Gulmarg (Jammu and Kashmir), Feb 22 : Young girls in Kashmir took on the region's snow-blanketed slopes at Gulmarg as they competed in the ongoing National Winter Sports in Kashmir on Thursday.
As snow-flakes gently fell to the ground, six girl participants donned in ski gear tackled the powdery white slopes at the picturesque Gulmarg, showcasing their talent in a 10-kilometre free style girl's cross-country race.
Gulmarg, with its natural slopes and inclines, is the country's premier ski resort and a favoured winter tourist destination.
In a departure from the past practice, the enthusiastic girl participants said they feel very good at such events, which provide them a platform to display their sporting skills.
"We are benefiting from this a lot. We are very happy to participate in this. Girls usually do not participate in cross-country. This was started in 2005 and we are very happy and it feels very good," said Yasmeena, a girl participant.
Sports officials say that more efforts are needed to attract larger participation of Kashmiri girls in winter sports events thereby honing their skills.
"Kashmiri girls come here during winters. If arrangements can be made to help them participate in athletic events throughout the year they can easily compete here in the winter events," said Abdul Qayoom, a sports official.
The five-day long event, which kicked off on February 18, is aimed at giving a fillip to tourism in the State.
Seventeen teams, including Jammu and Kashmir are participating in the event. The other teams are Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, New Delhi, Rajasthan,
Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, besides the teams of the Border Security Force (BSF), Navy and the Army.
Events like slalom, giant slalom and snowboard in alpine skiing, freestyle (men and women) in cross-country, figure skating, speed skating (men and women) and ice hockey for men in skating rink category are some of the games held in the fifth national games event.
Earlier Gulmarg has hosted this event in 1998 and 2004.