April 13 - Pakistan will compete at its second Winter Olympics in Sochi next year after three of the nation's skiers qualified for the Games after gaining the required International Ski Federation (FIS) points at races held in Italy, Turkey and Lebanon last month.
Pakistan's first Winter Olympian Muhammad Abbas (pictured top), who placed 79th out of 103 competitors in the men's giant slalom at Vancouver 2010; Mir Nawaz, who won the nation's first ever medal at any South Asian Winter Games when he claimed both a silver and a bronze in the 2011 event in India; and the 2011 national men's giant slalom champion Mohammad Karim were confirmed as qualified for Sochi 2014 by the Ski Federation of Pakistan (SFP).
"Our ski team has qualified for the Winter Olympics 2014 after scoring the required Federation Internationale de Ski points in various events held in Europe and Asia," SFP official Iftikhar Bajwa said.
As well as the chance to compete at the Winter Olympics, Bajwa also hopes the qualification will help raise the profile of skiing at home in Pakistan, which already holds a National Championship in the northern Karakoram mountains away from the searing heat of the Punjab region, where summer temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius.
"It is a big boost for the sport and we will select the best skier amongst the three once all of them complete their five races by January 2014," he added.
The SFP was formed in 1990 and is run by the Pakistan Air Force.
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