Australia fume over Olympics field hockey draw

Australian men's field hockey team head coach Ric Charlesworth says his world number one side have been disadvantaged by an unfair draw at the London Olympics.

Charlesworth said the 2004 Athens Olympic champions had been disadvantaged by the scheduling, while key competitors would benefit.

Australia will play three early morning games against Spain, Argentina and Pakistan, while their biggest rivals, world number two Germany, play no 8:30am matches, which require players to get up some hours beforehand.

"I don't expect special treatment, I expect not to be disadvantaged, out of five matches you may expect one 5am start for our athletes not three," Charlesworth said in a Hockey Australia statement late Wednesday.

"It interferes with momentum as major finals won't be played at that hour and it interrupts our routine over two weeks. Early games should be fairly distributed between all teams."

Hockey Australia chief executive Mark Anderson said the Kookaburras wanted to compete on a "level playing field" at the July 27-August 12 Games.

"When you look at the schedule it is patently unfair in our opinion," Anderson said. "None of the teams want to play in this early morning time slot.

"We have been scheduled to play at this time on three occasions. Out of the 12 teams in the competition, only six teams play at this time and Australia features three times.

"We are not looking for an unfair advantage, we just want to compete on a level playing field."

The Kookaburras have won a medal at the last four Olympics and have been placed in the top four in every Games since 1980.

Only the top two teams from each six-team pool proceed to the medal rounds.

The Kookaburras' opening match is against South Africa on July 30.


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