A girls’ ice hockey tournament was organised for the first time in Pakistan in the “Parwak” of Tehsil Mastuj of Upper Chitral.
The tournament was held to relieve the mental pressure of the people confined in their homes as the valley is currently in the grip of severe cold and to provide employment opportunities to the local people and attract tourists.
A three-day ice hockey tournament was held on an ice surface at minus two degrees Celsius in which 11 matches were played where students from different educational institutions of Chitral participated.
Muhammad Asif, the organiser of the event, while talking to The Express Tribune, said that the idea of this unique game is to promote children’s sports.
He furthered that they have been working on children, girls’ sports in the Bonny Environmental Academy for two or three years, where students from the seventh grade to second year are being taught games like skiing, skating and ice hockey, among others.
Eleven players participated in the tournament and the matches were held at an altitude of more than 7,000 feet.
Asif also stated that ice hockey is an expensive game and that the uniforms alone cost around Rs50,000. He, however, added that “they got a lot of help from groups supporting women’s sports and the district administration, along with the local community.”
Younis, another organiser who finalised the arrangements at the event ground, told The Express Tribune, that they had “a very good experience. The students got a chance to play practically after the training”.
He informed that children will practice here till February and said that ice hockey will not only promote such games in the province but the arrival of tourists will also bring a positive image of Pakistan at the global level.
A large number of visitors came to watch the game at a height of thousands of feet. The tournament was organised with the support of the Aga Khan Rural Support Program and the Canadian Embassy.
Officials of the Canadian High Commission participated in the event as guests and also appreciated the promotion of positive activities in the first women’s ice hockey tournament.