India calls off junior hockey tourney in Pakistan

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Lahore, Nov 10 (UNI) India today cancelled its five-match junior hockey series which was scheduled begin from tomorrow against Pakistan at the eleventh hour citing security concerns.

''It is very disappointing that the tournament had to be cancelled even though all the arrangements were made and everybody was eagerly looking forward to the series,'' Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) chief Qasim Zia told mediapersons in Karachi today.

The bilateral series was being seen as a preparation for the Junior World Cup to be played in Singapore and Malaysia in June this year.

The five matches were scheduled to be played in Karachi Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Sialkot and the last match was be played here on Novemeber 21.

Zia further informed that the Indian team had already reached Amritsar today and were soon to cross the Wagah border but the team authorities refused to give them clearance and stopped them.

''We feel let down by India,'' said Zia who is also a former Olympian and added that he had nothing against the Indian hockey Federation.

''The Indian federation did all it could to save the series but its hands were tied. It's the Indian government that decided that the team should not go to Pakistan,'' he stated.

The tournament was scheduled to begin at the refurbished Hockey Club in Karachi under flood lights but will now be replaced with two exhibition games to be played between Pakistan Juniors and Pakistan veterans.

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