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Indian team led by Kashmiri youth wins ‘Spirit award’ at snow sculpting championship in USA

By Raqib Hameed Naik, TwoCircles.net

Srinagar: A snow-sculpting Indian team led by Baramulla-based youth Zahoor Din Lone won the “Spirit Award” at the 27th International Snow Sculpture Championship, held at Breckenridge, USA from January 24, 2017.

The team was one among 16 selected from across the world after more than 400 applications were screened by International Snow Sculpture Organizing Committee.

Along with the leader of team-Lone, Sunil Kushwaha, Ravi Prakash, and Mridul Kumar Upadhyay were also members of a four-member team which took part in International Snow Sculpture Championship.

Team China won gold, team Sweden won silver whereas team Mongolia-Erdene won bronze.

On the last night at the farewell dinner, team India-Callisto was given the spirit award for their friendliness, high spirits and general camaraderie.

“I was nervous and wanted to prove that we are capable and do great whenever given responsibility,” 29-year-Lone told TwoCircles.net.

While sharing his experience, Lone added, “the climate and elevation of Breckenridge town was pretty similar to Gulmarg. I found that Championship at Breckenridge is being organised so beautifully because everyone in the town helps in organising it better by various big and small possible ways. I wish to get this spirit and support in Kashmir when we try to do such events next time in Kashmir.”

Mridul Upadhyay, one among the four team members termed representing India at international level as a dream come true.

“We were supported and encouraged by the organisers and other teams a lot. We won hearts with our hard work, passion, dedication, nature and positive attitude. We tried to promote India as not only a warm country but a perfect destination for snow based tourism too and we could do that through qualifying in this international Championship,” he told Twocircles.net.

The four member group had struggled to finance the trip and their training in November last year. As per the championship rules, every team had to finance their own airfare and visa fees. The team didn’t had proper snow sculpting gear as the cost to buy the same for four team members was in lakhs.

“We got partial sponsorship from Bestech India Pvt Ltd for tools and dress. For the rest, we spent our own savings and borrowed from friends, family and well-wishers,” says Ravi Prakash.

Jubilant after receiving the award, the team has decided to practice more so as to improve their art and focus more on international snow sculpting Championships around the world.

“Also, we’ll use our experience to promote snow sculpting and snow-based tourism in India through training of snow Sculpting and organising national and international snow sculpting Championships in India if given proper support,” the team adds.