The visually striking hockey pitches within the Olympic Park.
The visually striking hockey pitches within the Olympic Park.
(Photo: FIH / Olympic Delivery Authority / Getty Images)

Monday 9th January marked another significant point in the build up to the London 2012 Olympics, being exactly 200 days until the Opening Ceremony of the Games. The event takes place on Friday 27th July 2012, with the Hockey competition at the newly re-named "Riverbank Arena" getting underway just two days later.  

In a little more than seven months time, the global spotlight will be on London and the United Kingdom, where 15,000 athletes, 7,000 technical officials and 20,000 accredited media from more than 200 countries will be present while four billion people across the world tune in to watch the televised coverage of the Games.  384 athletes, 76 appointed officials and countless London 2012 staff and volunteers will be directly involved with the Hockey competition, which has already proven to be something of a success story.  

Despite having the third largest amount of tickets available behind Football and Athletics, all of the 600,000-plus Hockey tickets have been sold, ensuring that the 16,000 capacity venue – which is perfectly located in the heart of Olympic Park itself – will be packed to the rafters with cheering supporters throughout the Games.  

Eighteen of the 24 teams that will compete in the men’s and women’s Hockey tournaments at London 2012 are already known, with the final six places being decided at the forthcoming Olympic Qualifying tournaments. On the men’s side, Great Britain, Pakistan, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Spain have all confirmed their places at the Games. The women’s competition is guaranteed to feature Great Britain, China, Korea, The Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, USA and Argentina.  

Come the end of next month, two more teams will have sealed berths at London 2012 thanks to the completion of the 1st Men’s and Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournaments, which take place between 15-26 February in New Delhi, India.  Between 15-26 February, eight times Gold medalists and tournament hosts India will be aiming to battle past men’s challengers Canada, France, Poland, USA and Italy to seal a return to Olympic competition after failing to qualify for Beijing 2008. India’s women will also be hoping that the passionate home crowd can cheer them to success, with South Africa, Italy, Canada, Ukraine and Poland standing in their way. It promises to be a fascinating competition which will be covered in full by FIH.ch, the official website of the International Hockey Federation.

The final four places for the Games will be decided at tournaments taking place in Dublin, Ireland (Men – 10-18 March 2012), Antwerp, Belgium (Women – 17-25 March 2012), and Kakamigahara, Japan (Men and Women – 25 April – 6 May 2012). Match schedules for the tournaments in Dublin and Belgium can be found by clicking here. The schedule for the men’s and women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament in Kakamigahara will be released at a later date.

For more information about the exciting build-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games, please take a look at the following links.

BBC Images of Olympic Park – Click here
 Royal Mint unveils Olympic Hockey coin – Click Here
Official London 2012 Site – Click here