The Indian Women’s Hockey team achieved their best-ever world ranking as they climbed up a spot to ninth place in the latest World Rankings, updated on Tuesday by the International Hockey Federation (FIH). Meanwhile, an impressive silver-medal finish at the Champions Trophy has helped the Indian men’s hockey team jump one spot to fifth.
The women’s team produced their best finish in four decades at the Women’s World Cup as they made their way to the quarter-finals of the World Cup. Previously ranked No. 10 in the World Rankings, the Indian team displayed some solid performances throughout the tournament in London, conceding only three goals in the five matches that they played, losing out to eventual silver-medalists Ireland 3-1 in the penalty shootout in quarters.
The new ranking also means that the Indian eves will go into the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia as the top-ranked Asian team. It also comes as added motivation for the women’s team as they begin their brief four-day National Camp at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Bengaluru Campus starting on Tuesday.
Coach Sjoerd Marijne believes that this is just a start. “The new ranking comes as added motivation to our team for the upcoming Asian Games, but what is even better to see is that the players are not satisfied. There is more hunger in the squad to improve the ranking further by performing consistently at the highest level. We do have plenty of positives from the World Cup as the girls produced very good hockey, showing their grit and character to get through to the last eight,” said the Dutchman.
“One must note that we only conceded three goals in the whole tournament in London. The defence was very solid and that starts with our forward-line as your entire team contributes to a strong defensive structure. We have placed special focus on our structure during matches and now we can see that the girls have come a long way in the past two years. They are now fully aware of their capabilities on the turf and I’m sure the new ranking will surely motivate them to excel at the Asian Games,” he added.
India, which is defending its title at the upcoming Asian Games, is the only team which registered an upward movement among the top 10 teams, jumping to the fifth position. The Indian team, which now has 1484 points in its kitty, is above the likes of 2012 Olympic champions Germany, England and Spain.
World champion Australia maintained its top spot with 1906 points, ahead of Olympic champion Argentina (1883), Belgium (1709), the Netherlands (1654) and India. Germany, England, Spain, New Zealand and Ireland complete the top 10.
The second best Asian team is Malaysia at number 12th and is followed by Pakistan and Korea.