For us in Pakistan, sports only revolves around cricket, hockey and to an extent squash and tennis. And quite obviously, very few would have known that a young man of 24 is out there at Vancouver, representing Pakistan in the Skiing event in the ongoing Winter Olympics. Clocking 3 minutes and 20.58 seconds, he ranked 79th out of a total of 81 skiers (one of the remaining skiers was from India) and is ranked 3,764th in the world in giant slalom. But that doesn’t matter as the mere presence of this young man at the Winter Olympics is more significant rather than winning medals as this has been the first representation of its kind for Pakistan.
Muhammad Abbas hails from a village near Naltar, and like many Pakistani world record holders, he also couldn't afford to buy skis. And he started skiing by using homemade skis made from jungle wood made by his father. And so the journey to Vancouver started. The Naltar and surrounding areas provided the lift to go up to 500 meters. But the downhill run at Whistler is 3,105 metres. He had no alternative so skied on with whatever was available.
So here is a man, totally indigenous, yet standing tall for his country. We are all proud of him for becoming the first Winter Olympian.