CWG hockey: Indian men, women to open campaign against minnows Ghana
Birmingham, Mar 9 (PTI) Indian men's hockey team will open its campaign at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games against minnows Ghana on July 31 while the women team will also square-off against the same rivals on July 29.
Two-time silver medallist Indian men are placed in a relatively easy Pool B along side England, Canada, Wales and Ghana while the Pool A consists of six-time champions Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Scotland.
The Indian women are in Pool A, which also has England, Canada, Wales and Ghana.
After Ghana, the Indian men will play hosts and last edition's bronze winner England on August 1, followed by matches against Canada (August 3) and Wales (August 4).
After Ghana, the women will play Wales on July 30, England (August 2) and Canada (August 3).
The top two teams from each pool in both men and women's competition qualify for the semifinals.
The men's semifinals will be played on August 6 and the final on August 8.
The women's semifinals and final will be played on August 5 and 7 respectively.
India will be sending its 'A' teams for both men and women at the Birmingham Games due short turnaround between CWG and the Hangzhou Asian Games, which is a qualifying tournament for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The two events will be held just 32 days apart and the national federation wants to keep its first-choice players fresh for the Asian Games.
The Birmingham CWG is scheduled to be held from July 28 till August 8.
Among other matches, gold and silver medallists from Gold Coast 2018, Australia and New Zealand, will face each other in the group stages of both the men's and women's tournaments.
According to the competition schedule for hockey, announced on Wednesday, both the women's and men's competitions will begin on July 29, with the opening session of the women's tournament featuring reigning champions New Zealand against Kenya and South Africa playing Scotland.
Hosts England will face Ghana in the first match of the men's competition with New Zealand facing Scotland in the same session.
There will be 54 hockey matches in total, with 40 group games, six classification matches, four semi-finals, four medal matches.
All these matches will be played at a University.
"It's going to be a fantastic tournament with an impressive line-up of teams, featuring all of the medallists from the last edition of the Commonwealth Games," Matt Kidson, Director of Sport for Birmingham 2022, said.
International Hockey Federation (FIH) CEO Thierry Weil added: "After the reveal of the participating teams last week, the publication of the match schedule is another really important milestone on the road to the upcoming Commonwealth Games."