SRINAGAR: Adding another accolade to his achievements, Arif Khan, the top skier from the Valley, has secured a gold and bronze medal in the ongoing Slalom event at FIS International Ski Races held in Ski Duba.
Khan accomplished this feat in 51.98 seconds over three runs. His first run clocked in at 17.45 seconds, followed by the second and third runs, both at 17.43 seconds.
In an exclusive conversation with news agency Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Khan described the international tournament as a formidable challenge, particularly due to the characteristics of the slopes at FIS International Ski Races.
“This is a tournament organized by the International Skiing Federation. Like in previous years, the Indian team received an invitation to participate. The tournament posed a significant challenge for me due to the short slopes of around 200 meters made of ice. Navigating these icy hills is a challenge for skiers, but I managed to succeed on the third and fourth attempts,” he stated.
Khan highlighted that four races took place in the tournament, where he emerged victorious in the third and fourth races.
“On the first day, I was out of the race, and in the second race, I secured a place in the top 10. On the third day, I made a recovery and clinched a bronze medal. Finally, on the fourth day, the Indian team secured the first position, winning the first international gold medal,” he shared.
Khan hailed the victory as historic, believing it would inspire Indian skiers to make their mark on the international stage.
“The experience I gained in Dubai carried me through on the third and fourth days. This win is historic and will inspire our skiers to excel in international competitions,” he expressed.
Looking ahead, Khan expressed his aspirations to earn more accolades in the Asian and Olympic Games.
“Now, the Olympic and Asian Games will be our next priority. This victory has boosted our morale to win more medals in these two international championships. We have talented skiers in Kashmir who will be motivated to compete in larger international championships,” he affirmed.
Khan, the sole Indian participant at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, holds national and South Asian slalom champion titles in alpine skiing. Having participated in two events at the Beijing Olympics—slalom and giant slalom—Khan made history by securing a Beijing 2022 quota place in the slalom event in November 2021. A month later, he further pushed boundaries by winning an Olympic quota place in giant slalom at a meet in Montenegro.
Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah extended his congratulations to Khan for this remarkable achievement.
“Massive news coming out from Dubai, Kashmiri skier Arif Khan wins Gold medal in the ongoing FIS international ski races in Dubai in the slalom event. Arif also won a bronze medal yesterday in the same competition. Congratulations,” he posted on X. (KNO).
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