Winter sports to WADA, Shiva makes smooth transition
India's winter sports flagbearer is at the Asian Games as a WADA outreach programme mentor
India's winter sports legend Shiva Keshavan has donned a new hat. Having retired from luge after the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, the 42-year-old is now working with World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) and is in Hangzhou as an Outreach Programme Mentor. His responsibilities include holding one-on-one sessions with the athletes and educating them on anti-doping protocols.
"It's a new, exciting role that I am enjoying a lot. Even as an active athlete, I took a keen interest in the subject and read a lot on it. When I got the phone call from WADA a month back, I didn't take long to say yes. I had volunteered as an athletes representative at the last Winter Games in Beijing," the six-time Winter Olympian said.
"Most importantly, I am here to tell the athletes about their rights. Most athletes aren't aware of their rights in case they are caught in the dope net. WADA is not here to stigmatise or victimise athletes. We are here to help them," the 42-year-old said.
Sharing his experience of counselling the athletes, he said, "I find foreign athletes a lot more curious and forthcoming. Slowly but surely, I hope to make a difference among the Indian athletes too. I sense a glaring lack of education among Indian athletes."
Shiva is the only Indian in a group of five WADA mentors in Hangzhou, a badge he wears with pride. "It surely is an honour. There are athletes from Singapore, China, and Korea. I am perhaps the only winter athlete in the lot," he said.
"The important thing from my perspective is to ensure the athletes use sports as a medium to become good human beings. If you are a clean athlete, you have nothing to worry about," Shiva concluded.