In a major boost to India before the start of Winter Olympics in South Korea from February, the 21-year old Aanchal Thakur created history on Tuesday by becoming the first Indian to register an international medal in skiing. The Manali resident achieved 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 in achieving the feat and described it 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.
Speaking to Times of India in an interview, Thakur further said that her hard work has finally paid off. “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,” she said. Her father, Roshan Thakur, who works as the the secretary general of the Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI), also spoke to the newspaper and described her achivement as a “breakthrough for the sport in India”.
“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 shw won a bronze. This is a breakthrough for the sport in India and the entire skiing fraternity is proud of her achievement,” her father told TOI.
Roshan further added that the medal might help in getting financial support from the government. “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. The Centre only funds travel and logistics from one Olympic to another. Rest of the time, you have to fend for yourself,” he said.