Pakistan rap Australia for pulling out

SYDNEY: Hockey Australia (HA) defended their decision to withdraw the Olympic champions out of the Champions Trophy tournament in Pakistan in December, saying security concerns had left it no choice. 

HA’s decision was strongly criticised by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on Monday. 

“They (Australia) have conveyed to 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. 

Three people were killed in a suicide bombing at a Lahore mosque on Sunday, the latest in a wave of attacks in Punjab province, which has left 74 people dead this month. 

The other four teams – Holland, Germany, New Zealand and Spain – had confirmed their attendance for the elite six-nation tournament, scheduled for Dec 4-12 in Lahore. 

The Australians’ withdrawal was good news for India, who will replace the Olympic champions despite finishing seventh in Athens in August. – AFP  

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