Asian Games: Battle for Olympic Qualification set to start in Hangzhou
Sports Bulletin ReportLausanne (Switzerland): Hockey event of the Asian Games 2023 will get underway on September 24, as the winners (men and women) will join France, Australia, and Netherlands in qualifying to the Olympic Games Paris 2024.12 men’s teams and 10 women’s teams will be competing in Hockey at the Asian Games 2023. The teams will be divided and placed into two pools of; 5 teams per pool in the women’s competition, and 6 teams per pool in the men’s competition. At the end of the pool stage the two highest ranking teams in each pool will proceed to the semi-finals, while the other teams, based on their pool standings, will play in the 5th-10th (women’s) and 5th-12th (men’s) classification matches. The teams that win the gold medals at the Asian Games 2023 will seal their berths at the Olympic Games Paris 2024. The teams classifying from 2nd to 5th in the women’s tournament and the teams classifying from 2nd to 6th in the men’s tournament, will get a second opportunity to qualify for the Olympics, at the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024. In the men’s competition India, Japan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore and Uzbekistan are placed in Pool A. Korea, Malaysia, China, Oman, Thailand and Indonesia will compete in Pool B. The men’s matches get underway on 24 September, with Malaysia taking on Thailand in the first contest at 09:00 (local time). The medal matches in men’s hockey will be played on 6 October. The complete schedule for the men’s competition including the highly anticipated matches between India and Pakistan, Malaysia and Korea, India and Japan, can be found here. Men’s hockey was first played at the 1958 Asian Games and has been played in every edition since. The 2023 Games will see men’s hockey be played for the 17th straight time at the Asian Games. India, Pakistan and Malaysia have appeared in all 16 editions so far and will compete in the 17th edition starting from 24 September. Pakistan are the most successful team in the history of Men’s Hockey at the Asian Games, having claimed the gold medal on 8 occasions. Korea are the second most successful team with 4 gold medals, while India are third with three gold medals to their name. Japan will come into the event as the defending champions, having claimed their first gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games. In the women’s competition India, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore are placed in Pool A. Japan, China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and Thailand will compete in Pool B. The women’s matches get underway on 25 September, with Korea taking on Singapore in the first contest at 10:15 (local time). The medal matches in women’s hockey will be played on 7 October. The complete schedule for the women’s competition including the highly anticipated matches between India and Korea, China and Japan, can be found here.Women’s hockey was first introduced in the 1982 edition of the Asian Games and has been played in every edition of the event since. The 2023 Games will mark the 11th appearance of women’s hockey at the Asian Games. India, Japan and Korea have appeared in all 10 editions of the event so far and will compete in the 11th edition starting from 25 September.Korea are the most successful team in the history of women’s hockey at the Asian Games, with 5 gold medals. China are the second most successful team with 3 gold medals, while India and Japan have won one gold medal each. Japan come into the 2023 Asian Games as the defending champions, having won the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia. A total of 12 teams, in each of the men’s and women’s categories, will compete in Hockey at the Olympic Games. The hosts France gained direct qualification, leaving 11 spots up for grabs. Australia (men and women) from Oceania and Netherlands (men and women) from Europe have sealed their qualification as continental champions. Apart from the winners of the Asian Games, continental championships in the Americas and Africa will be held in the buildup to the Olympic Games where the winner of each of these two events will also gain direct qualification to the upcoming Olympic Games. The FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024, which will be held in January 2024, provide a second opportunity for teams to qualify for the remaining 6 spots at the Olympic Games.