ISLAMABAD: Alpine skier Mohammad Karim, Pakistan's lone representative for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, says he is ready for the competition after extensive training abroad.
The 2022 Winter Olympics is scheduled to take place from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20 in the Chinese capital and venues near neighboring towns of Yanqing and Chongli.
Karim, who competed in alpine skiing at Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018, will be Pakistan's only athlete to take part in Beijing 2022 following the withdrawal of fellow alpine skier Mia Nuriah Freudweiler due to injury.
"For the Beijing Olympics, I have been practicing for the last three years. I am fully ready for the competition because I practiced and took part in the races in Turkey, Lebanon and Italy," Karim told Arab News in a phone interview on Wednesday evening.
Karim's appearance will be his third and Pakistan’s fourth in the Winter Olympics. The South Asian nation first participated in the games at Vancouver 2010, when Mohammad Abbas became its first athlete to qualify in the alpine skiing (giant slalom) category.
Born and raised in Naltar Bala Valley of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan's north, 26-year-old Karim has been practicing skiing since the age of four.
“I started to play locally in childhood," he said. "From 2007, I started professional skiing."
Being brought up in Pakistan's mountainous north has contributed to Karim's sports career, and he believes that with more training more athletes could be groomed to represent the country on the international level.
"The country’s snowy mountains have the perfect slopes to promote skiing," he said. "If our government pays attention to winter sports, and athletes are properly trained, then the youth will leave no stone unturned to make the country proud."