Two female skiers grabbed Pakistan’s first gold and silver in the first South Asian Games, leaving their male teammates ruing their dismal performance as they only claimed a bronze medal.
Sisters Afra, 17, and Amina Wali, 19, claimed first and second place respectively after beating Sri Lanka, Nepal and India who came in third in the giant slalom event in Auli.
Meanwhile, Pakistan skier Mir Nawaz junior came third in the men’s giant slalom despite the inclusion of the country’s first winter Olympian Mohammad Abbas in the team. India bagged gold and silver. The men have another chance to redeem themselves today as they face India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Maldives in the alpine slalom, which might not take place due to heavy snowfall.
“We are very happy with our success here,” said the Amina. “It’s all because of the prayers from our parents and the nation. Our coach’s efforts were also crucial in our win today.” Team coach Sohail held high hopes for the team in the next rounds of the alpine slalom and cross country events, but manager Obaidur Rehman Abbasi lashed out at the men’s performance. Abbasi questioned their weak performance despite their intense practice and training, but then later explained their results by saying that India had an added advantage of having a home ground.
“The boys will hopefully perform very well in the next rounds to rectify their minor mistakes,” said Abbasi. “I am sure there will be good news.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2011.