Pakistan will return empty-handed from Olympics: Experts

July 30th, 2012 - 4:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, July 30 (IANS) Pakistan’s Olympic delegation will most likely return without winning a single medal at the London Games as there is no potential team or individual that can achieve the feat, sports experts here have predicted.

“Emotionally, it’s our right to hope for a medal but rationally we must not expect anything from there,” sports analyst and TV anchor Kashif Bloch told Xinhua Sunday night.

Bloch was of the view that Pakistanis should be content with the participation of their squad in the mega event but should not link their emotions with any glory.

Pakistan sent a 37-member squad including 16 officials, a 16-member field hockey team, two swimmers, two athletes and one shooter, putting all hopes on the hockey team that last won a bronze in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics followed by a World Cup victory in 1994.

Pakistani athletes Rabia Ashiq and Liaquat Ali, swimmers Anum Banday and Israr Hussain, and shooter Khurrum Inam were all given wild-cards.

The Pakistan hockey team has won three gold medals (1960, 1968 and 1984), three silvers and two bronze medals in Olympic hockey.

Other than hockey, Pakistan has so far won two bronze medals, one in wrestling in 1960 Rome Olympics and one in boxing in Seoul 1988 since its first appearance in the Games at the 1948 London edition.

Saturday, at the Aquatic Centre London, Pakistani swimmer Banday broke her Pakistani record, competing in the women’s 400 metre individual medley, but failed to qualify for the final and bowed out of the Games. The 15-year-old told the media that the opportunity gave her a lot to learn and she was still young and hoped for better performance in future.

Pakistani experts do not have much hope from other athletes either.

“How can you expect anything special from the players who are there only after getting wild-cards. I see nothing coming from London to cherish,” said Bloch.

The hockey team is placed in the tough Pool A where it will take on World Champions Australia, England, Spain, Argentina and South Africa.

The outfit has been struggling to get back its rhythm and winning-passion for many years and after watching the team’s performance during the last couple of years, sports analysts are not ready to believe that it would be able to qualify for the top four in the Olympics.

Former Olympian Samiullah Khan, who was nicknamed ‘The Flying Horse’ for his speed, blamed the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) for its inefficiency, poor policies and planning.

“No doubt, we won the 2010 Asian Games in China but after that performances have been very pathetic,” said Khan adding that “the team selection was not on merit and majority of players are inexperienced”.

Pakistan lost their warm-up matches against Belgium 0-2 and the Netherlands 1-5.

PHF president Qasim Zia appeared as the only man who was optimistic about the team’s chances.

“We prepared a team with a combination of senior and junior players and you will see this squad winning against the top teams.”

Pakistan play their opener against Spain Monday.

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