Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today congratulated Aanchal Thakur from Himachal Pradesh for becoming the first Indian to win an international medal in skiing. 21-Year-old, Aanchal clinched bronze at the Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup in Turkey.
Congratulations to @alleaanchal on winning India's first ever international medal in skiing. The bronze at FIS International Skiing Championship., Turkey will always stand tall among shining ones in Nation’s sporting glory. May this inspire a generation to the sport. Best wishes
— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) January 10, 2018
The event was organised by the International Ski Federation (FIS) — skiing’s international governing body — at the Palandoken Ski Centre in Erzurum. Aanchal won the medal in the slalom race category.
“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 reporters after her race.
Aanchal is a resident of Burua, a small village in Manali and is the daughter of Roshan Thakur, the secretary general of the Winter Games Federation of India. She picked up the sport from her father, before working with former Olympian Heera Lal.
“This is a breakthrough for the sport in India and the entire skiing fraternity is proud of her achievement,” her father 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,” he added.
Aanchal’s career in international skiing has largely been financed by her father while the FIS has funded some of her trips abroad. Her father wants the sports ministry to acknowledge skiing as a sport and extend some monetary support for the expensive sport.
Just the equipment required by a professional skier costs around Rs 5 to 10 lakh. “I hope Aanchal’s medal helps our cause. I want to see my daughter and son represent the country in the 2018 Winter Olympics,” Thakur added.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to twitter to congratulate Aanchal. 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.”