Vanuatu makes International ripples in the Pacific

It hasn’t taken too long for Vanuatu to make its mark on the hockey world. After conception in 2006, the Vanuatu Hockey Federation hasn’t stopped for air – jumping from project to project in a rapid flurry of development.

In the past two years the federation has proven it’s worth along side other successful sporting federations in Vanuatu and the Pacific, taking mens and womens teams to international events in Fiji and Australia, developing new leagues and remote hockey programs, establishing club links and player exchanges and even redeveloping their old home base into an international standard hockey5s field.

The eruption of activity has recently paid of – with the VHF hosting successfully for the first time an Official Olympic Event. The Youth Olympic Oceania Hockey5 Qualifiers is the first time the Olympic Rings have been brought to Vanuatu shores, a fantastic milestone for such a young federation and small island nation. 

 

For the federation, it has been an opportunity to demonstrate the fantastic hockey culture that has developed over the past few years. It has provided an opportunity for local youth to become involved as volunteers and tournament officials, and young players to train hard in an effort to make the national squad and compete in front of a home crowd.

After months of hard work, the VHF have been able to put on a greatly successful event, pulling large crowds, streaming games live through the International Hockey Federation, and providing an international standard venue for traveling teams to compete.

In the end, the Youth Olympic Qualifiers saw 7 teams compete; in the men’s Australia took on New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu and in the womens New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu came together to battle for the prestigious qualification into the 2014 Youth Olympics.

The event came together with a distinctive Vanuatu twist. Custom dancers from Tanna an Futuna graced the athletes at opening and closing ceremonies, wild and vocal crowds voiced unique Vanuatu cheers, barefoot children took advantage of the empty field between matches, even men and children pushed the limits of sports spectating viewing – hanging from trees to roofs to get a glimpse of the action!

With the event now over, the VHF can now look to make the most of its fantastic facility down at Wan Smolbag. Now with international standard hockey goals, safety netting and a field big enough for 9 a side, everyone is keen to get up and playing. The fantastic infrastructure that has come from the tournament will continue to benefit the federation and the youth who come down to play for many years to come. Now all we need to do is start preparing for the next big tournament here in Port Vila! 




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Preparations are under way for Oceania Intercontinental cup in Sydney Australia.The Mens team will be hoping to go more better than the silver they won at last year in world league round 1! Team to be announced soon! Hopefully both Men and Women team will be competed in the tournament.

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