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HWL R1 Preview: Canada women target glory in Guadalajara

September 1, 2014
Road to Rio: Hockey World League R1 - Women - Guadalajara (MEX)

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 in the coming days. 

In this preview we head to the Mexican city of Guadalajara, a location that will play host to both men’s and women’s Hockey World League events in the coming weeks. Today we focus on the women’s tournament, which sees Canada (FIH World Ranking: 23), Mexico (WR: 28), Guatemala and Peru (both unranked) fight it out for a place in Round 2 between 11-14 September. The tournament winner will be guaranteed a place in the second phase of the competition and keep hopes of competing at the Rio Games very much alive. 

Top ranked Canada will be the team to beat in Guadalajara, having achieved numerous notable results in the last 18 months. The North Americans claimed a superb third place finish in the 2013 Pan American Cup and earlier this year produced an outstanding performance to hold England, one of the top teams in the world, to a draw. This young and talented group is making solid progress under Head Coach Ian Rutledge, and a place in Round 2 is certainly well within their capabilities.  

Host nation Mexico are likely to be Canada’s strongest rivals and know that the advantage of playing in front of their home fans could prove to be significant. Their fifth place finish at the 2013 Pan American Cup was their highest ever placing in the event, suggesting that they are very much on the up.  

The participation of Guatemala’s women in the Hockey World League comes just two years after the country’s first ever international appearance when the newly formed U-21 men’s team competed in the 2012 Pan American Junior Championships, an event which also took place in Guadalajara. Their HWL debut will be a very special occasion for everyone who has worked hard to develop the sport since the Olympic Committee of Guatemala embraced hockey just seven years ago. 

Like Guatemala, Peru are very much an emerging hockey nation and will be looking to gain valuable world level experience in Guadalajara. 2013 was a massively important year for the development of the sport in Peru thanks to the opening of the country’s first synthetic surface in Chiclayo. The venue played host to the hockey competition of the 2013 Bolivarian Games, a competition in which Peru claimed the Silver medal. Peru’s involvement in the Hockey World League is certain to add even more momentum to the rapid rise of the sport within the country. 

You can keep track of the results from Guadalajara 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 in July. 

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.

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