Srinagar, Feb 16 : Just days after Union Sports Minister Kiran Rijju announced the first ever Khelo India Winter Games and included SnowShoe sport into the games, Kashmiri athletes representing India in World SnowShoe Championship at Myoko, Japan, have bagged three medals.
In the championship that saw athletes from around 17 countries from different continents, Kashmiri 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 finished second in the five kilometer run while 10-year-old Zain Ali finished third in the same category.
In the 20-29 age group categories of nine-kilometers run, Muzamil Hussain Mir a former student of Islamia College finished third.
The championship was organised by Japan SnowShoeing Federation under the auspices of World SnowShoe Federation. The Indian contingent was fielded 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 difficult with lot of uphill and steep climbs on the course.
Hailing the team for making India and J&K proud, Mir Mudassir President of the SSFI said, "Our team has bagged three medals in the World Championship." "In five to six years history of SnowShoe sport in India, it is first time we went with strong contingent of nine members and among them three came out with medals. SnowShoe has got great future in India as well as in Kashmir. We are thankful all our supporters and Government, including Secretary Youth Services and Sports, Sarmad Hafeez, Tourism Department for always being there and supporting our efforts," he added.
Ayan and Zain said that they were happy for their feat.
"We are too much happy as we never expected to get medals during the championship," they said.
Muzamil Mir who came out with Bronze medal in the 20-29 age group categories said that he wanted a medal in open senior men's category but it is still an achievement.