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08 December 2023

US pull out of Olympic qualifier in India


Injuries, job conflicts and player retirements have prompted the United States to withdraw from the London Olympic men's field hockey qualification tournament next month in India.

USA Field Hockey announced on Tuesday that the choice to pull out of the event February 18-26 at New Delhi was made in the long-term interest of the team after consultation with coach Chris Clements.

"The decision has been made strategically with the very best outcome for our programme in mind," high performance technical director Terry Walsh said.

"Unavailability of many of the senior players has left the men's program in a position where our best assembled team has a performance potential well below that required to be competitive in a tournament of this calibre.

"This course of action will be in the best interest of the long term progress of our national programme."

The Americans were selected to attend the event after finishing fifth in last year's Pan American Games in Mexico.

However, USA Field Hockey said some players could not leave their jobs, others could not commit to a full training and competition schedule and others have retired or suffered injuries.

Officials did not want to field a largely junior squad with most of the Pan American lineup absent.

"In finding that we have experienced serious erosion within the men's programme due to various team member circumstances, we reluctantly made the difficult decision to withdraw the team from the Olympic qualifier," USA Field Hockey executive director Steve Locke said.

"Attending a tournament that will feature the world's top ranked teams will only hinder the confidence and development of our junior men.

"In another 12 months, will see these players begin to flourish and I look forward to seeing the team prepared and engaged with upcoming events in 2012 and 2013."