Defending champion Shiva settles for silver in Luge Asia Cup

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 29, 2013, 15:56 PM IST

New Delhi: India`s Shiva Keshavan failed to retain his title in the 16th Luge Asia Cup as he settled for the silver in Nagano, Japan on Sunday.

Keshavan, who won the title in 2011 and 2012 editions, clocked a total time of 1:39:750 seconds for two heats in the Winter Olympics event. The Indian, who has qualified for the February 7-23 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, clocked the best start time and was leading in both runs until the mid section of the track, the fourth intermediate time. However, he lost the leading position in the last two splits to Japan`s Hidenari Kanayama who won gold with a total time of 1:38:675 seconds.

Keshavan, however, retained his Asian speed record of 134.3 kmph which he had clocked in the 2011 edition held in the same Japanese city.

He said the race gave him the idea on which areas he needs to make improvements ahead of the Winter Olympics. "This race made us identify our strengths and areas that need improvement. Good news is we have a clear understanding of what we need to do to win an Olympic medal. So we can work towards that goal. The challenge is achieving it without a full-time coach or a full year budget for training," he said.

Keshavan said during the two-week training stint in Nagano, he had been fine-tuning his equipment by making minor to major changes everyday and testing them.

He said he had struggled with the equipment setup all week and the runs during training were not up to the mark as he had to deal with handling difficulties to manoeuvre the sled without fishtailing in the faster corners.

"I am very happy to be bringing silver to India. At one point we seemed far behind the competition but we kept making progress one small step at a time all week and kept fighting until the very last day. I am most satisfied that I managed to put down two solid runs on the race day and my start has been better than previous years.

"I seem to be losing a lot of time due to aerodynamics and some handling issues in the faster section but that is something that we will continue to work on," he said.