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Mereseini Marau In New Delhi, India
Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fiji hockey players Adrian Smith and Susana Mudunatagi were named best players of their respective matches even though they lost their games.

This was the first in the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 where the player of the match was awarded to the losing teams.

The duo received high accolades from the international hockey fraternity.

In the men's competition Fiji lost to China in a much contested outing 1-4.

The 70th ranked Fiji side showed a better performance than in their previous matches and fought well against the 18th ranked China side.

Smith, who scored Fiji's first goal in the tournament in the 55th minute against China, said he was able to play well because of the co-operation from his teammates. He dedicated the award to his vice captain Terence Corrie who was down with a viral infection and to all the supporters back home. Smith said it was teamwork that enabled them to get into China's circle.

"I thank the team for working together and for playing their best today," he said.

National coach Hector Smith Sr said Adrian had been playing outstanding hockey.

"After two heavy losses, one would expect them to crumble but they didn't," he said.

"We are trying to make it happen and we will not give up."

Goalkeeper Mudunatagi on the other hand helped her team to stop India from scoring more goals.

Indian coach Australian Neil Hawgood said India could have scored more than 10 goals had it not been for the superb performance of Mudunatagi. The 22-year-old, with four international matches to her name, stopped many scoring opportunities from the rival forward line and blocked many short corners.

Harwood praised Mudunatagi saying she deserved to be named player of the match.

Hawgood said: "She played well and did her job out there. As an Australian, I'm proud to see them here."

"Them coming to play in this tournament is a bonus knowing all the challenges they faced."

Even though Fiji didn't score against India, their performance improved from the previous matches.

Indian captain Ritu Rani said they were disappointed with their performance against Fiji.

"We missed many goals," she said.

The national women's team will play against Malaysia this afternoon.

Malaysia held high-ranked Russia at bay with a 3-1 win but lost to India 0-3.

The men's team is resting today and will play Bangladesh tomorrow.

Bangladesh stunned favourites China when they came from behind and defeated them 3-2.

They also won to Oman 4-1.





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