Hockey: Singapore women get their shot at Series Finals

Singapore Hockey Federation president Mathavan Devadas said that there are no targets yet, but hopes that the team can improve their world ranking by at least five places.
Singapore Hockey Federation president Mathavan Devadas said that there are no targets yet, but hopes that the team can improve their world ranking by at least five places.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/SINGAPORE HOCKEY

The Singapore women's team will compete at the June 8-16 International Hockey Federation (FIH) Hockey Series Finals in Dublin after Austria's withdrawal.

The series gives developing hockey nations who are not in the Pro League the chance to qualify for events such as the Olympics.

A string of Open tournaments were held from June to December last year, where the two top from each leg made it to one of three Finals. The other two women's Finals are in Japan (June 15-23) and Spain (June 19-27). The men's Finals are hosted by Malaysia (April 23-May 1), India (June 6-16) and France (June 15-23).

The top two from each Finals will qualify for the FIH Olympic qualification event later this year.

In the Singapore leg last July, the Republic's women finished third and missed out on the Finals, but were first reserves. The men won and qualified to play in France.

Singapore Hockey Federation president Mathavan Devadas told The Straits Times yesterday that there are no targets yet, but hopes that both teams can improve their world ranking by at least five places. The women are 35th and the men are 40th.

"(The players are) doing some initial preparation and playing some friendly matches because they know the quality (of the opposition)... we don't have that level of competition in Singapore so, within the next couple of months, we'll know where we stand and set realistic targets," said Mathavan.

National women's coach David Viner noted that of the seven other teams in the Dublin pool, four are in the world's top 20 - No. 8 Ireland, South Korea (11), Scotland (18) and Czech Republic (19). The others are Malaysia (22), Ukraine (27) and France (32).

He added: "Many of the teams around the top 20 in the world and below... are operating full time or very close to full-time squads.

"Singapore are very much a team of hardworking students or employed professionals. But each player puts in a remarkable amount of time and commitment in order to represent their country in hockey."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 25, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore hockey women get their shot at Series Finals'. Print Edition | Subscribe