Feel sad to compete under IOC flag: Keshavan
India's long-time torchbearer in Winter Olympics, Shiva Keshavan feels that the humiliation of competing under the IOC flag at next month's Sochi Games would be a reminder of the "scourge of corruption" that has denied the country's athletes a chance to hoist the tri-colour at the quadrennial event.
Indian athletes who have qualified for Sochi, including Keshavan, would be forced to compete under the IOC flag due to the IOA's continued suspension from the Olympic movement.
The logjam is expected to end next month when the IOA holds fresh polls on February 9 but that would be two days after the Sochi Games start, meaning that athletes would have to take the field under the IOC banner.
"Yes, it is indeed a concern if Indian athletes cannot compete under their country's flag. Who are they representing then?" Keshavan told PTI in an email interview.
"I feel sad for all the athletes who sacrificed the best years of their life to fulfill their dream to represent our country. Some will never get to experience that pride," he lamented.
Keshavan, the first Indian representative to compete in luge at the Winter Olympic Games, hoped that the humiliation would end soon.
"I feel sorry for us Indians all around the world who will have to be reminded that the scourge of corruption has stood in the way of the hoisting of our flag and the playing of our anthem," he said.
"Are there people in our sports administration that can put the nation before the self and ensure that such a humiliation for India does not happen in the future?" he asked.
An accomplished Winter Olympian, Keshavan set a new Asian speed record at 134.3 km/h and won gold medal in Asia Cup 2011 at Nagano in Japan.
In 2012, he retained the Asian title by winning the Gold Medal at the Asia Cup in Nagano and setting a new Asian track record at 49.590 seconds. He, however, had to be content with the silver medal in the same event in 2013.†