The New Zealand Olympic Committee has received a formal invitation from the International Hockey Federation for the New Zealand Men's hockey team to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Following a letter received overnight, New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith has advised Hockey New Zealand the invitation will be accepted, confirming a quota spot for the New Zealand men’s hockey team.
The New Zealand men missed automatic qualification through the FIH World League Semi-Final and Oceania Cup, but were offered the invitation following the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee’s (SASCOC) decision to reject invitations for South Africa’s men’s and women’s hockey teams who won the African Championships.
This decision is in line with the official FIH Qualification System for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad – Rio 2016, section F, which states that if an allocated quota place is declined by the NOC, the quota place will be reallocated to the next highest placed team from the Hockey World League Semi-Finals not already qualified.
“It’s fantastic news,” says New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith.
“To have both the men’s and women’s hockey teams in Rio is hugely exciting for New Zealand and we look forward to working with Hockey New Zealand as the teams progress towards selection in 2016.”
Along with the New Zealand men, who finished sixth and the World League Semi-Final in Argentina, the Spanish women have been invited to fill the 12th and final spot to participate in Rio.
In the men’s Olympic hockey event, nations that have already qualified include Oceania champions Australia, Asian Games champions India, Argentina as Pan Am Games champions, Netherlands as European champions and Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, Canada, Spain and Ireland through the Hockey World League Semi-Finals.
Brazil men also confirmed their place at Rio 2016 after satisfying the host nation participation criteria established by IOC and FIH.
In the women’s Olympic hockey event, the following nations have qualified: Australia as Oceania champions, Korea as Asian Games champions, USA as Pan Am Games champions, Great Britain as European champions (qualification through England’s victory at the EuroHockey Championships 2015) and China, Germany, Argentina, Netherlands, New Zealand, India and Japan through the Hockey World League Semi-Finals.
The Black Sticks Women have already been confirmed to compete in Rio following their performance at the World League Semi-Final in Antwerp earlier this year.