Twenty-one-year-old Manali resident Aanchal Thakur became the first Indian to win an international medal in skiing. Incidentally, this is her first international medal as well.
Aanchal won the bronze medal at the Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup, which is organised by the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS). Aanchal clinched the medal in the Slalom race category.
FIS, skiing's international governing body, held the event at the Palandoken Ski Centre in Erzurum, Turkey. It was held from January 6 to January 9.
“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 the Times of India.
Finally something unexpected happened. My first ever international medal.Federation International Ski Race (FIS). At the end turkey served me well.— Aanchal Thakur (@alleaanchal) January 9, 2018
PC- @alwyncreed #strangethingshappen #skiteamindia #onehimachal #himalayangirls pic.twitter.com/pjkSddCpi5
Aanchal hails from Burua, a village in Manali, Himachal Pradesh. Her skills were honed by former Olympian Heera Lal, reported ToI.
Her father, Roshan Thakur, said he was proud of his daughter, but rued the state of the sport in the country. Her trips are either funded by the FIS or her father. Roshan is also the secretary-general of the Winter Games Federation of India, reported Financial Express.
“The bureaucrats in the sports ministry do not acknowledge skiing as a sport,” Roshan told TOI.
Roshan hopes that Aanchal’s win will help them secure support from the Centre.
Her feat has not gone unnoticed, and she was praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Well done @alleaanchal for winning an international medal in skiing! The entire nation is ecstatic on your historic accomplishment at the FIS International Skiing Competition in Turkey. Wishing you the very best for your future endeavours,” he tweeted.
Well done @alleaanchal for winning an international medal in skiing! The entire nation is ecstatic on your historic accomplishment at the FIS International Skiing Competition in Turkey. Wishing you the very best for your future endeavours.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 10, 2018
Congratulatory messages poured in on Twitter, including messages from Olympian Rajyavardhan Rathore and Railways and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal.
“India opens account by a first ever medal in skiing,” Rajyavardhan tweeted.
Congrats Aanchal Thakur @alleaanchal for the Slalom Skiing Bronze in the FIS International Skiing Competition in Turkey.— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) January 10, 2018
India opens account by a first ever medal in skiing
Well done! @jairamthakurbjp pic.twitter.com/vhTReuJwyl
Congratulations to Aanchal Thakur @alleaanchal on becoming the first Indian to win an international medal in skiing after clinching Bronze at the prestigious Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup in Turkey. pic.twitter.com/lfKy4xEIWi— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) January 10, 2018
According to Financial Express, Aanchal previously took part in the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics in Innsbruck.