#DelhiMoves Fitness

How members of the Indian Women’s Ice Hockey team stay active in Delhi

A player of the Indian Women’s Ice Hockey team in action

A player of the Indian Women’s Ice Hockey team in action   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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The Indian Women’s Ice Hockey team is currently entirely composed of women of Leh — but some of them are based in Delhi

Noor Jahan, the 29-year-old goalkeeper of the Indian Women’s Ice Hockey team, is finding breathing difficult. She has spent over eight years in Delhi, before recently moving back to her hometown, Leh. But coming back to the city on Thursday, she says she feels like she’s choking.

On October 31st, Noor, along with her teammates, Diskit Chonzom Angmo, 23, and Tsewang Chuskit was on stage at the Ambience Mall in Gurugram as part global sportswear brand Under Armour’s #IndiaWill campaign that tells the stories of sportspeople who have overcome all odds. The managing director of Under Armour India, Tushar Goculdas, moderated a brief session with them, spotlighting their struggles in sticking with a hardly recognised sport. Later, UnderArmour announced that they would kit out the team with winter gear for tournaments and training.

Currently, all of the team’s players are from Ladakh. Noor, who is doing her PhD in art conversation from the National Museum Institute in the capital, clarifies that while people from around the country try out, currently it’s by chance that those from Leh have made the cut.

Noor Jahan, Goaltender in the Indian Women’s Ice Hockey team

Noor Jahan, Goaltender in the Indian Women’s Ice Hockey team   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In 2008, Noor had moved to Delhi for college. She was first at the Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, and later, finished a Masters from IP University. Through these years, she would run near the Ridge in North Campus, where she’d stayed. It was something she did only because she liked to, and because it gave her a break from her daily routine. It wasn’t because of a responsibility towards the team either — it didn’t even exist formally until 2016. Today, back in Leh, she continues on her evening-run routine, after a long day of writing her thesis. “Ladakh is quite beautiful, so this is my break [from work],” she says.

But Diskit, who recently completed her undergraduate degree in English Literature at Daulat Ram College, and stays in the capital is preparing to write the UPSC examinations. “I have to deal with [the pollution] because I have to study,” she says. It’s the gym that keeps her going.

The team, spread across the country in order to pursue either their education or career, gets to train together only twice a year — first over the summer, when there’s no ice for them to practise on; and second during season, when they train and meet for tournaments.

Through the year therefore, they all train independently. Chuskit, 25, who recently finished her masters in Urdu from The University of Jammu made sure to take part in local volleyball and football tournaments to keep active. She also worked out in her room by watching YouTube videos — especially ones of stickhandling drills to hone her control for when she got back in the rink. “Also, I’m from a village [near Leh], so when I’m back home just working in the fields [with family] is quite the workout in itself,” Chuskit adds.

Diskit Chonzom Angmo, Left Defender in the Indian Women’s Ice Hockey team

Diskit Chonzom Angmo, Left Defender in the Indian Women’s Ice Hockey team   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Lately, their coaches have started sending them regular fitness schedules, and the players send back videos of specific activities to show how far they’ve progressed.

Noor says her runs also help her in her field work. “I work mostly in monasteries, and these are hardly at flat grounds.” Climbing up to a mountain to get to the site itself requires a level of fitness. “The days when we’re actually doing the restoration work, we work just with our hands...on those days, I make sure I get out for an evening run,” she adds.

In Leh, they are forced to train outdoors on natural ice rinks. This lack of infrastructure is not as big a problem in Delhi, with a few indoor ice rinks available — but there’s also the problem of high AQI numbers that give them better reason to stay indoors. “If there’s one plus point to not having proper infrastructure [back in Leh],” says Diskit, “is that it lets us have more stamina indoors.”

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 1:12:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fitness/how-members-of-the-indian-womens-ice-hockey-team-stay-active-in-delhi/article29887664.ece

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