10 things to know about Indian luger Shiva Keshavan
India, in recent times have had several sportspersons who have compted and succeded at the global stage. However, there are some whose exploits have gone unnoticed and as a result havent found the required support that they deserve come their way.
One of the prominent examples in the latter ctegory is that 33-year-old luger Shiva Keshavan, who has been instrumental in putting India on the world map as far as winter sports goes.
Here are a few things to know about the Manali-born athlete:
1.Shiva Keshavan was born on August 25th 1981 in Manali, Himachal Pradesh to an Indian father and an Italian mother.
2.He first took up the spoprt of luge at the age of 15 when he was picked for a selection camp, a year after he had won the National Junior Ski Championships in 1995. At the camp, which had the then world champion Gunther Lemmerer at the helm, Keshavan’s promise got his name on the list of selected candidates and he became the youngest athlete ever to progress through to the Winter Olympics( Nagano 1998) in luge, becoming the 1st Indian to qualify for the Games.
3.In 2002, Keshavan was offered the chance to represent Italy but he declined the offer.
4.3 years later, the Indian won a bronze medal at the Nagano Asia Cup in the Men’s Singles and repeated that performance at the same competition in the same city three years later in 2008.
5.He went one better at the 2009 Asia Cup winning the silver medal and then two years later, claimed the ultimate proze by winning the Gold in the same event. The 2011 triumph had more siginificance since Keshavan set a new Asian speed record, when he recorded a velocity of 134.9 kmph, beating the previous record of 131.9 kmph.
6.In 2012, Keshavan broke the Asian Track Record with a timing of 49.590 kmph and defended his title successfully at the Asian Track Cup in Nagano, by winning a second consecutive Gold medal.
7.In the very same year, the Government of Himachal Pradesh gave him the Parshuram Award and he was also nominated for the Arjuna Award.
8.At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi- his 5th- Keshavan walked in at the opening ceremony as an Independent Olympic Participant since the Indian Olympic Association(IOA) was suspended at the time. However during the course of the games, the suspension was removed and he was back competitng under the Indian flag.
9.Later that year, Keshavan roped in the former luger and techinical director of the US team Duncan Kennedy as his coach.
10.On January 22nd 2016, Keshavan decided to withdraw from the 2016 Luge Word Championships to be held in Koniggsegg, Germany from the 30th of January due to government apathy and an abject lack of funds.