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Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics: India’s Mohammad Arif Khan finishes 45th in giant slalom

This was India’s best-ever show at the Winter Games. Arif Khan will be in action in the men’s slalom next on Wednesday.

Indian alpine skier  Mohammad Arif Khan finished 45th in the men’s giant slalom event at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics on Sunday.

Mohammad Arif Khan clocked 2:47.24 seconds – 1:22.35 in the first run and 1:24.89 in the second run – at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre. The Jammu and Kashmir-born skier was making his Winter Games debut at the event.

This was India’s best-ever finish in men’s giant slalom at the Winter Games. Jeremy Bujakowski,  India’s first-ever Winter Olympian, had finished 65th at Grenoble 1968.

Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt won the gold medal with a timing of 2:09.35 seconds, while Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec (2:09.54) and France’s Mathieu Faivre (2:10.69) clinched the silver and bronze, respectively.

“It was one of my dreams to be at the Winter Olympics and this is my first time. It really means a lot,” Arif Khan told “It’s a great message back to our country, to our people to join the winter sports in the future. We have a lot of mountains, a lot of places to ski, but not the alpine sports at the moment.

“Today, there were like millions of people watching me live back home. I was trying my best to give the best I have got. But the weather was uncertain, you couldn’t see much… like how the slope was used, but it was good,” the Indian skier pointed out.

In giant slalom – an Alpine skiing event – athletes ski down a slope in the quickest time possible while ensuring they pass between sets of gates. Each competitor gets two runs and are ranked according to their cumulative times – lower is better – over both attempts.

Failure to pass between any one gate in Run 1 deems a run as DNF (Did Not Finish). A DNF in run 1 means the athlete can’t participate in the second run.

Missing a gate or crashing off course in Run 2 also earns a skier a DNF, which makes them ineligible for a ranking in the final standings.

At Beijing 2022, the giant slalom event took place on the 424m ‘Ice River’ course with a start altitude of 1925m and finish altitude of 1501m.

With a field of 89 athletes from 62 nations in the men’s giant slalom race, Arif Khan queued up 85th in the start list for Run 1.

With low visibility due to incessant snowing and conditions worsening as the race progressed, the number of DNFs kept piling up and the field thinned down.

Heading into Arif Khan’s run, 32 competitors had DNFs and two did not start (DNS). The Indian skier took a cautious approach, watching his speed down the sharp turns to finish his first run successfully in 1:22.35 seconds, 19.42s behind the race leader and eventual gold medallist Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt.

Arif Khan was 53rd among the 54 competitors who managed to finish Run 1 and earned a starting spot in the second run.

Run 2 saw a delayed start due to the weather but conditions were far more favourable than the first when it did.

The 31-year-old Arif Khan, India’s only athlete at Beijing 2022, ensured he finished Run 2 in 1:24.89 seconds to earn the 45th ranking in the final standings. It was the penultimate position for the finishers with Jamaica’s Benjamin Alexander coming in at 46th.

Arif Khan will next be seen competing in the men’s slalom event at the same venue on Wednesday – February 16.

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