Jagdish Singh books India rare Winter Olympics berth

Jagdish Singh To represent India in Winter Olympics. Photograph:( Others )

AFP New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 03, 2018, 06.22 AM (IST)

Cross-country skier Jagdish Singh has qualified for the Winter Olympics, one of only two Indian athletes who will be seen in action at Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Singh and veteran luger Shiva Keshavan will comprise the Indian contingent for the Games starting February 9, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) secretary-general Rajeev Mehta told AFP on Saturday.

It will be a maiden Olympic appearance for 26-year-old Singh, who booked his place with just one point over the qualification mark. 

He will be participating in the 15-km Nordic skiing freestyle event that is scheduled for February 16.

The Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) is not recognised by the IOA, which has made it tough for Indian athletes to break through to the big stage.

Keshavan, 36, has been India's only regular face in the Winter Games since making his debut in 1998.

In the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, India was represented by three athletes: Keshavan, Himanshu Thakur (alpine skiing) and Nadeem Iqbal (cross-country skiing).

Cricket-crazy India has never won a medal at the winter games and has only ever scooped one individual gold at an Olympics, with Abhinav Bindra taking the honours in a rifle shooting event at the 2008 Beijing summer games.