Beijing 2022 to promote winter games in Pakistan: Experts
Pakistan’s high-altitude sport experts and tourism promoters. [Photo/Tahir Ali]
ISLAMABAD: Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games have drawn the attention of Pakistani youth to winter sports activities and the country’s high-altitude sport as experts and tourism promoters foresee the bright future for Pakistani athletes in the upcoming international winter games competitions.
President of Alpine Club of Pakistan Abu Zafar Sadiq told Gwadar Pro that the Prime Minister’s participation in the inaugural ceremony of the Winter Olympics has sent a strong message to the public and the masses about the importance of winter sports. “I hope the Beijing Olympics will attract more youth towards winter sports in Pakistan,” he said.
Sadruddin Hunzai, of Pakistan Association of Tour Operators (PATO) says that Pakistan can benefit from China’s experience and services while promoting winter sports in the country. “We have one of the best skiing destinations in the world. If we focus on such games in winter and the Government provides facilities, we can produce players of international standard,” he told Gwadar Pro.
“Karim Khan who is representing Pakistan in Winter Games is from Gilgit Baltistan and the region can produce many players like him; in this regard there is a great potential of coordination between China and Pakistan,” said Mr. Hunzai.
Sajid Sadpara, son of legendary high-altitude mountaineer Ali Sadpara, said coverage of the Beijing Winter Games in Pakistani media drew the attention of Pakistani youth to winter sports. “I am carrying forward my father’s mission, to show the world the positive image of Pakistan through mountaineering,” he told Gwadar Pro.
Sajid Sadpara, the son of legendary mountaineer Sajid Sadpara. [Photo/Tahir Ali]
Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), besides tourism also promotes winter sports in the country. “We have a big landscape and there are great opportunities for winter sports in the country,” Aftab-ur-Rehman Rana, Managing Director of PTDC, told Gwadar Pro. He said that several ice rings were set up in the village of GB where kids play ice hockey; they skate and enjoy winter games.
Mr. Rana said that the trend has been set up and Pakistan Winter Sports Association is making efforts to promote the games while PTDC was also supporting the association.
Air Vice Marshal (R) Ijaz Mahmood Malik─ an aviation expert who manages a magazine on promotion of tourism in Pakistan─ told Gwadar Pro that with huge treasure of mountain ranges and worlds’ famous peaks; the adventure tourism sectors is now shaping up with the vision of the prime minister and the interest other stakeholders.
He said that during Covid-19, summer tourism was restricted but winter tourism and particularly the high altitude expeditions, ice hockey, curling and skiing have taken a lot of impetus. “The future for Pakistan is bright and very soon Pakistan will be in the global map at a very prominent place to be part of winter tourism,” he told Gwadar Pro.
“Sending a single athlete to Winter Olympics is just a beginning; it will have snowball effects and the day will come when Pakistan becomes a major participating delegation in the Winter Olympics,” Mr. Malik said.