Rediff.com  » Sports » Will India-Pak Olympics hockey qualifier be in Europe?

Will India-Pak Olympics hockey qualifier be in Europe?

August 31, 2019 16:47 IST

India and Pakistan fans at a hockey match

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is planning to have India and Pakistan play their home and away matches in Europe if the arch-rivals face off in the Olympic qualifying tournament for a berth at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

India and Pakistan were seeded in two separate halves of the draw by FIH on Thursday and they could meet in the Olympics qualifying tournament.

 

According to a source in the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), the FIH will soon be announcing draws for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 qualifiers.

"In the qualifiers in September-October, the top tier teams will have to play against the lower tier teams and Pakistan and India which has already won one qualifying tournament could be drawn up against each other," he said.

Pakistan, Egypt, South Korea, Spain, Germany, New Zealand, India, and some other teams are expected to feature in the qualifying tournament for the summer Olympics with seven berths at stake.

The PHF source said they had managed to convince the FIH to give them entry in the qualifying tournament after paying the first instalment of the fine imposed on the PHF for not sending its team for the Pro Hockey League earlier this year.

"It is not necessary we might draw up India but if that happens then the FIH will probably schedule the matches in Europe as conditions are not conducive to play the matches in India or Pakistan," he said.

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated in the aftermath of Indian government's scrapping of Article 370 which had accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The source further said that preparations are on for Pakistan to compete in the Olympic qualifying events as appearing in the Summer Olympics would be a big boost for the game in the country.

Pakistan, currently ranked 17th in the world, had missed out on the last Olympics in Rio, Brazil.

33 players for Sr. men's National hockey camp

Hockey India has named 33 probables for the senior men's national coaching camp, beginning September 2, at the Sports Authority of India, Bengaluru, to prepare for the Belgium Tour and Olympic qualifiers.

The three-week camp will be conducted by coach Graham Reid.

Following the team's recent victory in the Olympic Test event final against New Zealand, the campers, led by defender Harmanpreet Singh, will focus consistency.

"We have built some good momentum over the last few months. The athletes will come to this camp keen and ready to improve on all aspects of team performance. Creating more quality opportunities, improving our defensive capabilities and working together to make each other better are the key aspects of this camp," Reid said.

He added that the tour of Belgium in September will be a great platform for the team to prepare for the FIH Olympic qualifiers.

"At the end of September we will travel to Europe to play and train with some of the best competition in the world. We need to be prepared for that, which will provide a great platform for the qualifiers in October/November."

The probables:

Goalkeepers: P R Sreejesh, Suraj Karkera and Krishan Bahadur Pathak.

Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Varun Kumar, Rupinder Pal Singh, Gurinder Singh, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Jarmanpreet Singh and Dispan Tirkey.

Midfielders: Manpreet Singh, Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Jaskaran Singh, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Ashish Kumar Topno, Sayyad Niyaz Rahim and Raj Kumar Pal.

Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Shilanand Lakra, Gursahibjit Singh, Simranjeet Singh, SV Sunil, Gurjant Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Shamsher Singh and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay.

AGENCIES
SHARE THIS STORYCOMMENT