Retiring Keshavan aims for last hurrah
New Delhi: Competing in his sixth and last Winter Olympics, pioneer luger Shiva Keshavan wants to overcome a recent injury and end his international career with a flourish during the Pyeongchang Games, starting this week.
The 36-year-old, who has represented India in every Winter Olympics since 1998, has decided to call it quits after taking part in the February 9-25 event. "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," Keshavan said. He added: "So this Winter Olympics will be my last one, this will be my last international event." Son of an Indian father from Kerala and an Italian mother, Keshavan was born and brought up in Manali. He is the reigning Asian champion in luge and the speed record holder. He has won Asian Luge Championships in 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017. Keshavan has been India's flag bearer in four Winter Games and he said he will miss the honour of "carrying the whole country on his shoulders".
"When IOA was suspended (during 2014 Sochi), I took part in the opening ceremony as an independent athlete (under IOC flag). Except for that one, I had held the flag in all other Olympics at either opening or closing ceremony. "Every four years, I had the honour of carrying the country on my shoulders. That is an amazing feeling. I will be happy if more Indians start taking part in Winter Olympics."