Defence is the Strength: Mathias Ahrens, Chief Coach Indian Women Hockey Team

With the Hockey World League Semi Final to be held in Antwerp, Belgium from June 20 to July 5, the Indian Women hockey team is training hard under the new Chief Coach Mathias Ahrens.

Mathias Ahrens (Chief Coach of Indian Women's Hockey Team) with the team at a training at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi

Mathias Ahrens (Chief Coach of Indian Women’s Hockey Team) with the team at a training at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi

Ranked 13th in the world, Indian eves will face world best teams in the Antwerp leg of Hockey World League (HWL) Semi Final which will be first assignment of Mathias Ahrens as chief coach of Indian Women Hockey team. India are placed in a tough Pool B along with Australia, New Zealand, hosts Belgium (12) and Poland (23) while Pool A consists of Netherlands, Korea, Japan, Italy and Azerbaijan.

Looking at giving a strong performance during the all important tourney, Mathias Ahrens talking before the practice session looked confident with the team, their enthusiasm to learn and booking a spot at Rio Olympics. Continue reading →

Rani: The Spectacular Hockey Goal Scorer from Shahabad

In June 2001, a seven-year old daughter of a cart-puller from Shahabad Markanda (Haryana) picked up Hockey Stick, and debuted for India in 2008 Olympic Qualifiers in Russia  at the age of just 14.

Rani Rampal Childhood Photographs

Rani Rampal receiving some prizes in her early hockey playing days (Do not use the photo without permission)

Rani Rampal, born on 4th December 1994, has represented India in more than 100 matches and have scored some of best goals in women’s hockey. Continue reading →

Smith-Puzo hangs up field hockey stick after decade on U.S. Women’s National Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Veteran field hockey player and two-time Olympian, Keli Smith-Puzo (Selinsgrove, Pa.) has officially announced her retirement and is hanging up her field hockey stick after a glittering 10 year career as a striker on the U.S. Women’s National Team.

“There will be a huge void to fill on team with the absence of Keli,” said Steve Locke, Executive Director for USA Field Hockey. “She is a wonderful player, wife and mother and an inspiration to many young athletes. I want to congratulate her on what she has achieved and wish her every bit of success in all her future endeavors. Aside from her athletic accomplishments, Keli recently played an important role on the search committee for USA Field Hockey’s Women’s National Team Head Coach.” Continue reading →

Good to be back in the Games Village after years: Ignace Tirkey

Ignace Tirkey is looking ahead for good games

Ignace Tirkey is looking ahead for good games

2010 Padmashree Awardee, Ignace Tirkey feels good to be back in the games village after 6 long years. Last time, he experienced the environment of the games village when he captained the Indian Men’s Hockey team in Melbourne for the Commonwealth Games 2006. He missed the 2010 Commonwealth and Asian Games due to injury. Sandeep Singh and Ignace Tirkey are the only two members of current squad who represented India at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

India’s most experienced Hockey Player at London Olympics, Ignace told thefansofhockey.com, “Current team has a good team spirit and works as a unit. The team is encouraged to put up their best efforts in the Olympics.” For the former captain of India, who plays for Services/Army in domestic circuit, reaching the podium is the target at Riverbank Arena. Continue reading →

Gurjinder Singh of Chandigarh Comets: Bridgestone WSH ‘Rockstar’ and ‘Golden Stick’

Gurjinder Singh (IND)

Gurjinder SinghGurjinder Singh

City / State : Punjab, DOB: 1-04-1994
Field Position : Defender
Junior India debut: Sultan Johor Cup 2011 (Named Captain, but could not play due to injury)
WSH Team: Chandigarh Comets
WSH Goals: 19

Chandigarh Comets’ 18-year-old drag-flick powerhouse Gurjinder Singh made a dream debut in the league, and won Bridgestone WSH ‘Rockstar’ to take home a cash prize of Rs 1 crore . He also shared Bridgestone WSH ‘Golden Stick’ with Syed Imran Warsi from Chennai Cheetahs (19 goals apiece).

His Hockey Story: He comes from a village where every school, every child plays hockey. His interest in hockey grew when he saw India’s international player Prabhjot Singh (from same village) play, and to see someone from that small area representing the national team was very encouraging for Gujinder Singh. So he started playing hockey when he was 10 years old. A year later, he joined the Chandigarh football and hockey academy. Since then, there has been a steady growth. Continue reading →

Shakeel Abbasi of Delhi Wizards: Bridgestone WSH ‘Game Changer’

Shakeel Abbasi (PAK)

City/State : Quetta (Pakistan) DOB: 05-01-1984

Field Position : Forward
International Debut : 2003
International Caps : 200+
WSH Team : Delhi Wizards
WSH Goals : 8

Delhi Wizards’ Pakistani import, Shakeel Abbasi, who also won the maximum number of MoM awards in the league and he scored total 8 goals in the inaugural edition of Bridgestone World Series Hockey. He was awarded with Bridgestone WSH ‘Game Changer’ with prize money of Rs 25 lakh.

His Hockey Story: Right from childhood, he was very interested in sports. Cricket and hockey were the most popular games then and he spent more time playing than doing anything else. But he developed a liking for hockey at an early age and started taking the sport seriously. His parents encouraged him a lot. Since his elder brother, a hockey player, was an inspiration for him. He captained my school team, joined a hockey academy where he could fine tune his skills and that’s how his hockey journey began.

Shakeel on playing in India: “It’s always a pleasure playing in India. The kind of treatment we get there makes us feel really special. Sometime, I feel we get better treatment from the crowd than the Indian players! The great thing this time is that because of WSH, I will get to play in different cities of the country. Chandigarh and Delhi are famous for the love of hockey but playing in Bhopal, Mumbai and Pune will be an enriching experience.”

Shakeel on most memorable moment of his career: “Winning the Asian Games in 2010 is one of the high points of my career. We were under a lot of pressure as we hadn’t won anything major for a long time. A month before the Asian Games, we had a dismal outing at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. So to win under that pressure showed our team’s strength and it also helped us book a berth for the London Olympics!”

Reference: World Series Hockey