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.
“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, told APP in an exclusive chat.
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,” Jakubco, who won six races out of the total eight he chipped in the two events, said.
The Slovakian, who also seemed well aware of the fact that how Pakistan’s security forces through Operation Zarb-e-Azb wiped out the terrorists from the area, stated that Pakistan’s achievements in defeating the twin evils of terrorism and extremism were remarkable.
“When I look back at what the terrorists and extremists have been doing in that area a few years back, it seems miraculous to hold big international events with great success now,” he added.
He said he had found Pakistanis highly hospitable and enjoyed each and every moment of his stay here. “We’ll be returning back to our countries with sweet memories. I’ve 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, who finished first and second in women categories of both the events – 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, who remained second in both the events.
“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,” Gorbunova, the top finisher of women events, said.
Jan Jakubco, Tetyana Tikun and Anastasia Gorbunova along with our foreign and Pakistani skiers, attended the prize distribution ceremony of both the above mentioned events here at a local hotel on late Saturday.
Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, who was the chief guest on the occasion, awarded medals and cash prizes to the winning players.
Several international skiers from various countries, including Morocco, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Greece, Afghanistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Tajikistan along with Pakistani skiers, participated in 16 races of both men and women categories of these events.—APP