Australia had 'no choice': Officials

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Hockey Australia officials said today Australia had "no choice" but to withdraw from December's Champions Trophy tournament.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:09 IST
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Olympic gold medalists Australia had "no choice" but to withdraw from December's Champions Trophy tournament in Pakistan due to security concerns, Hockey Australia officials said today. Pakistani organisers of the tournament were highly critical of Australia's decision, prompting a statement by the board of Hockey Australia. "The advice for all Australians to defer travel to Pakistan leaves us with no choice but to withdraw," the statement said. "Australia has a record of participating in every Champions Trophy tournament since inception, of which we are very proud. This decision has not been taken lightly, but was made with absolute due regard to our responsibilities to Australian team members and the international hockey community," the statement added. Suicide bombing Australia's withdrawal came after a suicide bombing at a mosque killed four people in Lahore - where the tournament will be held from December 4-12. But the Pakistan field hockey federation said yesterday Australia had overreacted, adding that the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and New Zealand had confirmed their participation after receiving detailed plans for security. India, which placed seventh at the Athens Olympics, will replace Australia in the elite six-nation tournament. (AP)

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