Bhubaneswar: A day after losing his father Simon Gougnard helped Belgium enter their first ever field hockey World Cup final with a 6-0 rout of England in the Indian city of Bhubaneswar on Saturday.
Alexander Hendrickx scored twice for Belgium to lead the tournament scorers list with seven goals so far at the Kalinga Stadium in eastern Odisha state.
But it was an emotional moment for Gougnard who doubled his team’s early lead in the 19th minute with a penalty corner conversion after getting the news of his father’s demise on the eve of the semifinal clash.
Belgium, who had beaten two-time champions Germany in the quarter-finals, came to all guns blazing with Tom Boon giving them an early lead in the eight minutes of the match.
“We are just really proud at what happened. We played in the honor of (the) father of Simon who suddenly passed away yesterday,” Boon, who was named player of the match, said after the win.
“We did it again today and in the quarter-finals and it is going to be one more step in tomorrow’s game. We just have to put another great performance and hope we can win.”
Belgium will play the winner of the second semifinal between two-time defending champions Australia and the Netherlands later on Saturday evening.
Belgium coach Shane McLeod also praised Gougnard’s mental toughness after he shared the sad news with the team and went on to play in the semis.
“We had words and he shared his news with the group and if anything it brought us closer together. It’s something that you don’t wish on anyone but it’s a circle of life,” said McLeod.
“He played for his father today and he played a fantastic game.”
Cedric Charlier and Sebastien Dockier also scored for the Olympic silver medallists who now eye history in the title clash on Sunday.
For England, their semis jinx continued as they lost their third successive last-four clash in the World Cup.
They will play Germany for the third-place play-off on Sunday.
Hockey: Shahnaz wants PHF body dissolved
ISLAMABAD: Former coach Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh has asked the government to provide necessary funds to Pakistan team for participation in the inaugural 2019 Hockey Pro League but before doing that dissolve the current Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) body.
“This federation did not ask the government when it decided to send the national team for the League. Now, I’ll request the government to appoint new management, which should honor the commitment for participation in the event as it is a matter of respect of the country,” he told the Media. Nine teams will vie in the League, a qualifying event for the 2020 Olympics. The six-month tournament to be played on a round-robin format with home and away games will begin later this month and end in June with the top four sides making to the final at the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen, the Netherlands. World number 12 Pakistan are scheduled to play their first phase matches of the League early next month, starting with the fixture against world number four Argentina in Buenos Aires on 2nd February. Although the PHF on Saturday initially shortlisted 38 players for participation in the FIH Pro League, some recent media reports said the federation was mulling to withdraw from the event because of the fund crunch.
Shahnaz said the decision to take part in the League was taken in haste and the federation did not bother to hold deliberations to gauge its pros and cons. “At least Rs. 300 million are needed to feature in the event as its every match will cost around Rs 30 million.” He said it appeared that the cash-strapped federation did not think before conveying its consent to the FIH to send the national team for the League. “The issue should have been deliberated upon in the PHF executive board before announcing to participate in the event. “Now our team should go for the event as its schedule and venues have been announced. If Pakistan withdraws at this stage, then the formation of the entire tournament would be disturbed and this would convey a very wrong message to the world,” he added. Shahnaz said he was unable to understand on what basis the decision was taken to participate in the League. “Firstly, you don’t have the money for participation in the event. Secondly, you are preparing a new outfit and you believe it is going to beat the world’s top teams to qualify for the Olympics.”
He said India decided not to take part in the competition despite the fact that their federation had sufficient funds as well as a better side. “They (India) chose to stay away from the event as they estimated the chances of qualifying for the Olympics to be higher when participating in the Hockey Series where they will play lower-ranked teams”, he said. More than 20 venues in 11 countries have been selected across the world in a bid to ensure that fans everywhere can experience world-class hockey. The teams scheduled to take part in the event include Pakistan, Australia, Argentina, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, England, Spain and New Zealand.
Hockey: Govt provides over Rs425m to PHF
ISLAMABAD: The government has provided a sum of over Rs425 million to Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) during the last five years for promotion of hockey as the national game of the country.
“PHF is the premier entity for selection, training, and coaching of hockey players and as well as to represent Pakistan internationally,” an official in the Ministry Inter Provincial Coordination told the Media.
He said the federal government was committed to promoting the national game and providing annual as well as special grants in financial allocations as per budgetary resources.
The official said that additionally, PHF generates its own funds from sponsorship and grants in aid from other sources as well.
To a question, he said the government provides regular annual grants, special and supplementary financial grants to the National Sports Federations to promote football in the country at the grassroots level, which takes care of promotion and development of the games.
He said the government was also committed to the well-being of the national sports heroes as they are pride for the county.
To cater for welfare and well-being of sportspersons, he said a scheme titled “Pakistan Culture, Arts and Sports Foundation” was launched in 1991 under the provisions of Charitable Endowment Act, 1890, to provide financial assistance to artists, artisans and sportspersons and their dependents in case of death, permanent disability, serious illness as well as scholarships for educational purposes.
The scheme was established with an endowment fund of Rs30,000 million provided by the federal government. Likewise, the government initiated the Pakistan Sports Foundation Relief Fund in August 2007, with a view to providing financial assistance to sportspersons, exclusively, he said.
About the criteria and eligibility, the official said it is mentioned in rule 2 (b) of Pakistan Sports Foundation Relief Fund (PSFRF) Rules 2007.
The official said as a welfare step of former sports veterans, Pakistan Sports Board has been paying the stipend to the sportspersons and beneficiaries regularly Rs 5,000 per month.
Additionally, he said the sports heroes are also bestowed with President’s Pride of Performance Award with handsome cash award every year that can also be reckoned as a well-being oriented step.
Shahbaz Senior resigns as PHF secretary
ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan hockey player Shahbaz Ahmed Senior on Saturday stepped down as secretary of Pakistan Hockey Federation.
Shahbaz submitted his resignation to the president of PHF. Shahbaz said that there was uncertainty due to lack of funds and hockey cannot be revived without revolutionary measures and government support, a private news channel reported. The consistent decline of Pakistan Hockey made hockey legend frustrated, he said, “Since day one, I kept saying that this system could not run hockey where facilities are not provided and results are been asked.”
“Hockey’s infrastructure is not available, we repeatedly informed authorities concerned about the situation of the sports, but they did not give any heed,” Ahmed laments. Ahmed claimed that despite the unsatisfactory situation, he tried hard to make things better. He also compares Indian Hockey budget with Pakistan’s, “India’s annual hockey budget is more than one billion rupees while the annual grant of Pakistan Hockey is Rs35 million,” Ahmed said.