Hockey Olympic Qualifiers: Without Asian Games gold, India will need wins in Pakistan, China or Spain
The FIH said China, Pakistan and Spain will host the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in January 2024 to decide the last teams in the Paris Olympics.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) confirmed on Monday that China, Pakistan and Spain will host the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers taking place from 13 to 21 January 2024.
These qualifiers will be the last qualifying event for the Paris Olympics.
In case India's men's and women's teams do not earn a place in the 2024 Olympics by being crowned as continental champions in the Asian Games in September-October this year, they will have to rely on these last round of qualifiers in China, Pakistan and Spain.
The top three teams in each of these 8-team FIH Hockey Olympic Qualification Tournaments will qualify for Paris 2024.
They will join hosts France and the winners of each continental championship - African Hockey Road to Paris, Pan American Games, Asian Games, EuroHockey Championship and Oceania Cup. There will be a total of 12 teams in the Olympics, both in men's and women's hockey.
In case India's men's team skips the qualification tournament in Pakistan for diplomatic reasons, and they do not win the Asian Games gold, that would leave them with only option to qualify for the Olympics - to finish in the top three in the Spain qualification tournament.
Who will play in these FIH Hockey Olympic Qualification Tournaments?
The two men's qualifying events will be in Lahore and Valencia. The two women's qualifying events will be in Changzhou and Valencia. These qualifying tournaments will have 8 teams each.
In the women's tournaments, there will be 8 European teams, 4 Asian teams, 3 teams from the Americas, and one team from Oceania.
In the men's tournaments, Europe will have seven countries, Asia will have five countries, the Americas will have two and Oceania and Africa will have one team each.
The top ranked Asian countries, apart from the Asian Games winner, will fight it out in these qualifying events in January 2024. India, Pakistan, Japan, Korea, China and Malaysia are the top ranked Asian countries across men's and women's hockey.
The Olympic qualifier being hosted in Pakistan is also significant as Pakistan had last hosted an FIH event back in 2004. “Pakistani hockey fans have been deprived of seeing international hockey stars at home for 20 years now and the FIH Olympic qualifiers will no doubt boost the sport in Pakistan again,” said Haider Hussain, the Secretary-General of the FIH.