They may not take part under the tri-colour due to the suspension of the IOA but four Indians have so far qualified for the February 7-23 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Shiva Keshavan, in luge, Nadeem Iqbal in cross country skiing and Hira Lal and Himanshu Thakur, both in Alpine skiing, have qualified for the Games.

Winter Games Federation of India Secretary General Roshan Lal Thakur said that another athlete Aanchal Thakur has also been trying hard to make it to the Games by taking part in qualifying events in Europe.

“Keshavan qualified for the Winter Games last year and he is taking part in the Games for the fifth time. Nadeem Iqbal qualified a few months back in an event in France and Hira Lal and Himanshu Thakur qualified just a few days back in Turkey,” Thakur told PTI.

Three athletes had taken part in the 2010 edition of the Winter Games in Vancouver in Canada, while four represented the country in 2006 in Torino, Italy. Keshavan was the lone Indian athlete in Salt Lake City in United States in 2002 and in Nagano (Japan) in 1998.

Thakur hoped that there should not be any problem in the Sports Ministry clearing the four athletes with cost, though they face the prospect of taking part as Independent Olympic Athletes under the IOC banner.

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