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Pakistan, South Korea get wildcards for Champions Trophy hockey

Source: PTI
December 17, 2010 13:31 IST

Asian Games gold medallist Pakistan and South Korea were on Friday handed wildcard entries for next year's Champions Trophy hockey tournament, scheduled to be held in India.

The dates and host city for the tournament, to be held in November-December next year, will be announced later, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said.

The tournament will feature eight teams instead of the existing six.

Besides India, Pakistan and South Korea, the annual tournament will feature world champions Australia, England, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, the world governing body said in a statement.

South Korea are ranked sixth in the world, while Pakistan were rewarded for winning the Asiad gold last month in Guangzhou, China, which earned them a direct entry to the 2012 London Olympics.

The Champions Trophy has been a six-nation event since its inception in 1978 but the FIH decided to add two more teams from next year.

The women's Champions Trophy will also feature eight teams with China and New Zealand joining Argentina, Germany, England, Australia, South Korea and host nation Netherlands, the FIH said.

In what is going to be a busy calendar for international hockey, 2011 will also feature the men's and women's Champions Challenge I and II events.

The men's Champions Challenge will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, one week before the men's Champions Trophy. The dates will be confirmed in due course.

Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Poland will be participating in the event.

The men's Champions Challenge II will be hosted by Lille from July 3 to 9, with Austria, China, Czech Republic, Ireland, Russia, Scotland, USA and host nation France participating in the tournament.

The women's Champions Challenge I, which will feature Azerbaijan, India, Japan, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, USA and hosts Ireland, will be held in Dublin from June 18 to 26.

The women's Champions Challenge II will break new ground, with Austria hosting its first world level outdoor hockey tournament. The tournament, scheduled to be held from May 7 to 15, will feature Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Italy, Malaysia and Russia.

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