By: Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: Pakistan’s skiing champions from Gilgit-Baltistan have been selected for the qualifying rounds of the upcoming Winter Olympics – making them the first women from the country to make it to the qualifiers.
Amina Wali and Ifrah Wali will be competing for a spot in the games to be held in Sochi, Russia, next year. Amina and Ifrah had won a gold and silver medal for Pakistan in the first South Asian Winter Games held in India in 2011. They beat contestants from Sri Lanka, Nepal and India in the giant slalom.
“We are very excited about this news and hopefully we will live up to everyone’s expectations,” said Amina, who is an undergraduate student at the Karakoram International University. Her sister, Ifrah, is a student at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST).
“It will be a tough job to qualify in view of the limited time available before the qualifying rounds start,” Amina told The Express Tribune on Saturday.
Asked what if they fail to qualify, the determined skiers said they would undergo more training and attempt to qualify for the 2018 Olympics.
She thanked the Ski Federation of Pakistan and the International Ski Federation and said the collaboration of both the organisations made the sisters’ participation possible.
The qualifying rounds are likely to take place somewhere in Turkey or Lebanon during December and January.
About getting leave from their respective universities, Amina said they have been assured of their full support if they get selected.
Amina and Ifrah, the progeny of the Gushpur family – the former royal family in Ghizer district – excelled in the sport of skiing as they spent most of their childhood growing up in the snow-capped mountains of Gilgit-Baltistan.