Indian luger Shiva Keshavan struggles in Sochi

Feb 09, 2014, 09:15 IST | Agencies

Competing as an independent athlete, Keshavan emerges 35th in the first heat

Sochi: India's leading luger Shiva Keshavan, who is participating in the Winter Olympics as an independent athlete this time, clocked 53.905 in the first heat of the men's singles luge event on Saturday.

Shiva Keshavan during the first heat of  Luge Singles on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images
Shiva Keshavan during the first heat of Luge Singles on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images

The 32-year-old, who represented India in four Olympic Games, before the fiasco in the Indian Olympic Association prevented him from competing under the Indian flag, had a maximum speed of 130.1 km/hr during the first heat and ranked 35th after starting at 38th place.

Keshavan was 1.735 behind Russia's Albert Demchenko, who clocked 52.17 to top the the first heat at the Sanki Sliding Center here. The second heat was scheduled to start later in the day while the third and fourth heat will be held on Sunday.

The four timings in the heats will be added up, and the luger who clocks the fastest total time will be crowned the winner.

On Friday, Keshavan had pulled off an incredible recovery during training when he slipped off his sled, fell on his stomach and glided down the track before managing to get a hold of his sled, flipping himself onto it, and continuing with the run.

Keshavan had won gold 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.

Bjoerndalen equals all-time medal feat
Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen made a mockery of his 40 years on Saturday to equal the record for Winter Olympic medals when victory in the sprint in Sochi took him to 12 for his career.

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen 

The veteran went level with compatriot Bjorn Daehlie, who also clinched 12 medals in his Olympic cross country career. He also became the oldest gold medallist in an individual event in the Games history.

Bjoerndalen finished in 24min 33.5sec ahead of Austria's Dominik Landertinger, in 24:34.8sec, and Jaroslav Soukup of the Czech Republic, who clocked 24:39.2.

It was Bjoerndalen's seventh Olympic gold to add to his four silvers and one bronze and was achieved in his sixth Olympic Games.

Nicknamed "The Cannibal," he has also devoured 19 world championship titles and his performance on Saturday put his critics firmly in their place after he was written off four years ago.

Japan's Mao Asada during the Figure Skating Team Short Program
Japan's Mao Asada during the Figure Skating Team Short Program  

Despite winning a lone gold in Vancouver in 2010 in the relay event, he had swept four gold in four events in Salt Lake City eight years earlier.

France's Martin Fourcade, the leader of the overall World Cup standings, endured another miserable Olympic experience with the 25-year-old down in sixth place. Fourcade, 25, is a five-time world championship gold medallist and two-time overall World Cup champion who is comfortably on his way to a third title.

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