A stress fracture in his back threatened to come in the way but fit-again Indian luger Shiva Keshavan is all set to represent the country for the fourth time in the Winter Olympics this weekend, hoping to finish at least inside the top-20 in Vancouver.
Keshavan recently picked up the back injury after clinching the silver at the Asian Championship in Nagano, Japan late last year.
But having recovered from the injury, the 27-year-old, part of a three-strong Indian contingent in Vancouver, said he would be aiming to better the 25th place finish in the 2006 Turin Olympics.
“I want a good result and will be happy to achieve my goal of entering the top 20. I have trained hard during the last four years for this,” Keshavan told PTI from Vancouver.
“I am here for only one job and that is to give my best. That will be the only thing on my mind before the event. I am concentrating hard on my event, which is the first discipline to be held in this year’s Games,” he added.
The Himachal Pradesh-born athlete hoped his week-long training at the venue prior to the main event would help him during the 17-day competition starting tomorrow.
“I had a stress fracture after the Asian Championships and that forced me to take rest for three weeks. I also underwent physiotherapy treatment for one week and was not hundred per cent in my starts as it put strain on my back. I gradually increased the force,” he said.
“Then I had a week of training in France to get back onto the track. I underwent another week of training in Vancouver prior to the race, in which I went all out to see how I coped with the injury,” Keshavan said.
For the first time in his career, Keshavan has got sponsors — Swiss International Airlines and the Limca Book of Records — to back him at the quadrennial extravaganza.
“Besides the two sponsors, SIA and Limca Book of Records, I have also received support from the Sports Ministry. Now I am definitely aiming to register my personal best on the scoreboard,” Keshavan said.
“I am also receiving tremendous support from the Indian community here. It will definitely give me an extra gear to compete well with so many people cheering me on. And the Asian Championships result will also keep my confidence high during the event,” he added.
Besides Keshavan, ski athletes Tashi Lundup and Jamyang Namgyal will be the other Indian contenders in the Games.
Lundup will compete in the Cross Country Skiing event, while Namgyal will be in Alpine Skiing section.