Hockey: Black Sticks receive tough draw at Olympics

The New Zealand Black Sticks Womens Olympic Team in 2012. Photo / Getty Images
The New Zealand Black Sticks Womens Olympic Team in 2012. Photo / Getty Images

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has confirmed the official match schedules for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men's and women's hockey events.

Running from August 7-20 at Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio De Janiero, Brazil, the events will feature the 12 men's and 12 women's hockey teams who qualified through the Hockey World League and Continental Championships.

The New Zealand Men are in action on the opening day of competition against trans-Tasman rivals Australia at 4:30am on Sunday August 7 (NZ time) before the Women open their campaign against Korea at 1:00am Monday morning.

Two pitches will host both events and for the first time in an Olympic hockey competition, quarter-finals will be played with the top four teams from each pool qualifying for the knock-out stages.

The winners of the quarter-finals will qualify for the semi-finals which will determine who will play in the gold and bronze medal matches.

The men's medal matches are scheduled for Friday August 19 and the women's the following day, on Saturday August 20.

The hockey schedules were agreed by FIH, Rio 2016, Olympic Broadcast Services (OBS) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The FIH Competitions Committee also played a crucial role in the development of the schedule along with representatives from all continents and the FIH Athletes' Committee.

Hockey New Zealand High Performance Manager Terry Evans said both teams were looking forward to the challenge of some exciting match-ups in their hunt to win a medal.

"There are no easy games at the Olympics and you can certainly see that in the draw for Rio which showcases the best of the best," Evans said.

"The men go up against world number one Australia in their first match so that will be an exciting challenge and a tough test to set the tone.

"We are confident that both our men and women have the talent within their squads right now to really make a mark and achieve some great results in Rio."

The New Zealand men's and women's hockey teams will be named in June by the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

- NZ Herald

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