India's lone participant in the Winter Olympics, alpine skier Arif Khan, finished 45th in the giant slalom event in Beijing on Sunday. The 31-year-old from Baramulla district in Jammu and Kashmir clocked a combined time of 2 minute 47.24 seconds from two races in difficult weather conditions at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre. Khan, who was making his Winter Olympics debut, ended at 53rd in Race 1 with a time of 1:22.35 out of the 54 competitors who could finish it. As many as 33 skiers could not finish Race 1 while two did not start. Khan queued up 85th in the start list of 89 athletes from 62 nations.
Khan did better in Race 2 as he clocked 1:24.89, ending at 44th out of 45 skiers who could complete it. Nine skiers failed to finish Race 2 which was delayed by nearly four hours due to bad weather.
His combined time, which saw him finish 45th overall, was 37.89 seconds behind gold winner Marco Odermatt of Switzerland who clocked a combined time of 2:09.35.
Slovenia's Zan Kranjec (2:09.54) and France's Mathieu Faivre (2:10.69) clinched the silver and bronze respectively.
Khan had clocked a combined time of 1:59.47 in the Winter Olympics qualification event at Kolasin, Montenegro in December last year.
Khan, the first Indian to qualify for two events in a Winter Olympics, will compete in men's slalom at the same venue on Wednesday.
"It's one of my dreams to be at Winter Olympics and this is my first time. It really means a lot. It's a great message back to our country, to our people to join winter sports in future," Khan was quoted as saying by 'Olympics.com'.