Tamang lone bright spot for Nepal

- Pawan Acharya, Incheon
Tamang lone bright spot for Nepal

Oct 5, 2014-

As the curtains came down on the 17th Asian Games, a jumbo Nepali contingent has returned home from Incheon, South Korea with a bronze medal from karateka Bimala Tamang being the lone bright spot in an otherwise forgetful outing.

Cricket was expected to bring some respite to the nation, considering a favourable draw and depleted status of their quarter-final opponents Afghanistan. But an eight-run loss to the associate archrivals almost put paid to Nepal’s medal hopes before the 18-year-old Tamang came secured a bronze on the 14th day of the Games. Tamang, whose presence in the Games materlalised courtesy of the tug-of-war between two parallel Nepal Karate federations, won a bronze medal in her first major international event. Despite having won the national championship three years ago, medals in several invitational international events, the feud between the rival federations prevented her from participating in the selection tournament for the Games. Tamang was drafted into the Nepali karate squad in the place of Chanchal Danuwar at the last moment after the rival federations registered their own set of players prior to the Games. Experienced Danuwar along with another medal prospect Ganga Adhikari was made scapegoat. The federations eventually agreed to assemble the players but erred by not registering Adhikari and Danuwar as players, who to their disappointment, found to have been registered as officials.

Oblivious of the incident, Tamang had left for Korea on her own expenses. But upon learning what befell on her colleagues, she held back her celebrations. “I am happy to have won a medal for the country. But it’s sad to learn that my participation came at the expense of someone else due to the technical issues,” she said.

If disappointing performances on the field were not enough, controversies off it brought the country into disrepute. Five days into the Games, Sepak Takraw player Aman Pode went missing. As the Games authorities were searching for Pode, two more Nepali athletes--wushu players Sombir Tamang and Nirajan Ale Magar-deserted the Games village. Nepali team landed in Incheon with their largest ever contingent, comprising 204 athletes for 25 sports disciplines. Having spent a record Rs 60 million on players’ preparations, with only one bronze medal to show off the Nepali sports authorities have a lot to ponder.

Amid yet another disappointing result, Member Secretary of the National Sports Council Yubaraj Lama put up a brave face, calling for a serious review. “There is a huge gulf between Nepal and other top Asian countries in terms of sports. Other countries have been spending billions in sports and the athletes are provided with updated coaching system. But this has not been the case in Nepal,” said the chief of the country’s apex sports body.

“There have been a lot of loopholes in Nepali coaching method. As the current set of coaches are not updated with the new trends, our first job should be to prepare quality coaches. We need a strategic planning for the next four years. Devise a year-round training programme for national teams and players under quality coaches. If we don’t begin our preparations for the next Asian Games now, we will end up with another disappointing result,” said Lama.

Published: 06-10-2014 09:28

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