Hockey

AHF not worried about Olympic qualifications

The International Hockey Federation and its Asian counterpart are in no hurry to press the panic button over qualifications for the 2024 Olympics in light of the postponed Asian Games later this year and already have a Plan B in place.

“If the Games are going to be held then it’s fine and if there is going to be further postponement, we will know that also very soon. As a member of the OCA, I am monitoring the situation very closely and around September 2023 we can execute our Plan B and have an independent Olympic qualifying event for Asia,” Asian Hockey Federation CEO and secretary general Dato Tayyab Ikram said in an interaction on Wednesday.

“We still have enough time to 2024. We are very clear that if a decision is taken that the Asian Games will be held definitely in September 2023 or before, depending on the decision from the OCA, we will be in the same position to have the Olympic qualifiers in September.

“If the Games are going to be held then it’s fine and if there is going to be further postponement, we will know that also very soon”Dato Tayyab IkramAsian Hockey Federation CEO and secretary general

“They need to have revised submission of name-wise entries so they need to make this decision on Asian Games 4-5 months before and that is ample time for us,” he added.

Ikram, who is also a member of the OCA and on the executive board of the FIH, also said that a separate event will provide a fair opportunity for all teams but admitted the details needed to be worked out according to the international calendar next year.

“Of course, we have to see the other implications, there will be the Nations Cup and other FIH activities as well. I am not concerned about the 1st half of 2023 but we will need to work our calendar accordingly in the 2nd half.”

With the Asia Cup less than a week away, international hockey has been one of the sports returning to regular action post-Covid but it has also exposed the growing gap between Asia and other countries.

“I must say that the High Performance involvement of national federations is not as before but it is not a simple thing, it requires a lot of investment. In the global financial crisis, one of the strong teams was Korea and they lost the structure. Continental federations also have limitations, we cannot interfere with countries.

“That said, I have also worked very closely with Hockey India as well and there were problems but they have shown that this is the real model to high performance approach, you have to be consistent, you cannot have an ad-hoc approach.

“It is a concern and we will do our utmost as AHF but I can tell you that countries like Japan, Korea, Malaysia and even Pakistan are now committed to high-performance development,” he insisted.


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Printable version | May 18, 2022 7:13:53 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/ahf-not-worried-about-olympic-qualifications/article65426587.ece