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Men's hockey take on Russia, Women's play USA in FIH Olympic Qualifiers

11 September 2019

Ireland got the Olympic qualifier draws they probably desired as both the men and women will face Canada for their Olympic ticket to Tokyo 2020.

The qualifiers were determined by a draw held yesterday at the headquarters of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Speaking about the preparations, the women's team captain Rani Rampal said, "Our team is very well prepared for that match". After missing out on a direct berth to Tokyo when they failed to clinch gold in the 2018 Asian Games, Rani's team would hope to make amends.

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The Canadian women made the Olympic qualifier by virtue of their runner-up finish at the FIH Hockey Series Finals in June in Valencia, Spain.

The men's team is expected to come into the qualifiers high on confidence after their superior performance against the Russians in the FIH Series Finals at the Kalinga Stadium, which is also the venue for the upcoming qualifiers.

Great Britain's men and women have discovered the opposition who stand between them and a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Russian team, on the other hand, had won 12-1 against Uzbekistan, 3-2 against Poland and lost a close 1-2 match against South Africa in the knockout stage.

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Canada's recent record is impressive, having clinched the runners up spot at the Pan-Americans games last month, beating the higher ranked United States of America en route to securing their highest finish on their continental stage since 1991.

"As our Chief Coach Graham Reid says, we can not take any team lightly and we need to respect every opponent".

The updated FIH rankings after the end of the Oceania Cup saw the top-five among men, including India, retain their positions despite the upsets in the recent European Championships. He said, "We have built some good momentum with this young squad and I am satisfied with how focused this unit has been. We are focusing on continuing the brilliant communication on the field and maintain our level of performance", the Dutchman added. We will respect them and prepare accordingly. "I am sure they will come well prepared as it's the Olympic Qualifiers and they are capable of surprising any team", Manpreet was quoted as saying in a Hockey India release.

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Men's hockey take on Russia, Women's play USA in FIH Olympic Qualifiers