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Japan Wins Maiden Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Trophy

Japanese men’s hockey team etched its name in the history books by clinching its maiden Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy title. The match against Pakistan ended in a 2-2 deadlock after regulation time, leading to a penalty shootout. Japan emerged victorious, defeating Pakistan 4-1 in the nerve-wracking shootout at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh, Malaysia, on 11 May 2024.

Final Standings of the 30th Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy

Six teams – Japan, Pakistan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, and the host nation Malaysia – participated in the 2024 edition of the prestigious tournament. Japan emerged as the champions, with Pakistan securing the runner-up position. Malaysia finished third, followed by New Zealand, South Korea, and Canada in the final standings.

Pakistan’s Pursuit for Glory

The Pakistani team, fondly known as the Green Shirts, made their 10th appearance in the Sultan Azlan Shah final. Their last final appearance was in 2011, where they narrowly missed out on the title, losing to Australia. Pakistan has won the Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy three times in the past.

India’s Absence and Global Rankings

India, a regular participant and five-time winner of the Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy (1985, 1991, 1995, 2009, 2010), skipped this year’s tournament. The Indian team chose to focus their preparations for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics, which commence on 26 July 2024. Additionally, the quality of the participating teams in this year’s Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy was relatively lower, with New Zealand being the highest-ranked team at 10th in the world rankings.

Currently, India is ranked 6th globally, while the Netherlands occupies the top spot, followed by Belgium, Australia, Germany, and England. After the final, Japan improved its ranking to 15th, while Pakistan dropped one place to 16th in the world.

About the Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy

The Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy is organized by the Malaysia Hockey Confederation and invites six countries to participate. Initiated as a biennial tournament in 1983, its popularity led to it becoming an annual event in 1999. The trophy is named after the former Sultan of the state of Perak, Malaysia, Sultan Azlan Shah, who was a pioneer of hockey in Asia and served as the president of the Asian Hockey Federation from 1990 until his passing in 2014.

The tournament is held annually in Ipoh, the capital of Perak state, Malaysia. Australia is the most successful team in the competition, having won it 10 times, while India follows closely with 5 titles, and Pakistan has secured 3 titles.

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