Olympic qualification at stake for England Hockey

  • Mark McQuillan has been speaking to Canterbury's Grace Balsdon and Horsham's Maddie Hinch ahead of the competition

England Hockey have an opportunity to book their place at next summer's Olympics when they compete at the Euro Championship, which starts in Belgium this weekend.

However, the men's and women's teams know only a tournament win will be enough to seal Team GB's spot in Tokyo. If not, they will look to qualify via the play-offs later this year.

Maddie Hinch Goalkeeper, 2016 Olympic gold medallist

England's women are arguably in transition after Team GB's Olympic triumph in 2016.

But they still have their gold medal winning goalkeeper for guidance.

Horsham's Maddie Hinch admits results in their most recent competition were disappointing, but insists the group is in a good place ahead of the Euro Championship.

England's men's coach, Danny Kerry, says their top four finish was a good achievement.

One which has seen them go up a place in the world rankings to sixth ahead of the Euro Championship.

He says: "After an Olympic Games and a World Cup, a European Nations Cup is about as big as it gets. Europe is very strong in hockey, I think five of the world's top eight teams will be competing at this event. This year, we're particularly interested because we have all of the home nations represented, so as GB coach as well as England coach, I get an opportunity to see those Scottish and Welsh players playing in the top flight competition as well. So it'll be fantastic, very tight but fantastic."