The Indian hockey team was, on Monday, placed in a relatively comfortable group in the upcoming International Hockey Federation’s Series Finals. This will be the first round of the qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and will be hosted by Bhubaneswar from June 6 to 16.
The FIH confirmed the arrangement of the pools for the six Final matches scheduled to be played between April and June later this year.
“The FIH Series Finals is one of the roads to reach the Olympic Games. The top two teams from each FIH Series Finals will secure a place in the qualification events for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games which will be held in October and November 2019,” the FIH’s release said.
India’s road to Olympics
Hosts India would be offered little resistance from the other teams except for Japan, who were the winners of the 2018 Asian Games. Along with India and Japan, the other teams in the fray are Russia, South Africa, Mexico, Poland, Uzbekistan, and the USA.
“The line-up of teams is quite impressive & the road to Tokyo is at stake,” expressed FIH CEO Thierry Weil.
Elsewhere, the Indian women’s hockey team will be fighting it out in Hiroshima with Fiji, Chile, Mexico, Russia, Poland, and Uruguay starting from June 15 to 23. Like the men’s event, the women will also compete in three pools of eight teams each.
As many as 14 teams will have the chance of qualifying for the FIH Series Finals played either at the men or the women’s World Cup competitions last year.
China, France, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, India, and South Africa all participated in the men’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar last month, whereas India, Japan, Korea, Ireland, Italy, South Africa, and Spain were in England last summer to compete in the Hockey Women’s World Cup in London.
Pools and venues confirmed for #FIHSeriesFinals!?
Click on the link to find out more about all the six venues and teams participating in those events!?https://t.co/dqLGbjTHjA pic.twitter.com/OFcPm64nUw
— International Hockey Federation (@FIH_Hockey) January 21, 2019