Shiva gets IOC scholarship, Winter Games dream still alive

Left in lurch after denial of government funding, Indian luge competitor Shiva Keshavan has found support from the IOC, which has granted him the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship to compete in the qualifiers for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

The scholarship was granted to him on the recommendation of India's IOC member Randhir Singh.

The Asian Champion, who has been training in Europe to qualify for the Sochi Winter Games after retaining his Asian title and setting a new continental record, was struggling to raise funds for participating in qualifying events.

The IOC has now stepped in to ensure that Shiva gets to travel and participate in the Olympic test event and the World Cup final, a mandatory race for qualifying for the apex sporting event which will be held in Sochi, Russia in 2014.

Keshavan's Coach Yann Fricheteau, a former Olympian, had quit this year due to the non-payment of his salary by the Government under the NSDF Scheme for sportspersons.
The Government had earlier also refused to fund Shiva's participation in the World Cups and the Asian Championships, where Shiva retained the gold medal for the second consecutive time for India.

However thanks to IOC's intervention, Shiva's Olympic dream has remained alive.
"This is the first time that an athlete has been directly supported by the IOC, as it is generally the prerogative of the Sports Ministry and the NOC of each country to bear the costs of national teams participating in international competitions," a release stated.

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