GILGIT: The Chief of the Air Staff International Karakoram Alpine Ski Cup, which saw participation of 40 skiers from 13 countries, concluded in Naltar’s PAF ski resort on Friday.
The participants, mostly women, were from Pakistan, Greece, Afghanistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, Morocco, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, and Tajikistan.
These athletes took part in the slalom and giant slalom categories of the FIS (Federation of International Ski) races.
Gilgit-Baltistan chief minister Commander Force Command Northern Areas Maj Gen Ehsan Mehmood Khan and Air Vice Marshal Sarfaraz Khan attended the closing ceremony along with other civil and military officials. They distributed medals and trophies among the winners of the different categories of the tournament.
The foreign players appreciated the arrangements made for the event and expressed their desire to visit again to race in the majestic mountains of Pakistan.
The competition was dominated by Ukrainian skiers, who clinched two positions each in men and women slalom races. Tsibelenko Levko and Narichyn Andriy remained unassailable in the men’s slalom category, while Tikun Tetyana and Anastasia Gorbunova remained invincible in the women’s categories.
Usta Berkin from Turkey was the only player who could overthrow Ukraine’s dominance by winning the men’s giant slalom category.
Pakistani players, including Mohammad Karim, Umama Wali, and Jia Ali also performed very well in the competition.
Skiers from associations of Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Civil Aviation Authority, Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force, GB scouts participated in different categories of the sport.
A large number of fans of international and national players witnessed the ski cup, amid freezing temperatures.
Talking to reporters after the event, international skiers said GB was beautiful and its landscape was very picturesque.
They said it was an interesting experience for them and the people were very hospitable, adding that they would recommend their countrymen to visit the region.
Samia, 22, from Ukraine said she had a great experience participating in the ski competition. “The weather here is good for winter competitions. I recommend everyone to visit Pakistan, it is a really beautiful country,” she said.
Jia Ali, 21, from GB said she was participating in an international ski competition for the second time. “If local girls are provided opportunities to ski they can perform at international level,” she said.
Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2019