Beijing: Skier Arif Khan led a small four-man Indian contingent at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics here on Friday amid diplomatic boycott of the event by the country.
31-year-old Arif will be the only Indian competitor at the Games after qualifying for slalom and giant slalom events. India sent a contingent of six members to the Games, including a coach, a technician and a team manager.
Arif is the first Indian to qualify for two events of the same edition of the Games and his matches are scheduled for February 13 and 16.
India was the 23rd contingent to enter the grand ceremony at the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium here, as China welcomed athletes from 84 countries amid a diplomatic boycott by powerful countries like the US and Britain over alleged human rights abuses in the region. Xinjiang.
India announced a diplomatic boycott of the Games after China assigned Qi Fabao, the regimental commander of the People’s Liberation Army, who was injured in the military confrontation with Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, as a torchbearer for the event. Flashlight relay.
India said China’s move was “deplorable” and has chosen to “politicize” the Olympics.
Born in the Baramulla district of Kashmir, Arif started skiing early and won his first national slalom championship when he was just 12 years old.
He later won two gold medals in the slalom and giant slalom events of the 2011 South Asian Winter Games.
He has also competed in both editions of the Khelo India Winter Games in Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir.
Arif’s inspiration was his father Yasin Khan, who owns a ski equipment shop in Gulmarg, a popular tourist destination in Jammu and Kashmir.
Previously, India’s Winter Olympics campaigns were identified with one man: veteran luge athlete Shiva Keshavan, who represented the country in six editions of the mega event.
The 40-year-old from Manali, Himachal Pradesh, has now taken on the role of promoting winter sports in India.
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