Manali: Saurav Thakur, 18, would be the only Indian to represent his country at the Winter Youth Olympic Games scheduled to be held in Lillehammer, Norway from February 12 to 21.
Saurav, from Burua village in Manali and six others had participated in the International Ski Federation (FIS) organized Palandoken Cup in Turkey in December 2015. The alpine skier earned enough points in the races to qualify for the youth Olympics.
Other Indian skiers fell short on qualifying for the youth olympics.
With not much support from the Indian winter games federation, Saurav had undergone a month’s ski training in Japan at his own expenses. Now the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has reserved him under special quota and the committee will bear all the expenses.
A three men team – Saurav, his coach Budh Ram Thakur and Chef de Mission Roshan Thakur would represent India at Norway for the sporting meet.
Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) secretary general Roshan Thakur said the main purpose of the federation was to train skiers and ensure their participation in international events.
“Our skiers are doing well. The improvement is being noticed and other countries too are respecting our efforts in promoting winter games. The only problem that we are face are shortage of funds. Our athletes have been spending money from their pocket to keep the winter games spirit alive.”
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.