Pakistan called on its Olympic stars and national players to inspire the next generation of hockey players and the stars delivered on Olympic Day back on 23 June.
Their efforts not only provided inspiration, they also helped the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) win the International Hockey Federation's (FIH) Olympic Day Activity Award.
As a result, Pakistan's National Association will receive funding from FIH to support development projects within their country over the coming months.
The award was initiated by FIH last spring and saw more than 40 nations answer the call.
The challenge was to come up with a programme of hockey activities that would really celebrate Olympic Day and all the ideals associated with the Olympic movement.
The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) initiated a number of activities that brought hockey to more than 2,000 participants.
These included Hockey5s competitions at the National Hockey Stadium and the Hockey Stadium Johor Town, Lahore.
Several Olympic gold medallists turned up to support the project, much to the delight of the people taking part.
Members of both the men’s and women’s national teams were on hand, their presence creating a stir among the young hockey fans.
The events were real family occasions as the activities catered for all ages.
Officials from the Pakistan Olympic Association, the media and government officials (including the Minister for Sports Punjab) also turned out in force – a reminder of what a hockey-mad country Pakistan is.
The message was loud and clear - hockey is an activity that can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of background, and promotes a healthy lifestyle.
As well as the activities at the National Stadium, there were also summer camps and hockey competitions in Shahdrah town (Lahore), Shaikhupura city and in Sukkar District.
Probably one of the most heartening and positive initiatives introduced by the PHF as part of Olympic Day was the Hockey5s tournaments organised in two rehabilitation facilities (Wazirabad and Karachi) for patients suffering from drug addiction.
The tournament gave patients the chance to participate in a competitive scenario and perhaps to inspire them to lead a healthier, more active life.
IOC president Thomas Bach presented Tayyab Ikram, CEO of the Asian Hockey Federation and continental representative, with the award during half-time in the men's Olympic hockey gold medal match between Argentina and Belgium.
“On behalf of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, I want to say how proud I am that they have received this award. Pakistan is a nation that is fiercely passionate about its hockey heritage and they also recognise just how important it is to encourage and inspire their young people to get involved in healthy sporting activities. Through Olympic Day, we hope that we not only inspired the hockey stars of the future but also inspired a whole new generation of hockey players of all abilities.”
Kelly Fairweather, FIH CEO, added: “The aim of Olympic Day is for the world to get active, learn about the Olympic Values and discover new sports. A huge number of our National Associations detailed their activity which proved incredibly inspiring, with many innovative projects undertaken. However, Pakistan’s entry ticked the boxes in so many ways. They are to be congratulated for their vision and delivery of their Olympic Day activities.”
For more information about the other nations supporting Olympic Day through hockey activities, click here.
This joined-up up global approach between FIH and its National Associations is yet another example of the hockey world working towards the aim of the 10-year Hockey Revolution strategy. This sets out a framework focused on making hockey a global game that inspires the next generation. For more information on the Hockey Revolution, click here.