HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Nepal National and International Players’ Association (NNIPA) honoured the best players in 17 sports disciplines at the Player of the Year (2010-11) award programme today.
The NNIPA also felicitated one of the first Olympians of Nepal, long-distance runner Bhupendra Silwal with the Ideal Personality award. NNIPA President Deepak Bista, who is also an Olympian and General Secretary Deepak Shrestha along with National Sports Council Member Secretary Yubaraj Lama handed over the felicitation letter to Silwal.
The 72-year-old Silwal is one of the two players to participate in Marathon in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games when Nepal took part in the sports extravaganza for the first time. The other athlete to join Silwal in the Marathon was Ganga Bahadur Thapa. Four boxers —Nam Singh Thapa, Om Prasad Pun, Ram Prasad Gurung and Bhim Bahadur Thapa — had also participated in the Tokyo Olympics.
The players were recommended by their respective sports associations upon the request of the NNIPA, based on their performance in the 16th Asian Games held in Guangzhou in 2010. The winners included Deepak Maharjan (Boxing), Binod Maharjan (Karate), Ang Babu Lama (Wushu), Manita Shahi (Taekwondo), Kamal Bahadur Adhikari (Weightlifting), Kanchhi Maya Koju (Athletics), Nery Thapa (Cricket), Shiva Sundar Gothe (Table Tennis), Puja Shrestha (Badminton), Phupu Lhamu Khatri (Judo), Bilam Lal Shrestha (Chess), Sneha Rajya Laxmi Rana (Shooting), Ajar Jungam (Gymnastics), Malika Rana (Lawn Tennis), Prem Prasad Pun (Archery), Sachindra Prasad Yadav (Wrestling) and Manoj Subba (Soft Tennis). Olympian Silwal handed over the trophies to the winners.
Former taekwondo player Manju Tuladhar, the eighth South Asian Federation Games silver medallist who had her kidneys transplanted last year, slammed the Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC) Women’s Commission for their indifference towards the problems of the players.
“The NOC Women’s Commission has been formed for their officials to travel foreign countries instead of taking care of players,” she said. “They were indifferent towards me when I knocked the doors to help me in my treatment and today also they have turned deaf ears towards the plea of injured judo players Debu Thapa,” she said, thanking the NNIPA and Nepal Sports Journalists Forum (NSJF) for their contribution in her treatment.
Meanwhile, the programme witnessed an awkward scene when State Minister for Youth and Sports Gopi Achhami, who was invited as the chief guest, left the programme without distributing the trophies to the winners. Achhami was unhappy with the organisers as the NNIPA requested him to share the stage with Olympian Silwal to distribute the trophies to the players. The organisers, who waited the Minister for more than an hour before beginning the programme, were clueless.
“May be he was unhappy as we requested him to give away the trophies to the players along with Olympian Silwal,” said one NNIPA official. “It should have been a matter of pride for the minister to get an opportunity to share the stage with an Olympian. But he (Achhami) took it as an insult.”