Australia’s Men’s and Women’s Indoor Hockey Teams will head to Belgium in early 2021 for the sixth edition of the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup after details for the tournament were announced by the FIH.

Hosting and organising responsibilities have been given to the Royal Belgian Hockey Association for the World Cup, which will take place from 3-7 February 2021.

Speaking about the decision, FIH CEO Thierry Weil said: “With its speed, intensity and excitement, indoor hockey is an important and much-loved form of our sport, and I am greatly looking forward to the sixth edition of the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup taking place in Belgium. It promises to be a truly wonderful occasion for all fans of our sport!”

The respective head coaches of Australia’s national indoor teams, Mark Sandhu (Women’s) and Steve Willer (Men’s) welcomed the announcement as it provides some clarity and positivity during the current uncertainty surrounding not only sport but the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s good from the perspective that our players have now got some positive news and something to focus on,” said Sandhu.

“Hopefully everything has calmed down in regard to the coronavirus by the time we have to make some decisions around player selection and preparation leading up to the World Cup.”

Training camps were scheduled for August where Sandhu and Willer were expected to decide on their final 12-player teams before the crisis of coronavirus took hold.

While the camps are now up in the air and may not go ahead as planned, Sandhu believes having confirmation of the details for the World Cup will provide the athletes with renewed enthusiasm.

“With elite athletes in particular, having something to focus on makes them far more productive and gives them the ability to reform with some purpose, so it’s good that dates have been announced, that we have a location – that gives the players something to aim for and for me as a coach, it’s pleasing because there’s some positivity about what’s going on,” said Sandhu, who was an assistant coach to Willer at the last World Cup in 2018 when the Australian men’s team finished fourth overall.

Australia’s Women’s Team finished an admirable sixth at the last FIH Indoor World Cup and were the highest non European country, however Sandhu says there is a determination to raise the bar coming into Belgium next year.

“Our focus is to finish in the top four and put ourselves in a position to win a medal,” said Sandhu.

“You’ve got to strive to do the best you possibly can, so just wanting to compete is not good enough.

“Our focus now is to win medals, do things that result in players getting reward for effort and also putting Australia on the map from an indoor perspective.”

Similarly to Sandhu, Willer is pleased to have confirmation of the tournament, and while acknowledging the lead up is less than ideal due to the current state of affairs, the key will be adapting and making the best of the situation in order to give the team the best chance of being successful when it matters.

“It is great to have the details of the World Cup locked in and to know where it is,” said Willer.

“In these current circumstances, at the moment it’s about being flexible to try and get the best outcome and the best result so we can get a team together that can perform when we go away.

“It’s about trying to make sure we can deal with the situation, keep everyone safe while still being able to get a great result in February.”

“The pressure and expectations are high after the last result (where the team finished fourth). It’s going to be quite difficult with the current situation in being in peak form but we’ll do our best to be on the podium.”

In partnership with the Province of Liège, the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup will be played in Liege’s Country Hall venue, home of Liège Basket Club as well as numerous other big sport, music and entertainment events.

The showpiece event of indoor hockey will see 12 teams competing in both the men’s and women’s competitions.

Australia has competed in every Indoor Hockey World Cup, which has been held five times since 2003.

FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup 2021 – Qualified teams

Men

  1. Belgium (Host)
  2. Germany (Champion of Europe)
  3. Austria (Europe quota)
  4. Netherlands (Europe quota)
  5. Russia (Europe quota)
  6. Czech Republic (Europe quota)
  7. New Zealand (Oceania quota – Champion TBC)
  8. Australia (Oceania quota – Champion TBC)
  9. Iran (Champion of Asia)
  10. Kazakhstan (Asia quota)
  11. Champion of Africa (TBC)
  12. Champion of Pan America (TBC) 

Women

  1. Belgium (Host)
  2. Belarus (Champion of Europe)
  3. Netherlands (Europe quota)
  4. Czech Republic (Europe quota)
  5. Germany (Europe quota)
  6. Ukraine (Europe quota)
  7. Austria (Europe quota)
  8. New Zealand (Oceania quota – Champion TBC)
  9. Australia (Oceania quota – Champion TBC)
  10. Kazakhstan (Champion of Asia)
  11. Champion of Africa (TBC)
  12. Champion of Pan America (TBC)

The FIH Rules of Indoor Hockey can be found by clicking here.  #IHWC2021 #IndoorHockey

Australian Men’s Indoor Hockey World Cup 2021 Preliminary Squad
Brady ANDERSON (NSW), Aidan CAMPBELL (QLD), Josh GREGORY (NSW), Jack HAYES (NSW), Brendan HILL (ACT), Brandan HORNER (NSW), Daniel JOLLIFFE (NSW), James KNEE (VIC), Joshua MAYO (NSW), Heath McDONALD (VIC), Zach MEADEN (VIC), Thomas MIOTTO (NSW), Luke NOBLETT (NSW), Heath OGILVIE (NSW), Ben RENNIE (WA), Troy ROSSITER (QLD), Jake SHERREN (VIC), Thomas SINCLAIR (VIC), Ben STAINES (ACT), Jake STAINES (ACT), Nathanael STEWART (NSW), Troy SUTHERLAND (ACT), Matthew TATE (WA), Jared TAYLOR (QLD), Jackson WILLIE (QLD)

Australian Women’s Indoor Hockey World Cup 2021 Preliminary Squad
Lauren AUSTIN (WA), Tegan BOUCHER (VIC), Tayla BRITTON (WA), Tamsin BUNT (NSW), Caitlin BURNS (NSW), Erin BURNS (NSW), Aymee DOWELL (QLD), Elizabeth DUGUID (WA), Mikayla EVANS (ACT), Litiana FIELD (NSW), Holly GILBAR (QLD), Kyah GRAY (NSW), HUGHES Kelsey (NSW), Amelia LEARD (NSW), Emma McLEISH (NSW), Zoe NEWMAN (NSW), Anna ROBERTS (WA), Alissia PEARSON (TAS), Aleisha PRICE (ACT), Emma REID (WA), Karri SOMERVILLE (WA), Emma SCRIVEN (NSW), Taylor THOMSON (ACT), Jade VANDERZWAN (WA), Nicole YEARBURY (QLD)