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Japan to join hockey tourney

Maikeli Seru
Thursday, November 30, 2017

JAPAN is the first team from outside Oceania to compete in the Fiji Invitation Series which is titled this year as the Oceania Challenge Cup.

The tournament will be held from December 9 - 16 at the National Hockey Centre in Suva.

Fiji Hockey Federation president Dr Robin Mitchell said the annual event had grown out of the Oceania Pacific Cup which was held for the first time in 2008.

"The series involved annual competition between men and women's teams representing Australian Country, NZ President's XI and Fiji President's XI teams.

"This year's competition includes for the first time teams from outside the Oceania region and the Japan U21 men's team and U18 women's team will be taking part," he said.

"Fiji will be represented by the men's and women's President's XI and a second women's team composed mainly of U18 representatives who were selected after the secondary school championship in Levuka in August.

"It is expected that representatives from Ba, Lautoka, Ovalau, Nadi and Suva schools will have their first opportunity to take part in high level international competition."

The U18 squad is preparing for the Oceania Qualification Tournament next April to select the two teams to represent Oceania at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires Argentina.

Several U18 players from Ovalau, Ba, Lautoka and Suva have been selected in the Fiji men's President's XI Team announced last Sunday.

Fiji's teams are being coached by Hector Smith (men), Alison Southey (women) and the Fiji Invitation side (women) is being coached by Ana Finau and Marcus Hicks.

Meanwhile, Fiji Hockey had provisionally entered teams in a bid to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast next April 2018. Invitations were sent out early this month to the highest ranked Commonwealth countries.

Fiji's chance of qualifying was dashed yesterday when the all top ranked Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada, England, India, New Zealand, Malaysia, Pakistan and South Africa took part in the bid.

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