Last Wednesday, Search Indie was privileged to interview two unsung heroes and their coaches! Alwyn Kanwar and Anil Chand - two of the leading Indian skiers proudly represented India alongside 41 countries at the 2017 FIS Junior World Alpine Skiing Championships that was held at Åre, Sweden!
Alwyn Kanwar & Anil Chand - Indian Junior Ski Champs at Åre, Sweden. Photo: Coach Bhola Ram
Seated in the comfy little Indian Street Food & Co Restaurant with the Indian aroma wafting through the air, we asked the players and the coaches what it meant to go after a sport that is rarely spoken about in India. For that they replied, "To pursue Skiing in India requires a lot of perseverance, dedication, hard work and heavy investment from our pockets."
Coach Bhola Ram with the Champs. Photo: Coach Bhola Ram
Coaches Bhola Ram and Ludar Thakur recall, "We grew up in the scenic Solang Valley of Manali, India. Skiing was a part of our lives. As kids we used to go to school on wooden skis. It was later when our hometown started getting famous for tourism, we began to see international tourists and the ski equipments they brought along! We then requested our friends and family abroad to buy us professional skis."
Coach Ludhar Thakur with the Champs. Photo: Coach Bhola Ram
"Our love for skiing took us to the National Ski Institute, Gulmarg, Kashmir. After completion of training, we participated in several contests and won laurels. Today, we are privileged to train these two exceptionally talented and passionate sportsmen!"
Coaches Bhola Ram and Ludar Thakur. Photo: Michelle Job Photography
Alwyn is a BA Psychology student and Anil is a BSc Computer Science student.They are the leading skiers in the Indian Junior Ski category. They were selected for this year's Junior World Alpine Championships based on their merit and their FIS score. They contested in both the Slalom and the Giant Slalom. Although they did not win the championship, they optimistically shared, "We received a lot of appreciation and encouragement from the European contestants. Meeting other contestants, watching them Ski, exchanging ideas and techniques, gave us a world of exposure!"
Alwyn Kanwar & Anil Chand - Leading Indian Junior Ski Champs. Photo: Michelle Job Photography
"Given the conditions in India - lack of facilities, equipment and financial support from the Indian government, it is extremely challenging to rise to international standards unlike contestants from other nations. Since our mountain slopes are not manually groomed for skiing, we travel to countries like Turkey, Italy and Japan to practice and partake in competitions."
"Except for a very small percentage of financial aid from the International Ski Federation, we do not have any other support. It is our families, who believe in us and our talent, who invest in us!"
With so many odds against them, we wanted to know what drives them to go after this sport. Alwyn replied, "It is in me. It has been my life. My parents are skiers and it was passed on to me from birth. It is my passion. My everything!"
"Our life's dream and goal is to participate in the Olympics. We are striving our very best. If we could have financial support from the Indian government, adequate recognition and motivation from the Indian media and our countrymen, our dream can come true!"
It was almost time for us to wrap up our interview as the team had an appointment with the honorable Indian Ambassador to Sweden & Latvia, Ms. Monika Kapil Mohta. While we shook hands and conveyed our best wishes for their future, we popped our final question - What does Skiing do to you as a person? What do you feel when you Ski?
"Happiness!" said Anil.
"Joy and peace!" said Alwyn.
"Thrill and joy!" said Coach Ludar.
"Each time I ski on some of the worlds most spectacular slopes, I feel very close to God!" concludes Coach Bhola Ram!
The Indian Junior Ski Team with Honorable Ambassador to Sweden & Lativa, Ms. Monika Kapil Mohta. Photo: Indian Embassy of Sweden
Here are two simple ways in which you can extend your support to our Junior Ski Champs -
- SHARE THIS ARTICLE on your social media and spread their story and talent! Let's show our young sportsmen how proud we are of them!
- SPONSOR - there are different ways in which you can invest in these future olympians! Write to us and we will tell you how!