Shiva Keshavan is the face of India so far as winter sports is concerned. A five time Olympian and also the first Indian representative to compete in luge at the Winter Olympic Games. Keshavan recently won a silver medal at the Asian Luge Championships in 2015 in Japan . He also has two gold medals in the Asia Cup and was the first Indian to qualify for the Winter Olympics. In an exclusive e-mail interview to ARIJEET DUTTA, the 34-year-old luger Shiva talks about his journey, his woes and his determination to win medals for the country despite all odds.
Excerpts from the Interview:
Q How did you get attracted to the sport?
A : I have been representing India Internationally for 20 years, ever since I was in high school, so it has become a part of me. Also the feeling of representing India at an international meet is something special.
Q How proud are you to represent India in winter sports?
A : It is an honour to be able to carry my country’s flag and carry the wishes of so many people at the highest level of international sport.
Q – Was this sport a childhood dream? how did your parents and family react?
A : My Parents always supported my decisions to choose my own path in life. When I had the opportunity to represent my country, I decided to give it my best.
Q- Tell us about your Silver medal in Asian Championship ? How important was it for you ?
A : Winning a medal at the Asian Level is an important milestone. It proves that Indians can win medals in winter sports despite the lack of infrastructure.
Q what are the obstacles you face while competing in your sport?
A : We don’t have the kind of sports infrastructure that other countries have. I was the first international Luge athlete from India so there are no Indian coaches and equipment manufacturers so I had to make up for all of that.
Q Have you approached the government in this regard. what did they say. If they do come forward to help what would be your suggestion?
A : I would be happy to pass on all my experience to others. I would be surprised if they take the initiative to do something
Q How disappointed are you as you have pulled out of the Luge World Championships in Germany and Luge World Cup due to lack of funds ?
A : I dedicated everything to train for the World Championships. it is disappointing that despite this I could not attend.
Q What are your goals for the future ?
A : Look for corporate funding to sustain my career, continue to improve my game and hopefully win more medals.
Q How do you see this sport becoming popular in India since making a mark in cricket crazy India and IPL is not an easy task?
A : I don’t think about that. There are more than 1 billion people in India and we all don’t have the same dreams and aspirations. Diversity is an important part of India.