Keshavan to have first personal coach in 18 years
New Delhi: India's long-time flagbearer in luge sports, Olympian Shiva Keshavan, will have a personal coach for the first time in his 18 years of international career after former world champion Duncan Rennedy signed up with him for the next four years.
"This winter could potentially be a turning point with Ex-Technical Director of the US Luge Team and winner of 21 World titles, Duncan Kennedy, taking up the role of full-time Coach and Technician for Shiva for the next four years. This will be the first time in 18 years of representing India that Shiva will have a personal Coach," read a press release.
"Although there has been no word from the Sports Ministry on whether they will be supporting Shiva by helping him get a full-time Coach, the Indian Luge Team is firming up their plans for the next 4 years together," it added.
Keshavan will begin his quest with an eye on the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Peyongchang, South Korea.
Keshavan, who has won all of the six international medals for India in Winter Sports to date, is currently preparing for the International Luge Circuit that will see him compete in three World Cups where he will be looking to make his mark again.
The season's peak event for India will be the Asian Championships in Nagano, Japan on December 21 where Keshavan will aim to reclaim the gold medal after settling for silver behind Japan's Hidenari Kanayama at the last edition of the continental Championship in 2013.
The 2014-15 race season will culminate in the World Championships in Sigulda, Latvia in February 2015.
"Keshavan, hailed as the fastest man is Asia in the Limca Book of Records at 149.9 km/h, will, however, be missing out on five World Cup berths this winter due to lack of funds as the government has not supported the country's winter sports star so far this year."
The Luge pilot is hopeful that the Sports Ministry will adopt efficient and transparent systems that enable and not hinder athletes from competing for India.
"If a five-time Olympian, two-time Asian Champion, with 6 international medals in his kitty, has to beg the Government for funds each year, there is something really wrong in our system and it needs to be seriously looked into," said Keshavan said.