LAHORE: Pakistan will be represented by a lone athlete, Muhammad Karim, at the Beijing Winter Olympics to be held from February 04 -20 in Beijing, China. The Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) on Tuesday announced a five-member Pakistan contingent ––– four officials and one athlete ––– for the Winter Games. “The Pakistan contingent completed all its Covid-19 requirements before travelling to Beijing, China as per instructions of the Embassy of People’s Republic of China as well as the organisers of the Winter Games,” a spokesman for the POA said yesterday. Alpine skier Karim will compete in slalom event on February 16. Before his departure, alpine skier Karim said he was ready for the competition after extensive training abroad. Karim, who competed in alpine skiing at Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 is Pakistan’s only athlete in Beijing following the withdrawal of fellow alpine skier Mia Nuriah Freudweiler due to an injury. “For the Beijing Olympics, I have been practicing for the last three years. I am fully ready for the competition because I practiced and took part in the races in Turkey, Lebanon and Italy.” Karim’s appearance will be his third and Pakistan’s fourth in the Winter Olympics. The South Asian nation first participated in the Games at Vancouver 2010, when Mohammad Abbas became its first athlete to qualify in the alpine skiing (giant slalom) category. Born and raised in Naltar Bala Valley of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan’s north, 26-year-old Karim has been practicing skiing since the age of four. “I started to play locally in childhood,” he said. “From 2007, I started professional skiing.” Being brought up in Pakistan’s mountainous north has contributed to Karim’s sports career, and he believes that with more training more athletes could be groomed to represent the country on the international level. “The country’s snowy mountains have the perfect slopes to promote skiing,” he said. “If our government pays attention to winter sports, and athletes are properly trained, then the youth will leave no stone unturned to make the country proud.” Pakistan contingent: Syed Noman Ali (Chef de Mission), Nadeem Ajmal Khan (team leader/official), Muhammad Karim (Athlete), Muhammad Qamar Mirza (Covid Liaison Officer/Coach) and Agha Hunain Abbas Khan (Olympic Attaché from the Embassy of Pakistan in China).