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Women hockey needs drastic changes: Rushna.

Byline: Azhar Khan

LAHORE -- Pakistan women hockey team goalkeeper Rushna Khan believes that only drastic changes in women hockey can help it excel at international level.

Talking to The Nation, 21-year-old Rushna, who last year became the country's first female hockey player to be signed by a foreign club for a season, said: 'We are playing the hockey 90s, which is now outdated and it couldn't help us earn glories for the country at international level. Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) needs to bring drastic changes in women hockey and should hire foreign coaches, who may teach our players advanced and modern-day techniques so that our girls may fight well against other hockey powerhouses.

'Playing with such outdated techniques, we even couldn't beat Asian hockey nations while beating European giants would be not less than a day dreaming. The PHF should immediately appoint foreign coaches, who may start training our players advanced techniques and improve our fitness and stamina, so that we may stand some realistic chances of doing well against at least Asian teams.

'The foreign coaches will surely take some time to transform our raw talent into champions but then everyone will see, Pakistan women hockey will start producing results at international level and start earning laurels for the country in mega events,' she added.

Lauding the efforts of PHF for the promotion of hockey especially women hockey , Rushna said that like men hockey, the federation is also trying to facilitate women hockey . 'The PHF has recently arranged national hockey events for female players. Then they arranged foreign tours for us in order to provide us international exposure so that we may learn how to compete against best in the business. Hopefully, with such little but consecutive steps, PHF will see improvement in women hockey but for better and long-term change, they need to appoint foreign coach for female team.'

She said that like the previous year, this year too, she is ready to take part in the Australia's league hockey season and will play a goalkeeper throughout the season. 'Playing alongside top professional hockey players always helps a lot in learning and improving the skills and techniques, and the way I have learnt a lot last year from the players of one of the best hockey nations, I hope this year too, I'll return home with great international exposure and better hockey techniques.

Highlighting her personal aims and goals, Rushna said: 'As earlier, becoming first Pakistani female hockey player to be signed by a foreign club was my biggest dream, which by the grace of Almighty, I have achieved. And now I have a dream of representing my country in Olympics. Although it is a very tough task but at least it is not impossible. The way I have achieved my first goal of playing for a foreign club, I hope one day, my second dream of playing Olympics for my country will also come true.'

The national goalkeeper also lauded her mentor and coach Waqas Butt for transforming her into quality stuff, due to which she is not only serving the national team but also holding aloft Pakistani flag in Australia. She also lauded her hockey club, Rawha Hockey Academy, whose owner Sehrish Ghumman along with other hockey enthusiasts teaching the modern-day techniques to the young female hockey players so that they may serve the country in future and earn glories for it globally.
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Publication:The Nation (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:May 31, 2018
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