Thursday, July 02, 2015

Malaysia’s Olympic dream in tatters after loss to India

Malaysia's Faiz Jali is dejected after losing to India in the quarter-final of the World Hockey League Semi-Finals in Belgium on Wednesday. - FIH
Malaysia's Faiz Jali is dejected after losing to India in the quarter-final of the World Hockey League Semi-Finals in Belgium on Wednesday. - FIH

ANTWERP: Malaysia’s Olympic dream was dealt a bitter blow when they lost to India in the quarter-finals of the World Hockey League Semi-Finals at the KHC Dragons Stadium.
Poor defending in the last quarter put paid to Malaysia's hopes of victory on Wednesday despite holding a 2-1 lead.

The Malaysians only have themselves to blame. They played well in the first three quarters but failed to stem a late fight back from the Indians - who already qualify for Rio as Asian champions.
Now it depends on how the Malaysians regain their composure in the remaining two matches to try and salvage the tournament. Malaysia could still qualify if they secure fifth placing in the classifications matches.

It didn’t take long for the Indians to take the lead. A quick counter attack saw them getting into the D and Satbir Singh scored from close range in the third minute.
Malaysia had a penalty corner in the fifth minute but the Indians were fast enough to get it out of their danger zone.

But the second penalty corner in the 15th minute was well executed with Mohamed Razie Rahim scoring. And in the 23rd minute Mohamed Shahril Saabah added Malaysia’s second, also with a penalty corner goal.
But poor defending in the 48th minute saw India equalise through their sixth penalty corner taken by Jasjit Singh Kullar.

In the 55th minute, Jasjit was again on target from the team’s eighth penalty corner.
Malaysia also had a penalty corner in the last minute, but it came to naught.

“We held the game well in the early stages of the match and even up to the third quarter. But mistakes in the last quarter proved fatal,” said Malaysia’s team manager Stephen van Huizen.
“The players gave their best and we cannot ask for more. We did what was planned but the soft defending and giving away the penalty corners late in the match worked against us.

“Now it is a question of how high we can finish in the classification matches. There is a slim hope but that will depend on how the team regain their composure.”

Jasjit said that he was surprised to score the goals as he was not their main penalty corner flicker.
“It was a tough match and I was given the task of taking the penalty corner as Rupinder Singh was injured. I am glad to have scored. They proved to be important goals,” he added.

India will take on hosts Belgium - who defeated France 5-4 - for a spot in the final.

Nicol extends reign as World No.1 for 108 Months

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 (Bernama) -- Malaysian squash queen Datuk Nicol David has maintained her spot as the world number one women's player for a remarkable 108 months based on the latest Women's International Squash Player Association (WISPA) ranking for July, issued today.

The achievement saw the 31-year old Penangite celebrate a nine-year unbroken reign as the number one player since January 2006, with a plethora of high-profile titles including eight World Championships under her belt.

She was in the top spot from January until March 2006 before Vanessa Atkinson of the Netherlands took over for four months until July, before Nicol reclaimed the crown from August 2006 until now.

Nicol, who accumulated a total of 3,241 points based on the latest rankings, said she felt very honoured to be at the top for nine consecutive years.

"Sometimes I get so caught up on working on getting better and improving myself that it's only when I take a bit of time off to reflect that I come to terms with it," she was quoted saying on the squash website,

"I think that I might only fully comprehend the magnitude of everything when I step out of the game, but that's not going to be happening any time soon," Nicol said.

She noted that this would be an exciting year with every player pushing hard in the competitions, but she was looking forward to the challenge.

Her nemesis, Egyptian Raneem El Weleily has narrowed the gap by just 43 points, with 3,198 points, following her success in claiming the Alexandria International in her own backyard in June.

2015 British Open champion Camille Serme of France also maintained her position in the third spot with 1,668 points.

Nicol's fellow Penangite, Low Wee Wern who missed most of the major tournaments including the Asian Individual Championship held last month due to an ankle injury, dropped one spot to place ninth, with 935 points.

