There is exciting news for hockey across Great Britain this summer with confirmation that all six home nations sides will compete in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Men’s and women’s teams representing each of England, Scotland and Wales will do battle in this showpiece event, taking place between July 29 to 8 August.
Each competition contains four of the top ten highest-ranked teams in the world. In the men’s competition, Olympic silver and bronze medal winners Australia and India are part of the line-up, with the Australians looking to defend the Commonwealth title they won on home soil in 2018.
In the women’s tournament there will be Team GB Olympic bronze medal winners in all three teams from England, Scotland and Wales. New Zealand are reigning Commonwealth champions, with Australia taking silver at the last games on the Gold Coast.
Australia (World ranked #1), Canada (#12), England (#7), Ghana (#34), India (#4), New Zealand (#8), Pakistan (#18), Scotland (#20), South Africa (#13), Wales (#15)
Australia (#3), Canada (#13), England (#4), Ghana (#30), India (#9), Kenya (#34), New Zealand (#8), Scotland (#18), South Africa (#16), Wales (#23)
Laura Unsworth of England's women is aiming to build on her previous silver and bronze medals in this event, commenting: "I think there are really exciting times for us as a country, and Wales and Scotland will be a force to be reckoned with when competing at the Commonwealths as well. The closest we came [to gold] was in Glasgow where we lost in the last six seconds, so we have had some really tight matches. It comes down to the fine margins and that’s what we need to be better with.
"I think it was quite an inexperienced team at the Gold Coast with maybe four or five that had been to a previous Commonwealth Games so now there is a lot more that have had that experience. It is not just a normal tournament as there are other aspects that can potentially distract you so I think people need to have the experience of going to multi-disciplinary Games and now that we have that I think we will be stronger in Birmingham."
Head Coach of Scotland's men Derek Forsyth said, “I’m delighted that our qualification for Birmingham has been confirmed and we’re very much looking forward to the training in the build-up as well as the competition itself. The players worked tremendously hard to qualify and it’s a very young and talented squad who will be vying for selection. The Commonwealth Games is a tremendous competition for the team and will be fantastic for everyone to be part of. It’s a great challenge and one we’re looking forward to, but we have a lot of hard work to do as we prepare for the tournament.”
Hockey Wales Chief Executive Ria Burrage-Male said: “It is with great pleasure we announce that both our women and men have qualified for Birmingham. Representing your country at an event such as the Commonwealth Games is such an honour. It is the highest accolade for any Welsh athlete. With the games in Birmingham this year, it’s even more special as it should feel like a home Games with more family and friends able to attend and support.”
Tickets for the Commonwealth Games are on general sale now – go to https://tickets.birmingham2022.com to find out more.