Hockey: India familiar with new four-quarter format at Asian Games
- Updated: September 19, 2014
September 19, 2014: The 17th Asian Games in Incheon will be the first major international hockey competition to feature a new four-quarter, 60-minute format instead of two 35-minute halves, but India goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh said his team could benefit from having used it in their domestic league.
The Asian Games tournament – which runs from September 20-27 and offers the men’s and women’s champions a place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – features four 15-minute quarters, with 40-second time-outs when a penalty corner is awarded and after a goal is scored.
The additional time-outs for penalty corners and after goals ensures the new 60-minute format is actual playing time, eliminating the dead time associated with penalty-corner set-up while also allowing for teams to enjoy their goal celebrations. Sreejesh, India’s vice captain, was among those giving his approval.
“The new format of the game is actually going to act as an added advantage for us in the field and will not affect us as we already have experience of playing in four quarters in the Hockey India League,” Sreejesh said ahead of India’s opening game against Sri Lanka on September 21. “It will not only make the game much faster, but will also offer time to the players to re-energise during every quarter.”
This year’s Asian Games competition will be the biggest so far, with 10 men’s and eight women’s teams battling for medal glory and Olympic qualification at the Seonhak Hockey Stadium.
Hockey has featured in every Asian Games since debuting at the Tokyo 1958 event, where Pakistan’s men claimed the first of eight titles. The Green Shirts are the defending champions, having defeated Malaysia 2-0 in the 2010 final in Guangzhou, and can expect stiff competition from India and hosts Korea.
India are Commonwealth Games silver medallists and were the highest-placed Asian team at the World Cup following a ninth-place finish in the Netherlands. Korea, No. 8 in the world, are the top-ranked side and the event’s second most successful team with gold medals in 1986, 1994, 2002 and 2006.
The Asian Games has featured women’s hockey since 1982 in New Delhi, where hosts India won their sole title to date. Korea are the most successful team with four golds (1986, 1990, 1994 and 1998), while China have won the last three events (2002, 2006 and 2010).
Many eyes will be on Japan after the 2010 Asian Games bronze medallists enjoyed a successful 2013, winning the Asia Cup, East Asian Games and the Asian Champions Trophy. However, Japan’s 10th-place finish at the World Cup was bettered by China (sixth) and Korea (seventh), while both China (No. 5) and Korea (No. 9) are higher in the FIH World Rankings.
The Asian Games is the biggest sporting event held in Asia and is widely recognised as the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games, featuring 36 different sports.
Men‘s Pool A: Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Bangladesh, Singapore.
Men’s Pool B: India, Pakistan, Oman, China, Sri Lanka
Women’s Pool A: China, India, Malaysia, Thailand
Women’s Pool B: Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong
Source: FIH (www.fih.ch); Editing by SportAsia