JK to bid for 2010 Winter Commonwealth Games

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New Delhi, Jan 25: The Jammu and Kashmir government will bid for the winter edition of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, a senior tourism official announced here.

Addressing a news conference here last evening, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Secretary Nayeem Akhtar said the state will also host the fifth national winter games at the world famous ski resort of Gulmarg from February 17.

He said about 500 participants from different states and sports boards were expected to compete in the ski events.

Mr Akhtar said for the first time a torch run for the winter games would be flagged off from here on February 12 which would pass through Dehradun, Shimla, Jammu and Srinagar to reach Gulmarg on February 17.

He said the participants -- both men and women -- would compete in Alpine skiing, cross country and ice skating events.

The Alpine skiing events comprises slalom, giant slalom and snow board while the cross country includes free style and biathlon. The ice skating events comprise figure skating, speed skating and ice hockey, the Tourism Secretary added.

He said the state government was keen to upgrade the infrastructure at Gulmarg so that big international events were held there regularly.

Mr Akhtar said the tourism department has the requisite infrastructure for organising the games. ''It is a big challenge for the tourism department,'' he added.

The Tourism Secretary also informed that a cross country race, approved by the Federation of International Skiing (FIS), would also be held at Gulmarg in the first week of March this year.

He said the first national winter games were held at Gulmarg in 1998 while the fourth edition was organised in 2004.

Mr Akhtar said the winter games would provide a springboard for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. ''The successful conduct of the fifth national winter games and the FIS race in March will only strengthen the bid for Jammu and Kashmir,'' he added.

Asked about the resources for the Commonwealth Games, the Tourism Secretary said a project plan for the sporting event would be prepared by the end of February this year.

''The project plan will identify the means of raising the funds and the expansion required for the games,'' he added.


UNI

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