Curtains down on SA Games

  • Football, wushu, judo save blushes with gold But
  • Nepal’s overall performance worst in 23 years
- RAJU GHISING, Guwahati

Feb 17, 2016-

Nepal fared worst in the South Asian Games in 23 years as it was condemned to sixth position with three gold medals in the 12th edition of the regional meet that concluded here at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium on Tuesday.

While wushu player Nima Gharti Magar, judoka Fupu Lhamu Khatri spared the blushes for Nepal, the men’s football team’s historic triumph in the final against India on Monday was the only brightest moment for Nepal at the Games. It was Nepal’s first football gold since the 1993 SA Games in Dhaka. Football title was the only gold medal Nepal had won in 1993.

Nepal’s best ever performance in the 1999 SA Games was during the eighth edition held in Kathmandu where the hosts finished second in the medal standings with a haul of 31 gold medals.

India’s supremacy in the regional sports continued as they claimed 188 gold medals –three times more than the combined total of five other gold medal winners. While Maldives and Bhutan remained gold-less, Afghanistan made the biggest move in the medal standings compared to the previous edition. War-ravaged Afghanistan, who entered the SA Games in 2004, finished fourth with seven gold.

Sri Lanka finished second with 25 gold, while Pakistan (12) and Bangladesh (four) were other countries to win gold in the current edition.

Nepal’s preparation for the Games had hit a snag when the April 25 Great Quake damaged most of the infrastructures and the unofficial blockade imposed by India made the matter worse. The National Sports Council (NSC) was preparing for the seventh National Games which could have given a much-needed exposure for the athletes but it was postponed due to two calamities—one natural and other man made.

Boxing, judo, table tennis and basketball players were given foreign-based training but a poor preparation back home meant very least could be expected from them. Basketball saw the biggest disappointment after the internal problems in the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) forced the cancellation of both the men’s and women’s events. The Federation of International Basketball Associations had asked the participating countries not to compete in the discipline refusing to give recognition to the tournaments after the Indian Olympic Association’s intervention on BFI.

Four-time SA Games gold medallist and ace taekwondo player Deepak Bista knew where it all went wrong for Nepal. “Our taekwondo players were competing in an international tournament after the 2014 Asian Games. Players from other countries are regularly playing international tournaments and they are gaining experience due to exposure. But our players don’t have that,” said Bista.

Dismal show in martial arts

After the exclusion of karate, one of the most successful disciplines for Nepal in the regional meet, the country headed for the SA Games with high expectations from two other disciplines–wushu and taekwondo–but they only fetched one gold.

While wushu was confined to one gold and 10 silver medals, taekwondo failed miserably, collecting just seven silver medals. In the SA Games history, Nepal have won 24 gold medals in taekwondo and 20 in karate. Wushu has given the country five gold.

Sherpa’s gold in the women’s below-63kg weight category on Monday was the biggest surprise for Nepal. She became the first woman to win a gold from the discipline. It was also Nepal’s first SA Games judo gold in 21 years.

Singh’s takes giant leap

Teenaged swimmer Gaurika Singh was the biggest revelation for Nepal at the Games. Singh who not only broke Nepal’s individual medal drought by

claiming three bronze medals but also brought the first silver in the discipline.

Singh, who resides in London with her family and trains under a high-profile British swimming coach, brought the historic silver in the women’s 200m individual medley, that too with a record timing. Singh clocked 2:33.26 to finish second in the event breaking her own previous reco rd of 2:53.57 by a whopping margin.

Singh’s performance was not only limited to the silver and bronze medals. She also went on to break national records in every discipline she participated in. In

her two-year of professional swimming career, Singh has already broken national records 25 times.

Three bronze in judo

Nepal added three more bronze from judo in their medal tally on the final day of the competition in Shillong. Judo ended its Games campaign with one gold, two silver and six bronze medals.

Ganga Chaudhary was restricted to bronze medal in women’s below-70kg, won by Indian athlete Puja with a win over Benish Khan of Pakistan in the final. Punam Shrestha crashed out of the semi-finals in the women’s below-78kg. Pakistan took gold and India pocketed silver in the weight category.

Shiva Bahadur Baram also had to be content with a third place finish in the men’s below-100kg bout. Pakistan and India won gold and silver respectively.


Nepal’s medallists

  • Gold

Nima Gharti Magar (wushu)

Fupu Lhamu Khatri (Judo)

Men’s Team (Football)

  • Silver

Bikash Thapa (Weightlifting)

Bijay Sinjali (Wushu)

Bishwor Budha Magar (Wushu)

Sushmita Tamang (Wushu)

Yubaraj Thapa (Wushu)

Sabita Rai (Wushu)

Hari Prasad Gole (Wushu)

Junu Rai (Wushu)

Bindu Pun Magar (Wushu)

Rajesh Chaudhary (Wushu)

Jharna Gurung (Wushu)

Gaurika Singh (Swimming)

Mixed Team (Triathlon)

Rejina Karki (Taekwondo)

Yan Kumari Chaulagain (Taekwondo)

Gyani Chunara (Taekwondo)

Aayesha Shakya (Taekwondo)

Nima Gurung (Taekwondo)

Sakshyam Karki (Taekwondo)

Bir Bahadur Mahara (Taekwondo)

Lila Adhikari (Judo)

Manita Shrestha Pradhan (Judo)

Women’s Team (Football)

  • Bronze

Gaurika Singh (Swimming) - 3

Devi Kumari Chaudhary (Weightlifting)

Tara Devi Pun (Weightlifting)

Juni Maya Chhantyal (Weightlifting)

Saroj Pun (Wushu)

Hari Kumar Rimal (Athletics)

Saroj Yadav (Wrestling)

Ram Babu Yadav (Wrestling)

Nangsal Tamang (Badminton)

Women’s Team (Badminton)

Prem Prasad Pun (Archery)

Women’s Team (Hockey)

Women’s Doubles (Table Tennis)

Men’s Team (Table Tennis)

Women’s Team (Squash)

Women’s Team (Volleyball)

Men’s Team (Kho-Kho)

Women’s Team (Kho-Kho)

Roja KC (Triathlon)

Women’s Team (Kabaddi)

Deepak Shrestha (Boxing)

Minu Gurung (Boxing)

Saraswoti Rana Magar (Boxing)

Ramesh Magar (Judo)

Sarita Chaudhary (Judo)

Indra Kumar Shrestha (Judo)

Ganga Chaudhary (Judo)

Punam Shrestha (Judo)

Shiva Bahadur Baram (Judo)

Nischal Man Shrestha (Taekwondo)

Sunil Poudel (Taekwondo)

Prem Bahadur Budhathoki (Taekwondo)


Published: 17-02-2016 09:17

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