New Zealander Elanor Epke, who reached the semi-final of the Canterbury International in her own backyard last month, enjoyed the biggest jump this month after climbing up to an impressive 89th place from the 141st spot.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Malaysia finish third in Group B after losing 1-3 to Great Britain

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 (Bernama) -- Malaysia completed their fixtures in Group B with a 1-3 loss to Great Britain in the World Hockey League (HWL) Semifinal held at the KHC Dragons Stadium in Antwerp, Belgium.

After losing to the world number five, Malaysia dropped to third place with six points while Great Britain moved to the top of Group B with eight points but will have to wait for the outcome of the match between Belgium and Ireland to be sure of top spot.

Malaysia, ranked 12th in the world, went into the match with two wins - one over China (3-2) and Ireland (4-2) - and a 0-2 loss to Belgium while Great Britain had drawn 2-2 with Belgium and beaten China 8-1.

The final position of both teams will not be known until the completion of the Belgium-Ireland match later today.

Coach Tai Beng Hai said his boys put up a gallant fight and managed to take the lead in the first half through Mohd Haziq Shamsul a minute before the end of the first quarter.

As the match progressed in the second half, goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin was called in to make a number of superb saves to deny Ashley Jackson and David Ames before David Condon came in to level the score at 1-1 from a penalty corner a minute into the third quarter.

A yellow card for Malaysia captain Muhammad Razie Abdul Rahim and a green card for Baljit Singh in the fourth quarter proved to be costly, with Great Britain killing off the game through Jackson and Sam Ward in the 49th and 50th minutes as both the Malaysian players were still serving their punishment in the sin-bin.

Malaysia will play against India if they remain in third position after the Belgium-Ireland clash tonight.

Pakistan and France finished third and fourth in Group A after playing to a 2-2 draw in their final group match and have to wait for the completion of the Group B matches to know their last-eight opponent.

All the quarterfinal matches will be played on Wednesday.

U-13 squad's success has opened a new chapter in Malaysian football - Tengku Abdullah

RAUB, June 28 (Bernama) -- The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah hopes the National Under-13 squad's historic success in winning the Iber Cup Costa Del Sol 2015 will open a new chapter in the development of Malaysian football.

Tengku Abdullah said winning the prestigious youth tournament held in Spain should serve as an example for football development in the states.

Coached by for international Lim Teong Kim, the Malaysian U-13 squad beat Sporting Lisbon 2-1 last Saturday to emerge victorious.

"I hope such development programmes can continue so that we can produce talented young players. State football associations can follow the development programmes adopted by the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) for the long term," Tengku Abdullah told reporters visiting the Raub UiTM branch.

He said though the FAM does not have a strong financial standing the governing body for football in the country would continue to monitor the development of football in the country, especially at the youth level.

The NFDP was set up in 2014, thanks to the vision of Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Malaysia beat Ireland 4-2 to book quarterfinal spot

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 (Bernama) -- Malaysia qualified for the Hockey World League (HWL) quarterfinals after scoring their second consecutive victory by beating Ireland 4-2 in a Group B match in Antwerp, Belgium Thursday.

With the second victory, Malaysia collected six points after earning their first three points by beating China 3-2 on Sunday.

Today's match was also a milestone for national player Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil who was playing his 200th senior international match.

In action at the KHC Dragons Stadium today, world number 14 Ireland gave Malaysia, ranked 12th, a hard time in the early stages, including pulling level after Malaysia had taken an early lead through Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin's 13th minute penalty corner strike.

Peter Caruth levelled the score a minute later.

Seasoned campaigner Muhammad Razie Abdul Rahim restored the lead three minutes later but Shane O'Donoghue again put Ireland on level terms (2-2) on the stroke of half time.

Malaysia dominated the third quarter and took a deserved lead when Perak-born Mohamad Sukri Abdul Mutalib slammed a penalty corner in the 59th minute.

Five minutes before the final whistle Izwan Firdaus made it 4-2 after scoring his second goal of the night to ensure all three points.

Malaysia is scheduled to face host Belgium tomorrow and Great Britain on Sunday.

Malaysia need to finish in the top three of the overall competition to qualify for next year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Brazil.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Khairy mahu S.kumar kembali positif beri sumbangan kepada Negara

KUALA LUMPUR, 23 Jun (Bernama) -- Menteri Belia dan Sukan Khairy Jamaluddin mahu penjaga gol skuad hoki kebangsaan S. Kumar untuk kembali positif dan terus memberi khidmat kepada sukan hoki negara.

