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Hockey


Field hockey is fast-moving, skilful game played outdoors in teams of 11.

Oldest game

Hockey is the oldest known ball and stick game: records exist of it being played in Persia in 2000 BC. The name “hockey” probably derives from the French “hocquet”, or shepherd’s crook, and refers to the crooked stick which is used to hit a small ball.

British development

The first team was the Blackheath Hockey Club, dating back to 1861. The Amateur Hockey Association was then formed in London in 1886, before workers and the military carried the game to the four corners of the British Empire. It became an Olympic sport in 1908.

Smoother surfaces

Until the 1970s, the game at international level was mainly played on natural grass, but the heavy turf made the game quite slow. When plastic turf was first used, the game suddenly became quicker and more exciting, giving birth to the modern game.

Dominant nations

Most of the dominant nations in the sport are, or were, members of the British Empire. This includes India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and, of course, England. Other nations have come to the forefront in more recent times to make the game a truly worldwide sport.

Olympic history

After a first appearance at the 1908 Games in London, hockey became a firm fixture on the Olympic programme as from the Antwerp Games in 1920. Women made their entrance in this sport in 1980 at the Moscow Games. Since the 2000 Games in Sydney, men have competed in a 12-team tournament and women in a 10-team one.

In its 100 years of Olympic existence, hockey has been essentially dominated by one country. The Indian men’s team, with six consecutive titles between 1928 and 1956, was unbeaten in 30 consecutive matches, and scored 197 goals, giving away only eight.

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Gallery

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Hockey - Men - Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Highlights of the Hockey - Men (gold) on Day 13 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Olympic Hockey Centre on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Hockey - Men - Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Highlights of the Hockey - Men (bronze) on Day 13 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Olympic Hockey Centre on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
IOC
Fans at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
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Fans at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Brazil supporters pose during the men's hockey a match between Brazil and Belgium on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Hockey Centre on 7th August, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Hockey Women - Group A - New Zeeland VS Republic of Korea
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Hockey Women - Group A - New Zeeland VS Republic of Korea

Samantha Charlton of New Zealand and Hye Lyoung Han of Republic of Korea, compete for the ball during the women's pool A match between New Zealand and the Republic of Korea on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Hockey Centre, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Hockey Men - Group B - India VS Ireland
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Hockey Men - Group B - India VS Ireland

Sardar Singh (8) of India defends against Michael Darling (20) of Ireland during a Pool B match between Ireland and India on Day 1 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Hockey Centre, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Hockey Training
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Hockey Training

Players from Belgium and Agentina take part in a pre Olympic hockey warm up match at the Deodora Olympic hockey centre during the build up to the Rio Olympic Games on August 2, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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