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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Edition 12: World Cup Hockey Preview as on 26th Feb 2010

Hockey Extravaganza one week away
Exactly one week from now, the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium in the Indian capital will host the World Cup hockey, a championship involving top 12 hockey playing nations in an event that has been dubbed as the dress rehearsal for the mega sporting event in October, the Commonwealth Games.
It is after 28 years that India would be hosting the hockey World Cup, a far cry from the days when they were among the top hockey-playing nations of the world, having last won the Cup way back in 1975.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is serious with the promotion of the World Cup. In fact, it will be a test event for FIH for many such big hockey tournaments in near future. They have already tied up with corporates like Hero Honda and SAIL as commercial partners of the event.
FIH chief Leandro Negre has time and again underlined India's importance in the hockey world.
"The World Cup will act as a catalyst for Indian hockey. We know that the sport has a huge following in the country and we just have to promote hockey in the right way. This event will serve as a new beginning," says Negre.
Much is riding on the success of the tournament, considering that it comes just eight months before the Commonwealth Games and that questions have been raised about India's ability to host the mega-event in October.
But events of the past few weeks, like the postponement of Hockey India (HI) elections and the players revolt over non-payment of dues, have shown the country's hockey organisers in poor light.
The Major Dhyanchand National Stadium, named after one of India's hockey 'wizards', has been refurbished at a cost of Rs 262 crore ($57 million). It encompasses 36 acres in the heart of New Delhi and was the venue for the first Asian Games in 1951.
Interestingly, India are placed alongside Pakistan in the same group and the two fiercest rivals will turn back the clock when they meet on the very first day of the tournament under floodlights.
Even the organisers would hope so for the success of the tournament. India has hosted the World Cup only once, and that was in Bombay in 1982. That was played on natural grass.
Participating Teams
The following teams are qualified for the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010:
 India (Host)
 Canada (Champion of the 3rd
Men's Pan American Cup)
 Korea (Champion of the 8th
Men's Asia Cup)
 South Africa (Champion of the
Africa Cup of Nations, 2009)
 Australia (Champion of the 6th
Men's Oceania Cup)
 England (Champion of the 12th
Men's EuroHockey Nations
 Germany (Silver medalist of the
12th Men's EuroHockey Nations
 Netherlands (Bronze medalist of
the 12th Men's EuroHockey
Nations Championship)
 Spain (Fourth ranked team of the
12th Men's EuroHockey Nations
 Pakistan (Winner of the Men's
World Cup Qualification
Tournament No. 1)
 New Zealand (Winner of the
Men's World Cup Qualification
Tournament No. 2)
 Argentina (Winner of the Men's
World Cup Qualification
Tournament No. 3)

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