Study in Wales – part of the Global Wales partnership – will be branded on the team’s shirts as they compete for the first time in the FIH Hockey World Cup, in January 2023 being held in India.
India, along with the US, Vietnam and the European Union, is a priority market for Global Wales.
“This partnership is another welcome step for Study in Wales, sports diplomacy and the ongoing development of our relationship with India,” said Iwan Davies, chair of Global Wales.
“It is a positive initiative for Welsh universities, enabling the sector to reach international audiences through hockey on the world stage.”
With over 2 billion followers globally, field hockey is played in over 100 countries. Expected audiences for the World Cup are around 12.4 million.
The involvement in the hockey world cup creates “even more opportunity to promote Wales as a study destination”, Davies continued, especially in encouraging students from India to “take advantage of the unique opportunities on offer at Welsh universities”.
Swansea University, the University of Portsmouth and De Montfort University, linking with Leicester City Football Club in 2018, have all partnered with their local football teams in a bid to build an emotional connection with fans on local or international levels.
The Welsh team will be competing in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela, India, and will join top teams from Germany, England, the Netherlands and Australia in the competition.
In six years, the mens team has moved from 36th in the World Rankings to the 15th position. Qualification for the World Cup for the first time ever is an incredible achievement, Ria Burrage-Male, chief executive of Hockey Wales, stated.
“There’s a natural synergy between the two organisations”
“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,” Burrage-Male added.
“There’s a natural synergy between the two organisations; 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.”
Men’s team captain Luke Hawker, for example, works as a senior lecturer in Sport Coaching at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Davies added that, “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.”