ISLAMABAD: A 12-member national ski team flew to Japan from Islamabad Airport to participate in Asian Winter Games (AWG) 2017, starting from Sunday.
“The team will be joined by four more skiers – Olympian Muhammad Karim, Mir Nawaz, Ifra Wali and Fatima Sohail, who along with team coach Air Commodore Shahid Nadeem have already reached Japan,” Obaid-ur-Rehman Abbasi, the spokesman of Ski Federation of Pakistan told APP on Friday.
He said it was for the first time in the history of Pakistan that four female skiers were also accompanying the team.
The eighth edition of Asian Winter Games will open in Sapporo, on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, and run through February 26, with over 2,000 athletes from 31 countries appearing in five sports, 11 disciplines and 64 events.
“Pakistan skiers will feature in two categories of skiing – cross country and alpine skiing,” Abbasi said.
Ishaq Khan, Imran khan, Fazal Haq and Zubair would chip in cross country competition, whereas Muhammad Karim, Mir Nawaz, Waqas Azaam and Zahid Abbas would represent the country in alpine skiing. The female skiers – Ifra Wali, Fatima Sohail, Zainab Sohail and Umama Wali would appear in alpine category event.
Skier Zainab Sohail, who seemed excited before her departure to Japan said, she was really happy to be part of Pakistan squad.
“We have been dreaming since long to represent our country at some international event. Our federation's decision to make us part of national squad is commendable and we'll try to deliver our best,” she stated.
Waqas Azam, who had clinched two silver medals in the domestic season and also produced good result in two recently held back-to-back international ski events at Malam Jabba said that Pakistan skiers were fully prepared for the championship.
“We've been given intensive training. We believe we've gained required experience from the recent domestic winter season. It will be a unique experience to appear in winter games in Japan. We are determined to do our best,” he added.
Team manager Shahid also sounded optimistic that Pakistan skiers would produce some good results.
“We've with us seasoned Muhammad Karim. Besides some top quality skiers are part of our outfit. I believe our skiers are fully trained and in good shape to meet every challenge,” he said.