Judo coach rues short preparations

  • 18th asian games
- PRAJWAL OLI, Kathmandu

Aug 9, 2018-

Nepal’s Romanian judo coach Dan Telearca said the Nepali team had sound preparations for the Asian Games but they did not have enough training time required to succeed at bigger stage.

Judo is among 30 sports disciplines Nepal will compete in the Asiad scheduled for August 18 to September 2 in Indonesia. “The preparation has been good, but it is too short to pose any sort of challenge at bigger stages like Asian Games,” said the Romanian, who is training seven judokas with the support of his Nepali counterparts Chandra Dangol and Debu Thapa since January 17.

Nepal has never won judo medal in Asiad and the best result Nepal has ever achieved is fifth place finish during the 1986 Seoul Asian Games by Ganga Bahadur Dangol. In the South Asian Games (Sag), Nepal have won four gold medals in total including three in 1995 and one in 2016.  

Indra Bahadur Shrestha (66kg), Sanjit Dangol (73kg), Shree Ram Makaju (below 90) and Rabin Shrestha (below 100) in the men’s and Devika Khadka (52kg), Manita Shrestha Pradhan (57kg), Phupu Lhamu Khatri (63kg) and Punam Shrestha (below 78kg) in women’s category have been selected to represent Nepal in the Asian Games. Among the eight judokas, the 12th Sag gold medallists Phupu Lhamu Khatri is undergoing training in Japan since April 29.

The judo team also competed in the Thailand International Judo North Bangkok University Championships on August 4 and 5 where Indra and Manita won gold medals while Punam struck silver and Devika bronze medal. All the seven judokas except for Phupu got the tournament exposure in Thailand.

Telearca believes selecting young players for such a big tournament was not a good idea. Indra and Punam are 19-years-old while Manita is 18. “The best Nepali players are juniors and this competition is for seniors. Indra, Manita and Punam are all below 19 and they lack experience to compete at this level,” said Telearca adding that international exposure was another major factor missing out in Nepali team. Pointing towards Sanjit, he said, “He is exceptionally good but the tournament in Thailand was his first international competition in last four years and he was shivering at the court.”

The eight-member Nepali team left for Budapest, Hungary, on Wednesday for a special training and Budapest Grand Prix Judo Championships set for August 10 to 12. “The Grand Prix will be an opportunity for me to identify our weakness and address them in time for the Asiad,” added Telearca. Telearca said winning medal is possible but the coach expect a tough competition.

Judo chief coach Birendra Ranjit lauded the training as the best that Nepal judo team has ever had. “The team is in closed camp since the last three months breaking the old tradition of short preparation of about 15 days,” said Ranjit. “But I have to admit the training period is still too short considering the big nations prepare for years to get into a tournament. But this the best training we have had.”

Nepali team will leave for Indonesia on August 25 after a 10-day training in Hungary. Ranjitkar believes that it will be a huge psychological boost ahead of the event. He believes that it would be an exaggeration to make claim that Nepal would win medal at the Asian Games. “Our target is give our best. Tie-sheet also plays huge role in our medal prospect in Indonesia.”

Indra, the gold medallist of the South Asian Judo Championships held in Kathmandu in April who also struck a gold in Thailand, expressed satisfaction over the training and is hopeful of ending Nepal’s judo drought in the Asian Games. “We are all working really hard to ensure a medal at the regional meet. The recent successes in international events have also boosted our morale. Hopefully we will be able to win medals this time,” added the judoka.

Published: 09-08-2018 08:50

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