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Dr Nibal Khalil is pictured at the Makomanai Indoor Skating Rink on Monday.
Palestine NOC dreams of joining OCA’s winter sports festival

21 Feb 2017
Sapporo, Japan, February 20, 2017: A record number of National Olympic Committees are taking part in the OCA’s 8th Asian Winter Games – 32. The Palestine Olympic Committee is hoping to make that 33 in the ninth edition. To this end, Dr. Nibal Khalil, International Relations Unit Director at the POC, is visiting Sapporo to view the AWG and gain support for Palestine’s winter sports future.

“Palestine is part of the Asian countries, although we do not have winter sports games,” she said. “It is important to come and to see the people involved here; in the future maybe we can build something for the winter games.” Nibal pointed out that Gulf states including Qatar and the United Arab Emirates had ice rinks, enabling them to attract winter sports athletes in sports such as ice hockey and short track speed skating.

“Maybe in the future we can start to build an ice rink and have training for these kind of athletes,” added Nibal. So far she has enjoyed every minute of her time in Sapporo after arriving on February 18 – in time for the welcome reception and the day before the opening ceremony at Sapporo Dome.

“The opening ceremony was wonderful,” she said. “It was so professional and systematic. I was so impressed with the huge number of teams taking part, and also with the number of athletes in some big delegations.”

In general, Nibal says Palestine is struggling to find a base for sport, and they still face problems with limited resources for certain sports and the difficulty of Israeli check points allowing some athletes into Jordan, from where they can travel overseas.

“We need resources to build an ice rink and to train athletes. It takes years – but we really want to compete in the Asian Winter Games,” she concluded.
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