Sports

Beljhundi Stadium in Dang racing against time to host athletics championships

- DHRUBA TULADHAR, DANG

Apr 18, 2019-

Nepali athletes are set to compete in the newly laid synthetic track for the first time outside Kathmandu when the track & field events of the eighth National Games kicks off at the Beljhundi Stadium in Dang.

The newly laid synthetic track is the only second one besides the ones at the Dashrath Stadium in Kathmandu. Competing at the synthetic track could be a whole new experience to some of the emerging athletes in the Games as even the Dashrath Stadium track in under going renovation. Around 300 athletes from seven Provinces, three departmental teams and a Non Residential Nepali Association team will compete in athletics events. The first day of the event will see competitions in men’s and women’s 100m sprint, 10,000m running, 4x100m relay and shotput.

The track meets the international standard but since it is only just laid it is yet to get recognition from International Association of Athletics Federation. The track must be recognised by IAAF to get approval of hosting international tournaments. Even a day before the athletics meet kicks off, officials were seen busy giving final touches to the venue. The site for long jump and triple jump is still under construction while the high jump arena is yet to be built. The construction works of three-lane parapet is also going on.

Chandra Gurung, the deputy director of Mid Western Region Sports Development Committee and athletics chief coach, was confident of putting all necessary infrastructure in place for Thursday. He was busy measuring shotput area and preparing lanes on the athletics track on Wednesday morning. “The athletics will run for four days and everything will be in place in time to host each events,” said Gurung.

The National Games are scattered at five districts of Province 5. Out of 35 games, 31 has been scheduled for Banke, Bardiya, Dang, Kapilvastu and Rupandehi districts of the province. Paragliding and triathlon will be held in Pokhara while squash and golf will be played in Kathmandu, outside the Province due to lack of required infrastructure.  

Many games are organised at the separate venues of same districts and the situation is such that players of one game are unable to see players of other disciplines. The situation is rendering the feeling of independent national games rather that the multi-event National Games. The environment in the region itself doesn’t give the feel

of the comprehensive National Games. Fans turn out is remarkably disappointing.

Former player turned journalist Laxman Basnet says: “The environment should have been colourful in the mega event like National Games. Everyone is the region should have been involved in the event. The government has invested millions of rupees in infrastructure here. It is disappointed to see the locals largely being isolated from the Games. The event could have been much better had the organisers National Sports Council coordinated with municipalities, chamber of commerce, schools and local bodies.”    

Fixtures and venues of some of the games have changed due to delay in completing the infrastructure. The route for marathon is yet to be fixed. The karate covered hall set to host the game from Friday is not ready yet. Putting mats in place for competition is yet to be done which has deprived players of much-needed training. Fourteen games will be complete even before the official opening ceremony in Nepalgunj on Thursday. Athletics will be held in stadium that will not have opening and closing ceremony. Only players of few games to be held in Nepalgunj will grace the opening and closing ceremony.

But Nepal APF Club athletes in Dang on Wednesday took solace considering that they avoided scorching heat of Nepalgunj. APF athletics coach Dhaniram Chaudhary is expecting better performance of his team than in the past. Of late, APF and Tribhuvan Army Club have been the major players in domestic athletics. In the last edition of the Games, APF have finished second behind Army in athletics.

Published: 18-04-2019 08:56

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