India’s top luge athlete Shiva Keshavan reclaimed the gold medal for the second time in succession by setting a new Asian record of 49.590 seconds in the Asian Championship.
The race was no walkover as Keshavan was tailing in second place during the first run, 0.129 seconds behind Japan’s Hidenari Kanayama.
Last year’s runner up Oguchi Takahisa was not far behind in third place only 0.058 seconds after Shiva. Each of the top three had broken the previous track record of 50.072 set in 2004.
However, last year’s champion, Shiva toppled the scores in the second heat, smashing the Asian track record by 0.482 seconds.
Despite the disadvantage from the first run, Shiva won with a considerable margin.
Yamaura Yohan of Japan finished fourth and Kim Dong Hyeon of Korea bagged the fifth place.
“I lost control of the sled for a moment in the first run at curve 6 but I managed to avoid a crash. The track conditions were very different from what we experienced this week but we were prepared for any eventuality.
“I knew the moment I finished the second run that it would be extremely difficult for the others to catch up with me. I’m glad all the preparation of the team paid off at the right moment, and that the Cup is coming back to India,” said an elated Shiva.
Shiva now holds two of the three Asian records, with only the start record of 3.190 seconds set in 1999 still remaining to be vanquished.