The (Em)Power List 2018: Aanchal Thakur
Earlier this year, she became the first Indian to win a medal at an international skiing event — she brought home the bronze medal at the 2018 Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup held in Turkey. Owing to our geographical location, skiing isn’t a very feasible sport in the country, but for Aanchal Thakur — who comes from a family of skiers — it runs in the family. Her father Roshan Thakur is the secretary of the Winter Games Federation of India — the fact that it isn’t recognised by the sports ministry tells us volumes about the state of the sport in our country. When asked who coaches her, she had once shared, ‘In India, my father. Abroad, my cousin Hiralal Thakur coaches me. He is an Olympian who struggled a lot to get there, so he shares his personal experiences and guides us. When it comes to international coaches for higher-level training, we pay 200 euros per day, and we try and finish the training in a month or so. It is nothing when compared to other international athletes who train with these coaches for 10 to 11 months.’ Currently pursuing a BA in geography, history and political science, Thakur firmly believes that mental strength is integral to the game, and that it is all about motivating yourself. She now has her eyes set on the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
“She’s a trailblazer who’s charted her own path in a sport that is not too popular in India. It’s very inspiring to see someone putting India on the global map for such an exciting, though niche, game!”
– Niva Shah, 17, Student, Mumbai