ISLAMABAD-Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman has said that Pakistan is safe to host all types of sports events.

"The participation of the ski players from nine different countries is of greater importance and it will portray positive and softer image of the country to the world that Pakistan is a safe country for sports events," he said this at the prize distribution ceremony of Chief of Air Staff Karakorum Ski Championship and Malam Jabba International Alpine Ski Cup, here at a local hotel. Also present on the occasion were Ski Federation of Pakistan (SFP) president Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Asad Lodhi, CEO Serena Hotels Aziz Boolani, ambassadors and other notables.

The Air Chief said that it was heartening that skiers from nine countries featured in two international events in Pakistan and expressed the hope that the skiers from other countries would also visit the country to participate in future events.

He felicitated the sponsors and the organisers of both the events for befitting arrangements and facilities. “It was a great achievement that the International Ski Federation (ISF) had approved 16 international events for Pakistan, which would not only promote soft image of the country across the globe but also earn revenue and boost tourism,” he added.

Serena Hotels CEO Aziz Boolani said Serena Hotel was proud to be associated with numerous sports initiatives which promoted well-being and inclusion through healthy activities. "Sports diplomacy is an integral part of Serena's efforts to build stronger relations with communities,” he said.

FOREIGN SKIERS TERM MALAM JABBA INTERNATIONAL-STANDARD SLOPE: The winners of CAS Karakorum Ski Championship and Malam Jabba International Alpine Ski Cup have said that the slope at the scenic Swat valley's snow-laden mountains is of higher standard and even better than several European slopes.

International Skiers from Morocco, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Greece, Afghanistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Tajikistan participated in both the events. "I must admire that nature has bestowed Pakistan's Swat valley with not only unique beauty but also the world's rare skiing slope," Slovakia's Jan Jakubco, who emerged victorious in the two back-to- back international skiing events at the Malam Jabba resort, said.

He said he had featured in several international events around the globe but never experienced the joy he got at Malam Jabba. "To me, it was one of the most difficult slopes I have ever skied. At such a slope a skier gets the chance to showcase his skills and deliver his best and that is what I did there," said Jakubco.

The Slovakian said Pakistan's achievements in defeating the twin evils of terrorism and extremism were remarkable. He said he had found Pakistanis highly hospitable and enjoyed each and every moment of his stay here. "We will be returning back to our countries with sweet memories. I have been in skiing in different countries. But the love and warmth we received here is matchless and unforgettable.”

"I believe this country is secure for all types of international sports activities. If you can host skiers here in such a successful and peaceful manner there, then you are also capable of holding sports activities everywhere in your country. We found ourselves totally safe here and would like to return and participate in skiing events here time and again," he added.

Two female Ukrainian skiers Tetyana Tikun and Anastasia Gorbunova expressed similar views. "When we reached at Malam Jabba on the first day, we were amazed to find such a high standard slope," said Gorbunova and added: "Standard-wise, this slope is not less than the ones we find in Europe. As far the facilities here are concerned I must admit these are matchless. We would like to be invited and feature in other such international events here in future also.”


ISLAMABAD: Chief of Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman and medal winning skiers pose for a photo at the prize distribution ceremony of International Ski Championships.–APP