By N D PrashantDoha
Hockey fans in Qatar, keep your fingers crossed today – if all goes well, Qatar will be playing hosts to two of Asia’s biggest tournaments, the 2012 Asian Champions Cup and the 2013 Asia Cup.The bids were kept under wraps all these days, but yesterday the Qatar Hockey Federation (QHF) revealed that Qatar was targeting both these major tournaments where top Asian countries will be taking part. The outcome of the bids will be declared in Malaysia today. “Yes, we are bidding for both these major tournaments and are hoping that we will get the good news by tomorrow evening. The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) working committee will be meeting on Saturday and deciding on the host nation for these two tournaments as per information we have received,” QHF secretary general Nazer Mohamed Abdul told Gulf Times.Qatar Hockey Federation was given the go ahead by the Qatar Olympic Committee for the bid soon after the Asian Hockey Federation had sent a bid circular last month.“Qatar has fulfilled all the criteria required by the AHF and we have full support from the Qatar Olympic Committee. We have no doubt in our organising capabilities and AHF must have certainly taken notice how well we organised the Asian Games. They have accepted our bid after thorough evaluation and we are hoping for the best,” said a confident Abdul.At the Asian Champions Cup, the top six hockey-playing countries – India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Korea, China and Japan – will be taking part, while eight countries will be vying for title in the Asia Cup.Meanwhile, the International Hockey Federation has already awarded Qatar a World Hockey League level 1 tournament to be held for the first time this year.The league is somewhat similar to Davis Cup tennis, were countries get an opportunity to graduate by playing against each other. The dates and the teams for the tournament are yet to be decided by the IHF.“World Hockey League level 1 in itself is a huge boost for Qatar. Fans and our players will be getting an opportunity to see several teams from Asia taking part in the event. This event is to develop the sport all through the region and we thank the IHF for providing us with the opportunity,” said Abdul.Apart from this, IHF has also decided to give official status to two Test series that Qatar will be playing against Oman and Brazil. Oman, who are ranked seventh in Asia, will be playing Qatar on March 27 and 29 and Brazil will be playing a five-match Test series in April.“The Test series will give our boys a great deal of experience. It is not just about hosting programs, we also want our team to develop. We have lot of talent here in Qatar and we have to give them more opportunity. Playing against top teams will do a world of good to their confidence. We hope our boys can put up a good show against Oman,” added Abdul.
Continue reading here: Qatar makes surprise bid for Asian Cup hockey – Gulf Times