Six men's teams book Olympic ticket, women set to face qualifying challenge

With the completion in mid-March of the men's Qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games, won by Spain, six more teams have earned the right to participate in the Men's Olympic Hockey Tournament. And at the time of publication, the women's Qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games was just getting underway in Milton Keynes, England, where the last of the Olympic would be determined.

Along with Spain, the other teams that qualified for the men's Olympic tournament are Pakistan, Korea, Poland, Great Britain and Malaysia. Argentina finished in seventh place, making it the first reserve team to go to Sydney, should any of the 12 qualified countries not participate. The men's Qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games was successfully hosted in Osaka by the Japan Hockey Association, and the organsiation was highly praised by participants, members of the media and FIH representatives.

The six other teams which had already qualified for Sydney watched with interest to see the remainder of the Olympic field fill up in Japan. Australia had already qualified as hosts and winners of the Oceania Cup. The Netherlands qualified as current Olympic champions, and the continental representatives qualified are: Canada (winner of the Pan Am Games), Germany (winner of the European Nations Cup), India (winner of the Asian Games) and South Africa (winner of the All Africa Games). There remains, however, a question as to whether South Africa will be permitted to participate in Sydney. While not included with the Olympic team recently announced by the National Olympic Committee of South Africa, efforts are being made to get that decision reversed. The FIH is awaiting the outcome of ongoing internal discussions on the matter.

Five of the 10 teams participating in the women's Qualifying Tournament for the Olympic Games will earn a spot at the Olympics later this year. Vying for those precious last places are: Pool A - Germany, India, Ireland, Spain and the USA; Pool B - China, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand and Russia. Already qualified for the Sydney Olympics are: Australia (hosts, Oceania Cup winners and current Olympic Champions), Argentina (winner of the Pan Am Games), Korea (winner of the Asian Games), Netherlands (winner of the European Nations Cup) and South Africa (winner of the All Africa Games).

The women's Qualifying Tournament for the Olympic Games began in Milton Keynes on 24th March and concludes on 2nd April. The full tournament schedule and results can be found on the FIH web site at or on the organisers' site at