Lesser known sports disciplines practiced in India on a competitive level, winter sports are a more common practice in the northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh etc. Luge, Skiing, Ice skating and Ice hockey are the few prominent Winter sports disciplines played in India.
Though India had made its first competitive winter game appearance at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, the sport of Luge only saw its first representation at the world level when Shiva Keshavan qualified for the 1998 Winter Olympics.
Being the first and the only Indian to compete in Luge internationally, Shiva has represented India for 20 years and is a 6-time Olympian, having garnered many praises and accolades. Shiva Keshavan is the reigning Asian Champion after setting a new Asian track record at 49.590 seconds and the Asian speed record at 134.3 km/h (83.5 mph).
Born to an Indian father from Kerala and an Italian mother, Shiva’s story began in a remote Himalayan village, Vashisht, at 2500 mts. at an altitude where despite the lack of basic infrastructure or sport facilities he rose to compete in the highest level of international sport.
Shiva’s talent was spotted during his school days by Gunther Lemmerer, former World Champion and head coach of the International Luge Federation who gave Shiva a chance to compete at a world stage.
The world’s youngest person to qualify for the Olympic Games in Luge, Shiva Keshavan is the first Indian to have won an international medal in any winter sport. Shiva Keshavan is distinguished to have represented India a record 6 six times at the Winter Olympics since 1998 Nagano up till the 2018 PyeongChang Games.