“A pair of skis are the ultimate transportation to Freedom.” – Warren Miller
An apt quote for ski enthusiasts like Aanchal Thakur. The 21 year old Manali Resident, has recently bagged a bronze medal in Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup which organised in Erzurum in Turkey by the Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS) – the international governing body for skiing. This proud moment is the first in the ski history of India. She won the medal in the category of slalom race.
Sharing this proud and happy moment with the media, Aanchal said, “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.” Winning a bronze in skiing has opened a door for so many ski aspirants in the country. Aanchal has proved the fact that if you chase your dream with all your heart, you can achieve anything. Although, bronze would look like something of a decent achievement in many countries, but in a country with neither culture nor infrastructure for winter sports, Aanchal’s bronze medal is definitely a boost for the winter sports in India.
Participation in Winter sports get negligible support as of now from the Union Sports Ministry. Aanchal’s ski journey has mostly been financed by her father and most of her trips are funded by FIS. When asked about Aanchal father’s views on his daughter’s ski journey He ridiculed the fact that there is no monetary support for winter sports from the Center. He said, “The bureaucrats in the sports ministry do not acknowledge skiing as a sport.” The cost in professional skiing involves the cost of skis, boots and bindings, poles, helmets, suits, goggles and gloves. The cost of these equipments alone is INR 5 to 10 lac.
Despite of so many hurdles, Roshan Thakur’s support for his daughter is just something of an inspiration to many other parents in India. When asked about this proud moment, he 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.”
Hailing from a small village Burua near Manali, we sincerely hope, this bronze is just a beginning to many more winter sports medals in future.