Srinagar, Nov 20: It is a dream come true moment for 30-year-old Alpine skier Mohammad Arif Khan who has qualified for the Winter Olympics 2022 to be held in Beijing, China.
The young skier hailing from remote village of Hajibal in Tangmarg area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district has participated in around 100 international sporting competitions before making it to the Olympics.
He has already qualified for Asian Games, and four World Ski Championships. He is now the only Indian skier who has qualified for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Mohammad Arif Khan said he aspired to win a medal at the apex summit in China.
Speaking to Rising Kashmir, the skier said “he is very excited to make it to the Olympics. It will be great if I can make it to the medals tally for the country”.
The skier said he is preparing for the Olympics that will be starting in the first week of February 2022, adding “I am focusing on my training to perform better.”
Khan also said, before going for the Olympics, there are many scheduled events and he is preparing for them which would help him in the upcoming Olympics.
“When I was only 7, my father took me to Gulmarg and enrolled me in a skiing coaching course. Since then my father stood alongside me throughout this journey,” Khan said.
After the state-level championship, Khan became the center of attraction for the selectors and got a call for the nationals where he exhibited outstanding performance in the junior category and went on to compete in seniors.
He participated in a state championship in his hometown in 2005. Seeing his performance, he was selected for the 14th Junior Alpine Skiing Championship in China.
At the age of 30, he represented India in various countries like the USA, Japan, Turkey, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Lebanon, Austria, etc.
It is to mention here, he has primarily taken part in the slalom events, though he has also competed in the Giant slalom in the past.
To qualify for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in the slalom, the average of five best results in the event between the periods of July 1, 2019 to January 16, 2022 was considered.
Arif Khan finished ninth, 10th, and twice finished 11th in four slalom events respectively over the past week in Dubai.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha congratulated Arif for his achievement and directed J&K Sports Council to ensure Arif is provided with all the facilities.
“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,” the LG tweeted.
Former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also congratulated Arif for making it to Winter Olympics. “Congratulations Arif, well done for qualifying for #Beijing2022. We will all be rooting for you,” Omar tweeted.
Furthermore, Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Farooq Khan, congratulated Arif Khan, Sports Council, and the Youth Services Sports department for the feat and hoped that his performance in Beijing Winter Olympics will be medal-winning.
He said, “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”.