Team announced for London Olympics
Posted on 10 months ago
Besides 18-member hockey team, two athletes, two swimmers and a shooter would also participate in Games schedule from July 27 to August 11, 2012. According to Pakistan Olympic Association a total of 39-member contingent included 23 players and 16 officials for the London Olympics would participate.
Rabia Ashiq and Liaquat Ali are the two athletes, swimmers comprising Anum Banday and Israr Hussain and shooter Khurrum Inam - all on wild-cards.
Surprisingly Israr Hussain recently received injury when slipped at pool sides during the 5th Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Gold Cup Swimming Tournament and was rushed to CMH Peshawar. However, Secretary Pakistan Swimming Federation Maj (R) Majid Waseem during his talks expressed the hope that by the team departure to London Israr will recover. Pakistan have won three gold medals (1960, 1968 and 1984) and as many silvers and two bronze in field hockey in all Olympics.
Record holder penalty corner expert Sohail Abbas was given the Pakistan flag and will also lead the hockey team in the upcoming London Olympics, the only sport where the country harbours any realistic hopes of a medal.
The 35-year-old was retained as captain despite Pakistan's poor finish in last place at the Azlan Shah Hockey event in May this year. Pakistan's recent poor performance forced selectors to recall senior players Rehan Butt, Mohammad Waseem and Shakil Abbasi who featured in a rebel hockey league in India which threatened their places for Olympics.
They finished at their worst-ever eighth position in the last Olympics in Beijing four years ago, and then slumped to the 12th and last position in the 2010 World Cup in India. Pakistan are in Group A along with Australia, Great Britain, Spain, Argentina and South Africa. Defending champions Germany are in Group B, which also includes Netherlands, South Korea, New Zealand, India and Belgium.
Pakistan athletes will also compete in athletics, swimming and shooting through wild card entries, but they have no serious medal hopes in those sports. Pakistan's last medal a bronze was won in 1992 for hockey, a once hugely popular sport that brought Pakistan its only gold in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
The country's all-time haul of eight medals includes one apiece for wrestling and boxing. But there will be no boxers representing Pakistan this year something that has dismayed Amir Khan, the champion British boxer of Pakistani heritage. He has vowed to help coach young Pakistani boxers for the 2016 Games.
Earlier, the green-shirts (Pakistani team), after concluding their preparations at home, are now ready to leave for Britain Thursday where they will be engaged in another 10-day training camp at Birmingham. Team worked on every aspect of the game during the training sessions and all the players were fit and with high morale.
He said that they have put all focuss on the fitness of the players during the training camp while the coaches also worked hard to improve penalty-corner conversion, defence and midfield. The coaching staff also used video analysis for the team's opponents at Olympics and told players about the possible game plans against them.
Pakistani team is likely to play two warm-up matches against Germany and Holland after the Birmingham camp.
Players: Imran Shah & Imran Butt (Goalkeepers), Muhammad Irfan, Sohail Abbas (Captain), Syed Kashif Shah & Muhammad Imran (Full Backs), Muhammad Rizwan Junior, Fareed Ahmed, Rashid Mahmood, Muhammad Tousiq and Waseem Ahmed (Half Backs), Muhammad Waqas (Vice-Capt), Shafqat Rasool, Abdul Haseem Khan, Shakeel Abbasi, Rehan Butt, Muhammad Rizwan Senior & Muhammad Umar Bhutta (Forwards).
Officials: Akhtar Rasool Chaudhary (Manager/Head Coach), Khawaja Muhammad Junaid (Coach), Ajmal Khan Lodhi (Asstt. Coach), Shahid Ali Khan (Asstt. Coach), Faiz-ur-Rahman (Physiotherapist) & Muhammad Nadeem Khan Lodhi (Video-Analyst).
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