(Photo: © FIH)

Edition seven of the women’s Asia Cup hockey championship is all set roll into history at the prestigious Queen Sirikit Sports Centre in Bangkok, Thailand on Thursday. The final is scheduled for 8 November.

By S.Thyagarajan

Put on stage for the first time in 1985 at Seoul, the continental competition for women has traversed through an eventful phase to achieve the status of a world cup qualifier. Korea a shining record of three triumphs with Japan, India and China having one cup win each.

But it is China that is getting the focus at Bangkok thanks to its splendid showing in the last Olympics where it cornered a silver medal pushing the winner Netherlands to the limits in the final. So, China starts as the favorite even though it is not the defending champion. Japan comes into the fray as the holder after its stunning performance in the last edition at Hong Kong. China is also the highest rated team—World ranking 3-followed by Japan at No 6 and the former champion and power house Korea at the 11th spot.

Korea had won in 1985 at Seoul, 1993 at Hiroshima, and in 1999 at New Delhi while China’s first win came in 1989 at Hong Kong, while India won on the home ground in Delhi in 2004.

Mr.Chiyapak Siriwat, President, Hockey Association of Thailand, welcomed the managers and coaches at a meeting and assured everything will be looked after with professional care. He announced that as many as five video cameras will capture the actions of all matches in pitch I, three will be in use in Pitch II..

The Pools:
A: China, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
B: Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea and Sri Lanka.