Pakistan to host FIH Olympic qualifiers

KARACHI, July 10: Pakistan is set to host an international hockey event after nearly 19 years with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) allocating the Olympic qualifying rounds to the country for early next year.
  Pakistan, which last hosted an FIH event back in 2004, will host eight teams in Lahore from January 13 to 24 next year.
“Pakistani hockey fans have been deprived of seeing international hockey stars at home for 20 years now and the FIH Olympic qualifiers will no doubt boost the sport in Pakistan again,” said Haider Hussain, the Secretary-General of the FIH.
He said the Pakistan Hockey Federation had succeeded in convincing the FIH to allocate the event to Pakistan after much lobbying in the apex body.
“We are happy many countries supported our stance that if international hockey returns to Pakistan it will help boost the game again in the country.”
Unfortunately, Pakistan has failed to qualify for the last two Olympic Games in 2016 and 2021 but Hussain said he was hopeful that fans would turn out in big numbers to watch the matches in Lahore.
According to the given format, the top five Asian teams, seven from Europe, two from Pan America, and one each from Africa and Oceania can compete in the qualifying rounds.
The top three teams in each Olympic qualification tournament will qualify for Paris 2024.
Curently ranked 16 in the world, Pakistan will be eligible to compete in the qualifying round of the Paris Olympics even if they fail to win the Asian Games where they will face the likes of India, Korea, Malaysia, Japan and China. (PTI)