Women Ice Hockey players from Kargil await right opportunities

By Suchitra Mukherjee
Kargil (Ladakh) [India], January 27 (ANI): Ice Hockey players from the Chiktan block of Kargil district possess exemplary courage and talent and are waiting for the right opportunity to make their country proud in the sport.
The girls from Chiktan say that working hard is in their hands but they also need the right training and good equipment.
Ice Hockey player Zaira Akhtar says that in this year’s Ice Hockey tournament three to four players participated while in previous years girls did not get such support from the system.
“When Khelo India Games started in Kargil then girls got greater opportunities to play and sportspersons from many other blocks came to Kargil to play. Earlier, girls did not have much idea about ice hockey but slowly they have developed an affinity towards the game,” Zaira told ANI.
She further said, “Ice Hockey’s roots in India could be traced to Chiktan block. The first team that played the sport was a team of boys in 1978. The girls only started to play the sport in 2005. We did not get coaching earlier. In 2006, we played at the national level and our Kargil team had players from Leh as well.”
Zaira lamented that players from Kargil get less support than those from Leh. She laid stress on the need for sponsorship and equipment to encourage the players of the region.
One of the other players from Chiktan, Saira Bano said that she started to participate in the tournament from last year.
“Earlier, girls did not get backing from the system but now we get support from our home and people of the area. If everyone supports us and if we get opportunities, we will put our heart and soul into the game,” she said.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament (MP) from Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgyal also said that earlier governments did not support Ice Hockey players but now the national team has a lot of players from Ladakh.
“Inspired by the idea of women empowerment, people from several villages of the region are now playing Ice Hockey. This is a big achievement in itself,” Namgyal said.
“The slogan coined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of ‘Beti bachao, Beti padhao’ could be taken further to ‘Beti khelao’ to address gender equity. It will take our women ahead,” he added. (ANI)

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