Chance to erase painful memory
Ireland will host the Champions Challenge 1 women’s hockey tournament for the second year running, presenting South Africa with the opportunity to erase the memory of their fifth-place finish in the June 2011 event.
The event takes place from September 29 to October 7 at the same venue as last year, the National Hockey Stadium, which is situated at the impressive University College Dublin campus.
SA fell victim to an experimental International Hockey Federation (FIH) format at the 2011 event that gave all four teams in each pool in the eight-team tournament the opportunity to play in quarterfinals. SA topped Pool A but lost on golden goal to Pool B basement dwellers Spain after dominating the quarterfinal in overwhelming fashion.
The unpopular experimental format has now been scrapped and the 2012 tournament reverts to the original formula that sees two pools of four with the top two in each pool going straight into the semifinals.
Champions Challenge 1 offers valuable world ranking points and promotion for the winners into the world top six Champions Trophy.
Champs Challenge 2012 was originally headed for Italy but the Ireland Hockey Association reports that due to logistics the FIH put it out to tender and Ireland’s bid secured the high profile world event.
Four London 2012 Olympic Games teams will be taking part; current world No 7 Australia’s Hockeyroos, world number 10 the USA, world number 12 South Africa and world number 16 Belgium.
The other teams are world 11 Spain, world 13 India, world 14 Ireland, and world 18 Scotland, who could possibly have their four Great Britain Olympic Games players back in the team.