01 November 2019
Bhubaneswar: The Indian women's team will look to book their spots at the Tokyo Olympic Games when they take part in the Olympic qualifiers on November 1 and 2 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium. World No. 9 Indian are scheduled to play World No. 13 USA.
The winners of the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Odisha will qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The winners will be determined as follows: teams will be ranked according to the number of points each has accumulated in both matches (for each match, 3 points are awarded to the winner, 1 point to each team in the event of a draw and 0 point to the loser). If there is equality among the two teams, then the teams will be ranked according to their respective goal difference. If the equality remains, a shoot-out competition will be played to establish the winner. Therefore, the objective of both the teams will be to secure direct qualification for the Tokyo 2020 hockey tournaments - which will be staged in Japan's capital city from 25 July to 7 August next year and involve 12 Men's and 12 Women's teams.
The Indian women's team has played their opponents USA on eight occasions since 2014, registering one win which came in the Tests held in 2016.
Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne spoke highly of his current side, and said that they are ready for the test. "We are really excited to play. These are the two matches we have looked forward to and worked on for a whole year. We are ready for the challenge," stated the Dutchman.
Skipper Rani further added, "After missing out on qualifying at the Asian Games, we decided to shift our focus on to the Olympic Qualifiers. Regardless of who our opponent would be, we trained the entire year for these two matches and now we are looking forward to bring our best."
Kathleen Sharkey, USA Captain, stated: "I have seen India improve over the years and every match we have played against them, it has been close and the fight is intense. We are expecting a good challenge from them. These past few days here have been good for us to get used to the weather."