by Farman Ali
ISLAMABAD, Feb 23: Northern Areas Scouts won Shah Khan Ski Cup at the Ski Resort, Naltar in Gilgit on Friday. About 44 skiers from 12 teams demonstrated their skills in two events — Slalom and Super Giant Slalom. Mir Nawaz Jr. of Northern Areas Scouts (NAS) won gold medal in Super Giant Slalom and Mohammad Javed of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) grabbed gold medal in Slalom.
Mir Nawaz also bagged silver medal in Super Giant Slalom while Abdul Baqi got bronze medal in this category. Hashim Khan of NAS got silver medal in Super Giant Slalom and Ejaz Hussain of army bronze medal.
Ski Federation of Pakistan named this contest after Fl-Lt Shah Khan who established Ski Training School at Naltar in the early 60s. The teams which took part in the Shah Khan Cup were Sindh, NWFP, Punjab, Balochistan, Islamabad, Alpine Club, Civil Aviation Authority, Northern Areas, Ski Federation, Northern Areas Scouts, Pakistan Army and also the PAF which is the pioneer of skiing in Pakistan.
Meanwhile the 16th National Skiing championship will start at Naltar today allowing Skiing Federation of Pakistan an opportunity to select probables for the Winter Olympics 2010. Nearly 60 players, including children and women from nearly a dozen teams will compete in different categories of the championship.
Skiing Federation of Pakistan president Air Vice-Marshal Shahid Latif said that the SFP was making concerted efforts to promote skiing and in this regard hiring foreign coaches to groom young players and for their training. The SFP has approached the skiing federations of Sweden and Austria for hiring the services of a qualified coach who will also impart modern techniques to Pakistani coaches besides training the players.
AVM Latif said Naltar would be turned into an international standard facility capable of holding international competitions which were necessary to promote this otherwise expensive game in Pakistan. Besides, he said, another first-class skiing resort would be developed at Ayubia near Nathiagali while all the units affiliated with SFP had been directed to popularise and open up this game to the public.
In response to a question, SFP secretary Air Commodore Musarrat Ali said that grant of Rs4 million received from the government had been spent on purchasing new skiing equipment like snow-pressing machine for use at Naltar.