• India Women’s Ice Hockey Team Struggles To Make A Mark

    2016 turned out to be a great year for sportswomen. While some stories we know, the rest stay in the dark!

    Ice Hockey is not as popular as cricket, tennis or other sports in India, but these women are skating in Gupuk’s frozen lake in Leh during winters, but sadly they remain unheard. “If we have the funds, we can play at the Olympic level too,” said one of the team members of India’s Women Ice Hockey Team, who are waiting to get that one chance to make their country’s name popular in the game.

    These women are currently getting trained in the game – learning skating and scoring goals on the ice rink – with the hope of having their struggles encouraged and supported.

    When two Independent filmmakers from Mumbai, Batul Kapasi and her friend Shuvro Ghoshal, visited the Women’s Ice Hockey Team in January this year at the world’s highest ice rink, they were stunned seeing their determination even in that harsh climes of Ladakh. They met these strong women trying hard to make it to Thailand for their next match to represent India.

    “Not many people are aware that India has a women’s ice hockey team which is struggling to keep their dreams alive,” Batul shared, Asianage.com reported.

    The filmmakers discovered that the players lack proper equipment and facilities, and to sustain their dreams, they are collecting funds from their own pockets to participate in international tournaments. Last year, they lost in the Asia Cup in Taiwan, but were happy to participate on a professional rink for the first time.

    “Noor Jahan – the keeper, who won the Best Goalkeeper, Asia award, during the tournament is also an art-restorer and is pursuing her PhD in Delhi. They pool in all the money from their pockets and put it in the sport. They are also training little girls in Leh to play the sport,” Batul said.

    A short documentary on India’s Women’s Ice Hockey:

    Not only the country’s sports faculties but nature, too, prevents them from playing. As the Leh climate is constantly changeable, these ladies — defying all odds — have made their own rink and now they are skating on it. They found the Public Health Engineering Department very helpful as 3,000 litres of water gets supplied from their end every day and the girls, without anyone’s help from the place, splash water on the ground so that they can skate on it.

    These women from Ladakh have become the first ever Indian National Women’s Ice Hockey team and represented the country at the IIHF Ice Hockey Challenge Cup of Asia, 2016.

    WATCH The Documentary Here:

    The team now want to represent India again this year in March but lack enough resources to reach Thailand. Comprising a total 28 players, the team has girls from rural regions of Ladakh, too. “Last year, the girls had to use second-hand equipment from the boy’s team for the Taipei tournament. This year, through this documentary we hope to raise some funds so that they can buy their own gear and tickets to fly to Thailand,” Batul said.

    Feature Image Credit: Milaap

    Also Read: Sportswomen Who Made India Proud In 2016

    Read More Stories By Ria Das

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