LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister M Shahbaz Sharif Tuesday gave away cash award of Rs 200,000 each to national hockey team players and officials for their brilliant performance in the recently-concluded Asian Games.

Addressing a reception hosted in honour of Asian Games silver medalist hockey team, the CM lauded hockey team, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president, coach and manager on playing the final of the Asian Games.

Shahbaz said: “Hockey is our national game and all-out cooperation and resources will be provided for its promotion in order to regain its lost glory. There was a time when Pakistan ruled the world hockey but ups and downs are part of the game and problems can be overcome through hard work, determination and a new spirit.”

He said despite difficult circumstances, the national team put up a good show and managed to reach the Games’ final. “I am pleased to meet the hockey stars who won laurels for the country through their superb performance.”

Shahbaz said there was no shortage of resources and Punjab government would continue to provide funds for the promotion of hockey. “Efforts will be made by Punjab government for the promotion of hockey and federal government will also be contacted for this purpose. All-out assistance will be provided for the training of the players and their problems will also be resolved.” The CM stressed upon the players to show courage and move forward. “Players are ambassadors of the country and they have proved this fact through excellent team work in and off the field. “The country has a lot of talent in hockey and there is a need to groom it. Victory or defeat in a match is not important but it is the spirit that matters.”

Shahbaz asked the PHF to invite international teams and assure them foolproof security. “Federal government will also extend its all-out assistance in this regard.” The CM issued instructions to form a committee for resolving the problems of the players adding all-out measures will be taken in this regard and the players will be provided best possible facilities and jobs.

PHF chief Ch Aktar Rasool and renowned ex-Olympian and coach Shahnaz Sheikh thanked the CM for encouraging hockey players.