Just days after Union Sports Minister Kiran Rijju announced the first ever Khelo India Winter Games and included SnowShoe sport into the games, Kashmir athletes representing India in World SnowShoe Championship at Myoko Japan have bagged three medals.
In the championship that saw athletes from around 17 Countries coming from different continents competing, Kashmir athletes bagged one silver and two bronze medals. It is first time ever in the history of SnowShoe sport that Indian athletes have bagged medals in the World Championship.
In junior, boys’ category, Ayan Bin Shahnaz of Burn Hall School while representing India finished second in the five kilometer run while as 10 year old Zain Ali of Burn Hall finished third in the same category.
In the 20-29 age group categories of nine-kilometers run, Muzamil Hussain Mir a former student of Islamia College while representing India finished third, thus bagged bronze medals.
The championship was organized by Japan SnowShoeing Federation under the auspices of World SnowShoe Federation. The Indian contingent was fielded by SnowShoe Federation of India (SSFI). In the championship athletes from Countries like USA, Canada, Australia, Italy, Germany, Spain, Sweden France and others participated.
The race was held in tough conditions with soft deep snow and the terrain was difficult with lot of uphill and steep climbs on the course. Despite all that Ayan, Zain and Muzamil competing first time ever at World level came out with flying colours, bringing laurels for J&K and Country.
Hailing the team for making India and J&K proud, Mir Mudassir President of the SSFI said, “Our team has bagged three medals in the World Championship.”
“In five to six years history of SnowShoe sport in India, it is first time we went with strong contingent of nine members and among them three came out with medals. SnowShoe has got great future in India as well as in Kashmir. We are thankful all our supporters and Government, including Secretary Youth Services and Sports, Sarmad Hafeez, Tourism Department for always being there and supporting our efforts,” he added.
Ayaan and Zain said that they were happy for their feat. “We are too much happy as we never expected to get medals during the championship,” they said.
Muzamil Mir who came out with Bronze medal in the 20-29 age group categories said that he wanted medal in open senior mens category but it is still an achievement.
Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council, Naseem Javid Choudhary congratulated the winning team, saying that Sports Council has been working for the promotion of sports activities in Jammu and Kashmir. He said that Government was also aiming to upgrade the sports infrastructure across Jammu and Kashmir.
Before leaving for Japan, the team was flagged off by Secretary Youth Services and Sports Sarmad Hafeez from Srinagar. The team included Gulzar Ahmed, Mushtaq Ahmed, Muzamil Hussain, Feroze Ahmed , Zain Ali, Ayaan Bin Shahnaz, Abid, Zulfqar and Ishfaq.