Indian Skier Jagdish Singh finished his Winter Olympics campaign at 103rd out of 119 in the Men’s 15 km free Cross Country Skiing at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The 26- year-old Jagdish, who was participating in his 1st ever Winter Olympic Games, finished the race with timing 43:00.3 minutes.
He was +9:16.4 minutes behind Dario Cologna of Switzerland who eventually won the Gold medal with timings 33:43.9 minutes, Norwegian Simen Hegstad Krueger won the Silver medal by clocking 34:02.2 minutes while Denis Spitsov of Olympic Athletes of Russia (The delegation of selected Russian athletes permitted to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang) won Bronze with 34:06.9 minutes.
This is Dario’s 4th Olympic Gold medal and 2nd in the 15 km Free Cross Country Skiing. He had won the Gold medal in the same event at Vancouver Winter Olympic Games 2010, while at Sochi 2014 he had won 2 medals in 15 km Classical (Event replaced Free Skiing) and 30 km Skiathlon.
Dario, also known as ‘Super Dario’ started the race with a good timing, but after 1.5 km he was trailing behind the leader with the difference of 1.4 seconds at 3rd place. After the completion of 6 km he was the leader and kept the lead intact till the finish line.
Meanwhile, Jagdish started the race with a very slow speed and was at the 103rd position after the completion of 1.5 km, In the later stages due to slow pace his position kept moving between 103-105.
Pita Taufatofua of Tonga made news by participating in the opening ceremony topless, the same way he had done at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and was also one of the competitors. He finished the race at 114th position. Syed Human from India’s neighbor country Pakistan finished the race at 108th position
With the end of this event, India’s challenge at PyeongChang 2018 also end.
Only 2 Indians, Jagdish and 6 time Olympian Shiva Keshavan who finished 34th in Men’s Luge singles
represented India in this Games.
Jagdish Singh’s performance at this games should get an appreciation. He is only fourth Indian in the history to compete for India in Cross Country Skiing.
Two weeks back he missed his flight due to confusion over his coach. Both Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) and Indian Army (Jagdish’s current Employer) wanted their nominated coaches to travel with him.
Later, High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) at Gulmarg, where Jagdish trains, recommended former Olympian Nadeem Iqbal as his coach which was then approved by the Indian Olympics Association (IOA) and Jagdish was able to compete in this Olympics.
Due to all these issues, Jagdish got very less time to train in PyeongChang, which must have affected his performance at the race as well.
In spite of issues like less support, lack of fund, poor facilities, less training time and the high-level issues, Jagdish managed to finish the race, which is an achievement.