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-Photo by AFP

LONDON: Pakistan were included  in the next Champions Trophy tournament scheduled to be held in Melbourne, Australia in December, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) announced on Friday.

The PHF secretary Asif Bajwaa told Dawn that the decision to include Pakistan in the Champions Trophy was taken by the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) executive committee which ended its two-day meeting here on Friday. PHF president Qasim Zia also attended the meeting, Bajwa added.

Bajwa said Pakistan were included in hockey’s elite eight-nation tournament after the Green-shirts took seventh position in the London Olympics, beating South Korea 3-2 in the classification match on Thursday.

He said India had been given a wildcard entry to make the Melbourne event an eight-team contest.

Bajwa said the Champions Trophy participation would help Pakistan keep fighting among world’s top-ranked teams, adding Pakistan team needed such top-tier events a lot.

“Our hockey is also suffering due to foreign teams not coming to Pakistan on security grounds. Therefore, such competitions [like Champions Trophy] are necessary for us to continue our role at international events,” the PHF official remarked.