Nepali sports has been on a rocky ride of late. The country’s dismal showing at the 10th South Asian Games in Colombo was followed by an equally miserable outing at the 15th Asian Games in Doha. Hot on the heels of the Colombo games, Rajendra Bhandari, the double-gold medallist in athletics, tested positive for a banned performance-enhancing drug. And now, the National Republican Sports Union (NRSU) has padlocked the National Sports Council (NSC) indefinitely. The NRSU demands: Dissolution of all the 57 NSU-affiliated sports associations, making public of the names and expenditures of the Nepali contingents to Colombo and Doha and evidence of the complicity of athletic coaches Sushil Narsingh Rana and Narayan Pradhan in the doping scandal. It has also asked for the revocation of NSU’s decision to promote 201 sports officials.
The NRSU has assured that it will not hamper any scheduled event. But it is hard to see how sporting events will remain unaffected by the closure of the country’s main sports coordinating body. Some of the NRSU demands are legitimate. Appointments at the NSC have been a shady business, based more on loyalty rather than on qualifications. This has reflected in the dismal showing of the Nepali sportsperson on the field. At the same time, the jumbo delegations sent to international sporting events have drained the country’s resources while showing little improvement in the arena. The country can ony hope that the interim government will be able to better mobilise and relocate its resources in sports and good management at the top will trickle down to sports administrators in different parts of the country.