New Delhi: India and Pakistan have been drawn in group B of the Olympic hockey qualifying tournament to be held in Madrid from March 2 to 13, 2004.
The other teams in the relatively easy group are Malaysia, New Zealand, Belgium and Canada.
Group A consists of The Netherlands, England, Spain, Japan, South Africa and Poland.
The Indians, on a real high after having beaten Pakistan to both the Asia Cup and Afro-Asian Games titles in the last five weeks, have a very good chance of qualifying for the Athens Games.
The six qualifiers will join the six continental winners at the Games next summer.
According to the latest FIH rankings, India are in sixth place behind Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, Korea and Pakistan. Following India are Argentina, England, Spain and Malaysia.
The reason why India are behind Pakistan, despite having won most of their recent duels, is that the FIH rankings gives form in the last three-four years as much weightage as results in recent tournaments.
Argentina top the women’s rankings, followed by The Netherlands, Australia, China, England, Korea, Spain, Germany, New Zealand and the US. (PTI)