KUALA LUMPUR: Both the national men and women’s hockey teams have been confirmed for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
The teams were selected based on their FIH world ranking. The cut-off date used for the selection of the 10 teams was Oct 31.
The other nations who will have teams in both categories are Australia (host), England, India, New Zealand, Canada, Scotland, South Africa and Wales.
Pakistan will only have a team in the men’s category while Ghana will compete in the women’s category.
The Australian men’s team have won all five editions of the hockey event since it was introduced in KL 1998 and they will again be the team to beat.
Next year’s Commonwealth Games will be held in Gold Coast from April 4-15.
In the women’s category, Australia have won it four times – 1998, 2006, 2010 and 2014. India won in 2002 by defeating host England in the final.
The Malaysian men’s team best showing was in 1998 when they won silver.
They failed to qualify in 2002, finished third in 2006, eighth in 2010 and seventh in 2014.
The national women’s team have played in all editions but have never made the semi-finals.
The men’s team have made the Commonwealth Games a priority this time, unlike in 2010 and 2014.
The last two editions of the Commonwealth Games were held less than a month before the Asian Games, which took prominence.
Next year’s Asian Games will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia, only in August. It is still the national team’s main targets as they seek to win the gold medal and qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
Prior to the Commonwealth Games, the national men’s team will play in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in March.
Other major assignments next year for the men’s team include the Asian Champions Trophy in October and the World Cup in December.
The national men’s team will resume training next week before taking a break to allow the players to join their clubs for the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL), which starts on Jan 6.
The hockey teams for the 2018 Commonwealth Games (Qualification based on FIH world ranking as of Oct 31)
Men: Australia (host), India, England, New Zealand, Canada, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa, Scotland, Wales.
Women: Australia (host), England, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Scotland, Canada, Malaysia, Wales, Ghana.