Excelsior Sports Correspondent
GULMARG, Feb 6: J&K Tourism Department Kashmir in collaboration with Snowshoe Federation of India hosted Snowshoe Championship, here today.
The Championship was held as part of the ongoing Snow Carnival-Gulmarg and in it 24 Snowshoers of Kashmir participated.
The championship was flagged off by Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah alongwith SSFI President Mir Muddasar, Assistant Director Tourism Dr Alyas, SSFI Executive Member Tariq Zargar, Dr Ifshan, organizing secretary Gulzar Ahmad Khan of Budgam and ATO Gulmarg GM Dar.
Due to traffic jam on Tangmarg-Gulmarg road, event was flagged off and athletes had to reach venue by foot from Tangmarg. Even Director Tourism had to walk upto Gulmarg from Tangmarg. Instead of long distance event was turned in short sprint with two heats held and the qualifiers taking part in final run.
Ifshan Ahmad of Narbal made it three Snowshoe wins in a row after finishing first. Parvez Ahmad finished second while as Mohammad Saleem finished third.
Mahmood A Shah said that Tourism Department will promote snowshoeing in a big way owing to it being attractive and simple sport of running.
“This sport has got the potential of becoming popular in Kashmir like it is in Europe and American countries. We will try to procure snowshoes shortly that can be used for competition as well as for trekking expeditions”, Shah said.
Shah also said that Tourism department is planning to organize major Snowshoe championship in Gulmarg.
“If plans work we will shortly host our first International Snowshoe championship in Gulmarg. We alongwith SSFI are in touch with international athletes and if everything works out we may host first ever International Snowshoe event in India at Gulmarg this year” he added.
SSFI President Mir Muddasar congratulated players for their resolve to take part in the event despite having walked from Tangmarg to Gulmarg
“Our team was going to Saranac Lake on the invitation of local organizers and World Snowshoe Federation. But the Embassy denied visa to them and I consider that very unfortunate.
The local organizers are still working on to get team Visa and there is still hope. If US plan will not work then we may depute our team to some other European events,” he said.