Aanchal Thakur, a skier from Manali in Himachal Pradesh, has won India its first international medal in skiing. She won a bronze medal at the Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup in Turkey organised by the Federation Internationale de Ski. Photograph:( WION Web Team )
India's Aanchal Thakur created history on January 9 by winning a medal at the Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup in Turkey organised by the Federation Internationale de Ski.
Aanchal who belongs to a small village in Himachal Pradesh's Manali won a bronze medal in the prestigious event.
The event was organised at Palandoken Ski Centre in Erzurum in Turkey, from January 6 to January 9.
Learning skiing from her father and later getting expert guidance and training from Olympian Heera Lala, the 21-year-old Aanchal finally had her day in the sun winning the medal in the slalom category.
Slalom race category involves skiing between poles and gates spaced more closely than giants slalom or super giant slalom.
In an interview with WION digital, Aanchal spoke about her success and added responsibilities. Here is the transcript of the interview:
WION: Congratulations on your phenomenal success. How do you feel about your achievement? What was your immediate reaction after you won the medal?
Aanchal Thakur: My immediate reaction was shocking and then it was surprising (laughs). I wasn't able to believe that this has happened. It was an incredible feeling.
WION: PM Modi congratulated you on Twitter, how do you feel about it?
Aanchal Thakur: When I woke up that morning I saw the first tweet from PM Modi, it was unbelievable. I was not able to believe that what I was seeing and there were tears in my eyes.
WION: Your father taught paragliding to PM Narendra Modi. Tell us something about that. What did your father tell you about his experience with Mr Modi?
Aanchal Thakur: A few years ago, they did paragliding together. My father got so many wishes from him and now I am getting those. So, it's a great feeling.
WION: How tough is it to succeed in skiing in a country like India where you have little or no infrastructure available?
Aanchal Thakur: It is very challenging because we don't have enough financial support from the government. But now I think we will get some support from the government. If we talk about cricket, then cricket also suffered for so many years. We had to struggle too but now we are getting success and recognition. I am happy now.
WION: How does it feel to be a star sportsperson?
Aanchal Thakur: Actually, I wasn't able to believe (that I made it so big). But now that I am giving so many interviews, I'll have to believe that I and giving happiness to my nation.
WION: With stardom comes a lot of responsibilities. What do you have to say about that?
Aanchal Thakur: Yes, of course, it brings a lot more responsibilities. Now I will have to do my best in 2022 Olympics.