The 9th National Women Ice Hockey Championship-2022 got underway on Sunday at Ice Skating Rink, Kaza in Lahaul Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh with Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur inaugurating the event which is being hosted in the state for the very first time.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that it was for the first time that the national level Ice Hockey Competition and Development Camp was being held in the state.
“Ice hockey is one of the most popular winter sports in the world and this event would give an added boost to the tourism development in the region besides promoting ice hockey amongst the younger generation. This sport is quite popular in Uttrakhand, Ladakh, Kashmir and other Himalayan states and it would give a big boost to tourism development in this land locked hinterland. Teams from Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Ladakh, ITBP Ladakh, Chandigarh and Delhi were participating in this mega event,” he added.
Thakur stated that the state government has recently given approval to the Swaran Jayanti Sports Policy 2021 to give boost to sports activities in Himachal.
Under this policy, three per cent reservation would be provided to sportspersons in government jobs and the diet money received by the players would be doubled.
The CM said that under the new sports policy, a prize money of Rs 3 crore would be given for winning a gold medal in the Olympics, Winter Olympics or Paralympics. The silver medalist will get Rs 2 crore and the bronze medalist will get Rs 1 crore.
Along with this, Rs 15 lakh would be given for participating in the above games and Olympic, Asian, Commonwealth medal winners would be given pension and Arjuna Award, Dhyan Chand Award and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award holders would get monthly salary, he added.
He further stated that the first Basic Ice Hockey ten days Coaching Camp was organized at Kaza in the year 2019 by the State Youth Services and Sports department, in collaboration with the Ladakh Women Ice Hockey Foundation. Apart from Spiti, children from Mandi and Kinnaur came to learn the nuances of ice hockey.
The state government has announced the High-Altitude Sports Center in Kaza with an estimated cost of Rs 16 crore and skate boots have been provided by the Department of Youth Services and Sports for training the players at a cost of Rs 27 lakh and Ice rinks have been developed by the administration on a small scale in Lidang, Sagnam, Losar, Tabo, Hikmi.
He announced Rs 31,000 from his discretionary fund for the students of local school for their cultural performance. He also listened to public grievances at Kaza.
First match of this event was played between Delhi and Himachal in which Delhi won 4-0. In the second match, Chandigarh won over Telangana 1-0.
State Tribal Development and Information Technology Minister Ram Lal Markanda said that the state government has given special emphasis on development of tribal areas during the last four years. Besides, adequate provision has been made in the tribal budget and special focus was being laid on creating infrastructure in the tribal areas, he added.