No more part-time training as fitness takes centre stage in national squad

KUALA LUMPUR: Part-time sessions have led to half-hearted training by the national hockey players, who now lack fitness. 

To arrest the problem, the National Sports Council (NSC) and the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) have agreed to have full training from June, much like they did for the 1998 Commonwealth Games and the 2002 World Cup. 

The decision was made by the NSC-MHF joint committee meeting, chaired by NSC director-general Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad at his office yesterday. 

The MHF was represented by their deputy president Tan Sri P. Alagendra, secretary S. Satgunam and coaching committee chairman Datuk R. Yogeswaran, along with NSC officer in charge of hockey, Ariffin Ghani. 

At the recent Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, the Malaysians finished in last place and the players' lack of fitness was evident. A fitness test done by the NSC just before the tournament also revealed that the players were not fit enough for an international tournament. 

At the meeting yesterday, the national team's programme was discussed and national coach Paul Lissek reported that the part-time training sessions were doing more harm than good. 

Lissek also said that absenteeism during training sessions was rampant for a variety of reasons like studies and injuries.  

As such, they were unable to fully implement their fitness programmes. 

MHF secretary S. Satgunam said yesterday that the NSC had agreed to full-time training sessions and these would start in June after the European tour next month. 

The full-time stint will continue until the Athens Olympics next year. However, the players will be allowed to play in the Malaysia Hockey League, which starts on May 29. 

“It has been already agreed that the players can play in the MHL. They will come in for the training when the MHL takes a break,” said Satgunam. 

“It is clear the part-time training is one of the major reasons why the players are not fit enough. When they are not in camp, the players also do not maintain their fitness and this has also add to the problem,” said Satgunam. 

“Looking back at our preparations for the 1998 Games and the World Cup, we concluded that it is better to initiate a full-time training programme. 

“Lissek believes this is only way we can get the team ready for the Olympic qualifiers in Madrid next year.”  

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