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Eight teams in Champions Trophy

Chennai: The FIH has increased the number of teams to eight from six for the Champions Trophy for men and women from next year. This means, the next edition, which India will be hosting for men in Delhi in December 2011, will have, apart from the host, the five qualified teams from the last World Cup, and two invitational teams — Korea and Pakistan.

Korea is ranked sixth in the FIH ratings, while Pakistan is the winner of the Guangzhou Asiad gold and an automatic qualifier for the London Olympics.

The teams in action in Delhi will be Australia, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, India (host), Korea and Pakistan (invited teams). The dates will be confirmed later.

The women's Champions Trophy will also feature eight teams, with China and New Zealand joining Argentina, Germany, England, Australia, Korea and the Netherlands, which is hosting the event.

The men's Champions Challenge I will be in Johannesburg about a week ahead of the men's Champions Trophy. These dates are yet to be confirmed. The other qualified teams for the tournament are Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Poland.

The Champions Challenge II (men) will be in Lille from July 3 to 9 with Austria, China, Czech Republic, Ireland, Russia, Scotland, USA and host nation France figuring in the competition.

The women's Champions Challenge I will be played in Dublin between June 18 and 26 featuring Azerbaijan, India, Japan, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, the United States and host Ireland. The women's challenge II will be hosted by Austria from May 7 to 15 with the pool consisting of Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Italy, Malaysia and Russia. — Hockey Correspondent

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