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Pakistan out of Commonwealth Games hockey

The two parallel Olympic bodies have been locked in a power struggle, bringing Pakistan to the brink of being suspended by the IOC. The world body has now summoned officials of both factions and government officials to Lausanne to try to settle the dispute.

Agence France Presse  |  Last updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 12:21 Print font size - +

Karachi:  Pakistan were on Tuesday eliminated from the field hockey event at next year's Commonwealth Games after failing to enter the event by the deadline due to an internal sporting dispute.

Pakistan have won four world titles and three Olympic golds in field hockey.

But the latest setback is part of a sequence of disasters the national sport has suffered. It comes barely a month after the national team failed to qualify for next year's World Cup.

Pakistan were in danger of exclusion from the Commonwealth Games ever since the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) split into two factions earlier this year.

One was recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) while the other was backed by the state-run Pakistan Sports Board (PSB).

The two parallel Olympic bodies have been locked in a power struggle, bringing Pakistan to the brink of being suspended by the IOC. The world body has now summoned officials of both factions and government officials to Lausanne to try to settle the dispute.

The Pakistan Hockey Federation ignored the IOC-backed faction of the POA because it relied heavily on the state-run PSB. As a result, it showed no interest in sending an entry to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

POA president Arif Hasan said the exclusion would damage hockey, the country's national sport.

"Every Pakistani has emotional association with hockey but the apathy from the hockey officials has led to this exclusion," said Hasan, who added that Pakistan would be sending players to Glasgow to compete in other sports.

The country's hockey federation is also in turmoil over failures by the national team which forced the federation secretary Asif Bajwa to resign last week.

Pakistan finished a poor sixth in the last Commonwealth Games held in India and their best-ever finish was a silver medal in the 2006 Games in Melbourne.

Last week former players demanded changes in the country's hockey set-up and threatened to destroy their medals unless the government addresses the slump in field hockey.

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Story first published on: Wednesday, 18 September 2013 08:10

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