Arif Khan, The Only Indian to Qualify For The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics
Arif Khan has qualified for the Slalom and Giant Slalom skiing events at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Arif Khan is set to make his debut at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, but he is also the only Indian to have qualified for the big event this time round.
The 31-year-old from Gulmarg started skiing at the age of four, encouraged by his father who owns a ski equipment shop, and his decades of hard work have finally paid off with his qualification in two events in Beijing - the slalom and giant slalom alpine skiing events. This also makes Arif the first India to qualify for two events at the Winter Olympics. However, he says, his expectations from his outing in Beijing is not for a podium finish.
"For the last one year, my training has been taken care of so well and I have been performing much better than I used to. If you want to win a medal, you require 10 years of hard training and every sort of budget and funding. I want to be in the top 30 in the World in the Winter Olympics. Even a slight mistake while going down the hill can make or break you in the competition," said Arif while speaking to the media during an interaction facilitated by the Sports Authority of India.
The Sports Authority of India included Arif in their TOPS scheme only recently, clearing Rs 17.46 lakh for his training and equipment expenditure ahead of the Olympics. Four years back, that was not the case as the skier had to resort to crowd-funding his campaign.
"It was great to get the support of SAI as a part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme," Arif said. "It helped me buy the equipment, pay the bills of the coaches. The financial support felt really good. Everyone in my skiing fraternity is happy that the Government is recognising the sport,' he added.
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