Reuters - Mon, 15 Feb 18:50:00 2010
India's Shiva Keshavan, who saw the Georgian slider crash at the Vancouver Olympics, said the accident could have been avoided and asked for stricter regulations to make sure it did not happen again.
Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed on a training run at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Friday when he lost control at high speed and was launched over the rim of the track before slamming into an unpadded pillar.
"We see accidents all the time, I've had accidents myself, but what happened the other day is something that must not happen again," Keshavan told Reuters.
"That's the line and we must be careful to ensure we don't cross it.
"It happened in front of my eyes," he added. "He was not the next slider but the slider after that after me. I knew that this was the worst-case scenario that can happen.
"The problem is that he went out of the track and that should not happen. That's something that needs to be looked into. I don't want to go into any blame game but the thing that they should ensure is that even if it (the sled) crashes, it must remain on the track."
The governing body and Vancouver Olympics organising committee altered the corner where Kumaritashvili's life ended and lowered the start for the men's competition but maintained there were no deficiencies on the world's fastest track.
"If the wall that is there today had been there the other day, it would not have happened," Keshavan said. "There should be stricter regulations. There should be a continuous overhang to make sure it doesn't happen, it's as simple as that.
"In any speed sport, as long as you are sliding and you have no direct impact, the risks are much lower and you can train to fall a certain way but in that kind of situation, nobody could have done anything," Keshavan added.
Keshavan dismissed a suggestion by Canada's German coach Wolfgang Staudinger that some Olympic competitors were not experienced enough to master the high-speed track.
"It can happen to anybody in this group because anybody can lose his head. When you lose your head with the G-force, you panic and you don't know where the sled is going.
"When you make a mistake and enter a corner too late, the G-force, it hits you like a hammer, you lose your concentration and you don't know where you going."
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