Olympic legacy continues as London steps in to host Hockey World League

Tuesday, 26 February 2013
By Emily Goddard

England captain Kate Walsh looks ahead to the Investec World League in London this JuneFebruary 26 - London's Olympic legacy continues to gather momentum with the women's Investec Hockey World League semi-final being the latest international event set to take place in the city after it stepped in to host the tournament which was dropped by Germany when it lost its financial backing.

The World Cup qualification tournament, which will be held at the University of Westminster's Quintin Hogg Memorial Sports Ground – the venue of the previous two Investec London Cups – on June 22-30, will give sport fans another chance to watch world class hockey live in London after it proved to be the third largest spectator event at London 2012, attracting more than 630,000 people to the Riverbank Arena during last summer's Games.

"I am delighted that the Investec World League Semi Final tournament will be played in England," International Hockey Federation (FIH) President Leandro Negre said.

"This is a great start to the London 2012 hockey legacy for the country.

"I would especially like to thank England Hockey for stepping in at short notice to host such an important FIH event."

England was also keen to host the event as it will help boost the home nation's chances of securing World Cup qualification, particularly now that Britain's women have an Olympic bronze medal from London 2012 under their belts.

hockey london 2012Hockey was the third largest spectator sport at London 2012 with more than 630,000 people visiting the Riverbank Arena

England Hockey's chief executive, Sally Munday, is also confident that it will help strengthen the participation levels achieved as part of the sport's Olympic legacy, with an extra 30,000 adults picking up a stick during 2012 to make hockey the biggest growing team sport last year.

"Following the success of hockey at the Olympic Games last summer we have seen unprecedented interest from people wanting to play and watch our sport," she explained.

"The Investec World League semi-final provides the perfect opportunity for the British public to see many of our Olympians on home turf again after our women's team captured the love of the nation last summer.

"As the only British team to win a medal at the London Games we are looking to continue the increase in publicity for women's sport and our aspiration to inspire a generation."

Eight nations will compete at the World League in Chiswick, with England, Olympic silver medallists Argentina, Australia and China all gaining automatic qualification to the tournament given their top eight ranking.

The remaining four women's teams will be decided following the completion of the World League Round Two in Brazil in March.

England internationals Hannah Macleod Kate Walsh and Georgie Twigg look ahead to the Investec World League in London this JuneEngland internationals Hannah Macleod, Kate Walsh and Georgie Twigg look ahead to the Investec World League in London this June

England captain and three-times Olympian Kate Walsh (pictured top) is delighted with the opportunity the tournament will bring.

"Having the Investec World League in London will be fantastic for players and spectators alike," she said.

"The support during the Olympics was incredible and we are delighted to have gained a lot of new fans who will be able to come and watch us in action again.

"Home support can make all the difference to our performances and we can't wait to recreate the Riverbank atmosphere all over again.

"Hosting this tournament really shows the legacy of London 2012 starting to take shape for our sport."

The hosting of this weeklong event means the next Investec London Cup will take place in 2014.

Contact the writer of this story at emily.goddard@insidethegames.biz
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