LAHORE - Wapda, the long standing national champions, retained the title at the 30th National Women Hockey Championships after thrashing Punjab Colours 4-0 in the final played here at the National Hockey Stadium on Monday.

Comprising almost entirely of internationals, Wapda were the favourites having won all their matches with ease including a 5-0 victory over Punjab Colours in the pool game. However, it was the Punjab side which made the early inroads and had a couple of chances in the early minutes. The defending champions settled down and from their first penalty corner, Pakistan’s ace penalty corner expert Ishrat Abbas sounded the board with her trademark angular flat hit.

Later in the first quarter, both the sides wasted a penalty corner each. The second quarter saw almost complete domination of Wapda and the ball mostly remained in the opponents’ half. No less than six chances were squandered by them. Punjab net minder Tahira, later, was declared tournament’s best goalkeeper, shone under the bar. The half time score was 1-0.

Just after the change of the sides, the goal, which was coming for a long time, finally arrived. Sana Allah Ditta putting it in from a very close range. After conceding the second goal, Punjab enjoyed a good spell earning two penalty corners but the proper execution was missing.

In the dying minutes of the third quarter, little Sana Allah Ditta scored twice to complete her hat-trick. First, she pounced upon a PC rebound and soon after capped a move from right. Last quarter was the most evenly contested. Both the sides had chances, open play and penalty corners, but it ended 4-0 for Wapda.

It was a creditable performance from the Punjab Colours; the only provincial side to qualify for the semifinals. Almost all their player came from Rukhsana Arshad Women Hockey Academy. Earlier, the playoff for the third position saw an exciting game as Army hardly defeated HEC 3-2. HEC twice came from behind to equalise but couldn’t neutralise army’s third goal.

Chief guest Air Vice Marshal Irfan Ahmed, Officer Commanding Central Air Command, put gold medals around the winning team’s necks. Director General Sports Board Punjab Nadeem Sarwar presented silver medals to Punjab Colours. Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary General Shahbaz Ahmad gave bronze medals to Army players.

Wapda received a cash prize of Rs 50,000 from the sponsors while Punjab Colours got richer by Rs 25,000. Hammra Latif (Wapda) won player of tournament award and Tahira Islam (Punjab) the best goalkeeper of the tournament award. DG Sports Board Punjab gave Rs 50,000 to Punjab side and Rs 25,000 to Wapda. Chief guest AVM Irfan Ahmed announced Rs 50,000 for the winners and Rs 25,000 each for the runners-up and the third placed Army.