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Pak Hockey impresses Tony Blair

Written by: Staff

Lahore, Mar 27 (UN) Pakistan's hockey team were routed 3-0 in the finals of the Commonwealth Games by the Australians but won the admiration of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who felt that the team had natural talent and was especially impressed with the leadership of captain Mohammad Saqlain.

Mr Blair gave away the medals after the violence-marred match, which left Aussie mid-fielder Robert Hammond with a bloodied face after being hit by Pakistan's Tariq Aziz.

The striker was given the marching orders by the umpire leaving the side with only 10 players against rampaging Hockeyroos.

''You have an excellent team having all the natural talent but you have to concentrate on improving the physical fitness of players in order to perform well in the final of elite tournaments,'' the British Prime Minister was quoted by the APP here.

Mr Blair had a special word of praise for captain Saqlain, who according to hiled by example.

''A captain should lead in the same manner as you did,'' he told Saqlain during an informal chat with the players after the match.

The British Prime Minister also had a photo session with the squad players were charmed by his ''kind attitude''.

''His words are a great encouragement for us and we are deeply impressed with his kind attitude and relaxed chat with us,'' Saqlain said after meeting the MrBlair.

''We will forever remember the soft and kind attitude of the British Prime Minister. His presence encouraged us,'' Pakistan coach Asif Bajwa added.


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