Manali girl brings home India’s first skiing medal

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Chandigarh/Manali: A day after winning a historic bronze medal at the Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup in Turkey, Manali’s Aanchal Thakur was basking in glory on January 11.
The feat of the 21-year-old was noticed by the Indian government, with the Prime Minister and Sports Minister congratulating her, and Aanchal was overwhelmed with the accolades.
Aanchal had given India its first medal ever in skiing at an international event with her bronze in Turkey.
The young skier seemed as much surprised as elated with her path-breaking feat. “Finally something unexpected happened. My first ever international medal…,” she wrote on her Twitter handle after winning the medal.
Better days ahead
Yet, against all odds, his daughter has managed to achieve the “unexpected”. “It’s a huge achievement, both on a personal level and for the sport. Until now, there had been little recognition and support, but maybe things would change now. Even the prime minister has lauded the feat, so we hope the sport will start getting its due,” said Thakur.
Aanchal, too, hopes her medal will ring in better days for the sport and its practitioners. “I hope we will now be treated at par with athletes of popular sports. Until now, there had been no support from the government,” said Aanchal. “I just want to say that we, too, are fighting, working hard day in and day for our country.”
Given that the Winter Olympics are scheduled to be held next month in South Korea, the medal couldn’t have come at a better time. However, despite the medal, Aanchal hasn’t made the cut for the Olympics yet. And given that January 21 is the cut-off qualification date, her chances don’t look too bright at the moment. “The qualification criterion is getting tougher with every Games. Anyway, thinking of an Olympics medal is outlandish at the moment. But yes, Aanchal has shown that we could be really competitive if we get the support and facilities our top competitors are getting,” said Thakur.
HP CM announces Rs. 5 lakh for Aanchal
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur announced an award of Rs. 5 lakh for Aanchal Thakur. The CM said that the 21-year-old from Manali could act as an inspiration for the youth of the state to take up skiing.

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