New Delhi: Hero MotoCorp Ltd (HMCL), one of the world's largest two-wheeler manufacturers, will be sponsor the men's and women's hockey qualifying events February 18-26 here for the 2012 London Olympics.

The qualifiers will feature six teams in both categories for two Olympic berths in the mega sporting event scheduled for July. The Hero FIH Road to London is the first of the three-leg Olympic qualifying events for the Olympic Games.

Following the round robin league, the teams ranked first and second will play and the winner will qualify for the Olympic Games, while the remaining four teams will play placement games for FIH World Ranking points.

"Hockey, being the national sport of the country, holds a special place in our hearts. We are pleased to partner with FIH in presenting the Hero FIH Road to London Olympic Hockey Qualifiers," Hero MotoCorp Ltd Managing Director and CEO Pawan Munjal said in a statement.

"I am sure there are millions of hockey fans across the country who want to see a revival of the glorious hockey days of yore. We, therefore, consider it an absolute privilege to be playing our small role in reigniting the passion and popularity of hockey in the country," he added.

FIH president Leandro Negre said: "I am delighted to see Hero MotoCorp come on board as the title sponsor of the Olympic qualifiers. It's a crucial chance for India to qualify for London and I'm sure the Indian team and hockey fans everywhere also welcome their support."

The India leg of the qualifiers will feature the teams from India, Italy, Poland, Singapore, Canada and France. The Indian women's team will play against South Africa, Canada, Italy, Poland and Ukraine.

The tournament will be aired on Ten Sports and will be viewed by hockey fans live in India and across 80 countries globally.

(Agencies)