Nepali bikers keep low-key ambition
- Asian Games: Cycling
Aug 14, 2018-
Mountain-bikers are keeping their target modest as the perennial poor performers Nepal accept the medal prospect almost impossible in the 18th South Asian slated for August 18 to September 2 in Indonesia.
Buddhi Bahadur Tamang will represent Nepal in men’s cross country while Rajesh Magar will compete in the downhill event. Laxmi Magar is the lone female representative and will compete in cross country event. The two-day mountain bike competition kicks off on August 20.
Laxmi is the women’s national cross country champion and also holds the experience of representing Nepal in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games in South Korea. She finished bottom in the event contested by nine bikers. Buddhi and Rajesh are competing in the Asian Games for the first time. Buddhi was the cross country champion of the seventh National Games in December 2016 while Rajesh is the national downhill champion.
The Asian included mountain-biking from 1998 but was scrapped in 2006. It has been regular feature though since 2010, But only cross country was included in the 2010 (Guangzhou) and 2014 (Incheon). Nepal has been sending the bikers to Asian since 2010.
Late Narayan Gopal Maharjan and Raj Kumar Shrestha represented in men’s section in Guangzhou where they finished in eighth and 10th position respectively among 16 riders. In the women’s section, Nirjala Maharjan finished at the bottom among eight riders. In 2014, Narayan and Ajay Pandit Chhetri competed in men’s event. Narayan finished 16th and Ajay 20th among 21 riders.
Nepali team is under closed-camp training for the last three months. Coach Devendra Basnet said they have been training around Shivapuri, Hattiban, Chobhar and Dhulikhel area. “As it is an outdoor game, we have been training at different locations,” said Basnet. The team has been training for four hours each day apart from indoor fitness training activities at the NCRR centre.
Basnet said the training was satisfactory considering the facilities, availability of gears (mountain bikes) and short preparation time. “Three months preparations is never going to be enough stake claims for medals in the Asian Games. Furthermore, it is really tough to put up a fight against riders from traditional powerhouse like Japan, Korea, China and Thailand among others,” added Basent. “We can only dream of medal if we start focused training for at least a year. But it does not mean we have already given up our hopes. I believe Rajesh is the strong contestant from Nepal.”
Buddhi, included in the National team as a replacement to Narayan after the latter passed away in Sri Lanka while competing in a cycling race in June, expressed satisfaction by the training. “We can’t talk of medal prospect but we will give it our best,” he said adding that the riders were physically fit and ready to compete.
Published: 14-08-2018 08:27