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Covid-19 pandemic’s clouds loom over Gulmarg Winter Sports Festival

Post by on Friday, January 14, 2022

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Srinagar, Jan 13: After witnessing a spike in COVID- 19 cases in Jammu and Kashmir, the annual winter sports festival at Gulmarg is likely to be postponed, the official said.

This year more than 1500 players were expected to participate in this festival.

A senior official at Winter Games Association Jammu and Kashmir (WGAJK) told Rising Kashmir, in view of the surge in fresh positive Covid-19 cases, they will hold a review meeting this week and it will be decided whether the winter sports festival will be held or not in Gulmarg.

WGAJK also postponed their activities in view of the surge in Covid 19 positive cases.

“All the competitions of Alpine, snowboard and Nordic events for juniors and seniors for boys and girls for north, south and central districts of Kashmir division which were scheduled to be held at Gulmarg and Pahalgam venues on January 17, 18 and 20, 2022, have been postponed due to unavoidable circumstances,” the official said.

The official added that the selection trials of the same events for senior and junior men and women categories scheduled to be held on January 28, 29, and 30, 2022 at Gulmarg are also being postponed and the new dates for the same shall be published separately.

As per the official more than 70 students have tested Covid 19 positive in Gulmarg who were going to participate in winter sports at Gulmarg.

“A total of 120 students were going through 14 days of skiing camp in Gulmarg organized by J&K Youth Services and Sports of which 70 students have been tested Covid- 19 positive and, besides some local hotel employees also tested positive,” he said.

While confirming to Rising Kashmir, Director J&K Youth Services & Sports Gazanfar Ali said that around 50 to 60 boys have been tested positive for Covid-19. 

“Though the students were tested twice before the training it is in the third test they have tested positive for covid-19, besides our two staffers also have tested positive,” he said.

He added that as far as Winter Sports “Khelo India” is concerned, the date of which has not been yet announced, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Government of India. The date shall be decided after February 15, 2022.

“In case of a surge in positive cases, the government will take a call on that,” he said, adding that they are in contact with Director Health Services Kashmir and Divisional Commissioner Baramulla regarding whether to hold the event or not.

Speaking to Rising Kashmir Spokesperson Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK) Dr. Mir Mushtaq, said that around 70 students have been tested positive for Covid-19 and all of them have been isolated.

“We advise people to follow COVID appropriate behavior and adhere strictly to SOP. We have taken all the measures to prevent the spread of this virus," he said.

He added no omicron variant has been found among the positive cases yet. “We will send some samples for genome sequencing to rule out Omicron and will also trace the contacts.,” he said.

Earlier, the first Khelo India Winter Games were held in February and March 2020 in Leh and Gulmarg.

J&K stood first in the overall medal tally with 26 gold, 29 silver, 21 bronze medals while the Indian Army team came second with 8 gold medals in the first edition. 

However, in the second edition of the winter games held in Gulmarg in 2020 Jammu and Kashmir also topped the table with coming first and Karnataka second.

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