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SA women qualify for Olympics

2012-02-25 18:14
Pietie Coetzee (File)

New Delhi - South Africa made it to the London Olympics with a convincing 3-1 victory over India in the women's final of the Olympic qualifying tournament in New Delhi on Saturday.

South Africa, who participated in the last three Olympics as African champions, called the shots and scored through Shelley Russell (fourth minute), Pietie Coetzee (30th) and Marsha Marescia (53rd).

India, who made their lone Olympic appearance in 1980 at Moscow, scored through Jaspreet Kaur (57th) but it was too late.

South Africa, who beat India 5-2 in the league match, asserted their supremacy early in the game as Russell capitalised on a defensive lapse to beat goalkeeper Yogita Bali with a clever placement.

The visitors consolidated their position when veteran Coetzee, the world's highest scorer in international field hockey who came out of retirement in 2010, converted the third penalty-corner.

India, who hardly put pressure on the South African goal in the first-half, came across their best chance to reduce the margin in the 43rd minute but Anuradha Devi failed to beat goalkeeper Mariette Rix from close range.

South Africa virtually wrapped up the match when captain Marescia deflected in a Coetzee penalty-corner drive for a 3-0 lead.

India, cheered by a few thousand spectators, struck when Jaspreet converted a penalty-corner.

South Africa, the highest-ranked side in the current competition at 12, had already made it to the Olympics by winning the 2011 African qualifier.

But their Olympic committee decided the continental event was not competitive enough and they needed to take part in the Olympic qualifier to make it to the London Games.

In other women's matches, Alessia Doriana Padalino scored both the goals as Italy defeated Ukraine 2-1 to finish third. Bohdana Sadova found the target for Ukraine.

Canada finished fifth with a 3-0 victory over Poland, with Thea Culley, Brienne Stairs and Stephanie Jameson being the scorers.

Two more women's qualifiers will be decided after tournaments in Belgium and Japan.

Reigning champions the Netherlands, Argentina, Australia, China, Germany, Britain, South Korea, New Zealand and the United States have already made it to the main draw for women.

Read more on:    sa women's hockey  |  hockey

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