Moving to fifth spot is a big achievement: Asif Bajwa

Karachi: Pakistan Hockey Federation PHF secretary Asif Bajwa hailed greenshirts for securing a place among elite top five nations of the world after the former world champions jumped four places up to fifth spot in the Men’s World Rankings table released by the International Hockey Federation FIH on Tuesday.

Pakistan defeated archrival India in the third place playoff of Champions Trophy recently in Australia to claim bronze medal and subsequently elevated to fifth place from a humble ninth place. Pakistan had also defeated World No 1 Germany in quarters of the tournament.

“Jumping four places up to fifth spot is a big achievement,” former Olympian Asif Bajwa told PPI. “However, it was not an overnight achievement but a concerted effort of the federation. The federation has been working on its plan for four years and now the signs of the federation’s effort could be seen. And in coming years, hopefully we will have a much better side.”

He added that the federation will also pursue its plan for improvement in 2013 2014 to further lift the performance of the team before the World Cup.

With a bronze medal in Champions Trophy, the greenshirts have ended eight years of medal drought in the tournament. And it is after six years that Pakistan has secured a place among top five teams. Pakistan last held fifth spot in 2006.

The top four positions, held by London 2012 Olympics Gold medallists Germany, Champions Trophy winners Australia, Olympic and Champions Trophy Silver medallists Netherlands and England, remained unchanged.

New Zealand continue to hold 6th place ahead of Spain on 7th, Champions Challenge finalists Korea on 8th, Belgium on 9th and Champions Challenge winners Argentina on 10th. India trails at 11th spot in spite of finishing at fourth spot in Champions Trophy.

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