Hockey: an ambassador for the Olympic Games
The Athens XXVIII Olympic Games proved to be an excellent event for hockey, for our athletes, officials and of course the fans. I would like to thank here the enthusiastic army of volunteers and support staff that helped to make this special event a success. I am proud to say that hockey demonstrated its worth as an Olympic sport yet again by encapsulating those Olympic values of fair play and respect for one another. With no doping offences in our sport and athletes who embody the Olympic ideals, I can say that the hockey competition was more than a success; it was an ambassadorial event for the Games.
Now we look forward to the final events of the year. The top six women’s teams meet first in the BDO Hockey Champions Trophy, in Rosario, Argentina from 6 November. It has been a long time since a senior women’s competition has been held in Argentina, and I am delighted that world hockey returns here. We look forward to the Argentinean crowds as they come to support “Las Leonas” – I am sure they will help create an unforgettable atmosphere.
Similarly I am delighted that the Samsung Hockey Champions Trophy returns in December to its spiritual home of Pakistan. We are sure that all possible security measures will be taken for this event and look forward to the support of hockey fans in Pakistan, who make an event truly special. The oldest living Olympic gold medallist, the centenarian Feroz Khan, lives in Karachi and, I am proud to say, belongs to the hockey family. We hope that this living legend will be equally as proud when the Champions Trophy returns home and that he enjoys the hockey on television – or even at the stadium.
As post-Olympic teams are restructured we will see new strengths from our different nations as they resolve to be the best they can. We anticipate an exciting end to the year, into which hockey’s ideals and the Olympic ideals are carried forward.
Els van Breda Vriesman
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