Bhubaneswar (Avilash Panigrahi) : After the monumental success of the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar in 2018 & FIH Men’s Series Final Odisha 2019 which was lauded by the international hockey fraternity and fans from around the globe for immaculate execution and grandeur with which it was hosted, Once again the Hockey fever will return to Bhubaneswar as the state is all set to host FIH Olympic qualifiers on 1st and 2nd November .
In a favorable draw, India’s men’s hockey team was on Monday pitted against lower-ranked Russia while the women’s team drew a tricky USA in the final round of the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers.
The teams will compete in two back-to-back matches to make it to the Tokyo Games.
Indian men’s hockey team have played many Internationa events in Bhubaneswar but this will be the first time when Indian women team will play any international game here in Kalinga Stadium.
Eight-time Olympic champions India are ranked five in the world while the Russians are placed 22 in the FIH world rankings. India had mauled Russia 10-0 during the FIH Series Final in Bhubaneswar earlier this year.
The women American team is placed four places below India (ranked 9) it won’t be a cakewalk for the Rani Rampal-led side when they take the field for the FIH Olympic qualifiers.
The Indian women had played out a hard-fought 1-1 draw against USA in their last meeting at the Women’s World Cup in London last year.
The FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers have been determined by a draw held today at the headquarters of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in Lausanne as follows:
25/26 October: Spain – France, Valencia
26/27 October: The Netherlands – Pakistan, Amsterdam
26/27 October: Canada – Ireland, West Vancouver
1/2 November: India – Russia, Bhubaneswar
2/3 November: New Zealand – Korea, Stratford
2/3 November: Germany – Austria, Mönchengladbach
2/3 November: Great Britain – Malaysia, London
25/26 October: Australia – Russia, Perth
25/26 October: China – Belgium, Changzhou
25/26 October: Spain – Korea, Valencia
1/2 November: India – USA, Bhubaneswar
2/3 November: Germany – Italy, Mönchengladbach
2/3 November: Great Britain – Chile, London
2/3 November: Ireland – Canada, Dublin