Feature: Lebanese ski player thrilled to showcase skills at 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

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by Dana Halawi

BEIRUT, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Lebanese cross-country skier Elie Tawk feels so exciting as only a few days are left for his trip to Beijing to take part in the 2022 Winter Olympics, scheduled to run from February 4 to 20, 2022.

"This is my first time going to China," the 19-year-old skier told Xinhua while he was training at the Cedars in Lebanon.

"I am amazed at the great efforts made by China to host this event. I can see how beautiful the Olympic Village is and I expect the opening ceremony to be spectacular," he said.

Tawk, who is a finance student at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, said he is following up regularly on China's preparations for the Olympics over the internet.

As the organizers continue to work hard in the final stages of their preparations to ensure the event's complete success, Tawk believes that China will achieve a highly successful event that will amaze people all over the world, even amid the tough circumstances of COVID-19 pandemic.

Tawk told Xinhua about his passion for skiing since his early childhood when he started with Alpine Skiing in his hometown of Bcharre, a northern village where professional and recreational skiers meet at the mountainous slopes to enjoy the powdery snow.

"I was born in a town characterized by its snow and was able to benefit from the support of our municipality and that of the Lebanese Ski Federation, who brought international coaches to train us for cross-country skiing," he said.

The young man's level started improving at a faster pace when he participated in training camps outside Lebanon, he recalled.

Tawk has had several successful turning points in his skiing journey including his participation in the 2020 Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland, followed by his achievement at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2021 in Germany, where he ranked 54th in the competition which qualified him for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Tawk says he is proud to have qualified for the 2022 Winter Olympics at a very young age.

"My qualification for the Olympics is already a great accomplishment. I will be happy to show my talents to an audience of billions of people worldwide and I'll be satisfied with whatever score I achieve as this will be my preparation for future achievements. I am working for my future," he said.

In 2021, Tawk has trained for 50 days in European countries including Austria, Slovenia, and Italy and is currently training at the Cedars in Lebanon along with international coaches before heading to China next month.

The young skier also takes part in the races organized by the Lebanese Ski Federation from January 12-16, 2022 in the Cedars with the participation of 52 skiers from Lebanon, Argentine, Chile, Mexico, Hungary, Czech and Trinidad and Tobago. These are the final races to classify players for the Winter Olympics in China.

"I am also looking forward to witnessing the activities organized on the occasion of the Chinese New Year," Tawk said. Enditem

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