S African women hockey team feted

Johannesburg: The South African women`s hockey team is being feted here after beating India on home turf and qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games in London in September.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) was among the first to congratulate the hockey team, indicating that they and the women from other sports would serve as inspiration and motivation to the women`s` cricket side.

"This is an excellent achievement, particularly as they had to beat India who had home ground advantage to win the final. They, in fact, beat India twice during the tournament," said CSA chief executive Gerald Majola.

"This is a big boost for women`s sport in this country following as it does on the performance of Banyana Banyana (the South African national women`s football squad) in qualifying for the women`s football tournament at the Olympic Games. There are also high hopes that (top woman athlete)

Caster Semenya will bring home a medal on the track. "I am sure our national women`s cricket team will draw inspiration from these performances when they play in the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September."

AB de Villiers, captain of the Proteas` ODI squad, also congratulated the hockey team.

"On behalf of the Proteas` cricket team I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to the National Women`s hockey team on their outstanding achievement of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics.

"The Olympics are a signature event on the world`s sporting calendar and I have no doubt that you will do our country proud.

"Representing your country on any world platform is the culmination of months of dedication and hard work, and you should be proud of yourself for reaching that peak. We will be behind you all the way; all of the best to Marsha Marescia and her troops."