Subahan: AHF fail to help more Asian teams qualify for Olympics

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have taken the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) to task for not helping more Asian teams qualify for the Olympics.

Their president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal said yesterday that the AHF have failed to increase the number of teams from 12 to 16.

“At the last Olympics in Rio (2016), India were the only Asian team there, ” said Subahan.

“By increasing it to 16 it will allow more Asian teams to compete which will be good for the sport in the region.

“At the Jakarta Asian Games, only champions Japan booked their berth. I think the top two teams at the Asiad should qualify, ” added Subahan.

Malaysia blew their chance to qualify when they led 5-2 in the gold-medal match.

But Japan fought back to level 6-6 and in the ensuing penalty shootout, Malaysia lost 3-1.

Malaysia will now have a daunting task to book their berth as they face Britain in the playoff matches in London on Nov 2 and 3.

Malaysia have not featured in the Olympics since Sydney 2000.

The team are currently in Seoul for a four-match playing tour against South Korea and will return on Sept 29.

Roelant Oltmans’ men will depart for Amsterdam on Oct 23 to play against two top clubs before heading to London for the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Subahan is pleased with the progress of the women’s team under K. Dharmaraj.

“He has done a good job by taking the women into the top 20 in the world ranking, ” said Subahan.

“We will give more emphasis to the women next year as we believe they have the potential to go far.

“Dharmaraj will also be replacing Yahya Atan as coach of the women’s indoor hockey team for the SEA Games in the Philippines. I believe he is the right person who can help us win the gold.

“Yahya will focus on the junior development programme.”

Subahan also revealed that they will be bidding for the 2021 women’s Junior World Cup and the men’s and women’s 2022 World Cups.

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