With the completion of World League Round 2 the FIH have updated the World ranking positions for both the men’s and women’s sides and the latest release makes good reading for Wales as they continue the steady climb that started back in 2015.
With both the men and the women securing 4th place finishes in World League round 2, a rise in the rankings was hopeful, however with the prediction of final placings across the globe difficult it meant an anxious wait until the most recent official update.
The biggest climb has seen Wales women jump 6 places up to number 26 in the world, a position that has not been occupied for some time. The rise is just rewards for some commanding performances through the world league campaign that saw the squad travel progress from a tough round 1 group to round 2 in Malaysia and perform well in unfamiliar circumstances.
Speaking on the rise Head Coach Kevin Johnson stated:
“I am pleased for our whole squad to see the visible results of the hard work they have been putting in over the course of the year. As a staff and player group, we challenge ourselves to not set limits or ceilings to our potential, despite the number of challenges in our programme that present themselves along the way”
Looking forward to the Europeans in Cardiff this summer he added “Through an improved belief on what can be achieved, allied to a good work ethic and a strong culture to support honest reflection, we have shown growth across the World League period and will use this as a springboard for future development in what will be an exciting and packed year ahead”
The update has also brought good news for Wales’ men’s side with a rise in 2 places to number 32 in the world but perhaps most importantly, more valuable ranking points in the quest to qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. The World League round 1 victory in Glasgow back in September 2016 now proves invaluable given the extra points that were awarded for the feat.
Head Coach Zak Jones commented:
“It has been a really positive and important 6-8 months which has been reflected in our movement up the FIH rankings. It is just reward for the squad who have worked tirelessly both on and off the pitch and have really progressed during that period. This move up the rankings could be very important in terms of our CWG qualification as the points accumulated during WL1 & 2 have now taken us above two of our closest rivals. The focus now shifts to August's Europeans where the ultimate aim would be a top two finish that would see us qualify for the top tier of European hockey and also all but guarantee our place in next year’s commonwealth games”
Both squads attention will now turn to the European Championships in August 2017 when both teams will have the opportunity to amass more points and push towards Commonwealth Games qualification.