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Khelo India Winter Games 2024 | History on Ice: Ladakh women's team skate to gold

12:00 AM Feb 06, 2024 IST | GK NEWS SERVICE
khelo india winter games 2024   history on ice  ladakh women s team skate to gold
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Leh, Feb 5: It was a mixed day for hosts Ladakh on Day 4 of the Khelo India Winter Games 2024 on Monday. While the Union Territory won a first-ever Khelo India gold in the women’s short track 1600m relay at the NDS sports complex in Leh, the men’s ice hockey team went down 4-0 against a powerful ITBP in a semi-final match.

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Maharashtra added two more skating golds to take their total tally to three but Karnataka continue to lead the standings with four. Maharashtra’s gold medals on Monday came in the men’s short track (1600m) relay and the mixed short track relay over the same distance. Ladakh won the silver in the mixed-team race.

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Maharashtra’s domination in the relays was never in question because their skaters have more silver and bronze medals (13) out of a possible 22. Eleven skating gold medals have been decided in the Games so far.

Ladakh’s historic gold in women’s short track came like fresh air on another cold day. It’s been snowing overnight but the NDS groundstaff did a good job of preparing the rink for the skating competition. The Ladakh quartet of Skarma Tsultim, Insha Fatima, Tasnia Shamim, Padma Angmo responded beautifully clocking 3:55.80 to relegate Maharashtra (4:17.12) to the second place by a decent margin.

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Mohammad Abbas Nordak, the coach of the Ice Skating Association of Ladakh, said: “My team trained hard in the last year. The gold was unexpected because the girls were up against a more experienced team with seasoned skaters who have trained abroad… my happiness knows no bounds.” Abbas also added that a short track relay has been conducted for the first time in Ladakh.

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The centre of attraction on Monday was the men’s ice hockey semifinal between Ladakh and ITBP. Ice hockey is a trendy sport in this region and the NDS complex saw a full house with supporters from both sides cheering their respective teams in what was a hotly contested affair.

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But ITBP were the better side with Tsering Angdus, popularly known as Baku, scoring a hattrick for his team. Baku was well assisted by Stanzin Mingure and Mohammed Ismail, who also put his name on the scoresheet.

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The win was sweet revenge for ITBP who had lost to Ladakh in the nationals at Kaza recently. Ladakh could have lost by a bigger margin but their teenage goalie Tsewang Namgail defended very well with timely saves.

The match often saw frayed tempers with bodies and sticks clashing on the icy surface. ITBP often played with five players but they were tactically superior and with good zonal marking kept the Ladakh attackers at bay.

The second semifinal between favourites Army and Himachal Pradesh was a rather one-sided affair. Army won 10-2. Konchok Namgail (three) and Rigzin Norboo (two) were the main scorers for the winners. The Army men dominated throughout the game and the early goals completely deflated the Himachal team. Army was methodical and much in control with better strategy and overall territorial supremacy.

In the day’s only round-robin women’s league match, Himachal Pradesh beat Telangana 4-1 with Tenzin Saldon scoring a hattrick.

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