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Hockey - Int News

HOCKEY - Int News 25 Mar, 2024

Argentina, Trinidad & Tobago men, USA women qualify for World Cup 2025
Lausanne, Switzerland (PR): The Indoor Pan American Cup 2024 came to an end on 22 March with Argentina men and USA women winning the gold medals and securing their spot at the FIH Hockey Indoor World Cups 2025. With a second available slot in the men’s competition, Trinidad & Tobago, winners of the silver medal at the competition also joined Los Leones in qualifying for the World Cup. In the men’s competition, Argentina, USA, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana and Canada competed in the league stage. Argentina topped the group, winning all four matches, followed by USA in second with three wins and a loss. Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana also qualified for the semi-final finishing third and fourth respectively. Argentina dominated Guyana in the first semi-final, winning 10-0, with Gaston Rodriguez and Elen Eleicegui scoring hat-tricks, sealing a spot in the final as well as gaining them entry into the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup 2025. USA and Trinidad & Tobago played in a thrilling 11-goal thriller in the second semi-final with the Caribbean nation edging the tie and qualifying for their third ever FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup. In the women’s competition, United States, Argentina, Canada and Uruguay competed in the league stage. United States went unbeaten in the league stage, winning all three of their matches, with Argentina finishing second, Canada in third and Uruguay in fourth. United States won the first semi-final 5-0 against Uruguay securing a spot in the finals, while Argentina beat home team Canada 6-2 in the second semi-final. The finals saw USA take on Argentina in a repeat of the opening match of the tournament, where USA dominated Argentina with a 7-1 win. With a place in the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup 2025 up for grabs for the winner of the finals, a much closer encounter unfolded. USA took an early 2-goal lead, but throughout the game the lead changed hands multiple times and at the end of regulation time, both sides were tied at 5 goals each, resulting in a shoot-out. USA were perfect in the shoot-out winning 3-2, grabbing the gold medal and securing the only available slot from Pan America, at the FIH Indoor Hockey Women’s World Cup 2025.

HOCKEY - Int News 08 Mar, 2024

Celebrating women leading the way forward in hockey
Sports Bulletin ReportLausanne (Switzerland): On the field and off the field. As players, coaches, umpires and administrators. On this International Women’s Day 2024, a year where the International Hockey Federation (FIH) celebrates its centennial, we focus on eight women who have been leading the way over the past few decades, and creating a blueprint for success that will benefit the generations to come, as they look to these role models and follow in their footsteps.In the field of hockey administration and the move towards attaining complete gender equity, Marijke Fleuren is a towering figure in international hockey. As a former member of the FIH Executive Board, member of the IOC Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Commission and Honorary Life President of EuroHockey, Marijke has had a storied career in hockey administration. We spoke to Marijke as she discussed her Journey of Passion, Equality, and Family.In the field of umpiring and umpire management, Marelize de Klerk brings with her an unparalleled level of experience, with nearly three decades spent officiating hockey at the highest level. We spoke to Marelize as she shared her unique path towards first playing hockey and then umpiring, which began with a chance incident, all the way back in 1994!When it comes to achieving phenomenal success as a player and a coach in hockey, a scarce few can rival the storied career of Alyson Annan. A winner of 2 Olympic Gold medals and 2 FIH Hockey World Cup titles as a player, to go with a 2 Olympic medals (1 gold, 1 silver) and a World Cup title as a head coach, Alyson shared with us her journey in hockey and the advice she would give to those aiming to follow in her footsteps.As an administrator in Hockey, Els van Breda Vriesman’s achievements are unparalleled. Els was the first - and so far only - female president of the International Hockey Federation (2001-2008) and brought with her decades of experience as a sports administrator and a former member of the International Olympic Committee. Els shared with us her journey starting as a junior national hockey player for the Netherlands to becoming the President of FIH.Indian goalkeeper and captain Savita is already a modern day great and the reigning three-time FIH Goalkeeper of the Year Award winner. Her stardom is a shining beacon for girls and women in her native India, showing them the path towards achieving their sporting dreams. We spoke to Savita as she spoke of the important role a family plays in helping an athlete achieve their complete potential.Subarna Shreshtha was recently elected Secretary General of Nepal Hockey Association, and long-term administrator with the Asian Hockey Federation. As a fan of hockey since her childhood, Subarna grew up in Nepal with limited opportunity to play the sport. She spoke to us about the work she is doing to make sure those opportunities are available for the next generation to play the game at the highest level.Sarah Wilson had a promising career in hockey derailed by a back injury as she was representing Scotland internationally in the under-21 category. But with a strong will to remain associated with hockey, and able guidance Sarah turned to umpiring and has since gone on to have a fabulous career with the whistle, and will soon umpire at her third Olympic Games in Paris 2024! Sarah spoke with us to share her journey and the team she has found within the hockey umpiring community, that she can’t imagine living without.Luciana Aymar is largely considered one of the best players to ever pick up a hockey stick. With 4 medals at the Olympic Games and 4 World Cup medals, Luciana had a long and storied career, which also included winning a record 8 FIH Player of the Year awards. We spoke to Luciana as she shared the story behind her stardom and how she believes the sporting community can further embrace gender equality.FIH President Tayyab Ikram said: “With global participation in hockey being 51% female and 49% male, hockey can pride itself of being a gender-equal sport on the field of play. However, we still have efforts to make. And even more so off the field of play.The FIH Statutes do stipulate that half of the Ordinary Members of the Executive Board MUST be women. That is good, but numbers are not what impacts most. For a sustainable outcome, we need, together with the National Associations, to develop capacity-building for women and empower women. And it’s my personal wish that leadership programmes shall be introduced at youth level as well.Furthermore, men MUST stand for women! This is critical. Gender equality cannot be an objective initiated or led by women only! Gender equality will only be reached if men do commit to and act in favour of it! I therefore appeal to all my male colleagues – within hockey but also sport and society at large - to become active advocates of inclusion and determined leaders in mindset changing.Throughout all our events and activities, and with the support of our Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee chaired by Marijke Fleuren, we will ensure that gender equality not only prevails but keeps on improving in everything we do.”

