Winter Olympics-bound Arif Khan has been granted a financial support of Rs 17.46 lakhs for his training in Europe after his inclusion in the TOPS Core group, the Sports Ministry said on Friday. The 31-year-old Khan is the first Indian athlete to qualify for two events at the Winter Olympic Games, scheduled to be held in Beijing from February 4. Khan will compete in the Slalom and Giant Slalom events. "The Sports Ministry's Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) has approved the inclusion of Alpine Skiing athlete Md Arif Khan in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) Core group, until the Winter Olympics, scheduled this February in Beijing, China," the Ministry said in a statement.
"He has also been approved an amount of INR 17.46 Lakh under TOPS towards training in Europe and procurement of equipment, ahead of the grand event in China." Khan's current training base is in Austria, where he is accompanied by his coach and physio.
"The MOC approved the European training camp for Khan for a total of 35 days, which started since his qualification for the Winter Olympics." A month after securing his quota in alpine skiing slalom category in an Olympic qualifier in Dubai, Khan won the quota in giant slalom in a competition in Montenegro in December last year.
The feat earned Jammu and Kashmir based Khan the unique distinction of becoming the first Indian to win direct quota spots in two different Winter Olympics events.
The Gulmarg-based athlete had won two gold medals, in the Slalom and Giant Slalom events, at the 2011 South Asian Winter Games, held in Uttarakhand.