Nepal target medal at World Rafting Championships

- Raju Ghising, Queensland (Australia)

May 16, 2019-

Nepal will put their rafting skills to the test when the team begins its 18th World Rafting Championships campaign here at the Tully River from Thursday.

The Nepali team had acclimatised itself in the Tully River fine tuning their preparations in the last six days and the rafters will now test themselves in the men’s open sprint category. Nepal captain Suraj Gurung said that the course in Tully could be a bit tricky for them. “We trained for two months in Nepal at Marshyangdi, Seti and Trishuli rivers where there is class four rapid grade. Tully also has the same rapid grade but the course is rocky and that might be a bit tricky for us. Otherwise, there is not much difference. Our training ways in Nepal will help us and we are expecting to give our best,” said Suraj.

The rapids at the Tully river could differentiate according to the quantity of the water released by the dam from the powerhouse which is located just above the championship venue. The rafters have felt that an inconsistent course will further make the course tough. The two-day of consistent tropical rain is expected to last even longer in Tully Valley which will make a direct impact in the performance of the rafters.

Suraj said his team has now settled in the Australian winter adding: “Every team coming in to the worlds will target winning a medal and we just didn’t come here to make the numbers.” The Nepali team comprises of Suraj, Shakti Kumar Gurung, Padam Bahadur Gurung, Dipesh Gurung, Sabin Gurung and Rabil Miya who represented Nepal in Raft and Kayak Club Fisling to win the national championship 4 months ago.

Suraj, Sabin, Padam and Miya are making their debut in international rafting through the World Championships. Milan Gurung, who was in the national championship winning team, left for Japan and has been replaced by Sunil Gurung of Paddle Nepal. The Nepali rafters have the experience of working 6-12 years as river guides. Coach Nim Bahadur Magar counts on the team work in his rafters.

The World Championships is played in four different categories—sprint (100 pts), head-to-head (200 pts), slalom (300 pts) and down river (400 pts) for a total of 1000 pts. The team earning the highest total points will be crowned the champions. Nepali team is believed to be strong in head-to-head and down river rafting. Nepal had entered the semi-finals of the 2017 World Championships, finishing in 11th place in sprint event.

The Tully World Championships has a total of 48 teams from 18 countries. Brazil are the defending champions in the men’s open category.

Published: 16-05-2019 08:44

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