In a rare honour, the Indian Ice Hockey team was felicitated on its return from Abu Dhabi (UAE), where it participated in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Challenge Cup of Asia.
Ajit Kumar Sahu, Deputy Commissioner, Leh in Jammu and Kashmir did the honours.
This was the first time that the ice hockey team led by Tundup Namgyal had gone abroad to participate in an event of such a scale
Terming the step as a beginning, Gyal Wangyal, the team manager, said, "More than the performance, the exposure which the players have got has been good. We would have been playing here at district level. We would not have been aware about the rules of the game nor the manner in which the game is played or the approach of the coach to instruct the players."
Ice hockey as a sport is popular in the region, but due to lack of adequate facilities its development and progress has been slow.
This first ever-international exposure has acted as a morale booster for both the players and the game.
"When we played our first match against Thailand, we did not know how the game was played. But in the 2nd and 3rd match, we played much better scoring a goal and played a very good game against Macau," said Aman Ali, player of the team.
The players are hopeful that the sport from here would only get better. With the formation of a District Olympic Association, things should get better from here. (ANI)