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Updated: February 4, 2010 19:11 IST

Fastest Indian on ice

MALA ASHOK
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Indian Winter Olympic Games luge qualifier Shiva Keshavan.
AFP Indian Winter Olympic Games luge qualifier Shiva Keshavan.

WATCH OUT FOR Shiva Keshavan will be the first Indian to ever participate in the Winter Olympic Games.

This year the Winter Olympic Games is scheduled to take place between February 12 and 28 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Special interest

This year the Winter Games are of special interest to us since Shiva Keshavan of India is slated to participate in the luge event. Shiva, according to Wikipedia, is the first Indian representative at the Winter Olympic Games. Shiva is mentioned in the Limca Book of Records, as the Fastest Indian with a speed of 148 km/hr, without an engine.

Shiva has been participating in World Class and Asian events since 1998. Shiva's event the “luge,” is not heard of much in India.

It consists of lying on one's back on a sled and racing on a narrow track of ice at breakneck speeds! Control is maintained by using shifts in body position!! This can be really tricky on curves, where the gravitational force can be several times one's body weight.

Each participant is “clocked,” and the fastest run is the winner. It is important to note that as in the case of some events we are familiar with in the Summer Games, the winner here is determined by differences of fractions of a second.

Shiva won a bronze in the men's singles and silver in the men's doubles in the Asia Cup. He won another men's singles bronze in Asia Cup 2008.

He has also won a silver medal in Asia Cup 2009, to become Asia's No 2 luger. This is the first Olympics where Shiva is being sponsored by the Sports Ministry as well as by major Corporate Houses.

Shiva Keshavan is indeed a trailblazer — blazing a trail through the Canadian Ice. Let us all wish him well and may the tricolor fly strong and proud in his hands!!

Fast fact

Believe it or not, the Winter Games have been held since 1924! They used to be held every four years, the same year as the Summer Games. In 1992, the Olympic Committee decided that the Winter Games would be held in alternate even years than the Summer Games. Thus the Games were moved to 1992, and have been held every four years since then.

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