China’s head coach Alyson Annan speaks with players later in the FIH Hockey Pro League women’s rivalry match between China and Germany in Sydney, Australia, Feb. 11, 2023. China’s women’s state field hockey head coach Alyson Annan sees potential and development in her players. And is getting the confidence to battle at Paris 2024.

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For ex-Australian player Alyson Annan, the Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Center continually holds a superior spot in her heart. Back in 2000, it was on this field that Annan and her co-players were. Wearing green and gold, shattered Argentina 3-1 to take the Olympic gold in women’s field hockey in front of their home troops.

In the centre’s Grand Stand, three out of five vast photographs dangled on the wall feature the then 27-year-old Annan during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Capturing the memories of her jump for joy over the conquest. A celebration with her squad on the top of the stage. And how she evaded her opponent’s desperate effort on the run of play.

The brilliant star of Sport Australia Hall of Fame returned to her home ground pitch again after more than two decades. But this time, she sported a different colour. And had a new name, head coach of China’s women’s state field hockey team. This is where I gained Olympic gold on this pitch. It’s also distinct for the Chinese women’s field hockey squad. Because it was their first time exasperating to play the Olympic Games here. So it grasps a special spot for us all, Annan said.

Australian Legend as a Head Coach of China Hockey Team for Paris 2024

From Feb. 10 to Feb. 14, the Hockey Center adage team China. Attended by their Australian coach, battle through four competitions for more points in the 2022-23 FIH Pro League Season. Though China agonised two defeats each to the world’s top-five dynamos Australia and Germany. But Annan didn’t take the losses as a disappointment.

Loss is just a scoreboard item. Tonight we mislaid 3-0 to Germany, but we educated a lot. And that’s charming, Annan told Xinhua on Tuesday. We’re not scoreboard reporters. I look at what we prepare and I look at what we can do to improve. But I also stare at what we’re very decent at, she said. In eyes of the Australian coach, the sports have been fruitful for the Chinese team to play contrary to No. 3 and No. 4. And the girls have revealed to the world that they can play good hockey.

They want to cram, they’re attentive, they’re inquisitive. And their skill to put it out into the field, get information, and then use it immediately is imposing. That means that we can develop and we can make a lot of development very rapidly, she said. But learning to advance from No. 10 to a higher stand-up not only involves words. And footage-watching also involves experience.

In our second match contrary to Australia, we were 2-0 up with nine minutes to play. And we got a yellow card and we didn’t achieve that very well. Many abstract things and game management are what we need to study. But let us learn through knowledge, said Annan. To see the Chinese performers, kick off their fresh season at Sydney. And having over 40 games to play earlier in the Asian Games makes Annan happy to see how far they will advance in the approaching months.

Players surprised as SA Hockey Association won’t join FIH Pro League for Paris 2024

Even though South Africa is capable of the FIH Hockey Men’s Pro League. The South African Hockey Association has not joined the Paris 2024 Season. The SA men had capable of the competition by charming the Nations Cup in Potchefstroom last year. In a declaration posted on the FIH website on Tuesday, the SAHA says it will. However, look to junction the league at some point in the future. They should have their men’s or women’s squads qualify.

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The SA Hockey Association is tremendously distressed by this fact. That they will not be joining the FIH Hockey Pro League season despite us succeeding at the opening Men’s Nations Cup, said SAHA interim CEO Shaune Baaitjies. The wonderful progress in our team performance is a straight result of our contribution in the previous Pro League season. As a federation, we will continually be grateful for the chance afforded to us to participate at that level.

It will be deeply missed, especially as it would have aided our team with their preparation for Paris 2024. We aspiration Hockey Ireland and all the other teams all the very finest for the FIH Hockey Pro League season. After SAHA’s decision, FIH CEO Thierry Weil believed, whilst we would miss South Africa in the following season. We see that the South African Hockey Association firmly means to join the FIH Hockey Pro League as soon as possible. Therefore, this is only a matter of time.

