Pyeongchang: Indian skier Jagdish Singh on Friday finished a dismal 103rd in the men’s 15-km free cross-country race at his debut Winter Olympics here, ending another disappointing campaign for the country at the quadrennial extravaganza.
The 26-year-old Jagdish clocked 43.03 minutes to be the 103rd skier to cross the finish line in a line-up of 119 at the Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing Centre.
Jagdish's time was 9:16.4 minutes slower than Switzerland’s Dario Cologna, who took his third straight Olympic gold by clocking 33:43.9. Norway’s Simen Krueger (34:02.2) won the silver, while Denis Spitsov (34:06.9) from Russia took home the bronze.
The disappointing finish aside, it was quite a feat for Jagdish to even compete at the Games. He almost didn't make it after the Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) and his employer, the Indian Army, delayed his departure until the 11th hour over the nomination of a coach to accompany him.
The Indian, who trains at the High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) at Gulmarg, was around 40 seconds slower than the leader at the initial 1.5km mark but the gap widened as the race progressed.
At the halfway stage, Jagdish was 4:28 minutes slower than the leader and the gap kept increasing though he was able to finish a few places above his 116th position start.
In cross-country skiing, athletes have to glide across a 15 km-long path on a snow-covered field in the shortest possible time. The track has uphill, level and downhill terrains.
The end of his campaign also ended India's run at the Games. The country was being represented by only two athletes. On February 11, Shiva Keshavan had finished 34th in the men's luge singles event in his sixth and last Winter Olympics.
India have not produced any worthwhile performance in the Winter Olympics with Keshavan's six appearances being the nation's only remarkable achievement.
India took part in the Winter Olympics for the first time in 1964 in Innsbruck, Austria, where Jeremy Bujakowski, an alpine skier of Polish descent, represented the country.
He was there in the 1968 Games as well in Grenoble (France) before Shailaja Kumar, Gul Dev and Kishor Rahtna Rai -- all alpine skiers -- took part in the 1988 edition in Calgary, Canada.
Keshavan then took the mantle of carrying the Indian flag in six Winter Olympics from 1998 in Nagano, Japan to Pyeongchang this time.