INTERVIEW – Arif Mohammad Khan

Arif Mohammad Khan was born on 9 March 1990. He is an alpine professional skier, who competes in the slalom and has great laurels and awards in his name. In 2011, he won two gold medals – in the slalom and giant slalom Alpine Skiing at the South Asian Winter Games, the sole edition held to date. In 2022 he carried the aspiration of a billion hearts at the Beijing 2022 Olympics where he took part in the the slalom and giant slalom events.


Q.1: What motivated you to be a skier?

Ans. Landscape, Mountains, and Snow.

Q.2: What did your path to the Olympics look like?

Ans. I started participating in competitions at the junior level. I, fortunately, was able to get medals in every competition I took part in. My family recognized my talent and encouraged me to pursue it. Actually, my family is from a skiing background, my father was a skiing instructor and we had a ski shop even in the 80s.

If I have to put it into perspective I would say my real journey started in 2008. It was the first time I visited Switzerland. It painted a magical sight for me not in regards to the scenery as it matched the one we have back home but the quality of the slopes and their seriousness for skiing. This was a turning moment in my life as it compelled me to take skiing as a profession and set my eyes on the Olympics.

Q.3: Did the association support you?

Ans. Association does nothing over here. They don’t have adequate funds. They only have funds to host events, not harness talent or help in athlete development. They occasionally help you when you reach the international stage. Their contributions don’t even account for 10-15% of our budget.

Q.4: Was there a specific moment from the ’22 Olympics that you will never forget?

Ans.  First, the idea of representing 1.3 billion will always be a source of glory, keeping the tricolor on the shoulders might seem easy but it possesses the weight of those 1.3 billion people.

Q.5: What is your work regime?

Ans. Skiing is a time-intensive sport. I practice for 8 hours a day 5 days a week. I wake up at 5:30 in the morning, I take a brisk excursion to fully awaken myself. This is followed by a 30 min breakfast and I am all ready, in the car to go on the slope. By 7:30 I am ready with everything, ready to have a productive day. To warmen up the muscles I go for a run. At 8 I start with my main practice which includes many kinds of drills and perfecting techniques. I take a break for lunch at 12 till 2. After 2 we have dryland exercise till 4. That’s when we call it a day.

In off-seasons, our regimes aren’t hampered. We practice at the gym for 4 hours in morning-evening shifts. Special emphasis is laid on what we eat and we try to stick to our diet. In the end its a difficult sport but a beautiful one

Q.6: Which strengths do you believe make a great athlete?

Ans. I believe a degree of comfort and belonging are integral in the relation of an athlete and their association as it proves to be a great driving factor in becoming a great athlete. An athlete needs to be provided with care, love, and respect as incentives to work harder and strive harder.

Q.7: What do you believe is the greatest challenge most skiers in   Kashmir are facing today?

Ans. I believe the biggest problem is infrastructure. We lack in the field of primary, secondary, or advanced infrastructure. Most of our infrastructure is devoted to training, striping professionals of avenues where they can practice. This is the greatest challenge most skiers in Kashmir are facing today.

Q.8: What message will you give to the youth of Kashmir?

Ans. My sole message to the youth of Kashmir is to dream, dream big, and act, act big. It’s time that we wake from this slumber and show the world the metal we are made of, show the world the talent we possess.


10TH H

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