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World Premiere of Hockey Movie Chak de India in London

Hockey movie Chak de India, starring Shah Rukh Khan, releasing worldwide on August 10

hak de India, starring Shah Rukh Khan in the lead role as the coach of Indian girls hockey team, will have its world premiere in London on August 9 at Somerset House in London.

Shah Rukh, along with actress Vidya Malvade and other girl players, will attend the premiere. Director Shimit Amin and producer Aditya Chopda will also be there.

Around 2000 people are expected to attend the premiere. A red carpet will be laid and a huge screen and surround sound system will be put in place at Somerset House for the film’s premiere.

The film's story revolves around a hockey coach who returns to the game 7 years after he was disgracefully ousted from it as a player. Vidya Malvade plays a Sikh girl with a strong passion for hockey. She wants to join the Indian team after her marriage, but her conservative parents are against it.

Not all is hunky dory when Shah Rukh takes over as the coach of the girls team. However, he coaches the girls and they then go to Australia to play in the Women's Hockey World Cup, where their grit, determination and integrity is tested.

'Chak De India' has been shot at various locations in Australia, including Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. While shooting in stadiums, the movie's producers, Yash Raj Films, gave out invitations to people to come and watch the shooting from the stadium seats. This way they managed to gather in the stadium huge crowds that served the movie's purpose well.

'Chak De India' has music by Salim-Suleiman. The screenplay is by Jaideep Sahni, while the costumes are by Mandira Shukla.

The movie features a real-life goalkeeper, Lalhmingkimi Khiangte of Meghalaya, who was selected for the movie after a 20-day camp conducted by the film producers in Delhi.

Ms. Amrit Bose, secretary of the Indian Women's Hockey Federation, said, "We are very happy with the whole project and are delighted to see the promos on television. We are waiting eagerly for its release. I will make sure that all the national team players watch the film at Lucknow, where they are presently in a training camp."

'Chak De India' will hit the theatres worldwide on 10 August.

Indian Women's Team Gets Foreign Coach For 2 Weeks

Dutch coach Herman Kruis

utchman Herman Kruis has been appointed the first foreign consultant to the Indian women's hockey team. His first assignment is a 2-week coaching stint with the Indian team in preparation for the forthcoming Women's Asia Cup, to be held in Hong Kong from September 1 to 9.

Confirming the news, I. S. Gill, one of the coaches of the Indian women's team, said: "Kruis is not the coach of the team and he has not replaced anyone. He is here to impart his knowledge and expertise for a period of 15 days."

Kruis reached Lucknow on August 2 and took charge of the ongoing senior camp, which had already begun in the first week of July. Altogether 36 probables are preparing for the Asia Cup, at the camp that will continue till August 27.

Sources in the Indian Women's Hockey Federation (IWHF) said that though Kruis' appointment is temporary (till the Asia Cup), it is likely to be extended.

Most probably, Kruis would not be chief coach even if he does become part of the coaching team. The Indian team is presently being coached by I. S. Gill and Punjab National Bank Hockey Academy coach N. S. Saini.

A source in the IWHF said, "Our first priority is that Kruis gets as much time as possible with the players and the coaches. After we see his performance, we will decide whether to appoint him full time."

Kruis is an FIH Grade I coach, with an impressive winning record as a coach in the national, continental and international arena. There is no hockey coach in all of India, either men's team or women's team coach - who has comparable wins as a coach.

National: Kruis was the chief coach of the Hertogenbosch women's team since 2000; the team won the Dutch national championship and European club championship seven years in a row.

Continental: Kruis was the coach of the Dutch national indoor hockey team that won European Club Championship for seven consecutive years.

International: Kruis was the chief coach of the Dutch national women's indoor team that won the FIH Indoor World Cup in Vienna earlier this year.

3 Indians To Play For Stuttgart Club In German Bundesliga

Germany Hockey Club HTC Stuttgart

idfielder Viren Rasquinha, his Indian Oil teammate and forward Deepak Thakur, and midfielder V. S. Vinaya of Indian Airlines will play for HTC Stuttgarter Kickers in the German Bundesliga.

The Kickers have contracted the players from August 12 to October 22, when the winter break sets in. The Bundesliga doesn't resume until February-March next year, providing the Indians with an ideal opportunity to return to the country and play for their employers too.

Viren will be the first to join the Kickers on August 13, with Deepak and Vinaya scheduled to follow a few days later. Incidentally, Vinaya (Indian Airlines) will be making a switch from the Spanish league, where he has been playing for the past two years.

"The Kickers agreed to my employers Indian Oil Corporation's demand that we be released for the domestic matches. As of now, we are free as there is a lull on the national scene. We should be back in time for the national-level tournaments," Viren, 27, said.

Viren was impressed with the Stuttgart club's professionalism, saying: "A day after the deal was clinched, I got my air tickets, details about my accommodation and my training, practice and match schedules. The German efficiency is amazing."

