Himachal Pradesh resident Aanchal Thakur created history as she became the first Indian to win an international medal in skiing. The 21-year-old won bronze at the prestigious Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup organized by the Federation Internationale de Ski at the Palandoken Ski Centre in Erzurum in Turkey.
The Manali girl made history on Tuesday when she won the medal in the slalom race category. Her achievement became special considering there has been no culture and infrastructure for winter sports in the country.
"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.
Aanchal learned the initial steps of the game from her father Roshan Thakur, who is currently working as the secretary general of the Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) and later Heera Lal, a former Olympian, helped Aanchal in polishing her skills.
"This is a breakthrough for the sport in India and the entire skiing fraternity is proud of her achievement," her father, Roshan Thakur, said.
"Aanchal called me on WhatsApp and showed me the medal. I thought it was some kind of a souvenir given at the end of every FIS event! But she told me that she won a bronze."
Her father pointed out the fact that there has been no monetary support from the Center to promote the players in this sport. A player needs around Rs 5 to 10 lakh to buy the equipment for the game which includes skis, boots, and bindings, poles, helmets, suits, goggles, and gloves.
"The bureaucrats in the sports ministry do not acknowledge skiing as a sport," he said.
"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
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
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