"Saya tahu ini adalah cabaran yang begitu besar sekali buat Kumar dan keluarga. Namun demikian, segalanya sudah ditakdirkan.

"Saya berharap setelah beliau dapat meluangkan masa bersama-sama keluarga, beliau akan terus positif dan terus menyumbang kepada negara," katanya kepada pemberita ketika melawat Kumar di kediamannya di Taman Puncak Jalil hari ini.

Pada 18 Jun lepas, Kumar yang dalam persediaan menghadapi kejohanan Liga Hoki Dunia (HWL) di Belgium dikejutkan dengan berita kematian anak bongsunya Harshenn di Hospital Kuala Lumpur.

Berikutan tu, penjaga gol berusia 36 tahun itu dibawa kembali ke tanah air dan menarik diri daripada kejohanan itu yang juga merupakan kelayakan ke Sukan Olimpik 2017 di Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Sementara itu, Kumar ketika ditemui berkata beliau serta keluarga amat berterima kasih kepada Khairy atas lawatan serta kata-kata semangat yang diberikan untuk beliau dan keluarga.

Kumar turut menjelaskan bahawa beliau dan keluarga masih menunggu laporan perubatan anak bongsunya yang sebelum ini dilaporkan meninggal dunia akibat jangkitan kuman.

FAM urged to review decision to hold matches during fasting month - Terengganu FA

KUALA TERENGGANU, June 22 (Bernama) -- The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has been urged to review its decision to hold matches during the month of Ramadan next season (year).

Terengganu Football Association president Datuk Wan Ahmad Nizam Wan Hamid said the FAM should respect the fasting month since a majority of the players in the M-League are Muslims.

"We have decided to object the FAM's decision to hold football matches during Ramadan and hope it does not happen next season. If the application by Kelantan (to postpone matches) can be accepted, why not postpone the matches for all the other states as a mark of respect for the holy month of Ramadan," he told reporters here, today.

Wan Ahmad Nizam regretted that Terengganu's Super League match against Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) on Saturday was held while Tarawih prayers were still being conducted in mosques.

Terengganu lost 0-1 to JDT in a match where the home side was forced to play in an empty stadium as punishment for their supporters' unruly behaviour during the FA Cup match against Lions XII on May 16.

Friday, May 15, 2015

National billiard cueists eye gold in SEA Games

National snooker player Mohd Reza Hassan at the Asian Snooker Championship held in Cheras, KL last month. - Filepic
National snooker player Mohd Reza Hassan at the Asian Snooker Championship held in Cheras, KL last month. - Filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: With “King of Billiards” Mike Russell coaching them, Mohd Reza Hassan and Chooi Yew Wah are ready to deliver Malaysia’s first SEA Games gold medal in the sport in Singapore next month.

The 11-time world champion was roped in to coach the billiards players by the Malaysian Snooker and Billiard Federation (MSBF) in January.

His presence has seen Reza and Yew Wah showing rapid improvement in their game and raised expectations of a gold medal in the Singapore Games. The billiards event will be held from June 6-10.

Reza, especially, was in inspired form as he reached the semi-finals of the Asian Snooker Championship at the Viva Expo Hall in Cheras last month.

The national duo now hope to pull off some upsets in Singapore in the billiards singles, singles 500 points, doubles, scotch doubles and team events.

“Our best bet is the doubles and team events because Singapore and Thailand are very strong in the singles,” said Yew Wah, referring to three-time world champion Peter Gilchrist and Praprut Chaithanasakun.

Reza believes that Yew Wah has also improved under Russell and is confident they can bring home at least a medal.

“The competition is tough but we want at least a gold. We’re still a work in progress in the singles ... but we can take the Thais on in the doubles and team events,” said Reza.

The duo are also looking forward to joining the rest of the snooker and pool players for a training camp in preparation for the Games.

“The camp, which will be held soon, will be good for us, especially to prepare us on the mental aspect of the game,” said Reza.

“As 50% of the game is decided on mental toughness ... if we can stay calm we’ll have an edge over our opponents.”