Australia’s best men’s and women’s hockey players will lay it all on the line. 10-day training camp to put themselves firmly in the mix for selection for Tokyo Olympics. Four intra-squad matches are set to be held in what Hockey Australia is branding. The “super camp” which runs from today to November 16.

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It is taking place due to Australia’s matches in this year’s International Hockey Federation (FIH). Pro League and the Sultana Bran Hockey One League being postponed. Because of the coronavirus pandemic. Hockey Australia supposed the postponements have prevented coaches from being able to monitor player performance. But the organization claims the camp will replicate the intensity. Pressure and competitiveness of an international as selectors look to name the national squads for 2021.

“Considering the circumstances due to COVID. We need an opportunity to refresh and reselect the group another year down the track,” said Paul Gaudoin, head coach of Hockeyroos.

This camp provides an opportunity to refine and get more specific. About what we need for our group going forward. Not only for Tokyo but the period leading up to the Paris Olympics in 2024. We are expecting the athletes to perform at a high level at the camp. The girls have known all year that this is going to be the time to put their name forward.

Hockey Australia said the 27 players selected for the 2021 Kookaburras squad will then be whittled down to the 16. That will represent the country at next year’s Olympic Games. It allows us to see who has grown during the year, who has developed. And who may have stagnated which is why we are using this to select the national squad for next year, Colin Batch, head coach of Kookaburras.

The Interesting Side

The interesting side of it is that we don’t know how many international matches we will have between now and Tokyo. That is why we are treating these four internal matches as internationals. If you show up now. It is not just about getting into the national squad. But it could go some way to securing your position in the team of 16 for the Olympics.

A host of athletes from the national development squad the tier below. The Kookaburras are unavailable for the camp according to Hockey Australia. Daniel Beale, who was part of the teams that won gold at the Commonwealth. Games in 2014 and 2018, has also been ruled out as he continues his rehabilitation from hip surgery.

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We’ve got some senior guys and a lot of history to fall back on to ascertain whether they’re the right ones to be selected and it would be a tough call to leave some of them out, but if someone turns up and plays out of their skin they could get selected.

“If someone competes and plays well in our daily training environment then that’s a good assessment of whether they can play well at international hockey level.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams fell at the quarter-final stage in Rio 2016. Australia is ranked third in the all-time Olympic medals table in hockey having won four golds, three silvers, and five bronzes.

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