Ifrah Wali makes Pakistan proud

Claims only gold for nation at Malam Jabba International Ski Cup

Natasha Raheel January 30, 2017
Photo Courtesy: Ifrah Wali

KARACHI: Pakistan hosted their first international skiing event in Malam Jabba after 11 years, and while the national players did not live up to the expectations, it was 2011 South Asian Winter Games gold-medallist Ifrah Wali who won the only gold for the country.

The Ski Federation of Pakistan (SFP) organised two slalom and two giant slalom races in Malam Jabba to kick-start the season with players flying in from countries such as Ukraine, Slovakia, Afghanistan, Turkey, India, Sir Lanka, Tajikistan and Morocco.

“It was an exciting event mostly because the foreign skiers really inspired me,” Ifrah told The Express Tribune. “I wanted to win a gold medal in at least one of the four races and it was really a comeback after my injuries too. I can only say that watching the skiers from Turkey, Ukraine and other countries helped.”

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Ifrah finished first in the second slalom event, clocking in at 57sec, while Fatima took second place with a time of 1min 8sec. Ukraine’s Tetyana Tikum, meanwhile, finished third.

Ukraine claimed two gold, two silver and two bronze medals to dominate the Malam Jabba International Ski Cup, while Pakistan finished fourth in the men’s event. Ifrah claimed one gold medal and one bronze medal, while Fatima Sohail contributed with one silver medal.

Ifrah, 21, revealed that the local skiers only got two days to practice at the Malam Jabba slopes and that she is looking for improvements as the next round of races commence on February 2 in Naltar.

She further added that the Naltar slope suits her style more. “The next event will be in Naltar, and I feel I’ll be able to deliver a better performance there. I’m more familiar with the slope, but Malam Jabba was a good experience, everything has improved here.”

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Ifrah also said that the level of competition in the event helped her alot as she will also be going to the Asian Winter Games in Japan next month.

Fatima, Zainab Sohail and Ifrah’s younger sister Umema Wali are all in the squad for the Winter Games.

“I think this was great opportunity to have the best kind of training at home with foreign skiers,” said Ifrah, who will be making her second appearance at the Games since 2007. “We have a stronger contingent this time with 11 other skiers and of course the confidence level will be better. I have high hopes for Japan.”


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