Stories about hockey

India’s ‘Operation Isolation’ and the soft power of sports

“Our message is stronger than ever. Please stop the fighting. Please stop the killing. Please drop your guns.” Juan Antonio Samaranch, President International Olympic Committee speaking at the Winter Olympics, 1994. The sports arena has often been used in modern-day diplomacy to advocate for peace, but it has also been used to aggravate existing conflict. George Orwell wrote in The Sporting Spirit (1945) that sports is “war, minus the shooting” and has the potential to bring out the worst characteristics of nationalism. How that is controlled, or even amplified, is in the hands of those who hold the political controls.  In the days following ...

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Hockey World Cup: Have we as a country collectively failed our national sport?

Like the case for most sports in the country barring cricket, the last 10 years have been a lost decade for Pakistan hockey as well. During this period, the team’s performance witnessed a severe decline not seen since Pakistan first started playing hockey in 1948. In 2014, Pakistan failed to qualify for the hockey World Cup for the first time, followed by a failure to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro. The team is currently ranked 13 in the world, which is marginally better than when it slipped to 14th last year. Once a powerhouse ...

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If things don’t improve, our performance at Asian Games 2018 will serve as a preview for Olympics 2020

Thirty-five sports disciplines, around 250 athletes, and only four bronze medals, this is the dismal summary of Pakistani athletes‘ performance at the Asian Games in Jakarta. This is our worst ever performance in the tournament, lowest total medal count (same as the Asian Games in 2006) and the first time that Pakistan failed to win a gold or silver medal. The bronze medals came from four different categories: athletics, kabaddi, karate and squash, while the men’s field hockey team missed out on a medal only for the second time in the history of the Asian Games. Two of the four bronze ...

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Without any investigation, how can Pakistan Hockey Federation drop Syeda Sadia and Iqra Javed for accusing their coach of sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is an ugly reality that unfortunately has been known to humanity since times immemorial. Coming from India, the first example that comes to my mind is that of the ancient South Asian epic Mahabharata, acclaimed as a work of literature globally, which also refers to the disrobing of Draupadi by Dushasan, for which the latter has to pay for with his life. In more recent times, the global #MeToo campaign demonstrated how endemic this problem is, cutting across geographical and cultural boundaries. Indeed, for a misogynist like Donald Trump to become the US president, and for Hollywood to have a scandal of the ...

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Islamabad has what it takes to set football standards for Pakistan, do you?

Football and Pakistan  don’t usually go together, especially Islamabad and football. However, despite Islamabad’s unwanted perception of going to sleep early, the capital is home to a thriving football scene and an ever-growing entrepreneurial ecosystem of football facilities. Though the concept had been introduced a decade ago with the advent of the F-6 multi-purpose facility, things really took off after 2014 when Total Football ventured into the market. Photo: Facebook “I was enamoured by the concept during my days as a student in London,” said Hamza Kayani, who launched Total Football in late 2014. Born and bred in Islamabad, Kayani claimed that the city lacked in the entertainment department, leaving eating out or ...

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India – adding insult to their own sporting injuries

Remember the time when the green sticks were a force to be reckoned with? Sweeping all away; left, right and centre. Even then, we found pleasure in knocking down our big bully of a neighbour, especially in their own backyard. Out of the 39 matches that have been played between the arch rivals on Indian soil, Pakistan has won an impressive 23 encounters to India’s 14, with just two draws. So, it’s no wonder that India tries its best to avoid this embarrassing statistic being bumped up even further. But one would expect that these tactics would solely be restricted to on-the-field gamesmanship; ...

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Mr Entrepreneur, just know, the future of Pakistan’s sports industry needs you

What’s happening to sports in Pakistan? We, a country of nearly 195 million people, are unable to produce even one athlete that can qualify for the Olympics. The nation’s performance in sports such as hockey, squash, boxing, and many others is declining and this fall in performances is detracting the public away from these sports. The entire nation meticulously follows cricket, and everyone wants to emulate our cricket stars. The media, particularly our electronic media, in Pakistan is completely biased towards cricket when promoting a sport. PTV was once a lone channel able to find time to air local sports. Having said that, the turn of the century came with a boom, and ...

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Quaid-e-Azam inter-provincial games: A light at the end of Pakistan’s barren sports tunnel

What is it about Lionel Messi that excites fans as he dribbles the ball across the field? What gives players like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic the ability to hypnotise fans as they compete on the court? Is Usain Bolt’s speed really a big deal, after all, he did only run a 100-meter race at the Olympics. It seems as though for the average Pakistani, everything that is remotely foreign seems to be infinitely more appealing, but does that really come as a surprise? Pakistan’s football team is ranked 190th in the world, we are still raving about Aisamul Haq’s success ...

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Is there any hope for Pakistan in Olympics 2016?

The Pakistan hockey team failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. This is a historic low as the Pakistani hockey team has qualified for every Olympic Games since gaining independence in 1947. The only exception was the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, which Pakistan opted to jointly boycott with 64 other countries due to the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan. With the absence of the hockey team from the 2016 Rio Olympics, there is a possibility that perhaps no one gets a chance to represent Pakistan at the Olympic Games next year? Clearly, Olympic sports in Pakistan are in a dismal state which can be gauged ...

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The green shirts have fallen, but can they rise again?

It is unbelievable how Pakistan’s hockey team manages to hit new lows, especially when we already feel it is at its lowest point. If not making it to the 2014 World Cup in Hague was not enough, the green shirts have also failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Pakistan ranked eighth out of 10 as it finished miserably in the world hockey league in Antwerp, a performance that erases all hope of our team getting a ticket to Rio. There is no doubt that Pakistani hockey finds itself in a mess which needs radical and drastic changes in order to bring back ...

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