Many people must not be aware but PM Narendra Modi had once tried his hands at paragliding. In late 1990s, Modi was in-charge of Bharatiya Janata Party’s Himachal Pradesh unit. The BJP leader, known for trying new and unique things, had tried to learn paragliding from Roshan Lal Thakur – a known paragliding instructor, whose daughter has bagged a medal in FIS International Skiing Competition in Turkey. On Wednesday, Modi congratulated Roshan Lal’s daughter, Aanchal Thakur, for winning India’s first medal at an international skiing event.
Recently, while campaigning for Himachal Pradesh elections, Modi had spoken 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. Aanchal, who hails from Manali, has won India’s first medal at an international skiing event. Speaking about the link with Narendra Modi, Roshan Lal said: “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.” Aanchal has bagged bronze at the Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup in Turkey, a tournament recognised by the International Skiing Federation.
PM Modi 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.”
Here’s PM Narendra Modi’s Tweet for Anchal:
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
Here’s the Aanchal’s tweet after winning the medal
Finally something unexpected happened. My first ever international medal.???? Federation International Ski Race (FIS). At the end turkey served me well ????????.
PC- @alwyncreed #strangethingshappen #skiteamindia #onehimachal #himalayangirls pic.twitter.com/pjkSddCpi5
— Aanchal Thakur (@alleaanchal) January 9, 2018
PM Modi tried paragliding in an institute run by Thakur in 1997, during a political tour to Solang. As per Thakur, a local leader brought Modi to show him the paragliding facility. He said the ground was slushy due to rain. Modi wanted to give paragliding a try but Thakur denied him. However, an adamant Modi tried and was hooked.
Aanchal has never met Modi, but has heard about her father’s connection. “I never imagined that the Prime Minister would tweet about me. I can’t believe it. I hope this brings more recognition to Winter Olympics. I owe my success to my father,” she says.
Thakur worked as a paragliding instructor only in summers. He was professional skiing player and used to take to the snow-capped slopes of Manali. His son Himanshu represented India at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Thakur said that Modi made it a frequent practice to visit the institute and used to bring lots of people along.