India’s cross country skier Jagdish Singh is all set to compete in his first-ever Winter Olympics. Jagdish and luger Shiva Keshavan are the only two Indians who will be competing in the Winter Games, starting in Pyeongchang (South Korea) from Friday.
The 26-year-old will take part in the 15 km Nordic skiing freestyle event on 16 February.
Here’s a look at five fun facts from Jagdish Singh’s life.
1. Native Place
Jagdish Singh, who is born on 1 July 1991, is from Uttarakhand. The cross country skier joined the Army in 2011.
"When I joined the Army, I did not know that I will qualify for Olympics one day. Now I will do my best to win medal for the country." - Jagdish Singh to Earlytimes2. Training Regime
Jagdish trains at Army's High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) in Gulmarg. His day starts at 7 am, when he practices on the slopes of Gulmarg until noon.
"My practice starts at 7 in the morning. Till 12 noon, I do skiing. After which I do gym, and other exercises." - Jagdish Singh to Earlytimes3. Qualification
Jagdish Singh booked his maiden Winter Olympics spot by a whisker. The Uttarakhand skier bagged the Olympic spot with just one point over the qualification mark during an event in Finland in 2017.
The Indian Olympic Association not recognising the Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) has made it very difficult for Indian athletes to train with better facilities.
4. Coach Fiasco
Jagdish Singh couldn’t board his flight as scheduled on Saturday for the Winter Olympics as who would accompany him as his coach wasn’t yet finalised. Both the Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) and his employer Indian Army nominated coaches from their end.
The IOA rejected the names given by WGFI – President Col. (Rtd.) Jodh Singh Dhillon and Secretary General Roshan Lal Thakur – since the federation is de-recognised by IOA.
Major General Atul Kaushil was recommended by the High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS), but the IOA wanted to be sure of his credentials.
However, two days later, Jagdish was finally allowed to leave for the competition. Former cross country skier (Winter Olympian) Nadeem Iqbal, who was recommended by the HAWS, was cleared to accompany the skier as Jagdish’s coach.
5. Support From the Army
Jagdish has been able to fulfill his dream of a Winter Olympic spot only because of the Indian Army. It has provided him with all the equipment and most importantly a training area in High Altitude Warfare School.
"Whatever support I required, the Army provided me. It was not possible to purchase costly equipment of winter sports on my own. I would not have qualified without support of the HAWS, especially its Commandant Major General Atul Kaushik." - Jagdish Singh to Earlytimes
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