The hockey venue for the Hangzhou Asian Games later this year is almost ready and there is no ambiguity about the continental multi-sport event being a qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympics, International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Ikram Tayyab said on Sunday.
The Asian Games, which were to be held last year in the Chinese city of Hangzhou but was postponed due to worsening COVID-19 situation in the country, is scheduled to be held in the Chinese city from September 23 to October 8.
Tayyab, a Pakistan-born Macau citizen, is currently a member of the Hangzhou Asian Games Coordination Committee which is headed by former Indian Olympic Association secretary general and current Olympic Council of Asia acting chief Randhir Singh.
"Asian Games is on, 100 per cent on. I happen to be a senior member of the Hangzhou Asian Games Coordination Committee and I am continuing in that role," Tayyab said at a press conference ahead of the FIH Men's World Cup final here.
"This March, we (Asian Games Coordination Committee) are going to have a meeting in Hangzhou in China. The venue was almost ready in the beginning of last year, so there is no problem regarding Asian Games serving as qualifier of the 2014 Paris Olympics."
"Of course, there was a time we were thinking of having another tournament as Olympic qualifiers in case China is not able to host the Asian Games," said Tayyab, who was Asian Hockey Federation CEO before he was elected as IHF chief last year, replacing India's Narinder Batra. Asian Games normally serves as Olympic qualifiers but there was confusion after the Hangzhou Asian Games were postponed from last year to this year due to COVID-19 situation in China.
As per the qualification procedure for Paris Games laid down by the FIH, 12 teams each in men and women will participate in the competition.
The host nation France will get a direct berth in both the sections. Besides, five continental champions from Africa, Pan America, Asia, Europe and Oceania will also qualify directly.
For the remaining six berths, the FIH will conduct two Olympic Qualification Tournaments, consisting of eight teams each (16 teams in total), to be held in early 2024.
The number of teams from each continent participating in these tournaments will be based on continental quotas, which will be determined according to the FIH World Rankings on January 31, 2023 The teams filling each quota, and therefore invited to participate, will be based on performance at the continental championships. The top three teams in each of these tournaments will qualify.