Olympic Qualifiers in Ranchi reflect India’s commitment to excellence, says Dilip Tirkey

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-PTI

The upcoming Women’s Hockey Olympic Qualifiers is a “testament to India’s commitment” to the sport and its pursuit of excellence on the international stage, said the national federation’s president, Dilip Tirkey, on Thursday.

Eight countries, including hosts India will be vying for the top three spots at the Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh Astro Turf Hockey Stadium here from January 13–19 to book berths for the Paris Olympics in July-August.

“The FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Ranchi stand as a testament to India’s commitment to the sport and our relentless pursuit of excellence,” Tirkey said.

Hockey India (HI), on Thursday, inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for hosting the upcoming tournament.

“We are immensely grateful for the support extended by the Jharkhand government. Together, we aim to deliver a memorable and successful tournament, promoting the spirit of hockey and fostering international camaraderie.”

The event is one of the three Olympic qualifiers happening globally, with the other two in Muscat, Oman (men’s) and Valencia, Spain (women’s and men’s).

The event was originally slated to be held in China, but HI requested the sport’s global body, FIH, shift it to India after the Chinese women’s team directly qualified for the Paris Games.

While the men’s team qualified for the Olympics by winning the Asian Games gold last year, the Savita Punia-led side missed out after losing to eventual champions China in the semi-final.

The Indian women’s team ended up winning the Asian Games bronze medal. The continental showpiece offered the Olympic quota place to only the gold medal winners.

India will begin its campaign against the USA on January 13 in Pool B. New Zealand and Italy are the other teams in the group.

Germany, Japan, Chile and the Czech Republic comprise Pool A.

The top two teams from each pool will make the semifinals. The gold, silver, and bronze medal winners will make the Olympics cut.

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