Due to a lack of funding, five-time winter Olympian Shiva Keshavan has pulled out of next week’s Luge World Championships in Germany and the remaining part of the World Cup circuit.
Keshavan, who won silver at the Asian Championship in Nagano, Japan, last month, has also lost the services of coach Duncan Kennedy. A former technical director of the US luge team, Kennedy had come on board in 2014 with the belief that the 34-year-old had the potential to perform on the big stage.
Late last year, the ministry agreed to pay the American’s salary, but later capped it at one-third the amount, leaving Keshavan with the task of paying the coach from his pocket.
After submitting applications under the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) a number of times in the past two years, Keshavan has done so again in January, and requested the minister to look into his case favourably.
The ministry has helped Keshavan in the past under the NSDF, releasing Rs 10 lakh as part reimbursement for his coach’s salary. The support has been intermittent and no expenses have been paid for training, equipment and travel, etc.
As is the norm, athletes compete in nine international races to gain World Cup points for the annual ranking. Keshavan could garner points from just three of the nine races he could afford to compete in and subsequently was ranked 39th in the world.
Currently without a sponsor, Keshavan has approached the ministry again and is approaching corporates for support.