The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) on Wednesday mentioned it should conduct the Olympic qualifiers independently if the postponed Hangzhou Asian Video games aren’t held by September subsequent yr.
The Video games, which had been scheduled to be held from September 10 to 25 this yr, have been postponed indefinitely because of the unfold of COVID-19 in China. The brand new dates will probably be determined in future.
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AHF’s chief government officer Tayyab Ikram mentioned the AHF was carefully monitoring the state of affairs and was in common session with Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). “The Asian Video games is an Olympic qualifier for the continent, however we nonetheless have sufficient time in hand. If the Asian Video games Video games are postponed to September 2023, we will probably be in the identical place to conduct the qualifiers. We’re carefully monitoring the developments,” he mentioned throughout a digital press convention forward of the lads’s Asia Cup, to be held in Jakarta.
“We do have a ‘Plan B’, an unbiased Olympic qualifier event for Asia if the Asian Video games are postponed past September 2023. We need to present honest alternative and even platform to our gamers. However we now have to see the feasibility. We’re very constructive at this stage.
“The pandemic in China is way more in a precautionary stage now… we’re carefully monitoring the state of affairs there. We are going to implement ‘Plan B’ if required.”
Requested if there was any timeframe to fall again on ‘Plan B’, Ikram mentioned: “For us it is rather clear if the choice is that Asian Video games will probably be held in September 2023 or earlier than; clearly, the OCA has to make that call. If that occurs it is wonderful or else we must implement ‘Plan B’. I am not too involved concerning the first half of 2023.”
The Hangzhou Asian Video games is of excessive worth for the hockey groups of the continent as Olympic berths are at stake in each males’s and ladies’s occasions. The winners will earn direct proper to compete on the 2024 Paris Olympics. In the meantime, the Asia Cup in Jakarta from Might 23 to June 1 is a World Cup qualifier.
Being the host, India has secured a direct entry in subsequent yr’s World Cup however the Olympic bronze medallists would look to defend its title within the Asia Cup. India will open its marketing campaign towards arch-rival Pakistan on the opening day of the event.