Olympic Qualification Tournaments draw

The anticipated draw for the Olympic Qualification Tournaments was held in Belgrade following the men's final on Saturday evening. In two events, to be held next spring, four teams will take the last spots for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. A strong women's competition will be played in Gouda, the Netherlands where even defending champions USA will take part. They will face 2014 European champions Spain, 2011 world champions Greece, Canada, Japan and South Africa in the group. Home team the Netherlands leads the other group but will have tough match-ups with Italy and Russia, with the group being completed by outsiders New Zealand, France, who took the last spot from these 2016 Europeans, and Cuba. The Dutch just missed out on direct qualification losing the Belgrade 2016 final to Hungary who can book the tickets to Rio as champions of Europe. Hosts Brazil, China and Australia are also already qualified.
The men's tournament will be played in Trieste, Italy. Here the home team is one of the favourites for the 4 available spots. For the tournament it means the quarterfinals are the decisive matches. Other strong contenders are Hungary, Canada, Spain, Russia and even Romania who, four years ago, surprised the followers in Edmonton grabbing the last spot to play the 2012 Olympics in London, later that year.
Already sure of participation are hosts Brazil, USA, Japan, Australia, Serbia, Greece, Croatia and Montenegro.

Women's tournament (to be played in Gouda, NED on 21-28 March)

Group A: USA, Greece, Spain, Canada, Japan, South Africa
Group B: Netherlands, Italy, Russia, New Zealand, France, Cuba

Men's tournament (to be played in Trieste, ITA on 3-10 April)

Group A: Hungary, Canada, Russia, France, Romania, Slovakia
Group B: Italy, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Spain, Germany, Netherlands

The first four highest classified teams of both tournaments advance to the Olympic Games.

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