LAHORE Former Olympians have urged the government to announce special measures to promote hockey at school level in a bid to revive the dying national sport. In a seminar organised by Nawa-i-Waqt, TheNation and Waqt Television at Hamid Nizami Hall on Monday, the former greats said that lack of emphasis on sports at school level was the main reason behind the downfall of Pakistan hockey. Former Pakistan Hockey Federation president and former captain Akhtar Rasool, former Olympian Tauqir Dar and member selection committee Arshad Chaudhary discussed the reasons of decline of the game and gave their suggestions for improvement. Incharge Awain-i-Waqt Khawaja Farrukh Saeed presided the over the seminar while the panel that put up questions included Ashraf Chaudhary, Asher Butt and Hafiz Mohammad Imran. Unfortunately, President PHF Qasim Zia, who was invited as the main guest, did not attend the seminar. The former hockey players were of the view that poor fitness of Pakistani players made them out of sync with modern style of hockey. They said the government should play its role in the uplift of the sport by directing the departments to give jobs to the players and provide them financial security after retirement. We often saw that the senior players would run out of stamina in crucial World Cup matches. They did not look fit enough to play World Cup matches, he maintained. Akhtar Rasool said that a win has many fathers but a defeat is an orphan. The government always calls up the winners but it has never invited a losing team. They should also be called and encouraged so that they can prepare for the next tournament, he said. He also said the reduction of sports quota in educational institutions had seriously affected the game. The schools and colleges serve as nurseries for sports but this area is being ignored, he added. He praised the Dar family for their contribution to hockey. The former president urged the PHF to monitor the performance of academies. We need to weed out politics from hockey and the former players should work together for that, said he. Former Olympian Tauqir Dar blamed organizers and players alike for not doing enough for the game. I would say all those attached with the game are somehow responsible for the sorry state of affairs, he added. The retired players, instead of giving suggestions, are always busy in petty politics. This attitude should change, he said. Former Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali claims to be a former hockey player but he did not give job to a single player, he said. The players can only concentrate on the game when they are free from financial insecurities. Islahuddin and Shahnaz Sheikh are big names of the game and it must be kept in mind that they were given good posts in departments, he added. The prime minister has directed the departments to revive hockey teams but no department has paid attention. If the players did not get job, fresh talent would not be attracted towards the game, said Dar, who is running a private hockey academy. Surprisingly, his academy has 80 players and in a weeks time it will visit Holland to play a series there while the PHF-run two academies in the city have only 10 and 12 players respectively in them. The Europeans have moved far ahead of Asia because they took the sport to astro-turf and brought in fiber sticks which are expensive, said he. He also suggested that the government should not register a school or college which does not have a playground, he added. National selection committee member Arshad Chaudhary blamed the government for the sorry state of affairs and criticised the former Olympians for not bringing their children to the sport. He said provision of job does not necessarily produce stars. We are talking about players job. The current national team captain is a contracted employee for the last one decade, he added. Its shocking that Lahore, a city of around 15 million people, has just two artificial turfs when, on average, dozens of turfs are laid in a medium sized European city. The government should give sports top priority, he said.