Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympic Games: Hockey gets underway

The women's Olympic hockey competition got underway at 1.30am GMT with Japan sneaking by New Zealand 2-1. It opens what is set to be an outstanding tournament with a number of major contenders for the title

Among them, the current World Champions, the Netherlands, have not won Olympic Gold for 24 years, but are arguably the favourites.

Argentina, winners of the recent 2008 Champions Trophy in Mönchengladbach, have never won Olympic Gold, but this could be the year that “Las Leonas” and the sensational Luciana Aymar to finally bring home the biggest prize in world hockey.

2004 champions Germany and host nation China are also well in contention while GB look stronger than the last number of outings. Australia are ususally a powerhouse but are not as strong as usual. They are currently struggling against Korea, trailing 4-1 at half-time, the Asians could yet be an outside bet.

A full round-up of the day's action will appear on the website later today.


Live Hockey -

Germany vs GB will be live on BBC from 3.45pm today and is also available on the Red button for digital users. The same match will also be shown on's Olympic web page.


Day One Olympic trivia:

* This year's olympiad is the 100th anniversary of Ireland's best ever Olympic finish. The first ever hockey Olympic final was played on October 31, 1908 in London. England took gold by defeating Ireland 8-1. The competition was contested by Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.

* Of Ireland's Olympic athletes, there are a number (very tenuous) links to hockey. Sailor Phil Lawton - who gets underway in the 470 class tomorrow afternoon - goes out with former Trinity and Genesis first-teamer Kim Wallis.

Badminton's Scott Evans will be well-known to many Wesley College players having attended the school before turning pro and emigrating to Denmark three years ago. Sailor Timothy Goodbody played hockey in primary school at Castle Park (and possibly St Gerards, Bray) while 800-metre runner Thomas Chamney played in third year in St Columba's.

* The Keller family of Germany are hockey's first family when it comes to winning Olympic medals. Erwin Keller won a silver medal in 1936 in Berlin. His son Carsten was the skipper of the German team that won the gold in Munich 1972. Andreas, son of Carsten, won a gold medal at Barcelona 1992, and two silver medals at Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988.

Natascha Keller, sister of Andreas and daughter of Carsten, won gold at Athens 2004. In Beijing, Natascha is back for seconds while brother Florian is going for his first medal with the German men.

* Scientists at Nottingham Trent University in England recently discovered that the Beijing weather conditions could actually improve the brain functions of athletes competing there.

Working with members of the Great Britain Olympic Women's hockey squad, the study showed that when suffering from heat stress, individuals were able to draw on previously unknown reserves of 'cognitive ability', allowing them to process and correctly react to mental tasks quicker.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

why is there nothing about andreas keller//??