New Delhi [India]: The Pakistan hockey team will travel to India to participate in the 2018 World Cup, which will be hosted in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha in November-December this year.
Earlier, there were speculations that four-time champions Pakistan will not visit India to play in the World Cup amidst the ongoing political tension between the two neighbouring nations.
However, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) have now put a full stop on all those speculations by saying that Pakistan would be travelling to India for the Hockey World Cup 2018 after getting clearance from the Government of India.
IOA President Narinder Batra told ANI that Hockey World Cup is an international event and that if any country is a member of the IOC then no one could stop them from participating.
“I was always happy holding event in Odisha because it is very friendly state and the environment is also very friendly. I am happy it is happening in Odisha. Pakistan is in qualified 16 teams for the World Cup. Government of India, Ministry of Sports and Ministry of External Affairs have given all the clearance. So, Pakistan will be coming in India. It is an international sporting event and if you are a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), so no country can be stopped,” Batra, who succeeded N Ramachandran from Tamil Nadu as a new president of IOA in December, said.
Earlier, the Pakistan hockey team became the 13th side to qualify for the World Cup after making a seventh-place finish at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals in London as well as in the wake of their favourable results at the EuroHockey Championships.
Pakistan, who have been the most successful team in the tournament history, having won four times – 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994, had earlier failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup which was played in The Hague.
India last hosted the Hockey World Cup in 2010 in which Pakistan played. They will now host the prestigious tournament in Odisha from November 28 to December 16 at the Kalinga Stadium. (ANI)