The men’s team maintained fourth place in the world hockey rankings while the women’s team was ninth at the end of 2020.
In a season blighted by COVID-19, Indian hockey received some positive news as both the men’s and women’s teams ended the year with their best rankings ever.
The Indian men's hockey team, which rose to fourth in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) World Rankings earlier this year, maintained that position with 2063.78 points in the year-end rankings released on Monday. Belgium emerged as the top-ranked men’s team with 2496.88 points.
Meanwhile, the Indian women's hockey team was ranked ninth with 1543 points in the year-end FIH rankings. They had first achieved ninth position in 2018.
The FIH introduced a new match-based model for the calculation of the FIH World Rankings in January, with opposing teams exchanging points in FIH-sanctioned games.
The number of points exchanged depended on the result of the match, the relative ranking of the teams, and the importance of the match.
The Indian men's hockey team took part in its maiden FIH Pro League campaign in 2020, playing six games against formidable teams like reigning world champions Belgium, the Netherlands, and Australia, who are among the top three in the world rankings.
India won two games in regular time, a further two in penalty shoot-outs, and suffered two losses.
These performances helped Indian men climb over current Olympic champions Argentina to fourth place in the FIH World Rankings.
On the other hand, the Indian women’s team did not play any competitive games in 2020. They had not qualified for the women’s FIH Pro League and only travelled to New Zealand for a practice tour in January, so did not get any opportunity to boost their rankings.
Eight-time world champions the Netherlands finished the year as the top-ranked team in women’s hockey with 2631.99 points.
They were followed by Argentina in second place and Germany in third, who leapfrogged Australia to the position after beating Belgium twice in the FIH Pro League in September.
Lead Photo: Hockey India