Beijing Winter Olympics-bound Indian skier Arif Khan, who will participate in two events, is aiming a modest top-30 finish in the showpiece which begins on Friday.
The 31-year-old Khan is the lone Indian participant in the February 4-20 quadrennial event. He secured his berth in the Winter Olympics in a qualifying event in Dubai last year.
“To be honest, if you want to be a medal contender, you require at least 10 years of training and preparation, (need) to have (decent) budget and funding, only then it's possible to be in medal contention,” Khan, an Alpine skier, said at a virtual interaction, organised by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), on Sunday.
“I have been training over a couple of years seriously and my expectation is to be in world’s top 30. To be in top 30 is like medal winners in the world."
Khan will take part in the Slalom and Giant Slalom events in Beijing.
"This sport is very different and you can be never consistent at winning. Even if you make one mistake while going down the hill, it is like done. You make a mistake and you are out of the game,” added Khan, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir.
The skier, who was included in the Target Olympics Podium Scheme (TOPS) recently, also said that his performances have improved and his training in Santa Catarina “was helpful”.
“Last one year, my training has been taken care of well. I have been performing much better than I used to before.
"We will have two runs, the first run is always described as the best run and if you make it through, the next run can really make it to the podium. If there are mistakes, you might go out of the game,” he said and also thanked SAI for its support.
Khan stressed on the importance of mental preparation ahead of the quadrennial event.
“Yeah, exactly, we always have trainers for mental preparation and balance. You know sports always depends, this sport especially 70 per cent on mental preparation,” he said.
“If you are physically so strong and able to go down the hill super-fast, but mentally if you are disturbed and not focused you are not able to pay attention, you can create mistakes and go out of the race. To be mentally stable, we always train with our feelings,” he elaborated. Khan will be leaving for Beijing on Monday. His events will take place on February 13 and 16.
“It feels so great, I am going to represent 1.4 billion people, it is an achievement like being an athlete as well as being a citizen of India, it is super exciting.
“My dream has been to inspire people, especially back in Jammu and Kashmir. I always wanted to be someone that can really draw a line for the generation to follow and I see myself doing something closer.
"Right now, I am feeling very happy and proud to be carrying the national flag in the opening ceremony and it will be seen by the world,” Khan signed off.
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