A cold send-off for Sneha

  • Rana departure shrouded by Lama’s withdrawal from Chef-de-mission
- KRISHNA DANGI, Kathmandu
A cold send-off for Sneha

Jul 20, 2012-

Sneha Rana’s—Nepal’s only remaining athlete of the five-member team for the London Olympics—departure for the games on Friday was subdued by the withdrawal of National Sports Council (NSC) Member Secretary Yuva Raj Lama from the head of the contingent, citing his dissent over the Dhruba Bahadur Pradhan-led Olympic Committee. 

The decision on Lama was announced during the farewell programme organised for Rana by the NOC which then chose the committees Vice-president Ganga Bahadur Thapa as the Chef-de-mission for the London. 

When asked about the reasons for his withdrawal, Lama branded the Dhruba Bahadur-led committee as ‘illegitimate’ and also accused them failing to maintain transparency in the funds sent from IOC. He also expressed his dissatisfaction at the selection of athletes for the London games, saying that NSC was not involved in the selection process. Five athletes—Shreya Dhital and Prasidha Jung Shah (swimming), Pramila Rijal and Tilak Ram Tharu (athletics) and Sneha Rana (shooting) - will be representing Nepal in games that will start on July 27.

Other than Rana, the four athletes had left for London in the beginning of this month in a rather quiet manner as the dispute between the two Olympic Committees in the country had reached its peak, with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai himself threatening to dissolve the two associations.

In the past, the departure of the national athletes for the Olympics has always been a state affair with the head of the state himself bidding farewell to the contingent, but the controversies at present between the two Olympic committees - with both of them claiming legitimacy-has given the players nothing to cheer about. The Pradhan-led committee is recognised by the IOC, while the one led by Rukma Shusher Rana is endorsed by the government.

Former Olympian Deepak Bista - who became the only second Nepali athlete to qualify for the games in Beijing Olympic after Sagina Baidya in Athens - recalls the President bidding farewell to the squad during the Beijing Olympics, though the controversy between the two associations had escalated during that time too.

Bista can easily relate the plight of the athletes during these situations. He says the athletes don’t feel the urge to give their best when they cannot expect anything from the state. 

Rana had acquired a wild card to the London Olympics upon the request of the NOC which selected her for her exceptional showing in the Sixth National Games.

Published: 21-07-2012 09:16

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