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Helping hand: To go downhill, you have to go upcountry

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Pakistan has some fine slopes for skiers, but limited training facilities to help professionals hone their skills to compete at international level. Fortunately, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has come in with an offer that, at best, could help skier bring laurels for Pakistan, and at worst, would still help skiers from far-flung areas to get formal education.

HunzaNews  May 19th, 2014.

Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed recently by the CAA and the Ski Federation of Pakistan (SFP), the former will donate Rs500,000 every year to the later, according to a press release. The money will be used for the education and ski training of five boys and girls from Naltar Valley, a picturesque valley in Gilgit-Baltistan, which many consider to be nursery of ski activities.

At the MoU signing, the CAA went one up, as their ski affairs coordinator Obaidur Rehman Abbasi handed over a cheque for Rs1 million, or two years of funding, to SFP President Air Marshal Athar Hussain Bukhari.

Speaking on the occasion, the SFP chief urged other government departments to also make efforts to help raise literacy and healthy activities such as sports in backwards areas.

Continuing assistance

Last year, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafiq Butt, who is also the patron-in-chief of SFP, had announced that PAF will help boys and girls from Naltar get free schooling and ski training, with outstanding talents being given the chance to participate in competitions for opportunities to be sent abroad for ski competitions and coaching programmes.

PAF and SFP have also introduced a volunteer programme, under which young boys and girls from across the country were asked to teach in Naltar and adjacent villages to help raise literacy in the area. The ‘force and the federation’ will provide free transport, room and board to these volunteers. The partners have already begun providing complete sets of books, copies and other materials to Naltar students who are studying in the hilly station of Gilgit.

Incidentally, a vast majority of the skiers that have represented the country in international competitions are from Naltar, including Olympians Muhammad Abbas and Muhammad Karim, who participated in the Vancouver and Sochi Winter Olympics respectively.

Express Tribune

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