Kuwait City (Kuwait), April 26: It was a proud moment for Indian men's ice hockey team as they claimed second position at the 2017 IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia Division I here on Tuesday (April 25).
Hosts Kuwait won the gold medal match against Oman 13-0. India, who had appealed for sponsors before the tournament, finished 2nd in the league standings while Oman were 3rd followed by Macau.
India had started their campaign with a 3-2 win over Oman and later lost to hosts Kuwait 5-8. But they ended the tournament with a convincing 7-3 victory over Macau, which helped them take 2nd spot.
On April 22 (Saturday), India created history by winning their first match in 5 years, against Oman. Before this success they had won only one game in 33 international contests. That win had come against Macau in 2012 Challenge Cup of Asia.
Indian ice hockey men's team secures 2nd position at 2017 IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia Div-1 in Kuwait pic.twitter.com/hq4hXhBkMv— ANI (@ANI_news) April 26, 2017
Before going to Kuwait, Harjinder Singh, General Secretary, Ice Hockey Association of India, had appealed on the association's website for sponsors.
"No government funding, no infrastructure, no mass media. Indian Ice Hockey Team rides on the sheer will of 22 young Indian players from the Himalayan region of India. They invest their own money, their parents savings, the support of their well wishers, meagre sponsorships to proudly wear the Indian jersey in international arenas," Harjinder had said.
"Participation is essential for the growth of the Sport. Few wins and we hope Government and Indian Sports enthusiasts will be taking note of this sport. Ice Hockey being the fastest contact team sport, this Winter Olympic Sport will soon become popular in India. What this sport needs is the attention of investors and it would be as popular in India, as NHL is in North America," he added.
He explained, "Ice Hockey is an expensive sport. The Ice Hockey Association has accumulated an expense of around 26 Lakhs INR for training in Kyrgyzstan. The team has already spent most of their personal funds on training well. Now, with just a week before the Kuwait tournament, they are falling short of 12 lakhs INR to participate in the tournament. They need this fund to pay for their travel tickets, visa, equipment and coach."
India, Macau, Kuwait and Oman participated in the tournament, which was held from April 22 to 25.
April 22 - India beat Oman 3-2
April 23 - India lost to Kuwait 5-8
April 25 - India beat Macau 7-3
1. Kuwait (Played 4, Won 3, Lost 0) - Points - 9
2. India (P 3, W 2, L 1) - P - 6
3. Oman (P 3, W 1, L 2) - P - 3
4. Macau (P 3, W 0, L 3) - P - 0
For more details about Indian ice hockey team. Visit www.icehockeyindia.com