LAHORE - Pakistan’s Muhammad Karim finished at 71st position out of 105 skiers in the giant slalom competition of Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 at Rosa Khutor resort Wednesday.
Ted Ligety became the first Winter Olympian this year to win a gold medal for the US in the alpine skiing, setting the best cumulative time of two minutes, 45.29 seconds in the two runs. Karim just avoided the last place finish by a margin of 10 seconds which went to India’s Himanshu Thakur.
Karim’s 71st place finish was better than 79th place achieved by Pakistan’s first-ever Winter Olympian Muhammad Abbass at Vancouver Olympics in 2010. Karim also made an improvement in Pakistan’s record. He finished the first run in one minute and 43.44 seconds. He was 22.36 minutes behind Ligety.
The 18-year-old finished his second run in a minute and 43.97 seconds which was 10. 72 seconds behind the gold medal winner. Karim finished the two rounds in a total of three minutes and 27.41 seconds. Although Abbas finished his 2010 Winter Olympic race with a cumulative time of three minutes and 20.75 seconds, Karim’s performance can be considered better as his difference from the winner was 42. 12 seconds compared to Abbas’ 42.75 four years ago.
Karim though feels that he achieved his target. “I’m happy with the result because I didn’t want to get disqualified in the beginning,” Karim was quoted by saying after the event. “I under-performed because of that fear, I wish I could’ve performed with a little bit less pressure. Many athletes failed to finish the race and others were disqualified. So I was very careful. It was tough, the track was very steep. But I tried and I understand that there is a room for improvement. Other skiers who did well were more experienced and that really counts in skiing,” said Karim. However, he is now setting his eyes on the next Winter Olympics. “I’ll train and practice harder and hopefully compete in more races,” said Karim.