New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) The Indian junior men’s and womens teams have qualified for the five-a-side competition at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games to be held from October 6 to 18, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced on Thursday.
The teams had earlier attained qualification to the event after participating in the men’s and women’s Asian Youth Olympic Games qualifiers respectively in Bangkok, Thailand, where the men’s team defeated Malaysia in the final match while the women’s team finished runners up after losing 1-4 to China in their summit clash.
In the men’s category, the Indian team will face stiff competition from 2014 Youth Olympic gold medallists Australia and silver medallists Canada along with hosts Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Poland, Mexico, Malaysia, Kenya, Zambia and Vanuatu.
Whereas the women’s team will have their task cut-out as 2014 Youth Olympic gold medallists China, hosts Argentina, Austria, Poland, Uruguay, Mexico, Australia, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Vanuatu will be the other 11 teams giving them competition.
The confirmation of these teams follows the conclusion of all continental qualifying events, the last being the African Youth Games, which concluded on 28 July.
The Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games will be the first instance for both the junior men’s and women’s hockey teams where they will be taking part in the quadrennial competition after not having participated in the first two editions in 2010 and 2014.
Secretary General of Hockey India Mushtaque Ahmad congratulated the teams for attaining qualification and said: “Both the Junior Men’s and Women’s teams have worked really hard to qualify for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.”
“I would like to congratulate the teams for showing great determination and securing their place in the quadrennial event for the first time.
“This format is very fast-paced and I feel that both our teams are very well equipped to be able to perform exceptionally at the Games in Argentina come October,” he added.
The schedule of the competition is yet to be announced by the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee.