The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) has made its first team selection for Beijing 2008. With its convincing win over 3rd-ranked Australia in the Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament in September, the New Zealand Women’s Team (Blacksticks) met the New Zealand Olympic Committee’s selection criteria.
The New Zealand Olympic selectors, in consultation with Hockey New Zealand, had stipulated the team demonstrate the capability of advancing beyond pool play in the Olympic competition before they could be selected. This was despite the Blacksticks having qualified Oceania an additional spot at Beijing 2008.
Hockey New Zealand was keen to confirm the team’s place to progress high-performance planning strategies ahead of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The team’s nomination to the New Zealand Olympic Committee was made by the International Hockey Federation at the request of Hockey New Zealand shortly after the win against Australia.
“There had been a lot of speculation about whether the team would be selected for Beijing,” said Ramesh Patel, CEO of Hockey New Zealand. “While we had earned Oceania that additional spot, we still knew we needed to make improvements to our play before we could be confirmed.
“This confirmation means we can now make moves to centralize players and move ahead on our international program.”
The New Zealand Olympic selectors are delighted to have confirmed the Blacksticks as part of the New Zealand Olympic Team for Beijing.
“We’re putting together an Olympic team that makes New Zealanders proud,” said Barry Maister, selector and Secretary General of the New Zealand Olympic Committee. “The team’s win against a top-performing, full-strength Australian side has shown us it’s got the capability to do just that. We are pleased to confirm their selection to enable them to take their training program to the next level.”
Hockey New Zealand expects to make individual player nominations to the New Zealand Olympic Committee in 2008 with the final squad being named in June.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee will be making further selection announcements for Beijing 2008 as teams and individuals meet selection criteria.
Most selections will be made in early 2008.
Source: Hockey New Zealand
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