A brief overview of Hockey World Cup
The idea to initiate the Hockey World Cup came to Pakistan’s Air Marshal Nur Khan. He proposed his suggestion under the name Patrick Rowley to the International Hockey Federation (FIH), which then approved the same on October 26, 1969. The FIH Council on April 12, 1970 adopted the idea and decided to hold an inaugural match in Pakistan in October 1971. But internal political issues and conflict with India did not allow the first match to be played in Pakistan. So the Real Club de Polo grounds in Barcelona, Spain was selected for the inaugural match. Since 1971, the tournament has been played every four years. The International Federation of Women’s Hockey Associations (IFWHA) was also merged into the International Hockey Federation in 1982.
Ten nations participated in the Hockey World Cup in 1971, making it the smallest world cup so far. The number of nations increased to 14 in 1978, and 16 in 2002, making it the largest world cup. In 2018, 16 teams will play against each other to win the trophy and there is a possibility of 22 teams for the 2022 Hockey World Cup. The trophy was designed by Bashir Moojid and created by the Pakistani Army. So far, Pakistan has won four tournaments, the Netherlands three, Germany and Australia won two each, whereas India won one tournament in the Hockey World Cup. These five nations are considered to be the most dominating countries in the Hockey World Cup.
The Hockey World Cup has two stages – qualification and final tournament stage. To play the qualification stage, all the teams are divided into two or more than two groups. The teams then play against each other to find a place in the final tournament. In the final tournament the continental champions and the qualified teams take part. Occasionally, the winners of the Summer Olympics hockey competition or the continental runners-up are also part of the final tournament stage. Again the teams are divided on the basis of world ranking to play a round robin tournament or all-play-all tournament.
In 2010, the Hockey World Cup was hosted by India at Dhyan Chand National Stadium. Australia, Germany and Netherlands were the top three teams, the trophy was won by Australia and Germany was the runner-up team. In total, 38 matches were played among twelve teams. This time, the Hague, Netherlands is hosting the 2014 Hockey World Cup from May 30 to June 15.
Field hockey in India is represented by the India national field hockey team, which is the first non-European team to participate in the International Hockey Federation. India national field hockey team won one Gold, one Silver and one Bronze medal in World Cup, whereas it has won eight Gold medals in Olympics.
The India chief hockey coach is confident of his 21-member team, which is taking part in the five build-up games in the Hague. Four years ago, the Indian hockey team bagged the eighth place in the tournament. After that World Cup, entire team, management and the structure had undergone a huge change to revive hockey in India. India’s coach Terry Walsh is confident that team will perform well as they have worked on realistic targets.
The Indian team has a flair and ability to defeat most of the teams. The players have been trained well and work has been done to improve their physical strength. They have worked according to new fitness techniques and scientific training methodology and kept on planned diet. But some feel that a waned mindset is the weak point of the team. The team has lost few tournaments in the past and that is sufficient to break its confidence. Captain Sardar Singh is considered to be one of the fittest players in the world. It is expected that Sardar’s performance will decide the victory of the team in the Hockey World Cup.
The 13th edition of the Hockey World Cup will have the 2014 Men’s Hockey World Cup as well as the women’s tournament.