December 28 - Pakistan's top players are to be offered performance-based incentives next year as the country tries to re-establish itself among the world's top nations.

Qasim Zia, the President of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), and the rest of the Executive Board approved the scheme which will see the top players earn Rs 50,000 (£374) per month.

Initially 25 players will be divided into four categories on seniority basis.

Seven A category players will get Rs 50,000 (£374), five B category players will get Rs 40,000 (£299) and six C category players will get Rs 30,000 (£224) per month.

This programme will be awarded for three months on seniority basis and in future it will be awarded on performance basis.

The category A players are Zeeshan Ashraf, Muhammad Imran, Sohail Abbas, Waseem Ahmad, Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi and Salman Akbar.

It is the latest incentive to try to raise standards in Pakistan and restore the team to its former glories.

A Government inquiry was launched after Pakistan finished only eighth in the hockey tournament at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The country has only ever won three gold medals since it started competing in the Olympics at London in 1948, all of them in hockey.
Their first came in Rome in 1960 when they became the first country to beat India after they had won six consecutive titles, a sequence that had started in Los Angeles in 1932.
They won the tournament again in Mexico City in 1968 and Los Angeles in 1984.
But the last time Pakistan won a medal was in 1992 when they finished third in Barcelona.
Their last major success was winning the Champions Trophy in 1994.

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