FIH announces team entries for final Olympic qualifier
Beijing: With 100 days to go to the 2012 London Games, the world governing body of hockey FIH announced the team entries for the third and final Olympic qualification tournament which is to be held in Japan next week.
Six men`s and six women`s teams will compete with one another in Kakamigahara, Japan, from April 25 to May 6 to vie for the two last places at the 2012 Olympic Games with the winner of each tournament going through.
On the women`s side, hosts Japan ranked ninth start as favourites with 15th ranked Azerbaijan. Chile ranked 17th also pose a dangerous threat to the favourites.
The other teams in the women`s tournament are Belarus, Malaysia and Austria, Xinhua reported.
The men`s tournament may see a much closer tussle as hosts Japan, South Africa and China are all serious contenders for the final Olympic berth.
It would be a very difficult task for the other teams in the competition Austria, Czech Republic and Brazil to make it into the Olympics.
The first Olympic qualification event was held in India while the second tournament was jointly held by Ireland and Belgium. India and South Korea notched the ticket in the men`s competition, whereas South Africa and Belgium earned their berth in the women`s events.
The hockey competitions at 2012 London Olympics will be held from July 29 to August 11. A total of 24 team, 12 each in men`s and women`s event, will fight for a gold medal each.