Mohammad Arif Khan grew up in Gulmarg, famous for being a major tourist destination of Kashmir. Growing up in snowy weather made Arif close to skiing, moreover his father is the owner of a ski equipment shop. At 10, Arif took to competitive skiing and rose steadily up the ladder.
At 12, he won gold in Slalom in his maiden appearance at the Nationals. He then made his international debut for India at 16 and took part in a junior international ski federation event in Japan where he finished 23rd in the Giant Slalom. In 2011, Arif won two gold medals in Slalom and Giant Slalom at the South Asian Winter Games.
In his first FIS World Ski Championships, Arif finished 59th in Slalom and 91st in Giant Slalom and was unable to move past the qualification stage. His best result in a World Championship came this year when he finished 45th in Giant Slalom in Italy.
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It has not been an easy ride for Arif. To follow an expensive sport like skiing, Arif has to depend on his father who poured his income into his son’s career. Occasionally, Arif also doubles up as a skiing instructor to make up for the shortfall. To qualify for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, Arif turned to crowdfunding but could muster the required amount. His dream will ultimately be fulfilled in Beijing Winter Games 2022.
He is the only ski racer from India who has qualified for Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 till now. Himanshu Thakur and Aanchal Thakur are the other Indian ski racers trying to qualify for the mega event.
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Content courtesy: SportSavour