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Beijing Winter Olympics

Indian skier from small Kashmir village reaches Beijing Olympics

Following years of struggle, self-taught athlete raises country's skiing profile

India's Arif Khan competes in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships men's giant slalom on Feb.19, 2021 in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

SRINAGAR, India -- Arif Khan, who hails from Hajibal, a small village in the northern part of Indian-administered Kashmir, is the only athlete from India to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics. But behind his exemplary performance in qualifying for the elite competition lies the lonely struggle of this self-taught skier.

On Feb. 4, millions of sports fans in India watched as Khan marched through Beijing National Stadium with India's flag clasped in his hands during the opening ceremony of the games.

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