Rashael Kanwal from Shimla was just two-and-a-half-year old when she originated her passion of skiing in the beautiful snow range of Narkanda, an ideal destination for Alpine skiing and winter sports in Himachal Pradesh.
The 24-year-old is now a professional on the international skiing circuit and her story is enough to make you feel astonished.
Rashael, the Alpine ski champion, is currently preparing for the Winter Olympics and is also looking forward to training under former Olympian and World Cup winner Giorgio Rocca.
Talking to media, Rashael said her main focus at the moment was to qualify for the fixed races, which were mandatory to make it to the Olympics.
"I am looking forward to Olympics 2022. And for that, I have to qualify few fixed races which are very mandatory for qualifying the Olympics. So, my main focus right now is on those fixed races and I am looking forward to train myself under Giorgio Rocca. He is former Olympian and World Cup winner. He has his academy in Switzerland. I am looking forward to train under him, maybe next month," Rashael said.
When asked about the challenges she faced, Rashael recalled a fall that affected her physical fitness severely in 2005, when she took up the sport professionally by participating in the '2005 Youngest National Ski Champion.'
"When I started skiing in 2005, it was my first participation in the Nationals. So in that, I had a fall and I couldn't recover quickly. I was on blank foot that time and then I just realized that it affecting my physical fitness. At that time, I had a challenge in front of me to get a lot of strength and endurance and that I need to work on that.
For three years, I was continuously working on my endurance and my physical fitness, mental fitness. That time, my focus was on 2008 National Championship. I got back on the slope in 2008, winning two gold medals in two categories. Later in 2012, I was continuously a champion as I was winning all the medals," she said.
Rashael, who is also preparing to play for FIS National and International races of 2018 and 2019, also talked about the politics in her association and how she was stopped to participate in Youth Olympics.
"Later, I had faced a challenge from my association i.e WGFI. There was some inner politics happening around within the association, towards the athletes, biased nature. I was ranked number one all over India at that time and was the first contender for Youth Olympics.
There were races that were happening across the world and for that, you at least need to have 140 points. For that, you have to play as many races as you can. So, I was the first contender, but I have not got the opportunity to be the part of those races and qualify for Olympics," she recalled.
Rashael has played in four Nationals and won eight gold medals. She has travelled to various countries to represent India seven times by participating in different ski tournaments at an international level.
Besides being Alpine ski champion, Rashael has also played basketball at national levels and is also passionate about writing poems and short stories.