Lausanne, Switzerland, October 8, 2019: India are favourites to join hosts Japan and represent Asia in both men’s and women’s hockey competitions at Tokyo 2020 after receiving favourable draws for the final qualifying round of matches which will begin later this month.
Fourteen men’s and women’s teams will be in the running for seven berths at the 12-team competitions at Tokyo next summer. Japan, 2018 Asian Games gold medallists in both the men’s and women’s competitions, automatically qualify as host nation.
India, ranked fifth in the world, drew Russia (23rd) in the men’s qualifiers.
The Indian women, ranked 10th, are three places above opponents the United States.
Each qualifier consists of two back-to-back matches which will be played in the same venue, in India’s case in Bhubaneswar on November 1-2.
The other Asian teams in the running in the men’s qualifying round are Pakistan, who face a tough hurdle coming up against world number three The Netherlands in Amsterdam on October 26-27, Malaysia against Great Britain in London on November 2-3 and Korea meeting New Zealand in Stratford on November 2-3.
In the women’s competition, China host Belgium in Changzhou on October 25-26 and Korea travel to Valencia to play Spain also on October 25-26.
October 25-26: Spain v France, Valencia
October 26-27: The Netherlands v Pakistan, Amsterdam; Canada v Ireland, West Vancouver
November 1-2: India v Russia, Bhubaneswar
November 2-3: New Zealand v Korea, Stratford; Germany v Austria, Monchengladbach; Great Britain v Malaysia, London
25-26 October: Australia v Russia, Perth; China v Belgium, Changzhou; Spain v Korea, Valencia
1-2 November: India v USA, Bhubaneswar
2-3 November: Germany v Italy, Monchengladbach; Great Britain v Chile, London; Ireland v Canada, Dublin
The following teams are already qualified:
Men: Japan, Argentina, South Africa, Belgium and Australia
Women: Japan, Argentina, South Africa, The Netherlands, New Zealand