Sochi: Veteran luger Shiva Keshavan admitted the controversy surrounding India’s exclusion from the Olympic movement had left him feeling flat in Sochi as his fifth Winter Games got off to a subdued start on Saturday.

Keshavan, 32, has been forced to compete under the International Olympic Committee (IOC) flag and the resentment of not seeing the Indian flag fly proudly at Friday’s opening ceremony was still burning deeply on Saturday as the opening two rounds of the luge got under way.

Shiva Keshavan waves to the crowd in Sochi yesterday. PIC/Getty Images

“Yesterday, at the opening ceremony, the feelings were not the same as at previous Games,” Keshavan said.

“There wasn’t that excitement. Of course, we tried to take what we could get and I still have so much support from my friends, my home. We came here knowing that but still it was a bit sad.”

Publicity stunt
Meanwhile, Tongan luger Bruno Banani — who changed his name to that of a German underwear manufacture as a publicity stunt — was 33rd after the day’s opening rounds.

“After last night when I walked up with Tongan flag at the opening ceremony I received so many messages from my home. I just couldn’t imagine I will receive so many,” the 26-year-old Banani said.

“I understood that at home everyone is proud of me, everyone is happy to have a compatriot at the Olympics.

“It’s just unbelievable to represent your country at the Games. It’s only five years I’m practicing and competing in luge so I have all the reasons to be happy tonight.”