(from a write up by Mukesh Thapliyal -newstrackindia)
The picturesque surroundings of Gulmarg is alluring the snow dare-devils of the country in one of the heavenly places of this earth which is gearing up to the hilt for the fifth edition of the National Winter Games that is scheduled to be held at Gulmarg from February 18 to 22.
According to Winter Games Fedetion of India (WGFI) Secretary RK Gupta, a total of 11 States and union territories have confirmed their entries for the upcoming Games to be hosted by the Tourism Department of Jammu and Kashmir under the aegis of Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
The five-day event will also witness the participation of the teams, of armed forces who had played a pivotal role in taking this sport to new horizons, Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, Border Security Force and Indo-Tibetan Border Police.
The event will also give a fair idea to WGFI to review the strengths and weakness of their athletes for the next Olympic Winter Games, which is to be held in Vancouver (Canada) in 2010.
The Indian skiers will also get the much-needed practice for the 2010 Vancouver Games since they will be having one more competition lining up for them prior to the mega-event as India is organising the South Asian Federation (SAF) Games in 2009 that is be going to held at Auli in Uttarakhand.
WGFI President, SS Pangtey, exudes huge confidence over his players as far as SAF Games are concerned. “India will brush away all the medals that will be at stake since we are much ahead form the other countries of the South Asian region,” acclaimed Pangtey.
The various states and union territories, which will be taking part in the event, include Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and host Jammu and Kashmir. The technical aspect of the games will be handled by WGFI itself.
The participants will be competing in six disciplines including alpine ski, cross country ski, ice-skating, ice hockey, snowboarding and biathlon, which involves two disciplines first a one kilometer round from the athletes in the snow with their skis on immediately followed by a target shooting competition, at the Games.