Sunday May 22, 2022

A thrilling Winterlude: Putting Pakistan on the winter sports map

By Our Correspondent
January 17, 2022

HUNZA: A cold war has been raging in the mountains of Gilgit-Baltistan all this week. But the motives behind these great games were quite benign. It was not superpower rivalry or espionage that motivated the young antagonists to take part in these battles. Armed with hockey sticks, ice skates, vast amounts of skill and an icy determination, the young women and men were motivated by fierce friendly rivalry, a desire to showcase their talent and to put their region and country on the winter sports map of the world.

The five-day annual winter sports competition, featuring ice hockey matches, skiing, and figure skating, kicked off last week in Alit, Hunza and attracted large, enthusiastic crowds. In the shadow of the magnificent mountains, the Winterlude event, organised by the Scars Club Hunza, put on display the amazing talents of the young women and men of the area. In particular, the remarkable skill and confidence displayed by the girls wowed the audience and went a long way in shattering stereotypes.

Canadian High Commissioner Wendy Gilmour was present on the occasion and lauded the young men and women for taking up winter sports. Donned in the red and white Canadian colours, Gilmour acted as a referee in one of the matches between two local girls’ ice hockey teams. There was also a thrilling Canada vs Hunza Girls match as well as a girls vs boys match.

Senior Minister Ubaidullah Baig told the media that the event was aimed at promoting winter sports and tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan. One of the highpoints of the event was the amazing display by the teen figure skater Mallak Faisal. The Dubai-based

Pakistani prodigy has been wowing global audiences and winning accolades over the years for her dexterity and skill on the rink. Mallak Faisal is determined to make history and represent Pakistan in the Winter Olympics one day. Given her remarkable performance in Hunza, that day is clearly not far away.