ISLAMABAD: Pakistani skier Mohammad Abbas, a native of Naltar valley in Gilgit – Baltistan, became the first man in the country’s history to qualify for the the Winter Olympics, to be held from Feb 12 in Vancouver, Canada.
A ceremony was arranged at the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad to honour Abbas.
Canadian High Commissioner Randolph Mank, office-bearers of the ski federation, Abbas, politicians and diplomats attended the ceremony in large number.
Abbas was part of a group of eight Pakistani skiers that undertook a nine-week advanced training-cum-competition tour of Europe early last year in a bid to earn points and qualification for the Winter Olympics. A skier automatically qualifies for the Winter Olympics if he has an average of 120 Federation de International Skiing points, something which was expected of at least half the team but only Abbas could manage.
Ski Federation of Pakistan (SFP), led by its President Air Marshal Shahid Lateef, had sponsored the trip and had in fact been providing financial, logistical and coaching support to the selected skiers for the past couple of years.
Abbas and almost all members of the team belong to Gilgit – Baltistan which is the home to the country’s top ski resort at Nalter, near Gilgit.