On the second weekend of the FIH Olympic Qualifiers, India pulled off the double by winning their respective series and will now compete at the Olympics in both genders. In total, fourteen men’s and fourteen women’s teams will face off against each other to determine the final seven nations to qualify to the Olympics. The higher ranked nation hosted their opponent for two matches where the team with the better aggregate score qualifying to the Olympics. The first matches began on October 25th while the final match will end on November 3rd 2019.
India played hosts to both series with matches being held in Bhubaneswar. The men faced Russia while the women played against the United States.
The first set of matches saw the women score five straight goals on route to defeating the United States 5-1. The men had similar success where they defeated Russia 4-2.
Needing to climb out of a large hole, the United States were up to the task as they scored four goals during the first three quarters of the game, causing a tie in the aggregate. India returned fire with a goal by captain Rani Rampal in the 48th minute to allow India to hold onto the aggregate 6-5 as they lost the second match 4-1. The men’s match was less dramatic despite Russia getting off to a quick 1-0 start, India would score seven straight to win the match 7-1 and the series 11-3 on aggregate.
India, a former powerhouse in the sport will be looking to win their first medal in field hockey since the 1980 Olympics. The final teams to book their spot to the Olympics in field hockey will be known tomorrow as they will play their final game.