India’s women hockey team bags historic Olympic berth on National Sports Day


women-hockey-teamMajor Dhyan Chand’s birthday and the country’s National Sports Day became extra special on Saturday as India’s women’s team booked only their second qualification ever for the Olympic Games.

The fifth-place finish at the Hockey World League semi-finals earlier in July this year was enough for India to bag a historic berth as a place opened up after Netherlands and England reached the final of the EuroHockey Championships in London.

India’s only previous qualification for the Games was in 1980, where they finished a commendable fourth.

The Indian women’s team, which was waiting for this day with bated breath, required two of the already-qualified teams to reach the final of the European Championships in order to confirm their qualification.

“India qualified after England defeated Spain in the semi-finals of the Unibet EuroHockey Championships in London, which ensured that the only teams who can now win the event have already qualified for Rio through the Hockey World League Semi-Finals – Netherlands and England (as Great Britain),” the FIH said on its website.

“The winner of the EuroHockey Championships will qualify for the 2016 Olympics as European continental champions, opening up a further qualification spot which India secure as the team who ranked highest at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals not already qualified,” it added.

Hockey India president, Narinder Batra, also congratulated the team on his Facebook page.


“On 29th August 2015, the Best Birthday Gift for Dada Dhyan Chand on His Birthday and National Sports Day…Well Done We are Proud of You, The Entire Nation is Proud of You…,” Batra further said.

India become the 10th women’s team to qualify for the Rio Games after South Korea, Argentina, Great Britain, China, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

There are two more qualifications available for the women’s event at Rio 2016. These will be finalised after the two remaining continental championships – the Oceania Cup and the Africa Cup for Nations – to be held in November.