Change to draw gives Aussies a sleep-in
Change to draw gives Aussies a sleep-in

The Kookaburras were laughing yesterday after the world's No. 1 hockey team had one of three early-morning London Olympics matches changed to a later time.

Australian coach Ric Charlesworth cried foul two weeks ago when the gold medal favourites were told they would play three 8.30am games while the second, third and fourth-ranked nations had none.

Charlesworth said that his team would not have developed any routine through the qualifying rounds with three early starts because the players would need to rise at 5am to prepare for the matches.

"It interferes with momentum as major finals won't be played at that hour and it interrupts our routine over two weeks," he said at the time.

Hockey Australia's successful appeal to the Federation of International Hockey will see the Kookaburras, who won gold in Athens in 2004 and a bronze medal in Beijing in 2008, play Pakistan on August 7 - the last of their scheduled early-morning starts - at 10.45am.

South Korea and the Netherlands will play at the earlier time.

"It is only right that it should be changed," Charlesworth said yesterday. "We were ready to handle whatever we were dealt but this is certainly better.

"We always expected early games but not three and I am pleased it has been rectified.

"The pending decision has not been at the forefront of our psyche but it is good that it's settled."

Hockey Australia chief executive Mark Anderson described the outcome of the appeal as fair for a team which is the gold medal favourite at $2.35, followed by the Netherlands, Germany and Spain.

"We advocated that a change of at least one of the three matches would ensure a more equitable draw across the competition," he said.

"The change to a later timeslot for the last of our three early-morning matches ensures that our team has been given an equal chance to succeed and we can't ask for more than that.

"It was a matter that Hockey Australia, our coaches and players felt very strongly about.

"We are pleased that our position has been considered and that an appropriate adjustment has been made."

The New Zealand women's team also had one of their three early matches changed after an appeal.

The West Australian

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