From training on mountain roadways to competing as an independent Indian athlete, Shiva Keshavan’s road to the 2014 SochiOlympics has been unconventional to say the least. The 32-year-old from a small village in the Himalayas will be competing in singles luge at Sochi in Russia… Keshavan told Indian media that not being able to compete under the national flag was “shameful and pathetic.”…
Keshavan said that even though India doesn’t have the proper infrastructure to train, he uses what he can to practice his sport. He prepares for the Games, not on an ice-covered track, but speeding down mountain roads. “We don’t have a luge track in India, so to practice we modified the sleds, we put roller wheels on them instead of blades and we go down the only place we can, which is the mountain highway,” said Keshavan in an Olympic video posted to YouTube.
Keshavan credits the International Luge Federation for helping him get started in his career. He was 16 years old when he qualified for his first Olympics – the 1998 Nagano Games – making him the youngest qualifier ever in luge. He was also the sole representative for India at the Olympics that year. Keshavan remembers the opening ceremonies at Nagano as a lonely affair.
“I was walking in between Italy and Great Britain – two huge teams – and I was the only person in the middle, feeling quite left out actually,” he said. “All of the sudden the Jamaican team comes up to me and tells me ‘hey man, we’ve got to stick together’. That gave me a sense that this was great. People from all over the world you’ve now met can bond with each other.”
Sochi will be Keshavan’s fifth Olympics. But this time around he will be competing as an independent athlete, rather than for India. The Indian Olympic Association failed to schedule elections for the country’s Olympic body before the start of the Games on 7 February, after being suspended for electing corrupt officials. Keshavan told Indian media that not being able to compete under the national flag was “shameful and pathetic. It is a sad and embarrassing situation that Indian sport has been put in,” he said. “People around the world know about the failure of our systems and about corruption and bad governance in sports.” As part of a new partnership, Keshavan will be travelling with the U.S. luge team, who will also help out with coaching him.
Luge is considered to be one of the most dangerous Olympic sports, with sled speeds reaching 140 km/hour.
(With files from The Associated Press)
– © Shaw Media, 2014
Its Appeals Like This Which Have Made The Shiva At Sochi Story Possible
Send Shiva to the Winter Olympics 2014 Created by: Foundation For Promotion of Sports and Games Location: Sochi,Russia
Shiva Keshavan born in a small Himalayan village in the State of Himachal Pradesh is an Olympic luge athlete. Luge is the fastest sliding sport of the Winter Olympics in which the luger steers the sled down slopes at speeds in excess of 140 kmph. Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) supports Shiva’s quest to become the first Indian athlete to win a medal at the Winter Olympics. He has representedIndia at 4 Winter Olympics also having the distinction of being the youngest Olympian in Luge having participated in the 1998 NaganoWinter Olympics aged just 16. The luge sled can cost between 3-5 lakhs excluding additional costs of customisation. Customising the sled to the luger’s requirements is paramount as the difference between winning and losing in Luge could be as small as 1/100th of a second. Luge is a precision sport and the costs of buying and maintaining high quality equipment is not an easy task. OGQ has supported Shiva in his training in various European countries throughout the year. The costs of travel, accommodation and taking part in tournaments are also expensive. In its capacity as a staunch supporter of potential Olympic medal winners, OGQ is aiming to raise 10 lakhs through this campaign to send Shiva Keshavan to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia 2014. Shiva being the fastest luger in Asia and winner of consecutive Gold medals at the 2011 and 2012 Asian Championships has a chance of creating history and bringingIndia glory at the Winter Olympics. The sport is still in its infancy in India and therefore it is no mean feat to participate at 4 consecutive Winter Olympics with minimal support. Shiva is attempting to win a medal at his 5th Olympic Games and your contribution will immensely help in this uniquely inspirational cause.
Luger Shiva Keshavan Practices On Himalayan Highway For 2014 Winter Olympics
AN INSANE WORKOUT
India is not exactly a country known for its achievements in the Winter Olympics. A country with the bare minimum of facilities barely sends a handful of athletes every four years. But here is a prime example of making use of what you have. With the help of steep roads, Shiva Keshavan has tried his level best to get support so he can take part in the Olympic luge event, an event where a luger lies on a sled and makes his way down a high speed track with dangerous curves, on a Himalayan highway! The actual event requires a sled, but he uses one with wheels and instead of focusing on quick turns on a track, he must do all he can to avoid vehicles and even goats! Keshavan was the youngest ever luge Olympian in 1998 when he competed at Nagano, Japan in 1998 at the young age of 16. The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia will be his fifth Olympics.
Lack Of Funds Might Force Indian Athletes To Withdraw
If the money roughly $7,500 per athlete doesn’t come soon, India will be forced to withdraw them from the Games. The one person who is safe is luger Shiva Keshavan, who will be competing in his fifth Winter Games, because he has been able to raise money privately from his sponsors, though he has had his funding problems too…
If it wasn’t bad enough that India’s winter athletes have to compete under the Olympic flag in the 2014 Winter Olympics that start in February, it now appears that two of them may not be able to compete at all. A story in the ‘Economic Times’ reveals that India’s Sports Ministry has not yet provided the necessary funding for equipment and kit for alpine skier Himanshu Thakur and cross-country skier Nadeem Iqbal. “We are still awaiting funds from the Government because we do not have money to buy expensive clothing and equipment,” Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) president Surendra Singh told AFP.
According to Singh, winter sport equipment that meets Olympic standards is not available in India and therefore it must be imported. But without the funds, the federation has not even been able to order clothing for the two athletes. With India due to be in Sochi on 4 February, time is running out for Thakur and Iqbal. If the money roughly $7,500 per athlete – doesn’t come soon, India will be forced to withdraw them from the Games.
The one person who is safe is luger Shiva Kehsavan, who will be competing in his fifth Winter Games, because he has been able to raise money privately from his sponsors, though he has had his funding problems too. While the reasons for the delay are not clear – Sports Ministry officials were not available for comment this state of affairs is another blot on India’s already poor sporting record. With this kind of lack of support, any dreams India has of becoming a sporting power will remain just that dreams. And until officials wake up and realise they are there to serve the athletes and not the other way around, nothing will change.