MUSCAT: Women’s Asia Cup hockey will make its first appearance in the Sultanate of Oman when the 2022 edition will kick off at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat on Friday. Defending champions India are grouped with Japan, Malaysia and Singapore in Pool A, while China, South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia make up Pool B. Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) CEO Tayyab Ikram said it is a historic moment for the Sultanate of Oman in pioneering among the Gulf and Arab region to host women’s hockey for the first time.
“It is a historic occasion for the Sultanate of Oman and Oman Hockey Association (OHA) as they host the Asia Cup women’s hockey for the first time in the region. This was possible only through the solid support from the Government of Oman,” Ikram told a press conference to introduce the captains and unveil the trophy at the Grand Marooj Hotel on Wednesday.
“This was a bold decision by the authorities to stage the event in Muscat following strict Covid-19 protocols. I congratulate the Oman Olympic Committee, the OHA and other officials involved to make the tournament a reality in Muscat,” the International Hockey Federation (FIH) board member said.
He said the event will be live streamed by FIH through its website and media channels.
OHA Chairman Dr Marwan bin Juma al Juma said Oman hockey will strive to achieve more heights.
“We want to make our presence felt in the global map of hockey by hosting top events like Asia Cup. We also want that the young generation of hockey players in the country take advantage of getting exposure with the top talents of hockey across the world,” he said.
The top-4 teams of the Women’s Asia Cup Muscat 2022 will qualify for the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup 2022.
Indian captain and goalkeeper Savita said the title defenders will put up their best performance in Muscat.
“This tournament is important for us and we have worked well on several aspects of the game. We are waiting to perform on the ground after an intense training and preparation,” she said.
The Indian team had missed a bronze closely in the Tokyo Olympics 2020 after missing out to Great Britain 4-3. Savita said the team will focus on their strengths as they open campaign against Malaysia on Friday.
Japan captain said their team had arrived early for getting acclimatised to the conditions in the Sultanate of Oman.
“We had a small camp in Muscat and hopefully we can perform our best in the tournament.”
The South Korean captain said they had prepared hard for the top Asian tournament and hoped to deliver their top performance.
China captain expressed her delight to be in the Sultanate of Oman and promised a good show from the side.
Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysian captains also voiced confidence for a good competitive tournament.