Bangladesh celebrate a goal during their Hockey World League Round 2 victory over Oman in New Delhi, February 2013.
Bangladesh celebrate a goal during their Hockey World League Round 2 victory over Oman in New Delhi, February 2013.
(Photo: Cameraworx)

The Hockey World League, the tournament that makes the dream of reaching the Rio 2016 Olympic Games a possibility for every hockey playing nation, returns to action this September. In the third of our Round 1 event previews, we take focus our gaze on the men’s competition that takes place in Dhaka where Sri Lanka (FIH World Ranking: 40), Hong Kong (WR: 46) and host nation Bangladesh (WR: 32) will go head-to-head with the aim of claiming a place info Round 2. 

Home favourites Bangladesh, the event’s top-ranked team, were hugely impressive during the first edition of the Hockey World League, seeing off challenges from Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore to win their Round 1 event and were subsequently rewarded with a place in the fiercely competitive Round 2 tournament in New Delhi. At 40th in the world, Bangladesh went into that event as the second lowest ranked of the six competing teams but produced some dazzling displays to claim a remarkable third place finish behind India and Ireland, recording victories over two higher-ranked opponents - China (18) and Oman (36). The results proved that they are very much a team on the rise, and will be expected to be equally as strong in the 2014-15 Hockey World League season. 

Like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka have also made it perfectly clear in recent years that they are very much a growing force. Last September they became the inaugural winners of the 1st Asian Challenge when they defeated Myanmar in the tournament final in Bangkok. The tournament was created by the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) to give the second tier countries in Asia greater opportunity to participate in international competition against opponents of a relative standard, experience which could prove to be extremely valuable coming into this HWL Round 1 event. 

Hong Kong are the lowest ranked team in the competition, but with only 14 world ranking places between the top and bottom ranked sides it is clear that they shouldn’t be under-estimated. Both Sri Lanka and Hong Kong featured in the inaugural season of the HWL but failed to make it past the first phase, something that they will be keen to change this time around.  

You can keep track of the results from Dhaka on the official tournament microsite, with FIH.CH bringing a full summary of the action upon the completion of the event.

The second edition of the Hockey World League got underway earlier this year, with the women’s teams of Malaysia and Belarus emerging triumphant at respective Round 1 events in Singapore and Lithuania before Russia men stormed to victory in Croatia last month. 

The September return will see no fewer than nine different Round 1 tournaments will take place over 13 action-packed days, with Czech Republic, Kenya, Bangladesh, Oman and Mexico playing host to the various men’s and women’s events. The remaining Round 1 competitions will be played in Jamaica (30 September - 5 October 2014) and Fiji (6-13 December 2014), both of which will feature men’s and women’s tournaments. 

The winning team at each event is guaranteed a place in Round 2 of the Hockey World League, where they will be joined by a number of the highest-placed finishers from the Round 1 tournaments. Round 2 will also see the introduction of the teams placed from 12 to 19 in the FIH World Rankings with the sides ranked 1 to 11 starting their journey in Round 3, where tickets for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as well as qualification for the Finals tournament are up for grabs.  

More information about the Hockey World League and all of the upcoming events can be found by clicking here.