Manali: India will host International Ski Competitions for the first time at Auli slopes from January 15 to 21, 2018 and top athletes from many countries will participate in the event, an official from Brussels, Belgium, said.
The officials of Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) attended a meeting of International Ski Federation (FIS) at Brussels on August 25 where officials from many other federations were present. On the request of WGFI, FIS has granted permission to host international ski competitions in India. India has three major ski resorts at Auli in Uttarakhand, Gulmarg in Kashmir and Solang in Manali. Kashmir is witnessing unrest and whereas Solang slopes have no infrastructure.
“The event will have 14 races in different categories. The dates January 15 to 21have been finalized,” WGFI secretary general Roshan Thakur said over phone from Brussels. “FIS will support the event and will advertise it worldwide. International ski competitions will be hosted in our nation for the first time.
Winter games are not much popular in India as the country does not have modern and developed ski resorts. Winter games are limited to northernmost part of the country, especially in Himachal, Uttarakhand and J&K where snow is available during winter months. Many youth from country have been participating in Winter Olympics and World Championships for many years. The athletes from the armed forces of the country are also participating in the national and international events. All the winter games lovers were dreaming about hosting international event in the country and look forward their dream will come true very soon.
“I, WGFI president Col (retd) JS Dhillon and vice president Roop Chand Negi attended the meeting. We have assured by FIS of all possible support in successful execution of the event. Rehearsal of our athletes will start with the beginning of the winter season. Preparations would start very soon. We hope our athletes will perform well in their own country,”Roshan Thakur said.
Winter games and athletes have always been neglected by government and many athletes had to participate in international events at their own expenses. The government in last two years has started to show its interest and has been paying athletes the basic expenses. But, the ski slopes of the country are in dilapidated condition. The Solang slopes have no snow grooming machine or artificial snow making machine. Even the bar lift of the slope is gathering rust and is not available for general skiers that too the government has handed it over to a private company.
WGFI was founded in 1984 to promote winter games in the country. Later it received affiliation from FIS and Asian Ski Federation and it was recognized by Indian Olympic Association and Ministry of Sports. Currently, FIS is in good terms with WGFI. The federation members now expect improvement in the winter games status in nation as international federation has given its nod to the international event in country for first time ever.