(Article by Arin Kumar, Fiji Times Online Saturday, December 29, 2012; "The Fiji mens hockey side sweats it out during a team run at the National Hockey Centre in Laucala, Suva". Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU)
THE national men's and women's hockey sides are targeting to improve their international ranking when they compete in the Round 2 of the FIH (International Hockey Federation) World League that will be held in India next year.
Both sides won the Round 1 competition that was held at the National Hockey Centre in Suva two weeks ago by beating Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and Samoa.
In round 2, the men's side, ranked 71 in the world, will face China, Ireland, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan and hosts India who are ranked 18th, 15th, 40th, 38th and 11th respectively.
The women's side, who are ranked 59th, will be up against Japan (9), India (12), Russia (20), Malaysia (22) and Kazakhstan (33).
Fiji has never faced any of their opponents before and Fiji Hockey Federation president Dr Robin Mitchell believes the tournament will be a good exposure for the national sides.
He said with the Commonwealth Games and the qualifiers for the 2016 Olympics coming up, the World League was a good avenue to improve Fiji's international ranking.
"We need to take a realistic approach for Round 2 of the World League because we are playing nations that are ranked very highly," Dr Mitchell said.
"We can use the World League to improve our ranking and increase our chances of qualifying for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2016 Olympic Games," he said.
Both sides resumed their training on Tuesday after the Christmas holidays and will continue for the next six weeks.