FIH Hockey Series Finals: How can India qualify for the 2020 Olympics

India's men's and women's teams will need to reach the finals at Bhubaneswar and Hiroshima, respectively to play the Olympic Qualifiers in November, 2019.

REPRESENTATIVE iMAGE   -  Getty Images

The FIH Series Finals will be India men's and women's hockey teams' first step towards qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The men's team will hope to win the competition taking place at home in Bhubaneswar from June 6-15, while the women's team will travel to Hiroshima, Japan with an aim to reach the final on June 23. After both the teams missed out on the gold medal at the Asian Games 2018, they will now have to take the long road to Tokyo 2020. The FIH Series Finals will serve as the first step.

Qualification process for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

How many teams play at the Olympics ?

- 12 (1 for the host, 5 for the champions of Asia, Africa, PanAmerica, Europe and Oceania, 6 for the teams coming through Olympic Qualifiers)

How many places are taken?

- 1 (Both the men's and women's teams of Japan won the 2018 Asian Games besides being guaranteed a place as the host nation. This has freed up space for one more team.)

How many are currently available?

- 7 (Since, four other spots for the continental championships will be decided as follows: Pan America Games - July 26-August 11, Africa Championship - August 12-18, EuroChampionship - August 16-25,  Oceania - September 1-8)

What does India need to do to qualify?

- India will go through a two-step process to play in the Olympics. Both the men's and women's team must reach the final of the FIH Series Finals in Bhubaneswar and Hiroshima to play in the Olympic Qualifiers in October and November. Both the men's and women's teams are the favorites to win the Series Finals.

What if Indian teams fail to reach the final at Bhubaneswar and Hiroshima?

- This is dependent on the world rankings which will be updated in September, 2019. Six top teams from the three Series Finals will reach the Olympic Qualifiers. They will have four top teams from the ongoing FIH Pro League waiting for them. If any of the above ten teams win their respective continental championships, then India should be the next top-ranked team to get another shot at the Olympics. For example, if Argentina, ranked fourth in men's rankings, finishes top of the FIH Pro League and also wins the Pan America Games in August, then India, ranked fifth, will play in the Olympic Qualifiers. Indian women's team, currently ninth in the rankings, will look to improve its ranking by the end of September to be in contention for the Olympic Qualifiers.

What will be the format at the Olympic Qualifiers?

- Fourteen teams (6 top teams from FIH Series Finals + 4 top teams from FIH Pro League + 4 top-ranked teams which have not played in either tournaments) will feature in the Olympic Qualifiers where each team plays one other team over two legs and will have to outscore its opponent on aggregate to earn a berth at the Olympics.

 

Schedule for Men's Series Finals, Bhubaneswar (Timings in IST)

June 6, Thursday - Pool A - India vs Russia - 7pm

June 7, Friday - Pool A - India vs Poland - 7pm

June 10, Monday - Pool A - India vs Uzbekistan - 7pm

June 12, Wednesday

- Cross-over 1 (C1) - 2nd Pool A vs 3rd Pool B - 5pm

- Cross-over 2 (C2) - 2nd Pool B vs 2nd Pool A - 7.15pm

- For 7th/8th place - 4th Pool A vs 4th Pool B - 8.45pm

June 14, Friday

- Semifinal 1 - 1st Pool A vs Winner of C2  - 5pm

- Semifinal 2 - 1st Pool B vs Winner of C1 - 7.15pm

- For 5th/6th place - Loser of C1 vs Lose or C2 - 8.45pm

June 15, Saturday - Final - 7.15pm

- 3rd//4th place match - 5 pm

 

Schedule for Women's Series Finals, Hiroshima (Timings in IST)

June 15, Saturday - Pool A - India vs Uruguay - 2.30pm

June 16, Sunday - Pool A - India vs Poland - 2.30pm

June 18, Tuesday - Pool A - India vs Fiji - 10.30am

June 20, Thursday

- Cross-over 1 (C1) - 2nd Pool A vs 3rd Pool B - 12.15pm

- Cross-over 2 (C2) - 2nd Pool B vs 2nd Pool A - 2.30pm

June 21, Friday

- For 7th/8th place - 4th Pool A vs 4th Pool B - 12.15pm

- For 5th/6th place - Loser of C1 vs Lose or C2 - 2.30pm

June 22, Saturday

- Semifinal 1 - 1st Pool A vs Winner of C2  - 12.15pm

- Semifinal 2 - 1st Pool B vs Winner of C1 - 2.30pm

June 23, Sunday - Final - 2.30 pm

- 3rd//4th place match - 12.15pm