China and Sri Lanka men earn tickets to Round 2, with Thailand, Kazakstan and Singapore women also reaching second phase
QUALIFIERS FOR HOCKEY WORLD LEAGUE ROUND 2
Men: China, Sri Lanka
Women: Thailand, Kazakhstan, Singapore
The first Hockey World League events of the 2016-2018 season have come to an end, with China men and Thailand women emerging victorious at the Hockey World League Round 1 competitions at the Sengkang Stadium in Singapore.
China (FIH World Ranking: 19) were in great form throughout the men’s competition, winning all of their matches before being given a real scare by Sri Lanka (WR: 42) in the tournament final.
Despite sitting 23 places below their opponents in the FIH World Rankings, the Sri Lankans produced a stunning performance to fight back from 2-0 down to take a 3-2 lead thanks to three goals in a remarkable ten-minute spell from Sandaruwan Sudusingha, Damith Mahara and Lakshan Nanayakkara. However, a penalty corner from China’s Meng Dihao restored parity nine minutes from time before the top ranked team emerged victorious in the shoot-out 4-2.
Despite the pain of losing in the shoot-out, Sri Lanka will take great heart from their excellent showing in Singapore and know that a top two finish has earned them a ticket to Round 2.
Thailand (WR: 61), finished third by beating host nation Singapore (WR: 38) 3-1 in the bronze medal match.
The format of the women’s competition was a round-robin league, with Thailand (WR: 35) finishing top of the standings with six wins out of six to snatch one of three available Round 2 qualification tickets on offer at the event.
The Thais were by far the best team in the competition, scoring 42 times and conceding just once on their way to a comfortable first place finish. Tikhamporn Sakunpithak was the star of the Thai team, scoring 13 times including 11 goals from open play.
Kazakhstan (WR: 33) claimed four wins from six matches to finish in second place, sealing their safe passage through to the second phase of the Hockey World League. The meeting between the top two sides took place on Saturday (15 April, with Kornkanok Sanpoung scoring twice as Thailand defeated Kazakhstan 3-1.
Picking up the third women's qualification spot for Hockey World League Round 2 was hosts Singapore who finished in third place.
For all the information, visit the FIH event page by clicking here.
Hockey World League
Launched in 2012 and played every two years, the World League acts as another avenue for nations to qualify for the 2018 FIH Hockey World Cup (in addition to those qualifying as continental champions and the World Cup hosts). World ranking points are also at stake. The competition will be played over four rounds, with the first round featuring teams ranked 20th and below in the FIH World Rankings (dependent on number of entrants), with the top three men's teams and top two women's sides from the tournament qualifying for Round 2.
Hockey World League Round 1 – Singapore
1: China – Qualified for HWL Round 2
2: Sri Lanka – Qualified for HWL Round 2
5: Hong Kong
1: Thailand – Qualified for HWL Round 2
2: Kazakhstan – Qualified for HWL Round 2
3: Singapore - Qualified for HWL Round 2
4: Hong Kong
5: Sri Lanka