ISLAMABAD: Pakistani skier Mohammad Abbas has bagged a different distinction at the international level with the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame putting his handmade wooden skis on display.
Abbas, 26, is Pakistan’s first skier to represent the green flag in the Winter Olympic Games 2010 by competing in men’s giant slalom held in Vancouver, Canada where he finished 79th out of 103 skiers.
An official of the Ski Federation of Pakistan (SKP) told Dawn that it was a rare distinction for a Pakistani skier since his childhood gear has been put on display by the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame.
The British Columbia Hall of Fame was founded in 1966 by a group of sport minded individuals with an aim to honour British Columbia’s outstanding athletes, teams and builders of sport.
Through the display of Abbas’ gear, the official said the organisers tried to convey to visitors that his story, reflecting his humble origin, is amazing.
Abbas, representing Pakistan’s less privileged area of Naltar valley located in Gilgit-Baltistan, had a passion for skiing for which his father carved the first pair of his ski gear out of wood.
The SFP official said that the federation has received an official confirmation in connection with the display of Abbas’ handmade wooden skis.
National coach Zahid Frooq who is also Abbas’ coach said: “Abbas’ talent was recognised when he was still very young. It is certainly a proud moment for Pakistan and especially the skiing community in the country.”
Abbas, currently representing the PAF in national events, qualified for the Olympics 2010 by securing eighth position out of more than seventy international participants in a qualifying competition held in Cedars, Lebanon.
Coach Farooq said reporters were stunned when he told them during the Winter Olympics that the skier started skiing on wooden skis made by his father.
“Abbas became top choice after the provincial authorities of British Columbia decided to form a British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame to commemorate the Winter Olympics 2010,” disclosed Farooq.