SWAT: Tourists and skiers flocked to the highest ski track in Pakistan on Tuesday to experience winter sports as the Swat Peace Ski Championship began in Malam Jabba.
The annual event, which is being sponsored by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Ski Association, will feature skiers from Peshawar, Abbottabad and Swat at the venue that is situated at a feet above 9,500 height of sea level.
The skiers practiced on the track Tuesday using temporary chair lifts. Formal contests will continue through March 8.
“As always, the skiers this year are enthusiastic about the championship,” said Matiullah Khan of the K-P Ski Association, adding that Malam Jabba has the highest ski slopes in Pakistan with various flavours for tourists and skiers.
“We are not only promoting the game here in Swat but also striving to spread the message of peace to the whole world. We have serenity, breathtaking beauty, peace and winter sports all together here in Swat,” he further stated.
Former MNA and chief guest Afzal Khan Lala lauded the efforts of the organisers for the adequate management of the event.
“Malam Jabba is the sole and best ski track in Pakistan and the championship will send a message of peace,” said Khan.
Hundreds of tourists attended the inauguration ceremony and more continued to pour into the resort to attend the ski championship.
Many of the sightseers were enjoying watching skiing and the breathtaking scenery of Malam Jabba.
“We have come here to enjoy the live ski championship,” Zoha Ishaq, a tourist from Lahore, told The Express Tribune. “Last year we watched it on television and this year we managed to attend it in person. We have registered ourselves here to learn skiing as well. Watching skiing is fun, but doing it practically is even more so.”
Some tourists believe the government should organise both international and national skiing events at Malam Jabba.
“The place is secure and peaceful,” said Peshawar resident Ishtiaq Ali. “It’s high time for the government to organise mega events here in which international players can participate. This will be a proof of peace for the international community.”
On the second day of the championship, in the Super-G discipline, skier Amjad Ali won a gold medal, Nizam got silver and Azaz Ali Shah secured the Bronze medal. Meanwhile in the Peace Downhill Junior category, Arshad Ali clinched the top spot, Kamal Shah came in second and Shahid secured the third position.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2013.
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