Belarus beat France on the opening day in Belarus beat hosts France as latest Hockey Series Open begins in Wattignies ©YouTube

Belarus recorded a hard-fought victory over hosts France as the latest leg of the Hockey Series season got underway in Wattignies today.

The Belarusian team, the top-ranked nation competing in the French commune, claimed a 4-0 win at the Wattignies Hockey Club.

In the other match held today, Russia beat Austria by the same scoreline.

Belarus, 20th on the International Hockey Federation's world rankings, were made to work hard for their victory despite the commanding scoreline.

It took them until the 39th minute to break down a stubborn French defence as Yuliya Mikheichyk scored the first of her two goals to put Belarus in front.

They did not score again until the dying stages as three late goals put the gloss on Belarus' victory.

Krestina Papkova made it 2-0 after 58 minutes before Mikheichyk doubled her personal tally with Belarus' third.

Sviatlana Bahushevich rounded off the scoring to complete a relatively comfortable win for the pre-tournament favourites.

The International Hockey Federation event is a second-tier tour below the new top-tier Hockey Pro League.

Event winners qualify for the Hockey Series Finals which in turn offer a route to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Competitions have already been held in Mexico, Singapore and Croatia this season.