Training in Abbottabad to acclimatise for London
LAHORE: Pakistan’s 16-member hockey squad for the London Olympics will be announced on July 1 in Abbottabad, where the national team’s training camp begins from Wednesday.
Coach Khawaja Junaid told Dawn from Abbottabad that 18 out of 26 probables had reported to the camp while the others were on the way.
“The weather here is very much similar to the conditions the Pakistan team would be facing in London so it would be ideal for us to prepare for the Olympics,” he said.
“All the probables are fit and we would conduct two training sessions in a day — from 6:00 to 8:30 in the morning and from 4:00 to 7:00 in the evening.”
The national selection committee headed by Hanif Khan along with Arshad Ali Chaudhry and Khalid Bashir will watch the probables before announcing the national side.
Five senior players, namely Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi, Waseem Ahmad, Mohammad Imran and goalkeeper Salman Akbar, have been summoned to the national training camp after a lapse of five months.
The trio of Rehan, Shakeel and Waseem had been sidelined for their participation in the controversial World Series Hockey earlier this year while Salman and Imran were playing league hockey in different countries.
The camp will end on July 8 and the national team will leave for Birmingham on July 11.
Before the start of the Games, Pakistan will play practice matches against Belgium and Holland on July 24 and 26.
Probables: Imran Shah, Mohammad Irfan, Sohail Abbas, Syed Kashif Shah, M. Rizwan Jr, Fareed Ahmed, Rashid Mahmood, Mohammad Tousiq, Mohammad Waqas, Shafqat Rasool, Abdul Haseem Khan, M. Rizwan Sr, M. Umar Bhutta, M. Khalid Bhatti, Shakeel Abbasi, Ali Shan, Rehan Butt, Waseem Ahmed, Muhammad Imran, Salman Akbar, Tasawwar Abbas, Ammad Shakeel Butt, Dilber Hussain, Imran Butt, Mohammad Zubair and Aamir Shahzad.