Saturday, July 10, 2021
Though hockey enjoys the status of Pakistan's national sport, it continues to face a downfall in the country.
After a history of being the most successful national field hockey team in the Hockey World Cup, the Asian Games and the Champions Trophy once, the team has hit rock bottom since the last several years as it has not qualified for the Olympics since 2012.
The same sorry state of affairs is seen when one looks at the condition of the sports infrastructure in the country. The world's largest hockey stadium in Pakistan, the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore, has started laying bare the signs of its gradual ruin. The Nishtar Park Sports Complex Lahore hosts the world's biggest hockey stadium.
Continuous negligence by the management has played havoc with the stadium. With no proper and consistent maintenance, the stadium's chairs, stands and floor continue to deteriorate.
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The stands began to look dilapidated owing to a lack of upkeep and cleanliness. Chairs also are falling to bits. They are discoloured as well.
The astroturf of the stadium is already out of use. That is why the national camps are convened on ground number 2. But the players of the Women Hockey Academy have no other place to practice the game. Hence, they are seen training on the damaged turf.
The iconic stadium continues to get overlooked even though the stadium compound hosts the offices of the Sports Board Punjab and the Pakistan Hockey Federation. The irony is that the Sports Board Punjab has administrative control of the stadium affairs.
The stadium has a historic stature as it has hosted the FIH Hockey World Cup in 1990. The stadium was constructed for the mega sports event. It has also witnessed the Champions Trophy and the World IX match in early 2018.