Pakistan qualified for the prestigious Olympic Winter Games (OWG) to be held in Sochi, Russia in February next year after participating in International Ski Federation (FIS) races held in Europe and Asia.
Talking to this scribe, SFP official said: “Pakistan has attained the required FIS points thus ensuring a birth in the event. The SFP contingent returned from Turkey on March 24. The Pakistani contingent comprising one coach and three athletes participated in the FIS races held from February 17 to March 18. The races were held in Italy, Lebanon and Turkey. The contingent was sent for participation in the events in order to achieve the qualification points for OWG 2014. Mir Nawaz, Karim and M Abbas of Pakistan Ski team have achieved 137, 130 and 122 FIS points respectively.”
He said in a momentous run of the FIS race (Slalom discipline) held in Lebanon, Mir Nawaz had won a silver medal, qualifying for the OWG 2014 with flying colours. It is worth mentioning that the national flag was hoisted in the Winter Olympics for the first time when Muhammad Abbas of PAF participated in the Giant Slalom discipline of Alpine Skiing during the Olympic Winter Games 2010, held in Vancouver, Canada.
“The SFP after achieving this milestone is making continuous efforts to uphold the country’s name in succeeding Olympics and with the same aim, the Pakistani contingent was sent to participate in the FIS races. Moreover, SFP has a large number of talented athletes who have the ability to qualify for the Olympics,” the SFP official added. He hoped the qualification would help the sport to flourish further.
“It is a big boost for the sport and we will select the best skier amongst the three once all of them complete their five races by January 2014,” he concluded. The contingent on return from abroad called on Air Marshal Farhat Hussain Khan, Vice Chief of the Air Staff, who is also the president of the SFP. Speaking on the occasion, he commended the performance of athletes in the FIS races and advised them to concentrate on their physical fitness in summers for performing even better in the next ski season.
Skiing is fast gaining popularity in Pakistan and a national championship is held in the northern Karakoram Mountains far from the stifling plains of Punjab, where summer temperatures can top 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). The SFP, formed in 1990, is run by the Pakistan Air Force.