(Reuters) – Alpine skier Fayik Abdi stated he’s hoping to unfold consciousness of winter sports activities in Saudi Arabia as he goals to change into the primary athlete to signify the nation at the Winter Olympics in Beijing this month.
Abdi will compete within the big slalom, which has attracted rivals from nations not often related to the game, corresponding to violinist Vanessa Mae who competed for Thailand at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
“The first time I skied was once I was 4 years previous in Lebanon, my mother taught me how to ski and ever since then I’ve been attempting to pursue the game,” Abdi informed Reuters on Wednesday.
“I hope this opens the door for individuals in Saudi and other people within the gulf to attempt winter sports activities and to participate within the Winter Olympics at some point.”
Abdi, who has primarily been practising in Utah since transferring to the United States in 2012, stated that considered one of his fundamental challenges was not having the ability to observe in his dwelling nation.
“Obviously we do not get sufficient snowfall within the mountains right here to ski, so I had to do most of my snowboarding within the United States and in Europe,” Abdi stated.
Two Saudi skiers had certified to the Games, Abdi and Salman Al-Howaish, however as the foundations allowed just one to take part, the previous obtained the nod.
Abdi’s coach Daniel Sanz counseled the skier for reserving his spot at the Beijing Games, regardless of having solely seven months to safe qualification.
“We did it as a result of… the fellows confirmed a very good angle and dedication to this undertaking and that zeal introduced them (him) to this occasion,” Sanz informed Reuters.
The Beijing Games run from Feb. 4-20.
(Reporting by Ahmed Yosri and Imad Creidi, writing by Aadi Nair, enhancing by Pritha Sarkar)