The Pan-American Games start today and the competition, that takes place every four years, will see two teams qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 for the winners of the tournament, one for the men and one for the women.
This competition is one of the most anticipated tournament in American continent. A continent where field hockey still needs much development and support compared to it’s European counterparts. The prize is very valuable and all the countries participating wants that title of Pan American Champions and that place in the Olympic. The chance to play at an Olympic Game is at stake and the dream to get it blinds the teams that put all they have out there even if they are not successful.
The possibility of playing at the Pan-American Games it is a reward in itself for many of the competing nations since most of them don’t have the chance to play at the most important tournaments and this kind of tournaments gives them the possibility to gain experience and to dream big.
The Pan-American Games offer the opportunity to play to men and women. We will have 2 groups in the men’s side, A and B, and each one will be composed as it follows:
Group A includes: Argentina (4th), Canada (10th), Cuba (69th) and Uruguay (43rd)
Group B includes: Chile (28th), Mexico (32nd), Peru (55th) and United States (24th)
Between the braces are the position each nation appears at in the last FIH ranking released last June.
And this is the fixture:
We will also have 2 groups in the women’s side, A and B, and each one will be composed as it follows:
Group A: Argentina (3rd), Canada (18th), Cuba (63rd), Uruguay (th)
Group B: Chile (15th), Mexico (30th), Peru (38th), United States (13th)
And this is the fixture for the women:
A Little History of the Games
About the men…
Argentina, men and women, have been the most successful team in this tournament. Since field hockey was introduced at the Pan-American games back in 1967 when the Games were held in Winnipeg, Canada, This South American powerhouse started to dominate the games. Argentina has 9 gold medals and 4 silver medals and have never been out of the top three teams since it’s introduction. They share the kingship with Canada, who have 4 gold medals, 7 silver medals and 1 bronze.
With that history this team has we certainly expect something similar to happen in Lima 2019. The current Men’s Olympic Champion will try to be crowned again as it happened four years ago and with that goal in mind will put all their talent on display. Even though they don’t have Gonzalo Peillat, the short corner specialist, in the team anymore, los Leones have a good pool of young and experienced players who can take the pressure and use it for the better.
Canada will try to knock Argentina off and they certainly have always been a tough team to beat. With its captain, Scott Tupper, as the main star, Canada has a powerful dragflick and a good short corner so their rivals won’t want to give Canada and its captain the opportunity to demonstrate his skills.
Chile and United States have always been there too, but mostly competing for the bronze medal.
About the women…
In the women’s side the history is pretty similar: las Leonas have been the queens of this competition but lately the crown has been held by the United States. Las Leonas have 6 gold medals and 2 silvers while USA has 2 golds, 5 silvers and 1 bronze. And we have to remember that the last champions are the USA.
In the latests Pan-Ams, Chile has been a force to reckon with and this year they feel that ticket for the Olympics closer than ever at least in the women’s side. Since former las Leonas coach, Sergio Vigil, took over the team Las Diablas (‘The Devils’ as they call themselves) have been looking different: They are showing more grit and determination and have a different attitude on the pitch. Can they surprise us all this year? We’ll see.
Canada is another team that always has been there and their best achievement was the silver medal obtained in 1991. This year has been tough for them but nonetheless the team reached the finals of the FIH Series Final. Will they be able to repeat the result this tournament and show their strong character?
To the captains, great honours
This week team Canada and team USA announced the players that are going to be their flag bearers at the Games. Team USA will have a hockey player for this great privilege for the first time ever, who is Kathleen Sharkey.
It has just been announced that U.S. Women’s National Team captain @ksharkeyy has been selected as @TeamUSA’s flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony of the @Lima2019Games tomorrow!🏑🇺🇸 #AllEyesOnLima #Lima2019https://t.co/Y2Z5U0IeAY pic.twitter.com/i4S21afKyb
— USA Field Hockey (@USAFieldHockey) July 25, 2019
And for team Canada, Scott Tupper will have the opportunity to do it.
Incredible News! @tups4 has been named as the @TeamCanada flag bearer for the 2019 Opening Ceremonies in Lima Peru at the Pan American Games! Read more: https://t.co/01Q5h84tEb [Photo: Christopher Morris / COC] #TeamCanada #fieldhockeycanada #Lima2019 pic.twitter.com/Ct0NudaO7Z
— Field Hockey Canada (@FieldHockeyCan) July 23, 2019
Well deserved and congratulation to these two great players who always put everything out there on the field and also have the responsibility of captaining their teams with honour and setting an example before them.
Although we’ve been waiting to see what hockey is all about in America, the PAHF have announced this week that there’s not going to be any streaming of the games but only of semifinals and final, which is a bit disappointing considering the technology available to them but we’re sure they have their reasons for this decision.
Nonetheless, you can always check out the main website of the Lima games (https://www.lima2019.pe/en) if you are interested in the results, they also have a Twitter and Instagram which is quite active. We will also be on tweeter and Instagram sharing what we find out on our new PanAmerica Hockey Family Accounts… so check that out too.
Let the Games begin!