Pakistan hockey player Butt warns team might miss Olympics due to lack of funds Featured

Friday, 24 January 2014 12:00

Pakistan hockey Olympian Rehan Butt has warned that the nation's squad may not qualify for the Rio 2016 Games due to a lack of funding.

A row between two rival bodies both claiming to represent the Olympic Movement in the country already means the hockey players will be absent at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games after the nation failed to enter the event by the deadline given, and the London 2012 Olympian is now concerned that they will miss out on a place at Rio 2016.

"We are about to miss the Azlan Shah Hockey event, Commonwealth Games, [Summer] Youth Games and above all the Asian Games, which are very important for the country as if we do not appear in the Asian Games, we will be unable to qualify for the Olympics Games," he told The Nation.

The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) last month called on the Government to step in to ensure that the men's team can defend their Asian Games title at this year's event in Incheon, South Korea, and urged the country's President Mamnoon Hussain to ensure that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif allocates Rs 500 million (£2.9 million/$4.7 million/€3.5 million) to the body in the next budget.

Butt, part of the team that secured silver at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, claimed the funding injection would help to not only promote the sport at grassroots level but also to organise national tournaments and carry out talent spotting activities for the squad.

"Cricket and hockey are the only two games in which Pakistan has been earning laurels across the globe," he added.

"Cricket has a higher budget and sponsors but hockey and its players have been treated step motherly and being deprived of their due rights.

"Pakistan is known as a great hockey playing nation and also has won medals many times at international level.

"The national game deserves proper attention of the Government and an early release of funds can help revive the game in the country."

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