Indian luger Shiva Keshavan qualifies for the 2018 Winter Olympics
The 36-year-old finished only 0.701 seconds behind the winner.
What’s The Story?
Veteran Indian luger, Shiva Keshavan successfully booked his place at the 2018 Winter Olympics which will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. On Sunday, Shiva was competing at the first qualifying event in Innsbruck, Austria and finished 23rd among a total of 57 athletes.
Despite Keshavan finishing in the middle of the pack, he was only 0.701 seconds behind the eventual winner, Russia’s Stepan Fedorov, clocking 51.913 seconds in the 1300 meter slide event. In doing so, he notched up the 5 points necessary to qualify for the Winter Olympics.
The heart of the matter
The 36-years-old, Keshavan was the sole Indian to participate in the qualifying event. While his starting position was a lowly 29th in the race, Shiva managed to finish six places above it.
With this feat, Keshavan has now drawn level with legendary tennis player Leander Paes, in terms of most number of Olympics taken part in by an Indian -- six.
“I am very happy that I have fulfilled the Olympic criteria, I still have to participate in the next five compulsory races, but I am relieved that the pressure for getting the World Cup points is over and I can push myself to take more risks and get closer to the leaderboard,” Keshavan said in a statement.
Following his successful qualification, other Indian athletes too will have the opportunity to book their place for next year's Winter Olympics. The Alpine Skiing, Cross Country, and Speed Skating qualifying rounds will take place in January 2018.
Credit to Shiva Keshavan who continues to dispel age-old myths. The luger who began his career when he was just 15 years old has been one of India's shining stars in the sport. In 2011, he even set an Asian speed record, clocking an impressive 134.3 km/h.