HOCKEY - Int News 23 Feb, 2024

Dutch Hockey Club clinch three-match Series 2-1 against HEC
Abdul Jabbar FaisalISLAMABAD: Oldenzaal Hockey Club aka Billy Club of Netherlands have won the thrice match tie 2-1 after beating the hosts Higher Education Commission (HEC) hockey team on a penalty shoot-out 4-3, as the score-line was 1-1 after all 4 quarters at Nasser Bunda Hockey Stadium Islamabad on Friday.Both teams started the match at a bit slow pace and were looking defensive, however, after a few minutes, players showed nice game skills and attacked the goalposts but could not score a goal. In the 11th minute, Mubasher scored a field goal and put the hosts in a 1-0 lead. He received the pass from the right side and diverted the ball into the goal without wasting a fraction of a second.The HEC team upheld the lead till the end of the third quarter. However, in the 52nd minute Dutch player Niels Engberink leveled the match 1-1 after scoring a goal on a penalty corner. The scoreboard remained unchanged 1-1 till the final whistle. Each side was given 5 penalty shoot-out to get the results of the 3-match tie.Mattis Barttelink, Ruben Kattier, and Leen Timmers scored goals for the Dutch Club while Jan Willem Wunbergen and Niels Engberink failed to score goals. Ali Murtaza and Mubasher showed excellent stick work and pushed the ball into the net but the other three lads including Ahmed Raza, Mohammad Zain, and Shaheer Ali missed the goals.The diplomats from various countries watched the match along with Olympians, sports enthusiasts, and university students from twin cities Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Ambassador of Dutch to Pakistan, Henny de Vries, the Australian High Commissioner, Neil Hawkins, Acting Ambassador of Romania to Pakistan, Eduard-Robert Preda, Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan, Totuiaev Ulanbek Asankulovich, the High Commissioner-designate of Brunei Darussalam, Colonel (Retd) Pengiran Haji Kamal Bashah and Ambassador of Morocco to Pakistan and Dean of the African Corps Mohammed Karmoune were present on occasion.

