Wales’ national hockey team backed for 2023 World Cup

Study in Wales has been confirmed as the lead sponsor of the Wales men’s field hockey team as they prepare to compete in the 2023 FIH Hockey World Cup for the first time in their sporting history. After securing their spot on home-turf at the October 2021 World Cup Qualifiers, the team will be competing in Bhubaneswar (pronounced boo·ba·nuh·shwaa) and Rourkela, India.

The Hockey Wales and Study in Wales partnership is driven by the shared desire to inspire change and will see support for the Welsh teams beyond the World Cup. Both organizations fully support promoting Wales as a country that has a strong focus on equality, diversity, and inclusion.

Wales will join top hockey nations from around the world, including India, Germany, England, the Netherlands, and Australia in the competition, which runs from January 13-19, 2023.

Ria Burrage-Male, Chief Executive of Hockey Wales, said: “Hockey Wales has been on an incredible journey so far. In just six years, the Men have moved up from 36th to 15th in the World Rankings, with limited resources. Qualifying for the World Cup for the first time ever is an incredible achievement, and a true testament to the efforts of everyone involved.”

Study in Wales is part of the Global Wales partnership and represents Wales’ universities and colleges. The Study in Wales brand forms a core part of Global Wales’ strategy to promote Wales to the world, by building partnerships and sharing study opportunities.

Professor Iwan Davies, Chair of Global Wales said “International students play an invaluable role in diversifying and internationalising Welsh university campuses and communities at a time when retaining an international outlook is more important than ever.

“This partnership is another welcome step for Study in Wales, sports diplomacy and the ongoing development of our relationship with India. It is a positive initiative for Welsh universities, enabling the sector to reach international audiences through hockey on the world stage.

“Our involvement in the hockey world cup creates even more opportunity to promote Wales as a study destination and encourage students from India to take advantage of the unique opportunities on offer at Welsh universities to develop the skills and abilities that today’s employers are looking for.”

Ria Burrage-Male added: “We’re delighted to partner with Study in Wales, a likeminded and passionate Welsh brand which, like Hockey Wales, is dedicated towards ensuring Wales has a prominent position on the global stage and showcasing the nation’s talent and opportunities . There’s a natural synergy between the two organizations; we have players and staff who are current students and alumni of Welsh universities, who are able to speak enthusiastically about their experiences of what it means to study in Wales.

For the World Cup, to bring education and sport together, the partnership will also include engagements with Hockey Wales, students and school staff in and around the tournament in India. Field hockey has over 2 billion followers globally, played in over 100 countries and is played in many schools. Cumulative audience figures for the event are expected to reach approx. 12.4 million.

The relationship between Hockey Wales and Study in Wales is also strengthened by relationships with the players themselves. Several members of both the men’s and women’s squad studied at Welsh universities, and men’s team captain Luke Hawker is employed as a senior lecturer in Sport Coaching at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Luke said: “Welsh universities are continuously developing the sport at both an elite and fun level, creating an inspiring and inclusive community of field hockey athletes across the country. State-of-the-art facilities and overwhelming support from the faculty both contribute hugely towards Wales’ sporting success.

“We also know first-hand the lengths that our universities go to, to provide a foundation for future success in people’s personal and professional lives, as well as on the sporting field.”

Wales men go head-to-head with India on August 4, 2022, at the Commonwealth Games which will provide a taste of what’s to come at the highly anticipated Hockey World Cup next year.

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