Pakistan, South Korea handed wildcard entries for hockey meet

New Delhi: Asian Games gold medalist Pakistan and South Korea were today 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 be confirmed in due

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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