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FIH Press Release
2 July 2004 - for immediate release

Croatia, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka are Prize Winners

Croatia (Europe), Zimbabwe (Africa) and Sri Lanka (Asia) have been selected as this year's Global Youth Hockey Marathon prize-winners.The jury, who finalised their decision yesterday, comprised members of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Working Group Youth and the FIH Youth Panel.

The Global Youth Hockey Marathon took place on 15th and 16th  May 2004. 45 countries took part in this world youth hockey event designed to stimulate interest in all asects of hockey.

Croatia will receive one week coaching for junior players from the Dutch x-international women’s team the 'Black Tulips', who have offered to conduct a coaching camp for the winning country. Zimbabwe has won a youth hockey kit with 50 sticks, 50 balls and 50 bibs. Sri Lanka will receive a FUJIFILM Digital FinePix 2600 Zoom Camera.

Croatia organised parent-children games. Young players who had never before touched a whistle umpired the games. This turned out to be a great experience! Skills sessions were organised for children, judged by the parents and vice versa: parents had to perform skills under the critical eye of a very serious young jury!
During the event parents became enthusiastic about their offspring’s sport. Croatia is planning further events in which parents are invited to participate, with the aim to make them more active in hockey.

Zimbabwe stood out in its attempt to attract schoolteachers to the game by hosting lectures and coaching clinics for them. In Bulawayo, the southern hockey capital of Zimbabwe, young hockey lovers marched to the hockey stadium, attracting lots of attention from the general public who had to wait for these 'Very Important People' to pass! The Marathon day in Zimbabwe turned out to be a great success and there have been many calls for the event to continue in the future.

Sri Lankan parents dusted down their hockey sticks to play against their children. No less than 120 teams in the age groups U11, U13 and U17 played against each other and against parent’s teams. Young players were also introduced in 'how to become an umpire' and 'how to become a coach', a good start in the process of creating the staff for the future.

A special word of appreciation goes to all the young leaders who have been involved in the organization of this year’s Marathon. Anne Ellis, Manager of the FIH DCC Working Group Youth states: 'It is very encouraging to see that members of the FIH Youth Panel and National Youth Panels have been fully or partly responsible for the organization of this year’s Marathon events. Well done to the young leaders of Wales, England, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Peru and other countries: they have done a tremendous job!'

Congratulations not only go to the prize winners Croatia, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, but also to the other 45 countries who have put the youth first during the weekend of 15/16 May. 'Keep investing in the youth and enjoy the legacy!'

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