Olympic sports 2008
Olympics 2008: Hockey in China
Hockey is â€“ when trusting historians â€“ the oldest team sport. It is said that in ancient Egypt Hockey was supposedly played for the first time about 4000 years ago. China also looks back to a proud and long history. Yet, this history has not always been filled with success.
(Field) Hockey became an official Olympic sport in 1920. As with football, China did not gain very much success in Hockey. A Chinese team has never won any hockey medals at the Olympic Games. Concerning world championships in Hockey, the only medal that China ever achieved was bronze in Perth (Australia) in 2002.
That does not necessarily mean that the prospects for 2008 are grim. Kim Chang Back, the former South Korean coach of the womenâ€™s hockey team believes with confidence that China can achieve a gold medal in 2008. His nickname is â€˜Hiddink of the womenâ€™s hockeyâ€™. He got this honour from his time as coach of the Chinese team since 1999, where he achieved an enormous quick rise of the hockey team, similarily to Guus Hiddink, who made the Koreans extremely successful at the football WM 2002. The team has become one of the favourites for the Olympics 2008. This is in stark contrast to the games in Atlanta in 1996, where the Chinese did not even participate at the Olympic Games.
The chances of success are now very good, because the development of the Chinese team has been breath-taking during the last decade. As the statistics attached below this article show, the team has been steadily improving. The causes for this are, according to Kim Chang Back, Chinaâ€™s advantages in speed, willpower and accuracy.
A climax was reached by the women in 2004 in Athens, as they went into the semi-final as the favourite against Germany, where they nearly reached entry into the final. However, in the end, the German team succeeded very narrowly after a draw and extension in the subsequent penalty shooting. In the play-off for the third place, China had to once more accept a narrow defeat against Argentina, and thus failed to get a long awaited Olympic medal.
Statistics for the womenâ€™s Hockey team:
History Continental Cups:
1994: second at the Asian Games
1998: third at the Asian Games
1998: first in the Asian Cup
2002: third in the Asian Cup
2002: first at the Asian Games
Champions Trophy / Champions Challenge:
2001: fourth place in Amsterdam
2002: first place in Macau
2003: second place in Sydney
2004: fifth place in Argentine
2005: third place in Canberra
2006: second place in Amsterdam
2002: third place
2000 in Sydney: fifth place
2004 in Athens: fourth place