The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) is the central body for governing field hockey in Asia and one of the five continental hockey federations in the world. The federation is affiliated with the International Hockey Federation (FIH- Federation Internationale de Hockey) and currently comprises 33 members. Its headquarters are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
This article is a brief guide on the history of the Asian Hockey Federation and the various tournaments organised by the body.
History of the Asian Hockey Federation
The Asian Hockey Federation was established around 64 years ago in 1958 in Tokyo, Japan. It was the first time hockey was a part of the Asian Games held in Tokyo. India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Korea, and Japan were the founding members of the Asian Hockey Federation.
Initially, the body only organised hockey competitions in the Asian Games. Slowly more competitions were added to its portfolio. After almost 13 years of its establishment, the AHF organised the South East Asian Games in 1971. In 1979, the Junior World Cup qualifying tournament was introduced.
Until 1982, all the events organised by AHF were a part of a bigger platform. It organised its first independent event in 1982, the Men’s Asia Cup. The tournament was hosted by Pakistan and held in its city Karachi.
What does the Asian Hockey Federation do?
Over time, more contests were added to the portfolio. Today, the Asian Hockey Federation organises over twenty regional and continental competitions across different age groups and levels. In addition, the governing body oversees and manages the hockey contests that are a part of various sporting events like the Asian Games that happen every four years or so.
The AHF also provides support for scheduling and conducting contests organised by the International Hockey Federation in Asia. However, its role for the FIH is not limited to providing support in organising tournaments only.
As a hockey federation for Asia, it provides support to the International Hockey Federation in promoting, developing, and managing hockey. It also lends advice and support to the member countries. It works with the member national association to promote the growth of hockey in their respective countries.
The Asian Hockey Federation also facilitates the execution of projects for high performance in Asian countries. It enables the provision of equipment and grants to support the development and growth of hockey in various member nations in Asia.
In addition, the AHF also offers procedural assistance to the Olympic Committees of the member nations in case they are applying for solidarity aid from the International Olympic Committee. It also offers advice to the member nations for the implementation of sustainable and efficient processes and organisations.
Besides providing assistance to the relevant bodies and conducting events, the Asian Hockey Federation is also involved in organising training and development programs and educational initiatives for the relevant individuals. These include hockey officials, coaches, and umpires, among others. These programs are held throughout the year, and the AFH assists the FIH in successfully executing these initiatives across Asia.
Which contests are held by the Asian Hockey Federation?
As suggested above, Asian Hockey presently organises over twenty different kinds of regional and continental tournaments across different levels and age groups. These include Asia Cup for both men’s and women’s field hockey teams, Asian Champion Trophy for men and women, Junior Asia Cups, and indoor contests as well.
Besides the premium competitions, the AHF also organises lower-level contests, including the under 18 and under 16 youth tournaments, Asian Challenge, and Asian Hockey Federation Cups.
What is the Asia Cup?
The Asia Cup is one of the most esteemed contests that the AHF organises. The team that wins the Asia Cup qualifies for the Hockey World Cup. The FIH organises the Hockey World Cup every four years. The Asia Cup was introduced in 1982. The latest men’s event took place in March 2022, and South Korea was the winner.
South Korea has won the tournament five times, while Pakistan and India have won it three times.
The women’s Asia Cup had its inaugural season in 1985. The team that wins the Asia Cup qualifies for the Hockey World Cup. The latest women’s event took place in January 2022, and Japan was the winner. South Korea and Japan both won the tournament three times.
How many Member Associations does the Asian Hockey Federation have?
The founding members of the Asian Hockey Federation include India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Korea, and Japan.
Presently, the AHF has 33 member associations. Besides the founding members, the AHF has China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Oman, Iran, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Srilanka, and Singapore, among others.