In a cricket-crazy country like India, practicing any other sports involves a lot of risks. Right from lack of funding to non-availability of world-class infrastructure, an athlete has to face a lot of hurdles before making it to the highest level.
Battling the odds
And when it comes to domains like Winter Olympics, the situation is grimmer. Take the case of luger Shiva Keshavan. The 36-year-old, who became the youngest luger when he made his Olympic debut in 1998, has been the face of the winter sport in the country for two decades and participated in six Olympics.
However, he could reportedly afford only a traveling coach at his Olympic swansong in the ongoing Pyeongchang Games.
Shiva and skier Jagdish Singh are the only two athletes representing India in Pyeongchang. While the former brought the curtains down on his unsung career with a 34th-place finish on Sunday, February 11, the latter is gearing up for his Olympic debut.
Ahead of his 15km cross-country event, scheduled for Friday (February 16), Jagdish posted a positive message on his social media account. Notably, he underwent training in Pyeongchang on Monday after arriving late in the South Korean county.
"Today practice in Pyeongchang. Work hard for what you want because it won't come to you without a fight," Jagdish posted on social media, according to IANS.
He added: "You have to be strong and courageous and know that you can do anything you put your mind to. If somebody puts you down or criticizes you, just keep on believing in yourself and turn it into something."
Jagdish had indeed been "strong and courageous" even as his flight to Pyeongchang was delayed due to ambiguity over his accompanying coach. He finally left for the Games last week after the Indian Olympic Committee agreed to send his long-time coach Nadeem Iqbal, who had represented the country in cross-country skiing at the 2014 Winter Games.
Notably, Jagdish took to skiing only after joining the Indian Army in 2011. He trains at the High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) in Gulmarg and qualified for his maiden Winter Olympics after a good show at tournaments in Japan and Finland last year.