Connect to share and comment

Olympics: It's just not cricket, says Indian luger

PlacardEnlarge
(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

India's veteran luger Shiva Keshavan said on Wednesday that he prefers the death-defying sport to the more sedate game of cricket -- risking the wrath of a billion compatriots.

Keshavan, competing in his fifth Olympic Games -- this time under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), told AFP: "In fact I enjoy every game that people are playing.

"But cricket is too slow for me. All of these tea or lunch breaks make it too long. Definitely, cricket is not my favourite!"

The 32-year-old, who made his Olympic bow in 1998 in Nagano, Japan, also spoke of his sadness at not being able to compete under his nation's flag at the Sochi Games.

The IOC froze India's membership in December 2012 and suspended it from the Games movement after the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) elected a number of tainted officials to key posts.

The IOA is holding fresh elections on February 9 but as that date falls after Friday's opening ceremony, the athletes will take part as independent competitors.

"It's a very sad situation for us. We are amateur athletes and our only pride is to represent our country," said Keshavan, born in a small village in the foothills of the Himalayas. "It's a big disappointment to compete under the other flag.

"But we understand the IOC action because we have a lot of problems with corruption in sports. We have so many mountains, we have 3,000 kilometres of Himalayas but not enough facilities for training. I hope the IOC decision will help to change the situation for the good in the future."

Keshavan said despite the problems, being at his fifth Games was special and he was satisfied with the sliding course, adding that it was one of the best he had seen.

"It's amazing to be here as every Olympics are very special for me," he said. "Russia is a new experience as I always was curious about the country. Being here in Sochi is great as there are great sporting facilities here."

"The sliding course here is definitely one of the most safe ones," he added. "After what happened in Vancouver (where Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died in a horrific crash) very much attention was paid to the safety of the athletes.

"Here, even if the athlete makes a mistake he will unlikely fly out of the track. There are also three uphill sections that take off your peak speed. And that also gives a safety aspect but adds a technical challenge for us as you have to make fewer mistakes if you want to perform really well."

af/jw

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140205/olympics-its-just-not-cricket-says-indian-luger