Will relax rules to recognise Ice Hockey: Kiren Rijiju

Union Sports Minister, Kiren Rijiju inaugurating Khelo India Winter Games in Leh. Excelsior/ Morup Stanzin
Union Sports Minister, Kiren Rijiju inaugurating Khelo India Winter Games in Leh. Excelsior/ Morup Stanzin

* Inaugurates Khelo India Winter Games in UT Ladakh

Excelsior Sports Correspondent
LEH, Feb 25: Ice Hockey is a traditional game in Ladakh and efforts are on to take it to the Olympic Level and Sports Ministry is ready to extend all kind of support in this regard. The standard of Ice Hockey is very high in Ladakh and the need is to give the game full-fledged recognition. Will leave no stone unturned in relaxing rules to recognise Ice Hockey.
It was stated by Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju while inaugurating Khelo India Ladakh Winter Games 2020 at NDS Ice Hockey Rink, here today.
The Minister congratulated all the Ladakhis for getting the UT status for which they were struggling for 70 years. He said at present there is shortage of staff in UT Ladakh which will take some time to settle down and lots of things can be done here.
Rijiju said that it was a new beginning in sports arena where Government is focusing on youth to channelize their energy in positive direction through various sporting activities and Khelo India Games are among the bigger initiatives. Rijiju said that besides Winter Games, there is scope for adventure sports in Ladakh and many things are in the pipeline for raising the standard of sports in the UT.
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While naming a few disciplines of sports like Mountaineering, Skiing, Cycling, Archery, Athletics and Football, the Union Sports Minister said that there is a scope of organising all these games in Ladakh and producing international stuff.
“Will consult Ice Hockey Federation of India for full-fledged recognition of Ice Hockey. No matter, if rules are required to be relaxed for recognising this sports discipline,” the Minister maintained.
He said the present Government apart from organising Khelo India Youth Games for two consecutive years and Khelo India Winter Games, has the distinction of organising Khelo India University Games for the first time in Odisha this year.
Union Territory Ladakh Governor RK Mathur, Hill Council Chairman Gyal P. Wangyal, MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Advisor to LG Umang Narula, District Officer headed by DC, ITBP headed by North West Frontier IG Deepam Seth and Army Officers were present to witness the 1st Khelo India Winter Games 2020.
The Games are being organized by Department of Youth Services and Sports with the support of Ladakh Winter Sports Club.
An exhibition Ice Hockey match was played between Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre (LSRC) Red Team and Indo Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBPF) in which ITBPF put up a splendid show to win by two goals to nil (2-0).
Earlier, Lieutenant Governor RK Mathur while expressing hope urged the Minister to make UT Ladakh a new centre for Winter Games as Ice Hockey, Archery and other allied sports are very popular in Ladakh.
Keeping a huge expectation from the Sport Ministry for the development of sports infrastructure in new UT Ladakh, Hill Council Chairman Gyal P. Wangyal, MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal and UT Ladakh Secretary Youth Services and Sports Saugat Biswas also spoke on the occasion.
At the end, tiny tots in different traditional costumes showcased culture of different regions of Ladakh and displayed synchronized skating.