Nepal Ski Team

Jayaram Khadka  

Jay was born about 25 years ago in a mountain village in central Nepal. He needed to work from the age of eight and received little education. After his father died, he was informally adopted in 1990 by British millionaire, Richard Morley, and taken to live in an English Castle as his son and heir. As a youth, Mr. Morley received life saving assistance from Jay's father on Mt.Anurpurna and he promised in return to adopt the boy if anything happened to the father. But the British Government refused to accept the adoption and ordered Jay's deportation. The legal argument lasted nearly seven years amidst intense international publicity until a new British Government finally accepted Jay's right to live with his British family in 1997.

Only then could Jay begin to fulfil his long held dream to represent his nation at the Olympics. He had always wanted to be a sportsman but until the 1997/8 season he could not leave Britain and visit his family ski chalet in Les Arcs, France. Mr. Morley had been an Alpine Ski racer during his service with Royal Navy and Jay was determined to emulate him. So they returned to Nepal and discussed the formation of a Nepal Ski Association with the king and the government. Skiing is almost completely unknown in Nepal and the Nepal Ski Team could not officially take existence until 2000. But Jay was able to spend the meantime under training from his father and the French UCPA training school at his home village in Les Arcs.

Over the past two seasons Jay has concentrated entirely on Alpine Skiing where he specialised in Giant Slalom and also developed some Super GS experience. He has won a few local races with a handicap rating not far from Olympic qualification standard but his performance at unfamiliar FIS courses was hampered by inexperience. A season of poor snow and a troublesome shoulder injury in March 2001 finally seemed to close Jay's chance of qualifying for the Salt Lake City Games.

But on 17 November 2001 Jay took up Cross Country Skiing and began to qualify for the Games through another route. Since then he has raced in 6 FIS events and briefly trained together with French National team under Jean Pierre Boudet. Although he has little chance of even beating another competitor in 10km event, Jay will be delighted simply to finish the two courses and become the first Nepali Winter Olympian in history.

Prem Thapa

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