The Hush Post: Manali girl Aanchal Thakur thought it was a dream when Prime Minister Narendra Modi 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. Sports minister Rajyavardhan Rathore also tweeted to congratulate her.
She won a bronze medal in an international skiing competition Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup organised by the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) in Turkey. The 21-year-old has become the first Indian to win an international medal in skiing.
In her response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi she said, “I never thought the Prime Minister would tweet for me. It is unreal. I just hope we are finally treated at par with athletes of popular sports. As of now, there has been no support whatsoever from the government”.
Under the tutelage of her father Roshan Thakur, who is also an avid skier and happens to be the secretary at the Winter Games Federation of India, she has been skiing in Europe since she was in seventh grade. Her brother Himanshu is also an alpine skier. He competed in the Sochi Winter Olympics alongside luger Shiva Keshavan.
Aanchal says if it was not for the efforts of her father, there was no way she could have pursued skiing. “The Europeans get to train 10 months in a year where our athletes can do two months maximum, considering the huge cost involved in training overseas,” says her father, who owns apple orchards in Manali. The equipment, comprising ski, boots and clothing too is expensive and costs around Rs 4-5 lakh, Aanchal said. With a historic medal in the bag, the next target for this wushu player-turned skier is the qualification mark for the Winter Olympics to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea next month.