HOCKEY - Int News 18 Feb, 2024

Dutch Hockey Club to play three games in Pakistan
Sports Bulletin ReportLAHORE: The OHC Bully Hockey Club, Netherlands is due to arrive in Lahore on February 18 (Sunday) to play three friendly games in Lahore and Islamabad during a week-long visit aiming to make efforts to restore the prestige of the national sport.The Oldenzaal Hockey Club (OHC) “Bully”, commonly known as OHC Bully will visit Pakistan on an invitation of Khawaja Junaid Hockey Academy (KJHA) and will play three games in all with two at the historic National Hockey Stadium, Lahore, and one at the Naseer Bunda Stadium, Islamabad. The Bully hockey club will play games against Higher Education Commission (HEC) hockey team picked from the Prime Minister’s Youth Talent Hunt Program.The OHC Bully’s visit is historic in the sense that it is after a long interval of 22 years that a European hockey club will visit Pakistan and the Bully’s visit is one of the small steps towards the goal of revival of hockey. The visit may also encourage other European hockey clubs to visit Pakistan every year during the winters.Former Olympian Khawaja Junaid said that he was thankful to the OHC Bully for accepting the invitation to visit Pakistan for friendlies, adding that Khawaja Junaid Hockey club was committed to revive of hockey by nurturing talent at the grass-root level.Khawaja Junaid further said that he was not only grooming the raw hockey talent through coaching from the tender age of seven years, adding that the HEC team was picked was selected by him after trials of 25000 budding players under the Youth Talent Hunt Program.Acknowledged the role of former hockey Olympian Fareed Ahmed, who happens to be the coach of OHC Bully, in arranging the visit to Pakistan, he said “I am also connecting with the outside world to provide the right exposure to these young lads at an early age.” He said this will be a discovery visit for the youth being foreign to Pakistan’s rich hockey traditions and hospitality, expressing the hope that Pakistan will become an annual rendezvous for the European clubs and teams.The former World Champion Khawaja Junaid further said field hockey comes to a standstill during the harsh winters in Europe and European clubs visit the nearby countries like Spain to play hockey, adding that it is the time when the European teams may be invited to make Pakistan their destination as the country boasts of a mild weather during this period.Responding to a query, he said visit of a European hockey club will also help in promoting country’s tourism through sports, adding that this is also a good opportunity for showcase cultural heritage and historical ancestry to the world. Khawaja Junaid also shared that OHC Bully is almost a century-old club which was founded in 1935.Khawaja Junaid thanked Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab Dr. Usman Anwar and Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed for their support in making this visit of a European hockey club possible. 

HOCKEY - Int News 16 Jan, 2024

Pakistan outplay China 2-0 in Paris Olympic Qualifier in Oman
Abubakar Mahmood and Abdul Rehman score goals on Penalty Corners for PakistanSports Bulletin ReportMuscat (Oman): Pakistan overpowered China 2-0 in their second fixture of the Paris Olympic Hockey Qualifier 2024 in Muscat on Tuesday night. Pakistan will face Malaysia in their last pool match on January 18 at the same venue.On Tuesday, Pakistan defeated China by two goals in their second pool match, as Abu Bakr Mehmood and Abdul Rehman scored the goals on penalty corners for Pakistan in the third and fourth quarters respectively. Midfielder Abubakar Mehmood was declared man of the match.In the 42nd minute of the third quarter, Pakistan's player Abubakar Mahmood scored a goal and put the Green Shirts in a lead of one goal on a penalty corner. In the 51st minute of the game, youngster Abdul Rahman scored the first international goal of his career through a penalty corner to consolidate Pakistan's lead.

