Whistler (British Columbia): Indian luger Kannan Palan Shiva Keshavan has defied doctors' orders to slide down the world's fastest track at the Vancouver Olympics with a fractured back.
Himalayan-born Shiva Keshavan was told that he had a fracture in his 10th vertebra in January but wild horses would not keep him away from competing at his fourth Olympics.
"My doctor told me that my back is more important so stop and just worry about my back," Shiva Keshavan, who at 16 became the youngest luge Olympian at the 1998 Nagano Games, told reporters at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Wednesday.
"I just told him I've been training for this for four years and told him to do what he had to to get me back on track. He said be careful or it could get worse."
The 28-year-old roared down his first training run on Wednesday, clocking a speed of 140kph to live up to his nickname as India's fastest man but his doctor is unlikely to be pleased.
"I had three weeks in a brace with no training whatsoever. It's only in the past week that I've managed to take the brace off and do some exercises," he said.
"But no matter what, I had to be here."
A creaking back was not Shiva Keshavan's only problem in the build-up to the Games. He broke his sled days before leaving for Vancouver but five lawyers in cricket-mad India pooled Rs 4,50,000 ($15,920) to help him buy a new one.
Shiva Keshavan, who was second at the Asian Winter Championships in January, helped the Indian Luge Federation put on a camp for 50 children in the Himalayas last July and he hopes one day some of them will follow in his tracks.
"We will have a strong team in four years," he said.