FIS sponsors two Indian skiers for special training in Austria

Manali: The International Ski Federation (FIS) has taken two Indian teenagers – a boy and a girl – under its wings and will be training them in the sport at its high-performance centre in Austria. The one-month program commenced on Oct 18 and will continue till November 14, 2015.

Anchal Thakur is second from left. Source: Winter Games Federation of India
Anchal Thakur is second from left. Source: Winter Games Federation of India

Aanchal Thakur, 19, from Manali and 16 year-old Kargil lad Baqir Hussain are the skiers picked by FIS. Both have left for Austria on Friday. Young skiers from nearly 100 other countries have been selected under the program. They will be trained by top skiing coaches at the Stubai glaciers in Innsbruck, Austria. Both skiers from India were selected after fulfilling the criteria set by FIS.

Baqir is a young skier from Kargil who wants to represent India in international events, while Anchal has vast experience in international winter games. She took part in the first-ever youth Winter Olympics held in Austria in 2012 and represented India in the 2013 World Championship in Austria and the 2015 World Championship in US.

Meanwhile, Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) is sending its top eight skiers from India to take part in FIS organized ski races in Turkey between December 18 and 25 this year. The skiers would be chosen based on their past performances. FIS will point them according to the races and qualifying skiers would be eligible to take part in upcoming Olympics, World Championships and Asian Games.

India's Aanchal Thakur skis during the first run of the women's slalom at the 2013 Ski World Championships in Schladming, Austria, on Feb. 16, 2013
India’s Aanchal Thakur skis during the first run of the women’s slalom at the 2013 Ski World Championships in Schladming, Austria, on Feb. 16, 2013

WGFI secretary general, Roshan Thakur pointed out that despite poor infrastructure, Indian skiers are doing their best worldwide. He said, “Though we have not won any international medal but we are improving gradually . The training program is sponsored by FIS and small expenses of the skiers would be borne by WGFI. We shall send our young skiers to Turkey to participate in FIS races to earn point to be eligible to take part in international winter games.”

WGFI officials recently participated in leader’s seminar under FIS Development Program in Vilnius, Lithuania where participants from 22 different nations were given lessons on the financing of sports infrastructure, the structure of European funding, sponsorship and integrity of sports.

“The seminar was on how to get sponsorship for big winter game events and also for athletes so that more and more athletes could participate in international events,” WGFI vice president Roopu Negi said.

“We are lacking in exposure. It will take time to improve our winter games infrastructure but we shall soon host national and international events,” he added.

Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice. He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express. With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology. Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.

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