HOCKEY - Int News 16 Jan, 2024

England crush Pakistan 6-1 in Paris Olympic Qualifier in Oman
Germany, New Zeeland, and China post victories on the opening dayMohammad Waqas ISLAMABAD: England outclassed Pakistan 6-1 in their opening contest of the Paris Olympic Hockey Qualifier on Monday night.Great Britain rounded out the day’s action from Oman with a professional display with 6 goals against a youthful Pakistan. Ranked 4th in the World, GB held their opposition at arms length throughout the contest - winning every quarter - and while Pakistan grabbed a late consolation, the game ended 6-1. Olympic qualifying got underway in Oman with a comfortable 9-0 win for Germany. In Martin Zwicker’s 300th appearance the world number 5 ranked side had too much for Canada, scoring freely throughout the quarters with little resistance. New Zealand got their campaign underway with 3 points against Chile, in Kane Russell’s 200th appearance. A fast start for the Black Sticks saw them 2-0 up after the first quarter, adding a field goal in the 3rd quarter. Chile fought until the end - grabbing a consolation in the dying moments of the tie.Pool A action got underway in stunning fashion, with China upsetting the odds with an eye-catching win over Malaysia. Despite Malaysia taking the lead in the second quarter China rallied to lead 2-1 heading into the final quarter. Just as it looked as though the sides would share the points after a Malaysia equaliser, Gao Jiesheng took full advantage of a penalty corner and won it for China 3-2 in the dying moments of the game. 

HOCKEY - Int News 02 Jan, 2024

PHF names 18-man team for Paris Olympic Qualifier
Imad Shakeel Butt to lead Pakistan: Green Shirts need to stand on podium to go ParisAbdul Jabbar FaisalISLAMABAD: The National Selection Committee (NSC) of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has announced an 18-player team for the upcoming Paris Olympics Qualifier, which will take place from January 15 to 21, 2024, in Muscat, Oman.Acting head of the NSC Nasir Ali Khan unfolded the squad after the approval of president PHF Tariq Hussain Masuri Bughti after analyzing the performance of players after conducting a day of trials at Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium, Pakistan Sports Complex Islamabad on Tuesday.It is pertinent to mention here that the head of NSC, Olympian Kaleem Ullah could not arrive here owing to the bad weather and the flight was not available. The other members of the NSC were Olympians Nasir Ali, Rahim Khan, and Leaque Lashari International.Head Coach Shahnaz Ahmed Sheikh said: “We had to submit the names of players according to the rules of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and we selected the best squad for an international hockey fixture. We picked up 10 players from the juniors’ team which participated in the recently concluded Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup 2023 in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, as this team is a blend of rising young talented lads and experienced. Our team will not only qualify for the Paris Olympics 2024, will also claim the top position in the Muscat tournament”.Tariq Hussain Masuri Bughti said: “We selected the players entirely on merit and our players will perform up to mark in Oman. I congratulate new captain Imad Butt and all the selected players and hope they will toil hard to achieve their target to confirm the berth in Paris Olympics 2024. Players, who cannot get a place in the national squad should not worry, they will get other occasions soon, and I hope our players will produce notable and sparkling performances. Our aim is only to hoist the green flag in hockey areas of the world”.Imad Shakeel Butt said: “This is a great honour for me to lead the national hockey team and I and my all teammates will work hard in the field to overcome the opponents. We will try our level best to produce acceptable performance in the Paris Olympics Qualifier, which will roll into action on January 15 and Pakistan will face England in their opening match of the international hockey showpiece”.Names of selected players (18): Imad Shakeel Butt (Captain), and Abu Bakr Mahmood (Vice Captain), Abdullah Ishtiaq, Waqar, Arbaz Ahmed, Mohammad Abdullah, Sufiyan Khan, Murtaza Yaqoob, Abdul Mannan, Aqeel Ahmed, Moeen Shakil, Salman Razaq, Abdul Hannan Shahid, Ghazanfar Ali, Abdul Rahman Junior, Zikriya Hayat, Rana Abdul Waheed Ashraf, Arshad Liaquat.Team Management: Head Coach Shahnaz Sheikh, Coach Shakil Abbasi, Assistant Coach Olympian Dilawar Hussain, Goalkeeper Coach Amjad Ali, Physiotherapist Waqas Mahmood, and Physical Trainer Mohammad Imran Khan.

