Host nation India and Malaysia have dominated the early stages of the women’s Hero Hockey World League Round 2 event in New Delhi, with the Asian nations both topping their respective Pools ahead of Thursday’s quarter-finals.
The two highest finishers in the eight team tournament, which began on Saturday 7th March and concludes on Sunday 15th March, will each be guaranteed a place in the HWL Semi-Finals, where the coveted berths at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are on offer.
Top ranked India (FIH World Ranking: 13) more than justified their status as tournament favourites by recording wins against Ghana (WR: 30), Poland (WR: 26) and Thailand (WR: 45) to guarantee top spot in Pool A. Striker Vandana Katariya has been one of the stars of the India line-up, netting six goals to make herself an early frontrunner for tournament top scorer. Poland finished in second place with two wins, ahead of third placed Thailand and Ghana, who finished fourth.
In Pool B, Malaysia (WR: 21) have written all of the headlines by defeating Kazakhstan (WR: 32), Singapore (WR:43) and Russia (WR: 23) to finish top of the standings. A hat-trick from Fazilla Sylvester Silin in a 5-0 win against bottom of the table Singapore secured a first place finish for the Malaysians, while a treble from Kazakhstan captain Vatalya Gataulina gave her side a stunning 3-2 triumph over Russia to seal second place ahead of their higher-ranked opponents.
The two Pool winners will face the sides that finished bottom of the other Pool, with India’s Eves squaring up against Singapore while Malaysia face Ghana. Poland versus Russia and Kazakhstan versus Thailand completes Thursday’s quarter-final line-up. To see all tournament fixtures and results, please click here.
In the women’s Hockey World League, a total of seven qualification places for the HWL Semi-Finals are available from the Round 2 events in Montevideo (URU), New Delhi (IND) and Dublin (IRL). The reason for seven rather nine qualifiers is because both Spain and Belgium, two nations ranked between 12-19 at the time of seeking entries, are hosting Semi-Final tournaments later this year and have therefore already qualified.
The top two finishers from Montevideo, New Delhi and Dublin are certain to qualify for the Semi-Finals, being joined by the highest ranked of the third placed finishers from those three events. Italy and Uruguay recently confirmed their places in the Semi-Finals with a top two finish at the event in Montevideo, while Azerbaijan face a nervous wait until the end of the Round 2 events before knowing if they are the highest ranked of the third placed finishers. To learn more about how the teams progress through the competition in the hope of reaching the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, click here.
You can keep track of the tournament in New Delhi on the official tournament microsite.