Rinchen Dolma, She’s fit, taller than an average Indian woman and has walks with a swagger. She is the captain, the leader of the side, but admits that she gets nervous with these responsibilities.
In an interview ahead of the women’s team’s first international — the Challenge Cup of Asia Division.
However, she’s pretty clear on why she’s playing the game.
Fame? “Nai (no).”
Money? “Nai (no).”
Sponsorship? “Nai (no).”
Do you come on TV? “Nai (no).”
So what is the motivation?
She replied,“To try and promote the sport and make it a bigger and more popular sport. The attempt is to encourage other players to play. Josh hi hai, aur interest. Khelna hi khelna hai (All there is, is the enthusiasm and interest. We want to play, that’s all.)”
The Indian women’s ice-hockey team doesn’t get paid. They don’t get awards. They don’t get plots of land, medals or recognition. They are not famous. Most times, they pool in money and travel for tournaments. A lot of their kits are borrowed: gloves, chest guards, ice skates, helmets and sticks. On an average, it takes kit worth Rs 50,000 for an outfield player. It takes about Rs 1 lakh for a goalkeeper. The government doesn’t fund them. Their sport doesn’t even have a national federation.
There are many difficulties, but the nerves are understandable. And even if these brave women come back without a single point — they’re already winners for making it to their first international tournament.