‘Good that Pak opted out’
Punjab sports Director Pargat Singh conceded that it was good riddance that Pakistan backed out of the four-nation Punjab Gold Cup hockey tournament — to kick off at Chandigarh on Jan 31, reports Saurabh Duggal.india Updated: Dec 25, 2008 22:47 IST
Punjab sports Director Pargat Singh on Thursday conceded that it was good riddance that Pakistan backed out of the four-nation Punjab Gold Cup hockey tournament — to kick off at Chandigarh on Jan 31 — due to deteriorating relations between the two countries.
“It’s good that they themselves turned down our invite. Otherwise, looking at the present scenario, there could have been a situation where the Indian government could have prohibited us from playing them.” A top Sports Ministry source told HT that although no guidelines had been issued as yet on not playing Pakistan, matters would be taken up on a case-by-case basis only when something came up.
But Pakistan’s withdrawal has put the organisers in a spot. The Kookaburras too have said no to the Rs one crore double-leg tournament to be played at Chandigarh and Jalandhar. “We approached Australia after Pakistan pulled out in the wake of the 26/11 terror attacks, but they also refused citing security reasons.”
So, is there a possibility of the tournament being reduced to three-nation? “No. We are in talks with New Zealand and Malaysian federations. Both have responded positively and the fourth team will be finalised in a day or two,” said Pargat. Germany and Holland have confirmed their participation.