Manali girl Aanchal Thakur made history by winning India’s first-ever international medal in skiing. Aanchal scripted history by clinching the bronze medal in the Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup at the Palandoken Ski Centre in Erzurum in Turkey. The event was organized by the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS), the skiing international governing body.
The response to her bronze medal-winning performance in Turkey has been overwhelming, to say the least. She still can’t believe that none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated her on the achievement in a sport that usually begs for attention.
On Wednesday, Modi Ji took to Twitter to congratulate Aanchal Thakur for winning India’s first medal at an international skiing event. At her home in Manali, Aanchal’s father Roshan Lal Thakur was left wondering if the Prime Minister knew who she really was.
PM Modi wrote that the entire country is ecstatic by her “historic accomplishment”. “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 in your future endeavors,” 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.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 10, 2018
Earlier, in November, while campaigning in Manali for the Himachal elections, Modi spoke in public about how he became a fan of paragliding when he visited Solang two decades ago and how “a Thakur” was his first instructor.
“Probably, he doesn’t know that he had tweeted the name of the girl whose father’s name he mentioned in Manali two months ago. I was among the crowd but did not get an opportunity to meet him,” says Thakur.
Being a paragliding instructor was actually Thakur’s summer job. In the winters, the 1989 national skiing champion used to take to the snow-capped slopes of Manali. His son Himanshu represented India at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
“After our first meeting, Modiji used to come practically every month, and he’d bring lots of people along… On one visit, he traveled with a security team and on reaching the academy, encouraged his bodyguards to have a go at paragliding,” says Thakur.
“I never thought the Prime Minister would tweet for me. It is unreal. I just hope we are finally treated at par with athletes of popular sports. As of now, there has been no support whatsoever from the government,” Aanchal told.
Sports minister Rajyavardhan Rathore also took to Twitter to congratulate Aanchal: “Congrats Aanchal Thakur for the Slalom Skiing Bronze in the FIS International Skiing Competition in Turkey. India opens the account by a first-ever medal in skiing. Well done!”