Kenya women will compete at a first Commonwealth Games hockey tournament after higher-ranked teams reportedly opted not compete this summer.
The Kenya Hockey Union said that it received a letter from the Commonwealth Games Federation confirming its spot for Birmingham 2022 in the 10-strong event.
Kenya, the world No 34 side, was handed a place through the re-allocation of returned qualification slots from teams placed higher in the world rankings, according to the country’s hockey federation.
Kenya will line up alongside Africa Cup of Nations runners-up Ghana, who competed for the first time at Gold Coast 2018. Kenya are third in the African rankings behind South Africa and Ghana.
In the current world rankings, 10 teams are ahead of Kenya: Australia, England, New Zealand, India, Canada, South Africa, Scotland, Malaysia, Wales and Ghana. The Hockey Paper has contacted the CGF to clarify which nation has opted not to compete in Birmingham.
Nashon Randiek, president of the Kenya Hockey Union, said: “The team has been very disciplined and hard working.”
“This was evident from their results at the recently concluded African Cup despite the challenges we faced, they deserve to represent the country at the Commonwealth Games.
“For that we are delighted to receive the news that they have indeed qualified, focus now shifts to adequate preparation.”
Francis Mutuku, National Olympic Committee Kenya secretary general, said of the team’s achievement: “This comes at a time when the gender mainstreaming conversation is on a high gear in our sports fraternity and we acknowledge it plays a significant role in ensuring we get to where we want in as far as bridging the gender parity gap in sports representation and participation is concerned.
“More women’s team qualifying will ensure equal gender representation, and as a NOC we’d like to achieve this in every major games.”
Kenya women beat Zimbabwe in a shoot-out to clinch bronze at last month’s Africa Cup of Nations.