(Photo: FIH)

New Delhi, January 30, 2012: In keeping with its commitment towards promoting India’s national sport – Hockey, Hero MotoCorp Ltd. (HMCL) – the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer - today announced its coming on board as the Title Sponsor of the men’s and women’s hockey qualifying events for London Olympics 2012.

HMCL (formerly known as Hero Honda Motors Ltd) is amongst the largest corporate promoters of sports in India.

The event titled as ‘Hero FIH Road to London’ will be played at Major Dhyan Chand Hockey National Stadium in New Delhi from the 18th – 26th of February 2012. The event will feature six teams from both men’s and women’s category competing against each other in a round robin format for two Olympic berths out of the six berths available (1 of 3 men’s and 1 of 3 women’s) in the 2012 London Olympics. The ‘Hero FIH Road to London’ is the first of the three leg Olympic qualifying events for the London Olympic Games scheduled for July this year. Following the round robin league, the teams ranked first and second will play and the winner will qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games, while the remaining four teams will play placement games for FIH World Ranking points. 

Commenting on the partnership, Mr. Pawan Munjal, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Hero MotoCorp Ltd., said “Hockey, being the national sport of the country, holds a special place in our hearts and we are pleased to partner with FIH in presenting the “Hero FIH Road to London” Olympic Hockey Qualifiers. We have always believed in nurturing and supporting various sporting disciplines including cricket, golf, shooting and hockey. I am sure there are millions of hockey fans across the country who wants to see a revival of the glorious hockey days of yore, and we, therefore, consider it an absolute privilege to be playing our small role in reigniting the passion and popularity of hockey in the country.”

The tournament holds great importance for the Indian men’s and women’s hockey team as this will be their only window to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games. The Indian men’s hockey team enters the tournament as favourites while they are also the highest ranked team amongst the six nations competing in the event. The Indian men’s team is ranked 10th while the women’s team is ranked 13th in the world rankings.

Speaking on the partnership, Mr. Leandro Negre, President of FIH, said, “I am delighted to see Hero MotoCorp come on board as the title sponsor of the Olympic qualifiers. It’s a crucial chance for India to qualify for London and I'm sure the Indian team and hockey fans everywhere also welcome their support. Hero are ideal partners for hockey and FIH in that they really help us promote the event and hockey in India.  Their promotion for the FIH Hockey World Cup in 2010 was fundamental in leading to a renaissance of hockey enthusiasm in India and we hope that the Hero FIH Road to London will build on that.”

The India leg of the Hero FIH Road to London Olympic qualifiers will feature the men’s national field hockey teams from India, Italy, Poland, Singapore, Canada and France. The Indian National women’s hockey team will play against South Africa, Canada, Italy, Poland and Ukraine. 

The tournament will be aired on Ten Sports and will be viewed by hockey fans LIVE in India and across 80 countries globally.

In 2010, Hero MotoCorp started its partnership with FIH, by bringing the coveted men’s hockey world cup event to India, titled “Hero Honda FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup 2010”. The company executed an inspiring multi media campaign, “Phir Dil Do Hockey Ko” featuring young achievers such as Hero brand ambassadors – cricketer Virender Sehwag, Olympic silver medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and popular Hindi movie actor Priyanka Chopra. Further aligning with the company’s objective of long-term promotion of the game at the grassroots level, Hero MotoCorp also organized pan-India inter-school Hockey tournaments.

Commune Sports & Entertainment is the commercial representative of FIH in India.

Information regarding the match schedule for the tournament can be found at the below links. 

Men - click here.

Women - click here.