LAHORE: Olympic hockey champions Australia have pulled out of the Champions Trophy to be held in Pakistan in December citing security fears, the Pakistan Hockey Federation said yesterday.
“They have conveyed us that they will not be coming and have cited the baseless security fears, which is not only disappointing but disturbing for us,” federation secretary Brigadier Musarratullah Khan said.
The elite six-nation annual event is scheduled to be held from Dec 4-12 here.
Three people were killed in a suicide bombing at a Lahore mosque on Sunday, the latest in a wave of attacks in Punjab province.
The other four teams – Holland, Germany, New Zealand and Spain – had confirmed their attendance.
Khan said: “We do not have any fears of the event being shifted from Pakistan because security is not a problem”.
Australia, who won their maiden Olympic title in Athens this year, had threatened to boycott the tournament last month saying the organisers had not responded to their concerns about possible terrorist attacks.
However, the Australians' pull-out was good news for Pakistan's arch-rivals India, who will replace the Olympic champions despite finishing seventh in Athens, a placing which had ruled them out of the Champions Trophy. – AFP