The Federation Internationale de Hockey has announced that the Irish Hockey Association have been granted the hosting rights for a men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The tournament, originally scheduled for March in Belgium, came up for grabs when the Belgium men’s team unexpectedly qualified through the EuroNations Championship in August.
The men’s tournament will be held at the National Hockey Stadium in UCD from Saturday 10 March to Sunday 18 March.
Ireland’s men are ranked 17 in the world and will be joined by Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Chile and Ukraine.
The teams are world ranked 6, 14, 20, 24 and 31 respectively.
A round-robin pool where each team plays against each other is followed by the top-two teams playing off for a spot at the London Olympic Games on Sunday 18 March.
Stephen Martin, Chief Executive, OCI, said “The IHA should be congratulated on their successful bid to host an Olympic qualification tournament. If the mens team can build on their high level of performance at the recent European Championships, the addition of home advantage should give the team their best ever chance of Olympic qualification.The Olympic Council will continue to assist Irish Hockey to achieve this goal”
John Treacy, chief executive of the Irish Sports Council, said: “Irish Hockey did a great job in winning the men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Ireland next March.
“As a showcase event it is a boost for the sport in Ireland. In addition it will give the Irish public an advance taste of London 2012 and will enhance the Irish team’s opportunity to qualify for the Games.”
Dave Passmore, Irish Hockey high performance director, stated: “To host the men’s event is a real privilege and a fabulous opportunity for the team to highlight the progress they have made in front of home crowds and for the sport to build on the profile of the event.”
Meanwhile, the Ireland women’s team, ranked 14 in the world, will travel to Belgium from 17-25 March.