Bravo, let’s continue

There are hopeful signs that Nepal will dish out more sterling performances in the days ahead to leave its mark on the sports arena, thanks to the young and promising players, who have made Nepal proud. On November 17 in a must-win Group F qualifying match, Nepal routed Uzbekistan (2-0) and entered the last 16 of the AFC Under-17 football championship to be held in Singapore next year. Similarly, the Nepali cricket team achieved victory over Malaysia (by seven wickets) in the final of the ACC Under-19 Cup cricket tournament in Kathmandu and became the first nation to lift the trophy for the third time in a row. More importantly, the win has qualified Nepal for the prestigious U-19 ICC World Cup to be held in Sri Lanka in February next year. The Malaysian team was bowled out for a meagre 83 runs in 25.5 overs. Bantu Bataju took five wickets and led the team to a smashing win as the huge cheering crowd gathered at the TU Stadium went wild in happiness. Skipper Kanishka Chaugain had earlier scored an unbeaten half-century in the semi-finals when Nepal thrashed Kuwait by nine wickets.

Full credit must go to the players and their coaches who have worked extra hard to achieve what they have even under the country’s dismal sporting environs. Unlike in the West and even in countries like China and India, there is hardly any government and corporate backing for the sports and the sportsmen at home. Nepal’s poor performance at Athens Olympics 2004 is a cruel testimony to this fact.

Most Nepalis had then pinned their hopes on the first ever Nepali to qualify for Olympics — Sangina Baidya. But her 4-0 loss to Chinese Taipei’s Chen Shih-Hsin in the first round drowned the nation’s dream. It is the government’s duty to provide up-to-date training to players under expert supervision, without which good performance is simply not

possible. Nepal could do well particularly in disciplines like swimming, taekwondo and shooting, besides football and cricket. But the bottom line is excellent training and incentives.