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Ice-age with Shiva

VIJAY LOKAPALLY
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CHAT Shiva Keshavan, the fastest Indian on ice, talks about his journey as a luge racer

A role modelIndian luge pilot Shiva Keshavan
A role modelIndian luge pilot Shiva Keshavan

Champion of a little known sport but a star in his own way, Shiva Keshavan is a stirring role model for this generation. The luge racer has set benchmarks that should motivate many to aim for distinction in individual sports.

At 31, Keshavan is convinced he is at a stage where another good showing at the international level would propel his own image. It would also boost the following for this winter sport. It is an exacting event.

But then Keshavan is a man of steel when it comes to pursuing his dreams.

He loves being termed the ‘fastest Indian on ice’. He has trained hard to acquire this reputation. “It was a hard grind. To be a champion, you have to punish your body, make sacrifices. I have done that for many, many years,” says Keshavan. Recently, Keshavan defended his Asian title at Nagano in Japan. “I beat a strong Japanese field,” he says with pride. He timed 49.59 after having recovered from two torn shoulder ligaments during preparation. His training was hampered to some extent but not his resolve.

Lack of infrastructure and financial support did not dampen his spirits. “It was tough but it also made me tough. It was a passion and I just wanted to achieve my goal for the sake of the sport. As an Indian I am very proud that I have excelled in winter sport. I want to win a gold for India in winter Olympics,” says Keshavan, who was the youngest to participate in the luge race in the Winter Olympics in 1998.

Keshavan has set his sight on the next winter Olympics, which would be his fifth.

“I have a good chance if I prepare well,” he says.

A congratulatory message from the Union Sports Ministry has given Keshavan hopes of support from the government in his preparation for the winter Olympics.

VIJAY LOKAPALLY

It was tough but it also made me tough... As an Indian I am very proud that I have excelled in winter sport

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