KARACHI: The Pakistani skiing pair Amina Wali and Ifra Wali competed in their first international competition after winning a gold and silver medal respectively in the inaugural South Asian Winter Games 2011.
The sisters are representing the country in the International Ski Federation (FIS) races in Erzurum, Turkey along with three other male athletes — Pakistan’s first Winter Olympian Muhammad Abbas, teenager Muhammad Karim and Mir Nawaz.
Ifra and her elder sister Amina faced tough competition in their opening races on Sunday.
Ifra finished the slalom event in 16th position as she clocked three minutes and 8.56 seconds to complete the two runs. Meanwhile, Amina followed her in 17th spot, clocking three minutes and 28.46 seconds.
“They are debuting at the FIS races, so we’ll mostly just be encouraging them,” Ski Federation of Pakistan (SFP) Secretary Musarat Ali told The Express Tribune.
“They are the best female talent back home and we wanted to give them a fair chance. They’ve never competed in the FIS recognised event before.
“We need to send one male and one female athlete to the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year. Once they’ll come back we’ll evaluate their results from the five races and their FIS points.”
The official further stated that the exposure would benefit the athletes.
“Even if these girls don’t qualify, we’ll send them to Lebanon and Iran to compete later. More so, this event will benefit them as it will give them international exposure.”
On the other hand, Karim finished his first race at 20th position among the top 20 athletes in the men’s slalom event. He completed the two runs in two minutes and 17.29 seconds, whereas Abbas and Nawaz secured 31st and 32nd spot respectively in their opening races.
Ali added that the SFP wanted to highlight the ongoing conflict between the Pakistan Olympic Association and the government, which might hinder Pakistan’s participation in the Winter Olympics. Published in The Express Tribune, December 16th, 2013.