Srinagar: Just days after Union Sports Minister Kiran Rijju announced the first ever Khelo India Winter Games and included SnowShoe sport in the games as well, Kashmir athletes representing India in World SnowShoe Championship at Myoko Japan have bagged three medals.
In the championship that saw athletes from around 17 Countries coming from different continents competing , Kashmir athletes bagged one silver and two bronze medals. It is first time ever in the history of SnowShoe sport that Indian athletes have bagged medals in the World Championship.
In junior boys category, Ayan Bin Shahnaz of Burn Hall school while representing India finished second in the five kilometre run while as 10 year old Zain Ali of Burn Hall finished third in the same category.
In the 20-29 age group category of nine-kilometres run, Muzamil Hussain Mir a former student of Islamia College while representing India finished third, thus bagged bronze medals.
The championship was organised by Japan SnowShoeing Federation under the auspices of World SnowShoe Federation . The Indian contigent was feilded by SnowShoe Federation of India (SSFI). In the championship athletes from Countries like USA, Canada, Australia, Italy, Germany, Spain, Sweden France and others participated.
The race was held in tough conditions with soft deep snow and the terrain was dificult with lot of uphill and steep climbs on the course. Despite all that Ayan, Zain and Muzamil competing first time ever at World level came out with flyeing colours , bringing luarels for J&K and Country.
Hailing the team for making India and J&K proud, Mir Mudassir President of the SSFI said, “ A great news from Myoko, Japan as we have just been informed that our team has bagged three medals in the World Championship. These are first ever medals for India in the competition and it shows our efforts are bearing fruits. Bagging medals just before Khelo India Games has added more happiness in it”.
“In five to six years history of SnowShoe sport in India, it is first time we went with strong contingent of nine members and amoung them three came out with medals. SnowShoe has got great future in India as well as in Kashmir. We are thankful to all our supporters that included Secretary Youth Services and Sports Sarmad Hafeez, Tourism Department for always being there and supporting our efforts,” he added.
Ayaan and Zain said that they are too happy to describe their words and it will take time for them to get back on their feets.
“We are too much happy as we never expected to get medals during the championship,” Zain and Ayaan said.
Muzamil Mir who came out with Bronze medal in the 20-29 age group category said that he wanted medal in open senior mens category but it is still an acheivment.
“I wanted to bag medal in senior open mens category and then get the tag of World champion. I finished 17th overall and then in age group classification I was awarded bronze medal. My hardwork has beared fruits and I will continue to work hard in future. I want to thank all my suppoters and helpers and would like to share this achievement with them,” Muzamil said.
Before leaving for Japan, the team was flagged off by Secretary Youth Services and Sports Sarmad Hafeez from Srinagar. The team included Gulzar Ahmed, Mushtaq Ahmed, Muzamil Hussain, Feroze Ahmed , Zain Ali, Ayaan Bin Shahnaz, Abid, Zulfqar and Ishfaq.
Team will be reaching back to India on Febuary 18 and before reaching Kashmir they are likely to meet Lt. Governor J&K in Jammu.