India at the Winter Olympics
Mumbai: The ongoing Winter Olympics has largely been a spectator sport for India’s sportspersons. The current edition has had a number of countries participating, and the leading nation has already garnered more than a dozen medals. India has not yet been able to open its account.
A combination of climatic conditions, funding woes and lack of support or facilities for winter sports in the country have contributed towards India lagging behind in the Winter Olympics, not being able to match even the modest medal successes seen in the summer Olympic campaigns. India had managed two medals in 2016’s Rio Olympics and six medals in the 2012 Olympics in London.
The Winter Olympic medals tally of Germany, Netherlands, Norway and Canada have already crossed double-digits in the current edition. The US has got seven medals, including four gold. Germany leads the gold medal tally with seven of them, shows data as of 14th February.
There have been some exceptions to the lack of representation.
There has been one sportsperson who has been holding India’s flag at the Olympics for a number of years now. Shiva Keshavan completed his sixth and final Olympics in Pyeongchang. He funded his previous Olympic trip through crowdfunding, and has also had to previously compete with a borrowed sled. With little by way of funds or support, he has managed a credible showing. His rankings in the current Olympics were an improvement over the previous one held in Sochi.
Jagdish Singh who competes in the cross-country skiing event is the only other athlete representing India in the current edition.
Keshavan has announced that this would be his final Olympics. This is also the first time that he is older than the median age of the medalists.
Keshavan may not have won at the Olympics, but he has shown a generation of Indians that international sports are not entirely out of reach, funds and support notwithstanding.