10TH SOUTH ASIAN GAMES: Weightlifters eye just one silver medal in SAG

Kathmandu, August 9:

Weightlifting has never returned empty handed from the South Asian Federation (SAF) Games but the sad part is it has never won a gold medal yet.

It is the highest medal winning sport with 105 — 22 silver and 83 bronze — medals in the regional tournament. But the results in the last three editions indicate the sport is in the declining stage.

Coach Dinesh Bhujel argued the decreasing numbers of tournament was one of the reasons for the decling standard. “Motivation is must for players and it doe’n come unless there are enough tournaments,” Bhujel said.

“We used to have longer period of training camps in those days when we won bulk of medals,” he said. “Players are given less care and facilities these days,” Bhujel added.

Nepal is taking part in seven weight categories out the eight included and the coach is expecting just one silver medal. Bhujel accepted the fact that India and Pakistan were way ahead and expecting gold would be unrealistic.

Four of the seven lifters have already participated in the SAF Games. Rakesh Ranjit has won two bronze medals (7th and 8th SAF) and is in the hunt for the third. Gyan Bahadur Shrestha, Kamal Bahadur Adhikari and Bijendra Bikram Shah are the others to have participated in the ninth SAF Games. Last year’s bronze medallist, Gopal B Shrestha isn’t participating this time as the Armyman is assigned in the UN peacekeeping mission in Burundi.

Coach Bhujel has high hopes on Kamal Bahadur Adhikari. “He is a good lifter and we can expect a silver medal from Adhikari in the 62kg,” he said.

Squad: Kamal Bahadur Adhikari (62kg), Rakesh Ranjit (69kg), Raju Rana (77kg), Gyan Bahadur Shrestha (85kg), Punti Lal Yadav (94kg), Bijendra Bikram Shah (105kg), Bipendra Maharjan (above 105kg).

Medals in weightlifting

Year G S B Total

1983, Kathmandu - 4 3 7

1985, Dhaka - 6 12 18

1987, Kolkata - - 19 19

1989, Islamabad - 6 23 29

1991, Colombo - 3 19 22

1993, Dhaka (not included)

1995, Madras - 3 3 6

1999, Kathmandu - - 3 3

2004, Islamabad - - 1 1