Singapore’s national women’s hockey team will play in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Hockey Series Finals to be held in Dublin, Ireland this June 8 to 16 after Austria’s withdrawal from the series.
Though the team placed third during Hockey Series Open 2018, it did not qualify for HSF 2019. However, the team is the First Reserve for the finals based on their world ranking.
This time, both women’s and men’s teams will compete for the finals. After winning in the Hockey Series Open 2018, the men’s team qualified for the finals and will compete in France.
Countries that are not in the Hockey Pro League can play in the Hockey Series, giving the chance for developing hockey-playing nations to qualify for events such as the Olympic Games or Hockey World Cup.
Singapore will join China, India, Japan, Korea, and Malaysia in the roster of elite countries, which compete in both men’s and women’s teams in the Hockey Series Finals.
With this achievement for both national teams, Singapore Hockey Federation (SHF) president Mathavan Devadas said: “The SHF has always given equal emphasis to both Men’s and Women’s programs with resources being evenly divided. It is therefore very gratifying to see both teams qualifying for Hockey Series Finals and playing with the best in the world.”
Now that the women are set for the final leg, national coach David Viner said: “Our focus now is to prepare our squad to be as competitive as possible.”
“Many of the teams around the top 20 in the world and below of which there are five in our HSF group, are operating full time or very close to full-time squads,” he added.
He noted that of the seven other teams in the Singapore women’s group, five are ranked within or near the top 20 and below. These are Ireland (World No. 8), Korea (No. 11), Scotland (No. 18), Czech Republic (No. 19) and Malaysia (No. 22).
The other two women’s teams in Singapore’s group are world Ukraine (No. 27) and France (No. 32). The host country Ireland was 2018 World Cup silver medalist.
Coach Viner believed that Singapore is very much a team of hard-working students or employed professionals.
For him, each player puts in a remarkable amount of time and commitment in order to represent their country in hockey.
To qualify for the world finals and to achieve its world ranking, the national women’s hockey team had a challenging journey but with a strong grip, they were able to “tilly” everything for success.
The team was a runner-up in 2016 Asian Hockey Federation Cup, paving its way qualifying for the 2017 Asia Cup and became no. 35 in the world ranking.
The women also got the bronze medal in the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia after missing out of a place in the final by a single point after finishing third in the round robin tournament.
In preparation for the world hockey series, the women’s team will have test matches in Thailand next month. Two South Korean teams will come to Singapore to spar with the national teams.
A month before the Hockey Series Finals, both teams will undergo a training camp in Perth, Australia.
The national team manager Tay Siu Hua was extremely happy for the chance to play at Hockey Series Finals.
“The team is hugely excited and filled with lots of positive energy, pushing themselves hard to be at their very best in every training,” she added.
As the captain of the women’s team, Ho Puay Ling has this to say: “It is really a blessing and a rare opportunity to qualify for the Hockey Series Final in Ireland!”
Her dream of playing in Europe would definitely come true. She stressed, “This opportunity is definitely something that motivates us to train and make the team.”