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Pakistan''s Muhammad Karim (left) and cross-country skier Syed Human at Yongpyong Alpine Centre on Thursday.
Pakistan’s Karim suffers slalom disappointment

22 Feb 2018
PyeongChang, Korea, February 22, 2018: The distinctive green and white colours of Pakistan have been flying side by side with the glamorous European ski nations such as Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre during the Winter Olympics. The lone alpine skier in the two-man Pakistan delegation is Muhammad Karim, who had the misfortune to straddle a gate and fail to finish the first run of the technically-challenging slalom on Thursday morning.

“It happens like this,” he said, with obvious disappointment that he would not be joining the second run in the afternoon. “Even Marcel Hirscher did not finish today. It can happen to anyone,” he added, referring to the Austrian ski great who was among around half the field that did not complete the first run. “I am feeling upset for my team and for my country. I need to prepare better for the slalom.”

This is Karim’s second Winter Olympics after his debut at Sochi 2014, and he performed well earlier this week in the giant slalom, completing both runs when over 30 skiers failed to finish either the first or second. “I am happy with the giant slalom but not happy with the slalom because unfortunately I could not finish.”

Aged 22, Karim is an Olympic Scholarship holder. With the support of the Ski Federation of Pakistan, this has enabled him to train in Turkey, Lebanon and Austria. This financial support has been particularly useful in his preparations for Korea, as he says there has been no snow for the past two years at his home base of Naltar Gilgit in Pakistan.

Karim is representing Pakistan along with cross-country skier Syed Human here in Korea and the alpine skier has set his sights on a hat trick of Winter Olympics appearances at Beijing in 2022. “This is my target now, and hopefully I can have good preparations,” he said. For the record, Karim finished 72nd of 110 competitors in the giant slalom over the two runs, but was unranked on Thursday in the slalom. He was placed 71st in the giant slalom at Sochi 2014. 
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