(Reuters) – Hosts China will participate in the men’s Olympic ice hockey event at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) said on Tuesday after having previously expressed concerns about the team’s quality.
As the host nation, China is guaranteed a spot in every event at the 2022 Games but the IIHF said in September that there were doubts over the Chinese team’s participation due to its “insufficient sporting standard”.
The IIHF said on Tuesday its council completed a two-day meeting in Zurich, where it discussed the status of the Chinese team and Olympic venue preparations among other topics ahead of the Feb. 4-20 Beijing Games.
“The council confirmed that it will uphold the decision by the 2018 IIHF Congress to grant the Chinese men’s national team a host qualification position in the 2022 Olympic Games,” the IIHF said in a statement.
IIHF president Luc Tardif had said China’s participation would hinge on player eligibility rules and the performance of the Kunlun Red Star, a China-based team stocked with Olympic hopefuls competing in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League.
With Norway waiting in the wings to step in as a replacement, the Chinese Ice Hockey Association submitted up-to-date eligibility documents before the deadline which were then reviewed by the IIHF along with the expert evaluation report.
China are in Group A along with nine-times gold medal winners Canada, twice champions United States and Germany.
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak and Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Rohith Nair)