India, Pakistan should join hands for Asian hockey: Pak selector

October 29th, 2008 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Oct 29 (IANS) Pakistan’s new hockey chief selector Hassan Sardar believes glorious days of Asian hockey can be revived, provided Pakistan and India - former world hockey powerhouses - join hands to give the game a boost.Hassan, one of Pakistan’s most celebrated Olympians, pointed out that both Pakistan and India are currently lagging far behind their European counterparts in a sport that was once dominated by them at the international level.

“Both Pakistan and India are going through a really lean patch for quite some time now,” Hassan told IANS in an interview here Wednesday. “It is about time that concrete measures are taken to end this dismal phase and that can only be achieved with a united effort from the two nations,” he stressed.

India was the most successful hockey nation in the world till the ’60s, a status that it later lost to Pakistan. But the two nations have experienced a major slump in their hockey fortunes in the last few decades.

India, the most successful hockey-playing nation in OIympic history, even failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing this August while Pakistan - three-time Olympic champions - finished at a disappointing eighth position in the quadrennial spectacle. Germany won the Olympic crown, beating Spain in the final while Holland and Australia were the other two semifinalists in Beijing.

Hassan said that Pakistan and India should compete more with each other while their hockey officials should sit down and work out a strategy to lift the sport in the region.

He pointed out that India’s junior team’s tour of Pakistan next month was a step in the right direction. “We should exchange such tour on a regular basis,” he stressed.

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