INTERNATIONAL HOCKEY FEDERATION ANNOUNCE IRELAND AS A VENUE FOR THE MENS OLYMPIC QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT 10/18 March 2012
The Federation Internationale de Hockey (FIH) announced yesterday, Sunday 13th November, that the Irish Hockey Association (IHA) have been granted the hosting rights for a Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament http://www.fih.ch/en/news-3390-fih-announces-olympic-qualification-tournaments
The tournament originally scheduled for March in Belgium came up for grabs when the Belgium Men unexpectedly qualified through the EuroNations Championship in August. The Men’s tournament will be held at the National Hockey Stadium in UCD from Saturday March 10th to Sunday March 18th 2012.
Ireland’s Men are ranked 17 in the world and will be joined by Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Chile and Ukraine. The teams are world ranked 6, 14, 20, 24 and 31 respectively. A round robin pool where each team plays against each other is followed by the top two teams playing off for a spot at the London Olympic Games on Sunday 18th March.
John Treacy, Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council said; “Irish Hockey did a great job in winning the men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Ireland next March. As a showcase event it is a boost for the sport in Ireland. In addition it will give the Irish public an advance taste of London 2012 and will enhance the Irish team’s opportunity to qualify for the Games”.
Dave Passmore Irish Hockey High Performance Director stated; “To host the men’s event is a real privilege and a fabulous opportunity for the team to highlight the progress they have made in front of home crowds and for the sport to build on the profile of the event. The women’s team will be pleased to be close to home and competing against teams that they know well.”
Herbie Sharman President of the IHA said; “I am delighted to hear the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments have been announced and that Ireland men will be at home in Dublin and the Irish women’s team are to travel to Belgium. I wish both teams, their coaches and managements all the very best in the lead-up and during these tournaments – undoubtedly an exceptional time for Irish Hockey. We would like to acknowledge and thank the Irish Sports Council for their their specific support in assisting us in securing the Men’s Qualifier.”
Brian Mullins Director for Sport at UCD said; “UCD are delighted to be associated with this prestigious event and look forward to working with the IHA in showcasing the sport of Hockey and the talents of its Men’s National side.”
Meanwhile the ESB Electric Ireland Women’s team ranked 14 in the world will travel to Belgium from March 17th to March 25th. There they will face Spain, Belgium, Russia, France and Mexico who are ranked 11, 16, 21, 25 and 30 respectively.