After representing India in five Winter Olympics, luge exponent Shiva Keshavan has said that official apathy might force him to retire.
Keshavan, 34, announced his intention through an email to the media after his application for government funding was turned down by the sport ministry.
Keshavan’s application for the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) was rejected by a committee that thought his results weren’t encouraging.
“I am writing to let you know of a critical development after 19 years of representing India internationally which can potentially force me to prematurely end my career,” he wrote.
“Sadly, now that I am reaching the peak of my career and require government assistance to reach the top of the world ranking, the current ministry has turned deaf to my requests for basic financial support. I have not been given a coach, nor equipment or expenses for travel, training and competition,” he added.
Ministry officials refused to comment on the matter.
Keshavan accused the ministry of neglecting his needs to the effect that he was left to bear the costs of a personal coach.
“I am at a point in my career where I have tied up with a world-class coach, 21-time world champion Duncan Kennedy, on the assurances given to me by the government last year that they would support me...
"One year later, and after having exhausted the resources I had to pay the coach’s salary, training, equipment and other expenses, personally, I am unable to continue anymore, unless the Ministry steps in immediately.
“I have been on the podium consistently for the past six editions of the Asian Championships. I have also competed in five Olympic Games, setting many records.
"Even the government has recognised my achievements and I received a cash award from the-then sports minister Ajay Maken along with a letter assuring support in the future.
"The ministry also started providing financial support during former sports minister Jitendra Singh’s tenure when I was granted training and competition expenses through NSDF,” said Keshavan.