Kenya's women's hockey team finished third at last month's Africa Cup of Nations ©NOC-K

Kenya has qualified for its first Commonwealth Games women's hockey tournament at Birmingham 2022 after receiving a re-allocated place.

The Kenya Hockey Union revealed that it received a letter from the Commonwealth Games Federation confirming its spot at the event in the English city.

The country was awarded a berth through the re-allocation of returned qualification slots from teams placed higher in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) world rankings who opted not to compete.

Nashon Randiek, President of the Kenya Hockey Union, revealed that Africa Cup of Nations runners-up Ghana had also been awarded a place at Birmingham 2022.

"Qualification in hockey is based on FIH World Ranking, with the Kenya women’s team ranked third in Africa behind South Africa and Ghana," Randiek said, as reported by the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.

"Kenya now joins their counterparts, Ghana to compete at the Commonwealth Games, the two nations having received reallocation slots that were not taken up by the top internationally ranked teams."

He believes that the Kenyan team is worthy of its place at the Games.

"The team has been very disciplined and hard working," he was quoted by the KBC.

"This was evident from their results at the recently concluded African Cup despite the challenges we faced, they deserve to represent the country at the Commonwealth Games.

Kenya has never previously reached the women's hockey tournament at the Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images
Kenya has never previously reached the women's hockey tournament at the Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

"For that we are delighted to receive the news that they have indeed qualified, focus now shifts to adequate preparation."

National Olympic Committee Kenya secretary general Francis Mutuku congratulated the team on its achievement.

"We are extremely elated to receive this information," Mutuku said, as reported by the KBC.

"This comes at a time when the gender mainstreaming conversation is on a high gear in our sports fraternity and we acknowledge it plays a significant role in ensuring we get to where we want in as far as bridging the gender parity gap in sports representation and participation is concerned.

"More women’s team qualifying will ensure equal gender representation, and as a NOC we’d like to achieve this in every major games."

Kenya beat Zimbabwe on penalties to clinch bronze at last month's Africa Cup of Nations, a tournament won by South Africa against hosts Ghana in the final.

Their women's team has never previously featured at the Commonwealth Games, and the men's team has not competed since Kuala Lumpur 1998.

The women's hockey tournament at Birmingham 2022 is scheduled to be held at the University of Birmingham from July 29 to August 8, with 10 teams taking part.

New Zealand won gold for the first time at Gold Coast 2018, beating Australia in the final.