The Fans of HockeyEventsOlympicsIreland (M) and Japan (W) qualify for Rio Olympics as Kookaburras and Hockeyroos won Oceania Cup
  • Ireland men confirm their place in the hockey event at Rio 2016 as Australia win Oceania Cup
  • First Irish hockey team to take part in the Olympic Games since 1908
    Fifth place finish in Hockey World League Semi-Final enough to secure Ireland’s qualification
  • Japan women confirm their place in the hockey event at Rio 2016 as Australia and New Zealand qualify for Oceania Cup final
Ireland men's hockey team during FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015 in Antwerp (Credits: Grant Treeby)

Ireland men’s hockey team during FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015 in Antwerp (Credits: Grant Treeby)

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has confirmed that Ireland men and Japan women have qualified for the hockey event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. It marks the first time in over 100 years since an Irish hockey team participated in an Olympic Games, with their men picking up the silver medals in the inaugural Olympic hockey event which took place in London, England in 1908.

Ireland qualified after Australia defeated New Zealand 3-2 in the Oceania Cup final which took place on Sunday 25 October. As a result, this opened up a further qualification spot after Australia were declared Oceania continental champions, which Ireland secure as the team who ranked highest at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals not already qualified. Ireland finished fifth at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Antwerp, Belgium earlier this summer and become the eleventh men’s team to qualify for Rio 2016.

Speaking about the historic achievement of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympics Coach Craig Fulton said “Firstly commiserations to New Zealand and congratulations to Australia. We have secured our spot at Rio 2016! It probably hasn’t sunk in yet but we’re over the moon. It’s testament to what the guys have achieved this year on and off the field”.

They join Oceania champions Australia, India who qualified as Asian Games champions, Argentina as Pan Am Games champions, Netherlands as European champions and Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, Canada and Spain through the Hockey World League Semi-Finals. Brazil men also confirmed their place at Rio 2016 after satisfying the host nation participation criteria established by IOC and FIH.

Japan qualified after both Australia and New Zealand qualified for the Oceania Cup final which was won by Australia in shoot-out by 2-1 after having locked at 1-1 in regulation time. The winner of the Oceania Cup, Australia qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games as Oceania continental champions, while the loser of the final, New Zealand, qualified from their ranking at the Hockey World League Semi-Final. As a result, this opened up a further qualification spot which Japan secure as the team who ranked highest at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals not already qualified.

Japan finished sixth at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Antwerp, Belgium, while Spain finished sixth in their homeland, in Valencia. However, Japan qualify ahead of Spain as they rank above them in the FIH world rankings.

Japan women join the ten teams already qualified for Rio 2016. In addition to Australia and New Zealand, Korea qualified as Asian Games champions, USA as Pan Am Games champions, Great Britain as European champions (qualification through England’s victory at the EuroHockey Championships 2015) and China, Germany, Argentina, Netherlands and India through the Hockey World League Semi-Finals.

The remaining Olympic berths for women and men will not be finalised until after the African Hockey Championships, which take place from 23 October to 1 November 2015.

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