By Duncan Mackay

Susannah Townsend_left_and_Georgie_Twigg_right_with_Hugh_Robertson_21-03-12March 21 - England have been selected to host the 2015 men and women's European Championships, which will be staged in the Olympic Park, making them the first major hockey tournaments to be staged there after London 2012. 

The Lee Valley Hockey Centre, which the arena will be called after the Olympics, with its distnictive blue and pink pitch, will host the event in August 2015 after being selected by the European Hockey Federation (EHF) at its Board meeting in Bratislava.

It will be the first occasion that England has staged the European Championships since Manchester in 2007 when the Netherlands won the men's event and Belgium the women's.

This successful bid is some consolation to the English Hockey Board (EHB) for its failure to win its bid to host the 2014 World Championships, which were awarded to The Hague.

The biannual event will also have an Olympic link as the winners will be guaranteed a place at Rio 2016.

England Hockey_with_Hugh_Robertson_after_being_awarded_Euro_2015
"With great pleasure we announce the unanimous decision of the EHF Executive Board to award the hosting of the EuroHockey Championships, Women and Men, 2015 to the England Hockey Board," said Marijke Fleuren, President of the EHF.

"It was William Shakespeare who said that 'no legacy is so rich as honesty'.

"The England Hockey Board has been honest in its promise of a legacy to hockey, not only today with this announcement, but also when they hosted the EuroHockey Championships in 2007 in Manchester at hockey's legacy venue from the  2002 Commonwealth Games.

"We in the EHF are delighted to be going back once again to another wonderful hockey legacy venue, this time the Lee Valley Hockey Centre.

"The EuroHockey Championships in 2015 will offer the champions, women and men, the best prize: participation in the XXXI Olympic Summer Games, 2016 in the city of Rio de Janeiro. 

"I am sure, that under [EHB chief executive] Sally Munday's inspiring guidance, the EuroHockey Championships 2015, women and men, will be a superb experience for the players, officials and spectators.

"I have the full confidence that the EHF and England Hockey Board will work together in a spirit of co-operation and partnership."

hockey 21-03-12
The nine day event is expected to comprise of 300 players and team management from approximately ten different nations.

The successful bid was developed by the EHB with the assistance of UK Sport and London & Partners, together with the Olympic Park Legacy Company and the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. 

"We're thrilled to have been named as the host of the EuroHockey Championships 2015, women and men," said Philip Kimberley, the chairman of the EHB. 

"This success once again demonstrates our commitment to creating a lasting legacy for people to continue to enjoy playing, watching and volunteering in hockey in this country."

England's teams will have high hopes of success in the tournament.

The women are the most successful team in the event since it was started in 1970, winning it six times, including last year in Mönchengladbach, when they beat Belgium 2-1 in the final. 

The men have not proved so dominant, winning it only once, at Amstelveen in 2009, when they beat Germany 5-3 in the final. 

"I delighted that England has been chosen to host the EuroHockey Championships 2015," said Hugh Robertson (pictured centre), the Sport and Olympics Minister.

"This adds yet another competition to the portfolio of major sports events that will be hosted in the UK after the Games supporting the Olympic legacy."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Top picture:

Related stories
November 2010: London bid for 2014 Hockey World Championships fails