Kuwaiti athletes Lalwa (left) and Abdul Aziz. © OCACouncil News
Date : 08 Feb 2019
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russian Federation, February 8, 2019: Abdul Aziz, 14, and Lulwa Al-Tharman, 15, were full of smiles despite the biting cold of minus 36 degrees Celsuis during Friday’s team welcome ceremony at the 1st Children of Asia Winter International Sports Games.
It was a far cry from the conditions back home – when they left Kuwait City it was a balmy 21 degrees Celsuis – yet the two athletes seemed to enjoy the snow and the chilly temperature as they raised their country’s flag at a frosted Cultural Park fronting Government House in Sakhalin, Russia’s largest island.
“We have come here to gain experience in winter sports and I’m sure everyone will savour every moment. Yes, it is cold, but we are all looking forward to these Games,” said Kuwait team manager and delegation head Abdullah Yakoob Hassan.
Kuwait has brought a 21-strong athletes squad. It is made up of 18 ice hockey players, two speed skaters and one figure skater – Lulwa Al-Tharman – who carries the medal hopes of the country.
“Lulwa is our best chance for a medal. She won a gold medal last year in Thailand in figure skating and we hope she can do it again here although the competition will be tough,” Hassan said.
“As for our boys' ice hockey team and the speed skaters, it is more a case of learning and gaining valuable experience as we look ahead to the next Asian Winter Games,” he added.
Along with Kuwait, the other teams at Friday’s flag-raising ceremony were South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and the Russian federal republic of Bashkortostan.
A total of 20 countries, including Russia and a number of its federal regions, are taking part in the inaugural Winter Games for children under the age of 17. Nearly 1,200 athletes will compete in eight winter sports.
The Opening Ceremony is on Saturday.
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