Sports

Host Nepal unveils South Asian Games logo, mascot

- PRAJWAL OLI, Kathmandu

May 14, 2019-

In a bid to assure that the country will win the race against time to host the 13th South Asian Games, the Ministry for Youth and Sports on Monday unveiled the logo and mascot of the regional meet.

Nepal is hosting the sporting extravaganza of the South Asian region from December 1-10 in Pokhara but concurrently it is fighting a battle to complete the construction of the infrastructure in time. Due to delay in the reconstruction of the Dasharath Stadium damaged by 2015 earthquake and snail-paced development of the new and upgradation of existing facilities, there are still doubts if the event would be held on time. The biennial event, originally scheduled for March 2018, has been postponed thrice before the new date was set two months ago.

Putting an end to the debate, Minister for Youth and Sports Jagat Bishwakarma Sunar unveiled the logo and mascot of the multi-disciplinary event at his office in Singha Durbar. The logo of the Games, designed by artist Bholanath Paudyal, has a flying pigeon, symbol of peace. The body of the pigeon is the portrayal of mountains to describe Nepal as a Himalayan nation. The seven feathers of the flying bird represent seven members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, though the sub continental body has eight members after Afghanistan gained membership in 2005.

Endangered species blackbuck has been picked as the mascot of the Games. A three-member logo selection committee headed by Nepal Olympic Committee President Jeevan Ram Shrestha selected the logo through an open competition. “We received six designs through the open competition and Paudyal had the best,” said Shrestha. “We picked blackbuck as the mascot to impart a message of conservation of the animal which is an endangered species found in the western region of the country.”

National Sports Council Member Secretary Keshab Kumar Bista promised that the Games would not be postponed or delayed due to infrastructure anymore. “Every construction work related to Dasharath Stadium will finish by mid-August,” assured Bista. “As we are set to assemble a portable stadium in Pokhara, it will not take longer than one month. We only need to have concrete base and that work is being sped up,” Bista added.

According to Bista, the expected organisation cost of the Games is around Rs 4 billion. Council Vice-President Pitamber Timsina-led five-member body formed by Thursday’s meeting of the 13th South Asian Games Preparation and Management Committee under Minister Sunar will study in detail about the organisation cost.

Another four-member technical sub-committee has been formed under NSC member Ganga Bahadur Thapa Magar while action plan committee will be led by Bista himself. NSC has also been given the responsibility of training and selection of players. The closed-camp training of the players will begin from the mid-May.  “The winners and the runners up of the individual games during recently held National Games (April 18 to 24) will be picked for the closed camp training,” said Bista. “The final round of selection will be held ahead of the festival of Dashain through NSC Champ-ionships.”

Minister Sunar said that the government has put the Game at top priority as it was also announced during plans and policy in the parliament. “The message of unveiling the logo is that the preparation of the Games has officially begun,” said Sunar adding that Ministry’s priority will be to hire efficient coaches in the country rather than sending players for abroad training. “But we will not hesitate to send players for abroad training if it is a must,” he said.

The Games will have a total of 27 sports disciplines including athletics, basketball, boxing, archery, badminton, cycling, fencing, football, handball, judo, karate, kabaddi, shooting, squash, swimming, taekwondo, tennis, table tennis, triathlon, volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling, wushu, kho-kho, and golf. As the hosts have the rights to add Games, Nepal has included cricket and paragliding in SAG that brings athletes from seven South Asian nations together.

Published: 14-05-2019 09:43

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