KARACHI: Pakistan’s only realistic medal-winning chance at this year’s London Olympics took a hit after the hockey event’s draws were announced yesterday.
The Greenshirts have been placed in Group A, alongside hosts Great Britain, world champions Australia, Spain, Argentina and South Africa.
The London Olympics organising committee and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) revealed the draws for the preliminary rounds of the event to be held at the Olympic Park in London from July 30 to August 11. Pakistan will get their campaign underway against Spain on July 30 while their last group match will be against Australia on August 7.
Group B consists of Netherlands, Germany, India, Korea, New Zealand and Belgium.
Abbas confident despite tough group
Meanwhile, Pakistan captain Sohail Abbas, who will lead the team for the first time at the Azlan Shah Cup before the Olympics, expressed his confidence at clinching the gold medal despite being placed in a tough group.
“I am confident that our team will put in the maximum effort in training and that will be visible through our performance,” Abbas told APP. “We have faith in God and we are working hard. If you play as a team, nothing matters. Once you stop playing as a team, that’s when these factors about them [opponents] being physically bigger and stronger come into play.”
The penalty-corner specialist was also looking forward to a duel with archrivals India.
“In the Olympics, every match is equally important and we’d treat each one as the final but a match with India is what everyone wants to see.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2012.