New Delhi: Hero MotoCorp Ltd. (HMCL) and the International Federation of Hockey (FIH) came together today to launch the ‘HERO FIH ROAD TO LONDON’ Olympic Qualifying Hockey Event.

The tournament will be held from February 18 to 26 at the Major Dhyanchand Hockey National Stadium in New Delhi. The 12 participating nations will be vying for two coveted Olympic berths, one for the men’s event and one for the women’s. The remaining teams will play placement games for FIH World Ranking points.

Speaking on the occasion,  Pawan Munjal, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Hero MotoCorp. Ltd. said, “It is indeed a privilege to carry forward our association with FIH and hockey, our national sport. The ‘FIH Road to London 2012’ is a prestigious event as it has been accorded qualifying status for the Olympics scheduled for July later this year. Our association with the event is in keeping with our long-term commitment to promote hockey in the country and revive its popularity. Our best wishes are with all participating countries, particularly with the Indian men’s and women’s teams, who we will be cheering for. I look forward to witness some world-class hockey in the coming days.”

With Hero MotoCorp coming on board as the Title Sponsor, the event taking place in India, will provide further impetus for the sub-continent to regain its importance in world hockey.

Also present on the occasion,  Kelly Fairweather, CEO of FIH, said, “We are here today to officially launch the Olympic qualifying tournament here in India. We have received overwhelming support from Hero MotoCorp and are grateful for their continued support to hockey, and for their efforts towards making this initiative a truly world class event. Since only one team in each of the men’s and women’s groups which will secure a berth at the Olympics, it will be a fiercely competitive field making for some memorable hockey for all of us to look forward to.”

The round-robin matches of the tournament will feature men’s national field hockey teams from India, Italy, Poland, Singapore, Canada and France. The women’s national teams will include India, South Africa, Canada, Italy, Poland and Ukraine. Teams placed one & two at the end of the group stage will compete in the Finals to be played on February 25th for the women, and February 26th for the Men.

Secretary General of Hockey India, Narendra Batra added, “It is a matter of immense pride for us to work with FIH on another global hockey event being hosted by India. We are also grateful to Hero MotoCorp for the ongoing support to the national sport across all levels to develop interest and infrastructure for hockey in India. This tournament is a good opportunity for the Indian men’s and women’s teams to compete with international teams and gun for a spot at the coveted Olympic Games. I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the teams visiting from across the world and assure them our best efforts to provide an exemplary tournament experience.”

Hero FIH Road to London will be aired on Ten Sports and can be viewed by hockey fans LIVE in India and across 80 countries globally.