AUSTRALIA AND INDIA FOR AZLAN SHAH CUP HOCKEY

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KUALA LUMPUR, Apr 12 – Crowd pullers Australia and India, ranked No 1 and No 4, top the list of invited teams for the 29th edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament scheduled to be held at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh from Nov 16-25.
The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah has already given his consent for the proposed dates.
The other big names invited for the 10-day tournament are Germany (World No 5), New Zealand (No 8), and Canada (No 12). Malaysia, currently ranked No 11 complete the list.
With Malaysia opening up its borders and entering the endemic stage from April 1, Malaysia is set to host a number of international sports meets that had to be either canceled or postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic over the last two years.
Perak Hockey Association secretary Amarjit Singh Jessy said South Africa (No 13) and Wales (No 15) have been put on the standby list.
“We expect the top invited teams to come for this year’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup as it will serve as warm up and selection ground for the respective countries to pick their final squad for the World Cup in January next year,” said Amarjit, a former Olympics and World Cup hockey umpire, adding that this year’s Sultan Shah Cup will also count towards ranking points for the first time.
Next year’s World Cup is scheduled to be held in Bhubaneswar, Odisha India from Jan 13-19.
According to Amarjit, entrance for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is free and with Malaysia opening up its international borders, foreign hockey buffs are expected to make a beeline for the world class hockey tournament.
“However, we will not compromise on the strict SOPs enforced by the government as and when required. Health is of utmost importance and we will abide whatever SOPs are in place.”
At the last Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2019, South Korea defeated India 4-2 in a penalty shootout after both teams battled to a 1-1 draw in regulation time.
Australia has won the much sought after silverware 10 times with India in second place with five.
For Malaysia, before the Azlan Shah Cup date in Ipoh, the national will battle hours in the Hero Asia Cup in Jakarta from May 23 – June 1. The top-tier Asian continental qualifier for the Men’s World Cup 2023, will see the top four teams making the cut to Bhubaneswar.
Malaysia, however, is skipping the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham but has set an eye on the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China from Sept 10-25.

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