Is Olympic qualification the next target for Team GB? 

(PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

Team GB have ascended to Pool A in the World Championships, an achievement that many believed would never happen. After hanging in there, cancellations to tournaments and changes to the format, the team are still there, but what should be the next aim away from the World Championships?

Those who were there or watched on TV will remember the moment Team GB reached Pool A of the World Championships back in 2018 will remember the moment well. It was a celebration, and while staying in Pool A is a thing to celebrate itself, it doesn’t quite bring the same scenes as those we have seen before.

This is where Team GB need to look elsewhere, and the best place for them to look is the Olympics. Team GB are 999/1 to win the World Championships and that clearly shows what betting sites like Space Casino think of their chances. Unless we see a major upset, success at that level is not going to come, but success coming by qualifying for the Olympics in the future could well happen in the future. Of course, qualifying for Beijing 2022 is completed, and Team GB were not able to make it through to the main competition.

Olympic Success in the Future?

The 2026 Olympics will give Team GB their next chance to reach the games, and these will take place in Milan and Cortina, Italy. Qualifying will kick off in 2024, and with just 12 teams making it through to the finals, including the hosts, this is not going to be easy.

Hosts Italy are not taking part in Beijing, so Team GB will need to qualify at the expense of two of the teams to make it through this time around. Recently, we have seen GB host the women’s qualifiers for the Olympics, which has helped the team compete better. If the men are to get to the Olympics in 2026 or beyond, the feeling is that they would need to have a home advantage in the final qualifying round to give themselves the best chance.

Why are the Olympics So Important?

The main reason why the Olympics are so important for the sport is all down to funding. By reaching the games, the sport would receive a lot more funding, all put in place to help the athletes taking part and those who are younger and trying to follow in their footsteps.

While competing in Pool A of the World Championships is excellent for the team and showcases them in competition with the best standard of hockey available, it does not bring any further funding into the sport.

This is where Great Britain falls behind other nations of a similar ability. They have programmes in place to bring kids through the ranks, allowing them to maintain the success they have built. We currently don’t have that, and the World Championships will never give us that, so perhaps it is time to focus on the Olympics in order to try and build a better long-term future.

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