Uzbekistan is having a great 2019 so far. Back in June, the Men’s participated in the FIH Men’s Series Finals in Bhubaneswar Odisha. Despite being the lowest-ranked team competing in the tournament and not winning any match, they earned the right to be there thanks to a first-place finish at the FIH Series Open event in Lahore, Pakistan.
The team trained in Pakistan, played against local clubs and focused on developing its young squad in preparation for the tournament. Of all the four matches during the FIH Series Finale, during which they faced Poland, Russia, India, and Mexico, it was with the latter team the Uzbekistan men’s team had their best performance, despite losing in the end. Overall, it was a big step forward in the country’s history and a promising bright future for the team.
The Indoor Hockey Asia Cup was also a highlight for Uzbekistan, as both Men’s and Women’s had great performances during the tournament. The men’s team finished second during the preliminary rounds, after three wins and an impressive series of goals, losing only one match. They reached semi-finals, where they lost to Iran, and finished 4th place, after losing again to Malaysia.
The women’s case was quite similar, with two big wins and two losses. They arrived at semi-finals but lost to Thailand, the host country. Despite all, they finished 3rd place after winning by penalty shoots to Malaysia, having a great performance during the tournament as a whole.
During the AHF Men’s Central Asia Cup 2019 Uzbekistan had an outstanding gameplay. They won one match against Tajikistan, where they had a great performance, beating them by 3-0, a tie with Oman 1-1. However, they lost to the champion, Kazakhstan by 1-0, ending in 3rd place. Overall, it was a great opportunity for them to have the experience of playing with teams in the region.
In September, the AirAsia Women’s Junior AHF Cup took place in Singapore, where Uzbekistan finished 2nd place, after an excellent performance. Throughout the tournament, the team experienced different types of matches. They won their first game against Hong Kong China by 5-0, lost their second game in an even match with Singapore 1-0, followed by a tie-game with Chinese Taipei. A winning streak came next (especially impressive considering it was after the team lost to the host nation and had a tie-in-game), defeating Bangladesh by 6-0 and Sri Lanka by 8-0, proving themselves strong enough to finish in a very good position with great results.
All of this is proof of how much field hockey is improving, both for men and women, in Uzbekistan. With hard work from both players and trainers, the support of the Uzbekistan Hockey Association (itself supported by the AHF), Uzbekistan is becoming a potential big name in the hockey world.