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Indian Olympic team get donated uniforms in Vancouver

Shiva Keshavan at a practice session, Whistler, 10 February
Shiva Keshavan hopes to rank in the top 10 of the men's singles luge

Vancouver's Indo-Canadian community has rallied to provide funding and uniforms for India's three-man Winter Olympics team, local press reports say.

The owner of a sports shop donated track suits for the opening ceremonies, saying the rush was on to get the Indian flag embroidered onto the gear.

And a local Punjabi radio station is raising funds for the team - made up of a luger and two skiers.

The luge used by captain Shiva Keshavan is also donated - by lawyers in India.

Five lawyers chipped in 450,000 rupees ($9,700; £6,200) after Keshavan's old luge - held together by duct tape and screws - broke during training in November.

Alpine skier Jamyang Namgial and cross-country skier Tashi Lundup round out the team.

'You're kidding'

TJ Johal, the owner of Sports Unlimited in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey, told public broadcaster CBC that he was shocked to hear the team did not have proper uniforms for the opening ceremonies.

To feel this kind of support from our community on the other side of the world from India, it is such a great feeling
Shiva Keshavan
Three-time Olympic luger

"My first reaction was, you're kidding me. They're from India, the land of clothing, and they have no clothes to wear? But that's just how it is in Third World countries," he said.

Shushma Datt, the owner of radio station RJ1200 - which bills itself as Vancouver's Bollywood Station - told the BBC it had raised 8,000 Canadian dollars (£4,875) at an impromptu fundraising event on Wednesday night, and that donations were still coming into a bank account set up for the athletes.

Team captain Shiva Keshavan, 28, who is competing in his fourth Winter Olympics, said he was grateful for all the help.

"To feel this kind of support from our community on the other side of the world from India, it is such a great feeling," he told television network CTV.

Mr Keshavan said he received his first funding of $20,000 (£12,800) from the Indian government last year, after more than a decade of competing.



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