May 20 2014 ISN – Qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games hockey tournament will get underway next month with the second edition of the Hockey World League (HWL).
Men’s and women’s teams from 60 nations, including defending champions The Netherlands, are expected to compete in the biennial tournament, which will see more than 450 scheduled matches take place over 540 hours of action.
The competition format is slightly different this time around, including the progression to three events of eight teams in round two and two events of 10 teams in the semi-final rounds, but the HWL final round will remain an eight-team stage.
The top three in each men’s and women’s 2015 semi-final round – six men’s and six women’s teams in total – will qualify for Rio 2016.
Eleven nations will host round one matches, namely Croatia, Kenya, Czech Republic, Bangladesh, Oman, Portugal, Mexico, Fiji, Jamaica, Singapore and Lithuania, with the stage due to get underway with women’s matches on June 21 in Singapore.
Round two are scheduled to start with men’s games in Singapore on January 17, 2015, before travelling to the United States city of Lancaster on February 28 and Cape Town in South Africa on March 7.
The round two women’s matches are set to begin in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, on February 28, before stopping at the Indian city of Ranchi on March 7 and the Irish capital of Dublin on March 14.
Argentina, Spain and Belgium will then host the HWL semi-finals in June, before Argentina and India host the women’s and men’s HWL finals, respectively – both are hosting the final round for the second time.
The women’s final is scheduled for November 2015, with the men’s set for December.