Afghanistan, Malawi, Bangladesh, Belgium and Pakistan have been selected as this year’s WorldHockey Youth Challenge prize-winners. They included the central theme “Magic Tricks” in an outstanding way in their activities.
The Magic Tricks event in Afghanistan was opened by the President and Vice President of the NOC. One hundred and thirteen players in the age group 8 to 18, enjoyed a Magic Tricks Day in the indoor hall and at the grass pitch of the NOC complex in Kabul and were encouraged to keep playing and practicing. Noteworthy is that not only boys but girls also participated. Afghanistan Hockey Association has motivated four girls schools to start playing hockey. All the four schools were present, with their women school teachers. Despite of unrest hockey lovers keep it going!
An official ceremony, was held to close the Magic Tricks day, this included the awarding of WH Youth Challenge certificates The entire event was covered by the local TV.
Malawi organized a Magic Tricks Weekend in four different hockey centers: Blantyre, Zomba, Mangochi and Lilongwe. Magic Tricks were organized on Saturday the 16th and the Magic 8-a-side Tournament on Sunday the 17th of May. To make the matches more exciting, players were allowed to score from anywhere and instead of a short corner any deliberate foul inside the “D” resulted in a penalty stroke. Teams were allowed to substitute the whole team to increase competition and participation.
The event was covered by most of the electronic and print media prior to and after the event. Students were featured live on radio stations for panel discussions on the WorldHockey Youth Challenge and the challenges that hockey youth are facing in Malawi.
As a result of the event three companies have pledged to sponsor mini hockey in all areas. A Parents Committee has been formed with the aim of looking for more sponsorship for youth. The number of youth, the demand from schools to start playing hockey and the competition amongst school teams have increased. And, last but not least, free space for articles on youth hockey has been given by a leading news paper.
The Magic Tricks event in Bangladesh was well advertised, via colourful posters and stickers all over the city. This was very successful as 300 children gathered at the gates of the National Stadium in Dhaka to show their abilities. They were first given a WH Youth Challenge T-shirt with the Magic Tricks logo, making them feel proud to be part of the FIH Youth Family. After the opening by the Chairman, the youth took part in a Magic Tricks circuit and mini six-a-side matches. All participants received a Magic Tricks certificate and enjoyed a grand musical show before going home.
Mr. Abdur Sikder, Secretary of BHF said : “Due to this fantastic event BHF got the sponsorship from Capital Group, who will support the youth development programme of Bangladesh Hockey. This is an important step in the development of Bangladesh Hockey”.
In Belgium all hockey youth were invited via the NA website, to take part in a national Magic Tricks event. Clubs were asked to send in videos of their best Magic “Trickers” by YouTube. A jury selected 68 finalists to come to the National Club Championships in Brussels. Here each participant was given 1 minute to show their tricks, in front of an impressive audience of 450 fans.
The winners in the U10, U12, U13 and U15 categories all received a new stick, allowing them to create even more Magic in future! Videos of the prize winners can be viewed here.
Pakistan organized a Magic Tricks circuit for its youth in the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore, including “Aerial”, “Speed”, “Goalie”, “Scoring”, “Double/Triple”, ”Round Circle”, “Match” and “Team” tricks. A winner was selected in each category.
A highlight was the presence of five great Olympians, who demonstrated tricks to the children and showed their love of the game. Olympian Muhamed Saqlain was an excelent role model for the young people encouraging them by his interaction and with his message “just keep practising, keep smiling, you will soon reach your aim”.
APNA national TV Channel made a documentary of this and three other TV channels also included the Magic Tricks day in their programmes.
Reports and pictures of all the participating countries in the WorldHockey Youth Challenge can be found on the WorldHockey Youth website – www.worldhockey.org/youth