Pune: Youth men and women teams from India are set to make debut at the October 7-14 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Wednesday announced in Lausanne the qualified nations for the quadrennial youth extravaganza with 12 teams including the host, Argentina, featuring in the list.
The hockey competition will be in Hockey5s format, essentially 5-a-side hockey to be played at the Youth Olympic Park in Buenos Aires.
In the women’s event, hosts Argentina will be joined by Australia, Austria, China, India, Mexico, Namibia, Poland, South Africa, Uruguay, Vanuatu and Zimbabwe.
The men’s event will see Argentina welcome Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Vanuatu and Zambia.
The confirmation of these teams follows the conclusion of all continental qualifying events, the last being the African Youth Games, which concluded on July 28.
Thereafter, each qualified National Olympic Committee (NOC) was invited to send a Hockey5s team to the event in Buenos Aires. As NOCs are only allowed to send one team sport, the FIH had to wait on confirmation before publishing the official list of qualified nations.
Besides India, the countries who would make their first presence at Youth Olympics are Argentina, Austria, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland and Vanuatu in the men’s event. Australia, Austria, India, Mexico, Namibia, Poland and Zimbabwe will make their debut in the women’s competition.
All of the teams will have different squads to the ones that participated four years ago in Nanjing 2014, the medallists Australia (gold) and Canada (silver) in men; and China (gold) and Argentina (bronze) women will be hoping to add to their Hockey5s success.
“This is going to be a fascinating event, combining raw talent with great potential. The Youth Olympic Games are a fantastic opportunity for the world to see the future of our sport, whilst also giving these athletes the first taste of Olympism. We can’t wait to get underway in Buenos Aires this coming October,” said FIH CEO Thierry Weil.