HOCKEY - Int News 17 Dec, 2023

Federation politics ruins the national game hockey: Ahmed Alam
Abdul Jabbar FaisalKuala Lumpur (Malaysia): Former captain of national Pakistan hockey team, goalkeeper and Olympian Ahmed Alam has said that the federation politics ruined the national game in the country and players should not be involved in the federation’s affairs.While talking to Editor www.sports-bulletin.com during an exclusive sitting here at a local hotel Pak-Punjb, Ahmed Alam lamented over the declining standard of the national game hockey in the country. “The inside politics of the federation is hurting the game of hockey and unfortunately we have involved the players too in the dirty politics. At least players should not be a part of this thing. If an official is replaced with another one, one who comes changes the team’s players. This is not good for hockey, “he said.“There is a musical-chair game in the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and one goes, another comes and one who goes out starts leg pulling. At present, the federation has adopted the policy to adjust the people, who criticize the top officials of the federation. You can compromise with 15 to 20 men but this is not a good approach. We should bring merit to the federation first and other things will run smoothly automatically. Merit in the PHF is important to put the national game of hockey on the right track, “he elaborated.Former captain further said that no doubt the foreign coaches always produced remarkable results and it might be more fruitful after engaging them with the juniors and rising players. “There must be criteria of coaches. We should give qualified coaches assignments at national level then budding hockey lads learn better and basics of hockey. Also, the government should provide financial assistance to the Pakistan hockey federation. Finances are the fundamental need to run sports and you cannot compromise on it. Players must be facilitated, “he said.Regarding a question about the Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup 2023, Ahmed Alam said he could not blame anyone. “Our boys did well in the pool matches against Holland, Belgium and New Zealand but unfortunately owing to lack of international exposure and experience our players failed to overcome heavyweights Spain in quarterfinal despite displaying excellent skill of hockey. Our goalkeeper Abdul Rafay saved over half a dozen goals during the first thirty minutes of the game. Because of pressure and inexperience he conceded the goals on penalty corners, “he asserted.“We will have to strengthen hockey at gross-root level, especially departmental hockey to boost the standard of the game at domestic level. The future of the hockey players must be safe and secure. They must be provided job opportunities and other facilities. At the school and colleges level hockey sticks should be provided free and there should be players’ cotta in admissions. We will have to make joint efforts with the support of the government to take the national game on peak once again. All ex international Pakistani hockey players should play their role in the promotion of the national game hockey and for raising the green flag at the international hockey stadiums, “he concluded. 

