LAHORE: The top officials of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) “graciously” declined the invitation of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to watch the Rio Olympics hockey event next month.
“FIH sent an official invitation to PHF President Brig (retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar and myself to watch the hockey competition of the Rio Olympics as their guests”, PHF Secretary Shahbaz Ahmad Senior said while talking to APP here on Tuesday.
He said the reason behind refusing the invitation was the non-participation of the Pakistan team which failed to qualify for the Olympics. Ahmad added that there was no valid justification for them to fly to Rio and watch the Olympics hockey competition.
“It is quite unfortunate that our team could not qualify for the Olympics first time in our hockey history and without our team’s participation it is not appropriate to attend such a grand event”, said the former Pakistan hockey captain and a celebrated forward player.
The PHF secretary, however, praised the kind gesture.
The former Olympian said it is a painful moment for Pakistan hockey that the national team is not among the teams featuring in the Olympics and described it a worst hockey scenario.
“Keeping in view, our current low world ranking and failure to qualify for the Olympus we have re-launched sincere efforts to lift the game out of its present gloom,” he said, adding: “By taking drastic measures we will ensure that our team put up a dazzling show in the next Asian Games to qualify for 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”
Shahbaz further added that the PHF is laying special emphasis on the grooming of the national junior team to strengthen the base of the game and to prepare a side which is capable of qualifying for the Junior Hockey World Cup.