New Delhi: 2018 Winter Olympics, which will take place in PyeongChang, South Korea, is around the corner. The 23rd edition of the Winter Games will begin on February 9 and conclude on February 25. The mega sporting event will feature 102 events across 15 sports, making it the first Winter Games to surpass 100 medal events.
The 2018 Winter Olympics will see participants challenging each other in events like Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Bobsleigh, Cross-Country Skiing, Curling, Figure Skating, Freestyle Skiing, Ice Hockey, Luge, Nordic Combined, Short Track Speed, Skeleton, Ski Jumping, Snowboard and Speed Skating.
India will have two representatives at the Games – Luger Shiva Keshavan and cross-country skier Jagdish Singh. The 36-year-old Keshavan is an experienced athlete and also the country’s best-known Winter Olympian. He will be taking part in his sixth Games since making his debut at Nagano in Japan in 1998. Keshavan represented the country in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. On the other hand, Jagdish Singh will be representing India in his first ever Winter Olympics.
More About the Two Indian Athletes:
Shiva Keshavan: Keshavan was born in Manali, Himachal Pradesh. He won the Junior National Ski Championship in 1995 at the age of 14. Later, Keshavan was attracted to luge after he attended a camp at his school conducted by world champion Günther Lemmerer.
Keshavan took part in his first Winter Games at the age of 16 in Nagano in 1998 and he is the first Indian to compete in Luge at the Winter Olympics. In 2008, Keshavan became the first Indian to win a medal at the Winter Asian Championship after bagging the bronze medal in Nagano, Japan. He also set a new Asian speed record at 134.3 km/h (83.5 mph) after beating the previous record of 131.9 km/h (82.0 mph) and won the gold medal in Asia Cup 2011 at Nagano in Japan. In 2012, he set a new Asian track record at 49.590 seconds.
Keshavan was India’s only representative at the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics and he was joined by the likes of Neha Ahuja and Hira Lal (alpine skiing), and Bahadur Gupta (cross-country skiing) at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy.
In the five Winter Olympics, Keshavan has participated without a coach as wasn’t able to afford one and his best finish was 25th (out of 36 athletes) in Turin 2010. However, this time Keshav will have the coach in the form of former USA luger Duncan Kennedy.
Keshav also got a good support for 2018 Winter games as the Indian luger will have six sponsors – his best ever tally in terms of support. He also received Rs 20 lakh from the Indian Sports Ministry under the Target Olympic Podium scheme in January.
Interestingly, PyeongChang Winter Olympics will be Keshav’s final Winter Olympics. The 36-year old has decided to hang his boots after the 2018 Winter Olympics and speaking to PTI on his decision, Keshavan explained, “Age wise I think I can continue. Even two medal winners in 2014 Sochi edition were above 40. I have represented India for 22 years, but now I think I need to move on and focus elsewhere.”
Jagdish Singh: Born on July 1, 1991, Jagdish hails from Uttarakhand. The cross-country skier joined the Indian Army in 2011 and he will be representing India in his first ever Winter Olympics at PyeongChang, South Korea. Jagdish, who trains at Army’s High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) in Gulmarg, booked his maiden Winter Olympics spot with just one point over the qualification mark during an event in Finland in 2017.
The 26-year-old Singh will be participating in the 15-km Nordic skiing freestyle event that is scheduled for February 16. Former Indian cross-country skier Nadeem Iqbal, who himself took part in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, will accompany Jagdish as a coach for 2018 Winter Olympics.