As far as winter sports in India is concerned, Shiva Keshavan is, without doubt, the brand ambassador. The 39-year-old Luge star has been India’s representative at the Winter Olympics in six consecutive editions from 1998.
More importantly, in 1998 and 2002, he was India’s sole representative in the Winter Olympics - an event that did not garner much publicity in the country.
Shiva Keshavan qualified for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano at the tender age of 16, making him the youngest person to ever officially qualify for the Olympic Games in Luge. He has had an illustrious career in luge, a sport which is mostly overlooked in India, though he did not win an Olympic medal.
He has set Asian speed records and track records in Luge and is a four-time Asian champion, with his most recent win coming in 2017 at the Asian Luge Championships at Altenberg in Germany.
The Manali-born Olympian is now focused on promoting winter sports in India. Amid a pandemic that has thrown life out of gear, Shiva Keshavan reveals that he is looking forward to getting into sports management and working towards the betterment of aspiring winter athletes.
“Before lockdown, I had never stayed at a place for more than two months at a stretch in close to 20 years. So this was a very interesting change of pace; to slow down, see things from a different perspective, and spend time with the family,” he wrote in a column for FirstPost.
Shiva Keshavan, who is the High Performance Director for Luge in India, has already started chalking up plans for luge’s development in the country.
I was able to do significant work for my luge development programme. I wrote a lot of concept notes for the development of winter sports in India, the training of winter athletes, and so forth.
Shiva Keshavan, who competed in his last Winter Olympics at PyeongChang in 2018, became the first winter sport athlete to be honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2020. He is now focused on developing his sports management skills.
“I also started an online Masters programme in Sports Management from a foreign University, and that is helping me develop a better understanding of sports administration and management in general. Not to forget, I was bestowed with the Arjuna Award and made the High-Performance Director of Luge in India, so not all that bad a year!
“I would like to believe that I used my time quite productively and took significant strides towards my goal of developing winter sports in India.”
Shiva Keshavan is also keenly looking forward to the Tokyo Olympics which is set to provide a welcome change for sporting fans all over the world after a depressing pandemic. The luge star believes Indian athletes will do well in the event.
“I hope the vaccine will arrive soon and the world will return to some sort of normalcy. I am also keenly looking forward to the Tokyo Olympics, and I extend my best wishes to all the athletes preparing for the Games.”