Pakistan asks AHF to postpone hockey Asian Champions Trophy

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The inaugural hockey Asian Champions Trophy, scheduled in Lahore, has hit the rocks with Pakistan demanding the postponement of the tournament.

Updated: July 10, 2009 14:03 IST
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The inaugural hockey Asian Champions Trophy, scheduled in Lahore later this year, has hit the rocks with Pakistan demanding the postponement of the tournament citing cramped international calendar and volatile security situation in the country.

Pakistan was awarded the tournament at the Asian Hockey Federation congress in Kuala Lumpur last year, but the host federation (PHF) has now requested the AHF to postpone the September-slated event.

"We have now asked the AHF to postpone the tournament for two reasons, one our team and other teams are tied up because of a tight international calendar and secondly, we also have to keep in mind the existing security situation in the country," a Pakistan Hockey Federation spokesman said.

Asked if the PHF had approached the government for clearance, he said advice would be sought only when it will make up its mind to host the event.

The postponement request from PHF comes at a time when foreign teams are reluctant to tour Pakistan citing security concerns.

Cricket, in particular, has been badly hit with Pakistan losing their hosting rights of the ICC Champions Trophy as well as 2011 World Cup matches.

On condition of anonymity, an Olympian had questioned the PHF's move and said it was a god sent opportunity for the nation to prove a point before the world.

"It is strange that our own federation is asking the AHF to postpone the event. What sort of message are we going to convey to the outside world?" he questioned.

However, the PHF spokesman insisted the tight hockey calendar was the primary reason for the postponement request.

"We have the World Cup qualifiers and other major events in the remaining months this year. So it would be very difficult to squeeze in the Asian Champions Trophy," he said.

He said all top ranked teams of Asia, including India, South Korea, China, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong were lined up for the tournament.

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