Nepali paragliders land historic silver

- Ritesh Rijal, Kathmandu

Aug 30, 2018-

Paragliders saved Nepal’s blushes at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta on Wednesday winning a historic silver medal, missing the gold medal by a whisker in the men’s Cross Country team event.

Bijay Gautam, Bimal Adhikari, Sushil Gurung, Ukesh Gurung and Bimal Thapa represented Nepal in the event that made its debut at the Asian Games.

The Nepali team went into the fifth and final round trailing Japan by 768 points. They scored an impressive 2,797 points on Wednesday, falling just 27 points behind eventual gold medallists Japan, who scored 2057 points. Japan finished with 11,391 points and Nepal 11,364. Hosts Indonesia won the bronze medal with 10,873 points.

Nepal chief coach Yogesh Bhattarai was happy that his boys were able to break the medal drought for their country.

“The joy of winning a medal gave goosebumps to most of us. It is a historic achievement. It means a lot to all, especially because our other players failed to win medals despite their best efforts. This victory will motive other players to do well in the future,” said Bhattarai, who was disappointed for narrowly missing the gold medal. The achievement matches Nepal’s best result in the Games’ history since India hosted the first edition in 1951 in New Delhi.

Nepal has won 23 medals in the history of Asian Games. Prior to the silver medal won on Wednesday, taekwondoka Sabita Rajbhandari had won the country’s first ever silver medal at the 1998 Asiad in the Thai capital Bangkok.

Nepal has won medals in taekwondo, boxing and karate in Asiad. Nepal has traditionally fared well in taekwondo, winning 14 medals, followed by six in boxing and three in karate overall in the Asian Games.

Nepali players disappointed in these three disciplines this time around, failing to win any medal. Amidst the medals’ drought, the success of paragliders comes as a big relief to the Nepali contingent. Nepal has fielded 187 players in 29 sports disciplines at the 18th edition of the Asian Games.

Published: 30-08-2018 08:17

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