Hockey: SA women miss Olympics

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The Independent Online
SOUTH AFRICA'S women will miss the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta after failing to meet the mid-August deadline for the Inter Nations Cup, which starts in Singapore next Wednesday, because of a dispute among the sport's four governing bodies in the republic.

Els van Breda Vriesman, the secretary of the World Hockey Federation's (FIH) competitions committee, said yesterday that as a result the tournament would be reduced to 11 teams, split into one pool of six, which includes Scotland, and another of five, with six teams qualifying for next year's Inter Continental Cup.

Van Breda said: 'The FIH has done everything possible to encourage the four South African Federations to come together as one joint Federation. Alas, the four Federations have not found it possible to resolve all their differences. The women will now be unable to establish a track record for Atlanta.'

There is still hope that the men may be able to qualify, but they will need to compete in and win the Africa Cup to take the continent's one qualifying place.

England, after their fine 3-0 win against the Netherlands on Wednesday evening, will play Spain today in the first semi-final of the European Junior Cup here, with the Dutch meeting the powerful Germans in the second.

Mike Hamilton, the England coach, is in confident mood, although four of his players are nursing knocks from the Dutch match. He said: 'I expect to be able to select from a full squad and providing we do not give Spain's competent wingers too much space we should be playing in tomorrow's final.'

With the semi-finalists already qualified for the Junior World Cup in Terrassa next September, Wales and Scotland, along with Czechoslovakia and Switzerland, will be competing for the one remaining European place.