Gulmarg to host National Winter Games in February

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New Delhi, Jan 18 (UNI) The fifth edition of National Winter Games will be held in Gulmarg from February 18 to 22.

Announcing this here today Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) Director S C Pangtey said 14 teams will take part in the five-day event which will include skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, ice hockey and biathlon.

Mr Pangtey said the games will be a platform for Indian athletes to stake their claim in the national team for the South Asian Games(SAF).

''All the players will be closely observed and depending on their performances the national team will be selected for the SAF games,'' he said.

The SAF games are scheduled for February next year in Auli, Uttaranchal and this will the first time that India will host an international winter games.

The Jammu and Kashmir government will host the event and will also provide technical support for the games.

However, Mr Pangtey said the federation was still not satisfied with the kind of infrastructure that is being provided to the players for the games.

''The infrastructure for the games is below par and is way behind international standards and there is a compelling need to upgrade it,'' he said.

But the WGFI looks to improve the kind of facilities being provided to these players saying,'' Since the facilities are not good enough so we have asked Federation of International Skiing (FIS)to nominate instructors and send them to India to train Indian athletes.'' ''We also send our athletes and coaches abroad regularly but their frequency would increase in coming times. Besides, foreign agencies have been providing us with good support,'' he added.

The government's support is what the WGFI is looking for as it feels that earlier it was ignored as it felt winter games were not mass based.

But off-late, the government has provided it's support to the WGFI.

''The government now understands that the winter games is not only a sporting activity but the impact is much more in national character building,'' Mr Pangtey said.

UNI RAR AB AS1627

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