NEW DELHI: Indian Hockey Team will open their campaign against lowly Russia in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Series Finals that is an Olympic qualifier event that going to be held in Bhubaneswar from June 6 to 15.
Ranked the fifth position in the world, India will take on Russia which is on 22nd position in the world, in the final match of the opening day, which also gives prominence to games between South Africa and the United States and Poland and Uzbekistan.
India are put in Pool A alongside Poland (world ranked 21), Russia and Uzbekistan (43rd position in world), while Pool B consists of South Africa (16th rank in the world), Asia Games gold medallist Japan (world ranked number 18th), USA (25th position in world) and Mexico (39th rank in world).
After Russia, India will be up against Poland on June 7 and against Uzbekistan on June 10 in their remaining pool matches. The final of tournament between the qualified countries will be played on June 15 at the Kalinga Stadium, Odisha.
This tournament will also be the first big assignment and event for Indian men team’s new chief coach Graham Reid.
Now talking about the Indian women’s hockey team, in meantime, their bid to take a forward step towards qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Indian women’s hockey team will also present in an FIH Series Finals event at Hiroshima, Japan from June 15 to 23.
The Indian women’s hockey team are placed in Pool A alongside Poland (23rd in the world), Fiji and Uruguay (world ranked 24th) while talking about Pool B, it comprises featured Japan (14th), Russia (25th), Chile (16th) and Mexico (29th). This is one of the important tournaments for Indian Women Hockey team.
Indian women will start and open their campaign against Uruguay on June 15 and it will be followed by matches against Poland on June 16 and Fiji on June 18. Just similar to their male counterparts, Indian women’s hockey team is also on the highest ranked side in their tournament at ninth in the world.
The FIH Series Finals are only and one of the tournaments to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The top-ranked two teams from each FIH Series Finals event will make a place in the FIH Olympic qualifiers which going to be held in October and November 2019 and venue of this event is yet to be decided.