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Sochi Games: Independent Indians march under Olympic flag

Last updated on: February 08, 2014 14:02 IST

Sochi Games: Independent Indians march under Olympic flag

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Thee Indians – Shiva Keshavan, Nadeem Iqbal and Himanshu Thakur -- qualified for the Sochi Winter Olympics but are listed as Independent Olympic Athletes, under the banner of the International Olympic Committee.

At the Games' opening ceremony, instead of the Indian flag, they marched wearing the Olympic rings, under the Olympic flag.


Image: Independent Olympic Indian participants walk at the opening ceremony with the Olympic flag ahead
Photographs: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

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Sochi Games: Independent Indians march under Olympic flag

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India's sole luge athlete and Asia Cup gold medallist Keshavan qualified for the Olympics for a record fifth time. 

At the age of 16, he made his first appearance at the Winter Games, at Nagano '98, and went on to participate at every event since then.

"That's one of the main motivations; but you know, Indian flag or not, I think they cannot take the fact away that I'm Indian,” said Keshavan.


Image: India's Independent Olympic participants' during the opening ceremony
Photographs: Brian Snyder/Reuters

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Sochi Games: Independent Indians march under Olympic flag

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Keshavan is India's sole Olympic medal hopeful after an impressive string of successes behind him: two Asia Cup gold medals, one silver and one bronze; he's also broken the Asian luge speed records.

"Whether there's an Indian flag or not," Keshavan said, "I will have competed for India in my heart.”


Image: Independent Olympic participant Shiva Keshavan prepares for a men's luge training session ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
Photographs: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

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