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SASCOC hails hockey

South Africa’s Olympic governing body SASCOC on Sunday congratulated our men’s hockey side for qualifying for the Olympic Games in London later this year.

South Africa sealed their spot at the Games courtesy of a 2-1 win over the host nation Japan at the final Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Kakamigahara on Sunday morning.

Second half goals by Thornton McDade and Lloyd Norris-Jones sealed South Africa’s spot and they will now join the South African women’s side in London. The women booked their spot when they beat India 3-1 in their Olympic qualifying tournament in New Delhi, India in March.

“That sure was nerve-racking,” said SASCOC President Gideon Sam after watching the match. “It was a great win for the boys and it’s great to have them joining us in London later this year. We set down tough qualifying conditions for them but they have now fully justified their spot on Team South Africa.

“I must say that SAHA President, Mr Dave Carr, backed both his men’s and women’s teams and that’s why SA Hockey agreed to the criteria. It brought the best out of both the teams and that’s encouraging. Hopefully more of the National Federation presidents will see the setting of qualifying criteria in a more positive light now.”

Both the men’s and women’s side won their continental qualifying tournaments but were required to fulfil further obligations to seal their place.

Said SASCOC CEO Tubby Reddy. “We were criticised for laying down these additional criteria but I think the fact that both our sides have risen to the task and qualified now justifies our decision.

“There’s no doubting that the two sides are worthy additions to Team South Africa in London and hopefully they will go on to even greater things now.”