LAHORE - Pakistan hockey team doctor Asad Abbas Shah has termed the fitness level of the players quite satisfactory and hoped they will produce better results during the series of events including Olympic qualifiers.

Talking to The Nation before the team’s departure to Australia where it has to play four-nation hockey tournament in Hobart, Dr Asad said: “Under the supervision of head coach Shahnaz Sheikh and others coaches, the players have trained very hard for the upcoming series and their fitness level is quite satisfactory. Two important tournaments before Olympic qualifiers will surely help the team prepare well for the crucial Olympic qualifiers and I hope the players will succeed in cementing their place for the Olympics.”

Dr Asad said that earlier, the ratio of injuries were very high as around 11 to 12 players had been facing minor and major injuries but now only two players were injured but their injury was recoverable, and with little extra efforts, they will be super fit.  Highlighting the importance of fitness during the hockey matches, he said: “The game of hockey is very improved and fast now and there is a need of 100 per cent fitness to perform exceptionally. Overall in a match, the role of fitness is 80 per cent. The more our players will be fit, the better the results will be.”

He also urged the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and Sports Board Punjab (SBP) to provide better and improved facilities as food, nutrition and even the accommodation too affect the performances of the players. “There is a dire need to pay more attention towards these areas and to provide players very healthy food and environment which will certainly help them to be more fit and produce better results.”  When asked about climate difference of Pakistan and Australia and would the players be able to adapt to the new climate, the team doctor said: “Yes, it is true that our climate is very hot and Australia’s comparatively very cold but there is no need to worry as our players will take two to three days to adapt to new atmosphere and perform better in cold weather.”  To a query regarding Pakistan chances’ of qualifying for the Olympics, Dr Asad replied: “As I have already told that Pakistan team fitness level is quite satisfactory and their participation in two important events before Olympic qualifiers will make their chances of qualifying for the Olympics quite bright.”