Kuala Lumpur to host Champions Trophy Hockey

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New Delhi, Sep 27 (UNI) India's hopes of hosting the Champions Trophy suffered a rude jolt as the FIH today allotted the prestigious tournament to Malaysia.

The elite tournament will now be held in the National Hockey Stadium, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, from November 29 to December 9.

Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) had made a strong pitch for hosting the event after FIH decided to shift it from Lahore due to security reasons.

Four top teams -- Australia, Korea, Spain and Holland -- had pulled out of the tournament citing security concerns forcing the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to change the venue.

With Malaysia as the new host, the Champions Trophy will be expanded to eight teams and the tournament will be played as one pool competition.

The six original participants -- Australia, Germany, Korea, Netherlands, Pakistan and Spain -- will be joined by hosts Malaysia and England.

FIH decided to invite Pakistan to participate as compensation for the disappointment of not being able to host the tournament.

Malaysia is added as the hosts while England were added as they have finished fifth at the World Cup 2006.

FIH President Els van Breda Vriesman said, ''This is a fair and just outcome taking all factors into account and ensures the top teams in the world to be able to utilise the tournament as part of their preparations for the Beijing Olympic Games.'' India's hopes of hosting the tourney was based on the assumption that it being ranked eighth in the world will get the chance.

However Malaysia ranked 16th, scored over India because its federation offered free hospitality to all the participating teams.

''We are happy Malaysia Hockey Confederation was able to accept the responsibility to host this important event,'' Vriesman said.

''We know that time for the preparation is short but we are confident that the Samsung Champions Trophy will be a success under the organization of Malaysia.'' UNI

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