The top luge athlete of India, Shiva Keshavan, won the silver medal, clocking a total time of 1:39:750 seconds for two heats in Nagano, Japan on Sunday.
He was the defending Champion and was in good form. The 32-year-old clocked the best start time and was leading in both runs until the mid section of the track, the 4th intermediate time. However, he lost the leading position in the last 2 splits to Japan’s Hidenari Kanayama. Kanayama won the gold medal with a total time of 1:38:675 seconds. Shiva, however, retained his speed record at 134.3 kmph.
“I am very happy to be bringing the silver medal back to India. At one point we seemed far behind the competition but we kept making progress one small step at a time all week and kept fighting until the very last day. I am satisfied that I managed to put down two solid runs on the race day and my start has been better than previous years. I seem to be losing a lot of time due to aerodynamics and some handling issues in the faster section but that is something that we will continue to work on. I want to thank my family, my sponsors, and all the people who have been constantly supporting me to have carried me this far,” said Shiva after the race.
The medal at the Asia Cup ended the 2013 season on a high note after what has been the most challenging competition season yet for Shiva.
Earlier, the Sports Minister Jitendra Singh had pledged support to Shiva and sanctioned funds under the National Sports Development Scheme to help him take part in some international competitions.
As the Olympic Winter Games in 2014 are coming closer, Shiva contemplated on his future prospects: “There is no doubt that we can do much better internationally. This race made us identify our strengths and the areas that need improvement. The good news is that we have a clear understanding of what we need to win an Olympic medal so we can work towards that goal. The challenge is achieving it without a full-time coach or a full year budget for the required training”.
Shiva will be competing in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, his fifth Olympic participation so far.