Pakistan hockey eyeing a podium finish in London OlympicsJanuary 25th, 2011 - 5:18 pm ICT by IANS
By Omar Khalid
Karachi, Jan 25 (IANS) Buoyed by the Asian Games hockey gold medal, Pakistan are now eyeing a podium finish at the 2012 London Olympics.The three-time Olympic champions have failed to win the gold since their memorable triumph in the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Their last medal was the bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Games and they finished fourth in 2000 Sydney after losing 3-6 to Australia in the play-off for the third place.
In London, it would need a great effort from the Greenshirts to finish on the podium as they are way behind powerhouses like Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.
But the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) hopes that the Asian Games gold will boost the team’s confidence.
“Pakistan hockey has been struggling for almost twenty years but we believe that it’s time for things to change,” said Asif Bajwa, PHF secretary.
“We have put ourselves on the road to revival by winning the Asian Games title and are now setting our sights on doing well in the 2012 Olympics and the World Cup to be played in 2014,” added Bajwa, an Olympian.
Bajwa said PHF has lined up 40-50 international matches against top teams in the run up to the Olympics. It includes a tour of Egypt, a hectic sojourn of Europe, the Champions Trophy and a trip to Australia followed by a lengthy tour of England in early 2012.
“We’ll start our preparations with the trip to Egypt,” said Bajwa. “It will be followed by hectic assignments both at home and abroad which we believe will help us in raising a balanced team for the Olympics,” he added.
Bajwa said that Pakistan want to have a pool of 25 world-class players by the end of this year.
“We want to have 25 top players so that we can pick a solid Olympic team from that pool.”
But PHF’s plans can face a few hurdles.
Michel van den Heuvel, Pakistan’s Dutch coach, is doubtful to finish his stint with the national team because of security concerns. He was in charge of Pakistan’s successful campaign in Guangzhou Asian Games after which the PHF decided to retain him till the London Olympics.
There have been reports that the Dutchman is concerned about his safety in Pakistan and might not complete his tenure.
Bajwa is confident that Van den Heuvel will carry on as the national coach.
“Our coach has a few concerns but the PHF will address them which is why I’m hopeful that he will supervise our Olympic preparations.”
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- Pakistan drop seniors for Asian Champions Trophy hockey - Aug 19, 2011
- Heuvel returns to Pak to coach hockey team till 2012 Olympics after contract revision - Feb 04, 2011
- Abbottabad fast becoming no-go area for sports - May 21, 2011
- Veteran Zeeshan Ashraf left out of Pakistan hockey squad - May 21, 2011
- Dutch van den Heuvel takes over as Pakistan's new hockey coach - Jun 20, 2010
- Pak's Dutch hockey coach likely to snub training camp over security concerns - Aug 07, 2010
- Michel has not refused to coach Pak hockey team despite security concerns: Asif Bajwa - Jan 20, 2011
- Pak hockey coach says team "not in position to clinch hockey gold in Delhi Games" - Sep 29, 2010
- Asian Games hockey: India win bronze; Pakistan gold, Olympics berth (Lead) - Nov 25, 2010
- Olympic hockey: Netherlands beat Argentina to defend women's title - Aug 11, 2012
- Pakistan hockey coach expects better show at Asiad - Jun 26, 2010
- India to take on Pakistan in high-voltage Asiad hockey clash - Nov 19, 2010
- Pak plans to avenge cricket WC semi-final loss by defeating India on hockey field - Apr 02, 2011
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