Fifth national winter games begin at Gulmarg

February 18th, 2008 - 6:56 pm ICT by admin  

Gulmarg (Jammu and Kashmir), Feb 18 (IANS) The fifth national winter games got underway here Monday with the Jammu and Kashmir government promising a massive infrastructure revamp to bring this ski resort on the world sports map. “It is through events like these that the revival of Kashmir tourism can be achieved,” Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said while declaring the games open.

Skydivers of the Indian Air Force held an impressive demonstration at the inauguration.

The events will start Tuesday and will end Feb 22.

The athletes who have arrived here from different parts of the country and also from the Indian Army and the air force will compete in alpine skiing, cross country skiing, figure staking and ice hockey.

All the hotels in Gulmarg are fully booked, as hundreds of domestic and foreign tourists have gathered here, besides the athletes, to witness the Games.

Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi was also present at the inaugural function.

At 9,000 feet above sea level and now with over five feet of snow on the ground, Gulmarg is an ideal venue for winter sports and officials believe this to be a very good omen for the games.

“We had been praying for a snowfall like this and god has answered our prayers. We as the organisers of the winter games couldn’t have asked for more,” said Tourism Secretary Naeem Akhter.

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