Shrestha, Dunuwar set sights on South Asian Games gold medal

- DHRUBA TULADHAR, DANG

Apr 21, 2019-

The sporting journey of karateka duo Monday Kaji Shrestha and Chanchala Dunwar is somewhat similar in terms of success and failure.

The 34-year-old Shrestha and the 32-year-old Dunwar both represent Nepal Police Club. Both specialise on kata. Both won gold individual kata gold medal during the eight National Games in Dang on Saturday. Coincidently their last gold in the National Games also came during the fifth edition in 2009. Dunwar did not compete in the seventh National Games held while Shrestha finished medal-less. Dunuwar just fell short of matching Shrestha in the sixth National Games finishing in silver position. Shrestha won gold.

Having accomplished their gold mission in Tulsipur, both are now setting their eyes on the 13th South Asian Games, which Nepal is hosting in December later this year. Both had prepared really hard for the National anticipating tough challenge from the known opponent. Shrestha was up against long-time competitor Parshuram Bastola. Bastola had ousted Shrestha in the first round during the seventh National Games. The two kata player met at the semi-final stage on Saturday and Shrestha won the duel to avenge the defeat of the seventh National Games.

“Neither of us have clear edge over the other. None of us are a clear favourites,” said Shrestha after winning the gold medal match against Lalit Khatri of Sudhurpaschim on Saturday. Shrestha is looking erase the bitter disappointment of the 12th South Asian Games in India when karate was omitted owing to dispute within the host nation. Now he is setting his eyes on striking gold at his own backyards.

Almost all contemporary players of Shrestha have turned to become judges. But Shrestha has been able to maintain his form and fitness to keep himself as the top kata player. He also holds a rare record of winning gold in different disciplines. He won gold in sparring in the fifth National defeating SA Games gold medallist Sunil Lama in the 54kg final. In the sixth National he won gold in team kata.

Dunuwar had to skip the seventh National Games due to pregnancy. Now the mother of 3-year-old toddler, Kunwar put herself into a heavy training schedule to prepare for the Games. Dunuwar said she partly determined to win gold  as she heard her long-time rival Bimala Tamang would come to Nepal from USA representing NRNA team. “I had to prepare better if she were to compete,” said Dunuwar. Bimala, who struck a bronze in the 2014 Incheon Asian  Games, did not come and instead Suvadra Shrestha represented the NRNA.

Former national champion Shrestha currently resides in Canada. In Bimala’s absence, Shrestha was a no match for Dunuwar who raced to a 5-0 in the final on Saturday. “Now my next target is to hand Nepal gold medal in the South Asian Games,” said Dunuwar.

Published: 21-04-2019 11:28

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