Olympic record doesn't help SA Hockey

SA hockey men (Gallo Images)
SA hockey men (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The stand-off between SASCOC and SA Hockey is over, and there will be no South African representation in the sport at next year's Rio Olympics. 

South Africa have had hockey representation at every Olympics since 1996, but this year SASCOC has decided that they won't be sending a side to Brazil in 2016. 

The decision sparked an outcry from the hockey community, who hoped that both sides had done enough to secure participation at the Olympics by winning the African Championships. 

But SASCOC chose not to consider the continental qualification route this time around. 

SA Hockey CEO Marissa Langeni has expressed her disappointment at the IOC backing SASCOC's decision after SA Hockey, through the International Hockey Federation, had appealed the ruling. 

"The teams both finished as African champions after quite hectic tournaments. So from a team perspective I can tell you that my players are absolutely deflated," she said.

"We had met the qualification criteria as set by the International Hockey Federation and endorsed by the International Olympic Committee.

"SASCOC was not happy with the continental route even though we did qualify through that avenue."

And while it is gut-wrenching for the players not to be on the plane to Rio, a look at South Africa's performances at the Olympics suggests that they are not medal contenders. 

The men's side is currently ranked 15th in the world, while the women's side is ranked 11th.

"I understand that SASCOC is looking for excellence and looking for medal hopefuls, but not every athlete in this country is going to be a medal contender," said Langeni. 

The SA Women's Sevens side has also felt SASCOC's wrath, and they will not be sent to Rio despite qualifying for the Games through being crowned African champions. Instead, Kenya will represent Africa on the rugby field.

SA's Olympic hockey record (12 teams participating unless otherwise stated): 

2012 

Men - 11th

Women - 10th

2008

Men - 12th

Women - 11th

2004

Men - 10th

Women - 9th (out of 10 teams)

2000

Men - Did not play

Women - 10th (out of 10 teams)

1996

Men - 10th

Women - Did not play

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