Friday, July 30, 2010

Asian Games

KARACHI: In a bid to avoid a World Cup-like disaster, Pakistan’s hockey officials are looking to ensure that their players peak just at the right time to be able to take a successful shot at the Asian Games crown in Guangzhou, China, this November.
Pakistan flopped miserably at the World Cup in Delhi last March, finishing last in the 12-nation spectacle. It was the worst-ever performance from the most successful nation in World Cup history and later experts blamed that the national team players got burnt out during the lead up to the World Cup and were unable to give their best in the quadrennial tournament.
“We will ensure that Pakistan hockey doesn’t have to go through similar disappointment again,” Asif Bajwa, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary told ‘The News’. “Our coaches have worked out a plan that will ensure that our team will peak just at the right time to give its best in the Asian Games,” stressed Bajwa, a former Olympian.
Though Pakistan will feature in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October before the Asian Games, PHF chiefs are focusing on the Chinese assignment.
Bajwa said that Pakistan will shield their players from the risk of a burnout during the Commonwealth Games by easing their workload during the event.
“For us, Asian Games is now the most important event of the year,” said Bajwa. “We will compete in the Commonwealth Games but will ensure that our boys do not get exhausted there. They will be played in a way that their best comes at the Asian Games.”
Bajwa said that Pakistan’s new chief coach — Michel van den Heuvel — has chalked out a comprehensive strategy to get the best out of the team in Guangzhou.
“Our coach is fully aware that Asian Games is an event of immense importance for Pakistan and has planned the team’s strategy accordingly. We are sure that the team will exhibit marked improvement in China.”
Van den Heuvel, a former Dutch national coach, will supervise a series of training camps in Pakistan and aboard in a bid to raise a strong team for the Asian Games. Pakistan are hoping to end their title drought by regaining the Asian crown this year.
He has roped in a Dutch trainer to join him at the first phase of the training that will be held in Abbottabad from August 12-26. Pakistan will then travel to Van den Heuvel’s homeland to train there from September 1-20 ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
The national players will get a one-week break after the Delhi assignment before reassembling in Lahore to prepare for the Asian Games.

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