London calling: Pakistan's Olympics team announced

Published Jul 04, 2012 03:25pm

Pakistan to send 39-member squad to Olympics
Pakistan's hockey team will hope to return from London as Olympians. – File photo by AFP

Pakistan announced a 39-member contingent for this month's London Olympics on Wednesday, with their only realistic medal hopes lying in field hockey.

As well as 18 hockey players, the squad also includes two athletes, two swimmers and a shooter, Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) president Arif Hasan told reporters.

“We have finalised a 39-member contingent with 23 players and 16 officials for the London Olympics and hope that our hockey team win a medal,” he said.

Pakistan's participation is under a cloud due to a rift between the POA and the Pakistan Sports Board -- the national body which governs the country's various sports organisations.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) last month met Pakistani sports officials in Switzerland to resolve a row over alleged government interference in the POA affairs, a violation of the Olympic charter.

The PSB wants to implement a new sports policy under which no national sports federation head can have more than two tenures, and expects the POA to follow suit.

But POA chief Arif Hasan, who won a third term in February this year, refused to follow the PSB directives, saying the POA was an autonomous body that would only follow IOC rules.

The PSB said it has convened a meeting on Thursday to solve the matter.

Pakistan's only hopes of winning a medal rests with the hockey squad which qualified for the London Games as Asian champions', the title they won in 2010.

Apart from the hockey squad announced on Sunday, Pakistan's contingent includes athletes Rabia Ashiq and Liaquat Ali, swimmers Anum Banday and Israr Hussain and shooter Khurrum Inam -- all on wild-cards.

Pakistan have won three gold medals (1960, 1968 and 1984) and as many silvers and two bronze in field hockey in all Olympics.

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