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Lack of people leaves ice hockey cold


Rupha Ramani,CNN-IBN
Jun 17, 2007 at 03:04pm IST

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New Delhi: Ice hockey is a sport that can catch attention, especially with quite a few people interested in being a part of this winter sport.

But as is the case in many non-mainstream sports, this game too suffers due to apathy.

At 3,483 metres above sea level, Ladakh has possibly the country's highest ice-skating rink. The annual ice hockey tournament here attracts crowds every year. But the organisers this year say that the number of players have been declining.

Mohammed Abbas, Member of the Ladakh Winter Sports Club, says: "One of the main reasons is the unavailability of equipment. The professional gear that is used in the sport is not there for sportspersons."

But lack of equipment is not the only reason why this game has not really taken off in India. For people like Sonam who want to take the sport more seriously, there is no proper help.

"Even though the coaches are good and they teach us well, we miss the speed. We need speed coaching and need to be told the techniques. It is mainly due to this that our game is lacking," Sonam, a participant, says.

The Jammu and Kashmir state government has spent over Rs 4 crore to build the infrastructure in this region.

But ice hockey and other similar winter sports need much more before they can capture the popular imagination.

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