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No Olympics for SA hockey

Sascoc says qualifying through Africa alone is not enough and will not relax the requirements.

The 2016 Rio Olympics. Picture: Facebook.com

JOHANNESBURG - South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) President Gideon Sam has told EWN Sport no alternative measures will be made to get either the men's or women's national hockey teams to the Rio Games next year.

It will be the first Olympics since 1992 that South Africa will not be represented in either category.

While International Olympic Committee and International Hockey Federation rules allow teams to qualify through their continental championships, Sascoc has made it clear, qualifying through Africa alone is not enough.

When asked if qualification requirements could be relaxed to help the teams qualify, Sam said that could not happen.

"We will have to relax it for everybody then and I don't think that is our policy. We did it in London, we said no and we stuck to our guns. It will be sad to now to turn around and say if we relaxed for this, we relaxed for that."

While national team coach Fabian Gregory says he can't understand why South Africa must suffer because the rest of Africa is considered weak.

"It's always been the route of qualification for us, via continental qualifiers all over and the winner of that qualification gets a berth at the Olympics. In South Africa's case they saying no it's not. Is it our fault that our qualifier is not strong enough? Is it out fault that only Egypt and to a lesser extent Ghana are the two most competitive nations?"