Himachal CM opens ice hockey summit at Indias highest rink


DW BUREAU / Shimla Donning traditional dress, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Sunday inaugurated the ninth National Ice Hockey Championship -- 2022 at the country's highest open air rink developed at an altitude of 3,720 metres in the picturesque but snow-marooned Kaza, a cold desert town in the Spiti Valley. Thakur said this was for the first time that the national-level ice hockey competition is being held in the state. The ice hockey is one of the most popular winter sports in the world. This event would give an added boost to the tourism development in the region, besides promoting ice hockey amongst the younger generation, he said. This sport is quite popular in Uttarakhand, Ladakh, Kashmir and other Himalayan states. He said this sport would give big boost to tourism development in this landlocked valley. Teams from Himachal Pradesh, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Telangana, Ladakh, Chandigarh and Delhi are participating in the national event. The Chief Minister, who reached Kaza, some 350 km from the state capital by air, said the government has recently approved the Swaran Jayanti Sports Policy 2021 to give boost to sports. Under this policy, three per cent reservation would be provided to sportspersons in government jobs. As per the policy, a prize money of Rs 3 crore would be given for winning a gold medal in the Olympics, the Winter Olympics and the Para Olympics. Likewise, a silver medalist will get Rs 2 crore and the bronze Rs 1 crore. The first match of the championship was played between Delhi and Himachal, in which Delhi won 4-0. In the second match, Chandigarh beat Telangana 1-0. Tribal Development Minister Ram Lal Markanda said the state has given special emphasis on development of tribal areas. Adequate provision has been made in tribal budget and special focus is being laid on creating infrastructure in the tribal areas. The ice hockey rink -- the highest in the country as Kaza is located at an altitude higher than Leh -- of 60 metre by 30 metre size, exactly the international standard size, has been developed by giving a natural coating of thick layers of ice. The concept of the natural hockey rink evolved in Kaza from the skating rink in Shimla that was developed by an Irish military official named Blessington who lived during the British Raj. (editor@dailyworld.in)


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