Underwater hockey making a splash

By Tan Yingzi in Chongqing | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-22 07:43
Players compete in an underwater hockey game in Chongqing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Underwater hockey, a sport most Chinese have never heard of, is becoming popular among swimmers and divers in a dozen big cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Players wear diving masks, snorkels and fins, and carry a short stick in one hand for playing the puck in a swimming pool. Two teams of up to 10 players compete, with six players in each team in play at any one time. In club matches, two of the six must be women.

The sport originated in England in 1954 when a group of divers wanted to keep active in the cold winter months. It is now a worldwide sport, mainly played in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.

In China, the sport was originally played by foreign expats and young Chinese who had returned from overseas. Later, more Chinese swimmers started to join in.

There are now two underwater hockey clubs in Chongqing, a metropolis in southwestern China, with the first one formed last year and the second one this year.

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