Monday, June 17, 2024

Special Olympics World Games: Hockey to make its debut as demo sport at Berlin 2023

The sport of hockey will make its debut at the Special Olympics World Games as a demonstration sport in the form of Hockey ID, a sport for those with Intellectual Disabilities, at the Special Olympics World Games 2023 in Berlin.

The games which begin on Saturday (June 17), and run till June 25, will feature over 7,000 athletes across 26 summer sports from 190 delegations.

Hockey ID was chosen as a demonstration sport as one of the two sports from a pool of ten sports, with a key factor that sealed the deal for Hockey ID’s inclusion being the willingness of the FIH, the EHF and other national hockey associations to work in partnership with the Special Olympics.

The Hockey ID matches will run from June 18 to June 24 and feature 13 mixed-gender teams representing four Continental hockey federations. Belgium, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, Pakistan, Paraguay and Spain will all have squads of 10 players present at the games, with hosts Germany being represented by two teams, the FIH informed in a release on Friday.

The matches will be played in a 6-a-side format, on half-sized hockey pitches with each game consisting of two halves of 15 minutes. Each team will field six players at one time with four additional players available to be substituted in.

Belgium, Spain, Great Britain, Egypt, the Netherlands, Pakistan and Germany (team 1) have been placed in Pool A, while Paraguay, Czech Republic, France, Chile, Bulgaria and Germany (team 2) have been placed in Pool B. The preliminary rounds will be played from June 18 to 22, followed by knockout rounds on June 22 and 23. The final will be played on June 24.

Speaking before the games, Norman Hughes, who is the FIH Hockey ID Project Lead and the driving force behind Hockey ID’s inclusion in the Games, said: “To have 13 teams representing 4 continents in the very first edition of Hockey ID being played at the Special Olympics, is a very proud moment for our sport and shows the global interest in promoting inclusiveness. Our aim is to use the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 as a tool to inspire more nations to develop and grow Hockey ID.”

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