Pakistan may not get to host the Champions Trophy hockey tournament to be held later this year. And the good news is that India could possibly get the tournament — and an automatic qualification to play in it.
Bad news for Pakistan came on Wednesday when Korea officially announced that it was pulling out of the elite six-nation tournament, the second country after Australia to walk out.
And like Australia did three months ago, Korea cited security issues as the reason. The Korean announcement, a bodyblow to Pakistan’s reputation, came a day after suicide bombers killed more than 25 people in Rawalpindi. “There were security issues and we talked to our federation about it, and the federation has decided not to play in Pakistan. We will never go to Pakistan,” said Korean captain Seo Jong Ho.
Manager Sung Jun Cho made the team’s concerns clearer by putting a finger to his head — as if it was a trigger — and uttering just one word: “Taliban”. The Korean announcement has made matters worse for Pakistan, which has been insistent on hosting the event, scheduled from December 1-9 in Lahore.
Sniffing an opportunity, India has already made known its interest in hosting the event. The Indian Hockey Federation has completed an official bid to the FIH and will be submitting it soon. "We will propose Chandigarh as the venue," said IHF secretary K Jothikumaran.