South Africa's participation in the hockey events at Tokyo 2020 remains in doubt ©Getty Images

South African Hockey Association (SAHA) chief executive Marissa Langeni wants the country's National Olympic Committee to "do the right thing" and allow at least the men's team to compete at Tokyo 2020.

The nation's participation in the men's and women's Olympic hockey tournaments remains in doubt because of controversial selection criteria established by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

Both South African teams secured a spot at next year's Olympic Games at the International Hockey Federation (FIH) African Olympic Qualifier in Stellenbosch on Sunday (August 18).

But question marks linger over their attendance at the Games, as SASCOC has strict regulations on athlete qualification criteria.

The same conditions saw SASCOC refuse to enter the men's and women's hockey teams - as well as the women's rugby sevens side -to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, despite all three having qualified.

SASCOC has separate additional conditions for the hockey teams at Tokyo 2020, fuelling suggestions the organisation will deny the men's and women's squads a place at the event in the Japanese capital.

Under the regulations, continental qualification "will only be considered if the team wins the continental qualification event and has attained a top two finish at the Hockey Series final or [if it is] attained directly through the FIH Olympic Qualification Event".

South Africa finished second at a men's FIH Hockey Series final event, while the women's side was fourth.

It could be enough for the men's squad, but the women appear set to miss out.

Langeni said the SAHA would meet with SASCOC to discuss the issue, particularly regarding the men's team, which has met the additional criteria set out by the organisation.

She added that the national governing body was "exploring one more avenue" to ensure the women's side met the criteria.

"Now that the team have qualified through the FIH process we will be further engaging SASCOC on the way forward," Langeni told Sport24.

"We have met the FIH criteria and, specifically in the men's, we've met the additional criteria set by SASCOC.

"The opportunity to attend an Olympic Games is massive for South African hockey on the world stage.

"Over the years both teams have shown that they have the competitiveness to play on the world stage.

"It would be detrimental to our sport if any of our teams were not given that opportunity and given the fact the we missed out in 2016, it would not bode well.

"I'm hopeful that SASCOC will do the right thing and that, given that the men have met the criteria, they will consider them for being part of team South Africa."

SASCOC appears to be remaining firm at this stage, with Debbie Alexander, chairperson of the SASCOC high performance commission, telling Sport24 the NOC would not send "athletes who cannot hold their own on the international stage".

"We want to take the best of the best to the Olympics," Alexander added.