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Pakistani daily rues country's Olympic woes

Pakistan,Sports, Mon, 02 Apr 2012 IANS

Islamabad, April 2 (IANS) How can Pakistan that is brimming with sporting talent be "a no-hoper" when it comes to the Olympics, asked a daily that noted two of the country's top hockey players have defected to World Series Hockey, a rebel league currently under progress in India.


An editorial in the News International Monday said that as an Olympic year, 2012 should hold immense importance for our sports authorities.


"But unfortunately Pakistan, apart from hockey, has failed to even qualify for any discipline so far. At a time when making the cut for the Olympiad seems improbable, winning a medal in London sounds like an impossibility.


"For a nation of more than 180 million, most of whom are sports-crazy, it is an unacceptable situation," it said.


"How could a country which, according to experts, is brimming with sporting talent be a no-hoper when it comes to the biggest sporting spectacle on the planet?," the daily wondered.


The editorial said the reasons for the sorry plight of Pakistani sports were "often corrupt officials, lack of infrastructure and coaching facilities, unguided or poorly guided athletes, government apathy - and the list goes on".


Citing the example, it said that Pakistan, three-time former champion, has already qualified for the Olympic hockey tournament but "there are less than slim chances that our national team will be able to win a medal in London".


"Critics are already predicting a disaster for Pakistan in London similar to the one they suffered in Beijing where the Green Shirts slumped to an embarrassing eighth-place finish in the 2008 Olympics.


"...Two of the country's top players - Shakeel Abbasi and Rehan Butt - have snubbed PHF (Pakistan Hockey Federation) and defected to World Series Hockey, a rebel league currently under progress in India."


The daily said that gloomy scenario aptly underlines the fact that Pakistan hockey is "not in safe hands".


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