He has represented the country in four Winter Olympic Games — the highest number by an Indian winter sports athlete. He has three Asian Championship medals, including gold in the 2011 edition. He has also become eligible for the fifth Winter Olympics (2014, Sochi) after a top-place finish in the recent continental meet, but Shiva Keshavan is yet to receive a single rupee from the government for his achievements.Keshavan’s list of international accomplishments is getting longer by the day but forget about national recognition, the luge champion’s efforts have not even been recognised by his home state, Himachal Pradesh.
The 30-year-old is yet to get Himachal’s highest state sports award, the Parshuram Award. To add insult to injury, the country’s first winter games continental-level gold-medallist is running from pillar to post to submit his representation for the award.
“I have no idea whether the state government shortlists athletes for the award or one has to apply for it. I have submitted my application to the director, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali, and requested him to take up my case with the state sports department,” said Keshavan.
International skiers Uma Thakur and Chuni Lal Thakur received the award for winter sports excellence in 1997 and 2002 respectively. Keshavan also met Anurag Thakur, the BJP Member of Parliament, on the concluding day of the Ski Himalayas’ Alpine Premier League on Thursday.
On his own
Thakur, the son of the state chief minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal, waxed eloquent on making Himachal the ‘Khel Bhumi’ of the country and cashing in on adventure tourism, on Thursday.
But when asked about the blueprint for promoting winter sports, he had no answer. “The concerned (sports) association takes care of the promotion of the sport,” said Thakur. Himachal has produced the maximum number of winter Olympians in the country and their contribution is way ahead of the achievements in other sports. On Keshavan getting the award, Thakur said, “The government will see his achievements and comment on the issue.”
It’s high time the state government recognises the glorious achievements of the luge ace who could have gone places with a bit of monetary help.