Two Afghan skiers are aiming to inspire a new generation of skiers by being selected for the 2018 Games and marking the first time the war-torn country will compete at a Winter Olympics.
Sayed Alishah Farhang and Sajjad Husaini, who have been training at Swiss resort St Moritz, will compete in the giant slalom in Pyeongchang.
Farhang and Husaini, who learned to ski at the country’s first ski club, in central Afghanistan, said competing for their country at the Winter Olympics had been their dream.
“We wanted to represent Afghanistan in a different way, to show the other countries that Afghanistan is not only war and destruction“ said Husaini.
The 26-year-old put on his first pair of skis in 2012 after returning from Iran where he had been living with his family as a refugee for 13 years.
Their ski club was opened with the help of Swiss instructors and doesn’t have any luxuries such as groomed pistes or ski lifts. The skiers have to walk to the top of the mountain, and until recent charitable donations were using self-made wooden skis.
The pair have just returned to Switzerland for their fourth winter of training under the guidance of their Swiss coach Andreas Hanni and will compete in the games, which will be held from February 9 to 25.