India ice hockey: National team crowd-funding bid successful

Ice hockey game in India Image copyright Akshay kumar
Image caption There are 2,500 registered ice hockey players in India

Crowd-funders have helped pay for India's ice hockey players to take part in an international tournament.

The 25-member-squad raised 2 million rupees ($32,112; £21,589) to travel to Kuwait for this week's International Ice Hockey Federation Challenge Cup.

The fund raising campaign involved social media and a website.

India's cricket stars can earn millions of dollars, but when it comes to other sports, players can struggle to raise enough funds to compete.

The country's ice hockey players have taken part in six international competitions since 2009, but each time have struggled for funds. This time their travel, accommodation, and food in Kuwait will paid for by the crowd-funding.

Akshay Kumar, director of Ice Hockey Association of India, told the BBC that the team raised the money in 10 days, and left for the week-long tournament late on Thursday.

The association used a Twitter hashtag ##SupportIceHockey and set up a website to gather funds.

Colonial import

He said three business groups had chipped in with 1.6 million rupees, while the remaining amount was contributed by the public.

"People donated anything between 50 rupees and 65,000 rupees. The response was very good, and we are very thankful," he said.

Although ice hockey is relatively unknown in the largely tropical sub-continent, the sport was introduced by the British in the hill town of Simla in northern India nearly a century ago.

There are some 2,500 registered ice hockey players in India today, up from 300 in 2002, when the sport association was first set up.

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