In the past, the Kickers have provided a platform for players like Jagbeer Singh and Dhanraj Pillai. The Kickers won the Bundesliga title in 2005, but finished 5th in 2006.

Mumbai's Viren Rasquinha - A Scholar and a Sportsman

Photo courtesy: The Times of India
Article courtesy: The Indian Express

ar from the muddled fields and the notorious politicking of Indian hockey, former captain Viren Rasquinha has discovered how far he can progress through the world of studies.

An impressive GMAT score of 700-plus offers Viren the option of picking from some of the top business schools in the United States and India, anytime within the next five years for which this score is applicable.

A six-figure starting salary beckons once the course is complete, though the talented medio has recently accepted an offer that is more sporting than corporate: a 2-month contract with the Stuttgarter Kickers of the German Bundesliga.

Rasquinha said that he recently took a break from the game for six months to prepare and write competitive examinations.

"I like these verbal, quantitative and analytical exams where it's not about mugging up. These are professional tests and tough, but in the end the high scores separate the average contenders from the good ones," said Viren.

One of the more articulate members of the Indian side, Rasquinha's always had a mature outlook in life. Says Viren, "Any sport has a life-span for its players, and I'm probably approaching the end of the line for me. I've always known that I needed something to fall back upon."

Though Viren has started applying to colleges, he will only consider starting his academic term in 2008 or later.

Returning to books was more laborious, Viren admits. "I'd not studied since my graduation in 2001 - that's six years ago," he laughs, adding that though his first attempt wasn't too fruitful, he gave it his all in the second. "Whatever I do, I like to do it well," he says.

Rasquinha has proved it is possible to take the best from both studies and sports. "There's the discipline, leadership and teamwork elements involved in management. From the hockey field, it's about learning to seize the initiative and good communication skills," he says.

The seasoned midfielder has always been creative in his tactics on the field. B-school degree formalities should be a cruise to Viren.

Indian Hockey Federation Wastes Rs. 75 Lakhs Software

Article courtesy: The Indian Express

espite being a global hub of technology, India stands nowhere when it comes to integration of technology and sporting performance.

A prime example is the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF). A year after the Sports Authority of India (SAI) procured a hi-tech video analysis tool called Sportscode to study the deficiencies of self and rivals, the technology finds itself being nowhere utilised by the federation.

And that is after coughing up Aus $250,000 (approximately Rs. 75 lakhs) for purchasing the tool developed by the Australia-based sports technology major Sportstec.

"It was not a very user friendly system, so it is no longer being used by the Indian team," said A. Prasanna, the video analyst of the team.

Countered Philip Jackson, managing director of Sportstec, "The user-interface of Sportscode is our USP. Any technology requires a sink-in time. It cannot produce results overnight. You have got to be meticulous about its use, and once you are familiar, you can draw maximum benefits from it."

"The problem in India is that you have had three hockey coaches in the last year and-a-half, and the playing patterns are never constant; neither is the approach. So the poor showing of the Indian hockey team has nothing to do with the limitations of our technology. We have a strong enough clientele, which includes top soccer clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea; even Hockey Australia subscribes to our technology and they are the Olympic champions. For a country like India it is only long term plans that can produce results," he added.

In response, IHF secretary K. Jyothikumaran could only say, "Sportscode was procured by SAI and handed over to us. We are not using it as the primary tool anymore."

However, Jyothikumaran did admit that patience with technology has seldom been a virtue associated with the Indian sports fraternity.

So that again takes us back to the same old story of lackadaisical coordination between the nodal sports body (SAI) and the individual sports federation (IHF), with the loser being the sport (Indian hockey).

Photograph of the Month

Photograph courtesy Dil Bahra

he Photograph of the Month for August 2007 is a rare shot of an Olympic gold medallist of pre-Independent India (1936 - Galibardy) with an Olympic gold medallist of newly independent India (1948 - Balbir Singh Sr.).

The following was sent in by Dil Bahra, who arranged the above meeting:

The meeting took place at Joseph Galibardy's son Nevil's house in Walthamstow, London on July 4, 2007. Joseph Galibardy talked about his first appearance for the Bengal Nagpur Railway in the Beighton Cup Tournament in 1935.

He remembered the 1936 Berlin Olympics very well, knowing exactly who played at what position. He had an excellent recollection of the Games, mentioning the 1-4 defeat to the Germans in the warm up game, after the Indian team had had their lunch only an hour before the game which they thought was a practise match.

Then Balbirji and he had a long discussion about players such as Dara, the National Hockey Championship, and hockey in the Punjab.

The two legends of hockey exchanged memories and laughed and joked about hockey in the early 1940s and 1950s. The meeting lasted for nearly two hours, after which Joseph Galibardy saw Balbirji off to his car (photo attached) to show the mutual respect they had for each other.

