The Asian Games are a continental games where the best athletes from Asia compete in Olympic and non-Olympic events. Only one sport was a qualification event and that was the field hockey tournament held from September 20th to October 2nd 2014. The winner of the men’s and women’s event will qualify their team to the Olympics.
The women’s tournament was an 8 team tournament where two groups of four teams competed in a round robin where the top 2 from each group qualified to the semifinals. The teams to reach the semifinals were China, India, Japan and South Korea. In the first semi-final China defeated Japan 1-0 from a 57th goal by Wang Mengyu. In the other semi-final South Korea scored 3 goals by three different people to defeat India 3-1.
India was able to recover from their loss to win bronze over Japan 2-1 with a goal from Vandana Kataria 1 minute after Japan tied it up in the third. The gold medal and Olympic qualification went to South Korea whom narrowly defeated China 1-0 with a third quarter goal from Kim Darae.
The men’s tournament was a 10 team tournament where two groups of five teams competed in a round robin where the top 2 from each group qualified to the semifinals. The teams to reach the semifinals were India, Malaysia, Pakistan and South Korea. In the first semi-final India narrowly defeated South Korea 1-0 from a third quarter goal by Akashdeep Singh. The second semi-final between Pakistan and Malaysia was even closer. After no goals were scored after full time an 8 round penalty shoot-out was needed in order to decide the winner with Pakistan winning in a 6-5 decision.
For bronze South Korea was able to hold on to a 3-2 win with two goals from Jang Jonghyun. The final match was a classic India vs. Pakistan affair with Pakistan taking the lead in the third minute from Muhammad Rizwan Sr., but India came back to tie when Kothajit Khadangbam scored in the 27th minute. No more goals were scored after that and a penalty shoot-out was needed. In the end India was able to win gold and the Olympic berth with a 4-2 shoot-out win.
For the other Asian teams all is not lost as there is another opportunity to qualify to the Olympics. The 2014–15 FIH Hockey World League Semifinals is the qualifier for the non-continental winners. For the men South Korea and Pakistan will be favoured to grab some of the spots while Malaysia and Japan could potentially fight for one. On the women’s side China and Japan are favoured to get a spot while India will also have a chance.
- Incheon 2014. Sports Information – Hockey. Access on March 1 2015.