Meet Rashael Kanwal, the skier who overcame challenges to reach the peak

New Delhi [India], May 4 (ANI): 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 ANI, 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. (ANI) New Delhi [India], May 04 (ANI): To mark the presence of Indian cinema at the upcoming 71st Cannes Film Festival, the Embassy of France in India, in association with UniFrance, in charge of promoting French films abroad, will organise India Day on May 11 at Terrasse UniFrance, Cannes. The gala will be attended by popular Indian celebrities like director Nandita Das and actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui for their film 'Manto' and Tamil star Dhanush, who will promote his international debut movie 'The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir' Also among the attendees will be director Rohena Gera for her debut feature film 'Sir', Michelin-star chef Vikas Khanna for his directorial debut 'The Last Color' and young thespian Antara Rao for her short film 'Asthi'. Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting (I&B), Smriti Irani will also attend the festival on May 9 to inaugurate the India Pavilion, which has been organised in partnership with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to provide a platform for stakeholders to market their films. "Two months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Emmanuel Macron called for strengthening Indo-French collaboration in films based on our common history and love for cinema, I welcome India's remarkable participation in various segments of the Cannes Film Festival," said Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India. "I am sure that India Day will pave the way for greater Indo-French co-productions, given the two countries' common history and love for cinema," Ziegler added. The 71st Cannes Film Festival will take place from May 8 till May 19. (ANI)