In a major boost to India before the start of Winter Olympics in South Korea from February, 21-year old Aanchal Thakur created history on Tuesday by becoming the first Indian to win an international medal in skiing. The Manali resident grabbed a Bronze medal in the slalom race category at Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup organised by Skiing’s international governing body, Federation International de Ski (FIS) at the Palandoken Ski Centre, in Erzurum in Turkey.
Thakur, after winning the medal, in a tweet expressed her happiness and described her feat as “unexpected”. “Finally something unexpected happened. My first ever international medal.🙌 Federation International Ski Race (FIS). At the end turkey served me well,” she wrote in a tweet in which she also posted images of her podium finish.
Finally something unexpected happened. My first ever international medal.🙌 Federation International Ski Race (FIS). At the end turkey served me well 😇😇.
PC- @alwyncreed #strangethingshappen #skiteamindia #onehimachal #himalayangirls pic.twitter.com/pjkSddCpi5
— Aanchal Thakur (@alleaanchal) January 9, 2018
“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 from Turkey. Her feat is special given that there is no culture or even infrastructure for winter sports in India. Also, those participating in winter sports in India get negligible support from the Union sports ministry.
Roshan Thakur, father of Aanchal and the secretary general of the Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI), was elated. “This is a breakthrough for the sport in India and the entire skiing fraternity is proud of her achievement,” he said.
Winter sports do not get much recognition in India, given that much of the country does not see snowfall.
Roshan Lal Thakur said that Aanchal had not received much help till now but he hopes that this achievement will go a along way in getting not just his daughter her due but will also draw attention of the sports ministry towards winter sports.
Aanchal is the resident of Burua, a small village in Manali. She learnt the art from her father first and later in her career Olympian Heera Lal honed her skills.