GILGIT: The week-long high-altitude winter sports competitions concluded on Thursday at one of the world’s highest sports arenas in the Shimshal Valley of Gilgit-Baltistan.
The 10km target of the first-ever high-altitude winter snow race was achieved by 12 participants, including two girls. Mansoor Karim from Shimshal was the first to cross the finishing line, followed by Ahmed Baig from Shimshal and Shah Daulat who finished third.
Among the women racers, Samana Rahim was the first one to finish following Sarah Khan.
The event was organised by the Pakistan Youth Outreach Foundation (PYOF) at a high altitude of 4,100 metres in the Shimshal Valley of Hunza district.
PYOF chairman Mirza Ali and brother of world-famous mountaineer Samina Baig and his family had initiated the world’s highest sports arena in memory of their parents — Muhammad Khayal Baig and his wife.
A basic football ground, cricket ground and rock climbing routes were bolted in the area. Mountain biking and ultra-trail running were some of the sporting activities of the programme.
Around 30 young boys and girls participated in the camp, which was set up to encourage ski tourism in Pakistan.
The week-long camp was attended by Austrian skier Stefan Ager, who came to Pakistan for winter sports for the third time. He was accompanied by Sarah from Austria.
Parveena Ismail, 14, said: “This ski camp is an amazing experience to understand my abilities and competing with male participants gives me confidence and trust to pursue my dreams in the future.”
In the first-ever cross-country ski race, 11-year-old Zarar Ali Baig won the contest. He was followed by Shah Daulat and Naveedullah Baig. In the women category, Parveena Ismail secured the first position, Samana Rahim second and Sarah Khan came third.
PYOF chairman Mirza Ali said his organisation had been actively involved in promoting outdoor sports in Pakistan for the past nine years and the aim was to open new vistas for such activities and promote tourism.
Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2019