London, Aug 29:
England ensured that India qualified for the Olympics after 36 years when they defeated Spain to enter the final of the ongoing EuroHockey Championships here.
England’s 2-1 victory over Spain in the semi-finals – after Holland had entered the title clash by edging out Germany 1-0 – ensured that one quota place was freed up as both finalists have already earned their sports for the Rio Olympics next year.
India took the quota place on the basis of their fifth-place finish in the women’s Hockey World League Semi-finals in Antwerp, Belgium last month.
This is the first time that India will feature in the quadrinniel extravagenza since their fourth place finish at the 1980 edition of the Games in Moscow.
“India qualified after England defeated Spain in the semi-finals of the Unibet EuroHockey Championships in London, which ensured that the only teams — The Netherlands and England (as Great Britain) — who can now win the event have already qualified for Rio through the Hockey World League Semi-Finals,” the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said in a statement on Saturday.
“The winner of the EuroHockey Championships will qualify for the 2016 Olympics as European continental champions, opening up a further qualification spot which India secure as the team who ranked highest at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals not already qualified,” it added.
India are the 10th team to qualify for the 2016 Olympics with South Korea, Argentina, Great Britain, China, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and USA having already ensured their participation.
South Korea and Argentina made the grade after emerging champions at the Asian Games and Pan Am Games respectively, while the others qualified through the Hockey World League Semi-Finals.
The remaining two places will not be finalised until after the Continental Championships, the Oceania Cup and the Africa Cup for Nations, which finish in November this year. (IANS)