Crescent Kashmir

Pakistan to host 2024 Olympic hockey qualifying tournament

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LAHORE: After a 19-year hiatus, Pakistan on Monday was granted the rights of hosting a notable event by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

In this regard, Lahore will host an eight-nation qualifying competition for the 2024 Olympic Games from Jan 13-21.

According to an announcement made by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), the tournament in Lahore will mark the first major international hockey event to be hosted by Pakistan after the 2004 Champions Trophy. The country staged the 1990 World Cup, which was also held in Lahore.

Expressing his delight at Pakistan getting the hosting rights of an Olympic qualifying tournament, PHF secretary Haider Hussain emphasised the event’s potential to revive hockey in the country by attracting a large number of spectators.

The PHF official highlighted the significance of the qualifying round, terming it the first step towards bringing back the festivities of the national game and opening doors for future hockey events in Pakistan.

As the top three teams from the said qualifying round will earn spots in the 2024 Olympics, Pakistan sees this as a crucial opportunity to secure a place in the prestigious tournament. Having failed to qualify in the last two editions held in Brazil (2016) and Japan (2020), Pakistan is determined to make its mark.

Hussain assured that the PHF would spare no effort in ensuring that the event is memorable. The federation aims to deliver a successful tournament and provide a platform for Pakistan’s national team to excel.

When questioned about the financial challenges, Hussain mentioned that the PHF approached the government as well as the Army Welfare Trust and DHA Lahore, for support. Both the institutions came forward to assist the federation.

After getting the hosting rights of the Olympic qualifying tournament, a comprehensive documentation process will commence soon which will enable the PHF to estimate the expenditure required to organise the tournament.

Hussain said that despite financial challenges, the PHF had successfully managed international tours for both the senior and junior national teams and remains dedicated to providing maximum international exposure for the players.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2023


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