LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced today the official dates for nine major events in the next year, including the sites and dates of the six Olympic qualification tournaments. The Olympic qualification tournaments will have three host nations with a men’s and women’s tournament running at the same time.
The 2011 calendar year will conclude with two major men’s events. The FIH Champions Challenge 1 will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from November 26 – December 4. Overlapping with that event by two days will be the FIH Champions Trophy in New Delhi, India which starts on Saturday, December 3 and finishes on Sunday, December 11, 2011.
A busy 2012 begins with the women springing back into to action from January 28 – February 5 for the FIH Women’s Champions Trophy in Argentina.
“The 2012 season will be one of the busiest and most important in recent history,” said FIH President Leandro Negre. “Our regular schedule will be supplemented with the Olympic qualifiers and of course the Olympic Games themselves, making it non-stop hockey during the year.”
The first of the Olympic Qualification Tournaments will be hosted by India in New Delhi from February 15-26 with six men’s and six women’s teams battling for a spot in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The next Olympic Qualification Tournament will take place one month later, from March 14-25, 2012 in Beerschot, Belgium. It will be followed by the third Olympic Qualification Tournament in Kakamigahara, Japan from April 25 – May 6, 2012. All three tournaments will host the men’s and women’s tournaments at the same time.
The trio of joint tournaments is the final opportunity for teams to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games with the winner of each men’s and women’s event earning a place in London.
The teams assigned to the qualification tournaments will not be known until the completion of all of this year’s continental championships, which will be after the Pan American Games, scheduled to finish on 29 October. Winners of the five Continental Championships earn an automatic berth to the 2012 London Olympics.
Following the Continental Championships, teams that do not automatically earn a berth to the Olympics will be placed into one of the three qualification tournaments, depending on where they finish in their Continental Championships and how many places their Continental Federation has been allocated for the Olympic Qualification Tournaments.