Hockey: Asian Champions Trophy to return in October
Kuala Lumpur, June 1 (IANS) The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) on Wednesday announced the return of the Men's Asian Champions Trophy after a gap of two years and the fourth edition will be held in Kuantan, Malaysia, from October 20 to 30.
First introduced in 2011 to create an opportunity for Asian teams to gather more high-level competition experience, the Asian Champions Trophy has taken place three times so far, for the last time in 2013. The tournament was not staged in the the following two years
Scheduled two months after the Olympic Games, the Men's Asian Champions Trophy 2016 will allow India, Korea, Japan, China and the Malaysian hosts to challenge the current title holders and winners of the last two editions of the Men's Asian Champions Trophy, Pakistan.
"In a ceremony held today, the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) president HRH Prince Abdullah Ahmad Shah and Malaysian Hockey Confederation president Dato' Sri Subahan Kamal formally signed the hosting agreement that confirms the hosting of the Men's Asian Champions Trophy 2016 in Kuantan, Pahang State, Malaysia," AHF said in a statement.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation is one of the most experienced and prolific event hosts within the continent, regularly hosting FIH and AHF events in addition to the internationally renowned Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and Sultan of Johor Cup annual invitational tournaments.
The Men's Asian Champions Trophy 2016 will be the third major international event to take place at Kuantan's Wisma Belia Stadium since its completion in 2012, after a Women's Hockey World League Round 2 event in 2012 and a Men's Hockey Champions Challenge in 2014.
The stadium facilities are of the highest quality, with two blue pitches located within the same complex and a seating capacity of 8.000 at the main pitch.
In past Asian Champions Trophy editions, Pakistan has been the most successful team with two Asian Champions Trophy golds and a silver, while India has occupied the top of the podium once. This year's Malaysian hosts have medaled in each previous edition, taking bronze in 2011, 2012 and 2013, while the team from Korea will be making their Asian Champions Trophy debut this year.
The Asian Champions Trophy 2016 will follow a round robin format, with each team playing each other once. The top four teams after the round robin phase will advance to semi-finals, then final, while the teams ranked fifth and sixth in the pool will play off once for fifth place.
"The AHF can also confirm that through a recent decision by the FIH Executive Board, Asian Champions Trophy events are included in the continental ranking element of the FIH World Ranking system from the next update," the statement added.
"The continental rankings for Asia will be calculated across a four-year cycle, taking into account the results of Asian Games, Asia Cup and Asian Champions Trophies held during that time."
This also means that because the Asian Champions Trophy will not only be part of the system that determines continental ranking but will be included in the Qualification Systems for future Olympic Games and World Cups any team that does not play in the Asian Games / Asia Cup and Asian Champions Trophy cannot qualify for the relevant Olympic Games or World Cup.
Asian Hockey Federation President HRH Prince Abdullah Ahmad Shah said, "The Asian Hockey Federation is delighted to play this showcase competition at the excellent facilities of the Wisma Belia Stadium in Kuantan, in front of the famously passionate Malaysian fans, and to work with the Malaysian Hockey Confederation."