The Ski Federation of Pakistan (SFP) has initiated preparations for the Winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi, Russia for which Pakistan’s first international skier Muhammad Sajjad qualified a few months ago in his Europe tour.
According to SFP Secretary Mussarat Ali, the federation has informed two men and three women skiers about the upcoming Olympics, should they wish to participate. Meanwhile, 18-year-old Muhammad Karim also left to train for a month in Austria on Friday night.
Mussarat said that the federation has scheduled different training sessions and events for the athletes, but the selection committee will only choose the best skiers depending on their physical fitness.
“We have planned to send the skiers to Iran and Turkey in December and January,” Ali told The Express Tribune. “Meanwhile, Karim will be training in Austria under a program by the International Skiing Federation. We sent him because all the other men skiers were over the age-limit and Karim was a good choice.
“We will then have five to six skiers to choose from as the qualifying rounds for the Winter Olympics will start in the first week of February.”
On the other hand, the tussle between Pakistan government and Arif Hasan-led Pakistan Olympic Association has dented the hopes of the country’s representation in the international events.
However, there is a good chance of resolving the issue as the International Olympic Committee has given the Pakistan government till December to sort out their differences.
“It will be very disappointing if we don’t get to represent the country in the Winter Olympics next year since Sajjad has already qualified for the event,” concluded Mussarat.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2013.