Field Hockey is the national sport in Pakistan, with its men’s team consistently ranked as one of the top teams in the world. The Pakistan men’s hockey team, also known as the Green Shirts, has won three gold medals at the Olympics, and taken home the Hockey World Cup a record four times. It has also won the most number of Asian gold medals (eight), and is the only Asian team to win the coveted Champions Trophy three times.
Pakistan field hockey players (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HOCKEY_ARGENTINA_PAKISTAN.jpg)
The Green Shirts won gold medals at the Olympics in 1960, 1968, and 1984. Pakistan also won three silver and 2 bronze medals. As the most successful team in the World Cup, Pakistan brought home the gold in 1971, 1978, 1982, and 1994, and came in second place twice. Although Pakistan’s hockey stats have dropped in recent years and they haven’t won a major title since 1994, the Pakistan Hockey Federation has a detailed strategy in place to get back on top.
Cricket is the most popular sport in Pakistan, and has a huge fan base. Pakistan won the Cricket World Cup in 1992, and the 2009 World Twenty20, in addition to finishing as runner up in the 1999 World Cup and the 2007 World Twenty20. They were also ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup Champions in 2004 and 2006, making them the only team to win back to back U-19 championships. The Pakistan team has been semi-finalists in the ICC Champions Trophy in 2000, 2004, and 2009.
Pakistan cricket fans at the World Twenty20 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/45634276@N00/3625770614)
Another widely popular sport in Pakistan is Squash, which has also been one of the country’s most successful sports. Pakistani players, most notably Jahangir and Jansher Khan, are considered legends of the sport and dominated for decades. Between 1950 and 1997, Pakistan won more than 30 British Open titles, 14 World Open titles, and many PSA professional titles.
During Jahangir Khan’s career, he won the World Open six times and the British Open a record ten times, while Jansher clinched the World Open title eight times. For five years Jahangir remained undefeated, winning an amazing 555 matches in a row. This winning streak was not only the longest consecutive string of wins in squash history; it remains one of the longest unbeaten runs by any athlete in top-level professional sports. Jahangir also claimed three International Squash Rackets Federation World individual titles, taking his tally World titles to a record-breaking total of nine.
Although Pakistan has relinquished its throne of dominance on the squash world scene, no doubt there will be more success in the country’s future. With so many talented players in each of these sports, there’s little wonder why so many Pakistanis are fans.
Additional World Records held by Pakistan
Pakistan also holds these interesting records:
Fastest bowl of a cricket ball – The highest electronically measured speed for a ball bowled by any bowler is 161.3 km/h (100.23 mph); bowled by Pakistani player Shoaib Akhtar February 22, 2003. The game took place in Cape Town, South Africa in a World Cup match against England.
Most Wickets In A One-Day International Career – Pakistan’s Wasim Akram took 440 wickets in 319 ODI matches between 1985 and 2001. Wasim took the wickets at an average of 24.04 runs. In February 2000, Wasim received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pakistan Cricket Board.
Pakistani Cricket Player Wasim Akram
Largest Football (Soccer) – A football made from artificial leather PV-PVC and hand-sewn by the staff at Ihsan Sports of Hajipura, Sialkot, Pakistan, measures 4m (13 feet, 1 inch). The super-sized soccer ball was made from 32 separate panels that were laminated, printed, and hand-stitched together to replicate the company’s standard ball.
Youngest Cricket Test Player – Hasan Raza is the youngest Test player, making his debut at age 14. He played against Zimbabwe at Faisalabad, Pakistan on October 24, 1996.
Largest Mosque – Shah Faisal Mosque, Islambad, Pakistan measures 18.97 ha (46.87 acres), with a covered prayer hall measuring .48 ha (1.19 acres). The Shah Faisal Mosque accommodates 100,000 worshipers.
Shah Faisal Mosque
Smallest Quran – An unabridged, published Quran in Pakistan measures 1.7 cm x 1.28 cm x .72 cm (.66 in x .50 in x .28 in). The Quran is 571 pages, fine print Arabic; put together by Dr. Muhammad Karim Beebani October 15, 2004.
World’s Smallest Quran
Largest Volunteer Ambulance Organization – Abdul Sattar Edhi began his ambulance service in 1948. Today his network includes 500 ambulances all over Pakistan.
Heaviest Weight Lifted Using the Ear – On May 26, 2004 in Lahore, Pakistan, Zafar Gill lifted gym weights hanging from a clamp attached to his right ear and held the weight for seven seconds.
The weights were 51.7 kg (113 lb 15 oz).
Largest Tea Bag – The largest tea bag was made by Lipton Yellow Label of Lever Brothers, Pakistan Ltd weighing 8.9 kg (19.62 lb) and was displayed at the Avari Towers Hotel, Karachi, Pakistan in June 2002.
Tallest Cake – Network Television Marketing Ltd. created a cake measuring 32 m (105 ft) tall with 105 tiers in Faisalabad, Pakistan, on August 16, 1997.