The Winter Games Association of Jammu and Kashmir (WGAJK) is all set to host three national-level winter-sport championships starting simultaneously from February 15 at Gulmarg - which has emerged as one of the favourite winter-sport destinations in the country.
"The association will be hosting the three championships simultaneously with an aim to promote winter sports in a big way," said Farooq Ahmed Shah, WGAJK president. "The winter games are closely associated with tourism and we all need to support the cause," said Shah.
"Nearly 120 athletes representing 16 teams from the country are expected to participate in senior alpine ski and senior and junior snowboarding championship organised under the aegis of the Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI)," said Shah.
"The junior snowboarding championship is being organised for the first time in Kashmir and we expect a good number of tourists from across the globe for this mega event," said Shah.
A high-level meeting to oversee the arrangements for smooth conduct of the games was recently held in Srinagar under chairmanship of Kashmir divisional commissioner Shailandra Kumar. "We have received support from all quarters, State Cable Car is the principle sponsor, while J&K Bank and Khyber Group of Industries are co-sponsors," said Shah.
"The association will also release a souvenir and calendar during the inaugural function. The championships will conclude with a prize distribution ceremony on February 20," Shah added. He said the association had urged the heads of all departments concerned to extend their fullest cooperation in organising the championship and making it a success.
Meanwhile, the WGAJK said the selection trials for the J&K team would be held on February 10-11. "It is not a state-level competition, but a national-level event, which will represent Gulmarg as one of the best winter sports destinations in India and abroad," said Shabir Ahmed Wani, WGAJK general secretary. "Event like this will help earn recognition to Gulmarg as an international winter sports destination," said Shabir.
"The selection trials for senior snowboarding and senior alpine ski teams (women) will be held on February10, while the trials for junior snowboarding and senior alpine skiing (men) teams will be held on February 11," said Shabir. "Interested athletes have been advised to report at Tourism Ski Hire Shop with their ski equipment at 10am for a day-long selection trial," said Shabir.