FIJI Hockey Federation is working round-the-clock to prepare its junior team to qualify for the 2nd Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China next year.
The national side will be playing in the qualification tournament featuring Pacific Island teams early next year where they will hope to qualify for the Youth Games.
Federation president Doctor Robin Mitchell said the country hosting the qualification tournament would automatically qualify either men's or women's team.
Fiji has applied to host the tournament but the Oceania Hockey Federation is giving Vanuatu the chance to host the event.
"The qualifications tournament application for hosting closed on August 15. Fiji applied to host, Vanuatu didn't apply to host but Oceania thought it was appropriate that if they build their new artificial turf on time then they would be given the first preference," Mitchell said.
Vanuatu raised the funds and with the help of international sporting bodies, it has been working hard on meeting the deadline for hosting, which is in November.
"If Port Vila hasn't completed the turf by November then Suva will host it in January or February next year."
Mitchell said federation development officer Tai Smith had started work on preparing the players for the qualifying tournament.
He said they were eyeing secondary school players born between January 1, 1996 and December 31, 1999.
"We are having first trial play-off of under-18s in the October long weekend. During that period, we expect to have international hockey coach from either Germany or Holland working with Fiji Hockey until December.
"In December, the U18 squad will be playing against Australian Country."
Meanwhile, in another milestone, local umpire Epeli Tukuca has been invited by the International Hockey Federation to officiate at the Youth Olympic Games in August, 2014.