Page last updated at 17:59 GMT, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Pakistan postpones national games over security fears

file picture taken on February 8, 2010, Pakistani athlete Naseem Hamid (Right) wins gold in the women"s 100 metre race at the 11th South Asian Games in Dhaka.
Athletes like Naseem Hamid (right) will have to wait

The Pakistan Olympic Association has postponed the country's annual national games for security reasons.

The games were to be held in the city of Peshawar this month, but have been provisionally rescheduled for December.

They are Pakistan's biggest domestic sporting event - more than 3,000 athletes were due to take part.

The postponement is the latest in a series of sporting setbacks for Pakistan which has suffered scores of militant attacks in recent months.

National Olympic Committee president Arif Hasan told a news conference in Lahore that the security situation in Peshawar had prompted the postponement.

"Teams are already not willing to come to Pakistan because of the security issues and we don't want a situation where a domestic event is also affected by some incident," Mr Hasan said.

Aqeel Khan
Pakistan's Aqeel Khan has yet to play on a home surface this Davis Cup

He said new dates in December would be subject to security clearance.

Earlier, the International Tennis Federation said it had moved a Davis Cup match between Pakistan and New Zealand this July from Lahore to New Zealand following a request from the visiting team.

Several international sporting events have been cancelled in recent years after sports organisations and players refused to travel to Pakistan citing security concerns.

In March 2009 six policemen and a driver were killed when gunmen attacked Sri Lanka's cricketers in Lahore.

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