After being absent from the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, the men’s team of Canada is back in the Olympic Games. The Canadians qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics by defeating Argentina after penalty strokes in a dramatic final of the Pan American Games.

The newly crowned Pan American Champion was not the only team that gained 2008 Olympic Games participation this week. The women’s team of Argentina booked its Beijing ticket by defeating USA in the Pan Am Games final. In Africa, both the men’s and women’s team of South Africa were the best in the African Olympic Qualifier and are also scheduled to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Five teams are qualified for the Men’s Hockey Tournament of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games: China, Korea, Pakistan, South Africa and Canada. The remaining seven vacancies will go to the first three in the EuroHockey Nations Championships (18-26 August in Manchester, UK), the winner of the Oceania Cup (10-17 September in Buderim, Australia) and the three winners of the WorldHockey Olympic Qualifiers to be played early 2008.

Four teams scheduled to participate in the Women’s Hockey Tournament of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games at this stage: China, Japan, South Africa and Argentina. The remaining eight vacancies will go to the first three in the EuroHockey Nations Championships (18-26 August in Manchester, UK), the winner and runner-up of the Oceania Cup (10-17 September in Buderim, Australia) and the three winners of the WorldHockey Olympic Qualifiers to be played early 2008.

Please click here for a complete overview of the Olympic Qualification system.