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Hero MotoCorp to sponsor Delhi Olympic hockey qualifier

January 30, 2012 17:31 IST

Indian two-wheeler giant Hero MotoCorp Limited (HMCL) was on Monday named the title sponsor for the men's and women's hockey London Olympic qualification tournament, the first of which will be held in Delhi from February 18 to 26.

The qualifiers, titled 'Hero FIH Road to London', will be played at the Major Dhyanchand Hockey National Stadium.

The event will feature six men's and women's teams competing against each other in a round-robin format for two Olympic berths out of the six available (1 of 3 men's and 1 of 3 women's) at this year's Olympics.

The 'Hero FIH Road to London' is the first of the three-leg qualifying events for the July Games.

Following the round-robin league, the teams ranked first and second will play and the winner will book a ticket to London, while the remaining four teams will play placement games for FIH World Ranking points.

Commenting on the partnership, Pawan Munjal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Hero MotoCorp, said, "Hockey, being the national sport of the country, holds a special place in our hearts and we are pleased to partner with FIH in presenting the Hero FIH Road to London.

"We have always believed in nurturing and supporting various sporting disciplines including cricket, golf, shooting and hockey."

The tournament holds great importance for the Indian men's and women's hockey teams as this will be their only window to qualify for the London Olympics.

The Indian men's team enters the tournament as favourites, being the highest ranked side amongst the six nations competing in the event.

The men's team is 10th while the women's team is 13th in the world rankings.

"I am delighted to see Hero MotoCorp come on board as the title sponsor of the Olympic qualifiers. It's a crucial chance for India to qualify for London and I am sure the Indian team and hockey fans everywhere also welcome their support," International Hockey Federation president Leandro Negre said.

The India leg of the 'Hero FIH Road to London' Olympic qualifiers will feature hosts India, Italy, Poland, Singapore, Canada and France in the men's section, while South Africa, Canada, Italy, Poland and Ukraine besides the home team comprise the women's competition.

The tournament will be aired live on Ten Sports and will be viewed by fans across 80 countries.

In 2010, Hero MotoCorp started its partnership with FIH, by bringing the coveted men's hockey World Cup to India.

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