SRINAGAR: Kashmir’s top alpine skier has finally got a chance to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022, slated for February. It has been officially announced. He has been practising for the event for a long time and has participated in numerous skiing events, so far.
Congratulations to skier Arif Khan for qualifying for Beijing Winter Olympics2022. It is a proud moment for the whole country.@JKSportsCouncil to ensure Arif is provided with world-class training facilities by best-in-class coaches&support staff.I wish him all the best for games.
— Office of LG J&K (@OfficeOfLGJandK) November 20, 2021
Arif was recently practising for the World cup at Hintertux Glacier in Austria. He will be the only skier to participate in the global event.
“I am in a race to put India and it’s skiing places especially Gulmarg Kashmir on a global listed skiing destination in the world,” Khan wrote in October, before leaving from Austria. “So join me along, in my journey this winter towards the preparation for upcoming winter Olympic Games 2022 Beijing.”
A smart skier who has literally mapped every curve of the Gulmarg slopes has earlier participated in South Asian Games, Asian Games and World Ski Championships. He plays golf and is into cycling as well. He is from Hajibal village in Tangmarg and has already represented India in various championships in past. He secured his place in the top competition in the qualifying skiing event in Dubai, where he is currently.
“Arif Khan qualified for Beijing Winter Olympics in ski and snowboard,” Indian Olympic Association Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said in a tweet.
Within moments after his qualification was out, the praises were showered from all sides. “Congratulations Arif, well done for qualifying for #Beijing2022,” tweeted Omar Abdullah. “We will all be rooting for you.”
“I have got the confirmation that Arif is first Indian skier this time to secure place in Winter Olympics 2022,” Mohammad Abbas Wani, who heads the Winter Games Association of J&K (WGAJK), was quoted saying. “It is the biggest news of the decade for us as our skier has qualified directly for the biggest winter games spectacle on the globe.”
Reports said Khan, 30, has become the first Indian to be eligible to compete at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in the slalom event. Though he participates in the slalom events but earlier he had competed in the giant slalom as well. Of the five different events making the alpine skiing basket, Slalom skiing is considered the shortest event, involving skiing between poles or gates where skiers need to perform fast turns and rapid changes of direction.
Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Farooq Khan, has congratulated Arif Khan, Sports Council and Youth Services Sports department for the feat and hoped that his performance in Beijing Winter Olympics will be medal-winning. He said that the creation of world-class sporting infrastructure with training and coaching facilities has started showing results and more and more players are getting selected for National and International sports events.