THE team entries for the six competing teams at the Electric Ireland FIH Road to London tournament were announced today. Competing in the second men’s Olympic Qualification event, which begins next week, will be the national teams from Chile, Ireland, Korea, Malaysia, Russia and the Ukraine.
Korea enters the tournament as not only the highest-ranked team at the event, #6 in the FIH World Ranking, but also the highest ranked men’s team to go through the qualification tournament process for London.
Sure to be pressuring Korea for the berth in London are host Ireland (#16) and Malaysia, weighing in at #13. The duo enters the competition with high hopes. Malaysia most recently finished in fifth place at the Champions Challenge 1 last November in South Africa, while Ireland is hoping that home field advantage will prove to be the difference in the round robin event.
Already the Irish have the attention of the nation as they publically named their team for both the men’s and women’s qualification events today at a well-attended team announcement.
Speaking at the team announcement today men’s head coach Paul Revington emphasized the importance of playing host for the Irish squad saying, “It is a big honour to be hosting this 2012 Olympic Qualification Event and I know this Team will do their best to make Ireland and their fellow Irish Squad mates proud.”
Ranked #20 in the FIH World Ranking, Russia could also be a wild card in the event and is capable of playing to role of spoiler.
The Electric Ireland FIH Road to London tournament will be held from March 10-18 in Dublin. It will start with a six team round robin with the top two teams meeting in a final game to determine the Olympic berth and the remaining teams playing a final placement game for World Ranking points.
The winner of the event will be second squad to qualify to London through the Olympic Qualification tournament. The Indian men won the Hero FIH Road to London tournament at home in Delhi last week. The third, and final, men’s team for the 2012 Olympics will be determined in May at the qualification tournament in Japan.