With the Olympics rapidly approaching, some of the world’s best hockey players will be out to build up momentum and grab a psychological advantage on the blue pitch of the Olympic Park’s Riverbank Arena for the Visa International Hockey Tournament.
LondonPrepares.com gets you ready for the event with this preview:
Who is going to be competing?
The British men and women will be there and hoping for passionate support because they face stern tests. The men’s competition features Australia and Germany, the two top-ranked teams in the world, and eight-time Olympic champion India. Even though the women have a slightly easier task on paper, they still face tough opponents in competitive Korean and Chinese squads, in addition to the World Champions from Argentina.
Do the British stand a chance?
Both British teams are ranked fourth in the world, so they will be in the mix to win it all. With China ranked fifth in the world and Korea eighth, the British women will be expecting a place in Sunday’s final. As for the men, while they won silver in the 2009 European Championships they might just need some inspiration from star player Ashley Jackson, who won the International Young Player of the Year in 2009.
Who else should we be looking out for?
There will be plenty of star quality on show. German Moritz Fuerste is considered by many to be the best male player in the world at the moment, though Australian veteran Jamie Dwyer – the only man to win the International Player of the Year award three times – is still going strong. The star of the woman’s game, Argentine Luciana Aymar will also be competing. She is called the “Maradona of Hockey” for dribbling ability reminiscent of the legendary footballer.
What should we know about the venue?
The site of the 20,000-seat Riverbank Arena is only temporary, as it will then be relocated to the north of the Olympic Park where it will be a permanent 3,000 capacity venue. Its most striking feature is its London Blue playing surface, which will contrast against the yellow ball for a better viewing experience. It is bordered by a bright pink surround to reflect the Games’ official colours.
What is the schedule and where can I get tickets?
Many sessions are sold out but there are still some tickets available here. With plenty of Australian and Indian fans living in London, it promises to be a great atmosphere.
The schedule breaks down like this:
Wednesday 2 May
11.00-12.30 – Argentina v China – Women’s Preliminaries
13.15-14.45 – Great Britain v South Korea – Women’s Preliminaries
16.15-17.45 – Australia v India – Men’s Preliminaries
18.30-20.00 – Great Britain v Germany – Men’s Preliminaries
Thursday 3 May
11.00-12.30 – Argentina v South Korea – Women’s Preliminaries
13.15-14.45 – China v Great Britain – Women’s Preliminaries
16.15-17.45 – Germany v Australia – Men’s Preliminaries
18.30-20.00 – Great Britain v India – Men’s Preliminaries
Saturday 5 May
9.30-11.00 – China v South Korea – Women’s Preliminaries
11.45-13.15 – Great Britain v Argentina – Women’s Preliminaries
14.45-16.15 – Germany v India – Men’s Preliminaries
17.00-18.30 – Australia v Great Britain – Men’s Preliminaries
Sunday 6 May
9.30-11.00 – Women’s 3rd v 4th Match
12.15-14.15 – Women’s Final
15.45-17.45 – Men’s 3rd v 4th Match
18.30-20.30 – Men’s Final
(Feature image: Whatbesttowear.com)