Underwater hockey makes a splash in Singapore

SINGAPORE Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:53pm IST

Underwater hockey players are seen fighting for the ball at Queenstown Swimming Complex, Singapore in this July 14, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Eric Loh

Underwater hockey players are seen fighting for the ball at Queenstown Swimming Complex, Singapore in this July 14, 2007 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Loh

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Wielding sticks, the players chase after the puck and the referee declares a goal.

Cheers erupt in the swimming pool as everyone rises to the surface to catch their breath, before diving back in to continue the game of underwater hockey.

Underwater hockey, organised by the Stirling Underwater Hockey Club in Singapore, is often met with incredulity and hilarity by those uninitiated in the sport.

But players say it is more challenging than the field game -- and a lot cooler.

"Underwater hockey is really like hockey, it's just that we play it in a pool and not on in a rink or on a field," said Adam Chan, who plays both field and underwater hockey.

"It's probably more challenging to play in the pool because you have to learn to regulate your breathing." he said, "I enjoy it but people are always shocked when I tell them I play underwater hockey."

The sport involves lead pucks not too different from those used in ice hockey, sticks and gloves. But the players wear bathing suits and swimming trunks, flippers, snorkels and caps with bulging ear cups.

The sport was invented in Britain in the 1950s, where it is also called "Octopush", by a group of divers who wanted to get a workout in the water when it was too cold to dive in the sea.

It has since garnered an international following. Players keen to keep up the sport around teh world check out clubs online at "The Underwater Hockey Tourist" (pucku.org/uwht/).

In Singapore, the sport was introduced three years ago by three expatriates who used to play in the Philippines and Australia. Their ranks have since grown to have more than 80 members, said Adele Chiew, the club's vice president.

"We wanted to introduce the sport in Singapore because it's really a great sport played internationally," added Joey Carpio, one of the club's founders. "There are variations but a typical game would usually have six players per team."

Carpio is resigned to the fact that the sport's popularity is limited by the fact that it is not spectator-friendly.

"It's not like underwater hockey is ever going to receive much funding or endorsements. Where are you going to put the ads?" said Chan.

Cricket Tragedy

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Gold Imports

Gold Imports

India eases gold import rule in surprise move.  Article 

Indians in Iraq

Indians in Iraq

India says no contact with 39 men held by Islamic State in Iraq.  Full Article 

Sahara Issue

Sahara Issue

Sahara looks to raise $650 million loan to fund bail.  Full Article 

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal's toxic legacy lives on, 30 years after industrial disaster.  Full Article 

Banking Sector

Banking Sector

After record deal, more India bank takeovers on cards  Full Article 

Islamic Fund

Islamic Fund

India gets new Islamic equity fund but debt market still off-limits  Full Article 

Cricket Tragedy

Cricket Tragedy

Clarke breaks down giving heartfelt Hughes tribute  Full Article 

Nigeria Violence

Nigeria Violence

Bombs, gunfire kill 81 at crowded mosque in Nigeria's Kano  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

D’Silva's “Ungli” just skims the surface  Full Article | Related Story 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage