Leh: Ladakh is in the spotlight these days after the Central Government snatched special status from Jammu and Kashmir. The government has abolished the status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and divided it into two separate union territories. Ladakh is a remote place where there is a lot of cold and hence it is difficult to live there. The total population of Ladakh is three lakh. Yet there is an unparalleled passion for sports.
The most popular sport here is ice hockey, which is usually played on natural ice from mid-December to February. The only full-size field for ice hockey in India is in Dehradun, which has been closed for want of help from the state government. Indian ice hockey players have the only option to go to countries like Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, and the US to practice.
However, this option is going to be very heavy on the pocket. When India's women's ice hockey team comes from Ladakh, it is beneficial for them to practice on the natural ice that has accumulated in Ladakh for two months. As a result, the team not only won two matches in the crucial Asia tournament in 2017 but also performed well.
In Ladakh, when winter comes, games like football or cricket stop. So everyone tends to do ice hockey. According to the Ladakh Winter Sports Club, there is about 10 to 12 thousand Ladakh youth who play ice hockey in one form or the other. The National Ice Hockey Championship is held in January almost every year.
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