Aanchal Thakur: First Indian to win medal in international skiing
Hailing from a small village in Manali and winning an international medal in skiing is nothing short of a dream. Aanchal Thakur clenched the bronze in the coveted Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup that was organised by the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) at the Palandoken Ski Centre in Erzurum in Turkey. The FIS is skiing’s international governing body.
Aanchal won the bronze in the slalom race category. The 21-year-old made a breakthrough in a sport that doesn’t garner much support in India.
“Months of training have finally borne fruit. I started well and managed to take a good lead, which helped later in getting the third-place finish," Aanchal told TOI.
Her journey in international skiing was sometimes funded by her father Roshan Thakur or the FIS. She grew up in Burua, a small village in Manali. Roshan, who is also the secretary general of the Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI), expressed that there is no support from the government for skiing. "The bureaucrats in the sports ministry do not acknowledge skiing as a sport," Thakur said.
Roshan was happy at his daughter’s victory, “This is a breakthrough for the sport in India and the entire skiing fraternity is proud of her achievement.”
Aanchal learnt the sport from her father and was later mentored by Olympian Heera Lal.
Roshan hopes that Aanchal’s victory might help the sport’s cause in India. "I hope Aanchal's medal helps our cause (in getting financial support from the Centre). I want to see my daughter and son represent the country in the 2018 Winter Olympics," he said.
"The Centre only funds travel and logistics from one Olympic to another. Rest of the time, you have to fend for yourself," Roshan added.