The Homebush Telegraph Day 15

Sunday, October 01, 2000

The Homebush Telegraph Day 15



Sunday, 1. Oktober 2000


Day 15, final day, of the competition

Today's matches:

11.30 M 11/12 Malaysia - Poland after extra time 3:2 by Golden goal; 2:2 (1:1)
14.00 M 9/10 Spain - Canada 3:0 (2:0)
17.30 M 3 / 4 Pakistan - Australia 3:6 (1:3)
20.00 M 1 / 2 Korea - Netherlands 4:5 after penalty strokes, 3:3 (1:1)

Malaysia and Poland who, before the tournament, were ranked to play off for this position did not look like doing so for much of the tournament. Poland had made life hard for Spain, and virtually eliminated them from any further medal dreams. They also cost India a place in the semi-final by scoring that last minute goal. And yet they were still only playing off to avoid the last place. Malaysia went ahead early, Poland equalising in the middle of the first half. It was Malaysia who struck again, only for Poland to get a goal back within five minutes. After that, the game had to be taken to extra time, and Shanmuganathan Kuhan scored the winner early in golden goal extra time. Poland got the wooden spoon but in their first Games have enjoyed their moments.

Spain wanted to make a statement in their next game against Poland, playing off for ninth position. And with the pressure off it turned out to be a good game, Spain displaying its attacking qualities. Canada also got some chances, but with Jufresa in goal returning to his best they did not score. Spain netted three, with Juan Escarre getting the last one which was quite spectacular.

Pakistan and Australia in the bronze medal match gave a beautiful display of hockey at its most exiting. The nine goals scored where absolutely exciting, and the audience loved it. The Kookaburras got six of the nine, so they took the bronze medal, with Abbas not attempting to score from the spot too often.

Holland made history with also winning back to back gold medals, with Stephan Veen having an outstanding game for his side. The midfielder, who is also going to retire after this tournament scored the three Dutch goals and was finally the one to convert the final penalty stroke to give his team the second gold medal in eight years. Korea had put up a good fight, Seung Tae Song scoring the opening goal, but then Veen struck three times. Korea came back strongly and scored two in five minutes shortly before full time to take the game into extra time. There was no score in extra time, and the Dutch work paid off once more, seeing them converting all their penalty strokes. Seung Tae Song missed for Korea.

An Athlete

The 28-year old Korean forward has established himself as an outstanding goalscorer in the international hockey circuit. Seung Tae Song started to play hockey in school when he was 12 years old. He was then discovered by Kim Sang Ryul when he was 23 while he was playing for the army team. He then went to university to study sport. When finishing 5th in Atlanta he said the players were not happy and wanted more. That is why they came to Sydney very confident and believed in themselves and their ability to win gold. He said the team was ready to give everything, which was quite obvious in the game against Pakistan where Korean players took shots on their body to prevent Pakistan from scoring. Song believes that the strength of the Koreans is that they are technically very good, but the goalscoring is really hard. He says he learns a lot from watching, and has been doing this when he was playing. Something that played a great part in that was his time that he spend playing in Germany, with Gladbach, the club that the exceptional forward Michael Hilgers plays for. Song says he learned a lot from Hilgers, and you can say that is pretty obvious. After the Games he will return to Germany to play some more hockey there.

Names and News

German Coach, Paul Lissek, raised a few points in his team's post match press conference regarding the rule interpretations leading to and also the taking of penalty corners here in Sydney. Quite obviously, penalty corners have become the decisive factor in a game. Most teams have well drilled penalty corner batteries. While we saw in Atlanta players shielding the view of the goalkeeper and ducking away from the shot from their striker, people here have tried to adapt to the interpretation that a shot into the body of a defending player is dangerous. In important games, however, this is used to nullify the opposition corners by running out and taking the shot on the body. Clearly, this cannot be the thing that people had in mind when changing this interpretation. It should, in Lissek's opinion, be the aim of the rules not to make the game more dangerous, but to prevent injuries. In this tournament, the willingness to take such a risk with ones body won one team a place in the final. Another area for his concern is the free hit near the circle which people just bash in and hope the ball will jump up and get them a corner, which is fairly dangerous to players involved. These rule interpretation changes have been crucial in the decision of medals at least in Atlanta and Sydney. Something must happen, in the interest of the safety of players. There is one Korean who will not play in the final, maybe not even walk onto the pitch.

Christian Peterson, who is with the Olympic News Service, has not left the press centre for days. He only got the job here two weeks before the event started and there was not really any time to organise accommodation. So he did what any Aussie does in a situation like that. His swag is located in the photo manager's office, and if journalists are thrown out of the press centre it is not because the venue is closing but because Chris wants to go to bed.

Santiago Deo, the Spanish umpire, will umpire his 230th international in the final of this Olympic hockey tournament. There is only one other umpire who has achieved this in his career. That person is Alain Renaud from France who is also an official at this tournament, being an Assistant Technical Delegate. They are the only two umpires so far to go beyond 200 international games. Santi has umpired the final of most of the past great tournaments, but the Spanish team recently spoiled the party for him when it came close to the top of the world, and started to appear in the final of the most important events thus ruling Santi out of contention. Umpiring with him will be Germany's Christian Siebrecht, for whom, in his first Olympics, this is a remarkable achievement.

Australia's Women's gold medal coach Ric Charlesworth did not celebrate too long. He was seen in the stands today, commentating the bronze medal match.

The Great British Team played a huge part in the winning of the gold medal by the Dutch. For that reason, they were presented by the Dutch side with a T-shirt. Does it say: We helped the Dutch to win gold and all we got was this lousy T-shirt?

FIH president pays tribute to the media

Juan Angel Calzado, President of the FIH, has paid tribute to the part played by the media in bringing these games to the attention of the public at large. In awarding the competition manager, Ron Riley, with the President's Award of Merit for his achievement and hard work in stage managing a memorable Olympic Hockey Competition, Mr. Calzado also paid tribute to the staff and volunteers who have made such an impact on the Sydney games.

Quotes of the day

The hockey God is a Dutchman.
Christoph Bechmann, German player