HOCKEY - Int News 17 Dec, 2023

Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup 2023: Germany lift title
Germany beat France 2-1 in final, Spain claim bronze, Pakistan compromise on 8th spotAbdul Jabbar FaisalKuala Lumpur (Malaysia): Germany have won the title of Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup 2023 after overcoming France 2-1 in the final here at National Hockey Stadium Bukit Jalil on Saturday night. Spain got third place in the tournament after thrashing India 3-1 in a play-off at the same venue before the final.France’s Gaspard Xavier was named player of the tournament and also received the FIH Rising Star award while Germany’s Joshua Onyekwue Nnaji was named best goalkeeper of the tournament.Argentina beat Pakistan (6-3): Argentina beat Pakistan 6-3 to finish their tournament on a winning note. The South Americans scored first, a Tomas Ruiz drag flick looping back to him off the keeper for an easy hit in. Arbaz Ahmad responded for Pakistan with a drag flick but Argentina regained the lead from a low Ruiz drag flick. Just five minutes later they turned over possession weakly for Ahmad to then score from the resulting penalty stroke. The half ended 2-2.Argentina survived another poor turnover in the opening minute of the second half before going ahead again, Joaquin Toscani making a devastating run from midfield to feed Ramiro Infanzon for a deflection. The Argentinians extended their lead when Ignacio Nardolillo stole a ball 60m out and fed Bautista Capurro who screamed in his reverse shot. Ahmad then handed Pakistan a lifeline, completing his hat-trick from another penalty stroke, but Argentina responded immediately with an Ignacio Persoglio drag flick. Juan Fernandez then sealed the match and 7th place in the tournament for Argentina with a deflection from open play.Netherlands beat Australia (2-1): The Dutch dominated the statistics and were patient with possession in a deserved 2-1 win over Australia. The Australians created dangerous chances for deflections in the opening half but the Dutch simply had the better opportunities throughout. Australian keeper Max Larkin made a great stick save to deny Timo Boers from a penalty corner in the 14th minute and added two more saves from open play before failing to clear a loose ball, Dylan Lucieer pouncing on the scraps for Netherlands to lead 1-0 at half time.The Dutch controlled the second half, starving Australia of possession and testing the excellent Larkin repeatedly before Bouwe Buitenhuis popped a delicate overhead to unmarked Casper van der Veen on the p-spot for their second goal. Cooper Burns gave Australia faint hopes after rifling in a drag flick from a penalty corner just 90 seconds from time, but the Dutch secured the win and with that, fifth place in the tournament.Spain beat India (3-1): Spain proved the better team on the day and emerged as 3-1 winners against India in the third-place playoff. The first half was evenly contested, India starting better but unable to beat Jan Capellades in goal. The momentum then shifted towards the Spanish who were patient in possession, and Nicolas Alvarez fired in a field goal to take the lead. India hit back off a penalty corner, Sunil Jojo, reacting fastest to the rebound and levelling the scores at 1-1 before the break.Spain dominated in the third quarter, but Indian goalkeeper Mohith Shashikumar proved up to the task. Capellades then made an excellent save for Spain before Pau Petchame finally snuck one through the Indian defence to regain the lead. Spain put the game out of reach in the final quarter, Pol Cabre Verdiell crossing to Alvarez for a deflection. India had opportunities to claw their way back through several penalty corners, but Capellades kept them out, with some assistance from the crossbar, and Spain secured a well-deserved bronze medal.Germany beat France (2-1): Germany came from behind to beat France 2-1 as both teams enjoyed periods of dominance in a fitting final. French goalkeeper Marius Clément got his angles exactly right in the opening minute to deny the Germans an early lead. A German defender then miss-trapped a ball and it sat up beautifully for Tom Gaillard who unfortunately failed to connect with his shot. Clément again reacted quickly to shut down Ben Hasbach as the first quarter ended. Jules Verrier opened the scoring for France in the second period, receiving a glorious pass from Louis Haertelmeyer and evading numerous defenders to beat the keeper from close range. The rest of the half was tightly contested, and France led 1-0 at the break.The momentum was building for Germany though, and Jan Cordes pounced on a poor French clearance to slap in an equaliser for Germany in the second minute of the half. Liam Holdermann added an excellent field goal, holding his shot until Clément committed himself. Paul Glander nearly made it three from a penalty corner, but Clément made an incredible save to keep France in the hunt. The French attacked freely in the final quarter but couldn’t find a way through, and Germany claimed the gold medal for the seventh time.Final standings: 1 Germany, 2 France, 3 Spain, 4 India, 5 Netherlands, 6 Australia, 7 Argentina, 8 Pakistan, 9 Belgium, 10 South Africa, 11 New Zealand, 12 Malaysia, 13 Korea, 14 Egypt, 15 Chile, 16 Canada 

HOCKEY - Int News 16 Dec, 2023

Pakistani players need to improve their basics: Says Oltamans
Abdul Jabbar FaisalKuala Lumpur (Malaysia): Head Coach of Pakistan national juniors’ hockey team, Roelant Oltamans lamented over the team’s performance in the Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup 2023 saying that Under-21 player produce sparking and notable performance in the first round of the mega event against Holland and Belgium and they failed to maintain such pace and performance in the knock-out stage.While talking to a group of sports reporters after losing against Argentine 6-3 in a play-off, he further added that the first part of the competition was appreciable enough, however, Pakistan conceded 9 goals in the last 30 minutes. “We took a remarkable start in the group matches, as we played draws against Netherlands and Belgium, the best side of the hockey world. We defeated New Zealand with a margin of 4-0 and we were in confidence to do well in the next round. Due to some injuries we could not make-up the thing according to our wishes. We were good defenders and good finishers in the starting of the tournament, “he said.While responding to a question, foreign Pakistani coach said that some boys could go in the senior. “The players need to improve their basics and footwork. Things cannot be changed at once; it needs time to remove the flaws. There is a need to change the hockey system at junior level. Captain Hanan Shahid is an intelligent guy and has good communication skills and he plays a vital role during the camps to communicate with the guys. He speaks good English, “he maintained. Oltamans said that he did not sign any further contract with Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF). “I do not know what will be next, whether there will be any assignment for me or not. The Pakistan team can qualify for the Olympic Games 2024, which will be held in Paris next year and Green Shirts will have to produce acceptable results in the Olympic Qualifying Round in Oman next month in January, “he replied to another question.