain Nasir Ali said his players had been favourites to clinch the cup after defeating India at the six-nation Kabaddi Cup held in Pakistan in May and last month’s Asian Beach Games in Vietnam.

Kabaddi Cup in full swing at Wah

“We were hoping to win the world cup in India by beating India,” Ali told AFP, adding that fans were being denied matches between the top two sides.

Hostilities between the nations have flared after India said last week it conducted military strikes inside Pakistan against militants, sparking fury from Islamabad.

The strikes came after gunmen staged the deadliest attack on an Indian army base in more than a decade, which an enraged New Delhi blamed on Pakistani-based militants.

Indian chief wants more kabaddi events

The World Cup comes as the ancient game, played in sandy parks across India for generations and once tagged with a dowdy image, is enjoying a new lease of life.

The Pro Kabaddi League, launched in India in 2014 with live television coverage, corporate sponsors and brightly coloured lyrca strips, has proved hugely popular and drawn players from Iran and South Korea.

Iran’s skipper Meraj Sheykh, who has played in the league’s last three editions, said his side had grown stronger by playing in India and other international tournaments.

“We have more young players playing for us now and they have the experience of playing in India,” Sheykh told the Times of India newspaper.

Kabaddi requires yoga-like breathing skills as two seven-member teams send a raider into their enemy’s half of the court to tag an opponent before returning — in just one breath.

Attackers chant “kabaddi, kabaddi” to prove they are not inhaling.

The game is played in around 35 countries, but it is dominated by India, where it originated.

Iran, who lost to India in the previous two world cup finals in 2007 and 2004, have a relatively easy first match against first-timers USA.

An opening-day double header will also see India lock horns with South Korea. A round-robin tournament, the top two sides from the pools will qualify for the semis, with the final on October 22.

Source The express tribune

Alex Pietrangelo focused on training for World Cup

Alex Pietrangelo focused on training for World Cup

After busy summer, Blues captain turns attention to helping Team Canada.

It has been an eventful summer for St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

Pietrangelo already knew he’d be a member of Team Canada for the World Cup of Hockey 2016, which starts Sept. 17, but from getting married to his fiancée, Jayne, in July, to building a second house in his hometown of King City, Ontario, to go with his home in St. Louis, to being named the 21st captain in Blues history on Thursday, Pietrangelo has had a full plate.

He hasn’t allowed all the good things in his life to stop his training for the World Cup.

The majority of the players on Team Canada, one of the favorites to win the World Cup, were members of the Canada roster that won the gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

“It’s been a busy summer, getting married and all that. I had to flip the switch pretty quick,” Pietrangelo said. “It’s a little different having to play a month earlier than normal, but definitely excited to start the season. It’s certainly going to be a fun tournament.

“For me, I’ve played with a lot of these guys at the Olympics so to be able to reunite with most of them and have the opportunity to do something special again as a group, that’s a good feeling and it’s going to be some of the best hockey I’ve ever been a part of. I’m lucky and privileged to be named to that team.”

Pietrangelo will be joined on Team Canada’s roster at the World Cup by Blues teammate Jay Bouwmeester, a late replacement for injured defenseman Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Team Canada opens its training camp Sept. 5 in Ottawa.

The Blues ended last season with a six-game loss to the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final. With Pietrangelo and St. Louis hoping for another long playoff run this season, he has given a lot of thought to how much to train and when to scale back.