In a first, Aanchal Thakur, hailing from a small village in Manali, has become the first ever Indian to win an worldwide medal in skiing. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter, "Well done @alleaanchal for winning an global medal in skiing!" At her home in Manali, Aanchal's father Roshan Lal Thakur was left wondering if the Prime Minister knew who she really was. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur, Union sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and the Congress party came out in support of the national icon. The competition was organised by Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS), the worldwide governing body for skiing. "Wishing you the very best for your future endeavours", he had tweeted.
"The Europeans get to train 10 months in a year where our athletes can do two months at the max, considering the huge cost involved in training overseas", says Roshan, who owns apple orchards in Manali.
Thakur also took to social media and expressed her happiness, mentioning it was totally "unexpected". "I started well and managed to take a good lead, which helped later in getting the third-place finish", said the Himachal Pradesh daughter.
Her father, Roshan Thakur, said he was proud of his daughter, but rued the state of the sport in the country. I thought it was some kind of a souvenir given at the end of every FIS event! "Without any government help, you can imagine how much he has spent on me and my brother", pointed out Aanchal. "But she told me that shw won a bronze", he added. She hopes to represent India at the upcoming Winter Olympics 2018. The Centre only funds travel and logistics from one Olympic to another.
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