Another major international event is now underway as the Malaysian city of Ipoh welcomes the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup from 27 April-6 May. A total of six countries will compete in this year’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with all 6 of the competing teams placed inside the top 20 of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) World Rankings.

The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup has been an annual feature in the FIH calendar since 1998, although it initially started life in 1983 as a biennial event. The event is named after legendary hockey fan and former FIH Executive Board Member HRH Sultan Azlan Shah, the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) of Malaysia, who sadly passed away in 2014. Although the man known as “the father of Malaysian Hockey” is no longer with us, both his name and legacy lives on in this ever entertaining competition.

The line-up confirmed by the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup organizing committee chairman, Datuk Abd Rahim Mohd Arif includes Malaysia, Australia, Japan, India, New Zealand and Great Britain.

The amount of teams for this year’s cup has decreased by one compared to last year’s tournament where seven teams competed.

Pakistan and Canada, who competed last year, will not join this year’s edition.

Despite having reached the final on six occasions, host nation Malaysia still await their first success in this competition and will be hoping that 2017 is their year

Chief Executive Officer for the Malaysia Hockey Confederation, K. Logan Raj told Berita Harian that Malaysia’s target is to at least finish in the top four.

“This competition is very important for Malaysia because we’ll be using it to prepare for the Hockey World League as well as the World Cup,” he explained.