Women’s hockey team seals spot in Rio Olympics

RSTV Bureau

Hockey_india2Indian women’s hockey team has bagged a historic ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Indian women’s team qualified for the Rio Games on Saturday after a long gap of 36 years.

India made the cut after England cruised into the final of the ongoing Euro Hockey Championships in London. England’s 2-1 victory over Spain in the semi-finals confirmed that one quota place remained vacant. India sailed through because the other finalist Holland had already booked its spot for Rio.

“India qualified after England defeated Spain in the semi-finals of the Unibet EuroHockey Championships in London, which ensured that the only teams — The Netherlands and England (as Great Britain) — who can now win the event have already qualified for Rio through the Hockey World League Semi-Finals,” International Hockey Federation (FIH) said in a statement on their website.

India took the quota place on the basis of its fifth-place finish in the women’s Hockey World League Semifinals in Antwerp, Belgium last month.

“The winner of the Euro Hockey Championships will qualify for the 2016 Olympics as European continental champions, opening up a further qualification spot which India secure as the team who ranked highest at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals not already qualified,” the website said.

This is the first time that India’s women’s team will appear in the Olympics since their fourth place finish at the 1980 edition of the Games in Moscow.

Hockey India (HI) too commended the notable achievement of the women’s team.

“It is a proud moment for Hockey India and the whole country. We have been waiting for this for the last 36 years and this achievement is the sweetest and the most memorable among all our previous feats in recent times,” HI President Narinder Batra said in a statement.

“I congratulate all the players and coaching staff who made this dream real and this achievement also shows their commitment toward their responsibilities. Hockey India thanks all the coaches who trained these players at their respective academies, parents, sponsors and the entire hockey fraternity, who continuously motivated the players and without their support, we could not have achieved this success. I am sure the girls will make us proud at the Olympics,” Batra added.

Indian women’s team now joins the league of nine other countries who have already qualified for 2016 Games — Korea as Asian Games champions, Argentina as Pan Am Games champions and Great Britain, China, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and the USA through the Hockey World League Semi-Finals.

India is the 10th team to qualify for Rio Olympics. The last two participating teams will be confirmed in the 2015 Africa Cup for Nations in Egypt and 2015 Oceania Cup in New Zealand in November.

The Indian Men’s team has already qualified for next year Rio’s Games.