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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

India thrashes China; beats Malaysia enters Semi finals of 2016 Asian Men's Hockey championship

Kuantan is the state capital of Pahang, Malaysia. It is near the mouth of the Kuantan River and faces the South China Sea. Kuantan is the ninth largest city in Malaysia.

The 2016 Asian Men's Hockey Champions Trophy is the 4th  edition of the Asian Hockey Champions Trophy for men. The tournament is being  held in Malaysia, Kuantan. Six Asian teams (Pakistan, China, India, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia)  are playing  in the tournament which involves round-robin league among all teams followed by play-offs for final positions. Qnet is the official sponsor.   

In some good news, India finished the round robin stages of the Asian Champions Trophy with a 2-1 win over  Malaysia. The 2011 champions India defied both the Malaysian side which had won all three of its matches and the crowd support as well. Rupinder Pal Singh continued his sublime touch from the penalty corners to score a goal in the first quarter and Malaysia pulled one back with Razie Rahim in the second quarter to bring parity at the break. Into the final quarter, India were reduced to ten men after Surender Kumar was yellow carded with 11 minutes to be played. This gave Malaysia the chance to create pressure on the Indian goal and they did with three penalty corners to their name but none were converted with goalkeeper Akash Chikte producing a sublime game to defy the hosts on numerous instances.  With just 3 minutes to go,  India got a penalty corner of their own and Rupinder was again on hand to give India the goal and a win.

Earlier, India thrashed China 9-0 to stay in the hunt for top spot. Akashdeep Singh, Yousuf Affan and Jasjit Singh Kumar scored two goals each as India steamrolled the Chinese defence. The Indians were looking to equal their 10-goal feat against Japan in this tournament when the hooter ended the contest. Rupinder Pal Singh, captaining India in this contest, Nikkin Thimmaiah and Lalit Upadhyay also made entries in the score-sheet as India boosted their points tally to 10 from four matches, one of which was drawn.

Anything on hockey would not be complete without reference to Indian Gold medals in Olympics, the last of which came in 1980 Moscow.  The teams that boycotted include - New Zealand, Australia and Paksitan. Moscow Olympics hockey competition was played on poligras fields; these synthetic pitches did not have automatic sprinklers. When the pitches had to be watered, it was by lorries with hoses fixed to their bonnets.

In a greatly weakened field of participants, India thrashed last minute entry Tanzania 18-0 in its first match. In one purple patch, India found the net 5 times in as many minutes. This huge victory over Tanzania was the second biggest score in Olympic hockey, after the 24-1 victory by India over USA in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.

In this tournament – India plays South Korea, while Malaysia plays Pakistan in the Semi-finals to be held on  29th Oct 2016.        When will those happy days be back again  !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th Oct 2016.

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