SAHA’s decision, however, appears to have taken national players by surprise. With Keenan Horne taking to social media to air his opinions. Just cannot trust the decision was made without the input of any coaches or troupes, Horne said on Twitter. SAHA didn’t give details for retreating the SA team.

Ireland to play in FIH Pro League for Olympic 2024 Qualification after South Africa declines invitation to feature

The International Hockey Federation Men’s Pro League has invited both Ireland and the South Africa Hockey Association to join the league. However, after declining the invitation, the South Africa Hockey Association, Ireland is now set to join the league for the 2024 season. South Africa gained the inaugural Men’s FIH Nations Cup on home soil in Potchefstroom the previous December, which qualified them for elevation to the FIH Men’s Pro League.

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SAHA interim chief executive Shaune Baaitjies said, SAHA is very saddened by the fact that we will not be joining the FIH Hockey Pro League. We will deeply miss it. Particularly as it would have assisted our team with their training for Paris 2024. And the magnificent development in our team performance is a direct result of our contribution in the previous Pro League season. SAHA has sworn to return to the rivalry as soon as possible. FIH Nations Cup runners-up Ireland has acknowledged the invitation to take part instead.

This statement comes at a very thrilling time for Hockey Ireland. As we look to grow contribution in the game and contest at the highest level on the global stage, said Hockey Ireland chief executive Ronan Murphy. The fact that our older men are now challenging in World Hockey’s Pro League against eight upper hockey squads from around the world is evidence of all the hard work to date.

The FIH Pro League helps as a qualification contest for the Olympics and the FIH World Cup. It’s a huge challenge for us but I’ve said it numerous times before. That is for Ireland to move onward in world hockey. We need to be playing modest games against the top nations, Ireland trainer Mark Tumilty insisted.

Hockey qualification pathway for Olympic Paris

Of the 24 teams 384 athlete’s hopeful to qualify for Olympic Paris. The following rivalries will provide them with a path to the Games. Four FIH Olympic Qualification Competitions containing of eight squads each will be held in 2024. The top three squads in each of these competitions will earn a single quota place for their NOC.

This number will increase to seven if France victory the Euro Hockey Championship 2023. With the last allocation place offered to the uppermost ranked of the two teams. That ended fourth in the Olympic Qualification Contests. Invites to the qualification contests will be based on continental allocations. It will be determined by the number of countries from each continent who are World Graded in the top 22 Olympic qualified nations on 31 January 2023

From these 22 allocations, the continents of the six nations already capable will be removed. Leaving 16 continental allocations filled by the highest ultimate countries in each continental championship who have not already capable of Paris 2024. The Paris 2024 hockey rivalry will take place between 27 July and 9 August 2024. The final of the men’s competition took place on 8 August and the women’s a day far along on 9 August.

Both the men’s and women’s antagonisms will begin with group phases. Trailed by quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals. All of the accomplishments will take place at the Stade Yves-du-Manoir. A legacy arena from the last Olympic Games in Paris in 1924.

Hockey teams to watch at Olympic Paris

While Belgium produced a stunning victory in the final of Tokyo 2020, it is silver medallists Australia who currently sit in the no. 1 spot on the World Rankings. Although the team have only won one Olympic title in 2004, their recent victory at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham shows they are among the teams to beat heading towards Paris.

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In the final in Birmingham, Australia ran out 7-0 winners against India, with both Nathan Ephraums and Jacob Anderson scoring twice in the final to maintain their nation’s record of having won every Commonwealth Games gold in the men’s tournament. Tokyo 2020 winners Belgium delivered a thrilling victory in the last Olympic final, with Florent van Aubel scoring their only goal in a 1-1 draw. The shootout that ensued saw goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch become the hero of the match after he saved three penalties. Belgium currently sits second on the World Rankings.

Also keep an eye on India, the most successful men’s team in Olympic history. While the eight-time winners haven’t won gold since 1980, they did take home an impressive bronze from Tokyo. The women’s World Rankings are dominated by Olympic champions the Netherlands, who have four Olympic victories to their name including the latest at Tokyo 2020.

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