Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Australia, Malaysia strong contenders in 23rd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

Defending champions Australia and hosts Malaysia will be strong contenders in the 23rd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament, which gets underway in Ipoh on Thursday.
The tournament will enable the Kookaburras to renew their rivalry with last year’s runners-up Malaysia, who went down fighting 2-3 in an intriguing summit clash.

This time around, only three teams from the 2013 edition – world number one Australia, 13th ranked Malaysia and 7th ranked South Korea are in the fray.

The tournament – organized by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) – has been hit by a series of withdrawals. France were the first team to pull out after confirming their participation and they were replaced by South Africa. Asian giants India and Pakistan then chose to give the event a miss.

The 2014 edition will feature 16th ranked Canada and 25th ranked China, which make up the six participating teams.Interestingly, Malaysia have never won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup which was first held in 1983. However, the home side had finished runners-up on four occasions -1985, 2007, 2009 and in last year’s edition.

Malaysia will launch their campaign against Korea on Satuday before taking on Australia in their second league tie on Friday.
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