GB Hockey men and women learn Olympic qualifier fate
09 September 2019 / 14:12
Great Britain's men's and women's teams have discovered their route to reach Tokyo 2020 after the draw for the two-legged Olympic qualifiers took place in Lausanne.
The women, who are the reigning Olympic champions, will take on Chile in back-to-back matches at Lee Valley Hockey Centre for a chance to defend their title.
Chile are currently ranked 15th in the world and have never qualified for a major championship. The two teams have never faced each other before in their history.
Meanwhile, the men must overcome Malaysia, who are ranked 11th in the world, in their double-header if they are to earn a place on the plane to Tokyo next year.
Malaysia have not qualified for the Olympics since 2000 and last faced Great Britain in 2017 when the GB men came out on top with a narrow 1-0 victory.
The two teams also came face-to-face with each other at Sydney 2000, with Malaysia coming from behind to draw after Craig Parnham and Mark Pearn put Great Britain in front.
GB’s men will feel confident about their chances after reaching the FIH Pro League finals earlier this year, beating New Zealand at the Twickenham Stoop to reach the last four.
They were then beaten by Australia in their semi-final before losing out to the Netherlands in a play-off for the bronze medal, having finished on the wrong side of an eight-goal thriller.
Upon the draw being made, men's Head Coach Danny Kerry commented: “Malaysia are a good side with some great individuals and a number of threats, but having played them recently gives you that understanding of what that threat is.
“They have some good corner routines and some very fast players who are individually skilful.
“They also have some very large aerial passes, play well on the counter-attack and, with a very experienced coach in Roelant Oltmans, will be very well prepared. We will respect them and prepare accordingly.
“Playing at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre and having a home crowd is something I personally enjoy and feel the athletes enjoy having the support behind us too.
“It’s a great atmosphere there and I think it will be a cracking couple of days that myself and the athletes will really look forward to.”
The women will also hope to book their place at next summer’s Olympics with a victory against Chile, having ended their first FIH Pro League campaign on a high.
While they were unable to pick up enough points to make the final four, they signed off the inaugural tournament with a dominant 3-1 victory over New Zealand.
Both the men's and women's teams need to qualify separately through the two-legged matches; if one gender qualifies it does not mean the other progresses alongside them.
Though Great Britain’s women are the reigning Olympic champions, they do not qualify automatically for the Tokyo Games.