The Indian women’s hockey team has qualified for the next Olympic Games, after a long gap of 36 years, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
It qualified after England defeated Spain in the semi-finals of the Euro Hockey Championships in London, which means that the only teams which can now win the event – Netherlands or England – have already qualified for Rio through the World League Semi-Finals.
The Indian team required these two teams to reach the final of the European Championships in order to confirm their qualification.
India took the quota place on the basis of its fifth-place finish in the women’s Hockey World League Semifinals in Antwerp, Belgium last month.
Indian women’s team now join nine other teams, who have already qualified for 2016 Rio Games — Korea as Asian Games champions, Argentina as Pan Am Games champions and Great Britain, China, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and the USA through the Hockey World League Semi-Finals.
The International Hockey Federation said on its website that the winner of the Euro Hockey Championships will qualify for the Olympics as European continental champions, opening up a further qualification spot which India has secured as the team which had ranked highest among the not qualified teams at the World League Semi-Finals.
The Indian women’s only previous qualification for the Games was in 1980, when they had finished fourth.
The Indian men’s team has already qualified for the next year’s Games.