Do you recognize the Las Leonas, wearing pink and purple? It's the London look for the team
Around the globe, the 24 qualified teams are busy preparing for the London Games as the Opening Ceremony is just over 50 days away. Many women’s teams are in and around Great Britain getting ready for the Investec Cup, while the men’s focus is in Malaysia at the Azan Shah Cup.
The New Zealand women were in China for a three-game series in Beijing. New Zealand topped The Chinese twice with 2-1 victories, but lost the final meeting, 1-0. New Zealand will continue its Asian tour and head to Korea for a four-game series against the hosts, which starts on Sunday.
The South African women are preparing for the Investec Cup in Scotland, with a five-match series against a Scottish women’s team, which is missing four of its top players who are with the Great Britain squad. To date, the teams drew in a 2-2 battle last Sunday and South Africa won the next two meetings, 2-1 and 4-2. The two remaining matches will be played over the weekend, with Friday’s game being the first featuring double-Olympians Kate Woods and Pietie Coetzee for South Africa, who arrived in Scotland only this morning.
The Australia women are playing two test matches against Great Britain to prepare for the Investec Cup, with the two teams finishing in a 0-0 deadlock yesterday at the Olympic pitch.
On the men’s side, all eyes are on Azlan Shah Cup. So far, the story has been the dominance of New Zealand, which leads the seven-team pack with 12 points in five games. Argentina has been a pleasant surprise at the event, currently sitting in second place with nine points in its five outings. India also has nine points, but has played the full six games in the round robin. Great Britain is the other top contender with eight points. Rounding out the standings are Korea, Malaysia and Pakistan.
Six of the seven Azlan Shah Cup teams will be at the Olympics, with Malaysia the only team that is not qualified.
The Spanish men have officially begun their Olympic Games preparation with a camp starting today in Terrassa which will include three test matches against Scotland, with the first one scheduled for Saturday.
In other Olympic news, both the Dutch men’s and women’s coaches cut back their Olympic squads to 22 and 23 players respectively. On the women’s side, Marloes Keetels and Emilie Mol dropped off the roster, while on the men’s side Eby Kessing and Laurence Docherty are no longer in contention. Women’s head coach Max Caldas also announced that five players (Merel de Blaey, Kim Lammers, Lidewij Welten, Margot van Geffen and Maartje Goderie) who remain on the Olympic squad and will be travelling to London will be rested during the Investec Cup to “balance out the stress on individual players”.
Finally, making news in Argentina was the presentation presented the Las Leonas Olympic uniforms. The first model is the usual, light blue and white stripes. But the second model is creating a buzz and gets into the London spirit with purple and pink.