Mr. Galibardy looked in very good health and was able to walk unaided.

Balbir Singh Sr. had the following recollection of his meeting with Joseph Galibardy:

It was a pleasure to meet a veteran 11 years senior to me. He was thrilled. It appeared that he had not met any hockey player from India since he left the country. We discussed the teams, individual players and results of our periods.

I am lucky to have met all Olympic captains since 1928, more than half the players of the three teams before Independence (1928, 32, 36), played against some of them, and with Dara as our captain at Bombay-47, when Punjab won the Nationals for the second time in a row.

The other day our friend Carmo D'Cruz initiated a debate on the longevity of cricket and hockey players. The longest living hockey players I have met are: Feroze Khan-1928, Nimal-1936, Galibardy-1936 and Leo Pinto-1948.

Money Matters

ike India has announced a 3-year partnership (July 2007 - July 2010) with the Mumbai School Sports Association (MSSA), the only all-encompassing school sports association of its kind in the country.

In the three-year period, Nike will be the official title sponsor for 11 of the 21 tournaments that MSSA organises, in both the boys and girls' categories. These 11 sporting disciplines include:

  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Cricket
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Tennis
  • Squash
  • Table Tennis
  • Volleyball

Over 550 schools and 40,000 school children from across Mumbai participate in the MSSA tournaments each year.

Rev. Father Jude Rodrigues, president MSSA said, "The opportunity to be associated with a global sports major like Nike is very exciting. MSSA has a vast pool of talent waiting to be tapped. This will improve the opportunities and prospects for kids with the potential to become great athletes of tomorrow."

Media Matters

he hockey-themed movie, Chak de India, will be releasing worldwide on August 10, 2007. Movie credits are as follows:

Role Person
Director Shimit Amin
Producers Aditya Chopda
Yash Chopda
Writers Shimit Amin
Jaideep Sahni
Starring Shah Rukh Khan
Vidya Malvade
Music Directors Salim Merchant
Suleiman Merchant
Cinematography Vishal Sinha
Editor Shimit Amin
Distributor Yash Raj Films
Visitor of the Month

Raju M. R. Venkateswaran of Green Country Sports Academy, Bangalore, is this edition's Visitor of the Month. Raju wrote the following to BharatiyaHockey.org:

I have undertaken to train more than 1000 boys and girls in hockey over a span of 3 years. I started 3 weeks back at a school in Bangalore, and presently I am training/coaching 300 boys and girls.

I need two to four hockey goal posts, and four goalkeeping kits. I will be happy if some persons come forward to help me. I am a former Bangalore University and Karnataka state player. I quit my bank job to join a school to promote hockey by conducting mass coaching.

Thanking you in anticipation.

Raju Venkateswaran
(Mobile) 984531195

Fun With Numbers

Statistics by B. G. Joshi

he biennial EuroHockey Nations Championships (men, women) will be held at the Belle Vue Hockey Centre in Manchester, England, from August 18 - August 26, 2007. The top three teams in the 2007 men's and women's tournaments will qualify directly for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

This edition of Fun with Numbers deals with hockey in Europe, viewed through the prism of the EuroHockey Nations Championships.

The 3 powerhouses of European men's hockey are Germany, Netherlands and Spain. These are the only countries to have won the Men's EuroHockey Nations Championships. Of these 3, Germany is the only country to have either a Gold, Silver or Bronze in every men's tournament held so far.

The tournament records of the 8 men's teams taking part in the 2007 edition are:

Country Appearances Gold Silver Bronze Best Finish
Germany 10 6 1 3 Gold - 1970, 78, 91, 95, 99, 2003
Netherlands 10 2 6 1 Gold - 1983, 87
Spain 10 2 1 1 Gold - 1974, 2005
England 10 0 1 5 Silver - 1987
France 10 0 0 0 4th - 1970
Belgium 9 0 0 0 4th - 1995, 99, 2005
Ireland 9 0 0 0 5th - 1995
Czech Republic 3 0 0 0 9th - 1974

The undisputed powerhouse of European women's hockey is Netherlands, which has won the Gold in 6 of the 7 Women's EuroHockey Nations Championships held so far.

The tournament records of the 8 women's teams taking part in the 2007 edition are:

Country Appearances Gold Silver Bronze Best Finish
Netherlands 7 6 0 0 Gold - 1984, 87, 95, 99, 2003, 05
England 7 1 1 2 Gold - 1991
Germany 7 0 3 3 Silver - 1991, 99, 2005
Spain 7 0 2 0 Silver - 1995, 2003
Ireland 7 0 0 0 5th - 1984, 2005
Italy 5 0 0 0 9th - 1995
Ukraine 3 0 0 0 6th - 2005
Azerbaijan 1 0 0 0 9th - 2003